What is Indie?

"What is indie?" the younger boy asked.

"Indie means you have to work harder." the older brother answered.

I watched a Japanese film called I Wish in July. It's a story about two little brothers trying to re-unite their separated parents - an uplifting film that made me smile.

In the film, the dad of the two kids was a singer/guitarist in a small band that had just published an indie album. The boys didn't really understand the meaning of indie, and had the conversation quoted above. 

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Take Time for Yourself – Washing Up and Me

Washing up, the act of cleaning dirty bowls and dishes, became a meditating ritual for me a year into starting the business.

It was by no means intentional. I never liked doing washing up. In college, my roommate and I would wait until the very last mintue, when we could smell the mold on the dirty dishes in the sink, before we'd go into the serious discussion of whose turn it was to do the dishes.

We didn't have a dish washer at home when I was growing up (very few did in Taiwan back then), so washing dishes had always been an unpopular chore. I'd take the trash out, wipe the table, run to the store... anything I could do to avoid having to put my hands into the sink and scrub the dishes full of grease.

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Do One Thing Everyday That Excites You

Thunder and lightening, we had a sudden storm yesterday morning in Seattle that knocked out the Internet in the entire apartment for the whole day. Without TV and Internet, I didn't know what to do with myself in the evening when I had planned to catch up on email. 

So I turned on the iPad, looking for an app to kill some time with. I remembered that I had downloaded the Korg Analog Synthesizer app when it was on sale a few weeks back, but never got over the initial curiosity to actually understand how it works. 

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A Visit to Nintendo

If you also grew up in the 80's, you know how excited I was when I had the chance to go to Nintendo yesterday. 

To say my decision to start Studio Pepwuper was influenced by Nintendo would be a huge understatement. Without Nintendo, we wouldn't have what we know as video games today. And despite many industry changes and technology cycles, Nintendo continues to create some of the purest forms of interactive entertainment today. 

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“How Are You Weird?” The Importance of Being Humble

Wednesday night, I walked downtown to a startup event by IdeaMensch. Many great talks at the event from non-profit all the way to web startups and offline retail (ice cream). My favorite talk was from Rand Fishkin, of SEOmoz's fame, a talk that's highly energetic, educational, and entertaining. (link to slides)

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One of the things he talked about that really stuck with me was the topic of humility. The importance of being humble seems to be a lost art in this day of age, when everyone around us is shouting, and media constantly reminds us of rich bastards with huge egos.

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Proposing at Shibuya Crossing – The Time I Almost Spent $10,000 to Impress a Girl

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I almost spent $10,000 to impress a girl. Almost.

Three years ago last month in June 2009, I proposed to my wife. From idea generation, coming up with a strategy, drafting a plan of attack, setting priorities, scheduling, budgeting, all the way to the execution and implementation, the entire "operation proposal" took several months and lots of brain juice. I wanted it to be special, I wanted it to be fun, and I wanted it to be something we could talk about for years to come.

I had several ideas for how I could "pop the question":

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How a Simple Technique Helped Me Figure Out What I Want to Do with My Life

The hardest questions to answer are the ones about ourselves.

When I was having my quarter-life crisis at the grand age of twenty-eight, I started looking for an answer to this all-important question: What Do I Really Want to Do with My Life? The answer to this probably changes depending on my age. But I knew if anyone asked me on the spot, I would have no answer. I couldn't live with not having at least one answer to this question. 

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Dealing with Information Overload: Good-to-Know VS Need-to-Know

It's happening.

Six months into your new entrepreneurial life, your time starts to escape you. You have 2 email accounts ready to explode at any minute, and 12 different ToDo lists on 3 different task management tools. You tell yourself that you'll reply to Skype messages later. And you've given up on listening to all your voice messages. But as the head of the company, leader of the pack, captain of the ship, there is one thing you just can't give up no matter how busy you are - reading.

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BUT I am NOT a Programmer, or an Artist, or a Writer, or a Marketer…

People are given titles. Our titles give us an identity, a way to introduce ourselves to the world, a sense of security. If you are in a well-respected position, you feel powerful when stating your title. "I am the CFO of Billshut Financials." See there, instant power shot. It validates your skills and your accomplishments. It confirms your importance professionally.

But what happens when you want a different title? What if this thing you want to build requires people with different hats than the one you currently wear? "I have a great idea but I am not a programmer." "I am a programmer but I can't design for shit!" Many people stop here. These thoughts have prevented some of the most brilliant ideas from being executed.

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