Random Observation/Comment #343: If Google glass gets popular, will designers start to make Google glass frames? Will the price of lasek decrease? Will Google glass come with a deal to get lasek? Sounds like some crazy synergy is possible there.
I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a geek. I’m a big fan of tech in general and I’m always staying up-to-date with products and conceptual ideas to predict the game changers of our future. In my opinion, Google glass will be one of those game changers. It’ll start off slow and with the early geeky adopters, but like the apple fanboys, we’ll have the google fanboys rushing to get the device. Most will likely wait for V2 of Google glass before investing money on a nice-to-have/badass device (similar to how long it took for tablets to get introduced into the mainstream). I also assume that Heads Up Display (HUDs) technology will come into the market in other companies, but Google (similar to Apple’s initial appstore early domination) will have the upper hand on the features.
So what does Google glass technology offer? Continue reading
Random Observation/Comment #342: In order to communicate effectively, one must speak and understand the same language. English taught in school is usually not enough. Sometimes you need to know the right lingo and speak like your audience.
I met a fellow engineer who entered the corporate world, and he viewed the business meetings and emails with the same curiosity and humor as myself. Those who have advanced to higher positions are extremely talented in speaking eloquently and using interesting common business terms that relate to everyday life. He tweets @Jargondujour and the list of terms is extensive and hilarious.
Here is my own list and the reason I’d use them. I formed this list after a week of listening internal presentations and daily meetings:
When a meeting is going off course
“Let’s take this offline and continue with the agenda.”
“I’m happy to take a clean sheet of paper and talk to you about this.”
“Can you carve out some time for us to work together this afternoon.”
“Please put something in my calendar and I’ll be happy to discuss this with you in more detail.”
“Let’s touch base on this later this afternoon.”
When you’re unsure of the subject
“I work 30,000 feet nowadays, but let’s talk details.”
“Give me the broad strokes and we can refine the details later.”
When you want to work together with a group and do further review
When you try to justify your actions to someone beneath you
“I just don’t want you to get thrown under the bus.”
“Let’s handhold them for the first few weeks and then throw them in the deep end.”
“I just want to make sure we’re on the same page.”
When you want to convince someone to take on a new task
When you want to offer help as a PM or BA even though you can’t solve the problem
When you want to tell someone their task is going to be worked on, but not now. If you’re working on it now, you’d focus more on release dates
When you want to respectfully decline working on a project
“Sorry, I wish I could pick up this project, but my plate is full.”
“I’ll be doing this on a best effort basis.“
When you want to follow up without being too pushy (instead of saying ‘are you done yet?’)
One does not necessarily need to memorize these terms, but it doesn’t hurt to use these words to politely agree or dodge questions. It’s beyond political correctness; these are just business colloquialisms.
~See Lemons Stay on the Same Page
Random Observation/Comment #341: Always order seafood if you’re staying on an island. Well, maybe not Long Island; that place is gross.
Triumphs During the Trip:
- Got scuba certified
- Saw a Caribbean reef shark about 15 feet away (peed my wetsuit)
- Saw silverfish and tried to hit them (they really move like in Finding Nemo)
- Held a Sting Ray (felt like a wet portobello)
Things Grand Cayman Does Well:
- Blue crystal clear water. The blue is so unreal. When you’re on the boat riding out, the water stays around 40-60ft deep until you hit the wall (it’s an underwater cliff that goes from 60ft to 6000ft). This corresponds with a change of color from the sandy light blue bits to the deep clear blue parts.
- Scuba diving. This is the only place I’ve been diving, but I get the feeling that I’m already spoiled. The water is relatively warm (around 80 degrees), and you can go diving with just a rash guard / exposure suit if it’s not raining out. Needless to say, the reefs are teeming with life and there are some amazing swim throughs.
- Friendly, laid-back people. If you’re expecting things to get done quickly, you’re in the wrong place. People usually don’t complain when it takes 2 hours to eat a meal because no one is trying to go anywhere fast. It’s a change in mentality for myself as I’m always sticking to some type of schedule and organization, but it’s also what a vacation is for – letting go of productivity for a while.
- Grand Cayman is small and filled with adventure. The entire island is 26 miles wide and everything really only takes about 20 minutes to drive to. We drove from our hotel (Compass Dive Resorts) on the East end of the island to Seven mile beach (upper West end) in about 40 minutes.
- No taxes. No one pays taxes in Grand Cayman. They get 100% of their paychecks and probably don’t have to deal with any tax forms in April. This is absolutely crazy to accountants, but what type of micromanagement governance is required on an island where it’s mostly there for tourists, banks, and diving?
Things Grand Cayman Can Improve:
- Beaches. The Seven Mile beach area is where you get that Miami vibe with hotel strips and lovely sand beaches. Everywhere else, it’s just diving central. Come here for the diving, not the beaches. In all cases, you’ll definitely be able to lay somewhere and tan.
- Efficiency. People here take their time to do everything, which is probably a good thing, but it’s hard for me to get out of the “to do list” mentality. I love optimization and this entire country has many little business processes that can be much better to save them extra time to do nothing.
- Ridiculously expensive prices. Because it’s an island and they don’t pay taxes, everything is imported and expensive. You’ll find prices to be 15% more than New York and about the same as Iceland. Remember that all prices are in Cayman Island dollars (0.82 USD to 1 Cayman Island dollar).
- Don’t convert to Cayman Island dollars. I’m more of a plastic vs paper type of guy anyway, but depending on how your bank deals with overseas charges, this could be a bad idea. Normally, I would use my debit card to take out local currency, but I’ve found that the conversion rate isn’t that bad at restaurants or stores (0.80 with their method vs 0.82 market right now). Since that’s directly from the stock exchange, using 0.80 actually might be a better deal than the bank conversion rates.
- Bring a light hat. This is just to keep your head from getting sunburn. Man, the sun is hot.
- Don’t pack jeans – you’ll get weird looks wearing them because no one wears them. I don’t know why I thought I needed a pair of jeans to look cool at a fancy restaurant. It’s not necessary at all because everyone everywhere wears khaki colored shorts, t-shirts, and sandals/boat shoes.
- Talk to locals. Everyone is super friendly and helpful, so don’t forget to get to know the random interesting folks from around the world (mostly Texas).
- Expect to spend a lot of money. We planned our trip so we’d have at least 2 meals that we cooked, but we still spent around $80 each per day (not counting the dives).
Summary of Things to do:
- Scuba dive as much as you can. If you’re scuba certified, go to these dive sites and see the most ridiculous creatures and swim-throughs
- Be lazy on a beach. This is true for every Caribbean island, but especially true here.
- Sting Ray City. It’s $40 per person to go out on a catamaran from Red Sail (sailing off of Rum Point) and swim with Sting Rays. It’s totally worth it.
- Stop thinking about things you should be doing – you’re in the Grand Cayman. Change the way you think when you’re on vacation.
~See Lemons Love Grand Cayman
Random Observation/Comment #340: It was interesting not drinking alcohol at parties since it’s become such a socially acceptable and encouraged way of connecting with people. There was, however, this inexplicable contact drunk feeling when going through the same motions sober. Even though I was drinking seltzer the whole time, I still felt the same energy I normally felt when partying with good friends. There was this group adrenaline phenomenon that I can only hope is from the vibes of good times..
Being on the wagon is tough. It takes a lot of willpower to turn down a drink when everyone uses it as a 5:30PM happy hour crutch to relax and chit-chat before going home to their families. I’ve found this to be even more true for colleagues older than me – they work hard all day just to get that first sip of cold beer touch their lips and lift their spirits. I can tell in the way they all close their eyes and concentrate on the refreshing taste (I’m sure they also look at the beer and slowly nod in delight). When I’ve been in those shoes so many times, how can I not cave? How could I deny myself of such a glorious moment of pleasure associated with taste and not an alcoholic dependency?
Random Observation/Comment #339: Scuba certified! Triumph moment of May is going to be tough to top for the coming months…
I’m addicted. Scuba diving is everything I’ve ever wanted from an activity and so much more. The underwater blue realm is stunningly beautiful and It’s surprisingly relaxing (when you’re not being chased by sharks). It’s like being transported into the movie Avatar and you get free reign to hover around Pandora..
Some use diving to feel as close to zero-g as possible (it’s freaking amazing). I use it as a form of meditation. The reef is eerily silent and the inhaling sound from the regulator is relaxing and reassuring. When neutrally buoyant, the amount of air in your lungs is crucial for hovering the right depth to get that closer look. You never hold your breath, but instead learn to inhale 80%, exhale slowly to 40% to maintain buoyancy, inhale back to 100% to avoid rocks, etc. This constant adjustment and attention to your breath is like meditation with tangible results.
Getting Scuba Certified and Things I wish I knew:
Random Observation/Comment #338 : I’m glad I did this, but I wasn’t glad doing it. Story of all things that need the extra mile.
Walk the length of a marathon (~26 miles) in one day.
My friend is doing a walk from the Western point of Long Island (Long Island City) to the Eastern point (Montauk point), which is about 112 miles in 4 days. Continue reading
Random observation/comment #337: 150 years is a good run. I don’t think even water stayed free for that long. I just hoped there was at least one university left in this world that didn’t think like a corporation. Well… the other ones probably went bankrupt long ago…
- Cooper is no longer free.
- RIP Cooper Union
- I am no longer donating as an alumni
- They should have never built the NAB. I miss the smell of lead pencils in the engineering building.
- Well… Shit
I bled sweat and tears at Cooper for 5 years and it built the foundations of my education, curiosity, and passion towards learning. The professors challenged us, stretched us, and pushed us to achieve what I imagine can only be done after a third all-nighter in a row. And for all of this, I whole heartedly thank Cooper for its high standards and brilliant peers.