2012 – Hellagood, marked my first foray of doing creative projects, one blog post at a time. I was incredibly lucky to have met Linda and Philipp, who loved this blog into existence. With penned up creative tension, I cooked, I crafted, I took photos and most importantly, I published. Unbeknownst to me, my life was on a trajectory.
2013 – A one-way ticket to the US. I began a year of solo-travelling and exploring. I met my wedding heroes – Troy, Heather, Rani, Joy, Tiffany, Christine, Mary, Kate, Caroline and Audrey. Despite being a Chinese boy from an unknown country, I was welcomed with utmost generosity. It opened my eyes and my heart. On a tight budget, I slept on couches, living rooms and buses. It cemented how little I need and how much I can create. More blog posts and craft projects were done.
2014 – Little Free Library, was an idea I saw in Berkeley. Gathering help from Yadin and Rafie, it got planted outside the house (still standing). Wander is a folded map of my favourite spots in Chinatown, hand-painted by Peixuan. It failed in crowd-funding and taught me about product-market fit. I printed it anyway and gave it as presents.
I had no luck landing a wedding internship in Singapore. I forged ahead.
2015 – Beautiful Gatherings, a wedding planning and design studio. My first business. So much fraud, I did it anyway and left the goatee to look older. The styled shoot was a hit and couples took a chance. Many weddings planned. I got on the list of top 10 wedding stylists in Singapore.
2016 – Misfits, the interview series launched. An effort to capture stories of possibilities, challenges and lessons along the journey. It hit the ground running with 12 interviews from Netflix comedians to the Number 1 beatboxer in the world.
Dinner at 335, a Supperclub where strangers gathered and cooked. I was grateful to have been invited to co-host with Norman. Those were lovely evenings.
2017 – Nudged by the remote lifestyle, Sage Animation, a 2D animation studio was launched. I learnt an enormous amount about lean startup, working online and the good kind of sales. 18 Misfit interviews shipped.
2018 – Sage Animation took off, new logo and website. I made videos for Scoot, SPH, UOB and others. I gifted Beautiful Gatherings to Wan Qi. From the Nevada desert, I converted a camper van and drove it to California. It should have been delightful to live my dream life, but wasn’t. Betting on retirement was a bad idea. 4 Misfits interviews published.
2019 – Curious Cargo, a bi-weekly newsletter launched. I took on a weekly publishing practice, 38 articles ship. I took Sage Animation off of the growth trap. I learnt about hiring, partnership and firing. Misfits entered the fourth year—more than 38 interviews.
2020 – In the pandemic, the blog got re-designed. 52 articles ship. Interviewed Derek Sivers along with 5 other Misfits. Newsletter continues. Sage Animation continues to provide.
[Updating this its goes…]
Looking back, I realised that most people think of their careers in terms of industry or professions. “I’m going to be a creative director.” “I’m going to be in finance.”
Somehow, my career has never been that. It is a series of projects… things to be invented, built and delivered. Things I think can be done better, or things that should have existed. Sometimes they took on a life on their own and lasted, other times, they flare and fade.
The stages of a project — an idea, sharing a vision, being stuck, seeing a path, committing, finding a home, building it, launching it, editing it—I’m grateful it’s a cycle I’ve been able to repeat over the years. There’s a thrill in each of them and something to learn.
The hard part used to be gain skills or resources. Over time, I took on bigger and more complex projects. At the same time, information became abundant, the tools got cheaper and distribution got easier. Instead of being limited by scarcity, it became a paradox of choices. The hard part has shifted internally, to dig in and to find a compass. To figure out the projects that combine my idiosyncrasy with maximum generosity.
Here are a handful of the projects I’ve created over the years – not my favourites, necessarily, or the biggest, but ones that indicate where I was when I was doing them. Thanks for letting me create.
What an opportunity for us now to create a project that we are proud of.