Tuesday, May 21, 2013
When I am on a travel, suddenly there is no more email to check every morning, no more phone request to do this and that, and lesser of daily routines and responsibilities, which is superb. It’s like I am reborn, and no one knows me, thus there is no baggage of life, only new things to explore. There is a tendency to be more observant and adventurous while traveling, where we like to observe people and their culture, and go to places where the local don’t even bother to visit, and find fun in every little stupid thing. The most amazing thing about travelling is the afterthought, how it changes our mind and priorities in mind. I suddenly realize what is important and what’s not, what could be live without, and what could be potentially a better way of life, or perhaps what I really desire as my way of life. Travel memory (and photograph) is great, but the effect of the experience and afterthoughts are amazing.
With the abundance of tool like TripAdvisor, Google Maps and some guide books, it’s still not an easy task to find and explore the places which interest us. Florence or the hill town of Siena? Is there something closer to nature with hiking options? Seems like an easy question which is awfully hard to get the answer without hours or days of Googling and reading. If I enjoy museums and churches, then it would be much easier in Europe. Then there are the logistic stuff, like in what sequence should I visit this places, how to get there (train, bus or fly? Which departures with less transits?), which are not too hard to find out (especially for Europe), but still take some time to do research and book the right tickets. Booking of accommodations is quite a pleasant affair in Europe, thanks to Booking.com and HostelWorld.com (sadly Airbnb didn't work that well for us). Moving around is great with Google Offline Maps, sadly Search and Directions didn’t work offline.
There is an uneasy feeling when nearing the end of the trip, where I have to leave the wonderland and return to reality. I do get tired and could enjoy a good rest back at home, but it’s the uneasy feeling like I have back in the schooldays on Sunday, where Monday is so close. When I am working, Sunday and Monday seems like a normal day (though Friday and Saturday is still great), which probably means I love what I am working on. Life could not be perfect in the sense of doing only the things we love (or it could be?), so there shall be customer supports, some freelance requests which I turn down mostly but still accept some (there is money, but not that much satisfaction), and some stupid things we just get involves without gaining any satisfaction out of it. When holiday is over, there is no more time to blog about the travel or organize those photographs, and working is piling up, which is not a good feeling.
The feeling I dislike most is the distinction of wonderland and reality, and why reality is such a drag and why can’t we turn reality into wonderland? Travel is a temporary escape and disconnection from the stressful life, so it’s not a solution to a happier life. I would like to figure out a way which brings life into travelling, where there isn't quite a need to go on holiday, as life itself is a travelling experience. The idea of hacking on an Island seems to be intriguing in a certain sense, but not as an escape, but a new way of life, where work, life and travel come together in happily ever after. That’s why I love programming, it’s one of the best jobs in the sense I can do it from anyway around the world (besides the ability to build and create).
Next plan: turn travel into life, or the other way around.
Cycling using Google Maps (Offline) is pretty much an enjoyable experience, especially in Netherlands. From my last experience, the route is usually more scenic if we follow the river or canal, which is very true; but at times, it is also very windy.
I was planning to cycle Northeast out of Den Bosch towards Maren, but somehow I ended up Northwest at Engelen after passing through some light industrial area. Engelen is a very scenic town: quiet, rows of trees along the road, with water canal, vast green grassland, a gold course, and some scenic small road with wild flowers and ducks (they are everywhere as long as there are water). I cycle to the nearby Engelermeer lake, which is extremely windy. I someone enter through the wrong entrance and ended up in the woods with deadend, and move on towards Bokhoven.
Bokhoven has plenty of nice grassland, and soon I saw my first herd of white sheep up close. There are big and little sheeps, and the little one have strong little legs. An old lady came by to feed the sheeps with bread, and I get to photograph them up close. It's very windy around this area, and I found a park protected from the wind to have my lunch: sandwich (self-made), strawberry and grapes, perfected with nice weather and good environment.
The next part of the journey is the most difficult one, from Bokhaven to Hesuden, with extremely strong wind blowing towards me, making cycling forward almost impossible. I have to push my bicycle half of the way, and realize no bicycle cycle the same direction as I am (am I the only idiot here?). It had a vast grassland here, with plenty of wild flowers and sheeps, along a water canal. Sadly the strong wind make the view less enjoyable. There are some "professional" cyclists with full gear just zoom past me without much problem, thus I try to cycle slowly again with lower gear.
Finally I reach a ferry point which could ferry me across the canal, which is very frequent (every 10 minutes) and seems free. I saw an inland island surrounded by water canal on the map not far from here, so I decided to check it out before I board the ferry. Soon I reach Heusden, which seems like a pretty small touristy town, with a few windmill of its own (you don't have to go all the way to Kinderdijk to see windmill). The tourist office have a nice replica model of the town, and it's a pleasant walk around. I bump into a group of old tourists on wheelchair on a day visit of the town (unlike Asians, old people in European still like to travel around). After grabbing a bite at the local bakery, it's time to find my way home.
I went back to the ferry point, cross it while having a chat with another local man on bicycle (he loves his great cycling country). Now I am going at the same direction as the wind, which means wind-powered bicycle along the way, wheeee! Soon I came across what seems to be an inland beach called Strandbad Well, which looks like lake connected to a river, with a sandy beach. Interesting place.
I continue my journey into well, which is a really small town by the farm, and connected to the Hedel town. It's getting late, so I continue to push through towards Den Bosch. It's still pretty windy at certain sections, making cycling difficult at times; most local cyclist doesn't seems to have a problem with this.
At night, I wait for Mei Ru to came back from work and ferry her to the nearby park and the "no man land" at the south of the city. It's still quite challenging to ferry someone in the city while trying to figure out the direction, but we make it alright.
I would say cycling is perhaps one of the most enjoyable activity in Netherlands, especially adventuring into a town which you know nothing about, and hopeful of a more scenic route along the way. Every tourist to Netherland should cycle out of the city (it's safe and easy, with a map), else you never quite experience the country before.
Wednesday is one of the more interesting day in Den Bosch, where it's the market day from 8am to 5pm (Saturday's Market Day is slightly bigger with more stalls) at Markt. Some stalls bring in metal or wood frames to setup their stalls, while others just stroll in their moveable stall (like a container at the back of a trailer) without much hassle. Half of the stalls sell clothing related items, while others sell cheese, fruit and vegetable, flower, etc. My personal favorite is a stall selling Turkish Pizza, and pick up some fruits (Strawberry for EURO 2-6 per small box, and some decent grapes goes for EURO 2.50 per kilo). I pickup a small pot of flower for EURO 1, which I think is a good bargain.
Den Bosch is a small town, very walkable, nice buildings, and enough restaurants to go around; but nothing much to explore after one day, except to cycle out of town. I walk a little further to a nearby park (???), where there is a big lake with plenty of ducks and some goose. Surprising there is a fenced up little zoo with sheep and some animal in it. It's a nice park, where I spent some time doing some writings on the bench. Another interesting place in Den Bosch is the "No Man Land" (a big piece of land with "nothing"), at the South of the town.
The cheapest food in Den Bosch is probably McDonald and Doner Kebab (EURO 4), and some other fast food stall which are closed at night (except those Kiosks at the train station). Ice-cream seems to be a local favorite even though it's cold, and Bagels and Beans have a decent breakfast set for EURO 5.75 (Bagel with sour cream, Coffee and Orange Juice). There is an Michelin restaurant (???) as well. The cheapest dinner at restaurants start from EURO 12.50, and a 3-course meals start from EURO 21.50. Personally, I don't find the dinner at restaurants satisfying (I mean most restaurant in Europe), perhaps most of the cost went into wages rather than the food; though I haven't try any more expensive food yet (above EURO 30 for main course). Doner, Turkish Pizza, Sausage with Bread seems to be a better value for money.
As a traveler or tourist, Den Bosch is not very interesting. But I like the size of the town (walkable without the need to rely on bus, trem or subway) where it's walkable without hurting my legs, and the environment is pleasant and the buildings are nice. It's probably a decent place to escape the business of big city, or perhaps a good place for retirement. The quality of life is very good here, only if there are some mountains and forest around for hiking, but biking around is pretty good as well.
Friday, April 19, 2013
I was tired from yesterday's cycling, so it is probably a good idea to move around by public transport. One of the more interesting places is Kinderdijik, the place with plenty of windmill and an UNESCO heritage site.
I had breakfast at Bagels and Beans, which is a cozy little cafe which sell bagel (it is a donut shape bread with various flavors, such as Tomato, Cinnamon and Raisin, etc.). There is a breakfast set for EURO 5+, which include bagel with sour cream and jam, coffee and orange juice. One interesting fact about Europe is that they charge money for sauces, and the cost of different sauces varies. The bagel is hot, not too hard (or soft), and goes well with the sauce (sour cream), and I can't help it but to order another bagel for EURO 1.50. There are some interesting tapas set which serve minimum of 2 person, would most probably try it when Mei Ru is around.
Deciding on the route to Kinderdijk is quite a challenging one, where I basically have 3 options i) following the easy instruction on the website by taking a train to Utrecht Centraal followed by an hour bus ride ii) take a rain to Rotterdam and rent a bike to Kinderdijk (10 miles) iii) follow some more complex instructions on 9292 (website and app). Since I was out late (10.30am), I pick option 1. The train to Utrecht Centraal is below an hour from Den Bosch for EURO 10. There are 3 bus station at Utrecht Centraal with 2 exits; after consulting the Station Information counter, I need to get to the West Bus Station and board bus 90. The bus stop is in the open air, so people are standing out in the cold without much cover, but luckily the bus arrive within 20 minutes. I can buy some manual ticket from the bus driver, which cost EURO 10 to Kinderdijk.
The journey is about an hour, but it's quite scenic as most part of the road is along the river canal and farm land on the other side. I wish I could cycle along this part, which made me realize I should select cycling routes which are along river canal. The weather is good, and everything went smoothly.
Finally arrive at Kinderdijk (thanks to Offline Google Maps and gentle que by the driver, I know where to stop). The visitors walk on the center walkway, where both side are flanked by canal and windmill. We can't really get near to the windmill, except the only one opened to visitor as a museum (around EURO 5). The pathway is pretty long, I was contemplating to rent a bicycle (not sure of the price), but I didn't. One thing for sure, this place is very windy, where I am wearing double layer of jacket to keep me warm. What more could I describe about Kinderdijk: canal, windmills and strong wind.
I walk until the end of the pathway for almost 45 minutes, and I certainly doesn't feel like walking back to the bus stop. With my handy Offline Google Map, I cross a bridge into a farmland and into a residential area. Some houses actually have water canal at their backyard, which seems interesting. The people here do spent quite some time tending to their garden and walking their dogs, and cycling. It's interesting to stay in this area, where a UNESCO heritage site is just behind my house. After getting some direction from a local man who is tending his garden (his wife was born in Indonesia), I found a bus station soon enough and happens to board bus 90 again towards Rotterdam (actually most bus go towards Rotterdam, just make sure you are on the right side of the road towards Rotterdam). The ticket is EURO 6 and take about 30 minutes. I was a little worry that the bus might not stop at a central enough location as its destination is a place called Zuidplein; soon enough I realize though it's quite far away from central, but Zuidplein is a Metro station (city train) and a shopping complex, hurray!
The Metro ticket is quite interesting, as you don't buy your ticket by destination, but you pay EURO 3.50 for a 2 hour pass. I choose to visit Delfshaven, as it is an interesting old neighborhood. This street is filled with immigrants, mostly african and middle easterner; which means good variety of restaurant, especially kebab. The buildings here are fairly interesting, but still rows and rows of brown-colored buildings (perhaps I am not the guy to appreciate architecture). I walk towards central, and trail of immigrants had lessen along the way. Interestingly, there are rows of Chinese restaurant near the train station, mostly of Cantonese origin. Finally I stop at a Kebab (Doner) stall, which offer a kebab burger for UERO 3+ or EURO 5+ for set meal (with fries and drink). I opt for the wrapped kebab (mayonnaise and hot sauce is free, an good) , which is really full, but the meat is not necessary tasty.
Rotterdam is a big city (they have Metro and Tram), yet might not be an interesting one (perhaps I didn't do enough research), and I didn't have time for Den Haag. Perhaps I dislike big city, just rows of shops and tiring walking around; and the restaurants here are expensive, so I can't indulge myself in great gastronomy adventure. Most of the shop here doesn't close by 5pm, but in comparison, Den Bosch seems like a cozier place to visit. It makes me wonder what we really enjoys during our travel? I would say trying now new food (but internationalization of restaurants means you can eat almost any type of food anywhere, which make the experience less satisfying), view the magnificent scenery (sadly, most of these places are overcrowded or too expensive) and finding the hidden gem (which remain hidden, or became too popular). In a certain sense, which visiting the local grocery and trying to live a different live in a different city seems more interesting at times, but this cannot be experience with just over one week in a place and staying in hotel. Perhaps my concept about traveling is starting to change. I usually enjoy hiking trip: nature, beautiful scenery all the way and no city hassle or thinking what to do next.
Finally took a train back to Den Bosch for EURO 16, which need to switch at Utrecht Central. The transportation cost of the day is pretty costly, add up to EURO 42. Perhaps cycling around Den Bosch to the next towns are better value for money, for EURO 7.50 per day.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Since Den Bosch is not much of a touristy town (more of a weekend escape and relaxation for locals), I would guess the best activity for the day would be to explore the outskirt of Den Bosch. In Netherlands, the best place to rent a bicycle is always the train station; for Den Bosch, it's EURO 7.50 per day with EURO 50 deposit, and it's a decent city bike (3 gear) in good condition.
How to navigate around? There is a famous Netherlands cycling map available, I could find the English version in the VVV (Tourist Information) office. Why not just use Google Offline Map and I probably won't get lost (proven to work well during my Vietnam trip). I am aiming for one of the local national park (De Loonse en Drunense Duinen), so off I go. Cycling is pretty safe and comfortable in Netherlands, where there is a dedicated cycling path most of the time, and the cars are pretty considerate of the cyclists and pedestrian, but I do need to remember to cycle on the right side (sometimes there is no cyclist path on one side of the road where we need to share the same path on the other side, which could be confusing at first).
Soon enough, I left the City into the highway, crossing through residential and finally on a small path in the outskirt. Netherlands is very flat, with vast grassland and bold trees (right after Winter) and brown-colored buildings. There are some horses, goats and sheeps along the way, and the scenery doesn't change drastically. Some parts of the road are more pleasant due to the lack of cars, which makes it quiet and comfortable to cycle; or surrounded by farmland, grassland or nice houses. Perhaps I was looking for some breath-taking view, but there is none, just comfortable views along the way.
Once in a while I went into a small town, where every town seems equally populated with a lively street with shops, definitely equipped with with two or three supermarket/convenience stores, a shop which sell cheese/nuts/meat/bread and 2-3 restaurants & cafes. It's a quiet town, but far from "dead", which make it an ideal place to live. It started raining when I reach the first town (Vlijmen), and I realize the rain didn't bother most of the people: they just keep cycling, keep walking or keep playing football. Some pedestrian use an umbrella, but most didn't make an attempt to find a shelter or cover their head. Drizzling rain seems to be common around here, and my hand and face definitely felt the freezing cold; wearing a water resistant wind-breaker is good, keep the wind out and keep me dry.
Bought some cold pasta (about EURO 1.50 per 100g, 400g could probably make a decent meal) while taking a shelter from the rain, and take lunch at the 3rd town (Drunen). I definitely could use a hot drink in this weather, and EURO 2.50 for 5 Cheese Stick Bread (Knabbelstengel) and EURO 1.70 for a Chocomel at Bakker Bart seems like a bargain to me. In any town or city in a new place, there is always a few things which always interest me: the restaurant (food), the supermarket (food), the market (food) and local specialty shop (cheese, meat, nut, etc.); I guess it's all about the food. If I can't appreciate local culture in the form of art and history, at least I would like to taste their food.
After a nice rest, it's time to venture into the national park. The national park have plenty of hiking trails, but the path is not city-bike friendly. I have to push my bicycle half of the time, and the forest is pretty "deserted" (I did bump into the only other person). It's a pine forest, and the forest is not thick, and every part of the forest look almost the same, and with some sands on the ground, and there is some horse riding trail as well. After rejoining into the main road, it's a pleasant ride along the way. I guess I didn't went through the "main entrance" of the national park and saw the sand dunes.
My butt is getting sore for the last 90 minutes of the ride, and cycling within the city is slightly more confusing. The total journey is 28 miles (probably the longest ride I have) in 6 hours 18 minutes (thanks to Google's My Tracks app). Cycling is fairly enjoyable (I don't mind doing it again), the weather is nice, the path is good, and the scenery is lovely. I like the cycling culture here, where the weather is nice, dedicated cyclist path, the motorist are considerate and the concept of "snatch thieve" doesn't seems to exist here (proven by lady cyclists putting their handbags in front of their bicycle): sadly Malaysia have neither of these criterias.
I would one of the most interesting attraction in Netherlands would be cycling, sadly I am not prepared to do one of those long distance (LF) cycling route (>100km) with camping along the way. With more bicycle on the road, it does make car traffic a lesser problem; and it makes the people happy. They make quite a few innovation for ferrying babies, with baby in the front with a windscreen, put them in a cart at the front or full them from the back with a trolly extention. Anyway, cycling is a lovely part of Netherlands which I truly enjoy.
Monday, April 15, 2013
My wife shall be traveling to Den Bosch, Netherlands to work for 2 weeks, so it's a great opportunity for us to accelerate our travel queue to Europe (we usually clear up cheaper destinations first), and to experience why Europe is such an attractive travel destination.
Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam should be around 13 hours if it's a direct flight (Malaysia Airline seems to be the only airline with direct flight), and the rest seems to involve transit which easily increase the travel time to 15-18 hours. We flew by KLM Royal Dutch Airline with 4 hours transit in Singapore (Changi is a nice airport to easily kill time during the transit), where the flight time from Singapore to Amsterdam is around 12.5 hours. My round trip ticket (flew back from Rome) cost RM 4,500, where it could be RM 1000 cheaper if my travel schedule didn't eat into May.
The KLM flight is almost full, and it's a big plane, where the boarding time took more than an hour. The 12.5 hours journey is still bearable for me, though we are in quite a "tight" spot, and KLM does serve many rounds of meal: snack, dinner, breakfast, and I probably miss a round of waffle because I had fallen asleep. The seat is pretty cool with a head rest, where both side could be folded up to hold your head in position so that it doesn't swing around; the leg space is not great, but not too bad either.
We reach Amsterdam around 8.00am (with 30 minutes delay). Though the immigration check out queue is long with little counters, but the processing is swift. We realize the filling up of the Arrival Card is not necessary. Schiphol airport is connected to the train station, which is great. The train ticket to Den Bosch cost around EURO 16 and take around 70 minutes; we bump into another group of people from my wife's company, where they store their luggage at the train station for EURO 9.50 per day and take a train ride to explore Amsterdam instead.
The train was pretty much empty on Sunday morning, and Netherlands seems quiet, flat and vast, with canals, bold trees (right after winter) and vast fields. Not much of the windmill, not much car either on the highway. We took a cab upon arrival to Golden Tulip Hotel Central (EURO 120/night), where it's quite centrally located; after getting our free buffet breakfast (juice, bread, cheese, salmon and meat slices, etc.), we began our walking tour of Den Bosch.
Den Bosch is not actually a touristy town, but it had just the right amount of cafes and a commercial square to feel comfortable with. It's Sunday, so 90% of the shops are closed. Everyone seems to be enjoying the outdoor cafe or just strolling around, and many more travel around with bicycle. It's a pretty walkable town, and the weather is great with a nice day time temperature of 15 Celsius. The architecture of buildings are very pleasant, systematic yet with some minor distinction, with their nicely done stone walkway, coupled with the nice feeling of water canals. The town is very walkable and cycle-able, where it feels nice and not stressful to move around, where people seems cheerful and more relaxed (sitting outdoor to enjoy the weather). It seems the people here are able to enjoy themselves more and be happy, more than Australian. The residential area is make up of cozy apartments or nice detached houses, with seems like quite comfy to stay. It would seems to me that Den Bosch is quite a liveable place. But since it's not much of a touristy town (except for some museums and cathedrals, which are not my thing), walking around the town area is pleasant enough for the first day.
The sky is still pretty bright from 7-8pm (April), where we found a nice cozy restaurant to enjoy our slow dinner which lasted for 2 hours. We dine at Het Strand, which seems like a decent western restaurant with not particular cuisine type. They offer a 3 course dinner for EURO 21.50, which I think is not bad. We have minestrone soup with bread, sea bass fish with salad and chocolate cake with cherry for dessert. The fish is fresh and nice, but the pork steak (EURO 16.50) is just average. Het Strand has a cozy interior with a beach theme, with 3 outdoor tables, facing a quiet and pleasant street.
It's a nice feeling to finally travel again, leaving behind baggages of work and commitment, and enjoy a short term freedom and adventure; I wish this could be my way of life, rather than a short term escape. The planning part could be quite tedious, and perhaps that's my motivation to start Travelopy: to make travel planning (where to go, what to do, restaurants, itinerary) easier and more enjoyable. With the entrance of Booking.com and AirBnb, getting a place a stay seems much easier now. Bought a tablet to make travel planning on the go easier, and also a keyboard to keep travel journal in digital format. I did wrote a few travel journal before, but there is just no time to blog about my travel once I get back to the "real world". Everything should be done and completed while it's "hot".
What's up for tomorrow? Cycling the great outdoor.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Nowadays I run some low-key websites without a “real” business model, no longer interested in accelerator or funding, not so eager to get a co-founder, got distracted to work on interesting projects at times, doing coding most of the time, enjoy being low profile and I am actually feeling happy and quite optimistic about the future. I could be delusional, or having irrational optimism, and I am loving it. The only thing which sadden me is not doing enough wholeheartedly.
Having read too much tech news on startup glamour and lured by the free funding the government is providing, I thought getting funding or joining an accelerator is the way to go. I fail miserably at all attempts, but I am not sadden by it, and I actually felt happier as I sort of figure out what I really need along the way. There are good reasons why I fail at these attempts, mainly I am too naïve and technical incline, doesn't know the right people in the industry (poor networking), and my business plan is not polished (I am not speaking the right jargon with business people), and probably I suck at pitching, convincing and selling. I didn't regret going through this process as it did teach me a few lessons: i) growing a startup and pitching for funding are 2 different skillsets ii) investor (or competition judge) are not always right (take their words with a grain of salt) iii) do I really need their money and expertise?
There is always “best practices” for something, and for startup is about i) single founder is a disadvantage ii) solid (or proven) business model is required (especially in this part of the world iii) most successful startup we heard for manage to raise fund.
Sometimes single founder is not our choosing, just like we can’t pick any women to be our wife just because we wanted to get married; do I need to wait for the appearance of a co-founder before I do a startup, or it’s more intuitive for me to go ahead and adapt along the way? Some people might argue if we sucks at attracting talent (a co-founder), we would probably suck at growing a startup. Though it would be great if my friends or colleagues wanted to do a startup together (or wish I study at Harvard), but I don’t blame them when most of them enjoy the comfort of employment and I am the odd ones. I believe sometimes finding an awesome co-founder does have a luck factor into play, but solo founder does have the advantage of utmost agility.
An entrepreneur is a man with multiple talents, and I admit I don’t have even half of the qualities to be the perfect entrepreneur: I don't like Business Model, and I don't do traditional Sales & Marketing. I admit that most business does require typical business model, where we sell a product or service, and charge money for it. What if it is something less typical or never been done before, like how Twitter, Google, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram started (before they are proven profitable)? It seems be to be promising, have good traction, and something great might come out of it, or fail in epic scale? Maybe the business model could be some kind of advertising, but no one could really say for sure. Sometimes the long game or the uncharted business doesn't really have an obvious business model, where the only meaningful metric for the moment is traction.
Though most of us relate success in raising fund equal to success, but I have come to know plenty who raise fund drown in mediocrity (the ability to grow a business and to raise fund are indeed two different skillsets indeed). The ability to be featured on TV or TechCrunch, winning competitions or pitching contests or accepted into accelerators doesn't equate success. The question is: why would you like to raise fund (for growth or distribute the risk)? More importantly, why are you raising fund when you haven’t even built anything worthy? The only meaningful measurement of success comes from your customers (paying ones) and users (tons of them).
I am glad I did try a bit of everything so that I could understand better the path which is suitable for me, and came up with the following conclusions.
Lua’s Startup Way:
- Startup for me is a feel good term about starting a potential business in a more innovative way (usually technological) than traditional business, be it high-growth or a lifestyle business.
- Solo founder or not, it is probably fated.
- Join accelerator if you think you need help: networking, opening doors, future funding, mentoring, etc.
- Raise fund only if you need money to grow; if you can’t pay yourself, you should figure out a way to sustain without begging. If you don't believe in your idea with your own money, no one would.
- If you are not running a traditional or proven business, the purpose a “Solid” Business Model is to "persuade" investors into giving you money; everyone could make a guess, but no one really know for sure.
- If you already know what to do, pitching and competitions are just distractions.
- There is no shame if your startup ends up as a sustainable lifestyle business and you are having fun; not everyone could and should make millions of insane dollars.
- Play my strength: I am reasonably good technically but sucks at sales and marketing, make sure the startup I am growing doesn't depends on my weaker skills to succeed.
- It is not accurate to assume that all business needs to sell a product or service directly.
- I should spend most of the time understanding the business and its customers and users, refining and optimizing the product or process until you are happy with it; everything else is a distractions.
- At the end of the day, it’s still about passion and perseverance, on which we could continue to adapt and have fun along the way. Don't expect others to give a shit about my passion.
- If my work doesn't bring me satisfaction, I am doing it wrongly.
- If money doesn't buy me food and freedom, I am spending it wrongly.
- If I am still miserable, there must be something not done, or not done correctly, or the heart and the mind is not in sync.
- If a good idea in my heard is not executed for years. it's definitely my fault and I should definitely do something about it.
- No one could stop me from doing what I truly desire, except myself; if I didn't do it, it is not because I don't have the time or money, of the fault of my mom, dad, investors, society, etc.
- There is no shame in failing, but there are regrets for not trying.
- If there is a idea which you think is great, but others disagree, don't kill it, test it.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Though I know it is almost impossible to achieve perfectness (except in Street Fighter), it doesn’t means I didn’t try to make life perfect, or at least aiming to achieve something much better than the current state. I try to get better grades in school (did I?), change job in search of the better career, turn my life upside-down in realizing my dream, learning to live a meaningful life without regrets, etc.
What happens when things didn’t get better, but getting worse? What if we stumbled upon some problems, which couldn’t be solved immediately, but might take years or the problem could never go away all together? This reminds me of Beautiful Mind: where John Nash couldn’t get rid of his imaginary friends, but realize the fact that his imaginary friends are not real.
As much as we desire only happiness in life, we also have to accept life does comes with certain dosage of uncertainty and challenges which crop up from times to times. Sometimes it just took some planning and effort to solve these challenges, and sometimes we get some stubborn challenges with no obvious solution in sight. Even though we manage to clear the level this time, something bigger and more badass might appear the next time around.
How do we live with this “problematic” life? Perhaps I find wisdom in a Chinese proverb 苦中作乐, which means finding happiness within hardship. In a certain sense, we can’t prevent shit from happening, but we certainly can control how we react towards it. And most of the time, despite the shit that is happening, it’s a probably just a small part of our life that we over magnify it. I believe another problem is that we don’t like the fact the shit stick on us, it makes us feel uneasy and want to get rid of it immediately, but we can’t, at least not so fast, and that leads to further frustration. In a certain sense, I believe we have make peace with shit and have a ceasefire treaty, until the time is right to finish it off, or maybe not.
Living an imperfect life, might be the journey required to lead a perfect life. Without frustration, happiness shall have a lesser value.