My musings on life.

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Career angst, begone! With three short reads

Originally, I was collecting these reads for my brother, a junior in high school. He hasn’t thought much about what his major will be, or what his future career will look like. Basically, he has decisions to make.

I got to thinking, what books and articles would I recommend my brother on managing his career? I’ve done years of career reading—mostly useless—and I can sift through all that for him.

I can include only the crème de la crème of career readings, since my brother doesn’t read for fun. I also have to give the tl;dr of each, since he might not click on the links 😪

Without further ado, here are my 3 favorite career readings:

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport (17 minute summary)


I’ve followed Cal Newport since high school, when I would read his blog posts on study hacks. He’s since written multiple best sellers while working full-time as a Computer Science...

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How to flail at doing a startup: Quickapply’s story so far

I have five months off before I go full time. I chose this break so I could work on projects, because I had never gotten around to it during school.

The original plan was to build an MVP a month à la Pieter Levels:

But I’ve been working on Quickapply for the last month and a half, and I’m not sure when I’ll stop. The MVP lets you apply to 40 software engineering internships with one application.

In this post, I share what’s been going on with Quickapply the last month and a half. This is best as a read for those curious about the early stages of starting a project.

Origin story

I came up with the concept last December during winter break. To test demand, I posted on my school’s CS Facebook page:

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I had 4 customers paying $49 to apply to 100 internships.

I also asked a lawyer to see if it was legal here.

At this point, I had to decide...

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November book reviews: Zero to One, Educated, Traction, and Never Split the Difference

I’ve decided to write book reviews for the books I read this month. This is because in the past, I haven’t monitored what I’ve read, how much I’ve read, and how much I remember what I’ve read.

I don’t care particularly how much I’ve read, because I read plenty. But I want to work on my reading diet and on my retention. So I’m writing these reviews to (1) note what I’m reading and (2) aid my retention.

Jk. That was all confirmation bias, I’m just writing this cuz it’s fun

Zero to One, by Peter Thiel



While many people I know have hyped this book, I’ve put off reading it for years now. I can understand the hype. Peter Thiel has presents a unique and persuasive worldview with clarity and elegance.

I’m not sure if the book will leave an impact on my life. But the book made me think, a lot. Especially on how to be an original thinker. Overall, the abstract concepts he...

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My internship experiences at Apple, Google, and breakout companies (part 3)

Parts 1 and 2 were about my first three internships, and part 3 is about my last two internships. I did my last two internships at smaller companies in comparison: Zenreach (~120 people) and Flexport (~1300 people).

My first three internships, I was meandering. I didn’t feel like a hard worker or a strong intern. I didn’t even feel committed to software engineering. But I did gain experience.

At Zenreach, all this changed. And I had the bestest internship ever :)


Zenreach is the smallest company I’ve worked at. With ~40 people in the SF office (and ~120 people total), work felt cozy. I knew everyone in the office. I was the only intern.

Before Zenreach, if I got better at programming, it was not through any deliberate effort. But somehow, at Zenreach, I got sick of feeling useless and insecure. I decided to give Zenreach my all.

This came easy for me since at the time, I...

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My internship experiences at Apple, Google, and breakout companies (part 1)

The month before my first internship, I read Alexey MK’s A Brief Guide to Tech Internships. In it, Alexey talks about his internships at Facebook and 2bkco, and what he learned from both.

I used Alexey’s experiences as reference all the time as I interned. So I wanted to pay it forward by sharing my own personal experiences.

Here goes :)

But wait who am I?

I’m Rishi, and I’m a Computer Science graduate from UC San Diego. I started this blog to write more for my friends.

I’ve also done my time on the internship circuit. 5 internships now, which is as many as those pesky Waterloo kids do!

I have interned at Qualcomm, Apple, Google, Zenreach and Flexport.

I was pretty fortunate to get a head start. I took AP Computer Science and attended multiple hackathons in high school.


My first internship, what I lacked in experience, I made up for in enthusiasm. I came to work the...

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How To Manage Your Email In 200 Words

Here’s how I managed my email through email-heavy recruiting seasons:

1. If you have multiple email addresses (like a school address), set up mail forwarding to a primary email address

Mobile apps can consolidate and show your emails across accounts, but you want to see your emails across one inbox on desktop too.

2. Use Gmail with its Primary, Social, Promotions, and Updates tabs.

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If an email arrives in the Primary tab, but should be in another tab, or vice versa, drag it to the appropriate tab, and mark “yes”:

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You won’t miss emails.

3. Every time you log into your email, check (as in check the checkbox) of emails you would no longer want to see in any tab.

Set up a filter that automatically archives emails like these.


4. Treat your primary inbox as a task list. Archive the email if and only if you complete the associated task, probably to read it.

This has worked super...

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My internship experiences at Apple, Google, and breakout companies (part 2)

In part 1, I shared my freshman and sophomore year internship experiences. Here, I share my junior year internship at Google Canada.

I found myself in Waterloo, Canada because I wanted to explore a place outside the Bay Area. Now, all my friends are Canadian 😠. I’ll write about my Canadian adventures outside the office another time.

On with the story:

Google Canada

My internship at Google didn’t look like it was going to be much different. I thought I was still going to be insecure about work, since I hadn’t done jack at Qualcomm, and didn’t get a return offer from Apple. But things were boutta change!

At Google, I started keeping a work journal as a Google Doc. Every day, I would go to my journal, add the date at the top, and use that entry as a scratchpad for the day.

Like so:

Wed 8/16/19

Tues 8/15/19

Mon 8/14/19

Here’s a sample entry (from a later internship):

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Why I’ve decided I should always be asking

I’ve recently come up with this principle I call, always ask.

Think to a time when someone dropped something in conversation you didn’t know or didn’t understand.

Maybe a technical concept. An inside joke. A pop culture reference.

Did you pass it off as if you did understand? Or did you ask them to explain?

Unfortunately, I usually tend to pass it off. I let them keep talking, or worse, I pretend to know what they just referenced.

This is the easy way out.

Most of my life, I didn’t really “get” music. That is, I didn’t get the music my friends listened to.

I did like music. I was really into Tamil (Indian) music and I’d spend hours listening. But I never knew what American music was.

Over time though, I learned to fake it really well. I never wanted to straight up ask what song was playing, because I didn’t want to reveal how uncultured I was.

Earlier this year, I stopped faking...

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Learning to take care of myself while traveling

[If you’re a responsible person, this article is not for you…]

Last weekend, I totally neglected myself and my needs while moving to Waterloo, then traveling to New York City. My trip was:

San Diego > Toronto > Waterloo > Toronto > New York City

over two days.

This was a humbling experience for me. I’ve prided myself on being above creature comforts. Now though, I realize I too have some basic comforts I want covered.

Some achievements I unlocked:

  • Slept 6 hours in 2 days
  • Snapped at mom for no reason twice in 2 days
  • Ate only a granola bar in 24 hours
  • Stayed in a prison cell 1 star hotel in Chinatown
  • Held pee through a 2 hour bus ride
  • Peed behind a building shortly after
  • General mayhem

In light of this episode, I’ve decided to reflect on taking care of myself LOL


At first, I was confident I hated Canada and New York, because I was so low on sleep. When you’re low on sleep...

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An Honest Reflection: Why and What I Want to Write

This post I will explore why and what I want to write.

Before I can ask myself why I want to write, I would have answer the question, do I want to write?

Well, I know I love to read. I remember as a kid, my mom would tease me for taking too long to poop. I wasn’t caught until sixth grade, when she found a copy of Eragon under the bathroom sink. I was and am a compulsive reader.

I usually question what I know about myself, but I can easily accept as fact that I love to read.

I can also accept that I enjoy thinking. I believe there are meanings, explanations, and systems behind most things, and I think hard to uncover them. I’ve been described by a friend as intense in this way.

If I enjoy reading and thinking, it must be likely I enjoy writing. Reading and researching, and thinking and analyzing precede writing.

Now, I’ve read writing is distilled thinking. So, what I would hope to...

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