Blog

Scenes from Silicon Valley

August 20, 2019

It’s been just over two years since I first moved to Silicon Valley.

Ever since I wrote Scenes from New York, I always intended to put together another collection of photos for the San Francisco Bay Area. But two years is a long time. For Scenes from New York, I had only been living there for nine months. The city was still new to me, and I could still comment on it as if I were an outsider.

But here, now, in California? I’ve gotten used to its quirks, its advantages, and its dysfunctions. That makes it harder to talk about this place objectively in a way that people from the outside would understand.

But still, I’m going to try anyway.

Read more…

The Hierarchy of Conflict

April 17, 2019

I’ve talked before about how negativity and criticism are crucial to growth and should be preserved. This time, I want to talk about conflict.

I’ve found that I have pretty differing reactions when I see or participate in conflict, depending on the situation.

If I see a couple bickering about whether or not they’re going to go out for dinner, I generally don’t have a good reaction. It tends to be a shallow argument, they’re probably hungry and in a bad emotional state, and ultimately one day eating in or out (usually) doesn’t matter.

There’s a more constructive version of this though.

Read more…

Caring

December 20, 2018

For a brief moment, the wireframe fibres constructing the world were visible. But in the blink of an eye, they vanished, and the man found himself in a comfortably decorated, warmly-lit room with a short, dark-haired woman who looked to be in her early thirties.

She smiled at him. “Welcome back. It’s good to see you again. How have you been?”

Read more…

The Chasm of Culture

May 27, 2018

If you know a bit about me, you’ll know that I grew up between multiple cultures: my mom’s side of the family lives entirely in Brazil, my dad’s side almost entirely in Portugal, and I myself grew up in Canada. Those three cultures have some pretty profound differences, from Brazil’s laissez-faire looseness, to Portugal’s focus on social rituals, to Canada’s more British-style aloofness and distance when compared to the other two.

I was exposed to all those cultures young enough that I internalized the different aspects of them. I grew up knowing that these different sides of my family and social groups acted and expected to be treated in different ways, and managed to find a way to center myself in the common ground between them while adjusting myself to fit them wherever necessary.

It’s led to a lifetime of feeling a bit like a misfit no matter where I go, but it’s also helped me have a broad perspective on a wide variety of different issues. I consider that outlook and perspective to be a very fundamental part of who I am today.

But even that kind of upbringing didn’t prepare me for the culture shock I would be exposed to when, as a kid, I moved from downtown Toronto to a semi-suburban neighbourhood in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Read more…