Q4 2017 Review

Better late than never. Here is the review on my personal goals in Q4 2017.

Yearly Goals

  • Running 200 miles (61%) – I added 16 more miles in Q4, and ran 121 miles total in 2017.
  • Reading 24 books (125%) ✅ – I read 7 books in Q4, and 27 books in 2017.
    • The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins –  Perspectives from an atheist. It’s hard to believe that this book is written by a prominent academic.
    • The Dangers of a Shallow Faith by A. W. Tozer
    • Hillbilly Elergy by J. D. Vance – A frank personal memoir that gives an insight into the culture and life of working class white Americans.
    • Shoe Dog by Phil Knight – A candid story about Nike narrated by the founder and chairman, Phil Knight.
    • Brain Storms by Jon Palfreman – About the journey to find cure for Parkinson’s Disease from an award-winning journalist with first hand experience of the disease.
    • The Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. DeMarco – Garbage.
    • 지렁이의 기도 by 김요한 – 새물결플러스의 대표 김요한 목사의 기도에 대한 간증을 담은 책. 새물결플러스에서 출판된 양서들과 김요한 목사의 글들과는 전혀 다르게 대중적이고 체험 위주의 책이다. 지성과 말씀이 기반이 된 영성과 성령이 주는 진실함과 깊이가 남달랐다. 새해에는 기도에 힘써야겠다.
    • 과학시대의 도전과 기독교의 응답 by 우종학 – 무크따 (무신론 기자, 크리스천 과학자에게 따지다)의 저자, 우종학 교수의 새 책. 과학시대를 사는 무신론자와 기독교인에게 기독교 신앙이 가지는 의미는 무엇인가. 과학의 발전이 기독교 신앙에 미치는 영향은 무엇인가. Francis Collins의 The Language of God 이 생물학자의 견해가 반영된 책이라면, 이 책은 천문학자의 견해가 반영된 책이다. 강추.
  • Winning 1 competition ✅ – In Q4, I worked mainly on 4 competitions as follows:
    • KKTV Data Game 17.11 (4/40) – I teamed up with Herman, a colleague at Microsoft Taiwan, and won 4th prize. It was a small competition only with 40 teams, and still I couldn’t finish top 3. What a humbling experience.
    • WSDM Cup 2018 Track 2 – KKBox’s Churn Prediction Challenge (7/575) – I teamed up with Vietnamese Kagglers (Tam, Henry, Laam), Hang, and Song. My team finished 10th out of 575 teams. #2, #4, and #5 teams on the private leaderboard were disqualified for the prize, so our team’s real rank would have been at least 7th. The team, who finished 6th on the private leaderboard and won the 3rd prize, consisted of undergraduate students from Peking University. Very impressive! Anyway, Hang presented our solution at WSDM Cup 2018 Workshop in Marina Del Ray.
    •  Caesars Customer Gaming Valuation Prediction (13/108) – For this master only competition, I teamed up with Hang and Song. We finished 13th out of 108 teams. It’s always fun to watch and participate in “Star” wars. A grandmaster, Michael’s team took the 1st place on the public leaderboard for a long time till the end, but ended up missing the prize last minute by finishing 4th on the private leaderboard. The Kaggle version of Avangers with 5 grandmasters that finished 7th on the public leaderboard slid to 58th on the private leaderboard. Such a dramatic turnout. 🙂
    • Zillow Prize 1st Round (88/3,779) – I entered the competition too late to team up with others, and spent just enough time to qualify for the 2nd round, where top 100 teams from the 1st round can compete for $1.15MM prize. 😅
  • Writing a book on Kaggle ❌ – No progress. I need more motivation and planning for this…
  • Reading the Bible ✅

Weekly Goals

  • Reading 1 paper ❌- No progress
  • Writing 1 blog post – 17% completion in Q4 with 2 articles
  • Writing 5 pages of the Kaggle book ❌- No progress

Daily Goals

  • 20 pull-ups (68%) – The average of 13.6 / day
  • 100 push-ups (24%) – The average of 24.3 / day
  • 2 prayers ❌- 1% success
  • QT – 33% success
  • Writing 1 article of any kinds ❌- No progress

In December, I was down with flu for 2 weeks, and couldn’t achieve many goals as I planned. The lesson is that to meet the goals, I need to work extra harder while I’m not sick. “Never walk when you can run”.

Now it’s a new beginning in 2018. Looking forward to a more fruitful year!

Workout Routine in 2018

In 2018, I will do weight training for the first time in my life. I’m reading Michael Matthews’ Bigger Leaner Stronger and will follow his advice on diet and weight training.

In short, it will be:

  • High protein, slow carb, and low fat diet rather than no carb diet
  • Compound exercises rather than isolation exercises
  • HIIT (high intensity interval training) rather than regular cardio

Since I won’t have time to hit the gym mostly, I will start with bodyweight exercises as follows:


I will report how it goes later.

Happy & healthy new year, everyone! 💪


한국에서 진작 40이 된 친구들에게는 미안하지만, 난 엊그제 39이 되었다. 😎

38 광땡의 해였던 지난 한 해는 이직과 (잠깐 창업도) 이사, 큰 애 유치원 입학, 아내의 은퇴 등 많은 일들로 바빴다. 덕분에 올해는 적어도 이직, 퇴사, 이사, 입학과 같은 큰 일은 없을 것 같다.

불혹의 40 전 마지막 한 해는 내 자신과 가정, 직장, 교회에서 내실을 기하는 해로 삼겠다. 새로운 것을 시작하기보다 지난 해까지 시작한 많은 일들을 꾸준히 계발하여 하나 둘 씩 마무리 짓고 결실을 거두었으면 한다.

일례로 내년에는 몸짱이 되겠다. 고등학교 때까지 팔굽혀펴기 하나, 지난 해까지 턱걸이 하나 못했는데, 지금은 하루에 팔굽혀펴기 100개, 턱걸이 20개씩 하고 있다. 올해에는 더 체계적으로 다른 운동들과 바른 식생활과 병행해서 40의 나에게 건강한 몸을 선사해야겠다.

사실 이런 계획이 무색하게도 지난 열흘 간 아파 누워있었다. 이주 전 시애틀 출장 후, 내 감기로 시작해 온 가족이 아프고 낫고했는데, 정작 나는 아직 골골데고 있는 중이다. 어렸을 때는 나 혼자 아프고 말았지만, 이제는 내가 아프면 온 가족이 영향을 받는다. 아프지 말자. 💪

39. 참 마음에 드는 숫자이다. 내년 이맘 때 올해를 돌아보며 “역시 마음에 드는 한 해였다” 할 수 있기를 바란다.

Q3 2017 Review

Q3 2017 passed by quickly with a couple of major events at work and family… Wait. Did I say that at the Q2 review? Déjà vu.

First, I left Conversion Logic, which I was part of the founding team since 2014, and joined Microsoft. While my team is in Redmond, WA, I work from home mostly. I will write about it with more details sometime later.

Second, my family moved from Torrance to Rancho Palos Verdes (RPV). My wife grew up and has lived in Torrance for 20 years. I moved to Torrance in 2007 when I started dating with her. We love Torrance, but thought that RPV would be better for our children.

Moving was challenging. It took 3 moving trucks and 2 full days. Even after two months, we still have lots of boxes to unpack and many things to fix. We hope that this is our last move.

Third, Joseph started kindergarten. The transition from preschool to kindergarten was a big deal for both Joseph and us. He needs to get to school by 8:30 am and be done between 3 and 4 pm. After coming home, he needs to finish his homework before any play time.

That means that we need to adjust our schedules to accommodate his (plus schedules of his three brothers). For us, it helps that I work from home with a flexible schedule, but I have no idea how other working parents manage to do so.

Fourth, our nanny found a full time job. Big congrats to her and we’re so happy for her. The downside is that we have even less time on our own.

So, setting aside all the excuses, let’s check the progress towards goals:

Yearly Goals

  • Running 200 miles (53%) – I ran only 5 miles in Q3, and 105 miles in 2017 so far. Those 5 miles were done during my business trip. I couldn’t carve out even 30 minutes to hit the gym.
  • Reading 24 books (79%) – I read 4 books in Q3, and 19 books so far.
    • Contact – Classic science fiction by Carl Sagan. Phenomenal. Different from the movie.
    • Algorithms to Live By – How to apply CS algorithms in real life. Very insightful and entertaining for those with CS background.
    • Judges for You – by Tim Keller. Brutal reality of humanity without God. “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes”.
    • The Language of God – by Francis Collins, Director of NIH and former head of the Human Genome Project. Scientist’s perspective on God and faith. “Mere Christianity” in 21st century.
  • Winning 1 competition (x) – In Q3, I formed a team with 4 first time Kagglers at Microsoft and worked on Carvana Image Masking Challenge for a week as a hack project. We finished 130th out of 735 teams.
  • Writing a book on Kaggle (x) – no progress
  • Reading the Bible ✅

Weekly Goals

  • Reading 1 paper – no progress
  • Writing 1 blog post – 17% completion in Q3 with 2 articles
  • Writing 5 pages of the Kaggle book – no progress

Daily Goals

  • 20 pull-ups – 51% success with the average of 14.5 / day
  • 100 push-ups – 32% success with the average of 47.6 / day
  • 2 prayers – 1% success
  • QT – 33% success
  • Writing 1 article of any kinds – no progress

Q3 2017 was very challenging. For about a month around the move, I was in the survival mode, barely doing my duties at work and home.

Although, Q4 started with most of the same challenges outstanding, I’m positive that I can achieve more in Q4 – because I’ve become more effective than ever by going through the toughest quarter.

Let’s finish 2017 strong!

Transition from Exploration to Exploitation

I realize that I spend the majority of time on consuming what others produce. Reading, watching, and listening to materials created by others.

It makes sense to do so when I was young and in the exploration stage of my life. I needed a lot of advice and information from others when I was uncertain about what to do for my career, who to live for the rest of my life together, where to settle and live, and so on.

Exploitation vs. Exploration (credit: http://www.plexure.com/plexure-blog/2016/9/21/multiworld-testing)

However, now I entered into the exploitation stage – I’ve developed my expertise in my career, data science. I married love of my life and had our children together. My family moved to a place where we’d like to live for generation. I need to start to focus on producing.

It’s not to say that I’ve already figured out everything and I don’t need to learn anymore. It’s opposite. It’s time to learn new things about how to produce best by utilizing what I’ve learned in the past.

Studies on the secretary problem state that the optimal stopping point of exploration is 37%. e.g. If you’re recruiting a secretary next 100 days, it’s optimal to pass all candidates during the first 37 days to learn about the total distribution of candidates, and then to hire the first person who is better than all candidates who you interview in the first 37 days.

I spent little over 37% of my life so far, by assuming 100 years of life expectancy by 2080. From now on, I will focus on exploitation, execution, and production.