Why You Should Read Steve Jobs’ Biography


I’ve got 140 pages left to go in Steve Jobs’ biography, and I’ve laughed, shuddered, but most of all, felt inspired by all the pages so far. I can’t believe I didn’t know more about Jobs’ personal background; the creation, near death, and triumphant rise of Apple; or the myriad other people in the tech world that were related to Jobs’ life.

Isaacson writes with clarity and detail. The anecdotes are numerous and often funny. The portrait Isaacson paints of Jobs has inspired, scared, and taught me a lot. I admire Jobs’ passion for life and creation; I’m repulsed by his streaks of cruelty. Because of and despite of his character strengths and flaws, he left a lasting legacy. The biography’s author Walter Isaacson put it this way:

How to Find Good Mentors


I spent time over the holidays thinking about what makes a good mentor. Here’s my summary after thinking about the mentors I’ve had so far.

Good mentors:

  1. cultivate long-term relationships with their mentees
  2. can distill their years of experience into good advice that’d take mentees years to figure out on their own
  3. want a mutually beneficial relationship where they get something out of it too
  4. have experience and proven track record in an industry related to the mentee

  5. Ben, whom I’ve written about before, is a good mentor because he was good at setting aside time for me. He helped me learn the basics of computer science, encouraged me, gave me straight medicine, and called it like he saw it. He’s not afraid to be honest and can be very encouraging. We’re good friends. He was patient yet demanding out of what he expected. He knew when to push and when to nudge.

  6. Last fall when I was interviewing at various New York tech startups, a certain head engineer made a good impression on me. He was candid and told me valuable sage-pieces of advice would’ve taken me years of experience to figure out. One example: designing perfect, IBM-smarter-planet-like systems is not always commercially viable or make as great an impact as I thought. He gave advice on how to evaluate the job opportunities I was considering. I know he’d be a valuable mentor because in the short time we talked, his words helped me choose the right startup to join.

  7. A good mentor values the relationship both ways. The mentor could enjoy mentoring simply for the sake of helping another individual grow as a person or because he/she sees a potential business partner/investment opportunity in the future. Both parties should cultivate a long-term relationship where they come away from each meeting feeling the time spent was meaningful and fulfilling.

  8. Does the mentor have a record of good performance and achievements in the field you aspire to excel in? Has he/she achieved or built something that inspires you? Or is the mentor being theoretical and professorial without practicing what he/she preaches?

Look for someone who understands your similarities and differences. Not an older person who’s trying to live vicariously through you or trying to mold you into a younger version of himself.

Also, Trevor Owens teaches a class on this. I haven’t taken it yet but will as soon as he sets another date for it.

A Difference Between New York and Silicon Valley Startups?


I just talked with a Silicon Valley friend who’s written code since middle school and has lots of startup experience. This friend recently moved to New York and told me the differences between New York and Silicon Valley startup mentality.

Why I Hate Shopping for Clothes


I hate shopping for clothes not because I don’t like seeing what’s new at stores or because I don’t care about what I wear. I hate it because searching for clothes that fit me in American stores is nearly impossible.

I Want to Learn How to Take Better Photographs


November 24, 2011

1:00 PM

I’m tired of using taking bad photos. I’m tired of seeing other people’s bad photos. I’m tired of point-and-shoots.

I’m not sure exactly what kind of photography I want to improve on, but often I see something beautiful and wish I could capture that moment.

I Love the Moth. Why Is Voss Underwriting Them?


The Moth is an organization that hosts events made of real stories told live on stage. Every event has a different theme around which story tellers weave their narratives. They’re one of my favorite podcasts. I love listening to the well-crafted stories told by writers, artists, and regular folk.

The stories are about 15 minutes long with simple narrative arcs, but their messages are often complex. Some of the most memorable stories for me are:

How to Install Ubuntu 11.10 on Macbook Air 4,2


I told my friends I wanted to run Ubuntu, a flavor of the Linux operating system, on my Macbook Air. But I was hesitant. When they asked why, I said I was worried about hardware-software compatibility and, on a more philosophical level, Steve Job’s death was too recent for me to tinker with a product he made to be a cohesive unit.

My friends dismissed my latter concern and said the installation should be a cakewalk.