Yearly Focus

What I Learned About Long-Suffering

My theme for 2019 was long-suffering. I selected it because it stood out to me as an important quality in shifting my focus towards goals with longer horizons, which has been a growing priority for me. I’ve found I’ve done quite well at taking on projects that last from months to a year or so, but I don’t have many goals I am specifically working towards that have longer in horizon than that. I am at a point in my life where I want to have more of those though, hence this focus. Throughout this year I took on various efforts that would help me learn about different aspects of long-suffering in order broaden my understanding of the topic. Here are some of the things that I learned. 1. First I should define what long-suffering means to me. I really like the definition: ‘patiently enduring lasting hardship’. The one thing

Physical Challenges

Adventure Report: The Wonderland Trail 2019

“It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong” -Yvon Chouinard, Founder of Patagonia “You must put your head into the lion’s mouth if the performance is to be a success” -Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the U.K. during WWII — The full moon hangs overhead. It is 4am and the temperature is dropping into the 30s. I am sitting on the concrete floor of an outhouse on the north side of Mt. Rainier as the fumes of fecal matter, previously left baking in the sun, waft through the air. My feet are pruned, blistered, and bleeding. One of my toenails has started the process of falling off. My legs ache from a day covering 48 miles and 12k ft of elevation – equivalent to taking the stairs up to and down from the top floor of the Empire State Building 12 times in a row between running two marathons. My

Yearly Focus

Fast in the Wilderness: Complete

This year as part of my Yearly Focus I challenged myself to fast in the wilderness for an extended period of time. On December 10-12, 2019 I did so and thus completed the challenge. Here is the writeup. Purpose This challenge fit into this year’s theme of long-suffering both in that I would be suffering a bit as I sat there hungry and that the time away would be a good time to clear my head and think about the goals I was willing to suffer for over the coming years. I challenged myself to walk into the backcountry, find a comfortable spot and sit there for an extended period of time, on the order of 2-3 days, without food, any entertainment, company, etc. Just me, my clothing, a tent, some water and a few ‘break glass’ emergency items. Fasting in the wilderness is a tradition that crosses cultures and

Career in Tech

Reflecting On My First Year At Google

I recently finished my first year at Google and so I wanted to take a chance to reflect on what I’ve learned and see how I’m progressing along the goals I set for myself when I joined. Things I’ve Learned During My First Year at Google 1. Google is Still a Startup When I joined I wasn’t sure what the company would feel like and how things would work. Would it feel like a big company where everything had lots of process? Would I be able to get things done at the pace I enjoy or would the overhead slow me down? What I’ve found is that generally, in both good and bad ways, the day to day work of my project area still feels like a startup. It took me some time discover that but I now feel like I have a decent read and have been able to

Yearly Focus

2019 Focus: Three Quarters Year Update

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2019 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing. 2019 Theme: Long-Suffering I have recognized two things about long-suffering this quarter. One thing is that it is much easier to grit through the difficulty if there is a known finish line. Or at least a check in milestone where I know I’ll have a place to rest. Our minds (mine at least) don’t deal with the notion of infinite very well, so the idea of pushing forever is mentally untenable, but the idea of pushing until a specific milestone seems possible. I’ve

Physical Challenges

Thoughts Before My Ultramarathon Debut

This run will be the hardest physical exertion I have ever demanded of my body. To date, the most I’ve ever run in a day is ~27 miles. A marathon + warm up. Tomorrow I will attempt to cover 93 miles on foot. 3x+ my lifetime max. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever even run 93 miles in a single week. Traditional wisdom says you should progress up to a ~100 mile effort. Go from racing a marathon (26.2 miles) to a 50k (~30 mile), then a 50 mile, followed by a 100k (~60 mile) before finally attempting ~100 miles. I’m not much for traditional wisdom. I am doing this run; self supported, solo, overnight, on trails, covering ~25k ft of elevation and in remote wilderness with no cell service. Any one of those things might make an effort like this crazy. Doing all of that for my first

Physical Challenges

Ride Report: RAMROD 2019

On Thursday July 25th, 2019 completed the RAMROD (Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day). This is the ride report. Goals I was just there to finish the ride. This was something that was on my bucket list and I jumped on the opportunity to join a few coworkers who wanted to do it together. I also used this as a training ride and litmus test for this year’s real bucket list item, a 93 mile run around the same mountain. Finish – ACCOMPLISHED Finish before the time cutoff – ACCOMPLISHED Finish strong – SORT OF ACCOMPLISHED Successes What am I proud of from ride day? Longest bike ride I have ever done Longest duration I have ever done a physical activity for Completed a fairly challenging ride on 5 training rides of 100 miles total Failures What areas could I improve for future rides? Should have eaten more breakfast

Yearly Focus

Nelson Mandela – Exemplar Review

This year I picked Nelson Mandela as my exemplar. Today would be Mandela’s 101st birthday (he passed away in 2013) and is internationally recognized as Nelson Mandela day, so I decided it would be an appropriate day to publish my exemplar review. Each year I follow a review template to help me get the most out of the process of having an exemplar. Below is my entry for Nelson Mandela. What did Nelson Mandela achieve? Nelson Mandela was a Nobel Peace Prize winner, the first black president of South Africa and a leader in the movement to transition that country to a true democracy where all people had a vote, regardless of race. He was a lawyer, a revolutionary, the leader of a terrorist organization and a political prisoner for nearly 30 years. His life was just about singularly devoted to ensuring people of all races had equal freedoms in South

Yearly Focus

2019 Focus: Half Year Update

With the start of a new year, I take the time to set my focus for the coming year. I believe that by being selective about where I direct my energy, I can achieve results that are exponentially greater than if I split that energy across many different goals. I detailed my 2019 focus here (read that first if you want more context). Here is how I’m progressing. 2019 Theme: Long-Suffering It occurs to me that the nature of suffering is deeply related to how much one cares about the task. One hundred miles walked for a purpose can feel shorter than a single aimless mile. 2019 Challenge: Fasting in the Wilderness I’ve done some reading on wilderness fasting and vision quests. The concept seems shared by many seemingly divergent walks of life but it generally includes some common elements; alone, undistracted, hungry and unprotected. I’ve secured backcountry permits for two

Career in Tech

Why Google?

Last October I accepted a role at Google. I wanted to write about why I made that 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. On the surface working at Google might seem like a no brainer. The company has been ranked first on Fortunes top 100 places to work eight of the past 12 years. The perks are legendary, the company has made some of the most used and impactful products in the world (Google search, Google Maps, Gmail, Chrome, Android, Youtube, etc.) and teams of Googlers are working on some of the coolest projects of the future (self driving cars, food delivery drones, cancer detection, etc.). Google known for fun offices and giving employees freedom to tackle big problems in innovative ways, of which there is a long history of