Adopt the SAIG mindset

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Credit: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

It can be difficult to receive feedback without getting defensive. Our brains treat criticism, even constructive criticism, as a threat to our self-esteem. As our hearts start pounding, we want to shout, “But it’s not my fault! I tried my best!”

This is a normal reaction, and certainly one that I’ve experienced. Throughout my career as an engineer and a manager, I have both received and given plenty of notes, critiques, and suggestions. …


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Photo credit: sunrise raddhiga ari atoll hdr via photopin (license)

We are already doing these things for our code; why not do them for our lives?

We have been investing a tremendous amount of effort and thought into how to improve our code so it can run more efficiently, become easier to maintain, have fewer bugs, and be more fun to work with. We discovered many theories and best practices and invented many processes and tools.

Our lives are obviously much more complex than code, but a lot of the ideas for making the code better are actually applicable to making our lives better. These ideas can have a much bigger impact if we use them for our lives. …


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“Stone balancing with pebble tower on the Ventura rocky beach” by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

This topic has been dangling in my bulldozer brain for a long time but I couldn’t find a good way to articulate it until one of my colleagues at Medium recently shared his experience with his son:

My son has what you might call a bulldozer brain as opposed to a rabbit brain. These are both above average brain types, but one is good for plowing through hard problems and one good for thinking fast on your feet.

We are all different — we have different experiences, knowledge, perspectives, and even ways of processing information and thinking. …


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“A drone shot of stacks of large shipping containers in a port” by chuttersnap on Unsplash

The goal of microservice¹ architecture is to help engineering teams ship products faster, safer, and with higher quality. Decoupled services allow teams to iterate quickly and with minimal impact to the rest of the system.

At Medium, our technical stack started with a monolithic Node.js app back in 2012. We have built a couple of satellite services, but we haven’t created a strategy to adopt the microservice architecture systematically. As the system becomes more complex and the team grows, we moved to a microservice architecture in early 2018. …


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This is one of my favorite shirts from Threadless. I wore it today to work. In our daily stand-up, we started talking/joking about it.

Herzog, who actually runs really really fast, shared this:

I don’t think societally that the rhinoceros should feel pressure to become a unicorn or anything that it’s not. BUT, I feel like reaching beyond what you are capable of is one of the best ways grow beyond what you would otherwise.

~Shirt Thoughts

I think it is wise.


Thoughts about being mindful and achieving the most with minimal meeting time

Most meetings are optional. Use your precious time wisely. Control your own destiny.

Having too many meetings is a bug, not a feature.

You may think you can listen while checking the laptop, but you really can’t. Not using laptops is a minimum requirement if you want to be a great listener.

Using laptops in meetings does not only waste your own time but also negatively influence everyone else in the meeting.

If you want others to listen to you, you should listen to others first. It’s that simple.

We are all facilitators. Politely asking colleagues to take lengthy discussions offline saves everyone’s time. …


#1. Use the simplest tools to build the most magnificent systems.

#2. I don’t start coding easily, but when I do, my fingers happily dance on the keyboard and my eyes are closed.

#3. When I write code, languages and tools are not used by me, nor are they controlled by me; they are a part of me .

Go Warriors!


Dear Matt,

Happy 6th birthday! ❤

Inspired by Tessa’s Dear Lyra, I’m going to write you a letter every year on your birthday, and maybe more.

It has been a great year. You just crossed a big milestone in your life: you graduated from preschool and started kindergarten last August! I still remember the first day I drove you to school. I was so worried that you may need some time to adjust to all the changes, leaving your old friends at preschool and getting to know kids and teachers you never met. But you seemed to be pretty chill about it. On our way to the school, you were excited and happy, which really helped calm daddy down. …


Dear Twitter,

I use Twitter every day. I try to maintain my follow count around 1,000 so my home feed doesn’t go crazy. Those are the accounts that I’m interested in, but I probably don’t want to see every single tweet from every single account. And it is obviously overwhelming to go through all of their tweets every day.

How can I find the most important and/or interesting tweets first, and read the rest only if I have more time?

My first solution was to create a list, called “Should Read”, and put my favorite accounts into that list. When I open Twitter, I would go to that list first, and then my home feed. Sometimes I see a really good tweet, and put its author to this list, but more often that not, it’s too soon to do that. …


I recently stumbled upon nine posts made for its Student Festival by the Computer Science department at Tsinghua University, the top CS department in China. They are all very inspiring, clever and funny.

Highlight your favorite ones! If you also have good ideas to connect computer science concepts to life, write a response :)

9.Typedef: What you are called never matters that much.

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8. Stack: Don’t mind being the last, if you’ve got the ambition to be the first.

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7. DFS: Never say never until the very end.

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6. Hashtable: Collision is a lovely coincidence that finally brings us together ❤

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5. Dijkstra: Find the shortest path between you and me.

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4. AVL: To strike a fantastic balance in life.

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3. TCP: Easy to say hello. Hard to say goodbye.

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2. K.M.P.: Reflect upon yourself before you judge others.

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1.#include: <verses> <wine> and <all walks of life>

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About

Xiao Ma

Chief Architect @Medium. Serving Engineers. Teaching Machines. The ultimate goal of tech is to help us live better. Built @PatternInsight PhD @IllinoisCS UCSD

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