New Years Resolutions 2013

Leading up to NYE, I decided upon 2 distinct new years resolutions. I chose these particular goals because I felt they are areas of my life that are materially lacking, and are negatively impacting my ability to kick ass at life.

Cook at least 1 new meal per week

Going into college 5 years ago, my cooking skills were laughable at best. I could successfully operate a microwave, sometimes. Junior year, of college, while living at 45 Wall Street with my good friends Jimmy Li and Pranav Kanade, I dipped my feet in the water. Jimmy had done some cooking while living at home, and he helped me get over my initial fears and hesitation. As it turns out, it's pretty easy to 1) order food from 2) cut it up, 3) throw it in skillet for 10 minutes with some sauce and stir. All it took was a little outside push, and I had quickly made it over the initial hump.

After finishing junior year of college at NYU, I moved back to Austin, where I lived with my parents for 13 months. During that time, I hardly cooked. But once again, when I moved out on my own, I had to cook. For the past 6 months, while living with my best friend TJ, I have increasingly taken to cooking. At first, cooking was a real chore and I shopped for foods based primarily on convenience and cooking effort required (though I never resorted to living off of microwavable meals, thankfully). But as I cooked more and more, I found cooking to be increasingly therapeutic. As it turns out, I LOVE cutting things. There's something particularly satisfying about using a sharp objects to cut things up. Over the past 6 months, I've developed my cutting skills quite a bit - now I know how to cut up most fruits and vegetables, with a few notable exceptions such as pineapples. Unfortunately  I've only developed my cutting skills. I've been cooking most items on the George Foreman because it's convenient - too convenient, in fact. I have explored a bit by baking pizzas (no cheese!) and making whole wheat pancakes on the weekends, but I haven't really gone outside of my comfort zone. Going into 2013, my cooking primarily consisted of cutting things up and throwing them in the George Foreman.

As new years approached, something revolutionary dawned on me. I'm going to eat everyday for the rest of my life, and I'm not even 23. If I live to be 90, that means I will eat approximately 67 * 365 * 3 = 73,365 more meals in my life, plus snacks. That means the ROI of learning to cook is enormous.

A few days before NYE, I purchased Tim Ferris's new book, The 4 Hour Chef. I haven't ready any of his other books, though I've heard great things. I checked out a few summaries of 4 Hour Chef, and it turns out that the premise of the book isn't about cooking, but a methodology for learning new skills as quickly as possible, using cooking as the primary example. I'm sure I'll write more posts about this methodology further down the line. The fundamental premise to this methodology is the 80/20 rule - a general rule that 20% of use-cases/knowledge are good enough to get you to 80% of your desired outcomes in a particular field, and the remaining 80% of use-cases/knowledge help achieve the last 20% of desired outcomes. TJ and I have been calling this the "S curve" (see below for a picture) for some time, which encapsulates the same principle as the 80/20 rule. Tim Ferris offers 14 recipes that help readers learn the all of the foundational cooking skills. The 14 recipes are specially selected and sequenced to help readers master the core 20%.

I'm about 20% through the book now (see what I did there?!). And I'm loving it. TJ and I made the first recipe yesterday, pot roast, in our recently purchased crock pot. It was the best tasting food I've ever made in my life, and it took all of 2 minutes to prepare. It's really easy to throw a bunch of stuff into a big pot and let it sit for 10 hours. We have ingredients for recipe #2 in the fridge. We'll make it this week.

Blogging 3x weekly

Most major technology figure that I admire manage their own blogs.  See Fred Wilson, Marc Andreesen, Larry Lenihan (my former professor at NYU!) and Chris Dixon as a few examples. Why don't I? Well, I do now.  And I'm going to penalize myself if I don't blog 3x weekly, courtsey of an amazing self-improvement platform, Stickk is quite simple - you set a goal, create a penalty, give them your credit card, and if you fail to achieve your weekly milestones, they charge your credit card and give the money to charity. Given how strongly I dislike the NRA, I decided to pledge $10/week that I fail to write 3 blog posts.

A blog is a phenomenal way to let the world know what you think and who you are, and develop your writings skills. Before I started this blog, I hadn't written anything of substance in close to a year. This is my 4th post, and I can already see a difference in the quality of my writing. It's true: if you don't use it, you lose it. And lastly, blogging is a way to open discover and engage with new career opportunities. After all, I can't work for my dad forever...

At age 22, I've had many opportunities that virtually no one my age has had, including the opportunity to interview over 200 people, every single one of whom has been older than me. Being on the employer side of the table, I've come to realize that resumes are simply a filtering mechanism for employers. Conversely, as an applicant, resumes only exist to get you in the door. Once you're in the door, the only thing that matters is what comes out of your mouth.

I believe that I have an extremely unique knowledge-base and skill set; if I were to venture a guess, there are only a handful of people in the country with my collective knowledge and know-how spanning healthcare, technology, communication, organization, leadership, and analytical ability. It may sound arrogant, but I don't think many employers will be able to find someone who can intelligently discuss the operational challenges of most major job functions in a hospital, speak to programmers in their terms, read and write large and complex SQL queries spanning dozens of tables, perform 8-hour long all-day demos spanning all hospital job functions (our competitors split up all-day demos across 4-6 people), manage 2 hospital deployments as project manager while simultaneously acting as product manager for 20 developers across 2 code bases (to be fair, 1 code base is written on top of the other, so they're not entirely separate), and critique and review training documentation with our training and documentation teams.

And then something occurred to me. There's no way that I can ever express the preceding paragraph in a 1-page resume, especially given my age. It's simply impossible. No sane person would read the above paragraph and believe me; if anything, they'd throw me out because they'd think I'm lying.

So I decided to start blogging. This blog is my showcase to let the world know who I am, how I think, and what I think about.

This blog is my real resume. Please, render judgement.

 A sample S Curve

A sample S Curve