Showing posts from February, 2014

On Detroit

I visited some Venture for America friends in Detroit this past weekend. Although the city is painted as a bombed-out shell in the media, I thought midtown Detroit approximated an abandoned Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. After I got home, I came across this interview with Detroit-native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Jeffrey Eugenides, which echoes my impression of the city, and many of the discussions I had and overheard during my trip.

Here are a few more reflections.
Grandeur and spectacle: Detroit is a city built at grand scale. Woodward Avenue, the main drag, is a hundred meters wide at some points. Building footprints are larger than any I've seen at home in Philadelphia, and cavernous interiors are adorned with ornate mosaics and murals. The remnants of Detroit's opulence are captivating. It reminds me of the poem, Ozymandias, or of Aristotle's definition of the tragic hero.

Mental-manual labor

Recently, a friend who works in marketing and business development at a small tech startup was offered the chance to attend a two-month code academy, paid for entirely by her company, as a first step towards transitioning to a role as a developer. (Go get 'em, girl!) I am writing this post in response to a conversation with her.

When I interned in Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Late-Stage Chemical Development group, I was told entry-level chemists get paid only three-quarters what an entry-level chemical engineer makes. "Chemistry is a skillset; engineering is a way of thinking."