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My mother in her 20s

My mom was a tomboy, born the youngest child with two older brothers. She married at 25 to the first man she dated. Her name is 红新, meaning “red heart”.

My mother is a woman who loves and gives unconditionally. My mother treats my dad’s parents as her own, and my paternal grandparents have often remarked at her thoughtfulness and that she treats them better than their own daughters. My mother became a Christian after being loved by other Christians. My mother exudes a warmth that surrounds her with good people. …

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In 2018, I met the love of my life. A few months into the relationship, we had one of our first real fights. As emotions started rising, my then-boyfriend (now-fiancee) pulled out a booklet from his backpack and slapped it on the table. “Can we follow this rubric?” he said in desperation, as he opened the booklet to a page that was titled “The Clearing Model.” I rolled my eyes at the idea that we needed a rubric for communication, but I entertained him. We went through the model step by step, and after we completed it, I was surprised…

Lessons learned from a former Enabler

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I’ve learned in recent years that there are three types of men in the world: Allies, Oppressors, and Enablers.

Okay, yes, I realize that it may not seem fair to bucket billions of people into three categories. And I also realize that these buckets apply to women as well (hence the subtitle). All models are wrong, but some are useful. Hopefully this one is useful.

The Allies

Some men look at me in the eyes and are able to see the warrior inside. They look past the color of my skin and the length of my hair. I’ve been lucky to have…

Hint: It’s not just about filtering out terrible people

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Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

How often do you have a negative reference check from someone who was provided by the candidate? If the answer is “never,” then what‘s the value of investing that time? Many people waste their reference calls and don’t realize it. When conducted thoughtfully, reference calls can be more important and informative than the interview itself. Reference checks shouldn’t just be a “is this person a good person” check. It is an invaluable opportunity for a hiring manager to uncover the strengths, conflict styles, attitudes, and potential challenges of the person you might be working with for the next several years.

As an Asian-American, I was taught from a young age to keep my head low. Strangers yelled at us in line at the grocery store to go back to our country; my dad had rotten eggs thrown at his face on his walk home after work, I’ve received all sorts of racial slurs and shouts of “ni hao” from creepy men on the street. Through it all, my dad taught me to look down, stay silent, keep walking, and just study and work hard. Anger was never part of our vocabulary.

Anger, I’ve learned over the years, is much needed…

Kenny was a rambunctious playful kid with spiky hair and big brown eyes. The kind of kid who would make a lot of noise acting like an airplane while racing around the house, knocking over chairs and stepping on the dog’s tail. The kind of kid who would stop suddenly to hug his mom on the leg and close his sweet little eyes in a way that would melt your heart and get you to forget what a mess he made. …

Last weekend my boyfriend and I watched a movie on Netflix called “The Game Changers”, produced by James Cameron. The goal of the movie was clearly to (1) debunk the public myth that meat is manly and veganism is not, (2) target male audiences and athletes, and (3) focus on the health benefits of avoiding meat as opposed to ethical or cultural reasons.

The movie centers around a few world record-setting athletes who have adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet, and runs a few studies showing the biological effects of eating meat. They run blood tests and cholesterol assays that…

My father raised me as a tomboy. Sometimes I joke that he raised me as the boy he wanted to have given the one-child policy in China in the late 80s. My bedtime stories growing up consisted of romanticized war stories and Chinese mythology or whatever history book my dad was reading. He carved me a sword and a knife out of the leftover wood he had from construction around the house. My dad let me watch while he fixed his bike and taught me how to use a calculator by the time I was 3. …

Four and a half years ago, Poornima and I started a company to try to convince everyone that they should start sequencing soil. Most people told us we were crazy to use such an expensive technology on dirt, but a few farmers told us they’d been waiting for something like this for decades. We listened to those few in the latter category.

Today, it’s become obvious that the soil is alive with a billion organisms that support our ability to grow nutritious crops and feed the growing population, that those organisms hold key insights to how we can make better…

I love cooking. I love the crunching sound from chopping fresh vegetables, the distinctive fragrance of cilantro, and the energetic warmth of oil sizzling on the pan. I love being an artist and painting with the flavors in my spice pantry. I love tasting and adjusting for layers of surprise and I love watching maillard reactions take place on the stove. I get lost in things I love, and I get lost in the kitchen.

Yet I also consider myself a feminist. In this day and age, being a feminist in the kitchen almost feels as if it justifies an…

Diane Wu, Ph.D.

Product & ML. Co-founder @ Trace Genomics. Machine learning engineer @ Palantir, Deep-learning data scientist @ MetaMind, Genetics @ Stanford, CS @ Simon Fraser

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