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.
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.
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 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 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’m frugal: meaning that I cut costs on things that don’t bring me joy, but I don’t have a problem spending money on things that do.
I love radical honesty and extreme candor. I feel that all emotions and feelings are valid (although not necessarily their 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.
That being said, do so in a kind, gentle, and sincere way. Find the balance. Kind, but firm. Polite, but direct.
It pains me to hear people say something to the effect of, “I’m bad at Math” or, “I hate Math” - I don’t often have strong relationships with people who don’t have a growth mindset.
(It’s also likely that they didn’t have a good teacher. I didn’t like my teachers and I hated math during K-12. It wasn’t until college that I learned that math could be fun.)
I tend to have a “results, not excuses” mentality, and I believe that so many people have no idea what they’re really capable of if they really tried.
If I fail, I fail. However, I’ll make sure I tried everything I could think of, and if there’s a chance to get back up, I’ll take it.