foci

A little bit of who I am and what this is about.

Hi! I'm Sid, and if you're reading this, you’ve just landed on foci, my newsletter. Here's a little bit about me, and why I plan on writing content here:

I'm currently a student at Olin College, which is a very small engineering school near Boston. It aims to reinvent the way engineering is currently taught in other institutions through a rigorous implementation of project-based education. At the college, I'm studying computer science, because I believe that software can have particularly sizable downstream impacts for society. Like many others, I have opinions on how beneficial, if at all, some of these impacts are (more on this in what may become a later post).

More specifically, I am interested in productivity. From the noise of the information era, certain tools, software or otherwise, seem to have emerged not as victors, but as part of the very fabric constituting the modern world. Many of these tools have a singular purpose and accomplish them well. Together, they've revolutionized the way we collectively think, and help us make important decisions. To me, improving and enabling peoples' interactions with computers is an important goal both achievable and worth prioritizing. While it is indeed all too easy to glorify the purpose and intent of software, both before and after the product or the dent it may make, this is something I really believe I could do to leave the world a little better off.

I have slowly been working toward this goal, albeit in small ways. I spearheaded automation engineering at Stanford's financial management services, reducing the hours they need to test their software with every new release. At Infinira Software, I researched expense reporting, and found a cool way to apply some clustering algorithms to white-on-white scans of multiple documents. As it turned out, no one really looked into this before, so I documented the technology in a journal. A while later at Dataxu, I analyzed the business value of a new software deployment technology, and presented my findings to their developers.

The present is a fascinating time for me, as I am now working a couple jobs in finance, a field that I've recently taken a deep interest in. As I see things, there is a big difference in the type of value addition that accompanies software and finance, so bridging this gap has presented me with the unique opportunity to reexamine where I want to focus my efforts in the first place. One of the reasons for my writing this newsletter is my belief that through documentation and reflection I will be better able to capitalize on the valuable time and experiences these fleeting formative years have and will, for the near future, bring me. In doing so, I also hope to provide my readers with content they may find insightful, engaging, or amusing, at the very least.