Archive for February, 2012

Pictures of Norway

February 13, 2012 - 9:44 pm 1 Comment

I’ve updated my website to include some of my photos from Oslo, taken in August 2011. Click here to view the album! I went to Oslo for a short trip – even though my schedule was hectic, I found some time on my last evening in the city to wander about and view some of the famous attractions, such as the Vigeland Sculpture Garden. What a beautiful city, from the quaint streets to the wharf area and the hilly parks! One day, I hope to return with my father to the Ibsen Museum and perhaps travel further north in the country to see the scenic fjords.

Consumer Electronics Show 2012

February 13, 2012 - 9:26 pm 1 Comment

Click here to view my photo album from CES 2012 (albeit belatedly posted).

I went to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. The scale of the conference astounded me – truly overwhelming in every regard! Learning about the new products and technologies was really enjoyable, as well as attending industry panels about sizing the market opportunity in different product categories. I met tons of interesting people, from entrepreneurs engaged in next-gen technologies to bloggers eagerly commenting on the latest product introductions. The company booths were also incredibly engaging as I had a chance to play around with pre-market gadgets firsthand (such as the Samsung Note, the Nokia Lumia 900, Intel ultrabooks, and an astoundingly large LG OLED television), as well as enjoy some of the more gimmicky publicity stunts (such as Monster inviting the Wonder Girls and JYP to advertise their headphone line, as per the video below). Notably, I was surprised by the diversity of products available and the competitiveness of local Chinese brands, such as Huawei and ZTE. Overall, the conference was an incredible experience, especially for someone like me who enjoys gadgets and electronics.

Las Vegas is also completely over the top – sin city as a name encapsulates it all, from glutinous buffets and ubiquitous gambling to risqué shows and conspicuous consumption. Not quite my preferred vacation destination, but still an eye-opening experience, especially with the ostentatious casinos.

To help give a sense of the conference beyond the photos, I’ve posted some short youtube videos below that highlight some of the interesting exhibitions and booth displays. To view photos, click here.

Weekend in Boston

February 13, 2012 - 2:14 pm 1 Comment

I completely agree with my dad’s advice of posting shorter snippets of adventures as they happen. This past weekend, I went to Boston/Cambridge to visit Lauren, my best friend of a decade+. Lauren has seen me grow up and live through all my awkward phases, and we did everything together, from badgering Dave Berry and competing in Future Problem Solving (and winning internationals!) to planning weird social experiments in high school and spending countless hours in my basement for Destination Imagination. Alas, those were the good old days, but we’re still making new adventures and memories each time we meet!

Lauren has got to be one of the most creative people I’ve ever met – no wonder she’s a successful chemist at Harvard, immersed in her own world of creating new compounds! We painted together, made animal figurines out of Model Magic, rolled sushi (with raw fish! Lauren certainly is no germaphobe), watched a volcano IMAX movie, baited her cats, and experimented with the effects of a flame thrower. We saw an interesting street performer at Harvard Square that reminded me of our DI days. Maybe when I have some extra time, I’ll try and re-create his ensemble and bring my own performance to the streets of New York City!

In general, it’s great catching up with old friends and seeing familiar sights in Boston. Having worked at Sankaty in summer 2009 and gone to numerous tournaments in Boston/Cambridge through my eight years of competitive debating, I have a strong affiliation with the city. When Lauren and I were walking down Newbury Street and eating tasty Upper Crust pizza, I certainly felt a strong wave of nostalgia! Furthermore, we have Jiefei and Julia from the Givology team in graduate school in Boston – they’ve done a terrific job with a distance consulting project with our partners and we’re hoping to extend the scope and scale of the program. Our East Coast chapters coordinator Coulter is also an undergraduate at Harvard. With just a bit of concentrated effort, I’m sure we’ll build a very solid Boston chapter that melds the undergraduate, graduate, and professional communities together.

A “Night of Promise” and Superbowl Sunday – Changes brings opportunity

February 8, 2012 - 1:26 pm 1 Comment

This past weekend, I spent most of my time preparing for a traditional kick-off meal for my first ever super bowl party! Normally, dinner parties require little preparation given my perfunctory style of cooking, except I’m cooking with Dave this time and he doesn’t do anything halfway. To make burgers, Dave buys chuck meat and grinds it himself. And for buns, we consulted Julia Child and raised the dough ourselves in multiple phases…over the course of 5 hours under Dave’s attentive watch. Well, at least this experience epitomizes slow food at its most contemplative, with much appreciation from the happy eaters for both taste and effort! With the Giants winning in a dramatic 3-minute show-down, New York City burst into excited and drunken cheers. I think I may have even learned the rules of football.

As an update, my life has taken a rather dramatic transition for a myriad of reasons. Change causes anxiety, but also opportunity. I’ve been reading Thinking Fast and Slow to check my psychological biases. Loss-aversion under prospect theory suggests that I’m about to undergo a rough patch in light of my reference point, but I refuse to look back and regret any of my choices. Needless to say, I now have a free week to explore, discover, and recuperate – translating to additional time for Givology, a bit of traveling along the East Coast to catch up with friends and family, lots of reading, Linebuster brainstorming, and random DIY moments. I even attempted rolling my own California rolls and suffering the stomach that ensued (who knew that I should have not chosen the hardest avocado at the supermarket?). Oh well, next time I’ll improve.

Other highlights of the week included taking advantage of Broadway Week to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert with center seats only 5 rows away from the stage! It’s such a fantastic show with over-the-top costumes, incredible dancing, funny songs and jokes, and overall great cheer. I also had a chance to attend a JWS reunion event where I caught up with Dr. Asher and Dr. Whitney, as well as enjoy a jazz show featuring Arturo O’Farrell and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra at Birdland. Amazing what I can do in the evenings now that I have more spare time!

On January 28th, Givology and More than Me hosted our “Night of Promise” at Marquee, with our 350 attendees. In one night, we raised over $21,000 towards the construction of an afterschool center for the girls! The NYC chapter really pulled together a great event– it was such a pleasure to work with an incredibly talented, friendly, helpful, proactive, and truly dedicated team of people. In addition, as a co-event, we really benefitted from the support, inspiration, and creativity of the More than Me team.

100% of the proceeds that we raise go to More than Me’s “I Promise Project”, and I’m just so happy to see that we’re closer to the $100,000 goal (we still have a ways to go so click here to contribute to the project). To give you a sense of why I think the More than Me cause is truly exceptional, check out the video below. A special shout out to Katie Meyler, Katie Borghese, Kevin Kim, and the More than Me team, along with our sponsors Wodka, Radeberger Beer, Bacardi, and Marquee! The music was really good and people seemed to enjoy themselves – we had a great DJ duo and live band! Even close to the 11 PM ending time, few people left. (As a funny tidbit of the night, a guy bought Lorenzo’s auction offer of a private plane ride.) Notably, my mom came to visit me that weekend – she was such a dedicated volunteer at the event, fastidiously collecting pledge forms at our donation corner. Sometimes, thinking back to when Givology was only an idea in my dorm room, I’m astonished by how much we’ve grown and how expansive our network has become! For me, the most gratifying aspect of Givology is how we are constantly adapting, coming up with new ideas for events and campaigns, retaining our entrepreneurial spirit and urgency, remaining completely volunteer-driven and first and foremost committed to supporting our grassroots partners in every capacity we can. Givology has “grown up” alongside me, and I see our networking maturing in age, yet still reaching deep into the high school/college ranks.

Earlier in the week, I met with the SparkNYC chapter and spoke to 10×10 documentary group about potential opportunities to partner. With collaborative events on the horizon, I’m really excited about the 2012 calendar of events for our Givology NYC chapter. Alas, so much to look forward to so stay tuned!