Random ruminations as I figure out and deal with life, grad school, being an engineer and a product manger; learn more about technology, marketing, economics, news, writing short stories and other stuff that distracts me from doing whatever I'm supposed to be doing....
Two great (short) reads: "How will you measure your life?" and "Managing oneself"
I ended up actually getting some reading done on long train rides over the summer break.
Two short articles ended up giving me more to think than I'd expected.
The former isn't behind an HBR paywall and well worth the read. A couple of people had told me about this article and had discussed a lot of what was in it with me, but reading was still well worth it.
The latter is behind a paywall, and while there's a lot to take away form it (find your strengths, understand how you learn, grow your strengths etc.), the point that stayed with me was the final one: know your values and if your values aren't consistent with those of where you're working, it doesn't matter how good you are or what you do, you're unlikely to be successful there. So find a place and role where you fit.
If you're in the mood for some career-ish reading, I highly recommend both.
One of the things I've really enjoyed doing over the last year is teaching and presenting on the work I do more. I do it mostly because I enjoy doing it, but once in a while you hear back about the impact it had and feel better about the fact that you're taking the time to do it.
Last year, I conducted a workshop on Product Management (write up about it here). Within the last week, 2 people got in touch to tell me how that workshop actually helped them - one who used it to have a better summer internship and the other on how it helped him interview better and get a job offer because of it. 3 others also got in touch over the last month to ask about the materials since they're conducting trainings of their own.
The materials themselves aren't perfect (my slides are really meant for presenting and not great reading material in themselves), but I figured if it might actually still help some folks - either to prep themselves or conduct these kinds of workshops.
Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.
My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.
She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.
No one did.
The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.
Still nobody moved.
My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn…
Almost every weekend I end up at a playground in a park near where I live. It's a really nice playground in a really nice neighborhood, with really nice kids. A lot of their parents though, are terrible people.... which probably means many of these nice kids will grow up to be at least somewhat terrible people as well.
Yeah... I'm having that kind of day. :-)
There are days when I think people are amazing - kind, generous, compassionate and civilized enough to take care of each other or at least not hurt each other. And then there are days when I'm reminded how we're ultimately just animals - barely evolved enough to not try to take advantage of each other in every way possible.
So back to this playground, where humanity comes every weekend and continues to disappoint me. I should mention I love this playground. I take my kid there every weekend, and there's nothing I enjoy more than watching all kids and families hang out. Kids that are joyful often bring out the …