Ask Me Anything

Answering Anything & Everything

In the past year, I have been answering absolutely anything people have been curious about. This is the result. You can ask more questions here.

What's your favorite t-shirt?

This one. Somewhere near Dubai.

Selfie please!

Meeting one of my inspirations, Steve Wozniak, in 2016.

Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck?

One horse-sized duck. I could never fight duck-sized horses. They would look too cute.

What is your dev environment?

I use a MacBook Pro (15 inch, Mid 2015) and Sennheiser HD1 Wireless headphones.

My most used apps are Firefox, Sublime Text, Slack, and Spark...

What is your favorite book?

The Brother's Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Can you share a screenshot of your desktop?

Taken January 28, 2018

Dock: Finder, Safari, Firefox, Spark, Calendar, Photos, Messages, FaceTime, Slack, Things, Bear, iTunes, Spotify, Terminal, Settings, CLion, Sublime Text | Code Quick Links, Creative Quick Links, Downloads Folder, Trash

How do you get stuff done?

Being able to reuse a lot of code (modules) easily means I can glue things together faster, hence producing more things. Other than that it's all about discipline. I'm highly passionate about making things. I prioritive work, fitness, and spending quality time with friends over other stuff like social media, TV, surfing online, etc. Sometimes too much so...

How do you avoid burnout?

Meditation, plenty of sleep, workouts, and good eats. My normal weekday:

  • Wake up around 7 to 8 AM and meditate.
  • Walk to the gym and do yoga and workout (MWF = full body, TuThS = cardio).
  • Shower, bike to a coffee shop or campus.
  • Hack until around 5 PM. "Hack" being coding, emails, studying, etc. I usually start by reading some emails, planning out a good workflow, looking through my todo-list. After a while, my brain has woken up and I'm ready for work.
  • Meet up with friends for dinner somewhere or cook at home.
  • By 8 PM I cut off all electronics (phone, computer, etc.) and spend an hour to journal, read, and meditate.

In the weekend I'm usually busy with other activites around the Bay Area, or something spontaneous.

How to be rich?

You don't want to be rich. You want to be happy. Then again, I once told this to a friend and they replied "por que no los dos", which translates to "why not both?". So make of it what you will.

What languages do you speak?

English, Python, Spanish. In that order. Other programming languages, too, retracted for brevity.

Preferred social media?

I rarely use social media anymore. In fact, I believe we should all take a hard break from it.

Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive, said the following in November 2017: "The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it's not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion." See more of what he said here.

If you think about tweeting something witty, don’t. Say that witty thing to people around you, to people on the bus, people at work, people at school. Say it to people at coffee shops, at a protest march or in a city council meeting or at a school board election. Run for local office. If you’re running a startup, log off your account and look up from your laptop. This can be your first effort at corporate philanthropy. Donate to the ACLU. Volunteer to help immigrants assimilate. Send some cash to Trump. I don’t care. If you live in a small city, lead the hundreds of amazing people in an effort to enact change. If you’re international, reach out. It will be individual citizens who change things. Log off your account and do something.

If you are a programmer and you haven’t contacted your favorite investigative journalists, the folks at ProPublica, or anyone at your local paper, log off your account and do it. Journalists need your technical expertise to secure their devices, set up secure drops, and understand the data coming out of the countless leaks that are sure to come. You are vitally important.

Delete your account and build something if you want to fight back. Delete your account and do something if you want to support an agenda. Facebook posts are meaningless. Twitter is a way for us to feel smug at misspelled rants from the White House. Ignore their false produce and read real news from a real source you trust. Pay for media. Understand that journalists are as baffled as you, but thanks to experience they have the means to tease out truth. But they can’t do it alone.

No matter what side you’re on, no matter how much glee you get in funny memes and clever retorts, delete your account. The world doesn’t exist on your backlit high-resolution screen. It exists a few degrees up and out, out where people are marching, deals are being made, and the world is changing without you.

Delete your account. The world needs you.

How do you feel about the universe possibly being a computer simulation?

While I enjoy movies with that theme, like The Matrix, I’m gonna go with Occam’s razor when it comes to simulation hypothesis — the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Numerous of these hypotheses see the universe as they wish it to be, rather than as it probably is — particles exhibiting a degree of randomness, as described by Quantum Mechanics. I tend to favor science-based theories with experiments, and I stay up to date with research from CERN, especially findings related to the Standard Model. There are still more questions than answers.

Are you interested in stock markets?

Yes, but not heavily involved at the moment. I have some shares in Apple and Berkshire Hathaway, but I'm currently more invested in my own projects than other companies.

In hindsight, what advice do you wish someone had given you at age 20?

Be spontaneous. Be crazy. Do what other people say you can’t. Grow up, not dull. Question all the things. Prefer quality over quantity of friends. Prioritize family. Optimize for happiness. Use money to buy time and experiences, not stuff. Don’t be afraid of asking people. Travel. Experience. Get rid of useless material things. Simplify everything, including your life. Love.

What sort of games do you like to play?

I like playing chess, and will strike up a game with my roommates frequently, but other than that I don’t really play games anymore. I used to really enjoy playing Age of Empires 2, Civilization, and Skyrim.

What is your favorite quote?

"I don't want learning, or dignity, or respectability. I want this music, and this dawn, and the warmth of your cheek against mine." - Rumi

What is your favorite song?

29 #Strafford APTS by Bon Iver.

How fast do you type?

104 WPM. I’m not a fast typist, but that doesn’t matter. What you type is what matters. You should want to type as little as possible. The more you type, the more bugs you introduce. I use most of my time thinking. The typing part is easy and doesn't take very long.

How do you relax?

I exercise, it’s a great way to clear my head from work. I read books on my Kindle, hangout with friends and family, play piano, and when traveling, explore new places and get lost.

Do you use Vim?

Absolutely. Check out these awesome vim plugins from across the universe. If you haven't learned vim, definitely check this out!

How much do you sleep?

8–9 hours a night. Getting enough sleep is extremely important. I normally go to sleep around 22:00–23:00, but it depends on when I have to get up.

Who are your heroes?

I don’t have any heroes. There are people I respect and admire, but in the end, we’re all just human. I admire my dad for his kindness and compassion. I'm inspired by Elon Musk for his infatuation to move the human race forward through his master plans of electricity and space travel. And I admire Steve Jobs for bringing us Apple and Pixar. I'm grateful for meeting Steven Traversi, the one who inspired me to study computer science at Berkeley.

Do you want to have kids?

At some point, yes, but not for a while. 2 or 3 children. I would want to raise them outside the city, with lots of nature and animals.

Do you believe in God?

No, I’m agnostic. I think anyone should be free to believe in whatever they want. I live by certain philosophies, some of which are captured by Neil deGrasse Tyson as follows: "The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you."

What’s the most ridiculous thing you've overheard?

Walking by two students at Berkeley, I heard one explain, "This is the tree where I saw the squirrel war."