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A wrong way to build for the long-term: committing to premature designs

I used to love system designs. I thought great engineers designed systems for the long-term, and I was eager to do that. However, I neglected the importance of patience and timing. Besides being able to design beautiful systems, great engineers also know when it is too early to commit to a design. In this post, I will discuss: My definition of premature designs Symptoms of premature designs Dangers of committing to premature designs My proposed way of thinking 1. My definition of premature designs Premature designs are untested designs. They are designs based on unverified assumptions. Coming up with a… Continue reading

What Matters to Me At Work?

Three years ago, when I was deciding among six job offers, I asked myself what my top three priorities were. Three years later, I decided to revisit what matters to me at work now. I will share both my original list and my new list in this post. My Original List 1. Product & Mission. I wanted to work on a product that I believe in. I wanted to work at a company whose mission I agreed with. Ultimately, I wanted to contribute to society through work. 2. People & Team. I wanted to surround myself with people I could… Continue reading

Why I Chose Gusto over Facebook and Airbnb

Over three years ago, I received job offers from multiple tech companies. I filtered the list down to Gusto, Facebook, and Airbnb. After a painful amount of researching and thinking, I chose Gusto. I will share my reasons in this post. Maybe it can be useful to others in similar positions. =] Two Things After much thinking, I was ultimately deciding between Facebook and Gusto. Two main factors pushed me towards Gusto. 1. “What’s after Facebook?” Facebook was attractive for many reasons: its reputations, the strong engineering culture, a flat organizational hierarchy, engineering autonomy, challenging problems… But I knew wouldn’t… Continue reading

An Attempt to Stop Thinking About Work Outside of Work

From having the best work-life balance to thinking about work 24/7, things got out of control before I noticed. At its peak, I worked from 5 am till 7 pm and continued to think about work after that. It’s interesting how my work-life balance went off rails and then got back on track. In this post, I want to briefly document this experience in the following order: Going off rails: from calm to racing thoughts Getting intense: unstoppable trains of thoughts Cooling down: forcing a stop Reflection & Learnings Going off rails: from calm to racing thoughts Before it all… Continue reading

Seeking Approvals at Work Exhausts Me

I hate to admit this, but recently I have been finding myself caring more and more how people think of me at work. It’s natural for humans to seek others’ approvals. But the level to which I seek approvals has increased so much that it becomes counter-productive and bothers me. Leading a big project contributes to this change. To lead the project effectively, I need to pay close attention to how each stakeholder of the project feels about the project — not only the team working on the project but also other people invested in the project in one way… Continue reading

Three Lessons from A Frustrating Meeting

Recently, I had a meeting where in the end everyone walked out of the room feeling frustrated. Looking back, I realized we spent 45 mins on a meeting that could have finished in 10 mins. I contributed to the frustration due to three mistakes I made. I’m writing down the lessons I learned to remind myself to not make the same mistakes again. These lessons are: 1. Make sure the meeting goal is clear to all participants. 2. Identify areas of agreements and disagreements. 3. Understand my role in the group. Make sure the meeting goal is clear to all… Continue reading

Project Planning: A Spike with First Principles Thinking

How can you plan and break down a project that you are not familiar with? With the new quarter approaching and my team getting ready to tackle the next project, it was time for me to understand the next problem we want to solve. Yet, I was intimated. I felt that the problem at hand had so many unknowns. I was afraid of not being able to fully uncover all of the issues. I didn’t know where to start. I asked my manager for help. He shared with me the framework he uses for understanding and breaking down a problem…. Continue reading