I have recently deactivated my Facebook because I found it distracting. The problem with not being on Facebook is that people don’t believe you’re not on Facebook. Today, a new friend asked if he could add me on Facebook. I said I wasn’t on Facebook, and he gave me the disappointed look that says: “Sure, if you don’t want to be my friend on Facebook, just say so.” Sad. Continue reading “[Day 809] The problem with not being on Facebook”
Recently, I’ve taken to introducing myself as a writer. Occasionally, I receive a response along the lines of: “But aren’t you the person teaching the TensorFlow class?” or “But didn’t I see you in that CS class?” and I was always confused: “Why should being a writer stop me from being interested in CS?”
This morning, I went for brunch with a bunch of people I didn’t know. A man in his fifties, after hearing that I’m a writer, asked: “How are you supporting yourself financially?” Continue reading “[Day 803] How do writers make money?”
Sophia the robot visited Vietnam today and VnExpress asked me to write an op-ed about what it means to be human. In the article, I mentioned the program that Andrej Karpathy wrote that generated Shakespeare-sounding text.
I didn’t think much of it until my editor texted me: “Is Andrej Karpathy human?”
I was like: “I guess.”
She was disappointed and took that example out of my article.
The Lyft driver picked me up from work today and, gesturing at the spaceship-like building behind me, asked: “Do you work at NVIDIA?” I said yes. He said: “Wow.”
He told me that 8 years ago, his wife got offers from both Qualcomm and NVIDIA. She chose Qualcomm because she didn’t want to work for a tiny company that only made gaming chips. “Then her Qualcomm stocks went straight down,” he said. “If she had taken the NVIDIA offer, we’d have been retired by now.”
Anyone could have said the same thing about buying Bitcoin, investing in Facebook, buying a house in Mountain View, or a million other things now that we have the benefit of hindsight. We like to think that we came so close to an opportunity because we’re special, but the truth is that we’re just short-sighted.
I tried carpooling with Scoop. Richard picked me up — his house is one block away from my house and his office building is right next to mine. He must have been one of the earliest success stories of online dating. He married his wife in 1996, through Match.com. To make it more dramatic, his wife is from China. “She was one of six women in Asia back then on Match.com,” Richard said. “I flew to China to meet her, and a few months later, I came back to marry her.” Continue reading “[Day 791] The first Chinese woman to get married via online dating”
When I was interviewing with Netflix, I reached out to my friends to see if anyone has experience interning there. The universal reaction I got was:
“What? You’re interviewing with Netflix? I thought they didn’t have an internship program. They don’t even take recent graduates.”
Some of the cool things that happened today:
- Jeff Dean high-fived me! I was having a drink with Brennan Saeta at the TensorFlow after-party when I looked up and realized that standing right next to me was Jeff Dean. “OMG that’s Jeff Dean,” I said, slightly freaking out. “I’m just going to act casual. No big deal.” Brennan laughed: “Would you like to say hi to him?” “Maaaybe.” So Brennan introduced me to Jeff and Jeff thought that teaching a TensorFlow class was cool.
- I guess my *new* best friend just got on the cover of Nature. Brett Kuprel was featured on the cover of Nature before he turned 25. PhD students these days (shaking head).
Today, Tucker and I went to “Good Times in the Grotto” and it was lit. In Tucker’s words, all the comedians “are surprisingly good for a free basement show.” It was down in the basement of a sports store in Mission. I knew I was going to love the place when I walked in and people smiled at me and the first person I talked to turned out to not work in tech. Score.
Below are some of the best jokes from the night. My memory is quite bad so I don’t remember all who said what. But the lineup includes Roman Leo, Hence Singleton, Morgan, Ben Lupinetti, William Lushbaugh, Ruby Gill, Nando Molina, Jazmyn Washington. If you try enough combinations, you’ll eventually get it right.
Here you go!
“When my girlfriend rides a bike it looks like she’s exercising but when I ride a bike it looks like I don’t own a car.”
“When I need encouragement I think of Ray Charles. He was a blind man who did heroin. Think about it for a second. If he could find the vein I can find a job.” – Nando Molina
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.
The stoner: the guy who just hit a bong and reeks of liberalism and is probably on the wrong train.
The Oprah: the person who always runs into one friend or another on the train and decides that it’s the perfect time for a deep, soul searching, and revealing conversation.
The novice DJ: that one guy who doesn’t exactly have a refined taste in music but likes to play his music really loud from his phone’s speaker.