Last Updated August 2019, I’m due for a rewrite.
Life’s a work in progress and so is this page. Inspired by Derek Sivers’ Me in 10 Minutes.
Who am I?
Bruce Lee said it takes a lifetime to know oneself, hence this will always be a difficult question to answer. But let’s take a shot at it!
My guiding philosophy
If you were to know three things about me, know the following:
I create work that authentically expresses who I am.
I strive to be the best I can be.
I surround myself with people that give me energy.
These three principles are my philosophy for life.
I’ll go into depth into what each one means to me in a future article, but here it is at a glance.
I create work that authentically expresses who I am
Many of my favorite works whether that be a space company, a jazz standard, or a bao restaurant (best about us page on the internet) are an extension of the creator. Elon Musk creates an ambitious company in SpaceX which is a manifestation of his vision for the future. Louis Armstrong expresses his charismatic personality in his rendition of What a Wonderful World. Eddie Huang combines his Taiwanese roots with his love of hip hop into a OG restaurant in Baohaus. All these men embody their work. Their motivations go beyond money and status, but rather to pursue something higher. As a result, their work is original, and resonates with many people including myself. This is a prerequisite to creating high quality, impactful work and I aim for the work I do to be an authentic expression of myself.
Naval wrote more about this topic here.
I strive to be the best I can be
Fill your cup up first and let it overflow to the others in your life - Oprah Winfrey
The first time I heard Oprah say this I was in the midst of one of the craziest but fulfilling journeys of my life. I was leading one of the largest student run tech events in Canada. It was a huge time commitment and I had no prior leadership experience beforehand. As stressful as it was, I loved every second of it. At the time, my leadership style put my team members first, to the point of self sacrifice. If it was a decision between spending time in service of a team member or spending time on myself, I would choose the team member.
Hearing the above quote from Oprah was a game changer for me. I realized that one of the most selfless things I can do for others, is work on myself, and keep my cup full. When I’m full, I’ll be overflowing and that’s when I’ll have a ton to offer this world.
On a higher level, what motivates me to be the best I can be is for my parents that made huge sacrifices for a better life for my sister and I, for everyone that believed in me, and to create a better world than the one I was born in.
I aim to surround myself with people that give me energy
In Bronnie Ware’s book Regrets of the Dying, she talks about the dying wishes of people on their deathbed. She found that when facing death, nobody regrets not working hard enough. Their main regret was not spending enough time with their loved ones and that those that truly mattered. This is an important truth that many people forget nowadays, including myself. That the quality of your life is determined by those you surround yourself with.
These principles have been a constant in my life for the past year, and every decision I’ve made that kept these three in mind and have progressed my life forward. This is my thesis for living an impactful and fulfilling life!
Tech is my main medium for value creation
Currently, I’m studying Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo and investing with Front Row Ventures. Previously, I helped build products at SAP, Nav Talent and Top Hat, and ran the largest student run tech conference in Canada.
Through these experiences I learned about the rapid pace, numerous opportunities, and scale of impact in tech. I fell in love ever since.
Right now, the education and healthcare industry interests me the most, but really any industry solving important problems at scale are interesting to me.
My long term goal is to close the opportunity gap and more broadly speaking increase quality of life for all of us.
Other facts about me
- Toronto native, roots are Filipino - My parents immigrated from the Philippines and set up camp in Toronto the year I was born. They were the first ones in our family to come to Canada and I’m forever grateful.
- INFJ - That’s my Myers Briggs personality type. Apparently, it’s the rarest and hardest to type because many traits are contradictory. If you want to learn more about the way I think and behave feel free to give this a read, although it’s not all accurate most of it is spot on.
- I love reading - Books have had a huge impact on my life. Through books I’ve learned from the best people that ever lived, I’ve experienced the whole spectrum of emotions, and I’ve challenged my own perspectives.
- Health and Fitness - I’m fortunate to have been introduced to weight training early on in high school, this was my gateway into living a healthy active lifestyle and it has been a pillar in my life ever since. I believe that keeping my body in shape, along with eating healthy and getting proper sleep is necessary to keep my mind as sharp as possible.
- I’m optimistic and positive - *Newton’s third law states that for every action force there is a reaction force opposite in direction and equal in magnitude.This principle applies to the energy you put out into the world. Put out positive optimistic energy in this world, and the universe will return that positive energy to you. (This is the same concept as karma)
- Spirituality changed my life - Many concepts within Buddhism such as mindfulness and chakras have changed my life. Learning about these concepts changed the way I think, my interaction with others and how I carry myself.
- I connect most with those who strive to grow - I find everyone interesting, and I usually get along with most people. However, I connect the most with those who want to truly grow. I can recognize them at first glance and we click right away.
- I don’t put anyone on pedestals - Put someone on a pedestal, and you give them permission to look down on you. Though I respect hierarchy I won’t treat anyone differently no matter how successful they are. Everyone is human after all.
- It’s not about where you start, it’s about where you want to go - This has been my LinkedIn bio for the past 3 years. What’s so humbling about it is how far I have come ever since and how my life is now a testament to this statement. Keep dreaming big, work towards that vision and I promise you beautiful things will happen.
- I’m a long term thinker, but I don’t set long term goals - How can you create long term goals for a person you don’t know, in a world you can’t conceive? I’m not sure of the person I’ll become in x years. I find that my goals are dynamic it’s a function of experience, environment, and culture. Given the pace that the world is changing, it will be a much different place that we can imagine. Thus, I don’t plan long term goals but rather have guiding principles, values, and a curiosity that keep me focused on the long term.