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Being more effective at work and in life

Work hard, play hard.

This is easier said than done, and I am working on being more effective both at work and in life. I have always maintained that one should be working on things that they love, but that neglects to mention how to separate work from the other demands of life.

The truth is, it's not easy (for me at least), and sometimes I devote all my energy in work; leaving no time or energy to have a social life.

The problem with integrating work with life and working "hard" (aka long hours) - I become myopic in my work - working on the immediate goals, and not standing back to focus on the big picture; working on small features, when there are revolutionary things up for the taking.

Take that Sub 2H half marathon!

2008 Santa Cruz Half Marathon (13.1 miles or 21.097 km)

Chip Time - 1:50:36.5. Gun Time - 1:50:57.2. Pace - 8:27/M

That was tougher than I thought, but it felt good. Not sure if I can find the time to train for the next one though. ya know, things to do, places to be...

brain rules

The author of Brain Rules is giving a talk in Google next week. I'm going to attend the talk because he has the rules:

  1. Exercise - Brain Rule #1
  2. Sleep - Brain Rule #7
I already agree.

So what's up?

I went for dinner with some friends of my friends, and one of the 2nd degree friends asked me about the "layoffs" in Google lately. A little shocking, but I believe he was mistaken - he was probably confusing us with other search engine companies.

They were also curious about the atmosphere in Google (presumably due to the "layoffs"), but I think it's important to inform everyone about the ten things Google has found to be true.

Quite appropriately, #1 is "Focus on the user and all else will follow."

We focus on being a really good search engine, and do whatever we can to help the web ecosystem with our technology. We believe that stock price and market capitalization is incidental to being a great company doing great things.

p.s., to clarify in case there is any doubt, there are no "layoffs" in Google. The confusion arose because of the constant media focus on the negatives of the US economy lately. In addition, the perception of any form of exodus is, in my opinion, overplayed. People naturally come and go.

In fact, now is a good time to note that Google is always looking for great people to hire. So if you have what it takes, please apply for a Google job now!

Maybe in Newspaper?

I got interviewed last week by a reporter from Straits Times with several other Singaporeans - so I might be appearing in an article if they choose to use our group photo with Meng. Other than the fact that he is possibly the only person you can reliably depend on having a camera on him, he is, conveniently enough, possibly the most famous Singaporean Googler. 

Don't be too shocked at my hairstyle - and yes, my parents are asking me whether Google has any barbers (yes, there are on-site hairstylists, but they are not free). And no, I'm not cutting my hair anytime soon. :P

Romancing the Angel

Description of run by organizers:
Whether you've lived in the Bay Area all of your life and never visited Angel Island or you're from out of town and want experience one of San Francisco's top tourist destinations in a unique way, this event is for you! You'll find out why Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco after running this trail!

See pictures of my Angel Island Run 08

Inner Contrarian

Everything moves in cycles, and it seems like the proverbial recession in US has arrived after a secular bull trend. My inner contrarian has revived the perennial need for me to think about retirement (at 35) - Buy now! buy! buy!

Ever since reading A Random Walk Down Wall Street, I have been using dollar cost averaging for my investments in index funds. Despite numerous studies that suggest that lump sum investing is statistically better than dollar cost averaging [Math professor article] [Journal of Financial Planning article], they appear to assume the obviously improbable - that you have the lump sum of money just waiting to be invested.

Alas no, I do not have a lump of gazillion dollars sitting alone in the corner and waiting to be utilized, but I do have regular income that I feel should be working as hard as I do (erm, maybe a little harder). But let's face it, with high confidence, I claim that I will not be as successful as Warren Buffet or David Swensen in achieving 15-20% returns on my investments over an extended period of time.

And until I can get my sentient uber AI investment software up and running, maybe I can consider modified dollar cost averaging as a means of investing.

The Points of Life

  1. Career - Work where you do what you like and get paid for it, then goto step 2.
  2. Retirement - Be frugal, and make your money work for you, then goto step 3.
  3. Meaning of life - To find the meaning of life. D'oh.
Another random thought - how does one invest during a  recession? Buy bonds, gold, basic minerals? 

Or be contrarian and buy equity?

That's a big dog...

Only at Google.

Today I was walking across the hallway when I saw a lady hugging this really huge dog (think waist high), until I realized it was a pony! And there were also a few roosters and chickens around. I thought I was going bonkers.

So it turns out that this is a party for Googlers who help out in various ways outside of their normal job scope, and this was a way to (1) attract attention so that other Googlers know about this, and (2) entertain Googlers as there is some strange appeal to looking at farm animals gaze grass, poop, and walk around in the sun. In any case, there were also goats, bunnies, ducks, and a pig.

Only at Google.

New Tower of Drinks

New Tower of Drinks

Can you tell the difference?

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