Grandma Rozzie

When my grandma was 17 years old, she made up her mind that she wanted to leave her friends, family, and home in Munkacs, Hungary, and emigrate to America. Her parents wouldn’t have it. So she did it anyway. It was 1937.

Here’s the photo from her US Certificate of Naturalization:




I could spend the entire rest of my life trying, and I’d never catch up to being this poised, this collected, this cool.

Self-Driving Cars, Part III

Last month I wrote about my favorite aspects of Self-Driving Cars. I explored more deep-future stuff… not just empowering disabled people to use vehicles, but the implications of autonomous vehicles on real estate and city infrastructure.

In the first week of July, Google Co-Founders Larry Page & Sergey Brin sat down for a 40-minute chat to discuss their vision of the future. Watch the video or read the full transcript here.

Here’s a quote from Brin:

“If you look at the self-driving cars, for example, I hope that that could really transform transportation around the world, and reduce the need for individual car ownership, the need for parking, road congestion and so forth.”

And another:

“I hope [self-driving cars] can be a really dramatic change. Off the bat, of course, there are the many people who currently cannot get around if they’re too old, too young, disabled and so forth. But that’s still just a fraction of the population. I think the bigger changes can come to the community, the lifestyle, the land use. So much of our land in most cities, about 30 to 50-percent is parking, which is a tremendous waste. Also, the roads themselves, which are both congested and take a lot of space are just unpleasant. So with self-driving cars, you don’t really need much in the way of parking, because you don’t need one car per person. They just come and get you when you need them. … Fundamentally, they can just make much more efficient use of the space and therefore, people’s time. So I think that can be really transformative.”

And a quote from Vinod, the interviewer:

“I love the car, because it’s such a radical transformation economically. The way I look at it, it costs $300 a month to lease a car or hiring a driver is $300 a day. A driverless car is a 97-percent cost reduction in the cost of a driven car, making it cheaper than a car you own probably. So it completely changes economics.”

Glad to see we’re all on the same page.


Last weekend a friend of mine asked me about 9/11.

I was raised in suburban New York, and lived there until 2005 when I moved to St. Louis.[ref]Where I’d argue I did most of my actual Growing Up.[/ref] Luckily nobody in my immediate circle was directly affected by the events that day.

I was in Social Studies class when news broke. As I remember it, a teacher’s assistant came in to our classroom, said “there was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center,” and left the room most likely to continue spreading the news. Our social studies teacher — the teacher most uniquely suited to guide a proper discussion or lesson — I think got quiet for a few moments before steering us back to our regularly scheduled programming. I’m sure we had a very busy agenda that day.

Incidentally, I don’t really remember any specific thing I learned from Social Studies that year.

On the other hand. In fifth period Art, our teacher started the class by saying “we’ve got a lot of work to do, but something is happening today that’s really important.” She told us all to collect our books, and brought us to the library where we spent the next 40 minutes watching the news on the one communal TV in the building. We watched one of the towers fall. I don’t think anyone asked very many questions; we were mostly silent and afforded the opportunity to absorb what was in front of us. Surprisingly there weren’t many other classes of students sharing the space with us.

No shock here: I don’t really remember any other specific thing I learned from Art class that year, but I do distinctly remember that.

I don’t mean to in any way diminish the very real ramifications of what happened on 9/11… but one of the best lessons I take away from the experience is about perspective: Having the vision to understand when something really important is happening, and having the wherewithal to take action accordingly.

It’s great to be absorbed in work and fill your schedule up to the brim — and I’m often there — but if you don’t have the perspective to pick up signals as they’re flaring… you’re lost.


Hard to believe I’ve been doing this blog thing for over six years now.

Luckily there’s that whole archive thing running down the right side of the screen now. You’re probably going to click over there now and see that it’s mostly trash. Sorry. I used to be terrible at this.

Thanks for sticking with me, though. If the past is any indication, things will only get astronomically better from here.

Business College.

I did one of these the the last time I finished a school. A quick, far-from-exhaustive memory dump of all the favorite things I can think of which made the last two years of school so special.

RC Fall:

  • “Good Morning, Section F!”
  • The Asis cold call
  • Correctly guessing the answer to a Finance case on a cold call
  • The Erik Stafford impression and response
  • The FYC parties, and the Spee
  • Singing mom “Happy Birthday” in class
  • The Marketing Midterm drinking game
  • My office, and the conversations and cups of coffee with everyone
  • Old Josh / Young Mark

RC Spring:

  • Retrocade is REAL
  • Drinking on the roof in SF with Abhishek
  • The spring formal Skydeck
  • Road trip through the south
  • Formal drinking night
  • Traveling through India by train, and through Goa on motorcycle
  • “Shubi-dubi-doo”
  • Shabbat dinner

EC Fall:

  • Goth night
  • The renaissance faire
  • day trip to Portland, ME
  • Dinner night
  • MIT parties
  • “Otto’s run”

EC Spring:

  • Book of Mormon
  • The ski trip
  • Anosh’s Wedding. Broadly, Anosh’s incalculable generosity and hospitality. Specifically:
    • The beach house in Limbo
    • staying up all night to swim in the ocean at sunrise
    • Choreographed bollywood dances
    • Going to the sauna for a schvitz
    • The leisure dive
  • Travel through China. And Specifically:
    • Gambling on War.
    • Eating deep-fried honey bees
    • Eating soup dumplings
    • 24 hours in the 24-hour massage hotel
  • Lunch in Inman Square
  • Making the Movie in Sao Paulo
  • Bike ride across Boston
  • Bar hopping in 1920’s gear
  • RallyPoint
  • Playing catch for physical therapy