Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Matthew 4:8-10
How I learned about the book
I went downstairs for dinner. We were setting up the table and looking for a TV show to watch for the day. I just sat in the reclining chair at the corner of the living room, my head soaked with tiredness from working from home all day, unable to face the effort it would take to switch gears for an off hour and enjoy the time with housemates. But the tiredness was so intense that it was just as bad sitting still in front of the TV and dinner table with dinner. To stay or to go, it amounted to the same thing. A minute later I stood back up toward where my phone was charging and started walking.
How I got to this book
I was going through Amazon’s best sellers list looking for a book to read before bedtime. In the list, “Never Split the Difference” caught my eyes. Communication is one of the areas that fascinates me, and negotiation is something that is very important but something that I think I am not particularly good at. Description section read the author of the book, Christ Voss, is a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI.
2019 was a year of comeback
I joined Facebook as a full time in 2016. I was fresh out of college and excited about the new challenge in front of me. CEA was my first team, and I started working on a project called Long Range Planning tool. The project started out as an intern project around June and I joined the team in October. At the time, the intern has already finished the internship and the intern mentor was working on the project. The deadline for the project was December 2016 since the tool was necessary to do LRP exercise in January 2017. As I started working on the project, it became clear to me that the design of the system had a flaw. Over Christmas, I wrote a document with the proposal of new design and made a prototype of the system, and I gave a presentation to my manager and my manager’s manager about the new system. Long story short, I built the tool with my new design and got promoted. At the time, my confidence, arrogance rather, skyrocketed. Facebook is a piece of cake, I thought.
Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite podcasts. Malcolm is a master storyteller. On the podcast, he introduces a historical event or social phenomenon. They are not always new event or phenomenon that I did not know about, but in the end, it always leaves me with the chill because the narrative sheds a different light that it always feels so new. In the 4th season of Revisionist History, he advertises his new book “Talking to Strangers”. I had to read it.
Two weeks ago I met a person who works at OpenAI at my friend’s birthday party. We talked about what we do. He was working on a machine learning model that creates a coherent story when given few sentences to start. At the time, I thought “what a cool project” and moved on. Later when I thought about it, the model seems to draw parallel with the thought that I have been thinking and reading about my mind. My mind is a story telling machine! Similar to the machine learning model, it doesn’t always create a true story. It is just constantly generating a stories that are coherent to the triggers that surround me. Even more similar, I think the mind gets trained to generate a certain type of stories over time.
2018 has been a tough year for me. I went through two team changes, and for each change the reality was different from my expectation. With the new changes, I was not performing at the level that I wanted to. My confidence tanked, and my head was filled with negative thoughts. I was starting to think that my soft skills were so bad that I would not be able to survive in the industry; I am not born with the skill sets that I need; I don’t have eyes to identify impact, etc. During my time in Korea from Dec 2018 to Jan 2019, I seriously considered changing team / company, right after I get back. I even thought about coming back to Korea or going to graduate school for Ph.D. In the end, however, I came to a conclusion to stay in the current team and try my best for at least another half. If I move out of this team now, it’s literally running away from my responsibility, and I am not a person to run away from my responsibility.
I have been trying TDD for about a month now, and I wanted to take time to reflect on my experience on TDD to think about what worked what didn’t and to find a room for improvements to be better at TDD.
Add following to ~/.bashrc to show current path on prompt
export PS1='$(whoami):$(pwd)] '
and run the following to make it effective.