How did Ashton Kutcher prepare for his role as Steve Jobs in the new movie Jobs?

Answer by Ashton Kutcher:

I spent about 3 months preparing the character.

I started by consuming content about Steve Jobs. The script was a fantastic resource but after reading it I was left with as many questions as answers as to why he was the way he was and why he made some of the decisions he made.  I started by watching documentaries and interviews Silicon Valley Historical Association about him and collecting youtube content Inspired By Jobs: Technology and Soundcloud files on jobs.

This was to try to understand some of the broad themes of his persona.   What I was looking for was patterns on consistent behavior and ideals.  I heard him repeat his story about a computer being a tool for the mind and that we should all be bold enough create the world we live in.  I also picked up on his value for diverse education through experience.  I then started to dissect the nuances of his behavior, the walk, the fact that he has an almost imperceptible lisp, his accent that was a combination of northern California and Wisconsin, the way he paused before answer, and nodded in understanding, the way he bowed in namaste when receiving praise, and stared with contempt when in conflict. I noticed how he used his hands to talk and how he counted with his fingers (pinky finger first), how he used the word "aaaaand" and "noooow" to think about what he was going to say next.  But I quickly found that learning "how a person is" ultimately is the the key, you have to learn "why a person is".

Once armed with this external impression I wanted to get a better feel of why he saw the world the way he did.  I wanted to know why he liked what he liked and pursued what he pursued.  So I started to consume what he consumed.
Books he read: Autobiography of a Yogi : Paramahansa Yogananda,Mucusless Diet Healing System: Arnold Ehret, Be Here Now: Ram Dass.
Researching the artists he admired: Bauhaus, Folon, Ansel Adams
Eating the food he ate: Grapes, Carrot Juice, Popcorn
Studying the Entrepreneurs he admired: Edison, Edwin Land

Then I met with the people that he knew and worked with to unravel some of the subtle quarks and conflicted decision making that I couldn't rationalize. Alan Kay, Avi Tevanian, Jeffery Katzenberg, Mike Hawley, and many others were phenomenal resources.

I then worked with my acting coach Greta Seacat to relate his emotionality and behavior to my own.  She helped me make it personal and authentic.

But in the end one of the greatest tells of the man were his creations.  They were elegant, intelligent, thoughtful, precise, artistic, bold, visionary, complicated, efficient, fun, entertaining, powerful, imperfect, and beautiful on the inside and out…. Just like Steve.

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It’s Angel Hack Manila #AngelHackMNL time!


Just in case you missed it – AngelHack is now in Manila!

The EventBrite Page is here!




LifeHack #1337: How to get your CSB Faculty ID activated ASAP

Commented on RJ Dy’s comment that her DLS-CSB faculty wasn’t yet deactivated with Lifehack #1337:

after the guard let’s you in – immediately proceed to registrar & show your load form so your ID can be activated

of course, there’s no LifeHack 1 to 1336 (okay there might be a #42 but I have to find it). So I guess I need to enumerate my lifehacks so I can remember it. Maybe I’ll just update this blog post :)

Here we go:

#1 When running long distances (32K and ultramarathon distances), it helps to have a cap – not only can it be used to block sun glare but if you have a very thin plastic bag – you can insert ice bags into it and use the cap to put the “ice bag” in place. It helps lower your core body temperature actually.

#2 if you find yourself opening the same website everyday – try finding an RSS (feedproxy?) feed and put it on an IFTTT trigger and have it email to a unique GMail account that you can access via your smartphone. Not only will you have a niftier browsing experience (no lag!) but it saves you all those minutes waiting for the browser to render the pages. Limit this to one or two sites you really like. Mine is

#3 When you think you’ve run out of ideas – just go to and see if you can localize one of their concepts.

#4 If you want to see how the YCombinator guys actually push for product development on their sites – again, browse through

#5 need two-factor authentication like they use in GMail? Try

#6 Haven’t activated your 2-factor authentication in GMail – you should! It’ll give your peace of mind that you’re the only one that can access your GMail. Here are two posts that might help you: and

#7 Need data sets to practice Matrix Factorization algorithms like SVD (single value decomposition? Try (Try the who will survive the Titanic disaster contest)

#8 The EASIEST way to SHOW SVD: (bonus: Tiger Woods is in it!)

#9 How to use the Golf SVD tutorial in R -

#10 Okay – you don’t want to install R – online version?

#11 R via Sage and Online (see 2nd comment):

#12 List of R tutorials:

#13 “Hello World” in Malbolge via Matthias Ernst


Where and How can you find the perfect tech start-up co-founder in Manila?


Answer by Paul Amerigo Pajo:

Ten Other Ideas

1. Teach in a tech school – some of our students were actually doing their second degree.

2. Get outside of you national capital's CBD – if you're seeing the same people, it might be that you're attending the same scene. I didn't nearly see the same people that I met in dev events in Laoag, Lucena, Davao, Bacolod and Cebu in Metro Manila and vice versa. Hey, it's time to have more dev events in Boracay, CDO, General Santos City, Batangas, Vigan, Dumaguete or even surf-friendly Siargao.

3. Post on HN or other startup-related boards. I'm sure there's someone out there wanting to try out Asia. Chile seems to be very good in pitching that startups move to South America. Canada with their newly minted startup visa might take a page from the Chile startup playbook also.

4. It's a numbers game – if 8 out 10 startups fail, you'll get to the 2 successful startups soon enough. Are you on Startup #5 already? ;)

5. You might not even need a co-founder – check out Unofficial Y Combinator Company List – pick a startup from Summer 2012 or even Winter 2012, ask them if they want Southeast Asia representation and localize their startup for the Philippines or Southeast Asia. Voila! You're practically a co-founder if you're Employee #xx ( < 99 )

6. Start your own Startup event but do it in places where they don't normally have it in Metro Manila: Startup Pateros anyone? Startup Paranaque? Startup Caloocan? Startup Valenzuela? You can even go for Startup Ayala Alabang (hey, that's never been done before!). You'll probably attract startuppers who don't frequently venture outside of their North or South urban/suburban enclaves.

7. Manila is 15 million people by day and about 12 million by night – why? About 3-4 million people commute in and out from the nearby provinces. Why don't we have a startup event in Bulacan or even Laguna? (That's near enough Manila too!)

8. Run the Manila version of App Academy – you know those people who frequently attend technopreneur bootcamps? There might just be a technical co-founder there somewhere? You can find out in nine weeks? Just rent an internet cafe for nine weeks :)

9. Run a KickStarter / Indiegogo: An International Crowdfunding Platform to Raise Money campaign – there's a lot of success for game startups in these platforms and De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde is graduating their first batch of Game Designers & Developers. If you can raise the money maybe they'll join you?

10. Is there a Korean or Chinese service that can be run more cheaply here in the Philippines vs. in South Korea or China? An inspiration for this would be by David Lancanshire.

Happy Startupping! :)

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The Greatest (New Year’s) Resolution One Can Ever Make

My apologies to Dr. Mark H. Creech:

“To live righteously before God is the greatest resolution anyone can ever make in life. Such a resolution begins with repentance of sin and turning to Christ for forgiveness.”

And just because my name is Paul – I love how Dr. Creech quotes George Burger:

“I will like Paul, forget those things which are behind and press forward; like David, lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help; like Abraham, trust implicitly in my God; like Enoch, walk in daily fellowship with my heavenly Father; like Jehoshaphat, prepare my heart to seek God; like Moses choose rather to suffer than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; like Daniel, commune with my God at all times; like Job, be patient under all circumstances; like Caleb and Joshua, refuse to be discouraged because of superior numbers; like Joseph, turn my back to all seductive advances; like Gideon, advance even though my friends be few; like Aaron and Hur, uphold the hands of my spiritual leaders; like Isaiah, consecrate myself to do God’s work; like Andrew, strive to lead my brother into a closer walk with Christ; like John lean upon the bosom of the Master and imbibe of His Spirit; like Stephen manifest a forgiving spirit toward all who seek my hurt; like Timothy, study the Word of God; like the heavenly host, proclaim the message of peace on earth and good will toward all men; and like my Lord Himself, overcome all earthly allurements by refusing to succumb to their enticements.

Realizing that I cannot hope to achieve these objectives by my own strength, I will rely upon Christ, for ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me’ (Philippians 4:13).”

So there. My friend Justin Alexandra has a very nice video where she elaborates that 2012 was transitioning and 2013 is IMPLEMENTING. I love how she wants to be better. Time to PR (personal record) our lives and GET AFTER IT! Have an awesome 2013!

One last thing, this got re-tweeted several times (14 as I’m posting this), so here goes:

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream – C.S. Lewis

What do grad students in math do all day?


Answer by Yasha Berchenko-Kogan:

A lot of math grad school is reading books and papers and trying to understand what's going on. The difficulty is that reading math is not like reading a mystery thriller, and it's not even like reading a history book or a New York Times article.

The main issue is that, by the time you get to the frontiers of math, the words to describe the concepts don't really exist yet. Communicating these ideas is a bit like trying to explain a vacuum cleaner to someone who has never seen one, except you're only allowed to use words that are four letters long or shorter.

What can you say?

"It is a tool that does suck up dust to make what you walk on in a home tidy."

That's certainly better than nothing, but it doesn't tell you everything you might want to know about a vacuum cleaner. Can you use a vacuum cleaner to clean bookshelves? Can you use a vacuum cleaner to clean a cat? Can you use a vacuum cleaner to clean the outdoors?

The authors of the papers and books are trying to communicate what they've understood as best they can under these restrictions, and it's certainly better than nothing, but if you're going to have to work with vacuum cleaners, you need to know much more.

Fortunately, math has an incredibly powerful tool that helps bridge the gap. Namely, when we come up with concepts, we also come up with very explicit symbols and notation, along with logical rules for manipulating them. It's a bit like being handed the technical specifications and diagrams for building a vacuum cleaner out of parts.

The upside is that now you (in theory) can know 100% unambiguously what a vacuum cleaner can or cannot do. The downside is that you still have no clue what the pieces are for or why they are arranged the way they are, except for the cryptic sentence, "It is a tool that does suck up dust to make what you walk on in a home tidy."

OK, so now you're a grad student, and your advisor gives you an important paper in the field to read: "A Tool that does Suck Dust." The introduction tells you that "It is a tool that does suck up dust to make what you walk on in a home tidy," and a bunch of other reasonable but vague things. The bulk of the paper is technical diagrams and descriptions of a vacuum cleaner. Then there are some references:
"How to use air flow to suck up dust."
"How to use many a coil of wire to make a fan spin very fast."
"What you get from the hole in the wall that has wire in it."

So, what do you do? Technically, you sit at your desk and think. But it's not that simple. First, you're like, lol, that title almost sounds like it could be sexual innuendo. Then you read the introduction, which pleasantly tells you what things are generally about, but is completely vague about the important details.

Then you get to the technical diagrams and are totally confused, but you work through them piece by piece. You redo many of the calculations on your own just to double check that you've really understood what's going on. Sometimes, the calculations that you redo come up with something stupid, and then you have to figure out what you've understood incorrectly, and then reread that part of the technical manual to figure things out. Except sometimes there was a typo in the paper, so that's what screwed things up for you.

After a while, things finally click, and you finally understand what a vacuum cleaner is. In fact, you actually know much more: You've now become one of the experts on vacuum cleaners, or at least on this particular kind of vacuum cleaner, and you know a good fraction of the details on how it works. You're feeling pretty proud of yourself, even though you're still a far shot from your advisor: They understand all sorts of other kinds of vacuum cleaners, even Roombas, and, in addition to their work on vacuum cleaners, they're also working on a related but completely different project about air conditioning systems.

You are filled with joy that you can finally talk on par with your advisor, at least on this topic, but there is a looming dark cloud on the horizon: You still need to write a thesis.

So, you think about new things that you can do with vacuum cleaners. So, first, you're like: I can use a vacuum cleaner to clean bookshelves! That'd be super-useful! But then you do a Google Scholar search and it turns out that someone else did that like ten years ago.

OK, your next idea: I can use a vacuum cleaner to clean cats! That'd also be super-useful. But, alas, a bit more searching in the literature reveals that someone tried that, too, but they didn't get good results. You're a confident young grad student, so you decide that, armed with some additional techniques that you happen to know, you might fix the problems that the other researcher had and get vacuuming cats to work. You spend several months on it, but, alas, it doesn't get you any further.

OK, so then, after more thinking and doing some research on extension cords, you think it would be feasible to use a vacuum cleaner to clean the outdoors. You look in the literature, and it turns out that nobody's ever thought of doing that! You proudly tell this idea to your advisor, but they do some back of the envelope calculations that you don't really understand and tell you that vacuuming the outdoors is unlikely to be very useful. Something about how a vacuum cleaner is too small to handle the outdoors and that we already know about other tools that are much better equipped for cleaning streets and such.

This goes on for several years, and finally you write a thesis about how if you turn a vacuum cleaner upside-down and submerge the top end in water, you can make bubbles!

Your thesis committee is unsure of how this could ever be useful, but it seems pretty cool and bubbles are pretty, so they think that maybe something useful could come out of it eventually. Maybe.

And, indeed, you are lucky! After a hundred years or so, your idea (along with a bunch of other ideas) leads to the development of aquarium air pumps, an essential tool in the rapidly growing field of research on artificial goldfish habitats. Yay!

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