bigger than bigger

What is consider big. what is bigger. i don’t mean to be meta, but the tagline with iPhone 6’s release laid out that line perfectly.

In an era where a Chinese company has IPO-ed beyond 200 billion, it seems inexplicable that any synonyms with ‘big’ will be bounced around.

Yet, it seems that the idea of big, at least in our generation, is more and more attainable by the masses. Big data, big user base, big funding (excuse the grammar).

But all of these are only secondary to big ‘vision’.

Mark Zuckerberg had a vision of connecting people differently; its big user base now boast in the range of 1.3 billion, close to the population of China (talking about potential). Matt Mullenweg, at 18, wanted a way for people to share their ideas; now Wordpress is powering 24% of all websites on the Internet, a staggering statistics if you can wrap your mind around how many websites there are.

I was really moved by the volume of  passengers on the Chinese bullet train. 2 million per day travels around the country in speed of up to 350 km per hour. While riding on one of the trains, I came across a call for advertising, which was asking for around ¥500,000 RMB for a month of advertising at the back of the seat. It may seem like a lot at first, but if your profit margin for any product is ¥5 RMB, you would have recoup 100% of your advertising cost with just 10% of the daily traffic.

There are just a lot of potentials.

With Alibaba’s stunning IPO, Jack Ma is elevated to a higher pedestal, with quotes by him appearing all over the web. There is one that stands out to me personally:

A leader should never compare his technical skills with his employee’s. Your employee should have superior technical skills than you. If he doesn’t, it means you have hired the wrong person. - Vulcan Post

We often worry about our skills at a job, how we can better ourselves. And it is certainly crucial and essential to get the job done. But if you ever want to get to a higher level, there needs to be a mentality shift.

I remember attending one of Eli’s class during my 2-year HCI/d program. He was elaborating on the type of designers we should strive to be. I don’t exactly remember the categories he mentioned, but the one thing that stood out was to be someone who is making strategic planning. Back then, it strikes me as odd that a designer’s work is ultimately not hands-on design. But it makes much more sense now.

Last week, I attended a talk by Tony Conrad, an IU alumni, the founder of, and an angel investor. He shared a common trait of the companies that he had invested in. It’s always about a vision than a product or a company.

Don’t start a company, start a vision, start a movement. (paraphrased)

Examples such as Blue Bottle Coffee, a leader in what is known as third-wave coffee.

There are a lot of contradiction to what I have wrote. But the core of it that I’m trying to write for myself, is think of the big picture, cultivate, and develop a vision (beyond just an idea).

Everything else is secondary. 

Gatekeeper of the CIB

If only we can turn our situations into funny words like those of David Sedaris.

Working is a rather uneventful duty that almost everyone has to go through each day. And so we pay extra attention to little hiccups that adds beigne excitement to the affair.

I was, as I have in many occasions for the past year or so, forgotten my ID into the building. No hassle, I just go to the front desk, and ask to be let in. *Beep* Unlock.

Except this time, he was there. The gatekeeper of CIB, as I have come to call him. He, whose name I’m intrigued to find out. He, who I guess have a non-faded French accent. And he, who insist on checking my ID as I casually slips through the closing door that he had left open.

Well, as luck would have it, I didn’t have it.

I just smiled as the gatekeeper of CIB continue to question me about my ID, and when I said that I didn’t have it with me. He laid his hands on me, and told me to leave. Or he will call the security.

I brimmed. This reminds me very much of the bit that Louis C.K. did. The bit where he pretended that he lived in an upscale apartment in New York. Except, maybe it is against the policy to not have an ID with me when I enter the building.

Bummer. So I marched to the front desk, and was let in. All in 10-seconds.

Revenge, as it seems, will have to be deferred to another day. ID, or no ID.

Robin Williams. Remembered.

I remember a line from a PBS documentary about the national parks. A line that describes Alaska as a place that we may never get to visit, but have to know exists for our existence.

As such, so is Robin Williams to me.

He was always a laughter away from tears. His comedies are always that one bit different, you can tell. There always seem to be words behind the smiles, and grins.

One eulogy described him as a national treasure. He is. And today the nation is heartbroken with the loss of such a genuine soul. 


It’s regrettable that the many things I despise in others, is evidence in me.

“The medium of the designer is behavior.”
— Robert Fabricant (via jxnblk)

(via jxnblk)


One of the most amazing, impressive collection of Chinese types we’ve seen! #ziwut #ziwutletterpress #thegentlemenspress #letterpresshk #letterpress #leadtypes #foundrytypes

When in Singapore, use Singapore Letterpress!

And that is Chinese metal types! Chinese! Love it. :)

Looking up

Do you look up to someone who’s a good person, or someone who is productive? The society embrace the latter.

Passing on the goodwill: Fitbit

Sometimes, a company does something delightful that brightens your day, even when you were the one who dampened it.

And today’s goodwill company is Fitbit.

Last Thursday, I had a great time visiting the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky with some friends. We visited cave tours, including the Violet City Lantern Tour, where we only had the illumination of gas lanterns throughout the three-hour long tour.

Before the trip, I have been using my Fitbit One to track my daily activities. I was averaging about 4,000 ~ 6,000 steps per day at the office. So I was excited to see that number finally exceeding my 10,000 steps/day goal during the trip.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the darkness, the Fitbit One was lost.

I was sad.

When I went home that evening, I Googled “lost fitbit” in an attempt to somehow find a way to find it.

While looking through the documentation, there was a link to contact Fitbit. Now, I know the device was lost somewhere out in Kentucky, so there’s little they can do to retrieve it for me. Yet to my surprise, after a few email exchanges (where I also sent them my receipt), I received this message:

You may go back to the store where you purchased the tracker to get the replacement. If at the store they’re not willing to exchange it we can do it for you.

Long story short, I received my replacement Fitbit One from Fitbit in the mail yesterday.

It took just 5 days from our initial exchanges 6 days ago (March 21st), to receiving the replacement (March 26th). Incredible.


Throughout the entire process, they did not make me feel bad for losing the device (even though it’s entirely my fault). Nor did they drag their feet on sending out the replacement. So it’s only reasonable for me to pass on the goodwill, the good karma.

Rather than reading about the comparison of the similar devices, perhaps it’s stories like this that make a product stand out.

Sidenote: I have been using the “Moves” app on iPhone as a substitute. It does its job fairly well, with interesting infographs. But I forget my phone way too often to make it useful.

To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

-Mary Oliver

“How would you sell me this pen?”
— Wolf of Wall Street