Making My Own Luck

When I was 15 years old I worked as an intern at an New York-based Internet marketing company, MediaTrust, who happened to be one of the fastest growing private companies in America during the summer of 2009 (Inc. magazine ranked them #9). And I loved it. From taking the train into New York City every day, to becoming introduced to Shake Shack, and daily trips to Jamba Juice with my great friend Herwig, I learned a lot by even just walking the streets. This was the summer when “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas was at the top of the Billboard charts, and I know that Herwig and I truly felt like lucky guys.

During my exit interview with one of the leaders at MediaTrust, Trip, exposed me to two thoughts which have influenced my behavior ever since:

  • Don’t rely on luck. Make luck happen for yourself.
  • Communicate better. Many of life’s problems are rooted in communication failures.

 

Those two pieces of advice have stuck with me because this conversation was one of the first moments when I realized that my destiny is up to me to determine.

I never had great grades in school, so I didn’t often feel that I could control the destiny of getting into a great college. But when it came to making things on the Internet and selling them, I knew I could make my own luck by reading online and then performing experiments with the knowledge that I had gained. And so that’s what I did, and that’s where I excelled.

When I learned about Y Combinator and Paul Graham during that same summer from my co-workers at MediaTrust, I became inspired to find a repetitive problem in my life, and mechanize a solution with technology. I learned that I could make my own luck with the right preparation and the right opportunity. But perhaps equally important, I learned that thought leaders in technology companies and startups, such as Paul Graham, are great communicators.

Paul Graham’s essays gained the loyal readership of programmers and other hackers, who provided the seed for what became Reddit and then Hacker News. Likewise with Peter Thiel, his book, Zero to One, is now one of the best selling business books of all time. Their clarity of thought is the product of years of thinking deliberately on how to distill their experience and intuition into words. It’s something I admire very much about them and seek to emulate in all of my communications.

Looking back on my experiences since 2009, it’s clear to me that many of my “lucky” successes were developed by a combination of me vigorously pursuing a specific goal, in addition to clear and succinct communication that helped to relay my story. From writing to the Thiel Foundation about how I wanted to change the world, to my application essay at Wake Forest, to writing about “bacn” on the Glider blog and having that picked up by BBC News, my great strides have relentless execution and strong communication at their core.

I’ve spent much of the last six months working on the first part of this equation, making my own luck: writing code, drawing user interface designs, and purely executing. I am building a flight deals application: Concorde. I believe the last six months has been one of the most creative periods in my life. But I know that my dedication to writing has lacked focus during this time. Over the coming months, I am aiming to share more about my specific decisions for why and how I am building Concorde, because I’ve gotta feeling that my success depends on it.

Ciao and arrivederci.

31

01 2016

Is Postmates driving the next wave of credit card fraud?

I recently signed up to be a Postmates courier in order to make a few extra dollars on weekends, and to gain a better understanding of how the on-demand economy operates. The on-boarding process was simple and easy: a background check, 30-minute demo at Postmates HQ, and finally activation on their courier app.

One particular Saturday a few weeks ago, I logged on to the Postmates courier app and I accepted orders as they were typically dispatched: two coffees from Sightglass, a burrito from Chipotle, a bottle of Advil from Walgreens. Then an unusual order popped up: a Samsung Galaxy Tablet. Woo! I accepted the order right away and proceeded to the Metreon Target to pick one up. I was excited to see this order, because as the Postmates community manager noted during his demo, orders for high-priced electronics typically correlate to higher tips.

I arrived at the Metreon Target and purchased the ~$300.00 Galaxy Tablet with ease: As a new courier for Postmates, I did not yet have a dedicated “Pex” card (a corporate debit card used for making purchases) with my name on it. But the store clerk had no issue. I identified myself as a Postmate and she processed the transaction.

I was on my way with the Galaxy within just a few minutes of entering Target, and I headed just a few blocks north towards the customer’s address on Geary St, near Union Sq. Then the situation started to get fishy…

 

The customer called me to make sure I was able to pick up the Galaxy Tablet. I assured him I had just picked up the Galaxy and I would be arriving within a few minutes. He said, “Ok, good, but I’m not at the address. But I’ll be nearby. Call me when you are nearby.”, with a screechy and nervous sounding voice.

Minutes later, I was passing through Union Sq, and I called the customer to let him know I was nearby. He answered, and immediately notified me to meet at the South-West corner of Union Sq, at Geary and Powell. I became more suspicious, knowing that my prior Postmate deliveries required delivery at an exact address listed in the app. However, eager to complete the delivery, I continued to the corner of Geary and Powell, and I waited.

After a few minutes of waiting, I called again to notify the customer that I was at his desired meeting place. He answered and let me know that he was right nearby, and will be arriving wearing a green jacket. All of the sudden I realize that I am on one of the most densely populated pedestrian walkways in San Francisco. Thus, a meeting in a highly public place is probably for the purpose of anonymizing the transfer of goods. This was a dangerous situation.

A minute later, a scrappy man in a dirty green jacket walks up to me (as I’m holding the Target bag), and I transfer the bag with the Galaxy inside. That’s it. I reported the sketchy circumstances of the transaction in the Postmates order feedback, but I haven’t heard anything since.

Below are some photos of the customer walking to his (presumably homeless) buddies who were sitting on the sidewalk at Mason and Geary St. He approaches them, gives a high-five, and then walks away, and disappears into the Jack in the Box, and a $50 tip appears in my Postmates app.

What do you think? Have you heard of any similar scenarios?

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31

12 2015

The Attention Credit Card

I’m six months into the “real-world” and I’m just at the beginning of my perpetual “last semester”. The last semester has no pre-determined endpoint, and if I’m not careful, it can lead to a deadly “default setting” in life, as David Foster Wallace puts it. Wallace is right, the day-in and day-out grind, which involves primarily “boredom, routine, and petty frustration” comprises a large chunk of adult American life.

I believe escaping from a mind numbing default setting involves arranging for a multitude of inputs in one’s routine experience, from exercise, to socialization, and being a participant of the local community. However, amidst all of the inputs, I’ve found one primarily anecdotal experience to be true: most humans have about four hours of concentration each day. Let’s call this four hour capacity the attention credit card.

My day starts soon after the sunrise, often around 7:30AM, with an immediate check of my emails, the New York Stock Exchange, and headline news, all from my bed. No intense concentration required. Next, already into my routine, I walk over to the gym in my building for a quick 10-15 minute run most mornings, followed by push ups and a short ab workout. By 8:00AM, I hope, my endorphins are just starting to turn on, as I plan for my first hour of concentration. From 8:00AM – 9:00AM I’m working on my side projects. Whether I’m working on reducing dependencies in a database schema, debugging a Javascript error, or researching stock picks, I typically burn my most energetic hour of attention towards the most creative and risky projects that I can undertake.

Next I bike 15 minutes into SoMa to visit the office where I work. I spend my first minutes there eating breakfast, catching up with office mates (socialization), and then I’m back into the zone. I’ve got another two hours of attention credit to burn thanks to a tasty breakfast and a good night’s sleep. Tackling work-problems head-on, whether it be an analysis of paid advertising campaigns and developing new creatives in response, or a small change to a webpage, my attention credit whittles away down to just one hour remaining after lunchtime.

By mid-afternoon, with lunch calories kicking-in, my last hour of concentration is my best shot at completing my tasks of the day on time and with attention to detail. Beyond 5:00PM, my attention credit is maxed out, and my brain is beginning to search for more energy.

I mention the attention credit card because as of recent months, I’ve found myself coming up with interesting ideas for research and writing, but left with little willpower to execute on them and type away at the keyboard. For example, today I am writing this piece around 9:00PM PST, at the end of long day in my default setting, which drained my best concentration before dinner time into the infamous “busy trap“. I am writing less because when I pretend that my attention credit card is limitless, I lack the will power to write anything at all.

It’s up to me to remind myself that time spent during early mornings and weekends on writing is well worth the effort as well. I have to choose to write, and more specifically choose to concentrate on writing well. Here’s to more reflection and writing over the next six months.

30

11 2015

Horror Vacui

Recently at Skynet HQ I was recommended the book Universal Principles of Design (Revised and Updated) by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler. As someone who has much to learn about aesthetic and the tested heuristics for which to think about building things, I gained a lot from reading this book. I liked it so much that I bought five extra copies and sent them to a few friends.

One reason I like the book so much is that you can read just a few pages at a time and learn something new every time you open the book. This is made possible through an intuitive layout: pages on the left-side introduce 1 of 125 design principles through clear and concise text, and on the right-side a real-world example displays the given design principle in action. The book’s explanation of Horror Vacui is one of my favorites.

Horror vacui— a Latin expression meaning “fear of emptiness”—regards the desire to fill empty spaces with information or objects. In style it is the opposite of minimalism. Though the term has varied meanings across different disciplines dating back to Aristotle, today it is principally used to describe a style of art and design that leaves no empty space.

I enjoyed learning about Horror Vacui so much because this feeling describes the thoughts I’ve had myself when building websites in high school and my first product, Glider. Likewise, young entrepreneurs who come to me for feedback on their early prototypes often try to cram an excessive number of things into their space constraints. This feeling, Horror Vacui, is rooted in the value perception that more visible things is actually more valuable. However, as the book points out, this is a false perception; it is a feeling that often occurs due to a person’s lack of affluence, or a lack of education in aesthetics training.

It may be that the inverse relationship is actually between the affluence of a society and the perceived value associated with horror vacui— that is, for those accustomed to having more, less is more, and for those accustomed to having less, more is more.

If your goal is to create a design that has associations of high perceived value, the book suggests, “favor minimalism for affluent and well-educated audiences and horror vacui for poorer and less-educated audiences, and vice versa”. Easy examples include the minimalist high-end shops of San Francisco’s Union Square, which stand in stark contrast to the over-filled display windows of the shops in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Ironically it is often the stuffy Chinatown shops that are selling faux versions of the products that for sale in the minimal Union Square shops. I wonder how a minimalist store in Chinatown would be perceived?

Here’s the full contents on Horror Vacui:

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21

10 2015

Why so few solar panels in San Francisco?

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This photo captures a beautiful view overlooking the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco. While this view does much justice to the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge and the surrounding Bay Area, I am writing this blog post for another reason: the utter lack of solar panels.

In a city that sees sunlight on an average of 260 days each year, it’s surprising to see that very little of that sun is being converted into energy! And especially for a city which prides itself on being exceptionally progressive and forward thinking, San Francisco leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to sustainable energy production.

My relatively small and rural hometown of Montgomery, New Jersey likely has more solar panels than many neighborhoods in San Francisco. I think the development of solar panels (or lack-there-of) comes down to two issues, (1) public policy and (2) the economics of the installation.

New Jersey has some of the best government subsidies for solar installations despite having far less open land for large installations, and receiving far less sun than more southern states. For example, by exempting installations from any related tax burdens (sales and property tax), and offering significant rebates, New Jersey is well on its way towards meeting the Renewable Portfolio Standard, a regulation requiring 22.5% of New Jersey’s energy production to come from renewable sources by 2021.

After a preliminary visual inspection, it appears that San Francisco stands to contrast the great progress made in New Jersey and elsewhere in California. I am curious, why is this so? Is the strong residential rental market leaving property owners with little to worry about? Why are there so few solar panels in San Francisco?

03

10 2015

First Hand View of the European Migrant Crisis

The ongoing European migrant crisis in nations such as Italy, Greece and Hungary has had frequently fatal consequences for refugees traveling from Syria and other war-torn nations in the Middle East or North Africa. While this news topic has often made headline news in 2015, it’s rare for me to have an opportunity to see beyond the camera lens. A few weeks ago while traveling with my family in Messina, Italy, I had the chance to see face-to-face a few of the millions of unfortunate victims of violence and oppression.

Italian Navy in Messina, Italy rescuing refugees.

 

From the point of view of the cruise ship my family was staying on, the ultimate juxtaposition presented itself: A luxury cruise ship with passengers awaiting their next cocktail, right beside the Italian Navy who are rescuing refugees from a dinghy lost in the Mediterranean Sea. It was a humbling experience to watch women and children first exit the Navy vessel, stepping foot on European land for the first time, with just the clothes on their back and maybe a small bag. The migrant crisis is a fight for survival, as documented by this excellent article, “What Refugees Bring When They Run for Their Lives“.

Fortunately the Red Cross and many other humanitarian organizations are offering immediate assistance for the refugees who make it safely to Europe. The Pope has even called on all European Catholics to take in refugees if they have the means to do so. As you can see in the photo below, the refugees are first inspected for illness and disease before being bussed to a temporary housing location. This is what today’s Ellis Island looks like:

Italian Red Cross Messina, Italy

 

Video of this scene where I took photos was later aired on BBC News and various other International media outlets. But the media will fade, and this is just documentation of the beginning of their journey. Most will take refuge in central Europe, and many may never return home ever again.

What is next for these refugees? I don’t know exactly. But the collective story of over four million individuals and families displaced, people who are being pushed to the extremes of human willpower, is bound to shape the economic and political landscape of Europe for decades to come. May these struggling refugees not be forgotten, for they provide a certain reminder that freedom is never free.

How to Help

Donate:

Migrant Offshore Aid Station

UN Refugee Agency

Or, host a family, similar to this creative German Airbnb-like community: “Airbnb for Refugees

16

09 2015

Not All Stock Analysts Are Created Equal

What if we tracked professional stock analysts similar to the way that we track professional sports players?

The NFL, NBA, MLB and many other sports organizations are well-known for taking a data-driven approach to selecting their teams in recent years. Many of you even know the popular book and subsequent film, Money Ball, which tells the story of the Oakland Athletics’ success. They were the first MLB team to discover that a player’s on-base percentage is a better indicator of “offensive success” than historically valued statistics such as batting-average.

What if there is a similar story out there in the stock market? I’m sure there is. TipRanks is off to a great start.

TipRanks tracks stock ratings published by the ~5,000 professional stock analysts in the U.S.. Specifically, TipRanks measures the performance of each analysts’ ratings 1-month, 3-months, 1-year, and 2-years out, and then calculates the average performance of each analyst.

The truth is that most of the 5,000 analysts underperform the market. However, TipRanks’ “Financial Accountability Engine” lets the top-performers really shine through the fog: Every day TipRanks updates its results for the top 100 analysts; meaning people who not only consistently outperform the market, but people who also make better picks than everyone else who rates stocks for a living.

I subscribed to TipRanks six months ago, in February, and the results have been very promising. Since February, my modest brokerage account with ~$2,000 is up over 40%. Here is a table of my performance:

2/3 picks made money. That’s not exactly a sure bet, but it’s beating the odds of emotional investing. And if you look closely, you’ll see that a few big wins which count for a majority of the gains. But that’s the whole point. TipRanks exposes casual investors to the big wins that the top analysts are consistently predicting before the rest of the market. (Similar to how Y Combinator exposes casual angel investors to the most promising Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.)

For example, Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Regulus Therapeutics, and Cytrx Corp, all currently have upside of over 100% in the next quarter, as rated by at least one of the Top 25 Analysts on TipRanks. By trading based on suggestions from top performing analysts, I’m much more likely to see strong gains in at least 2/3 of these up and coming healthcare companies. And importantly, as a casual investor with just a couple of thousand dollars in a brokerage account for experimentation, I am seeing meaningful gains.

Previously I was an emotional investor, such as when I bought shares in Tesla because I thought their technology was cool, or when I invested in Delta Airlines because I’ve flown them frequently in recent years. Now, my human algorithm is simple and rational:

  1. Login to TipRanks and scan the recent “Buy” ratings from the Top 25 Analysts
  2. Research the companies with strong upside
  3. Submit a trade, and then hold for a few weeks.

 

If you’re interested in continuing the TipRanks conversation regularly, ping me to join the Wall Street group I’ve started on Skynet.

Disclosure: Previous earnings do not guarantee future performance. Trade at your own risk.

10

08 2015

Focus

Having returned back to the startup world for over one month now, one word that I have been reminded of repeatedly is “focus”. Focus means doing one thing really well, not a handful of things decently well. I work on user experience at Tsumobi, a startup company focused on building a Peer-to-Peer instant messenger, Skynet.

In the startup setting, having focus is critical, because startups are always resource constrained, whether it be money or time. With a limited amount of human capital each day, it’s important that our team choose the right things to work on each day. In fact, our very livelihoods depend on our ability to block out distractions, and simply focus on completing the tasks that we choose.

Perhaps it seems obvious on the surface, but once internalized I believe its even more powerful. The power of focus, I believe, is the ability to quickly make decisions. Focus helps me choose opportunities that push forward towards my goals, and quickly decline or hold on opportunities that lead to alternative outcomes.

Paul Graham often talks about the two tasks software startups need to focus on:

  1. Writing code
  2. Talking with users

In his essay “Startups in 13 Sentences” he wrote:

“Though the immediate cause of death in a startup tends to be running out of money, the underlying cause is usually lack of focus.”

PG is saying that teams losing focus is very often a pre-requisite to a company running out of money. This may be no surprise, considering that focus is counter-intuitive to exploratory thinking encouraged in liberal arts education models, that humans lose focus frequently. Or especially considering that more adults than ever are taking focus-drugs. The business of focus is a good one all around. Productivity tools, eye glasses, SPAM filters, and more, all in the pursuit of focus.

During Peter Thiel’s years leading PayPal, he similarly identified focus as a top management priority. For example, he was known for requiring PayPal employees to identify their single most valuable contribution to the company during their annual review, in addition to limiting business discussion to each employee’s single priority. His approach drove focus and encouraged the pursuit of excellence towards each person’s singular priority. (Peter Thiel’s Philosophy of Extreme Manager Focus)

So, to quote my friend James Beshara (co-founder of Tilt): Whatever you’re working on, make sure you’re working on it”.

19

07 2015

Artsy Link Scheme Exposed

Soliciting links is wrong. Unfortunately, exceptionally smart, creative and well-funded companies still participate in this kind of activity that manipulates SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages), such as Artsy. Last week, Theo from Artsy reached out to me regarding a blog post I had written a year ago after having participated in JR’s InsideOut Project in Shanghai:

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JR is one of the most well-known artists in the world, having gained fame after winning the TED Prize in 2011 for his portrait photography and public art installations. Meanwhile, Artsy is a talented and well-established startup that has successfully brought the art world online. Artsy’s business depends on capturing the attention of as many art galleries, dealers and collectors as possible.

Artsy recognized that they could gain the enormous amount of organic search traffic that well-known artists generate by building out great content resources. Simply put, ranking on the first page of Google for terms such as “JR” would likely bring Artsy much of the attention that they seek to capture, and thus act as a source of lead generation for their other services to the art world.

Currently Artsy sits on page 5 of the results for the term “JR”:
With much room for improvement in their rankings, Artsy chose to solicit unnatural links in order to boost their rankings towards the first page results, which is in clear violation of Google’s guidelines.

The page that Theo from Artsy refers to is the URL “http://jmarbach.com/2014/06“, which is an archive of the posts that I had written last June, and this only provides further evidence to speculation that his “finding” was likely the result of a scrape for “JR” or similar terms.

Not to mention, if Theo had simply read a little into my blog, he would learn that I am probably not the best person to contact when soliciting links:

Back in December 2013, I wrote about one of New York City’s other big tech startups, Rap Genius, who also attempted a link scheme in bad faith, and they paid a heavy price: Rap Genius’ rankings on Google were pushed down to the sixth page for results, including search terms as simple as their own company name at the time, Rap Genius.

Rap Genius experienced a penalty that Google calls a “manual webspam action“, which are “…actions taken by the manual webspam team that directly affect that site’s ranking in Google’s web search results”(Matt Cutts). Again, it continues to surprise me that companies such as Artsy, who have $50 million in the bank, participate in deceiving link building activities. And again, we’ll see what Google decides for their efforts.

11

06 2015

Containment and Liberation

This is exactly the title of one of my favorite courses at Wake Forest — “Containment & Liberation” — a section of English 111 that I took in the Spring of 2013. After a year of work under the Thiel Fellowship, I returned to Wake Forest, and I spent many of my days wondering if I was being contained or liberated.

The course description reads as follows:

How does American society contain individuals and groups through its institutions, structures, and policies? What prisons — both literal and figurative — entrap Americans? In what senses and through what means is liberation possible?

My journey through college, I realized, was an exploration of this narrative, “Containment & Liberation”, and I think discovered a few metaphorical prisons along the way.

The Academics

Language and mathematics are the areas of study that I think are fundamentally important to college education, or education more generally. Language is not the alphabet (most of us go through college trapped in the Indo European alphabet), and mathematics is much more than proofs and equations.

Students can explore language through a variety of ways, such as foreign language learning, the dissection of political propaganda, or literature analysis. Additionally, most colleges offer students many avenues for learning mathematics and how math applies to our world. For example, biology is just chemistry, which is just physics, which is just math.

I believe that deeply exploring language and mathematics is critical to developing a holistic sense of place in the world. Courses that I took in Computer Science, English, and Linguistics are courses where I found a consistent liberation from my previous ways of thinking; they were courses where I mainly found the ability to express myself freely or develop new understanding. Though, I’m sure other students could report the same experience for a variety of disciplines.

As far as I can tell, the academics at nearly all top colleges are pretty similar. I am willing to bet that academics at Wake Forest are at most 2x better than competing institutions, with particularly high quality quality classroom experiences in the humanities and business courses, and much room for improvement in disciplines such as engineering. Thus, the content of a Wake Forest education (or any college) is hardly unique or distinguished.

For example, the Computer Science student at Wake Forest is —required— by the accrediting institution, IEEE, to complete the same set of courses as the Computer Science student at Harvard or University of Illinois or any other college that seeks to maintain its accreditation.

So, what is unique? The professors are unique. We pay (theoretically) for access to their attention and for their guidance through difficult textbooks or a variety of course materials. The difference between Wake Forest and other schools is that classes are small, and when a student screws up on a test, most professors will reach out directly to offer their assistance.

Social Life

This is one of those topics where one might say, “If you don’t have something good to say, then don’t say something at all.”, however I feel compelled to share my thoughts on this topic.

Greek Life currently dominates the social scene at Wake Forest. The institutional research statistics purport that only “50%” of students participate in Greek Life. These statistics are grossly manipulated because they are calculated during the Fall semester, during which the freshman class, 25% of the student body, is unable to participate.

Besides that, I have found that the pervasiveness of Greek organizations creates a social atmosphere that places prizes on the many identity divisions and exclusions on campus that they create, rather than a culture that promotes unity, as in “Proud to be a Demon Deacon!”.

Not to mention some fraternities cost upwards of $5,000 per semester, fraternity pledges suffer for a semester as servants (dare I say slave?) to their “college educated” “brothers”, and all of the untold stories of post traumatic stress unnecessarily caused in many young adults.

There are a variety of reasons for the popularity of fraternities at Wake, including a lack of extensive night life options in Winston-Salem, though Winston-Salem is improving as a college town. However, I did not select a college with the thought of joining a fraternity and I did not join one during my time at Wake. I don’t advise that anyone join based on the behavioral stereotypes that have been reinforced through my own experiences.

Housing

I think it goes without saying that the housing system is over-priced for the quality of the facilities. Wake Forest (and many other colleges) earns nearly $20,000 in rent for small dorm rooms (two roommates at $9,000 each, plus summer programs). I would be in favor of a system that prices rooms based on the quality of the building, location, and other amenities. Why not charge more for the new dorms versus the less popular buildings?

Despite the high cost of on campus college housing, I do believe this is one of the greatest selling points for higher education today: the residential college experience creates serendipity and proximity with peers and that’s hard to find in many other places.

Was it worth it?

“If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?”

It is questions like this that I think a humanities based education is supposed to help the human mind answer.

The short answer is that it depends on who you are asking. The simple answer that Martin Porter, a reader of The Guardian newspaper, once wrote:

The traditional answer is that it makes a sound but not a noise – noise being a subjective judgement.

My analogous question is, “If we drop off an 18-year old boy from New Jersey does it make a difference?” Yes, it makes a difference. More than anything else, I developed many relationships, challenged my mind in the classroom, and found a place to grow independently for the first time in my life. I was contained at Wake Forest and my mind was liberated.

120 credits, 4 years, thousands of hours of studying, friendships made, friendships lost, a mind expanded. And $250,000. (Ouch!)

To be sure, I feel a sense of sorrow to see one door close, especially because Wake is a place where I invested a lot of my time and developed strong relationships with many talented people. But still, I find myself filled with excitement to move past this stage of my life and redirect my energy towards building things once again.

Closing

I would like to congratulate my wonderful sisters Megan and Melanie who graduated from Loyola Maryland and Fairfield, respectively, this month. They are an inspiration to me and I am very proud of their efforts towards their accomplishments.

Lastly, I would thank my Mom, Sherry, and my Dad, John (Sr), who have supported and guided me throughout all of my life. They deserve much credit which I will always be unable to repay.

31

05 2015