What are the three core areas I want to focus on
Software — As a software engineer, code is my paintbrush and the world is my canvas. For as long as I can remember, I have loved to problem solve, prototyping designs in my mind to ease pain points in the tangible and digital world in which I live. Code is how I transform these seeds of ideas into reality. Code allows me to be creative and analytical at the same time — allowing me to adapt and integrate my ever-changing interests beyond tech.
Globalization — How to make identity, finances, and relationships persist across physical and digital geographies. As someone who grew up moving around a lot, my identity doesn’t feel tied to a physical location but instead spread across different pockets of friends, memories, times, and places. Diving into the web3 world in the past year has been a catalyst for my personal and technical growth. My interests in software and globalization are tightly coupled with many of my passions in the web3 world – particularly how digital identity shapes us and how web3 can help individuals and communities achieve economic freedom.
What drives people – I’ve always been very interested in what makes people tick. How do language and culture shape the way people think? How can technology create a net positive in this world while reducing the negative side effects? I am continuously seeking opportunities to combine my interests in technology and humanities — particularly language, culture, and psychology.
Like most overachieving kids, I thrived with structure and went through grade school doing all the “right” things that fed right into my early university experience. I had tunnel vision in the CS-classroom-to-FAANG pipeline and taking alternative paths was not on my radar. I blindly believed in the tech industry positively serving humanity. I had an epiphany that I wanted to explore life outside the ‘traditional tech path’ after a period of burnout and took my first gap year to take risks and realize my passions beyond academics. During that year, I spent time as a robotics engineer at an autonomous car company but also leaned into my artistic side and spent half a year dancing for a collective, choreographing for a dance team, and teaching dance. During the pandemic, I took my second gap year during the pandemic to work at Curvegrid, a blockchain infrastructure startup. These gap years exposed me to a variety of people beyond just the tech world and pushed me to challenge myself to think more critically about the path I’m taking in life.
During the last two years, I've learned more about the social implications of technology and dived into a tech ethics rabbit hole. I started to question how I — a consumer — am being affected by encoded bias, and how I – a technologist – can use my technical skills to leave the world in a better place. Something that really resonated with me recently was a talk on Decentralization and Identity by Albert Ni. He spoke about layers of change and how some layers of our life like fashion, commerce, and infrastructure are more fluid than others like nature and culture. I’m no longer locked into the easy, risk-free path that my immigrant parents drilled into me growing up and have started to embrace uncertainty and how I, as a technologist, can navigate through the layers of change.
Looking back, Looking forward
In 2021 — I had the perfect primer of knowledge from my 8-month stint at a blockchain infrastructure startup to absorb all there was to offer at Coinbase. It was a period of accelerated growth where I grew my confidence across many layers of the tech stack, found my niche in the web3 world, and explored my builder identity. My internship project was to build out a prototype for viewing NFTs natively in the Coinbase wallet extension. I was challenged to build a scalable server, architect accessible UI, and scope out product requirements. It was exhilarating rolling out my feature to millions of users around the world.
For 2022 — My primary creative and personal goal is to explore the intersection of humanities and tech by getting more involved in communities that take a humanities-focused approach to technology. I used to love words and storytelling and somewhere along the way in my technologist journey, I’ve lost touch with that side of me. I want to dive deeper into my interests in linguistics, writing and performing arts and seek more ways to couple that with technology. My primary career goal is to build and learn more in public. I started open-sourcing work through sharing my ideas, code, and learnings in 2021, and I want to continue creating in public this year. I’m working towards these goals by:
- being more involved with Verses through my work on Referents, a linguistics tool
- learning more about the societal and ethical implications of web3 through learning groups like Crypto, Culture, and Society
- intentionally carving out more time to listen and read
How do I want to grow?
To challenge my notions of what tech can do for the world and how I, along with other young technologists, can shape the future. I’ve been diving into a lot of tech philosophy and slowly developing my own thesis on what techno-optimism and the future of tech look like. I want to unlearn my scarcity mindset and be more intentional with what projects, initiatives, and work I take on. I want to grow my storytelling skills and learn to be more eloquent in articulating my vision for how technology should serve humanity. I want to unlearn my habits of rushing into implementation and code and make more time for critical thinking before diving into the execution details for everything I work on. The noise in the tech world, particularly the web3 world can be deafening at times. I’d like to be more intentional with how I spend my time, attention, and energy. I’m working on striking a better balance of being present vs. focused, making quicker decisions, and avoiding FOMO (a big part of web3 culture). I’d like to meet folks in the space who are also questioning and pondering these ideas themselves, are eager to discuss, and are actively working to seek answers and build solutions.
I wrote this as part of my Interact application in 2022. I didn't get in this year but the questions were great prompts for self-reflection. Putting them up here to hold myself accountable to these intentions.