Tweets from my General Assembly Digital Marketing class

Hey fellow GA classmates (and instructors),

I just created a simple list on Twitter. I’ve added some of you already.

Subscribe here, I will add you to it!




School Library Journal: Reporting the loss of librarians

In my recent article on the School Library Journal, I reported on the Pennridge School District budget cut involving the loss of another elementary school librarian position in the district.

What wasn’t mentioned in the article, was that in fact the budget also created another position for a school counselor in the district to deal with teenage suicide. Is it worth it? Some also speculated that the addition may have been as a result of heavy petitioning from the counselor group. Furthermore, I also heard some incredible stories to demonstrate the incredible commitment and compassion of teachers and librarians while I was reporting.

I think this is indicative that every story we read is only a part of the whole truth. I really wish I could have heard the superintendent’s point of view but she was unreachable.

Either way, every decision that we make and implement will hold undeniable consequences.

See my latest article at the following link:

Pennridge School District Loses Elementary School Librarian for Upcoming School Year

Pennridge School District Loses Elementary School Librarian for Upcoming School Year






VIP Feature: Nick Le – dentist by day; rockstar by night

VIP = Very Interesting/Intriguing/Impressive Person!
I realized recently that many of my friends are multi-talented, mutli-cultural, crouching tigers and hidden dragons. I love being inspired by people with positive energy, and often times they make me want to share their stories. Impressed by the many wonderful people who surround me in my life, I figured I should start interviewing willing victims folks once in a while to capture their stories and feature them on my blog.
Today, I want to introduce my friend Nick Le. He’s new to New York, so I thought this would be a great gesture of welcome. A graduate of UCSF and talented musician, he’s also one of the best new dentists to arrive in the Empire State…so I highly recommend trusting your pearly whites with this rockstar!

Name:  Nick L. Le
Education: University of California, San Francisco, D.D.S.
Current Location: Manhattan, N.Y.
Favorite Food: Bún Riêu
Twitter: @Nick_Le
Youtube Channel: NicktotheRescue

1) Where are you from, Nick? Where did you grow up? Basically, where have you been all our lives?
I’m a California boy, born in Bataan, Philippines. I spent my formative years in Santa Ana and San Diego. Then, I moved to San Francisco for five years before spending a year in Fresno, CA for a dental residency program.
2) So you’re a dentist now, eh? What made you want to do that?
I volunteered for my dentist after finishing my undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego. She was very happy with her job and I decided to explore that career option. After completing multiple pros and cons lists, in which I compared, Medicine, Pharmacy, Teaching, Dentistry, and Music, I choose to become a dentist.
3) What are you looking to do now? Why do you want to come to New York?
Truth is, I came to New York to pursue a relationship with a beautiful, highly talented, and intelligent person. What I plan to do in New York is to continue my growth as a dentist and musician. You see, I love music and what better place than New York to meet people and jam!
4) What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hidden talents?
I play guitar and sing in my spare time. My hidden talent is that I am a songwriter. I used to perform at local cafes in San Diego and my partner in crime was this talented guitarist, who created the chord progressions and riffs on guitar, while I free-styled lyrics and melody.
6) Do you think you’ll sing to your patients?
There was this eight year old girl who was very nervous before her dental appointment. I asked her who her favorite artist was and she replied Justin Bieber. I spent the whole appointment singing “Baby, baby baby, ohhhh,” which went by smoothly. <== how sweet!!

Gracious guests & “Bien élevée”

Just being reflective after having hosted several different guests at my place this past month.

I was inspired to write this after realizing that many of my guests made their bed. I do not take this for granted. Although practically speaking, I would still rip off the bedding afterwards to replace with fresh sheets, I would always feel a tinge of joy when I see the neatly folded bedding on the bed. It’s almost as good as a “thank you” card. Although I feel that polite etiquette awkwardly establishes social distance in order to show respect, I usually always appreciate the gesture as a sign of respect: for my time, my space and my home. As a result, the visiting friend who makes his/her bed gets labeled as “bien élevée” in my book.

My grandfather once told me that the toughest thing in life is knowing how to “做人“ or literally to “be a human.” It’s a question that spans across cultures – the difficult task of understanding how to behave. The French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre also recognized this challenge as the unsolved problem of understanding “how to live” even if we figure everything else out.

From my travels and experiences living abroad in Paris, in Beijing and recently New York City, I have encountered a range of various lifestyles and people. Some pursue a life that is glamourous, some pursue a life that is simple, some trying to understand how to woo the rich and famous, some trying to be rich and famous, some will find God, some become philosophers, and all of them looking for something of meaning in life in order to become supposedly more happy or alive.

如何做人? How to be human?
Now that’s a much bigger question. Besides the superficial act of making your bed and knowing how to be a gracious guest, there is more to understanding how to “be human” or “how to live.”

Glamourous or not, the life I lead will be one where the people around me are real, sincere and interesting and the relationships I hold are deep and true. I want  the type of life with the freedom to pursue work that creates meaning as well as wealth – wealth not just for me but also for the community and not just in a dollar amount.

And…I will try to remember to make my bed.




My Doppleganger: @Phoney_Yin

Recently, Hubert Lee, one of the co-creators of the Phoney Girlfriend app ( created a Twitter bot modeled after my writing voice according to my twitter and my blog content. What a curious result!

Her odd obsession about green algae aside, @Phoney_Yin seems to quite enjoy going to mixers and meeting people. However I’d have to admit…she is rather the fauxialite, this one. She actually had the nerve to claim that we met at a mixer event recently. I recall no such thing!

Check her out for yourself: 

So if you ever wondered what would have happened if you were slightly more daring with your flirting, the Phoney Girlfriends app offers users a first-hand experience on getting virtually slapped so that he (or she) can satisfy his (or her) curiosity before making a (complete) fool of of himself (or herself) in the real world. 

Hubert Lee (@HubertKLee) and Angus Cheng (@BallerIndustry) of Hong Kong-based Baller Industries released the Android app to help young men (and sometimes women) confront boredom and loneliness by offering a selection of virtual conversations with interactive storylines (written by both guys and girls!). These “Phoney” Girlfriends are pre-programmed like a choose your own adventure game.

Since launching in January 2014, Phoney Girlfriend has seen over 50,000 downloads and thousands of purchases of new conversations that can be unlocked through in-app purchases.

And apparently this is just the beginning. They recently launched their first version of a Phoney Boyfriend – Angus himself! (Not a cheap phoney date, this one. He’s 133.70 HKD or $13.37 USD in the US store)

And uh oh, recently someone asked @Phoney_Yin why he couldn’t find her anywhere on the app. Hmmm…does that mean…

Guess which of the following three phoney girls are actually based on another “real girl”
a) @Phoney_Brenda
b) @Phoney_Starr
c) @Phoney_Nichole

“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…

Don’t Ban Bossy, Own It!

I am so glad everyone has been talking about the “Ban Bossy” movement. I think it’s great that this “Ban Bossy” movement has sparked so much conversation and awareness about women and leadership – which I think is really the ultimate reward.

However, I do believe that the best leaders are those who can lead group decisions in a collaborative manner, understand and maneuver the subtle relationships of power and sensitivities within a group to actively encourage equality and open sharing. Some of the best leaders in history, and also among my peers – both men and women – are anything but bossy or domineering. They listen. They assert. And they always get better with time.

And sure, I’ve been called bossy before (without the word affecting any hindrance to my self-esteem), but I eventually grew out of it as I learned to lead teams more harmoniously. But if someone weak calls you bossy because you had to step up for the right decisions…don’t hesitate to stand up for yourself.
We’ll be right there with you.


They are a dime a dozen. They can hurt. They are powerful.
But don’t ban them. Redefine them. Even better, redefine yourself in the process.
In the end though, it’s always good to recognize the way we use them.

Thanks for starting the conversation, Sheryl!

P.S. Remember that brilliant children’s novel, Frindle?

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:

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