About Me

Hi!

My resume, blog, and LinkedIn tell you a fair bit about the stuff we’d talk about in job interviews, so I’ll try and stick to other stuff here.

Explanations

I find a lot of joy and take a lot of pride in explaining things simply and elegantly. I think that such explanations are interesting by themselves, but I also enjoy finding ways to spin my explanations to appeal to different audiences.

I admire any mission that boils down to explaining concepts generally considered complex in such a way that they’re digestible and accessible by most of humanity. I’m incredibly inspired by universities like Stanford and MIT that have released hundreds of courses taught by world class professors to the public for free, and by organizations like distill.pub, whose goal is to explain machine learning in the least frustrating and most intuitive way possible. For similar reasons, I greatly admire folks like Andrej Karpathy and Chris Olah, whose blogs I regularly read.

Stoicism

I borrow a lot of beliefs from stoicism. I prefer to devote most of my focus to solvable problems and my effort to solving them, but I also believe that mourning (or throwing small pity parties) is necessary at times. (I’ve read a lot of Ryan Holiday, Derek Sivers, and Mark Manson.)

Passion

I don’t think there’s a such thing as your “true passion” - I think some things will appeal more immediately than others, but the more time spent developing the craft, the more joy will be had. The importance, impact, and tightness of feedback loops are also important factors. (I’ve read a lot of Cal Newport, Scott Young, Daniel Pink, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.)

Minimalism

I try to minimize “pleasure” and maximize “joy” as much as possible. I’m a minimalist. I (try) to stay away from anything that feels addictive, like sweets, caffeine, television (online or otherwise), video games, social media, and other forms of infotainment. (I’ve read a lot of Steve Pavlina, Derek Sivers, and Adam Grant.)

Candor

I love the idea of radical honesty / extreme candor. I feel that all emotions and feelings are valid (although not necessarily the resulting actions). I think there are very real political (and other) reasons for not being honest, but I also think that, at least in your private life, you should be as close to completely honest as possible, and let anyone who can’t handle it self-select out of your life.

Grit

It pains me to hear people say something to the effect of, "I'm bad at Math," or, "I hate Math," - I think that they weren't exposed correctly, and I think if they did it enough they'd develop a taste for it (I, too, hated math at first). I think they could be as good at it as they want to be, assuming they stuck with it. I honestly do believe that, in most cases, I could be as good as anyone at anything if I put in as much time as they did, plus or minus a few years. (I've read a lot of Carol Dweck, Barbara Oakley, and Gary Vaynerchuk.)