Curiosity

David Kuo
2 min readDec 11, 2020

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A message to my team while 2021 is approaching…

Charlene, my 19-month old daughter, is extremely curious about her surroundings. Any object in her reach, she would grab it, examine it from different angles, and make a decision if she wants to spend more time on it or throw it away. Her favorite objects are books, books filled with colorful animals. Whenever I’m nearby, she would bring her favorite book at the moment to me to read to her. She has learned how to say her favorite animal, bunny, in Mandarin. Whenever she sees it in her book, she would point to it and shout ecstatically, “bunny, bunny!” to demonstrate that she recognizes it.

I’m amazed by her curiosity, her innate ability. It’s a driver for exploration, learning, and as a result, growth.

A few months ago, I mentored an engineer from a different organization interested in the project lead role. Besides exchanging our thoughts about what that role does and why she was interested, her questions were around how she could be ready and lead. Her curiosity created a wide range of discussions for us to share each other’s perspectives. As for the question “how to lead,” it probably takes one’s lifetime to explore.

Their curiosity got me thinking. As a father, am I curious enough? As a manager, how can I do more to facilitate an environment to stimulate curiosity from people to ask questions, think from different perspectives, explore various options, and learn from the experience?

The Business Case for Curiosity discusses the research on the benefits of curiosity. A new year is approaching. I encourage you to think about these areas, ask questions, and collaborate with others to find answers:

  • What are the goals that we are setting for 2021, and why are those goals important?
  • How can we achieve those goals, and how do we measure our success?
  • Why does one project take precedence over the others?
  • Why is a feature designed in a particular way? How might we improve it to delight our users and engineers?
  • What are different approaches that we can take to overcome a challenge?

Lastly, 2020 is a chaotic, bizarre, and unprecedented year. People lost their lives, dignity, and jobs. However, 2020 also taught me to cherish the simple, basic things I would generally take for granted: my health, family, and work.

Holidays are coming. Enjoy this time with your family and loved ones, or connect with them if you are away. Happy holidays and looking forward to working with you to welcome a brand new year!

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