The past two months have seen me make two decisions that feel rather consequential in terms of how they will shape the start of my career: choosing not to work at Facebook full-time, and deciding to graduate this coming Spring, rather than take a full gap-year. Both of these took far more energy and thought than did past decisions, and yet, in retrospect, my decision on Facebook felt reasoned and deliberate, whereas I lacked a sound framework with which to think about graduation.

Now, as I enter the next chapter of my life, making decisions more intentionally will become increasingly…

It’s almost 6 p.m. of Election Day. The New York Times already has an election tracker up on their website, though it’s not yet populated with any data. Daylight Savings just passed this weekend, so the sky’s been dark for almost an hour at this point. My Google Home is playing Kygo because that’s the first thing I thought to tell it to play, but in retrospect, it doesn’t quite feel like the right atmosphere. I mean, in any other election year where we’re headed into election night with an 8-point polling lead against the incumbent, 9.4 million Americans infected…

A summer intern’s reflection on Waze CCP, Power BI, and the future of civic governance

It’s hard to say what exactly I expected out of my summer internship at Louisville Metro’s Office of Performance Improvement and Innovation (OPI2, for short). Prior to the summer, if someone asked me what my job would involve, I’d answer with some variation on “analyzing internal performance data and finding innovative ways to integrate technology into city services.” (My dad had a shorthand way to say this: “consulting.”)

It turns out that I, along with co-interns Devika, Kellen, and Parker, would focus on the second “I” in OPI², joining the Innovation half of the office. In retrospect, however, the summer…

Daniel Zhao

Senior at Yale studying statistics and global affairs, passionate about tech policy, civic tech, and public policy.

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