I’m ‘The Cool Cat’

I’ve been looking up startup jobs on AngelList today, and I came across a company that made TidePool. TidePool is an app that combines some of the topics I’ve been interested in for awhile, brain health tracking, self improvement, and psychology. In order to see, if I would even be interested working at the company, I downloaded the app.

When I first opened the app, I was brought to a personality test. The questions asked me how much of a particular attribute I would rate myself as, as well as how ‘close’ the attributes to me. I enjoyed the personality test so much, that by the end I wanted to learn more about the research behind the questions asked. The UI was interesting as well. You might guess that the user would choose from a scale of 1 – 10, but instead it was a body that filled with a percentage. I’m wondering if this was a purely aesthetic decision or functional decision. I could imagine that the body being filled with a percentage could be analogous to a person’s kinesthetic ‘feeling’ of what was the correct percentage for themselves.

Anyways, the reason I was drawn to write this post was because of the accuracy of the personality test. I liked the wording of the output, so I wanted to put it on my blog.



  • You excel at envisioning big ideas, and then influencing and persuading others to come along with you
  • You’re good at controlling your emotions and rarely lose your cool
  • Make sure to analyze various perspectives and approaches before diving in and tackling a problem or assignment


Looks like you know how to talk, and you have the ability to influence and persuade others when it comes to reaching professional and relational goals. One reason people may be willing to follow your lead is that you display the helpful ability of being able to control your negative emotions. When obstacles arise, you don’t overreact. Instead, you remain calm and composed.

This emotional stability helps you not only in your dealings with others, but also in your own individual life. You often rely on your own insights and intuition when making decisions, and the more you can do that from a place of calm and objectivity, as opposed to high emotion or distress, the more likely it is that whatever decisions you make and risks you take will pay off.

Speaking of those risks, do your best to consider possible landmines when you’re making decisions. You love the big idea, and your confidence and assertiveness can help you achieve things others can’t. But beware of your tendency to charge into a situation without considering all other alternatives. Don’t change who you are; just be willing to listen to other options as you proceed toward the personal and professional goals you’re aiming to achieve.

Like I mentioned earlier, I really want to learn about why I got the results I did and what the thought processes were when app design decisions were being made. I’ll be message the founders, so I hope to get some answers to these questions and more.

A few things that the app could improve on. After the personality test, the app should redirect to the profile page instead of the unrelating leaderboard page. When I read the personality test’s results, I immediately wanted to share it out to Twitter. What stopped me was the share button’s default text. “I’m the Cool Cat! Find out your personality with TidePool!.” There wasn’t a link to the app, and some of the details behind ‘I’m the Cool Cat!’ were left out. This doesn’t give me much reason share it out.

I also thought that the test’s results were too positive. I would’ve liked to see some more negative results to balance the results out. Currently it gives me the feeling of some psychic cold reading me after telling a few things about myself in order to have me return for another session later. ie cheap. Where’s the science?

I’m looking forward to using the app more.

My First Ruby Gem: body_id

I created my first Ruby Gem: body_id on GitHub, and I have successfully implemented it my own project. My goals were to see what goes in making a gem and making a process simpler.

The Problem
I first saw the use of @bodyid when Derek Sivers announced that he open sourced all his projects. Which was useful in learning about Sinatra He had @bodyid in his controller, and he called it within the body tag.

When I saw this, I thought it was incredibly useful for styling, so I used it on my own rails project. The problem arose when I was defining my @bodyid to strings like page-index or new-car. Eventually each controller action had a @bodyid.

The Solution
I searched online if anyone already made a gem that did this, and I found these two links. Automatic Body ID in Rails on GitHub and Create a simple Rails 3 text helper Gem by on StackOverflow. The first link showed how you could combine the controller and action name into a single string. I like how he extracted my current process out into a helper, but I saw there were a few unnecessary method calls.

The second link essentially asked how to make the same gem I was planning on making. What I liked about his approach was how he made the id both semantic and similar to RESTful Rails path name. i.e. new_page_path and new_page_view. The answers and the asker’s GitHub repo was key to showing me how to make the actual gem.

There was a problem with these two helpers however. They both did not allow for the user to define their own ID in case they wanted  to diverge from the helper’s convention. That’s where I added a simple || operator with the generated ID and an instance variable defined within the controller.

The final helper:

    def body_id
      controller = controller_name.singularize.underscore
      action = action_name.underscore
      body_id = “#{ controller }-#{ action }”.gsub(/_/, ‘-‘)
      # Controller declared instance variable
      # or helper generated string
      @body_id || body_id

I first removed the controller object in favor to just calling controller_name and action_name directly. This eliminates the need for the gsub() to make ‘controller’ to nothing. Next was the underscore(). I wasn’t sure why I needed this method until I remembered that some controller names and action names were written in CamelCase, so if I wanted to have the generated output look more consistent, then it would be best to leave it in. Finally I combined the two variables into the body_id variable after replacing _underscore with – hyphens to match with CSS conventions. The last line determines if we’ll use the controller declared instance if truthy or the helper’s generated string if @body_id is not defined.

I used bundler to generate the gem files I needed, while I referenced RailsCast #245 New Gem with Bundler and Railtie’s docs One of the things I read online about making a gem was to add some graphics love and make good README. So I got some Illustrator practice in while making the gem’s logo, and I looked at other README for common practices.

Overall I found the process easier than I thought it would be and helpful in understanding what goes into making a simple open source Ruby Gem available.

Fork me on GitHub the4dpatrick / body-id-gem

University Application Essay

I’ve been applying to transfer into a few universities lately, so I had to write an essay for these applications. The following is the essay I have been sending with these applications.

After I was hit by the reality of a disappointing high school grade point average, I sought to do better in university. Up until this point, I have succeeded in that goal by keeping a steady 3.7 university grade point average. This improvement from my high school GPA should be evidence of an improvement trend. Lately however, I have been questioning the motivation to go to university or even get a degree. Is a degree necessary to accomplish success in life? How is success, even defined? These thoughts have always been present in the recesses of my mind, but they were only recently pushed to the forefront. The catalyst of these questions was my exposure to the business startup culture. The location of this cultural shift can arguably be Silicon Valley in California. Silicon Valley is a place where an idea and execution is enough to start a business and a company. Somewhere it would be not surprising for someone from Stanford or any other university in the area, to go off to launch a startup. The common figures of this movement are Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. Each founder dropped out of university to start something. People call these famous founders statistical outliers or lucky, but this does not dissuade me from considering the idea of dropping out of university.

I am the first generation to attend university within the United States. My parents grew up and attended university in the Philippines before moving to the States. My father received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and my mother received a degree to become a Doctor of Optometry. Years after graduating, my father joined the US Air Force. He now works as an information technology technician. My mother initially started her own optometry practice in the Philippines and later in the states. Circumstances changed when she found an opportunity to sell cars on the side. This side business quickly became more profitable, and she now owns a successful car dealership. Managing a car dealership may be a great deal of work, but she did not stop finding more business opportunities where she could. At the same time, she started to work on creating leads for local real estate companies. If the leads rented from the company, my mom would receive a commission. She also started a restaurant and worked as the cook to bring Filipino cooking to the local area. From my point of view, both my parents graduated with a degree but no longer need that degree to sustain their present lifestyles. My mom’s success is more amazing considering the challenges of being in a foreign country with no formal background in business. My family environment further deepens my consideration to drop out of university.

These business success stories lead me to consider what I am capable to do now. Now that I realize a disconnect between business success and a university education. When I am interested in a particular subject, I tend to fixate on the subject. My fixation grows in the form of reading and learning as much as I can. When I became interested in starting a startup, it was no different. I started to read known books on business. I listened to the online audio podcasts from successful entrepreneurs. Eventually, a common saying soon arose from these resources, “There are many good ideas, but these good ideas lack execution.” The first time I heard this was from a professor who had background working in business.  I was telling her of a business idea, when she told me this same saying. I felt as if she slapped me in the face. I thought she was rudely disregarding the idea that I thought was so great. It took me a few days to calm down and realize that her message was true. Ideas not put to action, are just ideas.

From that point on, I decided to reduce the amount of books and podcasts I was reading and listening to, and take action. So I took a year off to see what I could accomplish.

I didn’t have a technical background, so I looked into hiring a freelancer. The rates for a freelancer in the United States were way too high for me to afford, so I started to look for alternatives. My mom suggested the alternative I eventually chose. She suggested that I go back to the Philippines and find a freelancer willing to make the web app I wanted for cheap. This seemed like a good alternative, so I found a freelancer online who lived in the Philippines. I wasn’t sure about having the whole transaction based solely online, so I flew to the Philippines to meet with this freelancer. Once I arrived to meet with this freelancer, he told me he was unable to work on my project. He recommended a higher priced web development company he knew instead. Unable to afford the company, I was left in the Philippines without a real purpose.

I was a little distraught, but I made the decision to just learn to program and make it myself. Simpler said than done. With unfound confidence and motivation, I fixated on finding, reading, and practicing programming on my own through online resources. I am learning more each day to build on whatever idea I have. After going back home to Japan, I was fortunate to find and start a design internship at a startup back in Tokyo. After working closely with the startup founder, I learned that I liked working with other like-minded people. More specifically people building useful things for other people.

This is the biggest reason I am looking to re-enter university. I would like to move to a university that has like-minded people who are challenging themselves to build for others. Although I have taught myself to program, I intend to major in business. Given my mom’s businesses had surrounded me the majority of my life, I cannot see myself not majoring in business in university. Also with the world’s economy increasingly relying on technology, more people in business should have a deeper understanding of technology and its composition.