3 December 2013

Even the longest journey starts with a single bit.

20 October 2013
Startup School

Yesterday, I attended Y-Combinator’s yearly Startup School. What is Startup School? I guess you could call it a conference. It is really a series of motivational speakers disguised as successful startup founders.

I mean this in the greatest way possible. I was not sure what I was expecting to see and hear on Saturday, but I left extremely satisfied and motivated. I have never wanted to start a company before. At least not for the sake of starting a company. I know a lot of my friends do. And I know that a lot of people would disagree when I say that starting a company and failing is still a bad thing to do. “But the experience you gain by failing is worth it” you argue. No, it’s really not.

I don’t believe this because I am afraid of failing. I fail all the time and I’m ok with it. I don’t want to fail when starting a company because it isn’t that simple for some people. I don’t have the financial stability to do so. I cannot afford the wasted stress and time. I do not, yet, possess the ability to lead people. And most importantly, I am not in love with anything yet.

That last reason is the one which angers me the most with a lot of people I meet. “I have this great idea to make [X] but for [Y],” I hear a lot. That’s fine. But why do you want to do that? Most of the answers I get have to do with the fact that it is “simple,” or “cool.” No it’s not “cool” and even if it was, it won’t be in a while. “That’s fine, I’ll move on to something else,” or “that’s ok, I’ll exit before it would ever fail.”

Despite all these people, there are always a few who surprise me. Some of those who impress me. Those who are passionate about what they really care about. That is the kind of person I want to be if I ever want to start a company. Yes, there is experience to be had if you want to start a company and fail. But there is also experience to bad as an observer. Things you can learn from people and working for/with others. I love my job. But I would also like to see it from another perspective some day. Could I ever influence anyone the way some people have influenced me? I really hope so.

From yesterday’s speakers, I took some great things away about how to be a good person. This, to me, was much better advice than how to be a good CEO.

Phil Libin - Evernote - Phil reiterated something I’ve always believed in: you have to be in love with what you do. Is it possible to make money from something you don’t care about enough? Sure. Is it possible to make money working on something you will sell? Sure. But is it worth having a legacy for something that your heart really isn’t into? Maybe not. “Evernote is what I want to remembered for” really resonated with me. I had never really put much thought as to what I would be “remembered” for. Much less what I would want to be remembered for. He also gave me a good note on video game development: even if it’s good, would people need your game?

Dan Siroker - Optimizely - Sometimes things in your life come full circle. While scary, his ability to leave his job for something which really captivated him (joining the Obama ‘08 campaign as a volunteer) was worth it. It was a very nice story to hear, and helped him understand a greater demand for something he did not see before.

Chase Adam - Watsi - Chase gave a really personal talk about how he isn’t sure about his future or his success. It was nice to hear the fear and the truth of how he has gotten to where he is now, and how he feels the world can change. It is also nice to hear someone say that they are not yet sure if they’re successful. Watsi could fail as company, but even so, Chase believe Watsi cannot fail as an idea as long as he can help one more person. I enjoyed this talk on a more personal level. Growing up, my family had little to nothing, and it’s almost unbelievable to see what I have now, whom I’ve shared it with, and where I can go. Out of all talks, perhaps this is the only one which made me think of what I can for people instead of myself. He also helped me remember I still need to find something I love in more than myself.

Jack Dorsey - Twitter/Square - Jack is kind of a superstar in the tech industry now. Absolutely knocking it out of the park with twitter and only to follow it up with such a revolutionary company with Square. His talk was not much of a talk, as he read to us some of his favorite passages from some books that have helped him in his journey through life, but it was just as, if not more, impactful than most talks I heard. Normally, I don’t believe it when people say they are humble, but Jack has a weirdly poetic way of thinking about his life. At the end of his talk, he played a song for the audience. Slow jazz. Soothing.

Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook - Zuck is an interesting person to hear speak. Not because I think he’s weird or anything. But it’s clear that starting facebook was much more of him wanting to make something that people can use rather than him wanting to make something he can be a leader of. “I knew zero about business.” Me too. “I just wanted to make things.”

In the end, I’m very happy I went to Startup School. I would like to go again next year, and I would suggest others to go, if at least to hear some passionate people speak about why they did what they did instead of how they did what they did. Yesterday I heard a lot of “you guys are the next leaders,” and “the ideas you guys have will change the world.” I don’t know if this is true for myself, or for the majority of people I met. I mean no offense by this, and in fact, wish everyone the best of luck in their endeavors. But there were those few whom I met who want to make something for the right reasons, and if they believe that, I can’t wait to see them up on stage next year.

14 October 2013

Announced at D23 Expo Japan, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMix will be releasing in 2014 on the Playstation 3. This game will feature a playable Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded cutscenes.

6 October 2013
It’s been a while

It’s been almost exactly five months since I last posted something. I think it’s time to get back into the groove. I have assimilated to San Francisco culture and have gotten back into coding on my free time as well. I’ve rediscovered time with some awesome video games, joined a berlin-style ping pong league (more to come on that later), and when possible I’ve tried to hang out with some friends - new and old.

I’m currently spending my birthday weekend back home in Miami with my parents and dogs, so I don’t have much time at the moment. However, I will leave you with this interesting programming snippet. What do you think the following would do?

import java.util.Random;

class test {
    public static void main(String[]args) {
        Random r = new Random(-6732303926L);
        for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
            System.out.println(r.nextInt(10) + " ");
7 May 2013
Level 2 - START

When I was very young, I was really into this show called Eureeka’s Castle. It’s somewhat similar to what I imagine Sesame Street to be like, but I’ve never seen that show, so I can’t compare. All of my friends were into Barney or some knock off, but I wasn’t. It was all about Eureeka to me. I was the only one I knew who knew what it was. It was exclusive to me, and it was mine.

I eventually came to understand that I wasn’t the only person in the world who was lucky enough to have a television; I wasn’t the only one who saw that show. But I realized the exclusivity I was once in love with came from the way I saw that show, and not from the show itself. No one who saw it liked it in the way I did. No one appreciated some of the jokes the way I did. This is how I feel about Miami.

I’ve lived almost all of my life in Miami. I was born and raised here. I fell in love here. I’ve been hurt here. I’ve made my best friends here. For (quite literally) as long as I can remember, I’ve lived and breathed Miami. That said, I don’t go clubbing, I rarely go to the beach, and I don’t revel in the latest Pitbull song. I share Miami with over five million other people, but I’d be hard pressed to find someone who likes its quirks the way I do.

In a few days, I’m moving to California. Not just for the summer, but for good. Or maybe I’m already there, depending on when you read this. I’m starting a whole new phase of my life (hence the title). As much as I love Miami, the decision to move to San Francisco was a no-brainer. But this post isn’t about that; it’s about the people I’m leaving behind. And it’s about you.

I’m really stoked about getting to work at a cool company and seeing some awesome people again, but I’ll miss a lot of you here. These past weeks have been really interesting to me; saying goodbye to certain people and whatnot. It’s very bittersweet. I’d like to share some things with some people now.

To my friends still in school: Good luck. A few years ago I realized I was “over" school. I began to hate a lot of things about it. Ultimately, I don’t really think it is for me. At least not yet. This is a weird thing to say considering I’m graduating in a few days, but it’s true. I would like to add that I love college. It’s really just the school aspects of it that annoy and frustrate me. It’s not the learning - I love that. It’s the tests. I’m not even a bad test taker. In fact, I’m pretty good at them. It has a lot to do with the way we constantly compete with each other. One of the things I love most about programming is the amount of peer resources there are out there. Anyway, I digress. You should be proud of everything you’re doing, and you probably don’t hear how great you are as much as you should. I’m proud of you all, and I hope everything works out for you.

To my friends I don’t talk to anymore: There’s probably a reason I don’t. Haha, in all seriousness, I probably don’t have anything against you, and I’ve just been very busy being boring. If you think we should catch up, this is as good a time as any to do so. In which case:

To Frank/Juan/Andy/Lugo/Tyler/MAΘ peeps: Thanks for helping me like math. I mean, really like it. Love it. Be passionate about it. And thanks for putting up with me enough to be kinda decent at it. The trophies were nice and all, but the trips with all of you were what was really fun. I don’t think I’ve ever tried so hard at something before I joined MAΘ. Never looked back.

To Armando: Remember when we thought this was the greatest thing ever? (fun fact: This is the first video I ever downloaded willingly waaaaay back when I was an internet noob). We’ve definitely come a long way since then. It’s pretty exciting that we’re still friends. I mean, the constant years of proximity to each other helped, but if it was just that then we probably would have lost contact during college. So I guess that means we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Glad to say we’re stuck with each other, dude. Here’s to another 15 years of knowing you.

To Fiorella: At this point in your life, you should start slooowwwiiinnggg down. Just relax. Why not learn how to whistle? Watch better movies - maybe one that doesn’t involve Nicholas Sparks. No matter what you choose to do, I hope you feel better afterwards. Thanks for being my friend; you rock. Take care of yourself, buddy. (Oh, and I really hope we find out who the mother is soon).

To friends I’ve made while in college: Thanks for making my college experience great. I’ve never regretted coming to UM, and I’m lucky I’ve met you guys to make my decision all the sweeter. Danny and Steph I’m looking at you. Steph was the first friend I made in college :], Danny’s the first person I met who I instantly hated. I kid. You two are awesome. TO the rest of you, I’m sorry for skipping class so often. Which reminds me…

To my professors: I apologize for not going to class more often (and in a couple of cases, ever). It’s not you, it’s me. Really. Read above for why. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn from you. Well, some of you anyway. Sorry for being such a bad student, but thanks for always giving me the benefit of a doubt, and I hope I live up to the whole ‘graduate’ status.

To all my other friends who didn’t fit in another box: I hope this doesn’t seem like I don’t care about you enough to give you your own section. It’s just that I’m already running this longer than it should be. In short, I will miss you. Thank you for being my friends. I only hope I have been able to give you something in return in terms of our friendship. I probably still talk to you. And I probably still want to see you, so if you’re ever in the bay area, let me know so we can catch up.

To my past girlfriends: Thank you for helping me fine tune this what-kind-of-girl-is-right-for-me process. At some point, we may have taken turns being jerks to each other. Or maybe we were too busy for each other. Or maybe we didn’t think we were going in the right direction. Maybe I was more into the idea of going out than actually noticing you weren’t. Or maybe I was too indifferent to notice yours. Regardless what it may have been to break us, I appreciate every second spent with you. I can honestly say I learned a lot.

To any future girlfriend(s):

To my mom and dad: I love you guys. I don’t think you’ll ever read this, but I guess that doesn’t matter so much. This past week has been very difficult in the sense that I am finally understanding the fact I won’t see you as much anymore. I’ll miss you guys dearly, and I appreciate everything you’ve done so far. Anyway, after 22 years of being spoiled when it comes to doing my laundry or not having to cook, let’s see how the next year works out for me.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you for reading this. It’s not necessarily for anyone, nor is it for naught. This just sort of… is. It’s a bunch of things I wanted to say. And there are even more I didn’t get a chance to put in here. I’ll miss Miami a lot, but I’m extremely excited to be moving away and starting level 2 of my life. To my SF friends, see you all soon!

19 April 2013
17 April 2013