•January 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Usually news of this kind I’m prone to divulge and propagate among all my networks but sometimes a bit of calm and reflection is needed, particularly since others are having a hard time finding jobs/internships. Gloating isn’t nice, but I also want to write this down for posterity’s sake.

I was just given an offer to take up a position as Associate Product Manager intern at Google! What’s particularly exciting is that it has been a long and arduous road so far (as I am sure it is probably for many who go down this road). I have had countless phone interviews, a total of three separate onsite interviews, and a roller-coaster of emotions along the way. I’d have to say this may very well be one of the few recent opportunities I have had to really work to get to, which makes the acceptance all the more rewarding. The process went something along these lines:

In October of 2008, I applied to be an APM. This was partly thanks to a Swarthmore alum who referred me to their HR personnel. I was told in December that I was not accepted to proceed past the phone interview.

In February of 2009, I reapplied, and was considered for onsite interviews in the Rotational Associate Manager Programme (RAMP). I spent a full day interviewing before being kindly turned down in April.

In February of 2010, I applied to Google Tokyo, as I heard from a classmate that they had an opening. I went through a phone interview and an on-site interview before being turned down in April.

In October of 2011, I reopened my application to Google Tokyo and spent two solid weeks reviewing algorithms. After a couple of tense and sleepless weeks, I was told that I had passed the multiple rounds of interviews! It’s pretty amazing to consider the amount of effort that goes in recruiting an intern: there is a phone interview, an onsite interview (a couple in my case), an essay test, and this all spans several weeks. I had to go through the same process for the fulltime position, so I suspect that this is pretty much standard across all Google employees.



•July 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

It’s Friday, and it’s hot and wet and humid. Outside, the red rear lights of taxies reflect doubly over the wet pavement and it’s just past dinner, and I’m in a pensive mood. It’s been a rough couple of days back home, because I feel like I’ve had to lead a bit of a double life. On the one hand I’m a child practicing the ideals of filial piety. On the other hand I’m rebelling ever more strongly against what I perceive to be unfair assumptions and generalizations relating very strongly to the lifestyle I live right now. My mother is adamant against everything American, professing at the same time that at one point in the past that she had loved the country but now is increasingly disappointed at the state of current affairs. She brings up things like the Casey Anthony trial, the scrapping of the NASA program, the fact that Obama was elected — all to encourage her thoughts that the United States is spiraling down the drain.

It’s hard to come up with anything to convince her otherwise, particularly since she is wiser by her ages and is rarely wrong – “I will be soon to find that out”. The world outside of the United States is rosy, the one inside, almost sacrilegious. She won’t ever consider coming to California, stubbornly claiming she would rather not be “affected by the types of people who live there”. As a result she hardly takes anything I do seriously – the fact that I work at IDEO could be as insignificant as a job at McDonalds, and I have to merely contend with that with a smile and a shrug and a nod.

I don’t know how much of it is due to my own unwillingness to share about the trials and tribulations that have brought me to where I am right now. In a sense, I only want to share what is noteworthy to me, in the hopes that they will also see the reasons why I am excited about the things I do. But doing so means it’s very hard to communicate how much effort it takes, how much concentration is needed, how much discipline I need to get to where I am. I don’t want to feel like I have to say that out loud, but it bothers me greatly when the assumption is made that what I am doing is trivial. The term in Japanese is arubaito – part-time job with connotations of “the thing you do to tide the time when you have nothing better to do”. My summer job is not an arubaito, thank you. At least I like to think of it that way.

In a sense, I am having to contend with the looming reality that someday my parents are going to have to recognize that what I am doing is important to me and that it is something I want to continue doing. I feel less and less comfortable with the idea that I can set aside my aspirations in favor of those my parents have envisaged for me – I feel like I would be living another lie. The lie I live right now is a disparity between the way my parents imagine my life to be and the way I imagine my life to continue, but at least I feel I have my own two feet to thank for.

I guess in a similar way I realize that if my parents can hardly come to terms with the things I am doing right now in terms of work, they can also hardly come to terms with the type of people I surround myself with, including my girlfriend. She has been exceedingly supportive on my behalf, despite the tangible strains that come with knowing that her relationships to be me is clouded by the reality that I cannot fully share what I do and what I am passionate about without feeling like I am creating a rift in my own family. I know I cannot live this illusion forever, though.

Notes from the development desk

•June 8, 2010 • 2 Comments

Context: trying to reorganize a sale workflow for a particular business product

[9:29:15 PM] Web Client: so we make a bit of suggestive sells
[9:29:51 PM] Web Client: they get flirted with, you know, show the boobs but through the sweater, gottta join the club to see the flesh, i guess i need to head over to some porn sites to refresh the come on sale


Life, Oh Life

•May 30, 2010 • 1 Comment

Every year there’s a time where I begin to question my own being, my purpose, and what it is I’m striving for in life. It’s usually followed by some length of depressing-ness (the act of being depressed, rather than suffering from depression). I guess I’m going through it now.

The sad reality of the situation is that I really don’t have any friends. None. Nada. Zilch. I spend my weekends wondering what things I can do – I don’t drink, or frequent bars, and with a desire to keep my expenses low, I feel myself gravitating towards watching odd things on the Internet or doing work. Facebook becomes increasingly depressing to visit. I play the banjo, sure, but that gets tiresome after a while. My phone rings on the sole occasion where someone wants something from me (aka craigslist).

One of the things I hear often is that “you should be more proactive”. I don’t know what it means to be more proactive than what I do without being restricted to becoming someone that I am not. But maybe it’s that I’m not happy with the someone that I am. Let’s face it: I’m in a suburb, with no one around me to call as a friend, with absolutely nothing to dispense my time with wisely over the weekend. Projects end up becoming a stark revelation that I’m trying to occupy myself and distract myself from realizing that I am, in fact, utterly lonely.

Maybe I’m doing something wrong. But I have to admit I’m tired of being the one oddball who makes every effort to be liked or become part of some group of people who are clearly in better positions. I don’t want to be the one who everyone feels sorry for – I’d rather not have sympathy.

The most annoying thing

•April 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I think grad school is where all emails go to die.

Lots of life in between

•April 16, 2010 • 1 Comment

Life continues in its weird kind of way, and I feel like I’m increasingly (un)comfortable living this dual presence between work and personal life. It used to be living a dual life between school and at home but I feel that is not quite the case any more. Many things have happened in the time that I last updated this blog, but I feel unless I document it somewhere I will always have this vacant spot in my blog where for fear of misstepping the personal life with work I would decide against writing about what has happened. It’s so easy to pretend that at work there’s nothing much going on otherwise – the conversations about family, relatively quiet evenings and weekends make it really easy to imagine a rather stagnant lifestyle (though I imagine that’s not always the case).

Let’s see:
a) I was accepted into Georgia Tech’s two-year Masters HCI program on March 18.
b) I was given an opportunity to interview at Google shortly thereafter.
c) I was then offered admission into Stanford’s Masters in Computer Science department on March 25th.
d) I wasn’t given a role at Google, unfortunately.
e) I visited Stanford and Georgia Tech (leeching off of the CHI conference there at the same time).

f) I finally decided on Stanford.

In other news:

I got into an accident just around exit 38/39 in Milford, CT. I wasn’t hurt but my beloved 2002 Toyota Echo was no longer.

I ended up having to go through a rather interesting and difficult process of finding another one at around the same price. I am now the owner of a 2004 Kia Optima.

Also a myriad of people I know are now getting married. Andrew, a member of the fire company I was in and a very good friend, is getting hitched in August, and Kate and Sawyer are getting married sometime next year.

Life, oh life

•September 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The phone rings, and a lady picks up.

“Dental Dental, how may I help you?”

I inquire about my member status – “I’d like to find out how much benefits I have left.”

“You have nothing left.”

So begins my journey.