Monday, November 28, 2011

21DJC Round-Up – How Has Your Experience Been?

21DJC Round-Up – How Has Your Experience Been?

  1. How has the whole 21DJC experience been for you?
  2. What have you learned throughout the 21 days?
  3. Which question(s) did you find most meaningful? And why?
  4. What is one thing you’re going to do differently after having gone through 21DJC?
The 21DJC experience has been introspective in asking meaningful questions that I haven't asked myself, or have avoided in answering. It has helped me find out more about myself by forcing me to think about and answer these questions meaningfully.

I've learned that I spend too much time thinking. The barrage of a daily question is a little much for me as I would probably have taken a few days to think over my responses to the questions. Being compelled to respond at a rapid rate pushes me to answer more instinctively though it makes me unhappy and uncomfortable with how my answer is not thoroughly constructed. I take a long time when making decisions and thinking through situations.

I think the question that gave me the most food for thought and significance was "What is the Most Painful Thing You’ve Ever Had To Experience To Date?" I usually tell people that I've had knee problems, but I've never written it all out with all the details and the timeline. I'm not sure if it's actually helped me, but it does feel good somewhat that I'm not thinking of the pain as just some vague memory.

I think after having gone through 21DJC, I definitely need to be able to express my thoughts and opinions faster without being comfortable taking a few days to think things through. It's one of my weaknesses in not being satisfied if I don't take the time to do things perfectly.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

21DJC Day 21 – What is Your Biggest Wish for the Future?

Day 21 – What is Your Biggest Wish for the Future?

The one wish I am most interested in seeing is to just be happy. To be content with the circumstances I'm in, and accept it, and be fortunate that it's my vision of joy.

Friday, November 25, 2011

21DJC Day 20 – What Limiting Beliefs Are You Holding On To?

Day 20 – What Limiting Beliefs Are You Holding On To?

I think I limit myself by believing I can predict how things will turn out before I even attempting it. I fight against the instinct everyday to just go ahead and try to break through my preconceived notions of how the world works.

Even if it doesn't look like I'm going to succeed, I have to try.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

21DJC Day 19 – What Words Best Describe You?

Day 19 – What Words Best Describe You?

The five words that I believe would best describe me:

I'm very driven by my principles and ideals. I am unwilling to (or at least try not) cross them, because doing so would betray my own confidence. I consider it my greatest strength since most of my friends put their faith in me without worry.

I am unrelenting when I have a certain level of expectation in my work. I am willing to spend countless hours for that little bit of extra effort to near perfection on my projects and my creative endeavours. Determination is key to being satisfied with my own efforts.

I am dependable to a fault. If someone asks for my help, I will more likely than not say yes even though it is not in my best interest.

Being calm is my way of dealing with stressful situations. I find panicking unproductive and a waste of mental resources. Even when I am faced with a circumstance where failure is guaranteed, I believe making the effort to strive when the probabilities are stacked against you is when you find your true self.

I am very detail-oriented. I am methodical and I approach everything in my path in a logical way. I guess it's the reason why I ended up working as a web developer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

21DJC Day 18 – What Matters Most To You?

Day 18 – What Matters Most To You?

Having gone through my experiences and from all the time I've spent thinking and meditating about life, the world, and just everything, what matters most to me is to be authentic. To be honest, to be someone who other people can believe in, to make a difference in other people's lives.

To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, I wish to be the change I wish to see in the world. I hold myself to my own standards to act better towards others as I wish others would behave towards myself. What matters is my ideals of how to treat other people and I know if I go against these ideals, I would lose respect for myself and would likely go into a downward spiral of how hypocritical I have behaved.

By following my principles and living my life adhering to them, I give myself a clear path of how to make decisions when I am given difficult choices. By doing so, I choose to free my mind from worrying about many things. I assure my mind is free (for the most part) from guilt, regret, and indecision.

As long as my principles are sound and true, then I will have no doubts that I have done the best I can.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

21DJC Day 17 – If The World Came To An End Today, How Would You Feel?

Day 17 – If The World Came To An End Today, How Would You Feel?

I don't really like to think of what-ifs too much. Thinking about hypotheticals is something I don't typically ascribe to regarding how I feel because then it becomes a mind game about second guessing how I would act.

If the world came to an end today, then I would accept it. It is what it is. What I feel isn't going to stop the world from ending, though if it could, that would be quite interesting.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vancouver Startup Weekend 2011 Overview

I volunteered at Vancouver Startup Weekend this past weekend and I got to meet a lot of cool people and saw a lot of great teams come up with interesting projects.

Final Presentations
This is a brief overview of the teams that presented, but you can take a look at each teams videos as posted below. The video isn't the best quality, and some are blurry, but feel free to blame my shaky hands. =)

Congratulations to all the 14 teams that survived the weekend!

Presentation 1: JukeNuke

Mobile phone app that let's the user have an interactive experience with the music in the venue they are in by voting up or voting down songs that are in the playlist of the bar/club that they are in.

Presentation 2: SocialQs

Algorithmic software solution that leverages social media (specifically Twitter) that uses natural language processing to extract user sentiment on products and use that data to predict stock price behaviour

Presentation 3: Distinctivo

Live stream of employee events and applying game mechanics to make work fun

Presentation 4: bagtag
bagtag, @bagtag_tweets

Integrated service to let e-commerce shoppers find out how other shoppers are combining their purchases on a particular product, ie taking a peek at other people's shopping carts who are looking at the same product as you.

Presentation 5: Let's Coffee

iPhone app to be able to meet new people in your area for coffee, and rate how good they are to meet.

Presentation 6: OrganizedGood

Online platform to allow for a dialogue on civic issues and social responsibility to be raised and trigger engagement through offline participation

Presentation 7: epibuy

Digital tablet application that streamlines the purchasing process of products you see on the television program the user is watching

Presentation 8: My Best Helper
My Best Helper

Matchmaker platform to connect people who require caregiving services such as elderly care, pet care, or child care with individuals who are able to provide needed services. E-harmony for caregivers.

Presentation 9: Pay It Forward

Reward and recognition software for companies that uses gamification elements to promote employee productivity

Presentation 10:, @trustdotme

Service that leverages social networks in order to determine the reliability of buyers and sellers in online marketplaces.

Presentation 11: SocialBuzz
SocialBuzz, @SocialBuzz_, SocialBuzz(fb)

Social events data aggregator that leverages twitter data to find out what events in your area are trending or 'buzzing'

Presentation 12: SmartCity

Smartphone app that will allow users to determine the electrical usage of appliances

Presentation 13: Qutie
Qutie App@qutieappQutie(fb)

Virtual monster app on your mobile phone that eats and interacts with QR codes that you find in the real world

Presentation 14: Epic Bets
Epic Bets, @epicbets, EpicBets(fb)

Mobile phone app to allow users to bet against each other on sports events using virtual points

Top Finishers
First place: My Best Helper
Second place: bagtag
Third place: JukeNuke
Best presentation: Epic Bets
Best social cause: OrganizedGood

Honorable Mentions

You can check out photos from my Flickr account from Day 2 and Day 3 below.
Credits to Anand Suchindrum, @spokanand for taking most of these photos

Day 2

Day 3

21DJC Day 16 – What Makes You Happy?

Day 16 – What Makes You Happy?

I'm a very empathetic person. I smile I lot when I'm around happy people. I am someone who absorbs the energy from the people around me and so I try to surround myself with individuals who are optimistic and cheerful.

I always look forward to walking into unfamiliar situations. That sense of fear and dread about not knowing is surpassed from the triumph that I feel when conquering the unknown. It's the surprise of meeting new people and always learning a little bit more that I never knew.

I love to learn, so what brings me the most happiness in life is how every little experience shapes me. It either adds a little more, or subtracts a little. Ups and downs are life and I have come to appreciate taking both as equal opportunities. However, if I can influence the world around me, especially the people, I'll try and make an effort so that we're all experiencing ups and being happy together. I love making a difference in someone's day, though I don't do it often enough. Smiles are definitely better when they are shared.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

21DJC Day 15 – What is the Most Painful Thing You’ve Ever Had To Experience To Date?

Day 15 – What is the Most Painful Thing You’ve Ever Had To Experience To Date?

The most painful thing I've had to deal with is my physical issues with my knee.
It started 15 years ago when I first twisted and dislocated my knee. A few weeks later, I was developing discomfort and serious pain when I was exercising, and then my knees started giving out.
The next 3 years consisted of pain and falling over. The fear of even thinking about running was hindering me on a daily basis. I went to specialists, got a few X-rays, as well as an MRI (with no results-the doctor saw nothing wrong in my joint).
Eventually, there were small bits of cartilage floating around and eventually forming large enough that I could feel it using my fingers. I went to see a different specialist this time and was able to get operated on to remove these. The doctor performed an arthroscopic surgery cutting small holes to remove the little balls of cartilage. I was relieved to have the cartilage cleaned out.

After I recovered, I thought I was in the clear. But after a few months, the bits of cartilage started forming again. I was back in surgery a year later to clean it out again.
My knee has been free of debris (as far as I can tell), but it still gives out sometimes. I finally got a proper diagnosis from an (another) orthopedic specialist last year to realize that it has something to do with a muscle known as the Vastus Medialis Oblique. It is what has been causing my knee to give out.

Although my knee joint hasn't fully healed yet. It's a relief now that I know what's wrong with it, but it's still a psychological burden on not knowing if my body can handle the normal limitations of exercise. It feels like my body is still betraying me. It's painful on the different aspects of my life: psychologically, physically, and emotionally.

I try to live life moving forward and trying to push the pain down and base it on the idea of the quote: "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional" -unknown.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

21DJC Day 14 – What Does Love Mean To You?

Day 14 – What Does Love Mean To You?

Love is elation, sadness, happiness, joy, concern, respect, honor, dedication, acceptance, denial, pride, jealous, infinite.
It makes the world go round.
It makes the world fall apart.
Love, to me, is the bond that connects me to everyone else in the world.

Friday, November 18, 2011

21DJC Day 13 – What Do You Fear Most?

Day 13 – What Do You Fear Most?

The thing I fear the most is that I don't get a chance to fulfil my goals, live a meaningful life, or make a contribution to this world.

My greatest fears are still ironically hindered by fear on a more daily basis, fear causes paralysis of doing things, not being able to live life fully. There lies the battle of how and if the overall fear of the long term effects are strong enough to drive me to conquer my fears on the day-to-day scale.

I have made strides in conquering some of those fears, but it is still a climb running into every obstacle. My philosophy is based on the quote (that I'm not sure who said) of "If you're not living, you're dying". Merely being alive is just surviving, and not everyone who's alive truly lives, and just exist.

I believe we all need to strive and venture to live. To have meaningful lives, to live in the moment and be fulfilled in who we are as people and what we do.

21DJC Day 12 – What Are Your Biggest Goals for the Next Few Years?

Day 12 – What Are Your Biggest Goals for the Next Few Years?

The biggest goals for me is to be more happy, find my path, and find my passion.

I've taken the steps to go forward with finding my passion and now to find a more clear path towards fulfilling the passion is my main objective. That initial list may sound like really vague goals, so I guess they are my destinations. The following are more concrete goals towards my path:

1) Get a job in the Interaction Design (IX/UX) field.

2) Travel to 2 new countries every year.

3) Lead a more active lifestyle. Lower my weight to 180 Lbs, exercise more consistently.

4) Healthier eating habits. Cook more, eat more veggies and fruits. (No need to lessen anything else, I
don't really think I have unhealthy eating patterns, just need to increase nutrition)

5) Connect and engage people at a deeper level. Talk to more people.

6) Express myself more through writing/blogging, talking to people, through my design work, and taking more photographs.

7) Be less paralyzed in my daily life. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Live in the now.

I really don't like setting goals like this.

I am someone who likes more general and vague-ish goals because then it allows the possibilities of being more creative for solutions to attain my dreams. The hesitation for setting concrete goals is that I believe it narrows the focus too much on being obsessed with specific tasks. (And also the eventual regret and self-loathing when those tasks don't get done). I believe in just hoping for a better tomorrow and not being too tied down by how I get there.

Ralph Waldo Emerson summed it up the best, "Life is a journey, not a destination".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Beatboxer Dave Crowe

I found this article today on GOOD with a video to a beatboxer who's identity I've found out as Dave Crowe. You should definitely look up his performances on YouTube! I recognized him from my recent trip to Europe back in August performing on the streets of Prague.

I was able to find this short clip that my sister recorded while we were there.

It truly is a joy to see him perform live. I ran into his performance while walking around in the morning of the old town of Prague and seeing his performance made my day. I was happy for the rest of the day as what he does truly is amazing. His act is so raw and engaging that you can see how people would stop to watch for 20 minutes just because he creates that connection with people of live performance. There's no barriers between and he was polite enough to make sure people weren't blocking the sidewalks.

I hope everyone gets a chance to see him live and make your day. =D

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

21DJC Day 11 – Out of Your 5 Senses, Which is the Most Important to You, and Why?

Day 11 – Out of Your 5 Senses, Which is the Most Important to You, and Why?

I don't agree with other people's approach to this question about valuing about which sense you would try to save if you lost your other senses. I would probably answer something different if I needed to choose the sense I would save, but the most important sense to me is my hearing.

The ability to listen is my greatest strength. I am someone who can fully immerse with people through meaningful conversation and although seeing someone is equally as important, being able to hear people express themselves through their voice is just not the same. The art of conversation has the power to create a powerful intimacy that sight cannot replicate.

We hear music and the infinite symphonies, arias, and ballads of audiological expression. The spoken word, poetry and books can be felt through the words heard aloud. The exchange of ideas in an eloquent speech or presentation is delivered through the medium of parlance and elocution.

I will have to go against the grain and choose hearing over sight. That is not to say sight isn't as important, but I believe that is too obvious a choice of convenience. It may be more limiting to function as a person without sight (I have no idea on the validity of that, I'm just assuming), and that with sight, we would still be able to fit into society relatively well, but if we were just answering the choice of favorite sense, I go with hearing. Hearing has much more meaning as a form of communication at the human level. Our voices give us much more ability to express ourselves at a higher level than through our writing or paintings.

The whole act of listening as well and being attentive, to listen actively, is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other as people. The act of giving our attention is under appreciated and most of us can not comprehend how much meaning it holds merely to volunteer our undivided attention and awareness. To be heard and to be given the courtesy of respectful engagement is such a rarity in the rush of daily life.

Our ears and our voices are the most primal ways of communication and expression. I believe it allows for one of the most intimate ways of connecting between all of us.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

21DJC Day 10 – Who Do You Enjoy Spending Time With?

Day 10 – Who Do You Enjoy Spending Time With?

I enjoy being with my family.
My parents are always relaxed so I am usually able to be more fun and make jokes around them.
My sisters always push me to become a better person. They know my limits and try to push me beyond them.
My nephews and nieces always give me reasons to laugh and smile and to make sure we're all enjoying it, I give them reasons to laugh and smile as well.

I enjoy being with friends and strangers. What I look for though in people are those who have the ability to open my mind. The ones willing to challenge my way of thinking, through expressing their differing opinions, or their insights into different perspectives that I've never thought of. Every new person I meet will usually bring some type of spark and new insight, especially younger kids who have such innocent and literal views of the world.


This GOOD article on how professor George Parrott walked out on a class after students didn't bring snacks to class. He implemented his snack "rule" a few decades ago in order to foster and encourage closer relationships between the students of a large class. I absolutely believe in this method of using food to bring people together and I do employ the method myself, it is an effective icebreaker to meet and approach people while working on projects at school.

The act of walking out on the class because the rule wasn't followed is a powerful message. I admire his conviction to follow through on his standards of expecting people to have enough mutual respect to just walk out. It's probably a minefield in terms of the school's administration to deal with the situation, but I don't care about that. There isn't enough people nowadays who have enough courage to make an example out of being disrespected. With situations like these, it reminds me that we are allowed to be angry. To be righteous when insulted. 

It can be taken overboard, but I felt professor Parrott has a point and was justified in doing so. We should stand by our convictions and be willing to walk away from a relationship when mutual respect is not followed. This precedent sends a powerful message and I hope the students of his class, and everyone who reads about it, gets it. Respect each other, or don't expect respect in return.

Monday, November 14, 2011

21DJC Day 9 – What Drives You?

Day 9 – What Drives You?


The one thing that pushes me forward is to be adventurous and continually be faced with surprises. To experience something new every day. I live to learn new skills, to realize new joys, to understand the world a little more bit by bit, to fathom new knowledge, to fall in love, to make a difference, to discover the wonders and to be amazed. To be surprised.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

21DJC Day 8 – On a Scale of 1-10, How Much Do You Love Yourself?

Day 8 – On a Scale of 1-10, How Much Do You Love Yourself?

This is such a loaded question, but for the sake of having some kind of response I will answer it rather than trying to address the issues of asking this question. Hahaha :D

From a scale to 1-10, I'd have to say I'm a 7.5.
I guess I'm pretty happy who I am, but not satisfied with what I have accomplished.
I love my passion and willingness to learn, and happy with how I act, think and treat the others around me. I try to live and make decisions based on compassion and mutual benefit. I don't think I would like myself very much if I had it any other way.

I am still struggling to find my real passion in life and to find my path to becoming happy, though if I figured that out, I could probably give myself an 8 or higher. But until then, 7.5 is as high as I go.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

21DJC Day 7 – What is the Most Important Thing You’ve Learned in Life So Far?

Day 7 – What is the Most Important Thing You’ve Learned in Life So Far?

I will have to quote Mahatma Gandhi for the most important lesson.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

This is a straightforward lesson about how you must act how you want the people around you to act. Be kind, and don't be a jerk. You must take the steps to initiate what you think is important so that it may become reality.

TEDxVancouver 2011 - The Frontier

I think I must have missed something when I attended TEDxVancouver because I didn't understand how the theme of "The Frontier" tied the talks and ideas together. The event was held at UBC's Chan Centre. The theatre is amazing as always (if you've never been there in the concert hall for a concert, you should definitely go to one!) However, there were hiccups with the choice of venue as trying to fit 1000 people into the lobby during the breaks, and lunch was a logistical nightmare as it was simply packed (and probably a safety hazard).

The lineup of speakers was amazing though and I was quite inspired especially with the design speakers such as Jer Thorpe who explains the need to simplify information by visualizing the data in order to bring meaning, and Kara Pecknold describing the design process and the problems with other people assuming they understand the process.

I was especially inspired by the latter speakers at the conference. Christopher Gaze gave a moving soliloquy and rallied the crowd with quotes and scenes by William Shakespeare. Following my own search for my passion in life, Sean Aiken's thoughts on trying new things and not settling on just what we have but actually discovering our true calling and the passion that lies in our hearts resonates strongly with me and it fuels me on to continue my own quest.

The last speaker of the day was Victor Lucas. I have to say that he was a perfect anchor for finishing the conference with his 3D Rules (It was actually 4, but what the hey, it's part of how he presented it), a letter/manual written for his soon-to-be daughter.

Lucas' 3D rules:
1) Don't be a dick
2) Don't dick around
3) Don't hang out with dicks
4) Dream

The final words for the conference delivered a message of how to live. To be a good person and surrounding ourselves with good people, and be focused in our lives. But, most important of all, to dream.

Friday, November 11, 2011

21DJC Day 6 – What Frustrates You?

Day 6 – What Frustrates You?

I am frustrated by:
-people who are ignorant and close-minded
-inability to affect things beyond my control
-being paralyzed by fear
-unfair trades
-being unprepared

21DJC Day 5 – Who Is the Most Important Person to You in the World?

Day 5 – Who Is the Most Important Person to You in the World

This answer was a little difficult for me to whittle down to. But the most important person to me is a close friend of mine. This person has helped me to overcome certain fears and helped me to cross boundaries and take leaps of faith where my fear normally would paralyze me from acting.

I used to be a really serious person and perceive things too critically. But conversations with my friend, I'm now able to let go. To just soak in how the world as it is, and be happy. To accept the world with flaws and all. My friend has been a source of inspiration and solace in my daily struggle to find my purpose and passion.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

21DJC Day 4 – If You Are To Travel Back in Time to 3 Years Ago, What Advice Would You Give Yourself?

Day 4 - If You Are To Travel Back in Time to 3 Years Ago, What Advice Would You Give Yourself?

Three years ago, I would have been 25 years old and somewhere feeling lost. That's not to say I'm not still feeling lost now, but I think I have a better sense of direction now. At that time, I was still working as a software developer and I guess somewhat content.

I'm not really sure if I would have much to say. I believe that we all take our own path and I haven't really made any judgments/decisions about the past 3 years that I think I could have done any other way. I did take a huge leap though about 2 years back, and maybe I would tell myself to be less afraid and just go back to school (earlier). I would try to teach my past self to be less paralyzed by fear.

Now if I could actually give myself cheats and insight into the reality of the future/present, I'd give my past self information about the present that could be used for financial gain, like lottery ticket numbers and stock market data. =P

21DJC Day 3 – What is Your Ideal Diet Like?

Day 3 - What is Your Ideal Diet Like?

My ideal diet would have to factor in my adventurous nature in trying new foods. I'm also studying into the food-nature relationship reading books from authors such as Michael Pollan and understanding how the food gets from the source to our plates. This would probably lead me to trying to be a locavore and eating not specifically organic, but at least non-chemical/non-preservative based foods.

I would try vegetarian/vegan, but only if I could figure out how to create a wide array of tastes with fresh ingredients. As someone who loves to cook, I find cooking with just vegetables (or just eating raw vegetables) is difficult to create satisfying or appetizing flavours.

If I had the resources available, I would love to have a dietician work with a personal chef to create a personal meal plan for a diet that would be balanced being nutritious, delicious, healthy, and scrumptious.

I don't think I would cut anything from my diet, or if I did, I'd hope I could find some type of alternate option that would taste just as good (or better, obviously).

21DJC Day 2 – If You Are To Do Something For Free For the Rest of Your Life, What Would It Be?

Day 2 – If You Are To Do Something For Free For the Rest of Your Life, What Would It Be?

To inspire and to share happiness with people.

Whenever I hear this type of question about what I want to do, or where I want to be, I always think of the situational anecdote and John Lennon quote of being asked the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” 
I want to be insanely happy, and I'd like to inspire others to be as well and pursuing their passions that make them feel like they have a purpose.

That would be my personal mission, but on a daily basis, I'd like to be travelling around the world and live somewhere different every few months. To learn and to share my experiences.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

21DJC Day 1 – What Would You Do If You Have 1 Million Dollars?

I'm participating in the 21-Day Journaling Challenge hoping to get some insight on myself. I'll be posting my responses here as well as on the Personal Excellence site's challenge threads.

Day 1 – What Would You Do If You Have 1 Million Dollars?
My pragmatic self thinks that having a million dollars would be to maximize its potential by putting most of it (more than 50%) into economic investments to create a sustained flow of income.

The hedonistic side in me who would like to spend money for things I'm not willing to pay right now would like to buy a nice camera, a Canon 5dMkII. Hmmm.
There are a few other things I would like to spend it on like: flying lessons, fencing, go play at the World Series of Poker, attend Comic-con, travel around the world. If I could, I'd just spend my time travelling around the world to learn about different cultures; eat exotic food; adventure and try local activities, and just write, photograph and blog about it. (Though I'm not sure a million is enough to sustain that.)