Archive for the 'Moism' Category

3 Years Ending

So I’m about to leave Lincoln Laboratory to work for a small software firm in the heart of Boston.  It is with great gratitude, sadness, and excitement to end the first chapter of my life since grad school.  If I was to sum up my career at Lincoln, I can honestly say it was guided by the following moism:

Do things until someone tells you no.

Sure, I might have gotten into trouble a couple of times.  There was the time when I broke the group frig with a screwdriver and hammer.  And then another time when I tricked the group secretary to ordering 5 red Swingline staplers (inspired by the movie Office Space).  But for the most part, just doing and trying new things without waiting for someone to say OK has been beneficial to my journey here.  It’s made things extremely interesting.

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Are you Passionate?

Find your passion and don’t let it escape.

That’s one of the orginial moism quotes that I came up with back in the good old college days at Georgia Tech. Well, but what the heck does it mean? I think that this moism can be separated into two parts.

The first part is about finding your passion. A calling of some sorts. Passion can be applicable to objects, work, hobbies, or even people. Personally, I’m passionate about working with kids. On a bi-weekly basis, I get to spend 2 full hours with a few of the cutest and craziest kindergarten-ers. When I’m with ‘my’ kids, time just seems to disappear. It’s funny, I get more joy out of these 2 hours then a full 40 hours at work. Each session starts off with some goofing off and running around, then comes a short story time, and finally ending with a time for arts and crafts. Kids are great, they’re so free and does whatever the heck they want. I feel like the more we grow, the more we hold ourselves back. We think and worry too damn much. Try to fight it. The other thing (or person in this case) I’m passionate about is my girlfriend. She is an amazing person whom I’ve grew close to and 100% comfortable with. 🙂 Haha, maybe I’ll get some brownie points for sending her this blog post.

The second part is about holding on to your passion. If you’re truly passionate about something, then you would hold on to whatever it might be with your dear life. Think about it, if you’re not passionate about something, why are you doing it? Well, I guess sometimes you get stuck in difficult situations or you simply need to pay your bills. But you can still take steps and move towards whatever it is that you’re passionate about. Don’t know what you’re passionate about? Well, oftentimes I haven’t got a glue. But don’t be afraid or too timid to try new things, you’ll never know whether or not you like it. If you don’t like it, then move on. If you love it, then you’ve found something to hold on to. Don’t let it escape.

Anyway, just want to share some thoughts. Have a great Friday!

5 Ways to Become a Better Leader

How can you become a more effective leader for your team? I’ve compiled the following 5 tips based on what I’ve learned from different individuals and from simple observations during work and everyday life:

  1. Shut up and listen – I can’t stress this point more. How can you listen to your team when all you want to do is listen to yourself talk? Concerns and ideas from your team members are extremely vital to the success and overall functioning of the team as a whole. You have two ears and only one mouth, so spend more of your time listening then speaking.
  2. It’s okay to be wrong – From his talk at a TED conference, Sir Ken Robinson speaks of how we’re trained to be afraid of being wrong. Well, don’t be. Being wrong is always an integral part of achieving greatness. This is something we can learn from children. Children have wild dreams because they’re creative and aren’t scared to be wrong. So dream, try, and be wrong.
  3. a.k.a Facilitator – All leaders are effective facilitators. For example in meetings, the main job of the leader is to facilitate discussion. Using an agenda, the leader make sure the team stays on track and subdue irrelevant discussion. Most importantly, a leader asks the right questions. You team is able to and will make the right decisions, so just set the path and get out of the way.
  4. Create a safe environment – If your team members feel safe, they will work happily.  They will be more wiling to share ideas and thoughts, praise or criticize, and be willing to take risks.
  5. Don’t act like you’re the expert – The fact is, the most recent college grads will be more up-to-date and technically advanced then you are.  You’re the leader, your duty includes an ability to work with people and lead the team effectively.  Your experience and people skills are what’s valuable to the team.  So don’t let your ego get in the way and be open to learning new things from the younger “experts”.

Make Meaning

A few creative friends of mine and myself want to start our own business.  We’re in the initial stages of defining who we are and are meeting on a weekly basis to come up with ideas, define our goals and figure out what we’re getting ourselves into.  I got a good feeling about this one.

During our kick-off meeting, we all had a chance to share our personal goals and visions for this “company.”  Among these, one of the popular reasons was a desire to make money.  Even though money is important, we had to remind ourselves that we needed a motivating factor that’s more genuine.

If we’re gonna dream, dream big.  Dreaming to make money is so cliche and shortsighted.  If we’re able to come up with something that has the potential to change the world or the way people live, isn’t that worth so much more than having an extra $1000 in your bank?

Watching a talk by Guy Kawasaki, he says that success comes from having a meaning.  If your business or idea has a meaning behind it, things will fall into place, including money.  This view is supported by a number of business books and business models out there.

So make meaning.

Going First

For two individuals to get closer, each much show some form of vulnerability.  I believe that the deepest connections made between individuals is through the threads of vulnerability.

So someone must go first and be open, why not you?

Homepage

I’ve been trying to build a simple homepage for myself at mosesting.com, which is currently only a Django success page.

Sorry.

Things have been quite busy and I actually haven’t come up with anything creative. Then I came across the homepage of Amit Gupta today and I felt inspired. His homepage is simple and to the point, no extra fries on the side. It made me realize that in my initial thoughts about my own homepage, I was trying to “cramp” in too much info.  Seeing Amit’s work, I was once again reminded of a personal design philosophy:

Simple is key.

How are you? Fine.

Don’t tell me you’re fine, cause it’s boring.

Many of us go through life without really knowing others.  Whenever I ask someone how they’re doing, I always hate getting answered “fine”.  That 4 letter word respond doesn’t really mean anything.  It’s boring to tell me that you’re fine.  So I would always probe for more details about their week or how that person is feeling.


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