Marty Hu

Christian | Co-Founder at Prodigy | Hacker

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Singapore

I spent the last week in Singapore. A few observations from my trip there:

1. Singapore has a pervasive STEM culture

  • From a young age, students are pushed to study STEM.
    Historically Singapore was a very poor country without any natural resources and so heavily encouraged its people Science / Engineering / Business as opposed to the liberal arts. As a result, most Singaporeans have no interest in or understanding of creative arts. For example, there are hardly any pieces of art in the city and I did not see a single festival while I was there. I spoke with an artist while I was there and learned that most Singaporeans did not know who Leonardo Da Vinci was. 


  • The government is run primarily by technocrats as opposed to traditional “politicians”.
    I met a few people from the government and was impressed by their total lack of charisma. Rather than being masters of rhetoric, these...

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2019 Passion Talk

A few months ago, I spoke at Google HQ for Passion Talks as part of a dialogue about the intersection of faith and work. The videos have finally been released - here is a video of my talk as well as talks from the other speakers.

2019 Passion Talk

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Duck Syndrome

When I was an undergraduate at Stanford, we used to have a term of endearment for other students: “duck syndrome”. A stereotypical “duck” is someone who appears calm and composed on the outside (above water), but behind the scenes (underwater) is frantically paddling to stay afloat.

Often on campus, you’d see students playing frisbee on the lawn, blasting music, or playing a daytime game of beer pong in front of their row houses. Only later in the evening would you see these same students huddled up in the library, falling asleep on top of their problem sets and chugging multiple red bulls to complete their term papers. The contrast was shocking.

I remember one of my classmates who came across to me as lacking direction. He didn’t seem particularly interested in anything in his classes academic and switched his major in his junior year. I would see him show up parties completely...

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Living without Fear

I was getting dinner with a very successful friend of mine recently. He’s just been part of a successful exit but despite this has left feeling somewhat unfulfilled. Despite having reached some level of “success” in his endeavors, he’s been left wondering what is next for him. The felt need to accomplish something is still there. However, there seemed to be something else there too, which was a need to date, or to a need to explore life more.

The next piece that we talked about felt important. We discussed how he’s realized that he no longer is enjoying his life as much as he used to. This is because he’s systematically cut out a lot of his enjoyable activities for the sake of pursuing a goal. For example, he trained himself to no longer enjoy playing video games, because they felt like a waste of time. Somehow along the way of pursuing a goal for the sake of fulfillment, happiness was...

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“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation, and go to the grave with the song still in them.”


3 Lies and 3 Truths

Three Lies:

  1. I am what others think of me.
  2. When I avoid pain, I feel better.
  3. What happened is not my fault.

Three Truths:

  1. All leaders face criticism and grow from it.
  2. When I honor pain, I heal faster.
  3. What happened is my responsibility.

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It’s Not About You

When I moved up to San Francisco, the city started opening up my eyes in ways that it had never done before. There is just such a shocking disparity of fortune here that you cannot help but come to terms with. I was uncomfortable with it when I moved up here and I still am.

Well, a few months after moving to San Francisco I was walking home and on the way ran into a homeless guy who asked me for a dollar.
After forking over the money, I asked him - what are you going to spend it on?
“Cigarettes”.

He then asked me, if I wouldn’t mind - could I give him some more money so that he could buy himself some food?

“Actually I’d love to buy you some food. Mind if I join you? Maybe we can go and eat it together?

I hadn’t eaten dinner yet at this point, so I ended up sharing my meal with this homeless guy and his friend.

Here I was, sitting down at a dinner with two humans and thinking...

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What do you live for?

I recently got dinner with one of my good friends from college. He’s a very sharp guy and successful business owner. Right now he’s travelling the world and running his business remotely. In the past three years, he’s been to something like 50 countries. It turns out that travelling everywhere in the world can be much cheaper than paying rent in San Francisco.

We chatted about life goals and he mentioned that he would probably stop travelling within the next five years of his life and settle down to start his next business at that point. By then, he will have experienced the best parts of the world in his youth and will start his next company as a more cultured, open minded human. I admire that. We read everywhere about and fundamentally recognize the importance of travelling while young, and he is actually doing it. Most of us dream about seeing the world but never do it.

What hit me...

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A Startup’s Guide to Time Hacking

When we first started our company, we slept in a garage, ate nothing but IKEA meatballs, and worked all of the time. Despite our effort, we did not manage our time very well and really had no idea what we were doing. We worked too long and didn’t accomplish nearly enough.

Over the last few years I’ve been working in this company, I’ve had to revisit and consciously break down many of my misconceptions regarding time and readapt them to fit my life inside of a start-up.

My goal in this post is to discuss my mental model for thinking about time at a startup today. I hope that this post can serve as a useful reference to the early stage startup that is looking to get more out of their working day - to start time hacking.

Time hacking: the big picture approach

Much of the literature you can find on time management involves turning yourself into some sort of robot. If you follow what you...

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Nonfiction Reading List

I’m trying to open-source content that inspires me, and thought that a book list might be a good place to start.

So here’s a book list for people who like non-fiction. It’s by no means exhaustive, but I definitely liked everything on here. Cheers!

Nonfiction Reading List

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