Category Archives: plans

On this page:
  • Short-term plans: happy with research, thinking about internship?
  • What do I want to do with my life?
  • More thoughts about home
  • Doing Something Great
  • Forms
  • Information Design

Short-term plans: happy with research, thinking about internship?

Mark Chignell, Gordon Lee, Julie Waterhouse and I discussed my
research plan this morning. I’m really lucky to have such wonderful,
wonderful mentors!

I mentioned my interest in living in San Francisco for a short while
to Mark, who suggested an internship after I finish my coursework,
while I’m writing up my thesis. It’d be a good idea, I think. I’d like
to get a feel of the tech scene there, and I’d also like an
opportunity to plunge deeply into technical stuff.

I love the Philippines, and I’m looking forward to sharing a lot of
ideas with the geeks back home. I’m a lot more effective at connecting
with people when I can bump into them face-to-face, so I hope to find
a way to bridge worlds by spending some time abroad and some time at
home.

That would be just right…

Random Japanese sentence: 猫が好きな人もいれば、犬のほうが好きな人もいます。 Some people like cats, others prefer dogs.

What do I want to do with my life?

What it is that you do? What is your core expertise?

That made me stop and think.

Effective mission statements aren’t born in a vacuum. Rather, they are
recognized in what’s already happening.

I needed to figure out what I stood for.

I started with a bunch of index cards. I wrote keywords and phrases
that appealed to me. Random stuff I’d been thinking about.

Not in order: Passion. Ideas. Public speaking. Coding. Writing.
Networking. News (cool tech, etc). Productivity.

One of the cards didn’t quite fit in. Even as I wrote it down, I
thought to myself, “I should write this down, but I’m not really that
passionate about it.”

Realization #1: Even if my background is in computer science and I’ve
been programming for as long as I can remember, programming itself
doesn’t make me happy unless I’m making an actual person’s life
better. I can’t work with an abstract idea of a user. I need people
with quirks and idiosyncrasies who’ll be addicted to my software. I
don’t care about coding itself. I care about what I can do with it,
and that was already part of “Productivity”. I put the “coding” card
aside.

Now I had a set of cards, all related to each other. I needed to
find out how they were related to each other.

One word jumped out at me: passion. Realization #2: Passion makes
everything else make sense. Everything fell into place around that.

I reviewed my cards, trying to see if I could classify them. My first
list was speaking with passion, helping people find passion, and
helping people pursue their passions.

When I tried to fit my cards into those categories, I realized that
everything I wrote down applied to all of them, and that speaking with
passion was part of both helping people find their passions and
helping people pursue them. Realization #3: Everything I wrote down is
part of both aspects of passion.

I wrote the table and posted it on
http://sacha.free.net.ph/rolemodels/ .

So here’s my brief mission statement, what I _do_:

I help people find their passions and pursue those passions effectively.

This is not something I came up with, but something I just recognized.
I need to reflect on the relationship between my skills and my mission
statement so that I’ll know what I need to focus on. I also need to
show how what I’m currently doing is connected to my mission.

More thoughts about home

ka edong is right. we do what we can. but coming back to the
philippines? i dunno. opportunities are not as plenty in the
philippines as in, say, the us, canada, australia or japan.
especially in my field (chemistry). how am i expected to do science
if i have to think what i’ll eat tomorrow? and what of instrument
and equipment? i only want to do science, and where ever there is an
opportunity, i’ll go there. your desire to help the philippines by
going back is great. i admire that. tell me that again after five
years, and i’ll admire you more. –

I’ve heard some people can do six months in one country and six months
in the other. In fact, it works quite well: skip winter, skip really
hot summers… If you’re important enough to a lab or company that
they’ll let you do that, or you run your own business, then that’s
very doable.

Sometimes it’s not about exploring the limits of what you can do for
yourself, but rather finding out how you can improve as many people’s
lives as possible. In the process of finding out how to apply what you
know to people’s lives, you might find that you can go farther and
faster than you imagined.

I like computer science, but I don’t want only to do computer science.
I want to help people learn life management and communication skills,
and technology is just a way for me to do that.

Let’s use a better example. You’d think biotechnology would be
something needing millions of dollars in lab equipment, right? But
technopreneur Maoi Arroyo’s not in some comfy lab in MIT or Cambridge.
She’s out there, jumpstarting the Philippine biotech industry by
helping people commercialize their discoveries—while remaining hooked
into the global scene, jetsetting and making deals with people
overseas. Not bad for someone in her twenties.

But technology and science are different, you might argue. Science is
a pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Let’s look at Kendra
Castillo, taking up her master’s in environmental management at UP.
She may not have the supersensitive equipment or the finegrained
meteorological data available in other countries, but there are _real_
questions still addressable by the lab she joined. The lack of
resources forces her to be more resourceful and inventive. It’s
frustrating to deal with incomplete data and broken equipment, but
that only opens up more questions to tackle through research.

The only limits are those we set ourselves. Sure, the Philippines may
not have given us much. It may not give us opportunities to be highly
paid for doing exactly what we do. But the secret to success is
realizing that we _make_ our opportunities. We determine our future.

I want to make the Philippines better and I am willing to devote time
and effort to doing this. Just words for now. I’m naive and
idealistic, perhaps. But I know older, more accomplished people who
are doing just that. They’re bridging the divide through their
efforts. They care about nationbuilding. Through their initiatives,
they create jobs and wealth and _meaning_ for people who are just
waiting for opportunities to come their way.

It’s not too late to discover how you can make a difference. All you
have to do is try.

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コンピュータは非常に複雑な仕事を瞬時にすることができる。 Computers are capable of doing very complicated work in a split second.

Doing Something Great

Keith over at To-Done wrote an interesting post about
doing something great.

I want to do Something Great. I’m crazy about helping people be all
they can be. I want to help people regain control over their to-do
lists, finances, and the rest of their lives. I want to help people
share their passion and knowledge through better teaching and
presentation skills.

Many of my friends also have great passions. Ranulf Goss wants to
launch the Philippine PC game development industry. He founded Slycesoft and regularly gives inspirational talks at universities to encourage students to get into game development. Maoi Arroyo wants to jumpstart the Philippine biotech industry. She founded Hybridigm Consulting and also teaches people about entrepreneurship. Gabriel Narciso wants to build the nation. He does free-lance productivity coaching and organizational development for non-profits.

Here are some of the I’ve learned from them and from many other people I admire:

  • Set audacious goals. In the book Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, James Collins and Jerry Porras talk about Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. Visionary companies are passionate about goals that may seem too daring or even impossible, but they achieve them because they’re
  • Write down your goals and share them with as many people as you
    can.
    Constantly write down and review your goals. Talk about
    your goals with other people. As you share your goals, you’ll not
    only learn more about yourself but also gain the insights of others.
  • Surround yourself with people doing great things. Their
    passion will inspire you to work on your own goals, and you’ll be
    surprised at how helpful your network can be.
    Steve Pavlina
    said that one of the best things you can do is look for a
    mentor. You’ll learn a lot from mentors not only in your field but also elsewhere!
  • Don’t give up. You’ll hear a lot of nos and you’ll run into a
    lot of dead ends. Don’t give up! Take criticism into consideration,
    but keep on going. You can do it!

そのコンピュータは最新式だ。 The computer is up to date.

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Forms

My mom’s amazing. Her interest in organizing information helped
professionalize the advertising photography industry here in the
Philippines. She told me how they exchanged forms with other
photographers, sharing with them the format for the cost estimates so
that clients would be able to find information easily.

Many of the forms we use haven’t been shared with other people in the
industry. I wonder when they’re going to do another forms exchange to
help other photographers learn how to manage their work? I really
admire the way my mom keeps looking for ways to improve the workflow.
Now we’re getting client call reports from the account executives. Way
cool!

I want to get into that sort of stuff. I want to learn how to identify
the kind of information we need to capture and design the forms to
make it easier for people to write things down. My mom’s still working
on finding a balance between asking for too little and too much
information. People skip fields if the form asks for too much
information. Hmm…

US laws say that blank forms aren’t protected by copyright because the
forms do not contain information in themselves. I wonder what our laws
say? Anyway, this is cool stuff. I want to do things like the D.I.Y. Hipster PDA templates

何社製のコンピューターをお使いですか。 What make of computer do you use?

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Information Design

While reading about presentation skills, I stumbled across a page entitled “So where are all the Information Designers?”. I found a name for what I’m interested in! Information design is what I do with wikis. I should learn more about this.

UPDATE: Clair wrote:

I have seen some courses aside from the one you showed me. :) It looks very interesting. Very similar to what librarians do! *laugh* I really must take a break and re-assess my life.

冗談を言うほど賢いコンピューターがありえるだろうか。 Can there be a computer intelligent enough to tell a joke?

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