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What to Do in My Final Semester

In the midst of finals, I have managed to somehow induce a state of stress such that I no longer feel particular hunger nor fall asleep after hours of trying. Remarkable and slightly alarming as this is, I also recognize that this is my second to last semester. So how did this semester measure up? How satisfied am I with it? And how can I ensure that I leave my four years at Cal with no regrets?

Overall this semester, I worked very hard as a project manager for my consulting group and in achieving both client happiness and team bonding. I got to meet and work with an awesome startup with the nicest founder out there, as well as the coolest team. I applied to a few incubators and learned a lot, and finally have been seeing the slow but steady growth of J’s and my vision! We created a brand, and now we are creating a product, but we still have to launch it. I also began the processes of outsourcing product development and manufacturing, and am learning that is far more difficult than I initially thought. I endured the long days of recruiting, only to make up my mind that I would rather spend the next year working on something that I want very much to make a reality, although recruiting was still a valuable learning experience, as it always is. I made mistakes, and now I know better. When I wasn’t being preoccupied with side hustles, I did try to study and complete my assignments on time. I also ate extremely healthily and worked out religiously until finals, and have witnessed an overall improvement in health. However, this semester I have not been able to be as social as I would have liked to be, and I would like to change that during my last semester and make it a point to catch up with at least one friend for lunch or dinner per week before we all graduate and leave.  I’d also like to strive for better performance in my important courses and leave Cal with good relationships with great professors. 

So how did this semester stack up? Not so bad. I’ve been lucky to have the friendships of some very special people, including my partner and my PIC, and I couldn’t have kept at it without their support. I hope for an even better semester next year!

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The Virtues of Hustling

Do YOU Have Grit When…

You apply to 10 jobs and get no response? Can you find the motivation to keep firing off resumes until someone answers?

You send off a job application and want to make sure it was received? Do you ask via email or phone call, and do you refuse to let up until you get a response?

You sit down to write yet another cover letter? Do you have the discipline to make sure it’s tailored to the particular job — even though all that writing is tedious and a giant pain?

You prepare for a job interview? That means knowing the four questions to ask an employer and taking the time to research the company beforehand.

You have no energy, after a draining day of work, to attend a networking event? Do you dig deep and go anyway because you never know who you’ll meet?

You wrap up a networking situation? Grit means you take time to write a thank you note, even if someone only connects you from one person to another. (Use these templates to get started.)

You get passed over for a promotion? Gritty people then work twice as hard, rather than checking out mentally or looking for a new gig.

You realize you lack certain skills? Do you voluntarily teach yourself what you need, even if it won’t result in a raise or bonus?

You start a side hustle? Here are nine reasons why you should stick with it.

You hit a low point and life doesn’t seem to be working out? As Duckworth said, all the smarts in the world won’t save you. Your best weapon is a heavy dose of determination.

Read more:

9 Reasons to Side Hustle 

4 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview 


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Our YC Experience

So today my co-founder and I hitched a ride to Mountain View for our 3:30 interview slot with the YC. Long story short, we didn’t get in.

Am I disappointed? Well, of course. We spent a lot of time preparing for that interview, and I’d asked several very kind YC alumn to help us. I can truly say that the YC has one of the most supportive networks of entrepreneurs in the world, and that is one of the things that I regret missing out on most. We couldn’t have done it without the support of those people, and of those that like and believe in us. It was pretty cool to walk into the building and immediately meet Kirsty Nathoo, the CFO. She undoubtedly doesn’t remember us, but it’s great to bump into the people that you’ve only heard about. We also met Vivek Shah of SimplyInsured. Nicest guy ever. He put our nerves to ease, helped us clarify what we were going to say, and was just generally very kind. Apparently he used to work for McKinsey. The interview went by fast, way too fast, and before we knew it we were ushered out the door. I still think it went relatively well. We received the following feedback from Gary Tan:

“I’m sorry to say we decided not to fund you. You guys are the kind of bright and passionate founders we especially like to fund, and we liked meeting you. We agree with you that targeting anime communities up front is probably the right initial approach. In the end what gave us pause was how hard it would be for you to bootstrap the initial community into something that could seriously challenge [redacted]. We encourage you to build your product, ship it to early users, and iterate as fast as you can — you should particularly focus on how to reduce the number of steps to make it easy for users to see content and leave positive feedback. As I mentioned, we really liked you and would very much welcome hearing from you in the future, since applying to YC isn’t like college where you only get one shot at it. There’s another train leaving every six months.”

So there’s our grand adventure. I can see why they decided what they did. We haven’t released yet, and it’s safer to wait awhile and view more concrete numbers than invest so much in a possibility. It’s hard to bet on beating down a behemoth, but I think it’s definitely possible. Myspace probably thought it was invincible too. Ultimately, however, we were as prepared as we could have been and we worked very hard on our MVP. I’m proud of my cofounder and we still intend to keep fighting until the end. I mean, what’s real startup life without sleeping on a couple of (metaphoric) floors? Or literal floors. We can be that hardcore too.

I was debating whether or not I should write about this. No one likes to brag about their failures right? (Or near-successes.) My final thoughts were more along the lines of, “Well… so what. Haters gonna hate.” In more eloquent terms, I thought of the following, one of my favorite quotes:

“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong [wo]man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs,
who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,

so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Probably overdramatic, but it’s a quote that brings me a lot of comfort. I would rather die trying today, than never knowing what could have been tomorrow. Now back to the grind. Anyways, here’s some pictures of our beautiful faces and far more beautiful dinner:


My co-founder and me in the headquarters! It’s all orange.


“加油。我知道你可以成功。” – 姑姑

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GMIC 2013

I had a great time at GMIC 2013! There were a lot of really inspiring entrepreneurs and innovators. Guests included PG of YCombinator (whose talk I was especially excited for), CEO of VK (Russia’s largest social networking site) Pavel Durov, the VP of Facebook mobile, CEO of Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Lei Jun, etc. not to mention the startups trying to get there. It was an enriching experience to not only hear from industry giants but to talk to entrepreneurs with such innovative ideas and brutal dedication. 

photo (2) photo (1) photo (3)Driving a Tesla! My future car ;P

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Pavel Durov, who I am now a giant fan of 🙂 He’s done great work to preserve the individual’s right to privacy, even in face of a government that opposes what it regards as subversive behavior.1382144_557606280987036_229558622_nPG!

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Recently I had the opportunity to work with a YC-backed startup called SpoonRocket, which delivers $6 organic meals to you in <30 minutes. They’re an incredible service and I couldn’t recommend them more for convenience and a good meal, especially when working late at night or simply when hungry. They have an excellent app that makes ordering super convenient as well (it takes about two touches).

Check them out!

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To Change China

To Change China

As of June 3rd, 2013, my dad has finally returned home!!! My family and I are extremely happy and grateful for all of the support that we’ve received these years. 
Now that my dad is finally home, “Now what?”. I’m very grateful for his return, but I know with certainty that we’re not the only case like this out there. We were lucky. As such, I’ve decided to create a website to encourage better understanding of its political institutions and push for reform. I believe that if we are to criticize something, we should first understand it. That’s why I hope this site will not only offer news, but inform its readers about China’s current government structure and political economy (without putting them to sleep). This way we can better understand China’s many complex underlying problems, and perhaps, slowly, propose solutions that the rest of the world can contribute to. 

Feel free to follow me at!

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In Defense of Feminism

In Defense of Feminism

Yesterday, the Daily Cal offered me the opportunity to respond to Claire Chiara’s controversial article (which you can read here). Thank you for letting me express my opinion! Please take a look and let me know your thoughts in the comments section. It’s not the most refined piece of writing on the site, but I hope it addresses a lot of the arguments I’ve been seeing from my male peers in defense of her article.