Michael He

September 23, 2022

Money during college

Is there a playbook of some sort for university students' personal finance? I think so. The pros are overwhelming: an early start in credit building, healthy habit formation, and relatively fast feedback loop in figuring out consumption, savings, and investing. No matter one's background, getting the system set up early and relatively ...
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September 21, 2022

Hot Sauce

Sriracha and Lao Gan Ma are two of the most interesting businesses and brands I've ever come across. There is something to do with focusing on the product, being prudent with money, never compromising on quality, and staying out of limelight.
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September 10, 2022

Traveling, or Traveling?

I was reading Phil Knight's excellent memoir Shoe Dog. Before Knight created Nike, he was an unemployed young man with a Stanford MBA and a brief career in the military. He decided to embark on a grand trip, becoming a globe-trotter when such idea was non-existent and most Americans never ventured far from their home, let alone go on a...
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August 14, 2022

Some thoughts on investing

I want to put some of my understanding of investing, the stock market (especially value investing), economics, and business together in this semi-thread, semi-essay. The reason to invest The most important reason we should invest in assets is due to inflation. Inflation reduces our purchasing power, so we should at least preserve what ...
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June 20, 2022

Simple Reckoning

Big moments of reckoning can come from simple things. I was listening to piano and started thinking about life. But unlike the usual contemplation, I started putting numbers on everything. I would not look at life the same again. There are fifty-two weeks each year and seven days each week. That means if I live to 80 years old, I will ...
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June 11, 2022

In This For Life (BTS Proof #1)

Today I am doing something stupid but personally significant. I am writing about BTS. Recommended music: Yet to Come (2022) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kXpOEzNZ8hQ It's impossible to fully capture who BTS is and what they mean to the world, but it doesn't stop "experts" from trying. Many of them fail for obvious reasons: bias, prejud...
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June 5, 2022

Simplicity Wins Credit

I should have listened to the person who told me one credit card is enough. Now I have three and hate myself for being so confused all the time. When I look at my bank apps, I see how much money I left on the table by using the wrong card. For example, when one card has higher cash back in gas, I instead used the other one because that...
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May 19, 2022

People: The Triumph of Happiness

Good music is a painting. You can tell it's good. Great music needs to have a bit more. You know it's good, but you also know there is something you can't quite figure out yet. You get attached to it, think over and over again, until one day you connect the dots and arrive at the epiphany. The truth couldn't be simpler. That is what yo...
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May 6, 2022

Run Clear of Bitterness

I don't really give advice anymore. If I say something that applies to people in general then it sounds trite. If I say something that is specific then it runs the risk of not being useful. But one thing is probably worth repeating over and over to people young and not so young. Don't stay bitter. Life sometimes gives us awful outcomes...
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May 5, 2022

Mathematical Growth

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April 20, 2022

One Year

A day drags on forever, but a year zips past in a hurry. March 2021 to March 2022 sped through like a rollercoaster. A year ago I started this blog. It started as a bet with my friend to see if I could write something for seven days. It turned into four weeks. Now it's been more than a year. I have learned so much about writing by doin...
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April 10, 2022

Life Is Not A Countdown

When I was driving on Friday, a thought came to me. Why am I living life like it's always a countdown? It's something I hinted at when I was writing about time management. After that I read Oliver Burkeman's Four Thousand Weeks again. It is an excellent book, perhaps the best book on time management written (Professor Adam Grant agrees...
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April 1, 2022

Invite The Future Today

I'm on a countdown. Six weeks from now, I will finish college and move on to the next stage of life. I barely feel time's passage. There seems to be so much more I could have done during the last four years, but I know that sentiment will exist whether COVID happened or not. Instead of looking at the past, I want to see the future. I a...
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March 21, 2022

Live for Three Weeks

Three weeks is as long as I can realistically manage my life. When I properly analyze how my months go by, I see repetitions of two weeks or three weeks at a time, adding up to fifty-two or what have you. The marker is rather arbitrary, usually a major personal event, mood swing, or the start of some major project (and sometimes relati...
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March 21, 2022

Do It For Two Weeks

I haven't learned much in my short life, but I know something that is important to understand - the difference between thinking about something and doing it. Without getting philosophical, I want to mention a simple rule that stems from this thought process. Whenever I think about doing something, do this thing for two weeks before mak...
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March 19, 2022

Long Substance

Graduation is only a few weeks from now. I should be nervous about what the future holds, but I’m trying my best to stay calm. It’s not about whether I have a starting job that pays six figures or not. It’s not about whether I achieve much in my early twenties. These things are cool to have, but not essential. Chasing them may be count...
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March 16, 2022

Read The Power Broker

The Power Broker is a book that changed my life. Three Aspects of A Great Book I ask three questions about every book I read. Is it enjoyable? Is it repeatedly insightful? Does it move me in a personal way unrelated to the entertainment or learning aspect? The Power Broker easily answers these questions. In fact, I came up with these q...
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March 15, 2022

The Four Stage Narrative

There is a fundamental difference in the narrative structures between East Asian and Western culture. I was listening to BTS's Love Yourself trilogy (Her, Tear, Answer) and noticed two details. The first is the hanja (Chinese character) attached to each album: 承 for Her, 轉 for Tear, and 結 for Answer. The second is the hanja associated ...
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March 13, 2022

Rethink Productivity

I don't like how mainstream culture and media define productivity. It's narrow and somewhat perverse. In my opinion, creating things you enjoy (which doesn't have to be of value to others) is inherently productive. It's not the mere action, which can be passive, but the process of making something new and often profound. Productive is ...
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March 9, 2022

AGUST 29

Min Yoongi (Suga) turned 29 today. I'm just going to write in a stream-of-consciousness style about Yoongi, while listening to all of his produced songs. Holy shit that is a lot of songs! The playlist came out to be 36 songs, around 2 hours. And these are only songs he produced, not written! Essentially, Yoongi produced three albums wo...
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March 7, 2022

The Soft Album Disruption

Things change slowly, but the accumulation of small improvements will eventually reach a point where people can see in hindsight. This soft disruption is happening in the music merchandise world right now. The concept of a music album is going through a complete remake, especially in K-pop. K-pop is redefining the idea of the music alb...
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March 2, 2022

Make Time Or Go Insane

Work is like a blackhole. It will suck every minute of your waking hour, if you let it. It will occupy your headspace ad infinitum, if you let it. Our mind doesn't work like a water faucet, so thoughts and emotions and more emotions burst out the spigot-less mind and drive us nuts. Translate that to day-to-day life (especially since CO...
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March 1, 2022

Your Ignorance Is Not My Problem

Upon hearing about Lee Jung-jae 이정재 and Jung Ho-yeon 정호연 winning the 2022 Screen Actor Guild Award for their stellar performance in Squid Game, I knew one thing immediately. Some journalists are going to ask some dumb questions. And that happened. Kudos to the two actors and the wonderful interpreter not letting this get to them. Here'...
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February 27, 2022

Take That Leap

There are some things that if you don’t it, you will regret it forever. Even if it comes at a great cost, it’s worth doing. For two of my four years in college Berkshire Hathaway held their shareholder meetings online. That was not within my control, but this year it is. There is simply zero reason not to go. Money is not an excuse. I ...
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February 26, 2022

Back To Fiction

I recently started reading fiction again. That hasn't happened regularly for many years. Mandatory reading in high school certainly destroyed my interests in reading fiction. At the same time, I was not making the best use of my time, even when I had more free time from not reading. The only time I remember reading fiction was during s...
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February 26, 2022

Thoughts About Tweet Length

I've been thinking about writing on Twitter lately. I don't know how to do it well, but good tweets (note: not the same as viral tweets) probably have something behind them. Tweet length Assume each word is 6-7 characters (an arbitrary parameter) and a space bar, 280 characters equal 35-40 words, or 3-4 sentences. Essentially a short p...
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February 22, 2022

College Math Courses Have Failed Us

I recent read an op-ed "why won't anyone teach me math?" The author Abigail makes salients points I deeply resonate with as a humanities-turned-math major. Given how rare that transition happens, I have thought about it a lot. This is a semi-compendium on the topic. “Unfortunately, it is difficult for students pursuing humanities and s...
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February 21, 2022

Small Moments Are All We Have

Today wasn’t productive by any account, but it felt wonderful. I read a fascinating story in bed to start the day. Then I walked to Trader Joe's to buy flowers for my friend's recital. After the recital, I walked around campus, spoke with someone I haven't seen for two years, ate some fresh chicken tenders, and started writing this pie...
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February 20, 2022

The UCSB Dorm Controversy Is Overblown

Charlie Munger has been in the news lately. Media outlets are blasting Munger for bankrolling a dorm and shaping its architectural plan at UC Santa Barbara. The controversy (since fall 2021) centers around the lack of natural light for bedrooms. While the story is sensational, it says less about Munger and billionaires at large and mor...
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February 15, 2022

Michael's Life Manual

After taking a long walk, I decided to write down some principles I live by. They are in no particular order. Proactive serendipity is my approach to life. Proactive means we can choose and stay open-minded. Serendipity means to believe in goodness and accept the outcomes even if they don't fit our image. Have a bias for action. If I c...
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