Posted: April 19th, 2013 | Author: tim.soo | Filed under: All, Startups, Thoughts | No Comments »
This post is one of personal reflection, so it may not pertain, or even make sense, to most. But if you’ve ever known yourself to have a slight rebellious streak, it just might.
My Kindle tells me I’m at 46% percent of Steve Job’s biography. Now, for any of those who haven’t read it, the book at first seems frame Jobs in a negative light. He cries, he whines — he’s the guy that almost always gets his way. Yet, I constantly found myself in awe of his eccentricity. At some point reading through Jobs’ adult life, I realized there was no slander or overt praise occuring; rather, the author painted the truth of Jobs’ life in its raw, stark form.
I identify with Jobs. That’s perhaps what scares me the most. True, there are many philosophies of his with which I don’t agree. For instance, his obsession with counter-culture or his aptitude for negative reinforcement. But I cannot help but notice similarities between comments made of Jobs and those made of me by people in my immediate circle. And it’s not just about the perfectionist streak; I share with him a similar definition of perfection and the inability to allow any other future than that perfect vision to come true. If it doesn’t, expect a meltdown.
The similarities continue. The inability to think in any other way than binary. And its corollary, the inability to deal with the ‘gray’. His obsession with design, with purity, with elegance. His lack of complete understanding of social realities and norms, or at least the ability to abide by them. The belief in his early death. The desire to take any product, company, or other complexity and boil it down to an idea so simple that any unsuspecting audience has little choice but to intuitively understand.
With every page turn I encounter a parallel into my own life: in women, in friendships, in mistakes, in failures, in the horrid but unconscious ability of bending the truth to our own will (read: lying without knowing you are). But all of these, I believe are simply effects of the same root cause: the desire to change the world on a large scale, and the unwillingness to see any other reality but that one.
No I don’t think I am nor will I ever be Steve Jobs. And have no desire to be. But if I can make even an ounce of the impact that Steve Jobs made on our current reality, I’ll consider myself successful.
To infinity and beyond.
Posted: February 21st, 2013 | Author: tim.soo | Filed under: All, FewForChange | No Comments »
Katie and I arrived in Panama late last night. It’s astounding how little and how much Spanish I remember, if that makes sense.
The first thing I noticed, however, was the smell. It smelled like 2008, like Panama, like the scent of top grade nostalgia. After grabbing a cell phone card and charging it (communications are a plus), we grabbed a cab to Luna’s Castle, drank a couple Panamanian beers, and crashed for the night.
Today we will be prepping for our journey to San Felix and then Quebrada Guabo. Wish us luck!
Posted: February 19th, 2013 | Author: tim.soo | Filed under: All, FewForChange | No Comments »
Three and a half years ago I posted this, a journal entry I wrote shortly after visiting the comarca Ngobe Bugle. A ‘comarca’ is more or less equivalent to our Native American reservations. The indigenous people of Panama, of which one tribe was called the Ngobe, were a nomadic people that gradually had less and less land on which they could roam. The city grew, and the government claimed rights over their land. Finally, the Ngobe had nowhere else to travel and settled in a certain region of Panama.
The trouble is, though, that nomadic farming practices — in short, much of their way of life — are not sustainable on a single plot. The soil was quickly drained of its nutrients, and the economic gap between the indigenous and the city grew. Fast forward a number of years later and now these people are some of the most impoverished of Panama, still fighting for their rights.
Almost four years ago, my friends and I visited that region and began Few for Change, a non-profit organization dedicating towards raising scholarships that cover tuition, food, and any other basic needs a underprivileged child would need to stay in school. Education, we believe, is the only way to break this cycle of poverty.
This week, my friends and I return to Panama for our third scholarship ceremony, meeting our older students and welcoming the new. We will need all the luck we have to dredge out our former language abilities, but we’re excited to return back to where it all started.
Updates to come.
Posted: January 26th, 2013 | Author: tim.soo | Filed under: Advice, All, Thoughts | No Comments »
“If you expect something in return for being a nice [person], you’re not a nice [person].” –Paraphrased from Reddit and probably countless wisened individuals.
The subject of “being nice” has been on my mind for a couple weeks now. The beauty (and beast) that is the New York subway is that everyone is too busy to wear their daily mask of courtesy. Only smile for those who you need to impress, right? Or at least it feels that way sometimes. Don’t give a damn for those who you subconsciously consider beneath you. But on the subway we see everyone’s true colors; we see how people act when there isn’t much to benefit from being nice. Someone holds the door open for you, let’s you pass when you’re in a hurry, or smiles at a fellow passenger — true signs that these individuals are nice when no one’s looking.
Another popular saying is that one should “observe not how they treat you, but rather how they treat the waiter.” Or cashier, or taxi driver, or otherwise. The majority of the people who’ve read this probably agree with it. That same majority probably believes they live it. And yet only a minute fraction actually do.
No, I don’t think I’m part of that minute fraction; I very much have a breaking point. The point at which the stresses of life hit so hard that my own negative emotion spills onto others who really don’t deserve it. But I’ve learned and more realistically continue to lean to keep that breaking point lower and lower (or higher, depending on how you look at it). Luckily I’ve had some great role models to emulate along the way.
Like most of my posts, there is no point or purpose in writing this, only the hope that we’ll smile when unnecessary, be kind when no one’s looking, and see the good in people before the bad. There’s enough negativity in the world. The best I can do is not spread it around.