All posts filed under: Outward

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 …

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 …

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 …

Nurturing connections to form lasting friendships

Two years ago, I joined a Hong Kong Science Park delegation to participate in a Geneva exhibition. While there, I met a Sri Lankan professor who radiated energy like an elastic band pulled taught and his appearance further reinforced this visual. He personifies everything I’ve come to feel about Sri Lanka: genuine, inquisitive and bubbling over with enthusiasm about the country’s future. Serendipitously, my Airbnb hosts were a warm Sri Lankan family, who also welcomed him into their home. This gave us the opportunity to build a foundation for friendship. We celebrated Sri Lankan new year together, which is where I got my first taste of both the food and culture. This wonderful experience stuck with me. Last November I applied and was accepted to a Vipassana meditation course in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Afterwards, I had the chance to reunite with that professor. When I told him about my meditation experience, he immediately called his close friend and shared my recent experience. Without hesitation, this stranger graciously offered me free accommodation at a retreat he had designed and built …

Personal storytelling through visualizations

The most ubiquitous way to share personal experiences and stories is through photos. Relatively speaking, they are quick to create and can be instantaneously shared. They’re great for capturing a feeling or special moment, but rarely show change over time or the relationship between two or more ideas. Video does a much better job of displaying these nuances, which is why it has become such a popular medium for storytelling. Collages, photo books, and yearbooks were all born of the desire to provide more context to photos and document experiences. Data visualizations require more data points, a decisive angle and time to craft. However, they can capture a story more holistically, distill information into key points, help share learnings easily, and provide an opportunity for reflection. Finally, the tools to create these types of visuals are available to all and becoming much easier to use. Data visualization and the quantified self My first exposure to data visualization was through an Edward Tufte course in 1999. He is considered a pioneer in the space and his passion is contagious. These days, dynamic visual displays of …

Reflecting on a year of pop-up dinners

Almost one year ago, a casual conversation over coffee became an ongoing experiment in crafting immersive dining experiences to build lasting connections through engaging dialog. Six dinners and many tweeks later, I’m beginning to hone in on the building blocks that form a foundation for success. While Hong Kong is an extremely social city, almost all interactions happen outside the home. Apartments are small and kitchens even smaller, so people rarely entertain in their own space. This creates an unfortunate dynamic where conversations tend to be artificially shortened by local restaurant dining customs and there’s usually a point when participants must “ante up” in order to continue the discussion. Interactions don’t have the opportunity to organically unfold over time in a relaxed atmosphere. One of the few exceptions to this rule are junk boats, where the people are captive for a full day and the financial obligations are sorted in advance. However, this environment is not conducive to deep discussions because there are so many stimuli competing for attention. Hong Kong expats often find that while they have many casual friends, they are missing the deeper …

Silent treatment

You’re not going to hear from me this holiday season. No phone calls, no emails, not even a tweet! I’ve decided that for my birthday I’m going to treat myself to a 10-day Vipassana meditation course. If any of you are familiar with these courses, you’ll catch the sarcasm in the word “treat”. It’s 10 days of silence: no speaking, no writing, no reading, no technology, no exercise, no stimulants. It’s redeeming quality? I’ve chosen to do the course in Sri Lanka, so the food should be wonderful, though we eat our last meal each day at noon :p. How did I come to this decision? While I have dabbled in mindfulness meditation before, I had never seriously considered a course like this until a few weeks ago. Luck favors the prepared, and I was luckily prepared when a new mentor walked into my life. He challenged me to focus more of my efforts on introspection, reflection, and self awareness. As I explored ways in which I could do this, it became obvious that while …