Articles

How to Evaluate Startup Offers - A Beginner's Guide

How to Evaluate Startup Offers - A Beginner's Guide

If you’re joining a startup for money, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, but that doesn’t mean that money shouldn’t factor into your decision. You can build financial models around salaries and equity, and I’ll show you how to do that below. Continue reading...

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

As you may have heard from my previous post, I’ve left Apple. Part of my decision to leave was motivated by the fact that even before joining Apple, I knew I wanted to work at a startup. Continue reading...

Here's to the crazy ones: lessons learned at Apple

Here's to the crazy ones: lessons learned at Apple

After nearly six years at Apple, the time has come for me to move on. Today is my last day, so I wanted to share a bit about my journey and some of the ways my time with the company shaped me and the way I see the world. Continue reading...

Monetary policy, Bitcoin, supply, and demand

Monetary policy, Bitcoin, supply, and demand

One of Bitcoin’s many claims to fame is the fact that it provides a strong defense against inflation, with a supply mechanism that caps the total number of coins in circulation and controls the rate at which new money is created. This, in fact, points to how Bitcoin favors deflation, which incentivizes saving and allows us to clearly see progress in reduction of prices of the goods and services we consume. Continue reading...

Books read in 2020

Books read in 2020

2020 was a strange year. The isolation and confinement brought about by COVID-19 meant that there was a lot of time to read, but also a lot less brainpower left at the end of the day. Continue reading...

The Making of a Manager, a short review

The Making of a Manager, a short review

A few months ago, as the prospect of replacing my individual contributor (IC) hat with that of an engineering manager started to become real, I did what anyone who knows me would expect me to do: I dug up management books from my to-read list, and asked friends for recommendations of what to read first. Opinions varied, but Julie Zhuo’s The Making of a Manager kept popping up as a practical one to start with. Continue reading...

I got 99 problems, but that's better than one

I got 99 problems, but that's better than one

Breaking up big problems into a series of smaller independent tasks is one of the most valuable skills in project management. Continue reading...

Curiosity, or the exponential nature of intertext

Curiosity, or the exponential nature of intertext

Grab any book from your shelf, and read the first few pages. Chances are, you unknowingly just skipped over a few implicit references that the book’s author left there in anticipation of another learned reader, someone who, unlike you, had read the same tomes as the writer and kept the same lessons from them. Continue reading...

Cortázar, Rayuela, and Hayekian Knowledge Problems

Cortázar, Rayuela, and Hayekian Knowledge Problems

In Rayuela (English: Hopscotch), Julio Cortázar plays with structure and subjectivity in ways that no other writer I know of does. The novel, which the author insists in calling a _counter-novel,_forces the reader to be an active participant, not just by picking the order in which to tackle the book’s chapters, but also by deciding whether or not to skip those labeled “expendable.” Continue reading...

Coronavirus Growth in The US

Coronavirus Growth in The US

A couple of weeks ago, after seeing the first version of John Burn-Murdoch and co.’s Coronavirus data visualizations on the Financial Times, I decided that someone had to run the equivalent analysis aggregating at the state level for the US. Some searching led me to The COVID Tracking Project, a project by two journalists at The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer and Alexis Madrigal, which broke out the data exactly as I’d needed, and offered an easy to use API. After noodling around in a Jupyter notebook for a bit, I came up with this Continue reading...

The Other Curve to Flatten

The Other Curve to Flatten

Over the last couple of weeks, as the western world woke up to the COVID19 threat, infographics and quickly put-together charts flooded social networks. Credentialed epidemiologists and Twitter randos alike shared images showing the effects of the virus, many of them urging us to “flatten the curve.” By now, you must have seen John Burn-Murdoch’s visualization of the curves we’re being asked to flatten, or perhaps, since you’re here, my take on those same curves by state in the US. Flattening the curve is not just a meme, but a necessity. Continue reading...

Books read in 2019

Books read in 2019

In one of the strangest years of my life so far, I didn’t stop reading. While there were a couple of stints where I didn’t have the time or motivation to read for weeks at a time, I still made my goal: reading the equivalent of 24 books of 300 pages each, or ~7200 pages total. Continue reading...

KDD 2019

KDD 2019

I had the opportunity to go to KDD in Anchorage this past August. Since my team has incrementally moved our systems away from Python as our main language, I asked my manager whether it’d make sense for me to go to PyCon again (see my notes from 2016 and 2018), or if there’d be a more relevant conference that I should look out for this season. She suggested a few options, and KDD was one of them. I didn’t know much about it, but its focus on analytics meant that there would surely be pieces that were relevant to my day to day, and since it was Apple’s first year sponsoring it, there was extra motivation to attend. Continue reading...

Schelling Model Explorable

Schelling Model Explorable

I’m excited to be collabrating with Dirk Brockmann again, this time as part of his Complexity Explorables project. We built an interactive visualization of Schelling’s model for geographical segregation of human communities.

Check out the explorable visualization, and keep an eye out for others like it soon!

Thinking in Systems, a Short Review

Thinking in Systems, a Short Review

We know models to be untrue, but if they are close enough to reality we can use models to learn, imagine potential futures, and make better decisions. Donella Meadows’ Thinking in Systems is a study of models, and the ways in which seemingly different problems in various settings can be understood using the toolset of stock and flow analysis. Continue reading...

Books read in 2018

Books read in 2018


This is the third time that I re-cap every book I read in the preceding year. I guess this makes it a tradition. Like last year, I did not write as I read, so a lot of the nuance and the detail that I would have liked to include in this post was lost to some unreachable corner of my brain. Hopefully that part doesn’t become a tradition. Continue reading...

The Listening Room, or habits to unlearn

The Listening Room, or habits to unlearn

I’m not sure how I found Magritte in the first place, but as a teenager, his Son of Man became my avatar on every online platform where I spent afternoons and evenings during the mid-aughts. I pondered endlessly on his playful compositions, full of contradictions, false premises, and recursive repetitive themes. The motifs in Magritte’s art — paintings within paintings, windows confounding what was inside with what was outside, ambiguous and impossible light sources — invite us to question the automatic assumptions we make about what is in front of our eyes, the nature of reality, and what the objects we interact with on our daily lives actually represent. Images are treacherous, etc, etc. Continue reading...

Origin Stories

Origin Stories

Boston holds a special place in my life. When I was starting my senior year of high school, and my brother Max was applying for business school, he was invited to MIT for an interview at Sloan and thought it was a good idea for me to tag along on his visit. I did, and that trip was the trigger that made me consider going to college in the US. Continue reading...

Notes from Pycon 2018

Notes from Pycon 2018

I just returned from PyCon, and just like last year it was an inspiring and motivating event. The sheer size of the conference, with its three thousand plus attendees, paired with the ever expanding surface area of all the fields where Python is used means that you’re constantly overwhelmed. Continue reading...

Books read in 2017

Books read in 2017

You might be aware that I keep a list of my read and “to-reads.” The index keeps growing organically, as I walk into bookstores or converse with friends, but what really drives its growth is that curiosity is exponential: with each book I read, I add a few more to the list. I know I will never be able to finish it. Continue reading...

Observations from Costa Rica, 2017

Observations from Costa Rica, 2017

Every time I come back home to visit my family I notice how differently things run here in Costa Rica than in the US. There are some blaringly obvious contrasts, while others are details so subtle that it took me 7 years abroad consider. Continue reading...

Everything And More, a short review

Everything And More, a short review

A book about the history of mathematics made me think of the future of computer science. Continue reading...

Flash Boys, a short review

Flash Boys, a short review

If you’ve ever taken an economics class, you probably know about arbitrage: exploiting the price differences of an asset on different markets by buying low, selling high, and pocketing the difference. I recently finished reading Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys, a book that sheds light on the many faces of arbitrage in the 21st century. Flash Boys is a story about the extent to which Wall Street banks, hedge funds, and other financial institutions apply high frequency trading (HFT) techniques to gain an edge over other players in the most competitive financial markets. Continue reading...

Half-Baked: Index Investing and Divesting

A while back, I started thinking about putting some savings in a broad-based index fund, and I compared various brokerage providers. I was surprised to learn about one of Wealthfront’s features, which other players did not offer: direct indexing. Continue reading...

Half-Baked: Streaming and Public Commons

Last time I went to the library to pick up a book, I noticed a man next to me getting a stack of DVDs. Given the context, my assumption was that this guy probably doesn’t pay for a streaming service, and that he probably couldn’t afford it, either. People like him, rely on the library to get entertainment and education. This encounter made me think about how technology affects libraries and other public commons. Continue reading...

Onward, a short review

Onward, a short review

Ever since I heard Howard Schultz speak at Northwestern four years ago, I wanted to read his books. As a coffee snob who regularly complains about Starbucks’s quality, I went to the event with low expectations, and interested mostly in the cult of personality. Even though I hate their product, he did a good job and got me interested in his company. Now, years later, having finally read one out of two, I have to say I feel conflicted about Onward. The book lays out the reasons for Starbucks outsized role in the industry, and its influence in American coffee culture, but it does so with a self-indulgent tone that’s hard to take seriously. Continue reading...

Why I gave up on giving up Twitter

Why I gave up on giving up Twitter

As some of you might have noticed, my Twitter account has been mostly dormant for the last month or two. This was an experiment; an attempt to regain some of my dead time and be as productive as I used to be. I had done something similar once before - in 2013, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone and regained hours of my life. It’s been four years and I have not looked back. I figured Twitter could not be too different. Continue reading...

Notes from Pycon 2017

Notes from Pycon 2017

This year I finally got to attend Pycon. Having only attended a way smaller conference before (PyBay 2016) it was awesome to see the insanity that comes with cramming 3000+ pythonistas (!) into one convention center. It was totally worth it. For a less technical view of my trip to PyCon, check out my other Portland post, which has a bunch of photos, too. Otherwise: Continue reading...

Not Today

Not Today

I was in a bad mood. My flight to SFO had been delayed significantly, and five hours in, our pilot apologized: “Due to strong winds we’ll have to stop in LAX to refuel.” As soon as we landed, I turned off airplane mode and opened Twitter to pass the time while I waited to take off again. One thing was quickly made clear: due to an Executive Order from the White House, green card and visa holders are being detained in airports around the U.S. Fuck. Continue reading...

Wolfram's automata, a simple implementation with Python

Wolfram's automata, a simple implementation with Python

Complexity science is one of my favorite topics, ever. Wolfram’s elementary cellular automata are a great way to understand it, and writing code to generate them is very simple. Continue reading...

Books read in 2016

Books read in 2016

One of my goals for this past year was to read at least one book a month, purely for leisure. At the current rate, it’ll take me roughly 30 years to read all the books in my list. That’s a scary thought. While not a super ambitious goal, 12 was a step in the right direction. Continue reading...

101 Links From 2015

101 Links From 2015

Yeah, that’s not a typo. You’re in for a few throwbacks. Last January I compiled a list of the best content I had read over the year. With 2016 almost over, I was about to repeat the exercise, and noticed I never shared my v1. Luckily, most pieces have aged well. Continue reading...

Making Python run faster: a case study

Making Python run faster: a case study

Learn a few common antipatterns to avoid, and make your Python run faster. Continue reading...

Writing

Writing

So it’s a bit over a year since I wrote about writing. Has anything changed? Well, yes. I initially thought I’d be sharing many more blog posts about my own thoughts, but for some reason those all end up in half-baked Google docs. Hitting publish is hard. It is much easier to write one or two lines of commentary on someone else’s writing, than to produce any essay worth sharing. But there is a gray area right next to content creation: Continue reading...

The Descriptor Protocol, and Python Black Magic

The Descriptor Protocol, and Python Black Magic

Trying to make sense of what is perhaps the most basic behavior of objects and classes in Python. Continue reading...

Two Papers

Two Papers

This weekend I read two completely unrelated documents that have shaped, and in my opinion will continue to influence, the future of technology. Continue reading...

Time Travel

Time Travel

This week’s episode of EconTalk opens with an amazing quote, which I felt was to good not to share: Continue reading...

Why Medium?

Why Medium?

This week, I was surprised to see a piece by an Amazon SVP on my feed. What The New York Times Didn’t Tell You showed up months after Continue reading...

Not My First Post

Today, out of curiosity I went back to the first post in the archive of Fred Wilson’s AVC. I was surprised by the terseness, and the simplicity. Continue reading...

Finding Communities of Collaborators in Paul Graham's Essays

Finding Communities of Collaborators in Paul Graham's Essays

At the end of his essays, Paul Graham thanks those who read his unpublished drafts. In this post, I try to detect communities in the data. Continue reading...

The Entrepreneurship Network

The Entrepreneurship Network

Modeling startup funding as a network of startups and investors as nodes. What is hiding in the network’s topology? Continue reading...

Wikitropolis: The Link Structure of Wikipedia

Wikitropolis: The Link Structure of Wikipedia

Investigating the hyperlink architecture of Wikipedia by displaying the links from five major cities as three-dimensional structures. Continue reading...

Phoenix: An Article Recommendation Engine

Phoenix: An Article Recommendation Engine

Predicting user preferences based on previous reading behavior for online article curation. Continue reading...

Decision Tree Implementation in Python

Decision Tree Implementation in Python

A simple implementation of the ID3/C4.5 algorithm in vanilla Python. Continue reading...

Shelves: TC Disrupt '13

Shelves: TC Disrupt '13

A book sharing application built in 24 hours for TechCrunch Disrupt’s 2013 hackathon in San Francisco. Continue reading...

Facebook Data Visualization

Facebook Data Visualization

A look at my network and the emergent structure of its groups. Continue reading...

Trains

I’m traveling on a train through Germany. Continue reading...

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