The Mom Test: Book NotesNovember 15, 2021
The Mom Test is the best book I've read on how to actually talk to your customers (and potential customers) in a way that will help you build the right thing. 5/5 ⭐ overall.
2020 ReflectionJanuary 4, 2021
As usual, I'm writing this on a plane, on the backend of a great trip back to New Hampshire to visit my parents.
Hard Landing: Book NotesMay 13, 2020
Hard landing is a mix of fun stories, business strategy case studies, and history/biography of the airline industry. 4/5 ⭐ overall.
Age Of Ambition: Book NotesApril 25, 2020
This is the best book that I have read in recent memory. If you want to develop an intuition for how to better understand China - and thus the world, I highly recommend it. It is especially prescient in the time of COVID-19 during which I write this.
5 Lessons From Digital MinimalismApril 11, 2020
First - let me say that I enjoyed reading Digital Minimalism and am a fan of Cal Newport in general. If you currently access social media apps on your phone and are highly ambitious, you should consider reading the book.
Bourbon infrastructure, Cereal, Engineering as an abstractionDecember 8, 2019
I took a tour of Bardstown Bourbon Company while visiting Kentucky. The bourbon was great. And the tour reminded me that I do actually love thinking about engineering problems in the real-world (and not just on a computer).
2019 ReflectionsDecember 4, 2019
I wrote most of this on the plane, flying back from NYC. Feeling inspired. I normally write something either on my birthday or at the start of the year. 2017, 23, 2018. I skipped my birthday post and I’ll be in Italy for the start of 2020. Publishing something now feels like a good in-between.
2018 ReflectionsJanuary 13, 2019
Now before I dive into this year's somewhat belated reflection I want to say that I will mostly be focusing on my favorite parts of 2018. The things I want to double down on in 2019. That's not to say there weren't failures. There were a lot. That's not to say I know where I'm going. Most of the time I have no fucking idea. Sometimes I feel alone. Other times I feel like I'm not working hard enough.
The Rise Of PodcastsOctober 21, 2018
I distinctly remember Stephan Dubner (host of Freakonomics) saying a few years ago that we may have reached "peak podcast". In other words, he was speculating that maybe the growth of podcasts as a medium was coming to an end. I remember being a bit skeptical, but I took the prediction seriously. Dubner is a smart guy.
2 Months Without A Phone: Benefits, And How To Try It Yourself.October 15, 2018
When I started writing this article it had been almost exactly a month since the end of my ~2-month trip around Southeast Asia. But sometimes life gets in the way. Now that I'm actually getting around to publishing this, it's been almost 2 months since I returned to the U.S with a broken phone, and no U.S sim card.
2nd Order Effects Of Strict DietsAugust 31, 2018
The Prohibition era in the United States is a notorious example of unintended consequences. The idea of a ban on alcohol sounded good in theory.
23August 24, 2018
Today I turned 23. In Thailand. Over the past few months, I've been lucky enough to travel to Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. I've made friends from all over the world.
The Places We WorkFebruary 12, 2018
As I type this, I'm sitting on top of two bean bag chairs in the basement of the library. For many, this might seem like a strange, if not terrible place to work. It looks like a napping area more than anything else. Depending on what I'm doing, it might be a terrible place for me to work too.
Breaking The RoutineFebruary 10, 2018
Today I'm in Vermont at Mount Snow for what promises to be a great day of snowboarding. It's days like these that make me incredibly happy and thankful to be alive. I try to appreciate every day, but there's something special that comes with breaking your routine, and spending a day outdoors with friends.
Old PodcastsFebruary 9, 2018
We live in an age with constant updates. Streaming has prevailed over downloaded content. An incredible amount of new podcasts, medium articles, and YouTube videos are created every day.
Creation Vs ConsumptionFebruary 8, 2018
One of the most common recommendations I hear from people trying to "level up" or learn new things is to read more.
Writing More PersonallyFebruary 7, 2018
My goal when I write these posts is selfish. I write to help myself think about ideas. To think clearly, and document these thoughts. If it helps someone else great, but this is a byproduct, not the goal.
Addiction To DoingFebruary 6, 2018
I tell myself that my addiction to doing is healthy. Maybe it is. After all, life is short, momento mori. I'm ambitious, and I tell myself it's because I want to make a difference in the world.
Technology PessimismFebruary 5, 2018
When it comes to technology, my sister is a pessimist at heart. Her gut reaction when she hears about a new technology is generally negative. She has a flip, pay as you go phone. She has no social media accounts and takes ~1 month to respond to my emails (in her defense, she sends great emails!)
Difficult To Work WithFebruary 4, 2018
I'm difficult to work with. Especially this year, I have a lot of long-term group projects for school because of senior capstone projects. 3 weeks into the semester, my teammates are likely already tired of me.
Coffee And A Good BookFebruary 3, 2018
Sitting down to coffee and a good book is one of my favorite indulgences. It's a simple act, but it's something I relish and look forward to, especially on the weekends.
InfrastructureFebruary 2, 2018
When I start a new project I'm excited about, my first instinct is often to dive right in.
One MonthFebruary 1, 2018
Happy February first. We're already one month into 2018. 1/12 of the way in.
Favorite Purchases Under $100January 31, 2018
Tim Ferriss loves to ask his guests about their favorite purchase under \$100. It's an interesting question, and I thought it would be fun to answer for myself.
Unique InputsJanuary 30, 2018
To be a great painter, you need to see the world in a way no one else does. To identify a financial bubble, you need to see something everyone else overlooks.
Getting LostJanuary 29, 2018
Over winter break I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Cape Cod with a few of my friends. We had no real plans or goals. Just fun. The first morning we woke up, it turned out to be a gorgeous day. 60s in the middle of January. My friend and I quickly dressed, laced up our running shoes, and ventured into the outdoors.
Paradox And ContradictionJanuary 28, 2018
We live in a world of contradiction. Stewart Brand is famous for the quote "information wants to be free". But this is only a piece of the quote.
A SparkJanuary 27, 2018
The past few weeks I've been thinking a lot about what to work on next. I was having trouble coming up with good ideas. I was struggling a bit. It was nice taking lots of time to read, relax, and enjoy life...but I missed the feeling of getting up every morning to work on something I truly cared about.
Family DinnersJanuary 26, 2018
Over winter break, I rediscovered the joy of family dinners. Nearly every night while I was home, I would help my parents make dinner and then sit down to a ~ 1-hour meal.
Following Your CuriousityJanuary 25, 2018
Last night, on a complete whim, I realized I wanted to dig deeper into blockchain technology. With no homework that _really_ needed to get done, I decided to indulge myself and explore the rabbithole for the rest of the night.
Goals Vs Being PresentJanuary 24, 2018
Yesterday, I listed to a periscope of Naval Ravikant. He's a fascinating guy and it's worth a watch if you get a chance. My favorite quote from the session was: "I choose being present over goals. Goals come too easy"
Borrowing HappinessJanuary 23, 2018
"Drinking is borrowing happiness from tomorrow" - Matt Mullenweg Similarly, I think many "type A" people, including myself have a tendency to borrow happiness from today, in hopes of happiness in the future.
Typing FastJanuary 22, 2018
I type fast. Many of my thoughts are half baked. I rarely spend much time editing. Usually I just pop my writing into grammarly, make a few corrections, then it's done.
The Lies We Tell OurselvesJanuary 21, 2018
When we are born, we're a blank slate. We believe we can do anything (within reason). And we have no reason not to. No one, including oneself, has said otherwise.
The Faroe IslandsJanuary 20, 2018
Prior to watching the video, I'd never even heard of the Faroe Islands. It's about halfway between Norway and Iceland, which is to say it's smack dab in the middle of nowhere.
80% PsychologyJanuary 19, 2018
On Wednesday (1/17), the cryptocurrency market saw one of the largest crashes in recent memory. I generally try to avoid the news, especially the financial/cryptocurrency news, but for whatever reason, I couldn't help myself.
Anti Growth HackingJanuary 18, 2018
How many people have told you they decided to spend more time on Facebook? How many people do you know who have quit Facebook or put in place measures to decrease their Facebook usage?
PrioritiesJanuary 17, 2018
The excuse "I don't have time" can really be translated as "It's not my priority". We can make time for almost anything if we care enough about it.
The Cure For Information OverloadJanuary 16, 2018
The internet is incredible. It's led to a mindblowing amount of content creation. Want to learn something? The options are endless. YouTube, Podcasts, Medium Articles....the list goes on. It's led to a massive democratization of information, but not necessarily a democratization of knowledge.
Breaking The StreakJanuary 15, 2018
A few days ago, I missed my first post after deciding to start publishing daily. Only 10 days in. I was in Cape Cod with friends, didn't want to take any time away to write, and didn't have any posts scheduled. Sometimes we break the streak. I wish we didn't. It sucks. But it's not about the break.
Fun As An IncentiveJanuary 14, 2018
"I don't understand why people pick individual stocks," I told my dad. "It seems fairly obvious, if you were actually good enough to beat the market picking stocks, then you could most likely make a living off of that". Are people just dumb? Or was I missing something? I think many people are truly not very informed when it comes to finances, but that doesn't tell the story.
You Are Not Your CredentialsJanuary 12, 2018
Companies were throwing interviews, then offers at me with a velocity I could barely keep up with. I got so many interviews I found myself declining them with companies I previously would have jumped at. With each new interview or offer, I got a rush of excitement (and dopamine). I spent hours grinding interview questions on Leetcode to prepare.
Framing Is EverythingJanuary 11, 2018
"Airbnb is basically just a hotel booking site, what's so great about working there?". "Isn't Lyft basically just a taxi service?"
A Healthy Level Of DoubtJanuary 10, 2018
A few weeks ago I was playing Avalon with friends and family. The basic premise of the game is that if you are randomly chosen as a "good" character, your goal is to figure out who is "evil". If you are randomly selected as "evil", you are trying to deceive other players into believing that you are actually good.
Why?January 9, 2018
Why did I start a blog? Why write everyday? Why go to college? Why get a job?
ConsistencyJanuary 8, 2018
How many things do you do every single day? Over the past year? For me, it's practically nothing. I can't even say I've brushed my teeth every day over the past year. It's pretty much only eating, sleeping, and breathing. Things that humans have to do to stay alive.
The Feel Of Your ToothbrushJanuary 7, 2018
When you wake up, brushing your teeth is likely one of the first things you do. If you're like me, by the time your toothbrush is in your mouth, your mind is already wandering. Thinking about the day, what you want to do, what you have to do, your dog, or what you'll have for breakfast (unless you're a post-breakfast brusher of course). Sometimes I can't even remember if I already brushed my teeth minutes later because I was so distracted.
The Principles Of SuccessJanuary 6, 2018
When Arnold Schwarzenegger started bodybuilding in the 60's and 70's, the sport was relatively unknown. Going to the gym was considered weird, so much so that actors would lie about the fact that they even worked out regularly. Now it's a part of many peoples every day lives. I think we are starting to see a similar awakening with many of these tools that are already used by people we admire.
The Role of GeographyJanuary 5, 2018
In a world where we are so connected via the internet and remote work gaining popularity, I sometimes underestimate the impact of where we live and where we grow up. It influences what we do, how we think, the people we surround ourselves. It tells us what is "normal".
Slowing Down To Speed UpJanuary 4, 2018
Recently I've been getting back into the piano. I'm trying to learn Photograph by Ed Sheeran. It's been so nice to slow down and make the time to practice regularly. When practicing, however, I've noticed something curious. Practicing a song at half the speed you are trying to achieve is often more effective than practicing at 80% of the speed.
The Power Of HyperboleJanuary 2, 2018
Your idea is not valuable, at all. All value is in the execution. You think you are an exception; you are not. You should not insist on an NDA to talk about it; nobody serious will engage in contract review over an idea, and this will mark you as clueless.
2017 reflectionsJanuary 1, 2018
Last year, I set the intention to publish 30 articles in 2017. One year later, I've hit publish 29 times. Writing is such a simple act, but even taking the time to create roughly two posts per month has already had a profound impact on my life, and it's something I plan to continue in the coming year.
Momentum and WillpowerDecember 30, 2017
Conventional wisdom will tell you that willpower is a finite resource that gets slowly used up throughout the day. Maybe you can train yourself to increase your willpower over time, but it will still slowly decline throughout the day.
Linting your lifeDecember 23, 2017
Code linting is a type of static analysis that is frequently used to find problematic patterns or code that doesn't adhere to certain style guidelines".
Flipping risk on its headDecember 21, 2017
We rarely evaluate the risk of what we are currently doing. In our mind, we have already accepted the risks of our daily habits and lifestyle. We all know that risk is relative, so when we are making decisions, why do we so often overlook the risk of deciding NOT to do something
The incentives of advertisingDecember 20, 2017
I've always loved the advertising model of content businesses. Or at least, that's what I've told myself. I get to consume incredible content for free, at the small cost of wading through a few ads. And besides, I'm smart, so I can't be easily manipulated by an advertisement....right? With the rise of the internet, we've also seen the rise of this advertising model. More businesses than ever are generating the vast majority of their revenue from advertisers. Just look at Facebook and Google, two of largest tech companies today.
Dangerous vs. ScaryAugust 19, 2017
For most people, their first time rock climbing is scary. But as long as you're doing it properly it's actually quite safe. Driving a car is much less scary, but it's much more dangerous. The distinction here is that scary is about how we feel and dangerous is about statistics.
Too many podcastsJuly 29, 2017
There's way too many podcasts. There's too many conferences, too many businesses, too many blogs. Everyone wants to start their own thing. I do it too. You're reading my blog right now. Making things on your own is awesome, and it's never been easier.
Founder-Market FitJuly 27, 2017
When people talk about starting a business, everyone talks about product-market fit. Does you product satisfy a desire for a group of potential customers? It's important for sure. If your product doesn't meet a need, no one will want to use it. But there are so many good ideas for products out there, and yet most startups still fail.
The Side Effects of WritingJuly 26, 2017
Some people write to become a better communicator, to tell stories, to help others, to change lives, to innovate, to relax, to connect, to be part of something bigger than themselves, to be less self-conscious, to make money.
Nobody Knows What They're DoingJuly 25, 2017
The more I learn, about anything, the more I realize that no one actually knows what they're doing. It could be life, programming, starting a business, building a strong relationship, it almost doesn't matter.
Life thoughts and Unconventional Career Advice (Interning in San Francisco Week 8)July 23, 2017
It's wild to think that in two weeks, my internship will be over, and I'll be getting ready to fly home for a few days before starting my senior year at Bucknell. One of my favorite things about blogging this summer, is the chance it gives you to step back and reflect on how you've been using your time over the past week. Unfortunately (or fortunately), this also makes you acutely aware of all the things you wanted to do, but just haven't found the time for.
High-end coffee, luck, and a trip to Lassen National Park (Interning in San Francisco Week 6 & 7)July 16, 2017
Within a few minutes of our arrival, the owner, Kevin Bohlin, had a cup of iced coffee in our hands and was educating us on the pitfalls of cold-brew coffee. In case you're curious, cold-brew is good, if you want to smooth out some of the undesirable flavors of low-quality coffee. For high-end coffees, however, cold-brew results in the loss of some of the most delicious flavors that make each coffee unique.
Roadtripping to LAKE TAHOEJuly 5, 2017
On Friday we (the majority of my roommates and I) rushed home from work to pack, which in my case means tossing a random amount of clothing into a backpack and hoping for the best. We promptly packed ourselves, along with a few days worth of food into a rented 15 person van. The drive down took us about 5 hours due to holiday traffic and a stop at In-N-Out.
Escape rooms, Internapalooza, Pride parade and so much more (Interning in San Francisco Week 4)July 2, 2017
This is part of the magic of San Francisco. I saw the event advertised on a Hacker Noon article, and a few days later I walked a few blocks to the address, and there it was.
The Rooftop Views Continue (Interning in San Francisco Week 3)June 18, 2017
People keep asking me, "Could you see yourself living here after you graduate?" Before coming here, my answer would have been a pretty clear "not really". SF seemed like an exciting place to live for 10 weeks, but probably not somewhere that I would want to live. Now, well, I still have no idea where I want to live after I graduate, but I can safely say the San Francisco has earned it's way into the mix.
Getting outside the bubble (Interning in San Francisco Week 2)June 11, 2017
Things have calmed down a lot since I talked to you last. Although I've only been here for two weeks, I already feel like I'm settling in. There's not too much new or crazy to talk about this week, but that's okay. Work is awesome, I committed my first piece of code on our project, learned a ton about Ruby on Rails and got a high level overview about how the payments industry works.
I survived my first week! (Interning in San Francisco Week 1)June 4, 2017
It's crazy to think that my first week here has already come and gone. Quick Update: I'm loving it. I won't lie, I was a little skeptical of San Francisco before coming here. It's dominated by the tech industry, doesn't get warm in the summer, and rent is crazy expensive. I'd heard people love it here...but why? After my first week here, I think I'm starting to get it. The food is amazing, it's easy to get around, and there are beautiful parks everywhere.
Life as an intern in San Francisco (Week 0)May 28, 2017
For the next 10 weeks I'll be living in San Francisco while I intern at Braintree. In the days leading up to my departure I began to feel the rush of anxiety and excitement that comes with moving across the country to start a new job. This summer marks two important firsts for me: living in a city, and my first job working as a (kinda) professional software developer.
After building my first React Native app, I’m now convinced it’s the future.May 11, 2017
After a few weeks of playing around with React Native, I just came away with my first real mobile app. It’s fairly simple, but it only took me a few days to build and I had a blast doing it.
The Myth of the Self-made ManMay 1, 2017
"Class divisions are determined by fate, but individuals can rise out of their class through work, initiative, etc. This process, and the myth of the self-made man, has to be profoundly hypocritical: it is the self-serving demonstration that a lie is the truth."
Ignorance as an advantageApril 27, 2017
Two of my favorite books, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss are often criticized for leaving out important details and engaging in hyperbole. These claims are warranted, but that's not the point.
What Nick Gilson can teach us about failure and innovationApril 9, 2017
Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the TEDx event at Bucknell. All of the speakers were fantastic, but my favorite talk was by Nicholas Gilson, titled "failing to learn". Nick is the Founder and CEO of Gilson Boards, a ski a snowboard manufacturer located in Winfield, PA. He taught middle school science in Nashville, TN as part of Teach for America before going on to launch his company. His talk was incredibly insightful and inspirational, and I wanted to share my key takeaways.
Goals through the lens of stoicismApril 7, 2017
Naturally, many people make goals focused on the final outcome they hope to achieve. If you are writing a book, you might make it a goal to get it published or sell X number of copies. If you are starting a business, your goal might be to generate X amount of revenue in your first year.
Cold Showers and AppreciationApril 3, 2017
Over the past few weeks I've been experimenting with taking cold showers. There's supposedly a bunch of health benefits...
On DebuggingMarch 31, 2017
Towards the end of the last computer science lab that I TA, a student called me over to help him with a bug. After the first 10 minutes, we still couldn't find the issue, every part of my brain was telling me that the code ought to work. It took nearly 20 minutes of helping him dig through his code before we found the issue.
My advice for breaking into tech: FirstDevJob InterviewFebruary 16, 2017
Keep in mind that the following advice comes from the small amount experience that I do have. Not everything will apply to your circumstance. Instead of just repeating what worked for me, try to take away just a few pieces that you can apply to your own life.
Coding is The Ultimate Creative ToolFebruary 6, 2017
Almost everyone I know would love to spend time coding if they could quickly get good at it. Think about it. The power to make your own app idea come to life, or even something as simple creating your own beautiful personal website is enormously satisfying.
It Doesn't Have To Be FunJanuary 30, 2017
Over the past year I’ve come along way. In just a few months I’ve managed to complete 30 projects on Free Code Camp. I published an article about how I landed my first internship. I did this while pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering on the side. By my standards it’s been a ridiculously productive year.
Why Taking A Gap Year Needs To Be The New NormalJanuary 18, 2017
Like most kids fresh out of high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Unlike most kids, I decided to take a gap year to help me figure it out. This is my story of what I learned along the way.
How I landed a top-tier internship by doing something I loveDecember 10, 2016
It’s been about a year since I fell in love with coding. Since then I’ve built numerous projects, completed over 1000 hours worth of coursework on Free Code Camp and accepted my first internship working at Braintree in San Francisco.