Current Progress

Thursday, June 28, 2012

3 years is up.

Well the end of June marks 3 years of my crazy journey of leaving the corporate world without any idea of how to start a business, how to work through relationships, how to survive with high uncertainty, and how to take care of myself.

Now that three years has passed, I like to think I'm older and wiser but yet I can't say I've mastered any of those lessons yet. You just gotta keep learning and keep improving over time.

Here's the coles notes of the past 3 years:
Year 1. Started a blog (, got a media pass to get the behind the scenes taste of the Vancouver Olympics, learned how to cook all kinds of food from the best chefs in the world. I found out how hard monetization is and how hard it is to make decisions in uncertainty and how to inspire or demotivate a team.

Year 2. Raised money on Kickstarter to travel to Vietnam to write a book, My Quest for Yummy Banh Mi published and distributed in hotels throughout the country. I got to experience the country where I was born, and see it for myself in my own unique way. Of course there were hardships and pivots but I rolled along... It was my first successful project of a profitable small business.

Year 3. Worked with a super talented team as they went through TechStars. We entered a new space, did customer discovery and applied principals from Lean Startup to build a cool product. It was my first time working with such a smart competent team of friends and to see how important the network of support and trust is to succeed. Being under the pressure cooker of showing hockey stick improvement within 100 days was an unforgettable experience. It was awesome to be behind the scenes, using my past experience and expertise to be able to drive and create something useful and get the early customers too.

(Ok, I've been reminded that I also sailed along the west coast from Vancouver to San Francisco. I helped set up some museums with WiFi. I helped kids find out more about scholarships and studying in Canada. I marketed a photo sharing app and I hosted the first Google+ Hangout On the Air cooking session in the world. My voice plays every night in a hotel in Hoi An to narrate a traditional Cham dance show and I was able to spend time with street kids who were on their way to getting culinary degrees. I lectured about entrepreneurship in one of the best universities in HCMC. I also conquered Machu Picchu and Half Dome and Haleakala and the Vancouver Triathlon.)

So I gave myself three years to just absorb and experience life. I think I did that. I'll probably post again about lessons learned and advice for budding entrepreneurs another time. What's important is that I learned a lot more about myself and maybe other people have learned more about me than I knew :) I'm definitely searching for happiness - which for me is challenging myself and getting thrills out of it, surrounding myself with close friends and family, and having the ability in health and means to keep experiencing life. Now, I can firmly say I know exactly what makes me happy. Now, it's time to do it.

Onwards to the next adventure....details...well tbd.