Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Remembering Grammy Shaw

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Katy, my dad, and I headed out east to Palouse, WA. My parents both grew up there and that's where I lived, too, as a wee little fellow.

We joined my cousin and my aunt and uncle Deerkop (who live in this beautiful place just outside of Palouse) to remember Grammy Shaw. She passed away three months ago. Her death caught us all by surprise, and the fact that she's gone is really still sinking in. Grammy and I talked almost every night on the phone ... indeed, we talked the night before she died. I'll always remember that final phone call -- she was happy and in good spirits.

I remember thinking over the past few years how it was odd that Grammy didn't really seem to have any hobbies or things she was interested in. But now that she's gone I've realized that she valued what's really important in life: people. To call her a social hub would be an understatement. She had an absolutely amazing ability of bringing people together. She thrived on her family members connecting with each other. We all joked about Grammy's famous "phone pass" -- where you'd be talking on the phone with her and suddenly she'd pass the phone to, say, your aunt standing nearby.

After we visited Grammy's grave on Saturday, my dad and I took a walk down along the railroad tracks that wind along the outskirts of Palouse. He recounted his memories from 50 years ago, when he was a kid playing by those same railroad tracks (not much has changed in Palouse) and causing a considerable amount of mayhem.

It struck me that our father-son walk down memory lane was exactly the sort of thing that would make Grammy happy. It was the perfect way to honor her memory.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Healia Communities

Healia, where I interned last summer, recently launched a health social networking site: Healia Communities. Just like the Healia search engine, which generates high-quality, high-relevance results, Healia Communities uses algorithms to guide users to other users who can best help them.

Healia Communities integrates with the Healia search engine via resources. Essentially, these allow users to "clip and save" results from the search engine to their communities profiles. This integration with health search is a key way that Healia Communities differs from other health social networking sites.

I was involved in several planning discussions on Healia Communities last summer, so it's exciting for me personally to see how far it's come. Also, I wrote the help section for this site. :)

You can give Healia Communities a try here.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Almost done

In less than a month, I'll graduate from the UW MBA program. My schedule this final quarter has been refreshingly open-ended and I've had a chance to catch up with old friends. Many of them have told me it seems like this has gone by really fast.

For them, perhaps. For me, the past 2 years have had so much packed into them that it really hasn't seemed like time's flown by. September 2006 seems like a long time ago indeed.

While my first year (and first quarter of this year) were unbelievably busy, these final two quarters have eased up. I joined classmates on a study tour through South Africa during spring break -- it was an incredible trip. This quarter I've been walking a lot (Gmaps Pedometer is a really handy tool -- it showed me that I walked 7 miles yesterday), reading the news, and just relaxing.

I'll be traveling to Thailand and Cambodia after graduation for 3 weeks and then in mid-July I'll start work with Vitalent.