Looking Backwards, Connecting the Dots

So the day came.

I have not much to say like everyone else on the web and mess media. I don’t want to go on skin-depth things like how he transformed the computer industry and the world – I didn’t even agree most of the tactics he used (like, all closed-source, closed and single distributor model for the iOS platform, etc.).

I want to share something personal with you here, instead.

I did a lot of things that didn’t make sense to my parents, nor to myself at the time. Ever since mid-school, I spent countless hours making websites. I was the computer guru to my high school classmates because the guestbook/chatroom service I built was practically the online social network to them. When I went to college, I chose to take physics as major instead of computer science because I thought there were more wonders in the mechanics of the physical world instead of inside a computer. That turned out to be true, and the wonders unfortunately succumbed me; my grades in physics classes were never higher than the one and only computer science class I took. I didn’t know what to do at the time; I didn’t want to, and couldn’t go for the regular career a physics-major in Taiwan would usually do, that is go to graduate school, and to TSMC/UMC or other semiconductor companies straight from school, the flagship industry of Taiwan – The promise land with dicent salary and social recognition.

Nevertheless, I got my B.Sc. anyway. I stall a bit by deliberately not to meet the graduation requirement (which is, ironically, English requirement) and stayed for a fifth year. I joined MozTW and took care of Firefox localization, started to get to know people in the technology circle, many of whom are big names I admired. I gave lectures at meet-ups and events, wrote web application for Firefox promotion. I co-organized events, designed event websites. I built a paper toss game in the IE9 hackathon event and was awarded an XBox 360 + Kinect. Eventually, I am recognized by people as a qualified front-end developer.

(Full text of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address)

I don’t actually remember when I see the speech for the first time. At first it didn’t make an impression. It was not until some day, I realized “connecting the dots by looking backwards” is exactly what I did, and do right now: Without these “personal homepage” I wrote before college, I wouldn’t know how server-client architecture works. Without my college projects in the physics department, I wouldn’t have any idea how to organize a full-scale rich-content website, nor the chance to improve my communication skill. Without MozTW I wouldn’t be known by my talented peers. Even physics has a part when I looked backwards – The paper toss game I wrote at the IE9 event is actually based on physics simulation skill I learned in school. I hated that class, but without the knowledge the game wouldn’t have such animation effect.

Indeed, Steve was right all along. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. … This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”, he said. By looking backwards, I found everything I did somehow makes who I am today, and they surely made all the difference.

This is what Mr. Jobs meant to me. Nothing technological nor innovative, purely personal. So long, Steve, you lived a good life. This post is my tribute to you, and you will certainly be missed.



慶祝在遇到如此複雜度的事情的關頭上,能夠找到夠多的朋友與家人的溫暖與陪伴,以及擁有足夠的成熟與 capacity 。


There are life challenges ahead. I won’t back down.

Rigged Game

“Of course the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you — if you don’t play, you can’t win.”

— Robert Heinlein

I don’t actually like this quote, yet I’d put this quote on my Facebook profile ever since I created it. It reminds me not to walk away even how painfully to me “the game” goes. It reminds me all the games I’d lost just because I refuse to participate.

Indeed, all the games are rigged in some way, because none of the rule implied, nor explicitly stated, are true. Rule of life is never defined as clearly as RFC,  Programming Specs, or W3C recommendations, so why bother implement them.

By the way, this post has a sequel, but I’d decided to keep it to myself (Ask me in person if you really want to know, and you don’t mind me whining).

這篇文章也有續集,但是不是我又有學長姐離開了。I don’t want to write it down since I will keep myself in the mood if I do. 可能寫個英文版吧。

Just suck it up. I’ll try. And maybe I would play these games well, someday.