When’s the second joke?

I went to a comedy show tonight.

A guy got up and started his set by saying ‘alright, joke one’.

He went on for a bit, told a bunch of jokes and got some good laughs.

‘I’m going to finish by taking questions,’ he said, ‘do I have any questions?’

The room was quiet.

‘When’s joke two?’ I broke the silence.

Everyone laughed.

He went through the entire set without announcing joke two.

The question was playful but obvious. The best things are.

Moral of the story? If you want to ask something, ask. Sometimes you’ll be greeted with a room full of laughs. And that’s always a good thing.

The Lantern Comedy Club, New York City

The Lantern Comedy Club, New York City

The Regular

The cafe I often go to write their orders on the bench with a whiteboard marker.

When there’s too many orders, they wipe them off with a cloth.

My order is on the bench before I even get to say it. They know it off by heart. One day I’ll walk in and it’ll be at the table I always sit at.

I go there in the morning to write and drink coffee before work. The combination makes me feel alive.

Ordering coffee doesn’t take much time. I could order the same thing everyday without a worry. But being a regular feels good.

When people know your name and know what you’re about it makes you feel important. Everyone loves to feel important. It keeps you coming back for more.

How do I have my coffee?

Black, always.

I’m sitting opposite Matthew McConaughey

It’s definitely him.

I can hear his voice.

My heart is beating faster than usual.

But why? He’s just a man.

I went over to meet him.

‘I’m Daniel, nice to meet you,’ I reached out my hand.

‘McConaughey,’ he shook it.

‘Where are you headed?’

‘New York.’

‘What are you up to there?’

‘Got some work.’

‘I love Tropic Thunder, my friends and I were quoting it the other night.’

‘Thank you.’

I walked back to my seat.

I was nervous but is the same as excited. 

He was calm and collected. And you could feel his presence at the same time.

That’s the persona I want to carry.

God is but a bold man who devoted himself to a craft.

 

 

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The best $250 I've ever spent

‘Do you have a Queensland driver's licence?'

'Yes,' I replied.

'Well, you should know you're not supposed to stop at bus stops,' he continued, 'you'll be getting a fine in a couple of days.'

'Okay, thank you,' I wound up the window and drove off.

'That sucks man, that guy was a dick,' my passengers felt sorry for me.

'It's alright, these things happen, how was your night?'

We chatted for the next 30-minutes or so.

'Do you think I should see go on another date with her?' He showed me a photo of his latest Tinder match.

'She's not my type,' I said, 'not enough hair for me.'

The girl in the photo had a shaved head.

'Yeah you're right, it's different, but I think I like it,' he got out of the car, 'thanks, mate!'

I ended the trip. We had a good conversation so I rated them 5-stars.

There was no one on the highway. Pure open road. Driving at 3 am has its perks. Plenty of time to think.

'I'm not driving Uber anymore,' I thought to myself.

I parked the car, went inside and into bed.

More thinking.

'I won't have an income for a while, how will I pay for things?'

'I'll figure it out.'

The fine came a couple days later. It was $250. 6-hours driving and I made -$37.


The next day I peeled myself out of bed. Waking up was always an effort after going to sleep at 4 am.

My schedule for the past year had been, study Monday-Friday and drive Uber Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday.

It was Saturday. I was supposed to be driving Uber later that night.

I remembered what I said to myself before going to bed. All of a sudden it seemed a lot harder.

Driving Uber was the easy option. I loved meeting new people every trip. But it wasn't for me anymore.

'Well Daniel, better do something about it,' is probably what someone would've said if I told them my dilemma.

'You're right,' is what I would've replied.


I went to the cafe and posted on LinkedIn.

'Hey data science community, I'm looking to get involved in the field and would love your recommendations on who I should follow.'

The past year, I'd been studying my own Artificial Intelligence Masters Degree. It wasn't an official Masters Degree but I gave it that name for the placebo effect.

The post got lots of replies. People were commenting and tagging other people.

I spent the next couple of hours messaging every single one of them.

Ben_Taylor_Screen_Shot.png

Ben told me to become an expert in my field.

'How could I be an expert, I've only been studying for a year?'

I figured instead claiming to be an expert, I could share what I've been up to.

So I did.


A couple of days later, Ashlee sent me a message.

'Hey, Daniel, bit of a random thought but would you be interested in an internship opportunity?'

We talked some more.

'Mike will catch up with you to find out more about what you've done and what you are interested in so they can position you,' she said.

'Okay, where should I meet him?' I asked.

The next week Mike and I met at Brew cafe.

'How did you find the float tank?'

I read an article on his LinkedIn where he told a story about going into a sensory deprivation tank. I'd been in one too.

'It was spectacular, you fade away into nothing,' Mike said.

I agreed.

If you haven't yet, go in one.

'What are you looking for?' Mike asked.

I didn't really know. I'd been studying online but hadn't had any experience putting what I had been learning into practice.

'Experience,' I replied, 'online courses are great but I'd like to contribute to something tangible.'

'The crossover of technology and health is what interests me most,' I continued.

'If you get in front of someone, you'll get a job,' Mike went on, 'I think you should meet my friend Cam.'

I'd been thinking of moving to the US to get a role in tech.

'What do you think about the US?' I asked Mike.

'It's the holy grail for this stuff, but Brisbane is good too, I think it would be good if you got some experience before heading over.'

'Good idea.'

Mike paid for the coffees.

'I'm off to an interview at Code Camp, thank you for this morning.'

'No problems, talk soon.'

Mike and I shook hands.

I walked down the street and up to the Code Camp offices. Charlie offered me a job as a teaching assistant for school kids learning to code on their holidays. I said yes. But it wasn't anything long term.


Two days later, I booked a one-way ticket to the US.

I had no plans but to get on the ground and meet people. Then maybe someone would like me enough to offer me a job.

My thought pattern was, 'If you want to learn French, go to France.'

I wanted to learn the latest in technology innovations so I was going to Silicon Valley.

That was the good reason. The reason I told everyone why I booked it.

But the real reason was I didn't think I had it in me to get a job in my hometown. So I decided to run away. To the other side of the world.

It was 99-days until I'd fly out.

Then Mike messaged me introducing me to Cam.

'How about we meet up on Monday?' Cam asked.

I had no commitments set in stone since I was creating my own study schedule.

'Sure,' I replied.

Our chat went much the same as with Mike.

Health, technology. Health and technology. A little writing and creative work. These are the only things I talk about.

'What do you think of the US?' I asked.

'It's great,' Cam said.

'I've been thinking of going.'

'You can always go, it will always be there.'

I didn't tell him I already had a flight booked.

I was secretly hoping he'd tell me to go. I was scared of going on my own decision, I wanted someone else to back me up.

We kept talking.

'What are you after?' Cam asked.

Mike told me to be specific. He was right. Everyone's time is valuable, always be specific.

'Experience in the real world,' I said, 'I've been learning these skills online and I believe I can help your team.'

'What's your week like?', Cam asked, 'can you come in on Thursday?'

'I'll be there.'


Thursday came around.

I was scared again.

Then I remembered someone telling me being scared uses the same hormones as being excited. I flipped the switch in my mind.

I was excited. And I should've been. I'd be given a chance at an internship.

So I made a video about it.

When I first walked in it was so quiet. 'I can't work here,' I said to myself.

'This isn't me.'

I like talking to people. A lot. The quietness wasn't my jam.

Then the day went on, and I realised it was quiet because people were working. Working hard on difficult things. That's what I wanted to be doing.

'Oh, so this is how it works,' I thought.

When I was at Apple, there was never a quiet moment. Lots of busy work rather than deep work.

I went home.

It went better than expected. As always. Everything turns out better than expected.

The next two Thursday's went the same. I was working with Athon and Conor manipulating some data.

'Dan, Athon, how about we go for a walk,' Nick, the CEO, said.

We went to the coffee shop down the road.

'I'm all for them, I'm not a fan of driving,' I said.

We talked about self-driving cars for 30-minutes. Then it died off.

'So, how have you been liking it?' Nick asked.

'It's been incredible, I've been learning so much.'

'You've been doing some great work,' Athon added.

Athon was the machine learning team lead. Hearing that made me feel good.

'How would you like to come on board,' Nick asked, 'into a paid position?'

I wasn't being paid for the internship. Which was fine. The experience was payment enough.

'Let's do it,' I said.

'Okay, sweet, well we'll get an offer together and get it to you by Monday.'

We shook hands and went back to the office.


Around the same time, I was talking with Sal. He was the founder of another company.

Mike introduced me to him as well.

Sal and I were having coffee.

'We'd like someone like you on board to help build a community around what we're working on,' Sal said.

Sal had checked out the work I had been doing online.

I was making YouTube videos about what I was learning as well as plenty of posts elsewhere, LinkedIn, Medium, GitHub.

I'd turned into a human frozen yoghurt machine. All output.

'How about you come in on Friday and meet the team?'

'I'll be there.'

I went in on Friday evening and met the team. They were great.

'Thanks for tonight,' I said.

'No worries,' Sal said, 'I'll be in touch on Monday.'

Monday was the day Nick was going to call me with an offer.


Monday came.

I missed Nick's first call. My phone was on Do Not Disturb. It's set automatically every morning until 12 pm so I can study without being distracted. Probably not the best move when you're expecting a job offer call.

I called back.

'Morning mate, how was the weekend?' Nick asked.

I told him and asked about his.

'We'd like to bring you on as a junior developer at $X per hour,' he said.

'Wow, that's awesome,' I was stoked. Then I remembered someone told me you can always negotiate the first offer.

'I'm definitely interested, but how much wiggle room is there on the rate?'

'What were you thinking?'

'I know I can help your team, with what I've been learning in media as well as artificial intelligence, so I was thinking somewhere around $X.'

The key with counter-offering is to make it about the other person. Instead of what they can do for you, what can you do for them?

My counter offer was 30% higher than the original.

'Okay, I'll discuss it with the others and see what we can do, then get back to you this afternoon.'

'Sounds great! Talk soon,' I said.

We hung up.

My heart was racing. I'd never negotiated pay before. Especially before even having a role.

I knew I would've regretted if I didn't. So I had too. If it scares me, I have to do it.

Nick called back.

'Hey Daniel, we've thought about your offer and would like to meet you halfway at $X.'

The new offer was 15% higher than the original.

'Done. I'm in.'

'Can you come in on Wednesday?'

'Yep, see you then.'


I went in on Wednesday. I was nervous (excited) again.

It was happening. I was starting the role I had been studying for. All much faster than I thought.

I made a video about it.

My first day was April 25. 6-weeks before I was supposed to be jet-setting.

My flight to the US was booked for July 6.

I told Sal I took a role at Max Kelsen.

'All the best Daniel!'

I didn't cancel the flight because I wasn't sure whether I'd stay.

I was in two minds.

One part of me wanted to see where the new role would take me.

The other part of me didn't want to be 43 and saying, 'I really should've gone to the US when I had the chance.'

Now I'm writing this from a cafe in San Francisco.

I didn't cancel the flight. I rescheduled it to September 12. And booked a return flight.

And then yesterday, I visited LinkedIn's San Francisco Headquarters. What an epic place.

LinkedIn_Offices.png

I'll be touring around the US for a couple weeks before heading back to Brisbane to work on a new project we've got at Max Kelsen.

We're going to be using artificial intelligence and genome data to try and predict the outcome of immunotherapy treatment in cancer patients. The project is called Immunotherapy Outcome Prediction or IOP for short.

The crossover of health and technology. Exactly where I want to be.


I had three job offers and a new job within four days of deciding I was going to stop driving Uber. Then a new job within three weeks.

How did this happen?

I have no idea.

Well no, I have a bit of an idea. But I'll never be able to explain it for sure.

When I made the decision to stop driving Uber, I devoted everything towards finding a different role.

I was posting on LinkedIn every day. Reaching out to people multiple times per day.

But it wasn't this alone which helped.

The past year I had been studying hard and sharing my work online. I hadn't been paid a cent for the articles I wrote, the videos I made.

I knew the way I was studying wasn't conventional. I wasn't going to end up with an official Masters Degree. So I needed a way to differentiate myself.

That's when the human frozen yoghurt machine began.

Instead of consuming, I began creating. Every day, I had to create something otherwise I would feel sick.

Someone smarter than me told me, 'It's not what you know, it's who you know.'

Then someone else said 'It's not who you know, it's who knows you.'

So I needed a way for people to know me. And the internet provided it.

The light bulb moment was when I realised I could use platforms I was already browsing every day to create the life I was after.

But the thing is, no one calls you up and tells you this.

YouTube is there but the CEO isn't going to call you and ask you to make videos.

LinkedIn is there but the hiring manager of your favourite company isn't going to say, 'Hey you should be posting more often, it could end up in you getting a job here.'

Everyone can blog but no one is going to tell you to write about what interests you.

You have to choose yourself.

I chose myself.

People had a way of finding out who I was.

Then instead of being a resume in a pile, I was a person.

People relate better to people. It's hard to make a connection to a piece of paper with a name and a list of credentials.

A year ago, the web startup we built failed. So I decided to start learning machine learning.

I had no job and university was too expensive so I wrote my own curriculum.

I worked through it Monday-Friday and drove Uber on weekends to pay for courses. And repeated this week in, week out.

Until one day I grabbed my balls and decided it was time to stop driving Uber and chase after what I really wanted.

And then the other day, I received these.

Max_Kelsen_Business_Cards.png

I began reaching out to people on LinkedIn because I didn't know what to do. So I asked for advice.

I asked Cam and Mike what they thought about the US because I was unsure of how it would turn out.

Now I'm in the US and more excited for the future than ever. But I still don't know how it will work out.

Well, what's next?

I don't know. I don't think too far ahead.

Instead, I try make every day a good day.

A good day involves learning something, creating something, moving my body and talking to the people I love.

String enough good days together and you've got a good week. A few good weeks makes a good month. A dozen good months equals a good year. Enough good years and you'll end up living a good life.

Doing the things you set out to do always feels good. And even if you fail, you'll have a good story.

Choose yourself for a year. The whole universe will get behind you. And you'll be surprised where you end up.And if it's in San Francisco, I recommend Blue Bottle Coffee.

Getting that parking fine is the best thing that's happened to me all year.

Source: http://qr.ae/TUN3oh

All you have to do is reach for the next rock (and not let go)

We were rock climbing the other night. I was up to the purple rocks.

There was this one path I kept falling off. You hold on with your left hand, and both your feet then your right hand reaches out. That’s when I’d fall.

I’d grab the rock with my fingertips. Get it with a good hold. Then my feet would fall off and I’d hit the mat.

So I gave up for a bit. Then went and climbed some other rocks. And made it to the top a few times. Making it to the top boosts your confidence.

Not finishing a certain path over and over gets addictive, you know. We humans are hard wired to finish things we start. Even if it’s having negative effects on us. In psychology, they call it the sunk cost fallacy.

‘I can’t leave now,’ I said, ‘I can’t leave until I get it.’

Eddie was giving me helpful tips.

‘Use your feet Dan,’ he said, ‘keep your hips close to wall, once you get to this rock, you’ve got it.’

Easy.

I rubbed chalk on my hands. The chalk absorbs the sweat. My shirt and pants were covered in chalk.

I grabbed on. All four limbs on different rocks. Up, up, up. Right to the rock I’d fallen off before.

‘KRRKKKK,’ my fingers gripped on. Better than anytime before. It was skin on sandpaper.

My feet were gone but I wasn’t letting go.

Then I reached out to the final rock with my left hand. Another good hold.

All I had to do was meet my left hand with my right and I’d be done. I did it. Then I let go and fell to the mat.

I walked across to Athon and Eddie. We fist bumped.

What was different about this time?

I didn’t think. Like Nike, I just did it. I let it happen. I got out of my own way.

Eddie was right though. Rock climbing is a metaphor for life.

Don’t look down.

Use your legs.

Hold on tight.

Onto the next one.

You have to continually take the risk to fall. That’s where the value is.

You fall off and you try again. And again. And again.

Then it happens.

My hands are still stinging. It’s a good sting.

A bunny rabbit pushing a lawn mower

Down the middle of the street.

Which was strange because roads don't have grass.

It was walking on two legs and 3 feet tall.

Coloured balls were popping up and down in the centre of the mower.

The rabbit got closer. Its ears were the only things covered in fur.

Then the blue bucket hat gave it away. It was a little boy. Walking his toy lawnmower down the street.

I had two dogs in one hand and a bag of dog shit in the other.

I let the little boy keep going for a little bit.

'His parents shouldn't be far behind,' I thought.

They weren't. They weren't far behind. They weren't anywhere.

'Hey little dude, you should come off the street,' I called out.

He pushed his lawnmower towards the sidewalk and got off the road.

He was determined. He kept walking the direction I'd come from.

I kept walking the other way. 'Better not,' I thought. Then I stopped. And turned around.

His hat had Isaac across it in white letters.

'Isaac, where's your mummy?'

Isaac kept walking and turned the corner. He had his lawn mower across over his shoulder. The bunny rabbit ears were still sitting high.

I followed close behind. He knew where he was going.

'Isaac, where's your daddy?'

He didn't respond. He was on a mission.

200 meters ahead a lady was running around from house to house. Isaac's mum.

I walked out on the street and held up my dog shit hand to wave. The bag swayed back and forth. She turned and started heading towards us, must've seen the waving dog turds.

'Good morning,' I said.

'Where'd you go?' she picked up Isaac.

He didn't respond.

'See you, Isaac.'

Isaac's mum didn't say anything else. She looked panicked.

I didn't say anything else either.

I turned around and found a bin. Then kept walking.


Going for walks is a good time. You're moving your body. You're moving your mind. Walks are great for thinking.

If you want adventure, you don't always have to travel far. It could be a 5-minute walk from your house.

You never know what's going to happen.

You might run into a bunny rabbit mowing the street.

Then it becomes a story.

And the next time someone mentions mowing the lawn, you can say, 'did I tell you about the time I saw a bunny rabbit mowing the street?'

And they'll ask, 'What?'

And you’ll say, 'Well, I was going for a walk...'

Adventure is closer than you think.

The same clothes 3 days in a row

 ‘I didn’t have to run today,’ she said, ‘you boys are so lucky you don’t have to wear heels or dresses.’ She was talking to me and other guy at the bus stop. We all catch the 7:17.

Yesterday she had to run. The bus was pulling in but she wasn’t close to the stop.

Today is the third day in a row I’ve worn the same clothes. I changed underwear and socks though, I’m not a monster.

Wearing the same thing means I don’t have to decide what to wear. I’ve been trying to reduce my wardrobe for the past couple of years.

Less wardrobe means less decisions. Better decisions. Less but better.

Eventually, I’ll have 10 copies of the same shirt and 3 of the same pants. Pants don’t get as dirty as shirts do for me. Then it’ll be the same outfit everyday. 

What happens when your crutches fall away?

Quora is down. I've been answering questions on there lately.

Writing an answer to a question feels different from a blog post. With a question you know there's definitely someone on the other side.

You can be that person's guru if you write well.

A blog post can answer a question, it can create a question, many questions.

When I found out Quora was down I thought, what could I write?

Stumped.

Quora had become a crutch. Something for me to lean on for inspiration. Rather than creating my own fire, I'd rely on others to start it for me.

My brother is in a moonboot right now. One of those big braces to keep your leg in check.

I wore one once. Walking up the concrete ramp to the train station sucked. It was hot. I could feel the sweat piling up inside the boot. When I took it off to sleep it smelled like a change room. A stale change room.

"If it doesn't get better in a few days you might need a full leg cast." the doctor said.

A full leg cast for tripping over on the beach. My friend and I were racing to the water. I won but paid a price. The sand underneath the water had potholes. In went my right foot and over went my body.

We swam for two hours. No issues until I got out of the cold water. Walking up the beach was a challenge. We were supposed to play touch football that night. "It's alright guys, I'll still make it."

I didn't make it. I went to the hospital.

My right big toe was chipped. You could see it on the x-ray. A pathetic chip but still chipped. I hobbled to the bus station with a moonboot. I'll be going to that same bus station this morning. I'm working on a project at the hospital.

Working with the boot was a pain in the ass. It was 3-inches off the ground. I couldn't move anything from my knee down. And my hips were getting sore from walking on different angles.

"I'm going to do some repairs and sit down," I said.

"No worries Dan," she replied.

Sitting down was worse. I never liked the chairs we had. The thing at the bottom always got in the way.

Enough complaining. I took the boot off three days later. Putting my shoe on hurt but it was better than wearing a boot. "I'm not getting a full leg cast. This thing is going to heal up." I told myself.

It worked. I never put the boot back on or went back to the hospital, until today.

"If you don't need a cast, it should be fine to take the boot off in 4-6 weeks." the doctor said.

My pathetic little chip was either dust on the X-ray or I've got magic powers.

Crutches aren't a bad thing. They hold us up and let us heal. They take the pressure off. And they come in all shapes and sizes.

Except crutches become a problem when you rely on them too much. They're inconvenient to carry around all the time.

I was leaning on Quora for inspiration to write. What happens if Quora ceased to exist? Stop writing? Not an option.

I should've been leaning on myself.

You might be leaning on something too. If you are, you're probably not giving yourself enough credit. You're stronger than you think. Do you need it?

Sometimes crutches can hold us back from getting better. Ditching the boot meant I had no choice but to get better. Smart? Eh. Choose your battles.

Quora being down means I had no choice but to write this post.

Losing one crutch is great reason to write about how you got rid of another. And throwing them away is a great way of saying, "I'm doing this, whether I like it or not."

Saying that enough times is more potent than any medicine.