Year: 2015

What remains

Visualisations can be extremely powerful. I vividly remember reading this Wait But Why post, appreciating how it cut through the noise and compelled me to evaluate priorities. When they revisited the topic a few weeks back it struck a cord, generating a lot of discussion among my network. As a result I decided to make my own version of the visual, focusing only on the time I might have left (acknowledging that each of the moments is a gift and certainly in no way guaranteed). The resulting graphic is above and highlighted stars are explained below. 2028: The year I’ll be 48, the same age my father was when he passed away 2038: The year my mother turns 90 2040: Providing I reach my 90th year, I will still have 1/3 of my life to look forward to 2058, 2061, 2066: My age will be the same as the average life expectancy of a US, UK and HK female (respectively) 2070: My 90th year Seeing the quantity of years laid out in this manner can be startling. There are an infinite number of estimates you …

The Reliants Project: 3 months

Hard to believe that I’ve already been in London for 3 months! Thanks to all of you who have shown interest in participating in The Reliants Project. If you haven’t already, you can read more about this personal project in my previous post. If you’re just learning about the project and interested in tracking your connections, reach out to our community through this typeform. reliant   /re·li·ant/   noun. 1. a British car manufacturer. 2. a person on which someone depends. At this point I’m trying to focus on the connections made outside of work, so I am not including colleagues in the statistics or visualisation unless they’ve had a direct impact on my meeting others beyond the office. While it’s still early days, here are some basic statistics thus far: Existing local network: 13 (not work colleagues) Events attended: 11 (3 work-related) Organisations joined: 2 (1 fitness-related, 1 hobby-related) New connections made: 25 (individuals that I’ve had regular contact with since meeting, also not work colleagues) Existing network that has moved to London: 2 Existing network that has left London: 2 New …

The Reliants Project: how adults make friends they can rely on

Turns out we want to talk about friendships. Thanks to those of you who reached out to me personally in response to my earlier blog post. I’m also excited to see the dialogue around building and maintaining friendships as adults has since expanded beyond a handful of forward-thinking blogs. Articles have popped up in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The New York Times and Vox acknowledging the challenge of adult friendship as well as analysing the systems that may be counterproductive (such as urban planning). Here are a handful of my favourites: How Friendships Change in Adulthood How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult How To Make Friends As An Adult In 4 Simple Steps Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millennials? Friends of a Certain Age The Limits of Friendship Having just moved to a new city, I am acutely aware of this trend and have been actively thinking about ways to better understand this dynamic. A wise friend suggested that I focus on the myths we tell ourselves about making friends, which are easy to find in …

One year of deliberate self exploration

Hard to believe that it has been 12 months since these 3 ideas shifted my mindset and sent me down a path of deliberate self exploration: Your relationship with yourself is the most important of your life. Why are you using other’s level of self-awareness as a barometer? Don’t you wish you knew what you’re truly passionate about? You would operate at an entirely different level if you identified that passion. Learning can be accelerated. You don’t have to learn about yourself or your passions at the rate of your own experience. It’s amazing to reflect back on all of the change (both obvious and invisible to the naked eye) that has occurred as a result of this ongoing process. New career direction, new city, new habits, new level of self acceptance and new learning tools just to name a few. While I’ve mentioned aspects of these changes in various posts (city, habits, learning tools), I haven’t clearly drawn a line between the process and these decisions. One of the most obvious shifts is what I’m paid to do. …

Starting from scratch

It’s not every day that you have the chance to begin with a clean slate and choose every aspect and detail of your daily life anew. Of course, the opportunity rarely comes without it’s own set of constraints (perhaps geographic, financial or otherwise), but constraints are exactly what designers thrive on. As you may have guessed, that is exactly the situation I have found myself in, hence the recent radio silence. Luckily it has provided ample opportunities for applying design to life, which I hope to share over a series of posts. Location location location. For me, the most important decision is where to live. Few decisions have more impact on daily life and require a clearer set of priorities. For me it boils down to the following criteria: convenience (access to public transport, green space, shops, ≤ 30 min commute), neighbourhood (safe, diverse and vibrant street-level culture), space (“good bones” and efficient layout, outdoor space a plus), community (close to groups with whom I want to be active, such as friends, fitness programmes, makers, startups) and cost (≤30% of salary is a common reference). There were a …

Hong Kong vs. London

As I begin to type, I’m chowing down on a slice of chocolate, pear and cardamom cake at an adorable cafe next to my flat in Bethnal Green. Turns out cardamom is trending in London this year and I’m taking full advantage. As I’ve said many times over, my time in London is an opportunity to both indulge in things unique to this city and look at Hong Kong in a more objective light. On that note, some initial comparisons: Hongkongers are spoiled with fantastic, cheap public transport. It’s not that London doesn’t have an extensive system or that a car is necessary to survive (like almost all US cities), but the options are not nearly as efficient and consistent here. On top of that, they are significantly more expensive. My daily commute by train in both cities clocks in at about 15 minutes on one line with no transfers. In Hong Kong it cost me HK$12.6 (£1.04) and I can’t remember a single delay in the last year. In London I spend £5.8 (HK$69.58) per …

Intellectual gluttony

Recently I returned from an amazing experience that can best be described as summer camp for adults. 140 of us were nestled in the Alps for 4 days of crisp mountain air, delicious French fare, engaging discussions and a seemingly endless supply of alcohol. Our gracious hosts were the Anthemis team, the leading financial services advisory and venture investment firm. The annual event, called Hacking Finance, is an opportunity for them to exchange ideas and build relationships. They organized thoughtful discussions around the future of work, internet of things, venture design, among other trending topics. If you ever get the opportunity to participate in something similar, please don’t hesitate! It was inspiring to meet thought leaders from the industry in a place that provided so many opportunities for meaningful interactions. The stimulation was almost overwhelming because the casual chats were often as intense as the structured ones. I immediately felt at home, which confirmed a suspicion that the Anthemis CEO and I both had. It’s about time that I move out of traditional product development into a …

Identifying motivations and setting goals to match

88 Days, 248+ kilometers, and 1 ger later I have a second ultra marathon under my belt. Actually, I fell off the wagon somewhere between 88 and 60 days before the race, so all of those kilometers were clocked within the last 8 weeks. While I initially hoped to compete in the 100km category, I didn’t log enough distance during my training to have confidence that I could walk away injury-free. As a result, I stuck with the 60km category, where I managed to place 3rd overall among women and 1st in my age group with a time of 7:36. I have to admit, I’m proud of my results and the fact that I was able to “maintain” my fitness level despite returning to a full time job in January. If you’re curious what falling off the wagon looks like, Nike+ does a great job of visualizing that information: The first thing people ask you when you complete a event like this is, “what’s next?” The pressure to up the stakes and seek out an even tougher endurance race is strong. While there …

The building blocks of trust

Yesterday I launched a fundraiser for the extended Tamang family in Thulo Syabru, Nepal on You Caring and sent it out through my social network. Amazingly, the campaign has raised 30% of the goal in 24 hours and we owe a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. Several people reached out in response to the donation request with questions like, “how can you ensure that the funds are delivered successfully to the intended recipient?” or “how will you know that the funds are used responsibly?”. These are issues that I myself have struggled with and have discouraged me from donating money in the past. The most valuable advice I received while preparing the fundraising campaign was: “if you trust the people, give freely and without expectations…everyone is trying to balance to desire to help directly and the responsibility to help in an accountable manner. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish, but I would start small and focus on who and what you know best.” It just so happens that I’m currently reading The Speed of …

Why don’t we discuss making adult friends?

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about adult friendships. Why the adults I know have so few friends, particularly if they are in a relationship or have kids. Why there is such a gap between their social network size and the number of people they actually consider confidants. Why there are so many well-developed tools for finding jobs and partners, but not friendship. My search for answers began by diving into academic research on social networks. To provide some context, a global social network is often subdivided into several circles when discussed academically: acquaintances, co-workers, friendship, personal, and family. It’s well documented that social networks and the emotional support that they provide are as valuable as sleep, eating well and exercise for long term health and wellness. The personal network is the subset of the global network that provides this essential support. Practically speaking, these are the people you reach out to when you have important news to share, serious decisions to make, or need to ask for help. Needless to say, these are the relationships you want to build and maintain as an adult. Above and …