What would they call us?

I like to go into my brother’s room and just see what he is working on from time to time. I try to help him with anything I can, especially if its related to math. I wanted to know what his history class was going over, since they were in the 1700s, I asked him “what happened during that time?” He told me, “the Age of Enlightenment”. He explained how it was a time when society began adopting the scientific method and a time when people started challenging faith and other ideals. Cool. I started asking him more questions and that eventually led to the late 1700s when the French Revolution took place.

I started thinking about all the technology advances in this century so far, and it is just mind boggling to think about how much has changed in only a few decades. With all the technology advances and paradigm changes such as computers, the internet, social networks, and iPhones (just to name a few), what would the future generations title this era?

My Pho Challenge Experience

I used to eat a lot. To give you an idea of how much I used to eat, I would eat two foot long sandwiches from Subway in one sitting. So, in 2009, there was this new challenge at Pho Garden called the Pho Challenge. The challenge was to finish this big bowl of pho within an hour, and that big bowl of pho had 2lbs of meat and 2lbs of noodles. You didn’t have to drink the soup; You only had to eat the meat and noodles. And, if you finished it, the meal would be free, and you would get your picture placed on the wall. If you couldn’t complete the challenge, you would have to pay $22 (I think it’s more expensive now).

Anyways, I didn’t think that bowl of pho was going to be any big deal and I walked in that day thinking I was going to get a free meal. I was pretty hungry, and I didn’t eat yet that day. At that time, there were only 2 pho challenge bowls and the two people ahead of us ordered the pho challenge, but the wait was not long since they gave up after a few bites.

Here’s my photo from Pho Garden’s website before I started:

douglas mak

Me before I stopped eating pho


That bowl was freaking huge; To give you an idea of how big that bowl was, I am 6ft tall.

I started out okay, and was just pacing myself. It honestly felt like a bottomless bowl of pho. No matter how much I ate, there was still so much damn food. At some point, I started hanging all the meat along the rim of my bowl because it was just too oily. My mouth felt oily. My throat felt oily. At that point, it became difficult to swallow my food. I kept drinking water to wash down that nasty oil, but it was only making me more full.

Here are some photos that I found on facebook of me dying:

Must. Keep. Going.

Must. Keep. Going.

douglas mak pho challenge

Never. Again.


After almost an hour, I finally finished it. How did I do it? I didn’t have cash on me that day and I was not going to pay $22 for pho. I was the 3rd person ever to finish it. Honestly, it was kind of traumatic for me; I didn’t eat pho for 5 months. But if I had a chance to go back in time and do it again, I would.

Good Enough!

It’s easy to get caught up in your work.  As an Software Engineer, you think a lot about future proofing your code; You start thinking about scaling and figuring out the best solutions while employing the best practices. You can easily slip yourself into a black hole.

At a startup, I cannot just keep my Engineering hat on; I cannot only focus on Engineering. Because the company has an expiration date, I have to be considerate of the business side of things as well. Would the business flourish if I took my time to write the most beautiful code that humanity has ever seen? No, as long as it works, there is no difference in value towards the customer.

Even though it burns my soul to leave the code in a state that I am not entirely happy with, I have to move on and leave it as “good enough”. It might not be future proof and I may have to refactor it later, but it is still “good enough”.  However, this doesn’t mean I should abandon all of the best practices and program in the most terribly lazy way. There needs to be a balance between the two, and the general rule is: If it’s good enough and if it works then move on.

“Work on what matters the most and do the least amount of work that brings the most value.”


Ichigo's Dual Wield

After losing all his powers and reaching a lifetime low, Ichigo transforms himself again and surpasses his previous abilities.

I finally put some time aside to set this up! There has been tons of big changes in my life this year last month, for better or worse? I don’t know, but it’s time for a new beginning.