Hi, I'm David Crawford.
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Reflections on 2022

I sent this letter to friends around New Years of 22/23. It’s as comprehensive a summary of my life as I’ve written since I turned 30, so I thought I’d ressurect my blog and put it up here.

Dear friends,

I miss you! If you’re receiving this, it’s because I’ve been thinking of you, and I want to connect more.

In 2020, I moved to Denver, committed to my relationship with Stephanie and Blaise, and then the three of us locked ourselves in our home and started spraying our groceries with Lysol like the rest of the world. Since then, I’ve never fully recovered my connections to the many other people I love who live around the country and the world.

Of course, now that I have a family, I don’t expect things to be quite the same. But I believe life has room enough for many different relationships. And the steady acceptance and kindness I’ve felt from all of you makes me believe that we have lots of time together.

What I want most of all is to continue to share in your successes and your challenges. To celebrate your successes, make them feel real and important to you, help you see yourself as the heroic protagonist of your own life. To support you in your challenges, validate their gravity, and give you the energy to face them. And I hope to be able to share my successes and my challenges with you.

So I’m writing this letter to tell you about some of the highlights and lowlights of the last year for me. I hope you’ll have the chance to read it, and I hope I’ll hear back from you. Please don’t feel obligated to write a ton or respond to everything I’ve said. Just knowing you’ve received it and it mattered will mean a lot.


Stephanie, Blaise, and I moved into a house together in the Park Hill neighborhood of Denver in the summer of 2021. Over the past year and a half, we have become a family. We even added a dog, Scout, at the end of the year. I received my first Father’s Day card in June. Making ourselves into a family has taken a lot of work. A lot of discussion, a lot of vulnerability, a lot of consistently showing up. And there’s much more in front of us. But it feels good to have built the relationships we have.

I stepped foot on African soil for the first time, visiting Morocco in the summer. We ate homemade couscous with a family living in the Medina (the old city, or the part of Marrakech which lies within the original city walls from around the year 1000). We saw snake charmers, and spice vendors. We visited Stephanie’s sister and her family, who speak fluent Arabic and showed us their adopted country. Blaise’s understanding of the world expanded dramatically, and he got to practice his French. And all this came after our time in Paris where we visited Stephanie’s “exchange sister”, rode on the Seine, sipped champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and experienced all the other wonderful things that place has to offer.

I am still at Cruise, and just celebrated my fourth anniversary. In the first half of the year, I was managing three teams and struggling with a lot of people quitting (my bosses, my partners, and my reports). I spent the first six months hiring in a new set of experienced and motivated engineers to recreate those teams, and finding a new role for myself at the company. For the last six months, I have been working as a Staff Software Engineer in the Perception group, which is responsible for the software which understands the world around the car as it’s driving, so that we can react to all of the other people on the road. I am learning a ton and having lots of fun.

Aside from my personal role at Cruise, it’s been fun to watch the company make so much progress this year. 2022 was the year that we made fully driverless rides available to members of the public in San Francisco, and by the end of the year we had over 100 cars on the road, drove 600k miles with no one in the driver seat, had an incredibly high average rating from riders, and launched in two more cities (Phoenix and Austin). I personally had my first fully driverless ride, and it was exhilarating. Echoing a statement from our CEO, I think people are going to be surprised at how quickly self-driving cars goes from a rare novelty to a way of life. It’s very exciting.


In a way, all of the things I listed in “successes” were challenging. But I think it’s worth naming some of the things that were hardest for me.

One thing is to figure out how to fit this all in without having a scarcity mindset. I can often feel like I am operating out of fear, trying to keep all the balls in the air. I worry that I have overcommitted myself and will disappoint people. The line that I tend to use is: we live a full life! It’s my way of trying to switch from scarcity to abundance. But I think the deeper challenge is recognizing my limits and making confident decisions about priorities. If I want to cook on weeknights it should come from a true desire to do it, and a choice to sign off of work, without worrying about disappointing my colleagues or looking like I’m not working hard enough. (I realize this seems like a trivial example, but the fact that it’s an almost daily occurrence is part of how pervasive this conflict is for me.)

Another challenge is health. I rated my year on several categories and health and fitness were the lowest. I’ve gained about 15 lbs in the last two years, and I’ve lost strength and flexibility. I don’t want to hire a trainer because I don’t feel I’ve earned one, I haven’t made a strong enough commitment to diet and exercise on my own, and I’m paying hundreds of dollars a month to hold myself accountable. I can tell there’s a flaw in this thinking , but I’m not sure which direction. Regardless, I know that I want to focus on my health and adapt my habits in light of my changing body. To feel less discomfort and more energy throughout the day.

Looking Forward

I keep trying to write down what the next year looks like for me, but all I can put down is bland platitudes. I guess I don’t really know what it will be! But I’m getting a lot more comfortable with not knowing. Whatever it is, I hope you’ll all be a part of it.

I’ll leave you with this fun video of Cruiser’s taking their parents on driverless rides, and this beautiful post from Stephanie about our summer adventures.