The ways in which social media has caused change

By now, the whole world knows about George Floyd, the African American who was killed by a white police officer who refused to move his knee from his neck as Floyd pleaded to let him go. By now, the whole world knows that peaceful protests and violent riots have cropped up across the United States from people who are tired of seeing Black Americans suffer from police brutality again, and again, and again. By now, you might be wondering how this is any different from previous times. Will anything change?

I’m not an expert on BLM, nor am I a data scientist. But, just looking at the influx of social media posts I’ve seen from friends about the racial injustices in the United States, to the many #blackouttuesday posts from people who’ve never talked about this subject before, I wondered what made this case different than from what I’ve seen in my lifetime. And so, I’d like to explore why today is different through Twitter and search trends, as of June 8, 2020. …

I love new beginnings. It means a clean slate, fresh headspace, and above all it means when I begin tracking progress, I’ll be able to capture everything from start to finish. Becoming a software engineer at Mixpanel was no exception. In April 2018, I transferred from support engineering to software engineering on a transition path four months prior. I’m lucky and fortunate to have leadership who believed in me and a team who give me confidence. …

Note: I wrote this as soon as I became a software engineer in April 2018, and it sat it the backlog for a while. I figured I would release it with the release of “An engineer’s year worth of progress” as further context to my story.

After a long journey, I can finally call myself a Software Engineer. It’s surreal. I never imagined that I would go towards this path and I know many of my childhood friends and acquaintances would be surprised at the switch. I know I would be.

When I entered UC Berkeley in 2012, my goal was to do some sort of business thing as recommended to me by my mother. “It’s a safe path, there’s a lot of opportunities”, she said. Time and time again in college, there were many ways I tried to convince myself I’d like it: “marketing is kind of artsy”, or “recruiting is building a culture”, or “consulting is helping people”. Each time I’d try, fail, realize I didn’t like it, try the next thing, and repeat. …

I’m Tiffany, a Product Engineer at Mixpanel, and have been an engineer here for a year and a half. I’ve been tracking various time and Github data for fun during my time here and I thought I’d share my results to start a conversation and be completely transparent about how engineers spend their time, and how some aspects of their code changes over time. For the methodology and other graphs, view the original version of this piece.

Some background: I started at Mixpanel as a Technical Support Engineer after graduating university. A year later, I transitioned to become a Software Engineer, working on features such as improving our Dashboards product and Custom Alerts using Python and Javascript. …

My mission is to effect positive change so that current and future generations can enjoy a more productive, comfortable, and sustainable life.

I will be healthy, so that I can serve those around me with confidence. I will hold my body with utmost respect. I will dedicate my life to healthy eating, consistent exercise and meditation, positivity, and thanks-giving.

I will be skilled, so that I can use my gifts for others to enact transformational growth. I will exercise my brain and constantly learn new things to keep my body limber mentally.

I will be understanding, so that I can be inclusive and supportive of all people without judgment. I will strive to listen to understand, and open my heart and mind completely, regardless of the purpose.

Hi you,

You will go on an adventure, to leave home and finally discover what you want in life

You will start a diary, to keep track of all your time and all your thoughts, so you can remember them even when you’re older

You will be rejected plenty of times, by companies who won’t want you

You will be robbed for the first time in your life, and you’ll feel vulnerable

You will be in love, real love, and it will be both amazing and confusing

You will accomplish many things, but you’ll still feel like you’re not good enough. …

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I am a chronicler. I have a FitBit that records my overall health, which includes my steps, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep patterns of each day. I log my weight and everything I eat on MyFitnessPal. I also record my purchases and employment opportunities on a spreadsheet. It makes sense for such a recorder to also log grades received and the times spent on activities, studying, planning, job hunting, and work.

When I was a student at UC Berkeley, I recorded the exact percentages of the grades I received in each of my classes from each assignment as much as possible. I also began a calendar diary in December 2012, inspired by James Maa’s Productivity Hacking Guide. My calendars and event descriptions detailed when I went to sleep, took a shower, ate, or worked. I turned it into a way I could boost memory and track overall productivity. Now, I can go back to any given day and sum up all of the feelings I had that day; even though I have a poor declarative memory (episodic). So far, I’ve logged over 10,000 instances of time data, equating to almost four years of history.

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As of this moment, I am a UC Berkeley alumna, along with thousands of students at Berkeley who graduated alongside me. Congratulations everyone!

Four years is an extremely long and incredibly short span of time. As a graduate, students have accomplished and learned so much, and yet four years is only a drop in the bucket in terms of how much life and knowledge we have yet to attain, yet to develop.

I grew up in Illinois. When I heard that my family was going to move over 2,000 miles away to Los Angeles, I didn’t think this would ever happen to me. I thought I would be like my peers to go to the local university and do other normal things for a while. The news soon warmed up to me, and I grew increasingly excited to try living and breathing in a completely different world in Berkeley. …

There’s a particular company that I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing for multiple times that has always asked the question: “So, what do you do for fun?”

Well, dear recruiter, I draw. I’ve been drawing since elementary school, and can make awesome portraits, such as this guy, or this older piece. I sing, I was in an a cappella group called Perfect Fifth, and I somehow have 30,000+ views on my YouTube channel. I blog, I bake. I recently made a cheesecake (using an impressive one egg!). I’m an aspiring polyglot, and I like learning more about Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and French. …

This is a question that I am asked often by my peers.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m out of place. As a business administration major, every time I am asked the “major” question, I embody and encompass the weight of the Haas School of Business on my shoulders. There casts a light of “pretentious”, “overconfident”, and “cutthroat”, as seen in the eyes of other students on campus. Initial acquaintances in the organizations I frequent see me with these lens, and ultimately the question arises:

“Why are you here?”

I want to ask back,

“Why can’t I be here?”

But often, I can’t. I feel like I am forced to fit the mold of “business major”, and so I come up with some tacky excuse like “I want to help people” or “I want to learn more”; both of which are true, but I don’t deserve to have to give that explanation. I don’t deserve to explain myself every time I’m somewhere where I historically “don’t belong”. …


Tiffany Qi

Engineer @ mixpanel, quantified self enthusiast, UC Berkeley graduate. Soul seeker, still figuring things out.

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