Adventure is out there

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I am the type of person who prefers to stay indoors. The comfort of a book, tv drama, or the Internet can satisfy me. However, reality often slaps me in the face and begs for attention. I often forget that in my twenty+ years living in this beautiful state called California, I have yet to explore many parts of Northern California. I don’t think it’s FOMO, fear of missing out, but rather everyday is a missed opportunity to take advantage what is right around the neighborhood.

So once you’re done reading this post, I urge you to hit up a friend (or not because sometimes the best company is your thoughts), turn off your laptop, and go on an adventure. It can be to the park or to the closest cafe. My point is you don’t need to go somewhere fancy to have fun and you should try to go somewhere you’ve never been.

Think of going out as if you’re exploring the city for the first time. Possibly there may not be much but I think you can find beauty in the mundane.

eBay and StubHub: Marketplace Panel

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One of the last events of #SFDW was eBay and StubHub’s Marketplace Panel (and After Party). On Thursday, I left work around 2:15 to catch the 2:55 Caltrain in Sunnyvale. I arrived at SF Caltrain station around 4, met up with my friend, and we walked to StubHub’s HQ.

Left to right: Bradford Shellhammer (moderator), Christine Fernandez, Dave Lippman, Katie Dill, Karlyn Neel
Left to right: Bradford Shellhammer (moderator), Christine Fernandez, Dave Lippman, Katie Dill, Karlyn Neel

The panel featured Katie Dill, Head of Experience Design at Airbnb; Christine Fernandez, Sr. Design Manager for Global Expansion Products at Uber; Dave Lippman, VP / Executive Creative Director at eBay; and Karlyn Neel, Director of UX Design at StubHub.

The topics they covered included how their companies build trust, diversity, what they look for in designers, and leading a design team.

Some key takeaways:

  1. Transparency builds trust. Have a reputation system and a way for people to communicate who/where they are to set expectations before transactions. People tend to embrace those who are like themselves.
  2. Diversity optimizes design because it brings many different perspectives.
  3. Selling an experience vs. selling a product: selling an experience takes in consideration human-centered problems and the end to end experience (i.e. everything is interconnected and happens at multiple touchpoints)

Design Sprint Workshop with Google

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As part of SF Design Week (#SFDW), a couple friends and I decided to attend Google Sprint Workshop Tuesday evening. Unfortunately, my friend and I were late due to rush hour traffic, so we missed the ice breaker and food.

Anyway, this workshop was an opportunity to learn and experience what a sprint is like at Google. The challenge was to design an app to connect designers to non-profits. We learned methods like “How Might We” and Crazy 8’s. “How Might We” questions reframe insights and allow room for trial-and-error (i.e. not restricting team to one solution immediately). Crazy 8’s is a method where you fold a paper into 8 rectangles and sketch an idea in each rectangle within 8 minutes.

They were promoting Sprint, written by Jake Knapp with the help of Braden Kowitz and John Zeratsky, which discusses these methods. You can learn more about the book here and here. 

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It was an enjoyable time collaborating and brainstorming with designers from around the area, and a pleasant surprise bumping into many of my former classmates. #roughcut2015

ZURB Soapbox – Katie Dill

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Yesterday my coworker, friends, and I attended ZURB Soapbox to hear Katie Dill, Head of Experience Design at Airbnb, share her experience working at a consultancy and in-house, and how designers can improve the experiences of their audience.

Some key takeaways:

  1. Watch Making the shopping cart video
  2. Triforce: Product, Design, and Engineering. If these three have equal power, then the experience of the product will be great.
  3. Designers should inherently be good communicators.
  4. Storyboarding supports your voice because it brings an emotional reaction when you can visually see the human interactions. It helps us understand what’s happening in that moment (context, environment, etc).
  5. Watch Joe Gebbia’s TED talk on trust
  6. Users traverse between the on and offline world. Experience Design is different from Product Design because it considers the offline component.

Binge

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I was taught that being myself was not only okay, but encouraged—and by being unapologetically yourself, you thrive and inspire others to thrive.

I just finished reading Tyler Oakley’s Binge. One word: wow.

Tyler Oakley, like many YouTubers/YouTube content creators out there, recently released a book. However what makes his book distinct from others I’ve read is his transparency and realness. I can’t exactly put into words how intimate it felt reading his experiences, such as coming out to his family and friends, working multiple jobs to pay for school, and his life as a YouTuber. I laughed out loud reading his Disney Princes ranking, and I wholeheartedly agree Aladdin deserves the number 1 spot. My heart ached reading his struggles with eating disorder and his relationship with a closeted homosexual. Honestly, reading Binge felt like I was chatting with Tyler over drinks (except I don’t drink alcohol, so water on the rocks, please!).

I can continue to rave about the book, but I think I would spoil so much of it. Nevertheless, here is one of my favorite quotes from Binge I would like to share:

Maybe we all go through life carefully constructing our profiles to say what we’re looking for, all while not saying anything that might scare people away… and after a time we start to believe what we’re putting out there. Our fear of people’s rejecting the things that makes us happy limits how much happiness we can actually find. I guess when we’re a bit more honest with ourselves and others, we might get more of what we actually deserve.

Tyler is a phenomenal person who I think puts an insane amount of effort into maintaining a relationship with his audience, and bringing to light social issues, particularly LGBTQ+ issues, that we often forget or are ignorant about. Regardless whether or not you’re into the whole YouTube culture and community, I definitely recommend reading Binge.

Rating: ★★★★★

Dear mom

Words cannot begin to describe this strong, determined woman whom I have known for 24 years (well even longer if you count the months the her womb, haha).

My mom is the one who
… listens whenever I vent about trivial matters in life,
… patiently puts up with my mood swings and antics, but then again, I like to think that I get my weirdness from her,
… wakes up at the crack of dawn to cook food so we will never have an empty stomach,
… is not afraid to speak her mind and bluntly tell me when she can see the zit growing on my face or when my brother gains a few pounds,
… and brightens my day because of her sass, and we somehow both end up laughing like hyenas.

Most importantly, my mom unselfishly places my brother and me at the center of her world and sacrifices so many things to singlehandedly raise my brother and me in the states.

謝謝媽媽。我愛你。

Because my mom brings so much happiness in my life, I thought I should start a comic series of the things my mom says because she quite often says a lot of silly things, and also I wanted to find a way to practice writing Mandarin. Please stay tuned 🙂