- Justin Phu
Explore and Exploit
It has been a year and half since I was lucky enough to move to the bay to start work at Facebook. I thought it would be a good time to think about why I wanted to move out here in the first place.
My belief is technology is not a zero-sum game but can has the amazing ability to improve everyone's life. Silicon Valley, from what I could tell, was one of the leading areas driving technological advancements. However, I my plan was not to the bay, join a company and start trying to change the world. Instead my plan was simple - I came to learn from others. I came to learn from all the talented engineers who have solved hard problems, learn what problems were out there to solve and what tools were available to be levered. The congregation of talent was what excited me about Silicon Valley and the ability to talk to various people working on vastly different problems. Frankly, I came to learn where I could uniquely make a difference. The dream is pretty cliche, I know, but it is my dream nonetheless. Given that, the point of moving out here was to explore.
However, with the turn of 2020 I quickly realized that I could not go exploring without having a solid foundation. Over the last 6-8 months, I have built a foundation both in my personal life and in my career. Personally, I know the habits I need to solidify to be productive and happy. In my career, I've found a fantastic team and a vision that I'm excited to work on. In these foundational areas, I need to stop exploring and finding the next new thing but focus on exploiting.
The areas where I need to continue to explore are my initial goals when I moved here. These include meeting new people, expanding my breadth of things people are working on, and learning new skills. In 2020H2, I assumed I'll just wait until post COVID to start this exploration but I think in 2021H1 I need to find mechanisms to adapt.
Thus, the theme of 2021H1 is to explore areas that have been neglected and continue to exploit areas that I've found to work well.
A good framing exercise is to ask, "At the end of 2021H1, what would you be happy to have achieved?".
Here are some high level goals to achieve:
Learning - Being able to explain and excite others about various ideas and concepts.
- The metric will be measured by the posts that I've written. Being able to concretely look back at my posts and see what I've learnt will be a great goal.
Foundation - Feeling effortless when it comes to habits and health.
- The metric here will be my sleeping score, exercise score and habit consistency. One day I'll look back and wonder why it was so hard for me to get such simple habits in play. The feeling I get with doing ending my showers with cold water (which I haven't missed for over 3 months) I hope to achieve with all my habits.
Work - Becoming more efficient at work and focusing on the things that uniquely match your skill set.
- The metric is working less than 50 hours a week. What I define as "working" is the time in the morning that I touch the first work related thing to the time I stop the last work related thing. Note, the reason this time is fairly high - I'll count eating dinner as "working" if I am thinking of work or plan to go back to my computer after eating.
Objective 1: Learning
Being able to explain and excite others about various ideas and concepts.
[P0] KR: Mindless is used to reflect on OKRs and Sprints
- This captures being able to work on mindless and put it in a state where we can leverge it.
- Pretty much a copy from last half OKRs :P
[P1] KR: Write a post every two weeks.
- This can either be an internal post at work or on my blog.
- There are plenty of ideas to write about! - the book I'm reading, mindless project, anything technical.
- These are likely going to be arbitrary quality and length - the goal is this is a forcing function for me to think a little deeper about the work I'm doing and the things I'm reading.
[P1] KR: Read a book a month.
- How hard can this be :P
Objective 2: Foundation
Feeling effortless when it comes to habits and health.
[P1] KR: Compete in a tennis tournament
- This will involve continuing to develop my tennis skills, coaching, and maybe joining a club. At the end of the day, it will probably be a social tennis tournament but let's see!
[P1] KR: Sleep score >80 and Wake Up Consistency Score >80(?).
- Sleep score last 3 months has been: 79, 82, 72. Let's aim to keep it above 80 always!
- Wake Up Consistency score - I want to ensure we're waking up at the same time (the time we sleep will be measured by the sleep score). I'll have to adjust this to a reasonable goal as I see what changes this metric.
[P1] KR: 90 sessions of meditation.
- For reference, we did 41 sessions of medtation in 2020H2
- Calling this out individually to the routine since it is a focus area.
[P2] KR: Activity score >85.
- Self explanatory :)
[P2] KR: Complete the morning/night routine for 90 times
- This is kept on the metric of completing the routine. However, what the routine is defined as will vary. This is a feature not a bug :)
Objective 3: Work
Becoming more efficient at work and focusing on the things that uniquely match your skill set.
[P0] KR: Have a daily deep work block
- Have at least one focus block per day to get the hard things done and develop.
[P1] KR: Work less than 50 hours a week.
- Again, to clarify this is the moment I decide to start working (e.g. pick up my phone or read an email) to the moment I'm finished working.
- This includes, not checking anything related to work when we decide to stop.