Tangential Tuesdays #62

Career Growth, Skiing, Optics, Thoughts

Welcome to this week’s newsletter 😃

It seems whenever my life is at its best or worst, something brings me back a bit closer to equilibrium. Today - I’m thankful for that. And for those fleeting moments of intense emotional waves, positive and negative.


“If you had to start a company tomorrow - what would it be?”

Reply with your answer. Doesn’t matter how dumb/stupid you think it is.

For me - it would probably be one of a handful of ideas:

  1. A gourmet rice cake company. This is most likely a terrible idea. But why are there not coffee/mocha flavored rice cakes yet?

  2. Canned kombucha mixed with seltzer. Cheaper, less sweet, and milder than full boujee glass-bottled kombucha.

  3. “Full-stack academy”. Free Code Camp but for other verticals: design, growth, marketing, sales, writing, and maybe a few more subjects. Open-source curriculums to help you master core parts of creating and scaling a product.


The Engineer’s Guide to Career Growth — Advice from My Time at Stripe and Facebook

This article will probably be boring for a lot of you. But even if it’s not applicable to you at all - it’s still a pretty insane story.

By the time Yung left Facebook in 2015, she was the youngest engineering director at a public company with over 10,000 employees — several rungs up from where she had started, as a new grad at the then 700-person startup.

The biggest difference between college and working is that growth is essentially guaranteed in college. At work - personal growth is mostly the responsibility of you and your manager.

“Personal growth is compounded by company growth”

Read the article here.


Social Capital in Silicon Valley

I love this tweet from Austen because it matches my experience perfectly.

Getting my 1st job in tech was extremely difficult.

Last week I got an offer from a “hot” (hot != good) tech startup without interviewing (I declined).

I credit a lot of that to the relatively modest amount of social capital I’ve built living in SF for a year and a half.

“It’s January 2020. And if you’re a founder just starting out, trying to create something out of nothing, one of the best investments you can make is still a plane ticket to San Francisco.”

“Social capital flows freely in Silicon Valley – if you ask for it the right way”

No doubt one of the subconscious reasons I continue to publish this newsletter every week is social capital. (I wrote on Substack before it was cool?) Although now that personal newsletters are so popular I might need to find a new signaling mechanism…

Anyways - I’m getting off track here. The blog post is really good.

Read it here.


My friend Jeremy and I made it part of the way up Silver Peak this past Sunday. Minimal skiing was done - but it was a blast just being out in the middle of the woods.

I’ve been pretty successful in my goal of getting outside more in 2020 so far 😃.


“How do you criticize an idea without coming across as pessimistic?”

I posed this question to my manager today - and her response was ingenious: you propose what you think are the best alternatives.

criticism without better ideas = pessimism. criticism + interesting ideas = value. not always true - but a useful heuristic.


Quote of the week

“if we envy someone for all the right reasons, we’re halfway to wisdom.”


Interesting companies


Headed to Japan this Thursday. We will spend about 5 days around Tokyo and Kyoto and then 5 days on Hokkaido skiing and checking out the ice festival. Feeling thankful.

There will be no newsletter next week.

Love,

Tay