Year: 2022

Yearly Focus

Forecasting – Theme Review

In 2022 I set my theme as ‘forecasting‘. My goal in selecting that theme was to get better at having realistic expectations about future, currently-unknowable events. So much of life requires making decisions where the eventual outcome is not based on a simple cause and effect equation. The important decisions tend to require we make them without full knowledge. Instead we have an opaque equation that will be resolved based on which one of a range of potential outcomes actually comes to be. Because of that, I believed that being better at forecasting the future would allow me to make better decisions, by better assessing the risk and reward profiles of those scenarios. Last January, when I selected it, I wrote: “My goal this year will be to learn more about forecasting and prediction. To figure out what the common shortcomings of predictors are, how to improve them in myself, and

Yearly Focus

Steve Jobs – Exemplar Review

This year I picked Steve Jobs as my exemplar since I think he demonstrates the trait I am focusing on learning about, ‘forecasting’ or better predicting what will happen in the future. I write these reviews following a review template to help me get the most out of the process of having an exemplar. Below is my entry for Steve Jobs. What did Steve Jobs achieve? He made the computer personal and helped increased the total addressable market by a few orders of magnitude. Why did he care about that? Jobs really cared about high quality products and he didn’t feel like anyone was making those in the computer space. He also wanted/needed money at various points. He also wanted to spite some people that doubted him or turned against him at various points. He was complicated. How did he think about the world differently than his contemporaries? As a funny

Physical Challenges

Race Report: Cascade Crest 100 2022

On July 22nd and 23rd, 2022 I completed the Cascade Crest 100 in just over 31 hours. Here is the race report Goals Results Enjoy being outside – ACCOMPLISHED Finish the course (even if after the allowed time) – ACCOMPLISHED Officially finish (under the official 34 hour cutoff) – ACCOMPLISHED Finish in under 30 hours – Not Accomplished Top 50% of finishers – Not Accomplished Finish in under 27 hours – Not Accomplished Top 25% of finishers – Not Accomplished Finish in under 24 hours (my bucket list item from last year) – Not Accomplished Strategy Start in that back and go slow for the first half. Start digging in the second half and pass as many people as possible. Finish strong. – ACCOMPLISHED & SUCCESSFUL Tactics Go out slow – back 25% for first 25 miles – ACCOMPLISHED Don’t exceed 140bpm in the first 26 miles – MOSTLY ACCOMPLISHED

Random Thoughts

Random Things I’m Thinking About in November 2022

Is meditation just exercise for System 2 thinking to make it stronger at resisting System 1 thinking and thus used more often? How the two systems of my brain (System 1 and System 2) are like the two fuel systems in my body (glycogen powered and fat powered) and how I might optimize my brain for big feats the same way I’ve optimized my body for big feats in the past. Training System 1 to do more things the way I want it it at low cost. Having System 2 last longer without tiring out. Do I even want to be CEO of Google in 10+ years or would I rather found something or lead something up and coming? Is reinvigorating a company a good thing or is it better to just let it go and start fresh? What are the super powers of successful CEOs and how many of

Career in Tech

Why Databricks?

Last month I accepted a role at Databricks. I’m writing this post explaining my decision mostly for me to look back on and hold myself accountable to, but perhaps it will also help anyone else going through a similar decision. I’ve decided to be candid about the decision as that is the only way this post will be helpful for others. I suspect the ideas will be relevant for multiple groups of people: those in the exact situation (deciding between Google and Databricks), those in similar situations (people considering Databricks or people deciding between another large tech company and a smaller tech company), and even those people making general career decisions. I mainly want this current blog post to be about Databricks and the reasons behind my deciding to join them, but it is impossible to consider that decision completely in a vacuum. Every decision represents passing by some other

Yearly Focus

2022 Focus: Three Quarter Year Update

Better every year. That is my goal. I believe that through focused effort I can keep improving and ensure my best years are still in front of me. With that in mind, at the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. By being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split my attention. I detailed my 2022 focus here (read that first if you want more context) & did a quarter year and half year updates as well.. Here is how I’m progressing. 2022 Theme: Forecasting I’m 3.5 books into this theme and generally still enjoying it. I’ve found forecasting and optimal decision making are very closely intertwined topics and the book I’m reading now ‘Thinking Fast and Slow” is a bit more focused on decision making and how

Career in Tech

How I Decide On A Job Role

Last week I accepted a role at Databricks. I wanted to write about why I made that decision (like I previously wrote about my decision to accept a role at Google), but I realized it is impossible to discuss that decision completely in a vacuum. Every decision represents passing by some other opportunity, and in this case, the other opportunity was Google. With that in mind, before I write about my decision to join Databricks, I’ve decided to take this as a chance to explain a bit more about how I make career decisions. I think this post help provide context for that post while also serving its own purpose as a valuable look inside how one particular (and peculiar) person thinks about this type of decision. Ready for some spreadsheets? My Job Rubric If you’ve stumbled upon any of my blog posts previously, you might have picked up on

Career in Tech

Reflecting On Four Years At Google

I recently resigned from my role at Google after four years (technically 20 days short of that) and so I wanted to take a moment to pause reflect on my time there. You can see previous updates for my 3rd year, 2nd year, 1st year and upon deciding to join. To start, I should be clear, that I’m >50% sure that I’ll work for Google again at some point in my career and I currently have a 7.5% chance assigned to me being the CEO at some point. Google is a great company and has many productive years ahead of it. My leaving Google is less about me leaving and more about me being lured away. I wasn’t looking to leave (in fact, I was setup for another few years of fast-paced growth) but a company reached out and made me an offer I wasn’t able to turn down (more

My Thinking On Various Topics

How I Do It

My work at Google is so mentally taxing that it turns my brain to unresponsive mush by the end of the day. I look forward to going home to see my kids, play with LEGO, wrestle, watch Disney movies and eventually fall asleep (sometimes before they do). My time spent with my with four kids, ages 4-8, so tries my patience. Answering ‘why?’, mediating conflicts, thinking about how to train them, consumes so much of my EQ that by the end I just want to be alone, in silence, running through the woods. Running for 4, 12, or 24 hours, covering up to 100 miles of mountainous trails is so physically demanding, the by the end I just want to sit in my desk chair and relax my body. Perhaps occupy my mind with a meeting or a few emails. Sometimes people ask me how I do everything. The answer

Physical Challenges

Challenge Report: 24 Hours of Le Mailbox – 2022

Twelve hours into my challenge, I reached the summit of Mailbox peak for the fourth time that day. I stood alone, next to the mailbox installed there as a monument, basking in the golden glow of sunset. Soft white flakes drifted down around me in my peripheral vision. Wait a second. It wasn’t snowing. It was June and far too warm. No, the drifting white flakes were only there for me. I was just getting a bit lightheaded. Maybe I should take it a bit easier for the next lap. On June 20th and 21st, 2022 I competed a 24 Hour footrace up and down Mailbox Peak. I propelled myself up 29,035 ft of elevation and 38 miles. Here is the race report. Goals Results New personal record for elevation covered in 24 hours – (Current Record = ~13k ft) – ACCOMPLISHED Complete a 24 hour footrace on Mailbox Peak