An Update on My Life

Here I am lying in my own bed in my own house on a block that overlooks downtown San Diego thinking about how God has blessed me with so many amazing materials, friends, family, and opportunity. It’s definitely crazy to think that I have my own house now that I share with 5 other guys and a car to take me around. I finally feel like an adult and I love it. I feel free because of the responsibilities I have. I love that I get to balance my education, work, and social life. I love that I’m so involved in campus and I’ve made a lot of sacrifices to make sure that these four qualities are balanced. I love the fact I sleep about 7 hours per night because I prioritize my work early on that I get that amount of sleep.  I lead a homeless ministry that takes a group of volunteers to downtown San Diego and make friends with our homeless neighbors. I’ve also taken upon the extra responsibility this semester to help one of my friends with his ministry. His ministry is visiting medically-fragile children at the Rady’s Children Hospital.

I’ve also found a job I absolutely love. I do AV (Audio/Video) stuff and IT work at my school. I get paid to go to events that I work AV at and I find it rewarding helping people doing IT work at school. I get to meet new people whenever they walk in and meet new people at events.

As you are aware, I’ve taken a hiatus from this blog the past four months and have come back to create more content. There’s something about being back in my parent’s house that makes me an absolute slop and refuse to work. A quick summary on my summer of 2017 is that I traveled around California on the weekends, worked with my church, bowled and ate out at trendy food places a lot.

As for what I’m planning on this new season, it’s going to be a lot of balancing and juggling between school, work, and friends. I want to learn more piano this year and to learn more about mixing and mastering music. The first song I taught myself was “City of Stars” from La La Land. I also want to remain physically active so I’ve picked up basketball and tried working on my handles.

I’m pretty excited for this season because of everything that’s been happening to me. This is where I am now and I hope you’ll continue to follow me on my journey through life.

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Easter and Home

I just landed in my hometown of San Jose, California in time for Easter. This weekend will be a nice weekend where I get to relax and catch up with friends and family and celebrate Easter with my home church. I used to hate being in San Jose because I thought it was such a boring place to live in. But travelling the world has helped me find value in my home. I’ve never felt homesick before, the feeling arose when I visited New York City and met with my extended family. San Jose is not as lively as London or New York City nor does it have outdoor getaways that San Diego has to offer. But, San Jose will always be home base whenever I’m out exploring the world because of all the special relationships I’ve built the past 18 years here.

I’ve never viewed as Easter as an important holiday because I was simply ignorant to its significance. My early perception of Easter was that it was a cheap holiday meant for chocolates and bunnies, similar to Halloween. But, Easter is not that shallow. It’s the symbol of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. It is the end result of Christmas. Christmas symbolises the coming of a perfect savior that dies for an imperfect people and Easter is the result of our imperfections, which includes death, not being able to hold us down because of what our savior has done for us.  My weekend will be attending a Good Friday service at my church and then my church is hosting a play on Saturday and we will have an Easter service Sunday. I want to know what you are doing this weekend, even if you don’t celebrate Easter!

Book Review: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk is my idol. He’s my vision of the perfect entrepreneur. He’s founded four different companies that aim to make the world a better place. This book, written by Ashlee Vance, tells the story of Elon Musk’s life, times, and works. I found this book fascinating because Vance doesn’t portray Musk as the superhero that earth deserves, but as a complex man with many strengths and weaknesses whose passion is to make the world a better place.

What I loved about this book is that it didn’t solely focused on Musk but also on the people around him. Vance sheds light on the engineers who helped Musk design the prototypes for the Tesla motors and the rockets for SpaceX. He details on the motivation for the engineers who wished to pursue building electric motors or rockets. One of Musk’s biggest criteria for both SpaceX and Tesla Motors is for them to manually build all their materials. During the finding of SpaceX, Musk hated how competitors such as Boeing spent 300 million dollars on Russian-made rockets. Musk read textbooks on how to build rockets and concluded with his co-founders that it is indeed possible to build a rocket at a much cheaper cost. Vance gives the analogy of ‘why buy a Ferrari when you can buy a Honda will do?’

As a student learning managerial and organisational communication, I found that much of what I’ve learned in these classes are applied through Musk’s form of leadership. For his organisational culture, Musk wrote an email to all his employees banning the use of new acronyms. As strange of a rule this sounds, the reason behind it is so any new engineers don’t have to learn all these new acronyms and keep everyone on the same level. He’s okay with acronyms engineers should know such as GUI, but new ones like VTS don’t make sense to him.

HIs leadership style is absolutely fascinating. Vance illustrates him both being an authoritarian leader (pretty much a dictatorship) and a democratic leader. Musk will demand his employees to do impossible tasks. If the worker refuses, Musk will fire him or her immediately and then do the task himself, which Vance has noted has followed through. Musk is known to be a callous leader as shown with an incident regarding an employee missing a press release of the first SpaceX rocket launch for the birth of his first child. “That is not an excuse!” He told him (although Vance notes Musk doesn’t recall this incident). Another example of his callousness is his disregard to the loyalty of his employees. Mary Beth Brown who has worked for him for 12 years was known to be an extension of Musk. Whenever Musk was around, she was around. She scheduled meetings for him and took him out of meetings if he was in there for too long. In 2014, she asked for a raise and Musk replies with giving her an all-expenses paid vacation and he’ll think about it. Once she came back from the vacation, she was let go because Musk “didn’t need her anymore.”

Musk is also a visionary and hopeful leader. He provides his employees with a passion to solve impossible problems and gives hope when all feels lost. His goal for SpaceX is to eventually make man become an interplanetary species. He pushed his engineers to their limits to achieve his vision. He reasons why have two engineers work 8 hours when you can have one engineer work 16 hours. There was a time where most engineers wanted to take a time off and see their families. Musk replied with “You’ll get a chance to see your family 24/7 when you’re unemployed.” That clicked with the engineers and encouraged them to work even harder. SpaceX had been doing what appears impossible compared to other space companies because they are sending a rocket every three weeks compared to every year and a half and can reuse rockets that they send up into space.

I’ve found this book applicable to me because it showcases one of the most powerful man’s leadership style. It reveals how strong he is as a leader. He is a strong leader because he has strong organisational and management skills along with the ability to understand the physics behind what he’s investing in. He may be calloused in terms of emotional quality, but I find emotional quality to be one of my strongest skills which I can use in work. He is also passionate about his impossible visions. His passion for his vision brings about passion in his employees and pushes them beyond their limits to acheive such impossible dreams. If there’s one big thing I want to take away from this book is to never stop working toward your dream because someday, that dream will become a reality.

First Week Finished

Today marks the end of my first week of university back in America. This week left me utterly exhausted. Fortunately, two of my morning classes got canceled and I got the chance to sleep in. That rest was necessary. I have class from 8 – 2:30 with some breaks in between. Some of the classes that I’m taking this year include philosophy, optimal health, and some communication courses. I’ve only met with my philosophy professor once this week even though we have Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes. The class seems interesting because when we first started, he posed the question of how do we know whether something is a dream or reality. That was a tough topic to deal with and he said he’d continue it later. Optimal health seems pretty cool because it’s a nutrition and a fitness class. My professor wants us to have a fitness log and exercise a total of 2 hours per week. I consider myself a pretty fit person because I try to run about 20-40 minutes three to four times a week and avoid junk food. My management communication professor might take a medical leave in the semester because she’s pregnant.

Student life here has been interesting. It definitely is a good feeling to see old friends and hear them yell “YOU’RE BACK!?!?!” It’s also weird because I’m also rebuilding relationships with some friends. And then I have the chance to become friends with people that I’ve only seen around campus last year. The hall I live on is kinda cool. There are times where it smells like weed and the other guys act loud and rambunctious, but there are times where everything is quiet and the guys want to just chill. I’m not around my main dorm too often because I’d rather spend time on the main campus interacting with old friends and meeting new people. Tonight, I plan on webcamming with some friends from London.

In terms of recording music, I finally got my midi keyboard synced to my laptop. There are times where it doesn’t want to cooperate though. I learned how to make trap beats and planning to have some recorded this coming weekend. For my coding skills, I found a cool website called Freecodecamp that breaks down Javascript projects. I’m pretty excited to invest my time on this. We also have a 3 day weekend because of MLK so I’m going to use that time to work hard on school so I can work on music and coding.

What to Expect from this Blog in the Future

With the beginning of the new year comes with the beginning of new resolutions. I don’t have resolutions in mind but rather I have goals that I want to accomplish for my next semester. Some of which include: working on this blog, working on computer science side projects, recording music, and balancing school work. It’s going to be tough. But it’s something I want to work on in order to be successful. I am planning to document my adventures working on computer science projects here. I switched my career path to the side of technology because I wanted to contribute to the growth of technology. I know almost nothing the topic of computer science. My current level of computer science includes basic syntax of popular languages such as Python, C++, Java, Javascript, HTML, and CSS. I have almost no application experience in programming. My friends and I back home wanted to work on building a chatbot for Discord, but we don’t have time to meet up and discuss. The topic was interesting to me because I wanted to experience in machine learning. My next option was to find a Computer Science club on campus. I’ve talked to my close friends that are Computer Science majors and there doesn’t appear to be one on campus. Instead, I’m going to be setting out on my own personal projects. I’ll get these projects double checked by my friends of course, but it’s going to be a long and arduous journey to learn this. Nothing is set in stone yet, The first project that I plan to work on is going to be focused on Javascript and its frameworks.

I’m also going to document my adventures of recording music here. My friends and I want to record a hip hop album soon and release it for the summer of 2017. We don’t have too much experience in producing and writing, but here’s where we’ll start. My journey starts with getting familiar with Ableton’s layout, understanding how to mix and master music, and learning how my midi keyboard works. I have a lot of work to do this semester, but I hope you’ll follow me with my journey to success.

Quote

A Reminder to Look Past Failure

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

I found this quote from Edison to be inspiring. It’s a positive outlook of failure. I appreciate this quote even more because it comes from the man of many inventions. One of the many reasons that I want to study computer science is because of people like Edison and Elon Musk. They are people willing to take risks and fail 10,000 times in order to innovate technology and make the future worth living. As for me right now, I am struggling to find out which classes I am going to take for my next semester. I shouldn’t be worrying because I know that God has a plan for me after my four years of university. I desire to change the world with technology and I know I will eventually end up working in the technological sector. Hope this quote motivates you to look past your failures as it did to me.