About This Blog.
I have an insatiable thirst for learning. I'm your Type A, life-hack-collecting, growth and thrill seeking millennial. I'm obsessed with cultivating, enhancing and maximizing the human experience. Too often, I get caught in philosophical coffee chats about something and people ask me "can you send me a link to [that thing]?"
The "Thought Archives" is simply an open-source of my collection, sharing my resources with anyone and everyone who wants to read about it. This blog is an expression of who I am, what I care about, and how I hope to make your life easier or better.
TL;DR: Do good work. Help others.
“What is the meaning of life?”
We all ask this, some have answers. For me, I’ve been trying to figure this out (and still am) since I was 12 years old. I started by trying to understand what the smallest unit to the meaning of life was. So I began searching. Having grown up in a constant culture of pursuing achievement (Hong Kong), I asked myself “is life about achievement?” If I were the only person left on the planet, but had achieved everything – is that the meaning of life? The answer was simple, no – I wouldn’t be happy. So the next question I asked was, “when have I ever been the happiest?” Two answers came to mind, playing mah jong with my Grandma, and summers on the lake as a kid. I realized it was the shared experience with loved ones that bring you most joy. So if I only ever did that, is that the meaning of life? To some, maybe, but to me… also no. It lacked a sense ‘higher’ fulfillment beyond personal satisfaction. Then I read some hokey-pokey article about how humans are distinct from animals because we (1) have the ability to be self aware, and (2) have the notion of purpose. Not sure where I’m going with this, but it became clear to me that part of life will be this epic journey of boundless discovery, bonding, moments of deep thought, and maj jong.
Technology is a tool, a medium, and not the purpose.
What is the difference between art and design? I asked myself this when applying to colleges. I was always a creative kid, so I knew I wanted to study something in the realm of creativity. But on my search for a major, I realized there was an array of “art programs” and an array of “design programs”.
At the time, “art” seemed to be paintings and sculptures, where as “design” seemed to be architecture, products and well… designs. So then I asked myself, “what’s the difference between the role of an “artist” versus a “designer?“ As a high school sophomore, I came to the (subjective) conclusion that “artists aim to evoke an emotional response from a chosen audience.” It could be a provocative painting at a gallery opening, or a cute doodle to a secret crush. Scale didn’t matter, form didn’t matter, intent did matter, and self expression mattered. Design however, wasn’t like that. It was about (again, my subjective words) “understanding, crafting, and building for an unmet solution.” Whether it was designing a poster or building a library for a new community, it was about creative problem solving for the world around us. My 16 year old mind was awoken, and I was far more interested in the latter.
UCLA was an important stage for me. As I was deciding between art, architecture, and design schools, my head was spinning with indecision around not taking the wrong life path. I got into Berkeley and USC for Architecture, and UCLA for Design Media Arts. I (still) have no idea wtf “Design Media Arts” means. So I went to their Open House. The Dean at the time opened his speech with, “If you’ve come to learn about what our students do after they graduate, you’ve come to the wrong place. We’re educating our students for a world of jobs that haven’t yet been created“… #dropthemic. I was sold. So I convinced my loving, supportive, terrified parents to trust me on this one and let me take a chance in finding my calling (thanks mom and dad!) Once I started the program, I realized it was a sampler platter of storytelling methods. We had visual communication (graphic/print design), web design, 3D modeling, form, game design, video, typography… it was the chop suey of creativity. At first, I felt gypped. I wasn’t going deep enough in any domain to be considered an expert, and I wanted my (parents’) 40k/year back. Then I realized the program was about exposing you emerging disciplines of tackling design challenges, so that you can build and hybrid (remix if you will) modern methods of powerful storytelling. If your goal was to ‘evoke serenity’, by being exposed to so many different approaches, we now had the imagination to decide whether a video or art installation (or a hybrid of both) would be more appropriate for effectively telling your story.
From this educational standpoint, I then realized that everything technical I have ever learned… photoshop, drawing, coding even, was a mere medium. And that the meaning and purpose of everything I had ever designed never laid in its form factor. This is where technology comes in. Too often, people start with a new technology. But technology is a medium, an infinite powerful tool. Its power is only matched by its meaning. Its first superpower was connecting people from all around the world. But human’s desire to connect, has existed long before technology. I know, deep shit. So to me, technology is yet another tool, another body of paint, to express and connect the dots to what people really care about.
Humanity has never seen a more powerful medium. So I decided long ago to use human ingenuity for good, and not evil.
I’m not a great coder, just like I’m not a great painter. But I’m a feverishly passionate storyteller and maker. This is my blog – one of ideas, collected inspiration, and shareable thoughts. Enjoy.