Archive of ‘News & Updates’ category

Breakfast is the most beautiful meal of the day. 

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I arrived 10 days ago to New York City.
Within these 10 days, I’ve hit the ground running:

I moved in, became the NYC ambassador for Circle Chic, toured Bloomberg, went to Boston on a rather impromptu decision, met some incredible movers and shakers in the Boston startup scene, toured the MIT Media Labs, toured the Boston Globe, went to a speakeasy in Boston with some young art patrons for a gorgeous event at the Wang Theatre, went back to NYC to catch dim sum with 20 people, met some incredible movers and shakers in the NYC startup scene, visited AOL/Huffington at NY Tech Breakfast, found some work opportunities and will begin some projects next week, participated in the NYC Meet & Hire and opened up some more doors and opportunities.

This weekend I will be participating at the Hacking Journalism hackathon and you come join me! RSVP to the Video Party they’re hosting at the W!

And yet with all this hitting the ground running…you would think I have done some more running! Admittedly, I still have not done any running and my half marathon in Brooklyn is coming up soon. That will soon change. *gets ready to go for one now*

I’m looking forward to a wonderful 2015 to come!

Old Golden Mountains and New York Cities

Get ready, San Francisco, I’m coming back.

Last year around this time of year, I made the leap back from an exciting, but smog-ridden China to the US and landed in the exciting but less smog-ridden New York.

In a way, I spent the past year on a semi-sabbatical. Slightly commitment phobic, I tried to feel if New York to see if it was my type of city. As a media & communications professional, I wanted to understand the media center of the world. As an entrepreneur and technophile, I also half wondered to myself if I should just head straight to San Francisco to join my family, friends and the Pacific Ocean. And finally, a fresh-off-the-boat expat thanks to being in Beijing for the past 3 years…I felt as if I still had an itch to scratch.

People today talk about the “quarter life crisis” as if it were a bad thing. Indeed, it is very distracting. Life is suddenly so full of possibilities that we can experience a deer-caught-in-headlights shock, but I think it’s much better to have a quarter life crisis than to have a mid-life crisis.

“But I think it’s much better to have a quarter life crisis than to have a mid-life crisis.”

I read books, studied, took the GRE, worked in various jobs, took a summer class on digital marketing and sorted out my strengths and weaknesses. I pushed and explored my boundaries, discovering where I stand on all things love, health and work. I spent more time with myself. I learned (and applied) a lot of new skills. I worked part time and freelanced to pay the bills. I made a lot of new friends and met many new kinds of people. I developed a bit of an edge, cushioned by well-practiced soft skills. I tried some new gigs, and came to terms with the true meaning of being “American” through my involvement with a diverse number of vibrant local and national communities.

And now with all my curiosity and cravings satisfied, thanks to the “fast forward” pace of New York City, I feel much more grounded. My next move to San Francisco will hit several stones with one gesture – career, family and health.

Indeed, I am looking forward to spending time with my family – life is short and time is precious. There is a time for everything. Time to keep it real for a while.

Speaking of real/unreal:

P.S. As some of you know, I have a strange tendency to meet interesting personalities and people with epic stories (my theory is that everyone has a story and the best stories usually involve a lot of people). So, despite getting bitten alive by the mosquitos from the open window…I just had a random conversation at a wine bar near my home with the son of the gallery owner who introduced Jackson Pollock to France and did photographic portraits for Salvador Dali. I am sure Jackson Pollock and Salvador Dali interacted with a lot of people, but nevertheless still quite remarkable.

“Wedding Dresses” = the new “Cap and Gown”?

Here’s my response to this July 1st article on the Wall Street Journal:

In China, Women Graduates Spurn Cap and Gown for Wedding Dresses
White Tulle Gowns Are the Fashion in Photo Shoots to Commemorate Degrees; ‘Makes Things Feel More Meaningful’

Really? Wedding dresses to celebrate graduation? That’s absurd!
More “meaningful”? What kind of meaning do wedding dresses offer?

This is such a silly and awkward misinterpretations of western social archetypes…to what avail? Who knows what the “wedding dress” represents to these women? My guess is probably somewhere along the lines of “the height of female beauty”? I bet they wouldn’t necessarily think it would necessarily be as good of an idea to dunn the traditional Chinese wedding outfit instead! I also have a feeling these women think they’re being unique and different by not wearing the traditional graduation garb (kind of like how women in the US back in the day started smoking cigarettes as a symbol of “women’s liberation”) but not quite succeeding in their choice of symbolism in their unfortunate attempt. The irony! This display of ignorance isn’t just a silly, innocent social joke: it’s a concerning sign indicating some short circuit in this education system to which they belong…how can these women really be college graduates? What does this MEAN? 

But I also can’t believe this was on the Wall Street Journal. Is this actually newsworthy? Thanks to the selectivity of our media and the dramatization of limited information, we are forced to interpret and pay attention to a small portion of what’s happening as a whole…ourselves ignorantly interpreting that these are mistakes that significantly indicate the meaning of the trends and behavior of the total Chinese population. 

Year of the Horse 2014

Since 2012, I have started a new tradition of writing an annual letter to my close friends around the world to highlight what I’ve been up to, where I’ve been and where I’m going next. In response to my letter in 2013, Lou Hoffman (the founder of the Hoffman Agency) suggested that I should put these posts in a blog – hence the birth of this blog. For me, this is a great way to keep my friends abreast of what I’m planning next and sometimes inspire ideas that can develop into projects for the upcoming future. Sharing is caring.

Now usually I share these posts every Chinese New Year. This year, I’m a little behind. It’s ironic how long I’ve taken, actually, since the year of the Horse is supposed to be all about “instant gratification” or “instant gain.”

In Chinese, ”马上“ or “on the horse” means “immediately.” In Chinese, to say ”马上过来“ is to make a command asking someone to “come over right away” or literally to “come over on a horse.” As a result, a series of “on the horse” memes showed up everywhere with desirable things placed literally on horses to represent wishes for “instant gains” for the recipient of the image:

series of images with desired items on horses to symbolize instant gains.

“马上“ or “On the horse” memes: instantly have money (top left), instantly have “a pair of elephants” aka find your counterpart – another homonym pun! (top right), instantly “place a cross on the horse” aka to take a vacation – yet another homonym! (bottom left) and instantly “have a car” – using an image of a chess piece from Chinese chess (bottom right).

However, this year I’m learning exactly the opposite lesson.

Nothing of value ever comes “instantly”:
Success, love, happiness and least of all gratification. “Instant rewards” always come at a price, and never truly answer our desires or solve our problems.

As such, I’m also going to reassess the way I send these notifications. I’ve been reaching increasingly more milestones and accomplishments each and every year. There’s no way I can (or should) write one update to cover all that I had experienced or learned in this past year. As such, stay updated on my updates to come!

1) More about the process of my transition from China to US since last February
2) My exploration of the land that is New York City :)
3) What I’m working on now & what I’ve been learning…

The Color of Dust



Who are we and what will we do with the rest of our lives?

The beginning of 2014 is a very retrospective time for me.

I’m studying for the GRE and the GMAT, and I’ve been on a new momentum propelling me forward from the inside.
This year, I decided I was going to try.
Not just go fast, but really focus on going forward.

So part of this (besides the regular exercise and selective focus) is writing. I used to write all the time, every night before going to bed, but somewhere along the road I had stopped. Somewhere along the road, I stopped listening to myself.

Now I’ve discovered Marquee, this easy-to-use platform meant for expressive writing, thanks to my friend Traci. She was one of the first people to start using this platform, and is an excellent writer. We’ve decided to write together and encourage each other to continue. Feel free to read her wonderful stories at:

Yin’s Memories of the Past Year & Welcome for the Year of the Snake, 2013

The following is a recap note I wrote earlier this year, to a private list of friends.
Dear Friends,
Happy Chinese New Year – the Year of the Snake!
(I’m sure the Wisconsin badgers are prepared:

Inline image 2
The sizzling fire crackers are reaping havoc outside my window as I write this note to you this morning.
In a few hours, I will board a plane to Shenzhen with my friend Ashley (who I’ve adopted as my sister) where we will spend the Chinese New Year festival with family and friends. Last year I flew to Nanjing and Shanghai. Perhaps next year to Chengdu. I wish you all well where-ever you are, and once again will share with you some highlights of my pivotal past year.
I spent a good first portion of my year planning the Alumni Ball of Beijing 2012 with a team of alumni leaders on May 12, 2012 which brought together more than 350 attendees with a keynote given by the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy of Beijing, Dr. Robert S. Wang. The Alumni Pool Party in July followed suite with another 250 attendees on a perfect day, followed by over a 1000 showing up at the Halloween Party held at Spark in October. Over time, this formed the Alumni Clubs of Beijing, which continues to serve all the 60+ individual Alumni Clubs with unique events and resources to help solidify the alumni network in Beijing, serving as an entry point for those coming to the capital city.
I owe my next highlight to the attentive guidance from Lou Hoffman, the founder of the Hoffman Agency. In the process of writing an article for Lou’s blog Ishmael’s Corner, “Storytelling Telling Through a Business Prism”, Lou pitched my story to Mashable and I was invited to write a guest post on “5 Chinese Social Networks You Need to Watch.
Then in August, I helped plan the first BarCamp Conference in Beijing lead by James Flanagan (founder of TedxBeijing, Rotaract Beijing among other initiatives). We put together a 200+ person event on our first try, followed by 300 and eventually 350+ at our latest event, and also the biggest event featuring 33 speakers, 90+ minutes of independent films, 1 Hackerspace and an overflow of ideas that became coined by our team member Hsu Li as what we now call “the knowledge flea market culture!”
Re-inspired by the energy and ideas from this exciting new space leading innovation in China, I made the difficult decision to say goodbye to the Hoffman Agency (for now) and step back into the world of entrepreneurism. During this process, I made a trip around the world to regain perspectives and compare the different opportunities around the world.
In October, I landed in Las Vegas (the center of conferences and casinos) where my family now lives, traveled up the coast of California from San Diego to San Francisco. Along the way, I met up with friends and caught up with their lives. I heard 12 gunshots in Oakland, where I was staying with a friend in his warehouse-converted art gallery space. I traveled to New York, staying at my friend’s flat in Brooklyn as I visited for way too short with a few friends in the Manhattan/Brooklyn area before I headed back home to Las Vegas and then to Beijing for a week to prepare for my next trip.
In November, I landed in Egypt where I was invited to stay for a week in Giza by a friend of mine from Beijing. His Egyptian grandmother cooked us delicious meals every evening. The pace of Egypt was a balance of both extremely fast and steadily slow with the humming of prayer day and night. Extremely considerate and hospital, my friend gave me a comprehensive tour in the contrastable cities of Giza, Cairo and October 6th. Following Egypt, I visited Paris for another week while staying at a friend’s home near Opera. I had a full schedule meeting up with old friends, family friends and friend’s of friends sharing ideas and re-discovering the entrepreneurial spirit in Paris. My friend in Paris, who was also an extremely considerate and attentive host, filled my life with a routine of health that helps heal me even today during this time of transition. Thus began an incredible journey that impressed me with the type of wonderful people that our lives are dotted with every day.
Egypt-Paris-Bordeaux-Lyon-Venice-Munich-Berlin-Rome-Dubai-Beijing… with each and every place some considerate, hospitable host and friend…I was back just in time for the airpocalypse in Beijing. After a few weeks recovery, I joined the Yoopay team in December as the Community Development Manager. The role enables me to interact with and share event management solutions for the community via Yoopay, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past three months now. One of my friends (Lilly Kam) who was highly involved with the community in all aspects, is now working with Will.I.Am at the foundation. Another one of my friends with a similar role is being approached by high prospects in China. I see the path less traveled as one with opportunities tailored for those who dare to seek adventure, in pursuit of a greater vision for a better kind of life to share with all.
Some of my simple goals for the coming year is to finish a few classes at Codeacademy and learn to use WordPress :).
-Note: I actually found out that I already know how to use WordPress! However, I’ve learned since some more advanced aspects about WordPress that has opened up a lot of new doors on possible design/technology areas that I have not explored before. –
Yesterday, I went to the International SOS (hospital) as an emergency response to a surprise allergic reaction triggered by something I ate (I’m not sure if it’s shrimp or mango, as it’s happened before on a minor scale and didn’t think much of it). It is with great thanks to a few close friends who brought me to the hospital that I am alright now. Falling ill in the middle of Beijing or during your travels is not something we think about on a regular basis, but I do advise you all to know your emergency plan/contacts no matter where you are…
I wish you kindness and all the best that life has to offer.
Thank you for being a part of my life, making “Earth” a place I can call home.
You all amaze me with your abundance of wonderfulness.
Happy Year of the Snake! (And Happy Valentine’s Day soon too!)
With love from Beijing,


Yin’s Memories of the Past Year & Welcome for the Year of the Dragon; 2012

Since 2012, I started an annual tradition to provide an update during the Chinese New Year as a way to record my journey of the past year, and share a private update with close friends.
Now I share it with you as a starting introduction of what I have done and where I have come from.
Hello my friends, bonjour mes amies, 朋友们你好!
Welcome 2012 and Happy Chinese New Year! Happy Year of the Dragon! 新年快乐!
Where ever you are now, I have taken a moment to think of you as I hand-selected your email address for this letter. I hope you don’t mind hearing from me, and I hope you will write back to say hello! I originally planned to write this letter in French and Chinese also, but I did not want to delay this message any longer….so here we go!
What a year has passed, filled with magical, serendipitous encounters and beautiful moments! In 2009 I spent half a year in France while visiting other European countries and Morocco. In 2010 I left San Francisco/Bay Area for Beijing, China – from where I am currently writing you this email. Now it’s 2012 already and I’m still here…my how time has flown by quickly.
Last year, my series of serendipitous encounters began with meeting Shirley, now one of my favorite people (also designer and architect) who visits in and out of Beijing, who sat next to me on our international flight on Hainan Airlines. On this same flight, I also met a whole crew of Hainan airline pilots-in-training – I hope you are doing well!
Upon returning from the United States to Beijing, China, I began my adventures working at The Hoffman Agency after deciding to commit a few years in China to understand this emerging market, and fully submerge in Beijing, the capital city of China. In April, my friend Jack invited me to a party that he hosted at his beautiful courtyard/四合院 as part of the “April Club.” April Club was an organized series of creative parties hosted on every day of April, attended even by Eduardo Saverin, cofounder of Facebook, just one floor above my old apartment last year! At several of these evenings, I was lucky to meet Lijia, who is the author of “Socialism is Great!”, a past speaker on TEDxBeijing and has a popular blog.
Summer was a continuation of gatherings. Among dinner parties and summer solstice evenings, many friends gathered on the rooftop of Yin Bar to have cocktails and admire the night scene of the bird’s eye view of the Forbidden City, Drum and Bell Tower… so on. There, I met Larry, a core member of, a group of problem solvers for social enterprises that I hope to continue supporting. Friends gathered on my birthday in The Yard, a few days after it opened, and shared cake and wine underneath a walnut tree in the courtyard.
On July 3rd, 2011, I acted as the event manager for the last event of the Year of Australian Culture where musician Alan David Lee performed beautiful music with a violist and the International Festival Chorus Beijing in a 600 year-old Confucian temple, paired with images by Australian photographers enlarged and projected upon the back of the temple wall. In addition to red and white Australian wine, delicious vegan catering was provided by Laura, the owner of The Veggie Table. The event was sponsored with funding by the Australian Embassy and over 150+ attendees arrived, among  them, deputy director of the National Centre for Performing Arts and around 20 members of ACAA. You can take a look at the photos of this event here. We also had some wonderful volunteers who helped make the event happen that evening!
At the end of July and the beginning August, I visited Seoul and Jeju Island in Korea, traveling with my best friend Jing and meeting up with several other Korean friends along the way.September was Design Week, a month of fashion shows, and many friends visiting. In October, my high school friend Raina Hein, a finalist on America’s Next Top Model, visited me in Beijing with her love Kristof. Later that month, I was invited by a visiting friend to the reception of Prince and Princess of Belgium on their visit to China. At the close of 2011 was the opening of Jeff’s new bar in Beijing, Mai Bar, in his hidden hutong venue on 40 Bei Luo Gu Xiang. Last time I went, this good fellow (who once worked at apothecary) spoiled my friends and me with delicious experimental concoctions.
Most recently, I spent the holidays in Las Vegas with my family and visited New York, where I met up with several good friends of friends who shared their perspective about the city. Not long after returning and recovering from my jet lag, I flew to Nanjing and Shanghai to visit family for the Chinese New Year. In Shanghai, I was able to catch up with several close friends.
I’ve also made several new year’s resolutions (my first time!) to boost my health – such as climbing up the stairs to my 21st floor office every day after lunch as much as possible, and trying to maintain a revived blog. I also hope to visit this beautiful library featured last year on Architizer as soon as the weather gets warmer!
– Note: Although I did manage to climb the stairs to the 21st floor every day for a week, the activity quickly proved to be a health hazard as everyone in the building took smoking breaks in the stairwell after lunch, in the morning, and all the time… and strenuous activity after lunch is generally not recommended. I also obviously did not maintain my blog, but I did visit the Commune by the Great Wall (I believe the library was closed for repairs by the time I wanted to visit). –
It’s now the year of the dragon. What are we going to do this year? Time passes so quickly, and the end of the world is almost here!! 😉
Thank you for being a part of my life. Do keep in touch and let me know what’s going on with you!
Warmth and comfort to all. Cheers to making this world a kinder, more beautiful place.