Internet of Things

I’m a huge believer in what software, or synonymously imagination, has to offer. Software has so many advantages from huge scalability, margins, and unlimited possibilities. The digital world unlike, physical, is built and given life by our imaginations.

At the same time, the fast moving world of technology have enter a time period where it is ready for control of existing physical objects with the imagination of software. Microelectronics, 3D printing, energy source, cloud computing, advanced software, mobile technology, environment, and acceptability have all reached a level where the growth will now be unstoppable and only the inevitable.

Internet of Things is basically giving the imaginary software from the digital space a physical presence to further progress and improve our physical lives. IoT will imbue physical objects and existing physical processes with a sensor to collect information on the environment. IoT allows for two very powerful reward of automation and data collection.

As a result of IoT’s sensors and automated processes, we will produce and collect a huge amount of real time data that is extremely difficult if not impossible for humans using traditional models to refit the trends based on a large constant stream of new information. Accordingly, we will need the power of AI to handle the collected data by learning on its own and continually updating its model.

The ultimate goal of IoT is to free up the only resource that is finite,  time. Almost any task is possible given infinite amount of time, but that’s not reality. Previous seemingly impossible tasks will now be realistic. In a similar vein, we will have much more efficient functions and save us time from doing tedious, nonsensical work that can and should take care of itself. We will have more time.

I am looking forward to Flushed, my IoT startup that I will turn idea to reality. 2017 is going to be a great year.

Craft – Value Built into Life by Passion and Hobby

Usefulness of Craft

I want to build software as my craft because the barrier of entry is very low compared to physical products. The reach of software such as mobile apps is unprecedented using the great connective power of the Internet. The market is the entire world, with Facebook and Google laying the tracks of Internet connectivity. They are providing the world with free internet as a mutually beneficial value to all. They gain new customers to use their services and control the top channel while the population they’ve enriched now become more knowledgeable and hopefully improve their lives and their community as well.

The combination between mobile technology and the Internet is unimaginable. We don’t even know the fullest extent of the Internet yet considering the recent advent of Internet of Things. Mobile technology and the Internet allows for endless possibilities of mobile apps. I don’t know why I still sometimes feel ashamed for saying I left medical school to pursue software, mobile apps to be more specific, but I know I shouldn’t considering how much potential the two domains that give life to mobile apps has in itself. Maybe it’s because I’m still transitioning and getting used to not falsely feeling special to be in a protected, very competitive industry, of medicine and healthcare and I’ve transitioned to one that anyone with drive and a bit of skill can become successful. I feel like I’m cheating to be working in a field with this much potential in comparison! Nevertheless I am happy and excited to be part of the progression of technology.

The beautiful part about software is finding ways to digitize existing brilliant physical systems. One example of many is the mail system. The ideas of inbox, sending mail, all have been brilliantly invented and simply digitized to become electronic mail. Just as emails where it can be sent for free, to any where on the world instantly at anytime; marketplaces are open to customers that can be the entire world with a shop that never closes with virtually no overhead compared to a physical store on some cross intersection. There are limitless possibilities. We have seen that it doesn’t stop at ideas being digitized, but physical electronics too such as Internet connected TV’s, car’s, and so on.

My goal is to become good at what I do in software development because of its potential. Ultimately by entering other industries via internet of ideas and things, I can eventually move to building physical products too such as alternative energy as one of my big interests.

Whether your craft is physical or digital, creating anything is something of value. Through Christina, I’ve come to appreciate makeup as a very viable, lucrative business and market, but only as such. I still find it saddening for the consumer side of the vanity products such as sneakers and makeup. I have experience of sales to consumers who are paying 100x manufacturing cost, with extreme, irrational demand. Makeup demand is said to never be in decline even in midst of economic suffering. They may still be products of value, but this value is only in terms of massive imbalance of wealth transferred to these companies. There is little intrinsic value in the actual product itself.

There’s only one way to characterize this.

Don’t mind if I do.

One of the projects I’m working on will be a small attempt to help people realize the quote above, and if they’re still willing to throw money away.

Don’t mind if I do

Reallocate this money for the creation of more true value.


 

My postings have slowed because I am adapting to spending more time on my projects and relationship. I need to make headway in producing an MVP. See yall soon!

Hong Kong and Tokyo Adventures 2015 – Part Two

Tokyo

The second half of the trip. Check out Part One – Hong Kong

First time in Japan.
Very unique cultural experience.

Very polite

If I were to describe Japan based on my very first impression, it would be their politeness.  I know airports and airlines should not be considered as they are in a profession that represents their country internationally, but from my experience most of everyone was generally very nice and polite.

There was only two outlying occasions where that would run contrary that I thought was a bit funny but also points to some realities also not so apparent at first. At immigration, there was an Indonesian family that was, short of interrogation,  being yelled at in English condescendingly about how long they wanted to stay. There is nothing wrong with deciding how to control their country’s own sovereignty, but the feeling of superiority over any other people is flawed as we are all human first and foremost. The difference in people is simply the difference of societal and cultural plans on how to best promote the success of the respective civilization. Just because a country doesn’t speak English or is less developed, they shouldn’t be discriminated. I mean, you are using English in Japan to communicate.

Not to sour the point, Japanese people are in general one of the most polite people I’ve encountered. In my experience, they are very fair people who seem to put order before themselves, which leads to a very orderly society.

Prideful of work and country

As with many other East Asian countries, tipping is generally not a thing in East Asia because the concept doesn’t exist. The expected tip that we assume in United States is already built in to the menu price. I liked this a lot about East Asia, especially in Hong Kong where there is no hidden fees such as taxes. You can see upfront what you are paying for in total, without the pressure of the restaurant’s staff. The whole point of a tipping system is to incentivize good service, but that is a flawed system based on greed trying to moralize workers. The will is not genuine and cannot beat the someone who respects his trade.

In East Asia, the staff takes pride in their work whether hospitality or restaurant, they happily offer great service. We have all experienced or seen workers especially in retail who are saccharine in how they butter you up and then talk bad about their customers behind their back, sometimes even blatantly in front of them. Other times we’ve experienced workers who seem like it pains them just to do their job. I’ve had time where I just want to jump over the counter and do it myself if I could. If you don’t like what you’re doing why trade your finite time for it, your life. I’ve never felt an ounce of animosity for work expected in Japan. I’m not expecting to be pampered, just respect me as someone who wants to exchange value with your business. I obviously respect your service.

Not only do Japanese people value their work greatly, they also greatly take pride in their country. I cannot speak for any time other than my visit, but they have great respect for their society and people. They see themselves as cultured and civilized. This could possibly explain the pride and respect they have for order and their work.

On a side note about Japanese pride; we had coincidentally visited Japan during the beginning of the year where the Emperor of Japan opens up the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace to the public and gives them his New Year greetings. When their emperor addressed them there a large group of nationalist who were very fervently yelling “long live the emperor!” and kowtowing.

Pride in one’s people is a great thing as we see the good it has for their society with order and good work ethic. That same pride on a different edge has caused great atrocities and destruction of other people in the past. I’m happy for the modern Japanese harnessing their pride for progress and tranquility.

High food quality standards

The pride in their work thankfully has also translated to meaning great food. I’ve never been disappointed at any point of Japanese foods, from any price range. The standard for their food quality is very high.

As everyone knows sushi chefs actually takes years and decades to master the art. Apprenticeships and students from all over the world come to Japan to learn the craft. We were lucky to try some of the best food we’ve ever had, needless to say, especially the sushi. But be warned, once you’ve had sushi from Japan, you could never have any elsewhere ever again without feeling offended (exaggeration in only some situations) and ripped off.

It would be a disservice to just talk about sushi, traditional Japanese and even other cultures food is top notched here at all levels. When I say all levels I mean it! I can’t believe how many times we’ve sought out a 7-11 for its pastries! A convenience store had better pastries than most bakery in the United States.

You cannot go wrong eating any where in Japan, your palette will love you, your wallet will love you (for the value), and you won’t stop dreaming of coming back for the food.

There were a lot of physical things that are available to assist and make life easier. Though I would prefer to do certain things myself as it’s more natural to me, I have to appreciate how unique and how much thought goes into fine details. For example every toilet I’ve seen in Tokyo were electronic bidets. To put on my shoes without using my finger, they had shoe horns. Vending machines sold everything that a convenient store would. It was an unsettling feeling. Personally, I’d rather advanced high technology that would assist me in things that I cannot do for myself, thereby making my life better, than to have so many small things serve to make my life more convenient that I find too plentiful and flustering. I guess I’m just a minimalist kind of guy, and for so many things that I don’t need feels like gimmicky pre-installed bloatware. This was only my experience in Tokyo. I am not sure how the rest of the country is like.

Traditional

Another thing that I want to come back to Japan for would be to explore more of the nature and countryside to learn more about the Japanese culture and immerse in the beautiful landscape. Despite Tokyo being a very big world city that means there are a lot of universal elements between other world city such as shopping, mass transit, and skyscrapers combined with a fast life of the city, there were still many traditions preserved and part of societal fabric. Beautiful, old temples are widespread throughout the city, the emperor is still revered, every aspect, tradition is still very noticeable. Unlike Hong Kong where there’s a distinct coexistence and hybrid between Eastern and Western culture, Japan it seems to preserve traditions to the core. This reinforces their pride of their people and country, and hopefully is what explains why they take great pride in their work, societal order, and culture.

Gender Role and Inequality

Perhaps tradition is also an explanation for the slightly noticeable difference in treatment between genders. It seems unfortunately, woman have the short end of the stick in Japan. Not too bad, but they are treated a bit different. For example whenever a payment transaction happen, the merchant would respectfully place a small tray out so that you may place whatever currency, coin, or cards onto it for payment. Any change or your card would be returned to you in the same manner as a sign of respect for your business. Christina had many, many times when I was with her have her change when she paid be handed to me on the tray or handed directly to her. For me I’ve always had my payment returned on the tray. Always.

In retail, the majority of the workers are girls. In Tokyo, there were many girls who would cheerfully shout for customers from the store front to come in. Restaurants, retail stores, groceries, most of the retail industry were staffed by females. As I have posted previously, retail generally provides jobs that offer low to no skills and stagnates there. If such a large portion retail are staffed by women, where are the men? Regardless of gender, both male and female work very hard in Japanese society. Naps on the job is regarded as a badge of such hard work that you’ve tired yourself to the point of exhaustion. Many stores stay open very late, but maybe that’s Tokyo.

Very orderly, collective oriented society

Whether man, woman, or child, one thing for certain is the orderliness in Japan. People queue up patiently and treat each other fairly. They give off the impression of putting their own pride above themselves, and that pride again is largely being proud of their culture and country, meaning many traditions will be preserved and quality work will ensue for benefiting their people as a whole.


East Asia;

Dense metropolises. Hardworking people. Preserved culture. These few things are humbling and leave me in awe when thinking about how far these societies from an ancient civilization have come and endured. These societies are the culminations of millennia of terrible strife and proud achievements, and still stand today. We may remark one thing is bad, but we cannot see the alternative. With large populations, limited land, and a history of thousands of years ago, a civilization’s stability is its number one priority. In the immediate eyes, a society’s strategy on growth and perseveration may seem to be irrational and unacceptable to our own ideology, but we must realize that not every strategy works for all.

It’s interesting that countries compete among each other, cultures compete among each other, and the one that appears to be most successful becomes leader of strategy and culture. In the end you come to realize everyone is human, our only difference is in our strategy all the same to survive and grow. That applies to everything in life, to the individual personal level. We should encourage each other’s differences, as everyone is designed to be a little different. We are all unique in both the biological sense and our purpose in life. Similar to the macro level where it allows for the selection and appreciation of the best strategy. This is evolution of our human race. We shouldn’t judge anyone for their differences in ideology, physical traits, or goals because then humanity will cease to progress.

East Asians bakeries do have the best strategy for pastries and baked goods though. 🙂 every single one has not disappointed and in my youtube videos of our adventure you can see Christina and I repeatedly search for even 7-11’s pastries. The pastries are well made and not overly sweet. Can’t wait to visit Asia again.

Hong Kong and Tokyo Adventures 2015 – Part One

Hong Kong

The first leg of the trip

One of the most amazing cities I’ve been to.

The last time I’ve been to Hong Kong was nearly two decades ago when I was six with both of my parents. I came back this time with my mom and partner to happily attend my cousin’s wedding. I am so proud of my cousin and his father. My uncle is second oldest of ten children before my mom and had to leave his family to escape the Vietnam War at seventeen. The boat refugees and other victims of war endured a great deal of pain. Many were killed or ransomed. My uncle while trying to escape to Hong Kong was captured and brought to Thailand by pirates. You can imagine how hard it is for his family to receive a ransom on top of previously having had no way to communicate or even know if he was still alive after letting him go. He eventually made it to Hong Kong in one piece, figuratively and literally with only what he had on him. Fortunately, Hong Kong’s official language was English and Cantonese (my family’s language). So he rented essentially a bunk bed and worked very hard to eventually get a place of his own, while learning English on the side. He met my wonderful aunt who struggled with him through the thick and thin while working, and now one of their child is a doctor and the other a social worker. My gentle, kind cousin married another doctor and now they both live at the top of a skyscraper!

Lots of English, Lots of Cantonese

Right off the plane, there was absolutely no problem finding our way around as everything was in English. Because both English and Cantonese are the official languages of Hong Kong, every sign and description is in both languages. Compared to Japan it was a very reassuring feeling to have signs and stops in English. Hearing Cantonese officially and commonplace was also a bit surreal and a feeling of being at home. Born and raised in the United States everything is English only with the occasional Spanish dual language, especially in Texas. There are efforts to make Spanish widely available too, so I feel kind of disenfranchised when they advocate another language other than English. At home it was solely Cantonese as it was easier for both my family and I to communicate. So it was such a weird but refreshing feeling to be able to speak Cantonese so freely. At first it was like a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming kind of situation, I would just go up to anyone using it as an opportunity to speak Cantonese freely, and to have them understand and communicate back normally was very soothing. Being in Hong Kong, my world had totally inverted asides from literally being on the other side of Earth. I spoke Cantonese outside, and spoke/translated English to my partner.

Mix between Western and Eastern Culture

Having been a British colony, much of what was British rule and influence is engrained into Hong Kong society such as the mixing English and Cantonese in their speech. As Chinese, Hong Kong citizens live under special rules, a continuation of British Common Law for 50 years. The legacy law allows for certain freedoms such as free speech. Combined with being a former British colony and being an international financial powerhouse attracts many professional Western expats to immigrate to Hong Kong for work. As a result, new ideas and cultures mix with the locals’. Christmas drew huge crowds to Tsim Sha Tsui and the whole city was filled with festivities. Afterwards, Hong Kong would prepare for the Chinese New Year ushering in the Year of the Monkey. You could imagine how comforting it feels to have the traditions I have at home and also have the culture I’m used to in the United States.

Gritty, common sense driven people

One clear example of the mix is the fast life of the West and the tenacious resiliency of the East. No matter which district you’re in, the city is always moving. Central has people in business running around the financial area. Posh shoppers in Admiralty. Night market and street food vendors in Mong Kok. Despite being in the East where filial piety and family values are extremely important (still is), there is a high degree of individualism. I think the only reason for foreigners to confuse Hong Kong otherwise is because of the dense, expensive housing due to lack of land. Children and parents often live together in addition to Eastern family values. Hong Kong’s individualism can be credited to its capitalistic nature, one of the easiest place on Earth to do business. Moral debate asides, you have to work hard to survive in Hong Kong due having very little safety nets compared to Western countries. Perhaps luckily, for better or worse, the people of Hong Kong are adaptive and strong. One thing for certain, though both Hong Kong and Tokyo are very dense societies, Hong Kong people are more willing to fit their way into a packed train if able to, and it’s understood by others inside the train to make room, compared to in Tokyo where order is supreme. Tokyo people are unwilling to get closer to one in order or fill empty spaces so that others may get on the train instead of having to wait for the next. I remember being late and having to tell a girl “Yo, move in, there’s room for three more people in front of you!” on an elevator.

Very efficient infrastructure and affordable transportation

We were told ahead of time to expect more people than the normally bustling Hong Kong during the end of year holidays on subways and everywhere. So despite transversing almost every station near the holidays, we never were too crowded or can’t get to where we needed to on public transportation, especially the MTR subways. The rail was always comfortably spaced and only really packed during peak hours. The next train will always arrive on time every one or two minutes as scheduled and even apologies were announced for a four minute delay. Always. I can get to anywhere in Hong Kong with certainty using the public transportation system despite it being one of the densest city on Earth. Buses and Taxi in heavy traffic will get to where we need without much delay. This is why Hong Kong is regarded as having one of the most efficient transportation system in the world. The fare itself is ridiculously cheap compared to Tokyo and most major cities, I can get from one end to another with a couple U.S. cents using the Octopus card. I spent at most $20 USD in Hong Kong compared to nearly $100 USD to get around Tokyo, granted there’s more land to cover. Nonetheless, cost of living is surprisingly noticeably cheaper in Tokyo than Hong Kong. Asides from transportation costs, where Tokyo is a lot more expensive, the food in terms of value is cheaper in Tokyo as well as cheaper housing.

Lots of retail workers

Housing in Hong Kong consist of sky-scrapping apartment buildings and gigantic shopping centers at their base. It’s ridiculous how much retail services exist in Hong Kong, almost 95% of all ground level businesses is some variation of retail from restaurants, clothing stores, beauty stores, to 7-11’s. I suppose it is a bit deceiving since the city is pretty much vertical! It makes sense to devote a floor out of fifty plus to support the people. If the above explains the large retail phenomenon then I had just mistakenly experienced a very disproportional representation of the retail industry. Otherwise, it would be worrying and saddening that so much of the population, young and old who also live in one of the most expensive places on Earth with little option of immigrating, rely on an industry that rarely confers the skills to branch out and innovate, to better oneself and others. Pay is usually capped at a relatively low rate for this very reason. Whether low paying or not, any productivity and wage is better than no productivity and no wage. As this blog pushes and what I push for myself, is the opportunity to focus productivity efficiently and to one’s true interest.

What’s also disparaging asides from the dead-end path of many retail position is with so much retail found, there must also follow the vast amount of consumption, draining those who are already making low wages. Live to work. Work to consume. Live to consume. Needless consumption when unaffordable, becomes an instant gratification providing a cheap joy. This example can be seen on my post regarding overconsumption.

Necessity of jobs

The stability of any society is dependent on having work for its citizens, no matter how skill-less or low paying. Citizens of any society as a whole, need to have a net contribution and productiveness, otherwise there will be hunger, a hunger for basic necessities, growth of living standards, and in general for the security of your family.

Hong Kong has a tremendous population that it has to govern and keep stable. With the limited amount of land, if it fails to provide work for it citizens to allow them to feed and house themselves, there will be unrest and the eventual collapse of a system that evidently fail for all citizens. Unlike Texas, where I can move to Middleofnowhere, Texas, where land is plentiful, cheap, and which I can sustain myself using the land, Hong Kong can barely afford you a patio. More than anywhere, I’ve been the necessity for jobs is clearly evident in Hong Kong. Luckily, there is a lot of wealth and productivity in the Hong Kong economy.

I hope you don’t misunderstand this as an insult of hardworking people or holier than thou. I too have worked in a position making millions for my employer, yet I was paid peanuts with my work unrecognized in form of compensation, let alone most importantly with no skills offered for me to grow. My employer and I were greatly mismatched in what we offered each other and our growth. I left in search of growing myself so that I may provide mutual value to others. Everyone plays a role in building and keeping the world running. I just wish to remove systems that promote stagnation  and subjugation of others for self-serving purposes, hindrance to improvement for all. I hope this blog and my posts may offer some inspiration to those who would like to leave what they feel unfair, using our own hands to make it fair for themselves and others.

Huge gaps of wealth

Undeniable, Hong Kong is one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Absolutely no exaggeration, there were more supercars and German luxury cars than any other car there excluding the numerous, famous Toyota Crown taxis. You can count for every 20 Mercedes and 20 BMW, 10 Lexus, and the few supercars there would be one Toyota on the road. Beyond the immediate glamour of supercars, countless luxury brands, and awing skyline, the staggering difference between the very wealthy and the common person is immense no matter where you are on Earth. I strive to be wealthy, with the goal of allocating resources to improve humanity. Money talks, and I want to be the voice to those unheard one day. My uncle and family would not have to escape as refugees, nor the countless lives murdered had it not been for money dictating wars. So innovation and the money that comes with it, serves doubly to improve human lives.


Hong Kong was a wonderful experience, I got to witness the future of my uncle after escaping war that was brought to them and went on to build themselves with nothing through grits and dream. I witnessed the immense gaps of wealth and productivity, reaffirming my desire to close the gap by bringing myself and others up through unafraid originality. Innovation is the creator of wealth. I have the opportunity in this life to improve humanity. Needless to say, I believe in working hard to reach this life goal, and also believe in helping others meet this goal who want to better themselves and others. The Gospel of Wealth termed by Andrew Carnegie.

It would be a shame after my post about my experience in Hong Kong to neglect telling you to try the Chinese barbecue, especially the roast pork, wonton noodle soup, congee with preserved duck egg and pork, and hand-made dim sum. You can find my videos of the Hong Kong trip on my youtube channel.  They’re alot lighter noted than my observations 🙂

Check out Part Two – Tokyo

Consumerism – Overconsumption Poisons Individuality and Growth

Happy Holidays to everyone and their loved ones! I hope everyone will be able to spend time with their loved ones and rejoice for the new coming year.

This post comes at an awkward time especially as I try to shop for some last minute gift giving. Black Friday shopping is definitely the embodiment of frenzied consumerism and really should have been the time for this post.

I dedicate this post to my cousin Eric. I want to say first of the bat that this post is not meant to be a rant about buying things we like or having fun, more so about consumerism that is fueled by materialism. Buying things that don’t make us as an individual happy, but more so to fulfill the command of hype setters. Why should there be hype from any one individual, celebrity known simply for their lifestyle rather than the substantive value they produce towards society. How hollow and superficial a society that is.

I’ve been meaning for a while to write about wasteful, needless consumption. Consumerism promotes overconsumption, and has very effectively manipulated the desires of people to surrender their money for materialistic products. It is quite unsettling to see essentially the mass transfer of wealth on the command of ads and popular culture from the poor to the rich. The poor gets poorer by their own doing, foolishly falling pray to the rich who dictates what shoe should be sought after, even to murder for, literally. Think about it. During Black Friday, which exemplifies consumerism, many people would forgo time with their family on holidays and would fight each other for the right to throw their money at companies. If I were the companies I wouldn’t mind if you do. Thanks. Now get back to work on Monday to make more money to spend. It’s almost a cyclical trap. Work more to buy more useless things. A stagnant cycle.

Money is an arbitrary currency for exchanging labor. Money is essentially labor. You work to give your labor to a company who pays you and takes your labor to produce a service or product that will net them more money. Money when used to purchase other products or services becomes a source of power/influence. Finite time however is the limiting factor for produceable labor. Instead of investing in yourself for growth, money when used to purchase items not needed is like throwing your labor away. Similar to a baker baking more bread than he needs, but not intended for sale. Why is it that we must waste our labor just to give what we earn back to the company we work for. We’ve become a slave to companies, working and buying. We must break out of this mentality trapped in part by popular culture. There is no growth. Growth I would define is the net surplus of labor, money, or influence. By building your own product and selling, surplus is gained. When surplus is gained we are no longer moving in that cyclical trap. Even easier, by simply realizing that you should protect your money and not freely give it away. You’ve already won, beating enslavement with realization. Consumerism fueled by materialism is what keeps the poor, poor. Misguided management of wealth leads to working just to make another person richer. Transferring wealth from one company to another company. I wouldn’t work for a company for the money, rather for the benefit of learning and growing with the company’s mission.

The two most important thing consumerism endangers most is individuality and growth. No longer do we take pride in our own style or control over our own desires. We buy what were told we should by by popular culture such as who and who wore what. Celebrity endorsed products are marked up many times its retail price, and thats retail, not production cost! We lose our style in what we desire, and cater to what society desires, what popular culture desires. Who are we if not for our individuality. We’re told to buy, to transfer our money and we do so so willingly. We wait in lines for hours, walk for many more, gridlocked in traffic for the goods we want. Paid whatever amount disregarding utility value, paying instead for popularity value. The worst is when openly acknowledging the wastefulness of labor for what people will like you for, your shoes.

This self harm, destruction of self individuality as a consequence destroys growth. You’re now stuck in the cyclical enslavement as described above. You don’t take pleasure in self reliance, we’ll just buy it. I’m not saying buying things isn’t a good idea. In fact when we’re trading our finite time for economies of scale for experts to produce services or product of higher quality and less time. Face it, the clock never stops running and we can’t make everything ourselves as much as we want to. So it’s good to have division of labor and specialist. This is not a production and consumption was never the target of this post. What I’m stressing is overconsumption and materialism that is promoted by consumerism is what damages our individuality, allowing others to manipulate us into essentially throwing away our money in an imbalance trade. We don’t need these items but are made to obsess over. This idea I wanted to say doesn’t apply to the rich if they had the capacity to spend alot because they earn alot, but I take it back. This concept applies to everyone and the only reason the rich are rich is because they’ve controlled the consumption all the while taking advantage of the poor who are more likely to transfer their wealth that is harder earned. You can definitely earn alot yet consume more than your income. The only key difference is the poor’s margin of discretionary income is much less than that of the rich. But anyone can grow their net worth by decreasing their consumption of needless things or increasing their income, or both ideally as this is a mentality issue.

Self reliance is our exciting ability to influence and control of our destiny. By rejecting buying what we don’t need and rejecting a materialistic mindset, we poise ourselves for upward growth, leaving the cyclical cycle of wealth transfers. We can finally start accumulating wealth and in turn control our destiny through influence and not be influenced by other, becoming free.

I would love for your perspective. Share your thoughts here or on twitter.com/andrewtvuong or facebook.com/andrewtvuong

Take Control of Your Gifted Life and Live

I encourage everyone to break out of other’s control and pursue your belief. Do not let yourself be your own limit because of what other people believe.

Read a great quote by Steve Jobs. Building things is the only way I see that will progress your life forward from a status quo established. Building things can be as simple as writing a post.

Maybe status quo is good for stability? but that seems very boring, unfair, and unfulfilling to me.

When you grow up, you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact. And that is: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.


I find Job’s quote above a good articulation to what I experienced growing up. Even as a child before my father’s passing, I was always curious to why things were the way they are as all children’s curiosity. My father’s early departure had really forced me to mature quicker than normal all the while capturing the energy of what would have been teenage angst. I think the angst or entitled mindset never really happened because of a continued curiosity from all of the why’s asked, and more importantly what I can do about it. Why me? Why despite being poor, I would also lose my father, to be left alone with only my hardworking, elderly widowed mom. Growing up alone, I became used to finding my own answer because no one was really there to tell me why or this is just how it is. I had to adapt and learn quickly the rules of the world in order to support my mom and myself.

One of the byproducts of adapting was realizing the systems the world has in place such as do x, y, z for a, b, c, it meant there’s a game to be played. I loved video games, and boy did I also played the system’s game well. I knew I had to work hard in high school because I had no money for college and it paid off with a full ride to university.

I grew up in a culture that as an understatement, greatly valued education and risk aversion. Similar to what Jobs mentioned, my parents placed great importance on education so that I may have a white-collar job, making a comfortable living with stability unlike their journey of volatile, manual labor. Surprisingly my Mom had eventually picked up a bit of entrepreneur spirit by opening her own nail salon; however, the stress was too great for her after my father’s death and from unethical business practices of the landlord. They wanted me to have a skill through formal education so that no one may take this source of living away from me. I wholeheartedly agree with them and still do, despite harboring some disdain and regret for what I had believed.

Growing up even since elementary, it was always natural to know that education was of great important. Everything non-essential such as video games, relationships, extracurricular were before education, unfortunately this meant grades primarily instead of learning. My parents are also number ones, which meant their desires as well.  I knew instinctually to get good grades in high school, get good grades in college, get good grades in professional school, get a job, make good money, marry, buy a home, have kids, and retire.

Please don’t confuse them for tiger parents or in this case tiger parent. They had simply wanted the best chance for me through education to have a stable, comfortable life, something they never had.  My parents had never finished high school because they never had the chance due to a war that killed millions of their countrymen. I owe them everything and am inspired to live to my fullest potential so that their sacrifice would not be in vain, escaping war so that I could have a better life and more opportunities than they had. They drifted to a new land with nothing and staked everything on my better life without any expectations for themselves, there’s no word for my gratitude.

When my dad died, I made the decision on my own during my undergrad junior year to pursue medicine to become a physician. I wanted to be able to heal the sick like my father so that their children and cherished loved ones wouldn’t grow up alone. Until that year I had wanted to be a pharmacist, naively enticed with a relatively quick program compared to medicine and $100,000 salary for little work. I wanted to come out quick and help my elderly mom.

Selecting medicine was the beginning of 3 stages of realization that set myself free from the control of others. I was never the same again. I no longer have my ignorant bliss, and more painfully, cannot remain willfully ignorant.
1. Understanding myself better and why I want what I want

I was immature when I first pursued pharmacy because I grew up poor and sought to fulfill my immediate needs rather than thinking of the potential I would be wasting, selling myself short for a bit of money but not having any real impact on the world. This was my first major realization that my life mattered and I didn’t want to be controlled by lower physiological needs or what was the risk-aversed path a lot of my peers took seeking the same as I wanted and what my parents wanted for me. I didn’t want to spend forty years putting pills in bottles while fighting in a rat race to the bottom (post about pharmacy school to come). I wanted more. I wanted purpose. I wanted impact and to not squander the precious life my parents gave me, I pursued medicine and worked hard with purpose. I played the game again as was required by med school admission albeit with genuine passion for medicine and succeeded. I’d put my parents’ hard work and sacrifices to shame for not reaching my full potential, safely.

I would say after my first realization of pursing medicine for purpose unlike pharmacy was the stage of understanding myself better and what I wanted. I wanted purpose and caught fire with medicine.

2. Realizing the realities of the world and the systems others have in place

My second realization during the summer before matriculation to medical school crushed my purpose and dropped me to the lowest point in my life. Losing my purpose was one of the worst things I’ve ever felt, akin to dying when realizing then that my life was meaningless.

A very close person brought a very interesting and seemingly simple observation that physicians lacked creativity and were preservers as a result, waking me from my naive idealization about medicine. I lacked foresight and grasp of external forces that have an immense hold over the profession. I had considered after spending a significant portion of work and was prepared to spend the rest of my life pursuing a calling to make up for my inability to help my father when he needed me most, all the while neglecting my elderly widowed mom from my life. I can’t stomach the idea of running around for 8 years of my life in debt and for the rest of my life for the deepest care of others while essentially abandoning my mom to let her slave over humiliatingly for her own living as a widowed, elderly manicurist worker. I can’t let her live her life like this from beginning to end.

In regards to the profession that I would have spent the rest of my life in, it requires true, untainted, naive passion. I commend all physicians who truly believe in this as their calling to heal others. It’s noble. I see it; however, as a game not worth playing. I’ll be short in this post about the topic.

Many in med school did X, Y, Z; high GPA, high Medical College Admission Test, medical experience, some luck and an acceptance will most likely happen. The med students then do the same again on steroids; high GPA, high STEP scores (first part of board exams), more medical experiences, some luck and an acceptance to residency programs will most likely happen. Residency training in the U.S. is necessary to practice as a physician in the U.S. so without the full completion of this whole process, you’ve wasted 12 years minimum of your life and probably the rest of it due to an unpayable student loans without that high salary expected. This leaves the students to the whim of anyone senior to them in a position of power, many leaving their dignity if needed. Throughout the 8 year training, an endless pecking order process is encouraged as the natural way of things and tradition without question. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met countless good-willed doctors, but there are a few who are terrible beings. One of my mentors, a doctor, is one of the most genuine, passionate, open-minded, caring person I know.

All of this wouldn’t deter anyone with the passion they’ve conveyed to admissions unless they’ve realized some sickening, discouraging truth along the great journey of medicine. In the interest of keeping to the theme of living free, I will not go into great details regarding a broken healthcare system in this post. I did not want to sacrifice my life for the sake of being profiteered by pharmaceuticals, hospitals and its investors, legislature, and insurance companies, all the while being scapegoated to the public to conceal their greed. These entities who bear none of the sacrifices physicians go through for the public good, yet they are well positioned to control the lives and determination of physician’s own profession, warping it into a money making vehicle.

I don’t mean to be dramatic when I say life sacrificed because it would have been well worth it had the profession retained control of itself and allowed innovation to improve its good to society. Innovation; however, is not possible in modern medicine because creativity leads to lawsuits when not following every procedure in the book to the last letter. Being a physician today is much like a highly skilled, human mechanic, and in that respect with empathy aside, robots do a better job (but who’s to say AI wouldn’t pass the Turing test some day?). Of course it’s important to perform procedures correctly when trusted with another’s life, and this is not to belittle physicians who I have the utmost respect for. But the nature of the profession to me is dreadfully boring as a result of stifled creativity, depressing due to control by others’ self serving interest and public misguided disdain as a result, and tiring as many conditions are self-inflicted and people want a quick fix such as obesity, genetically wrought diseases are different. Mostly seeing the same problem everyday and changing one life at a time until your own is over, repeat ad infinitum. No progress made compared to creating actual value through innovation that will change the world.

My journey into medicine helped me better understand myself and taught me two important lesson; it allowed me to realize that there is a hegemony in place for all aspect of this world almost entirely concerning money, even in what I had considered the noblest of professions, and the fear established that preserves the hegemony. Hegemonies are the ones in the position to establish systems and set norms that protect their largely favored interest, regardless of detriment to humanity’s progress. Intimidation set repercussion for not following the rules of theirgame, with hollow diversions on the other hand to keep people distracted from rocking the boat. They create an ideology reinforced by your family, friends, and society that fear for change. Don’t rock the boat and you’ll be fed.. by the game owners. Fear and uncertainty is powerful.

3. Overcoming fear and embrace uncertainty 

Realizing how pitiful such existence is irreversible, yet moving forward against uncertainty and discouragement may seem insurmountable.

I found after leaving what I had known to be the construct to the way of living, the most difficult part is overcoming that lifeless standstill of not being able to return to an ignorant bliss of doing as told to live in the rewards others want, yet directionless to move forward.

There was as expected a period of openly shaming of my decision to leave medical school. I was called a quitter, a loser, a coward, and a shame to my parents by other family members, friends, and even strangers. These put me downs though not of much influence, definitely hurt. “Why didn’t you just finish medical school, you’ve came all this way for something people would die for,” “you’ve become selfish in not wanting to be one of the most altruistic profession,” and “even if you didn’t like it, you’ll get paid so much, suck it up cause no other job will make that much money,” were the most common comments, almost pleads. Why did other people care so much about my life? If they wanted it that badly, why didn’t they work for it?

Eventually I grasped through these same why’s I had asked myself that everyone is only upset because that’s what they’ve been told how to live and what to want. Fear originates from within and shouldn’t be mistaken for what others are kept in and instilled by the ones taking advantage; they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them. What they should fear is themselves. They were taught by others to fear uncertainty, uncertainty being dangerous to money, and money was worth trading a meaningful life for security or cheap materialism. I want to feed myself and live my own life. I sound crazy to them, but stepping back, everyone looked crazy to me.

Unstifled curiosity as an unintended product of growing up alone, without my parents being around much, gave way to embracing uncertainty and things I had perceived as fear. I had to learn a lot on my own and this sparked my curiosity because I didn’t have anyone telling me how this or that was suppose to be. These experiences I credit for laying the foundation of understanding that everything that happens is based on perspective, nothing inherently good or bad. There will always be another side of an event that may have been perceived as negative, but nothing can be solely one aspect when nothing is inherently of anything. We give things power by our own perspective. I had unlimited power as a result, and everything now relied on attitude. Uncertainty now became exciting, a breathe of fresh life.

Without certainty, innovation is without bounds. Create your own change, your own living, and influence by building value that will help others. That’s why tech is so appealing, almost every industry is vulnerable to massive disruption by anyone who is able to break out of fear and create value on their own. With my mom, I deeply struggled with trying to convince her that I too wanted entrepreneurship, but I was lucky she stood for my happiness. I want to build things myself and create value that others want, not the other way around in a consumerist mindset. I wasn’t going to consume what others wanted either.

I only feel bad because delusion or not, becoming a physician and not bashing against the confines of others would have been a quiet, easy way to honor my parents’ hard work. If there were any regrets, it would be my failure to honor them if I didn’t succeed now.


Though initially I hadn’t realized what I know now, to not play the game at all because my life or anyone’s life isn’t and shouldn’t be a game. I don’t want to play someone else’s game and get rewarded and punished by their will. I don’t want to not only be dependent but more importantly limited by what others allow me to be. I am human and the human spirit has no bounds. I see everyone the same, entering this world no more gifted than any other. It deeply saddens me when people lose their will and waste their gift of life by succumbing to suffering and fear. I wish everyone the dignity respected by life. We all have individual free will, anything otherwise is constructed by another person to serve their interest.

I find myself never the same again as before. I feel reborn.

Still in the Sky

I wasn’t sure what to title my first blog post from a self-hosted site, whether it is actually a new start in my journey or just the interesting, unexpected flow of life.

I should introduce myself before going any further. I am a medical school dropout who chose to pursue technology with hopes to impact the world on a larger scale. I want to spend my life reaching my potential to help progress humanity to the greatness that humans are capable of.

I am very excited to build things as an entrepreneur and someone who greatly appreciates the inter-connective power of mobile apps and the Internet.

I hope to one day usher in a technology that may set me in the position to disrupt the status quo of injustice and suffering.

I will definitely go into more detail slowly about my journey prior to withdrawing from medical school to pursue my desire for greater impact.


I have returned to school for University of Texas at Austin’s computer science program. This time around having obtained a molecular biology degree already and entered medical school, I am much more seasoned and see with new perspective. I’ve realized after going through undergrad once, was that the education and grades earned weren’t what’s important (unfortunately grades alone is the most important factor for med school admission). In hindsight, I strongly believe the most important tradeoff for attending a university is for its resources of dense, highly motivated individuals, huge funding projects, and connections. It is much alike an accelerator/incubator if valued in that sense. Without a doubt I love the opportunities available for developers/programmers at UT and the strong, growing startup culture of Austin.

I didn’t really like the city at first, but it is definitely growing on me. I dreaded the weather, being sunny, humid, and very hot almost 80% of the year. The startup scene is also a double-edged sword, though amazing for what I want to do such as founding tech startups, the food is really a hit or miss that is much overhyped due to it’s nature of being edgy, modern, and widely endorsed by my young freshmen peers (ironically I guess I’m a freshmen too!!). Due to UT’s policies I have to trudge through filler courses I’ve taken already again such as psychology and marketing. The only classes I’m looking forward to are ones relevant to computer science and excitingly Long Horn Startup hosted by Bob Metcalfe (the man invented ethernet) and Josh Baer (founder of Capital Factory).

The startup seminar was the energy I was looking for when deciding to return to school, especially what I expected UT to offer, a vast network and smart individuals. I am definitely neglecting the irrelevant courses to make time for kindling my curiosity in this new field, especially enjoying solving problem with real tools; most importantly, building things.

Being a little late in the game, I am highly motivated to speed up the learning  through personal projects and even start building the technologies I dream of. I’ve grown to love reading books, especially about software development, website development, SEO, marketing, selling, history, and inspiration.

I am currently working on a few iOS projects that I hope to bootstrap to market and/or develop minimum viable products for accelerators/incubators.

In addition to building apps, I wanted to dabble into building my brand, with my personal website and blog as my headquarter. Owning and hosting this blog is a fun learning experience. I have a second domain askyforever.com that I will use to experiment and build using HTML/CSS to what this wonder WordPress powered blog looks and functions like.

I love taking risks and coming back for a computer science degree may seem contradictory, but I am living for others I love as well. So as much as I wanted to go all in, I have to consider their wellbeing as well.  I needed a fallback, but entrepreneurship is by far the main game plan.

My name is Andrew Vuong, and I am a developer, entrepreneur, tech lover, and Med School Dropout.

This is only half of the story, my other half is living with me in Austin as well. 🙂

I’m excited to blog and share my exciting experience into the uncertainty of life. Follow my journey here or on:

GitHub/andrewtvuong
YouTube/andrewtvuong


I’ve taken a leap of faith and have not quite landed yet. I hope I can be of great use to this world when I do.