A truth about career, relationships, and life in general that I've learnt in the past four years as a software engineer is that establishing social proof is necessary.

This seems like stating the obvious, but it wasn't so obvious to me as a relatively introverted 18 year old starting out his career in a highly meritocratic industry where the quality of one's work is paramount -- as opposed to things like one's background or connections. I can code, what's the point of anything else?

I learned the hard way, of course, that when you have no social proof whatsoever that even having the chance to prove that you can code might not be possible!

Having a well-curated online presence, notable names on your resume, and a polished portfolio that clearly demonstrates the breadth and depth of your programming skills may not seem that important when it comes to actually building things at a startup, but I've come to appreciate their importance.

The same goes for relationships. I made the mindful decision to delete all of my social media accounts (with the exception of personal messaging apps to communicate with family and friends) a few years ago, and it certainly has led to amusing situations where I had to prove I wasn't an internationally wanted fugitive or an ethereal specter risen from the underworld.

In any meritocracy, people need to know you exist in order to present your merits. Start telling people you exist.