The Lifelong Traveler

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Stay Hungry

March 26

With these two words, Steve Jobs welcomed Stanford's graduating class of 2013 on their commencement day. He repeated, "Stay hungry, stay foolish," and I've been feeling more understanding of his remarks of late. It speaks to some questions I've been thinking about since I left school and entered the "working world" this January; questions like, "with whom should I compare and surround myself in order to be more passionate and more compassionate, more knowledgeable and more experienced? When should I push myself to improve, and when should I be satisfied with my work? For whom do I work? Why do I work on the things I do? When should I pivot to something new?..."

Finding Passion

January 15

There's a reason passion is a word both for the love of a partner and the love of a craft. There's an energy around two people in love. It surrounds them and spreads to the space around them, and it gives them the hope and optimism to step forward into an unknown future. I can see it in their eyes when they look into each other; I can feel it in the way they hold each other; I can hear it in their footsteps as they walk down the aisle. As I watched this year's Golden Globes, I saw the same light in the eyes of the people not only on stage, but in the audience. These musicians and actors and writers and directors loved their craft just as sincerely, and it came across in the way they spoke of each other, the way they described their careers and the people in them, and the way they spoke of their work and their life...

My Goals for 2017

December 31

Even though public opinion is pretty divisive about 2016, in my own life, between a lot of personal and professional growth, it was one of the best years. Above all, I became much more certain about where I'm going, why, and how I might try to get there. So to make 2017 an even better year, I'm setting myself ten pretty lofty goals. These are challenges, not necessarily for the purpose of achieving all of them in the next 365 days, but to dare myself to shoot for the stars, to push myself and see where I could go. I'm making these public for two reasons. First, I want to hold myself accountable for the things I want to do this year. I'm taking a gap year in my formal education in 2017, and while some people have been really encouraging about the kinds of experiences and opportunities I might find (thanks guys!) others have been more skeptical. So this is a way for us to see what I can do with it, and if it turns out to be worth the cost...

How to Buy What You Can't Buy

December 26

Everybody wants us to speak up. But when we do, we get put down. Speaking is hard. It takes guts. But speaking seems like it's second nature to that comedian, or that news anchor, or that presenter, or Stephen Colbert. Damn you, Stephen Colbert. Speech is a product offered by our society by allowing freedom in thought and liberty in expression, and we pay for it in the risk we incur by taking stances and standing for our thoughts. We pay for it in the words we write and the with people to whom we speak with some invisible sense of anonymous authority. We pay for it in the responsibility we take to educate the people around us about everything from that Pokémon Go technique to the intricacies of quantum superfluidity. Most recently, we pay for it with eternal records etched into the everlasting, vivid stream of voices we call the Web. World-wide and permanent ...

What makes you

December 11

Getting into Harvard does not make you a better student. Getting into Stanford does not make you a brighter programmer. Getting into Yale does not make you a smarter citizen. But if you made it, congratulations. You’ve made it -- a tremendous opportunity. Missing it to Purdue does not make you a lesser person. Missing out on a scholarship does not make you any lesser a future. Messing up that interview does not make you any worse an applicant. But if you did, I’m sorry. I feel you, and I’m sure others do, too. You’ve made it, or you’ve missed it. What does that make you? It makes you...

What are YOU doing?

Nov 21

What do you believe in? Do you believe in achieving gender equality? In a colorblind justice system? In more schools that empower rather than enforce? Here’s what I believe: Either you believe in something enough to invest your money, time, and effort to help make it happen, or you don’t really care. If you’re not willing to put yourself where your mouth is, I won’t believe you, because you haven’t given me anything to make me believe you do. I write a blog to make sure my perspectives have a voice; I donate my time to people starting their own businesses, because I believe in young entrepreneurs; I join organizations and follow causes that align with my views, because I actually give a damn...

What's Left

Nov 9

Stop for a second. Hold on -- I need to say something. None of the "Election map if only ___ voted" deliver a great message to me. I don't care what the millenials' choice was, or what the women's choice was, or what the minorities' choice was; not because I don't think examining the statistics matters, but because hoping America comprised of only one kind of people is not who we are. We all know who appealed to who in this election, and Trump won largely because of the middle class white males as a demographic. We know...

The Value of the Gap

Nov 1

Most of my friends know the news by now, but in case you’re new, after graduating a semester early from high school. I’m taking a gap year for two more semesters before going into college, probably as a computer science major. Although I’ve talked about why I like computer science and why I want more free time, I’ve never openly addressed why I’m taking a nearly seventeen-month-long break from formal education. Today, I want to take some time to address that. My life and interest in tech and entrepreneurship has never really been about stuff I did inside school — they’ve always been about what I loved doing outside of school, on my own, tinkering with code and design on my laptop on the off hours...

Fear of Being Normal

Oct 30

I like to think I’m pretty unique. Actually, let me rephrase that more accurately. I’m afraid of feeling not-unique. I have something you might call FOBN  --  the fear of being normal. In everything we do, I think there are the motivations we externalize. These are the motivations we cite for doing the stuff we do when we talk to other people and when we convince ourselves, things like our passion, charity, curiosity, and making the world a better place. But behind them, I think we always have internal motivations, the ones we’re driven by, but don’t think about too much, things like wanting to meet specific people, wanting to move away or start something new, and wanting appreciation or recognition. We may be embarrassed by them...

The Life Platform

October 29

I talk about the idea of creative platforms, and how I think we should view our day-to-day lives as a kind of a platform.

The Art of Living

Oct 16

I am enthralled by the art of living. Living -- not merely surviving, not merely "getting" a way of life and a settled career path, not merely reaching the fabled success of deep pockets and white picket fences. Living, to me, is the art of self-discovery. It started seven years ago. With my right hand clenched around the staircase railing and my left holding my balance against the wall, I crept downstairs, barely hiding the sound of my footsteps under the traffic noise outside. Careful to avoid every third step from the top -- those were annoyingly loud at two in the morning - I journeyed to the first floor, where our family computer whirred away past midnight on its own while the rest of the family slept in silence...

Lost in Translation

Oct 5

For today's post, I'm trying something a little different from my usual. I have more serious, essay posts coming up in the pipelines that I'm really excited about, but I wanted to share a little story I really enjoyed writing. It's a story written (almost) entirely in dialogue, called "Lost in Translation". I'm not much of a novelist, but I thought I'd share, so feedback welcome. // It was almost nine, and the sun had already set over the homes across the street. The days were getting longer now, but he still kept to his summer shirts, business casual, and a tie. As he parked onto the curb and stepped out, he saw his porch light flicker on. Then the door opened, followed by a pair of...

Design is Not Art

Sept 19

In any field, if you go deep enough, you'll find lots of blurred lines and borders where one particular discipline ends and another begins. The frontiers of theoretical physics often collide with metaphysics, a branch of philosophy. Linguistics brushes up against literature quite often, and history and archaeology are sometimes studying the same things through different approaches. One of these twin-fields is visual arts and design. It doesn't seem like it most of the time, because some disciplines of design, like architecture and graphic design, are very artistic. Often, when you study design, you'll also be studying the visual arts, from color to composition. But for me, the last three years of learning design has largely been me teaching myself out of ...