Basic Week

The sun is back in Puerto Rico after a hazy month.  I forgot about needing sunscreen at the beach yesterday, and was rewarded with a cherry colored back.  I’ll take it though, I miss having the first real deep tan of my life that I got from the first few months here.

 

It was strange watching the Michigan football game this weekend with hail and snow, and stepping outside to 80 degrees.  I’ve spent time in Thailand and other hot places, but usually alternated with somewhere mild/cold afterwards. This is my first fall in a tropical place, and I like it.  I missed the cold when it was sweltering hot this summer, but being able to layout now by the ocean while seeing the carnage in Michigan put me in an appreciative mood.

 

I have a few small trips lined up, and hanging with friends/family for the rest of the year which is great to look forward to.  I think I’m going to start booking more trips ahead of time now, something I think about every year when I overpay for my Christmas flight.  It helps to focus my mind on getting things done when the inevitable boredom of daily life hits.

 

My friend Ari is coming to Puerto Rico indefinitely tomorrow, and hopefully my recruiting skills will be developed enough to convert him to stay here.  I already had a mid-week trip planned to a treehouse in the Rainforest here in PR, so he’s getting here just in time to travel.  I looked at booking this place on Airbnb a few times, but it’s always booked for the majority of every month.  I decided a few weeks ago to just book the next two days that were available as I’m lucky to have such a flexible schedule.

 

The following weekend I’m flying to Las Vegas to celebrate my friend Jeff’s birthday, and head back with him for a week in Los Angeles.  I’m looking forward to this trip for multiple reasons: I used to go to Vegas monthly and have been only once in the past few years, attending a Phish concert with Jeff for the first time after hearing about them for over a decade, revisiting LA after being gone for a bit, and of course the main reason is to hang out with Jeff (and his wife).  

 

I’ve definitely gone through periods of my life where I didn’t want to analyze the quality of people I was hanging out with on a regular basis (poker gave me the extremes of this), but I’m really happy with the long-term friends that I have.  Inevitably I’m sure I’ll make some other great friends over the years, but I’m very content with the current small group. I’m trying to be conscious and make more time for them when I can, especially during times like now when I have a flexible lifestyle.       

 

This past week I did mock interviews for Insight Data Science, the program I did in Silicon Valley a year ago when I (briefly) attempted to rejoin the normal working world.  The candidates are all applying for Machine Learning jobs at good companies, and I oddly feel both unqualified to give advice given that I never got/took a job somewhere, but also very confident that I would have done well in that ecosystem given more time.  

 

Most of the companies want someone who can fill basic engineering needs, follow orders, and not rock the boat.  My pitch (to build out AI solutions that they wish they had, help motivate and lead the bored engineers on the team, etc.)  when interviewing I think intrigued people, enough to get me far along at top companies, but ultimately they hired traditional candidates.  It’s like going on a date with a beautiful girl in Los Angeles: In my head I’m annoyed that the girl isn’t more appreciative given my inflated ego of myself/how many women are in the city, and in her head there’s the nagging suspicion that I’m probably just lying and am a drug dealer.  Unfortunately playing the odds is usually right.

 

I practice interviewed several people, and they all did pretty well.  They had enough understanding of Machine Learning to do the work needed at SV companies, and good attitudes.  The main thing I see holding so many people back is they need to believe more in themselves.  Interviewing isn’t a fun process, and it’s easy to forget the stresses involved.  There’s inevitably some areas where you’re going to be bad, and you have to deal with it.  It felt good to pump the people up at the end of the interviews, and hope that they took something away from it.  In the last moments of each mock interview I sensed that I might have touched on something that would be of lasting help.  It reinforced my enjoyment of mentoring, and to keep open to the possibility of more life mentoring in the future (not necessarily just for tech job interviews, that niche is a little boring for me).      

 

With that I need to get back to my hipster life of exercise/meditation/study Spanish/read/prepare some healthy food.  Leaving you with a pic from yesterday at the beach:

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