Janet and Dan, met.

“I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen?”

On the Wulai day hike, I met a software engineer named Janet. We met again for brunch a couple of weeks later in April, along with her boyfriend Dan and my friend Wendy.

Janet and Dan both attended University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and studied computer science (whew, go public universities)!

Dan left school after his first year… and co-founded Xanga. Janet joined the company as soon as she finished her degree. The two worked out of the New York headquarters for 9 years before moving to Hong Kong for 3 years. They’re now relaxing in Taiwan until June before their move to San Francisco to form a start-up.

Janet is originally from Taiwan, whereas her parents are from Hong Kong. She speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and English fluently. She attended high school in Illinois, so those four years in high school combined with college and professional experience abroad makes her a true Taiwanese expat.

On the other hand, Dan is Japanese American and is the youngest of five brothers. He’s traveled much of Asia with Janet, having just come back from Thailand to work on a short project. The two of them also camped at the world’s largest cave for a week, Son Doong, in Vietnam.

I’m humbled by their achievements. Surviving the Dot-com bubble burst, growing to 40 million users, and doing so at their own discretion. Knowing when to have fun, yet getting down to business when necessary. The two gave me product management advice, which I’m testing out on my colleagues.

They’re leaving Taiwan soon, ready for their lives in the Bay Area. They’ll be living around the Berkeley area!

Dan and Janet have been met, but I wonder… how many people have I looked at all my life and never seen?

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