Hometown: Taipei, Taiwan (although being in NYC for almost 20 years. NYC might be more of my hometown by now.)
What was your favorite class while at ITP?
It’s been 15 years. I have to say I don’t remember much from my classes. I do remember a teacher who created the very first personal journal website. In that class, we talked a lot about communications, story telling etc. I remember I used little graphical icons composing messages. Someone must have taken that and started the whole business of texting with emoticons and stickers
I also remember in all classes I worked very hard and thought my work was pretty good. It always turned out someone else would have even better ideas and would have worked even harder than me. It was healthy competition. I learned a lot about pushing myself and scope management in those two years.
What are you working on now and where?
I work for myself now, which is the best thing that I finally figured it out. My husband and I have a company called Fanrod. We ideate and then build out our own ideas for startups. We want to change the startup model by empowering and rewarding the makers. Our goal is to build 10 startups in 3-4 years. So far we have two companies in the market.
The first one is Nokk-Nokk. Nokk-Nokk is the first Co-Worker & Culture Catalog for creative & tech companies. We are all more than our job titles. You could be a project manager or a designer. But you are also a jogger, a vegan or a jewelry maker. It’s time that there is a people look up system for companies that people who can find out about their co-workers as a whole person.
Our second product is Forever Connected™ / Yearbooker. Yearbooker allows students to sign each other’s yearbooks from their iPads. We convert the PDF of the printed yearbooks into digital books. Now your yearbooks can have the signature, special messages (text, stickers, and video) from your special friends in Yearbooker forever. It’s time to bring the yearbook signing experience into the digital era.
What advice would you give a current ITPer?
1) Prepare yourself as much as you can.
You never know when that life-changing opportunity will knock on your door. But when it does, you want to know you are ready for it.
2) Always stretch yourself.
Act like you can do it until you can actually do it. My biggest professional growth periods were when I dared to wear two-size-too-big shoes. The secret is no one has to know you are wearing the shoes that are too big. You just need to learn as fast as you can. The ITP training has ITPers well prepared for learning new skills fast.
3) Be nice to people and pay back
I recently discovered the most rewarding success to me is when I have the ability to pay back to my community. Starting Fanrod is my way to pay back to my maker community. Find what makes you feel you belong. Be nice to your community and pay back to your community with what you are good at and passionate about.
If you could learn a new “thing” (language, place, person) right now, what would it be?
In this season, it might be ice-skating and skiing. Growing up in Taiwan with no snow. I didn’t try ice skate or ski until I was 27. I feel too old to be comfortable falling enough times to master anything.
In the summer, it’d be swimming. I can’t swim. Watching how my kids learned swimming with minimal efforts (once overcome the fear of water), I have to say I am jealous.