Hi, and welcome to #TalkbackTuesday, which is where I feature people and interview them. It is always inspirational to look into the life of another, and realize it is just as complex and confusing and large as your own.
This week’s short interview is text-only. For this week, I spoke to my friend from school, Francisco Mendes. See below.
Note: This interview was conducted over Facebook. There is editing for grammar (unindicated).
Q1. For the readers, who are you, what do you do, and what’s your current project?
I am Francisco Romaldo Mendes. Everyone calls me Franco (except my mom, who calls me Fwano embarrassing).
I consider myself to be a little bit of an oddball – equal parts intellectual, equal parts jock, and equal parts eccentric. I build statistical models (which is nerd for i can see into the future).
I am working on “Revenue Optimization in Second Price Auctions Using Machine Learning Techniques” …and hitting on your sister/girlfriend.
Q2. Easy there, Fwano. So when you say you build statistical models, what company/ which cool people are you working with, and where / to what end are your analyses being applied?
I have built a Hidden Markov Model to predict how people move in shopping malls for Deloitte US (Hyderabad). I work with a lot of cool people – mostly CS guys from IIT and Stats/Eco guys from ISI. My analyses are mostly applied in Risk and Premium Pricing in Insurance though.
Basically, we don’t want to sell insurance to a guy like me because I am statistically more likely to die early because I DON’T DRINK. Can you believe that? Non-drinkers die early – who knew?
[Sucks for me – I’ve built my life around the belief that I’m a better person for not smoking or drinking. Damn you, inferential statistics!]
Q3. When I knew you back in school, you were a buff, smooth-talking debator/basketballer. It’s been many years since, so how much of that is still true? Do you get to take time out to debate/ speak publicly/ play basketball? Do you dread the company life?
Well, yeah if you don’t drink you tend to be a depressed loner. And die quick.
Well, over the years I’ve become more of a smooth talker with the ladies and I’ve become way leaner than I was in school so a lot has changed. Interestingly, our friend Arka remembers me the same way and it’s kind of intimidating to be remembered that way. I have become a lot quieter now – though maybe the word I am looking for is “mature”.
I do debate on the Parliamentary Debate circuit frequently with varying levels of success. I do speak publicly a lot as a moderator – at high school debates mostly! I haven’t played basketball for a while now. My knees (and my hips) are too far gone.
It’s intimidating to be remembered [a certain way]. I have become a lot quieter.
I was known for “doing” a lot of things like debating and sports but I never really liked doing any of them very much after a point. I wish I had done more things I liked when I was younger.
I wish I had done more things I liked when I was younger.
Q4. What is that like – being remembered a certain way? Does your memorable school persona come up often, or is it just with old friends who you haven’t spoken to in a while? How would you say you’ve changed, and how have you remained the same?
Well, it’s hard because most people remember me for my personality and things I did, but I wanted to be remembered more as the guy who was honest and fair and would really give you the shirt off his back right after hitting on your girlfriend. I wanted to be remembered not for what I did but for who I was! Which wasn’t the way most people remember me.
I have changed in many ways. First of all, I am calmer now. I used to run my mouth waaay too much in college and school. I am a lot less confident now than I was, which is the best thing that’s happened to me.
I have also learned a lot about love. I can’t believe I’d be this mushy. I guess I was Deadpool in school now I am like Batman. Does that work?
I am less confident now, which is the best thing that’s happened to me.
[Can’t have changed all that much – that insane confidence is still there, comparing yourself to Deadpool and Batman.]
Q5. So what does the future hold for Francisco Romaldo Mendes? How excited are you about the next 6 years of your life? (6 because 5 is cliché.)
Yeah, always confident. Though I consciously shut myself up more or try to.
Well, I will work in the near future but I see myself doing a PhD for certain. I mean I was going to, but then Deloitte happened and I made some amazing friends there. So I thought I’ll go back and work.
I am VERY excited to work. I love the work I’ll be doing – it’s very laid back and it pays very well. And no I dont really have a plan, like, I have never been super ambitious. I just try to be as perfect as I can for the next one day. Hahaha.
[Good to hear and happy to know you look forward to it. Last question.]
Q6. Do you have anything to shill or promote? If not, do you have any parting words or advice?
4chan.com! Get on it NOW! Ah yes, I do have some advice. The chances that you are exceptional are zero, the chances that you will be exceptional are zero. Success is a lie. Be happy in the NOW before it’s too late.
The chances that you are, or will be, exceptional are zero. Be Happy Now.
Thank you for reading Talkback Tuesday! You can leave a follow-up question for Francisco in the comments below and I’ll try and get an answer for you.
Note: There will be no Talkback next week, since it’s the 4th week of the month, which means Recipe Lab!
Next, check out last week’s interview Right Here.