Today, I had a great chat over a cup of coffee with Jon Gauthier, who is, by the way, a delightful human being. When our coffee arrived, Jon remarked:
“It’s a shame that here, in California in general, you have to tell the barista that you want it here, else they’ll default that you want it to go. In Europe, if you don’t tell them anything, they’ll default that you want your coffee in a nice cup.”
Two years ago, two backpackers came to me with an ambitious proposal. They were two American guys who just quit their high paying, Bostonian jobs to pursue the dream of having their own travel show. They had no money and no connection. Like all protagonists of rag to riches stories, all they had was an idea, load of enthusiasm, and–this and is different–an “eye candy.” Ray, the aspiring director, playfully pointed at his friend Mark, who was tall, lean with tousled hair and a sun-kissed smile. They wanted to have Anthony Bourdain on their show. They needed Anthony Bourdain on their show. The entire existence of their show banked on the participation of Anthony Bourdain. I didn’t quite understand their reasoning at that time–I didn’t even know who Anthony Bourdain was. But I figured it was some sort of fanaticism, and I’m drawn to fanaticism like a moth to a flame.
Another of my answers on Quora went viral. It got 300k views and 10k upvotes in 3 days. My friends saw my answer and messaged me “congrats” and I was like: “why?” Are those upvotes going to improve my life in anyway? Can I brag about them on my resume or use them to buy foodstamp?
I like writing answers on Quora. It’s a nice feeling when somebody thanks you for your answer. It’s like, okay, I might suck at life but at least someone on the Internet finds me useful. I just don’t think I deserve any merit when one of my answers accidentally goes viral.
Mykel Kochenderfer is my professor for the course “Building Trust in Autonomy” and he’s hilarious.
“Our policy function depends on whether our time horizon is finite or infinite. For example, if you knew that the world was going to end tomorrow, you wouldn’t just go to Tesco and buy green bananas. You would be buying the candies we had at the zoo yesterday instead.”
“We are now at the age when we have to decide whether we should settle down to be an ordinary person or we should continue being special.” – Tamypu
I don’t know any other person who could possibly say that without appearing pretentious. Pu is special, the kind of special that makes you want to crack her brain with a fine axe to see what is really going on inside.
Before we go on, allow me to introduce my new favorite professor Mykel Kochenderfer. He did his BS and MS at Stanford, then did his PhD at University of Edinburgh (he finished his PhD in 3 years), then worked at that fancy lab MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and wrote this fascinating book called Decision Making Under Uncertainty. Other than being extremely smart, Mykel is also my professor and the father of my new four best friends. FYI, today, our class went to museums with his family and he and his wife left their four kids, aged 2 to 10, with me for an hour. They trusted me with their kids. Can you believe that?
When I found out that Mykel read Wikipedia for fun, I was fascinated. It’s like when someone asks you what you do for fun and you say: “I work on my PhD” or “I solve equations.” How amazing does it sound? So I asked him for the list of his favorite Wikipedia pages–I was procrastinating and was looking for something interesting to read over the weekend. He was very kind to give me his list.
We call her Thai cafe lady because she runs a take-out Thai restaurant known as “the window.” It’s a window on the basement of the Psych building. There is no sign, no table, no chair, and during the hours when the window is close, there is nothing to show that behind this window is the most feared woman at Stanford.
I first met Linh Tran Hai seven years ago when I was still an antsy teenager. At that time, Linh was 23 and the CEO of Lenovo Vietnam. I met him once, added him on Facebook and we went our separate ways. What would the youngest CEO in the country want to do with me anyway?
A few days ago, Linh messaged me saying he’s in Bay Area and would love to catch up. I jumped at the invitation. We had dinner, and I got to learn about his incredible journey from an unemployed college undergrad to a country manager at 23. Continue reading “[Day 5] How to become a CEO at 23”→