I started writing this maybe more than a year ago. I wanted to try a new update to keep in touch but fell off the idea of doing an e-mail newsletter. I think this is a good yearly public post format.

2020-ish

Overall, I’ve been fascinated by the ways people have turned inward and outward during the pandemic. A year or so after the NYC lockdown and life changing overnight, I’m trying to maintain better ties after turning inward for a year and not being present the one prior. A year of rootlessness contrasted with a year of what feels like a loss of freedom of movement and the basic ability to see loved ones has definitely made me think differently about connecting with people.

Bewildered at empty subway platform post-lockdown
Bewildered at empty platform post-lockdown

Personal

It’s been a jumble of contrasting years. I spent the pre-COVID times traveling the world with Remote Year before moving back to NY last fall, where I’ve been living the past few years. I’d been writing about that experience and on off here — a personal project/bit of brain dumping for my own sanity. It felt like I got back and COVID happened. The lockdown here felt very real. Weeks of ambulances wailing in empty streets and picking up my neighbors followed by weeks of unrest was quite a time to live in NYC. I didn’t talk to another person in person for 72 days and didn’t see my family in California for over a year. I thought this podcast was very informative on what the pandemic has done to our nervous systems. The year ended for me on a good note, having recently bought my first home.

Professional

I’ve been working at GroupM for the last five years and change, an advertising agency holding company. I’ve been a Product Manager building products to “democratize machine learning” for our agencies. A big emphasis in what I do now are privacy-first platforms as the advertising world finally pivots away from third party cookies and looks in the mirror at practices that have wrought havoc on the world. Parts of the process I’m enjoying are collaboration with technology partners, building Data Ethics products, exploring how we can build more sustainability in tech infra, and do advertising a bit better for people.

Things I’ve Enjoyed:

I really like sharing things I enjoy or think are important. Below are my greatest hits of the last few months:

Foods

From Empire Cake in NYC

As you all know, I love food. I’ve started a Food Instagram. A few pandemic break favorites:

Books

Movies/TV/Art/Podcasts:

Articles

In the tradition of WIP breakfasts I’ve gone to, I’m ending with an open gives and asks.

Give: Thoughts on product management, advertising, and digital nomad life when mobility returns

Ask: Any tips for a first time home-owner, first-time manager, and collaborating on data ethics/privacy/sustainability in tech

Hope you and your families are happy, healthy, and safe as you can be in these challenging times.

Product Manager working in privacy preserving machine learning. Taiwanese-American. Optimist in a realist’s clothing. Bit of a contrarian.