In Progress

Sometime back, a friend suggested that I make a website that lists all the projects I’ve started working on but somehow never had the time to finish. 

“Wouldn’t it be funny if that website ended up being unfinished as well?” he said. 

Well, I’ve gotten it up with the help of Publii, a static website builder that I’ve been meaning to test out. Killing two birds with one stone! 

(If interested, you can view my In Progress website: here.)

So far, I like it. If you’re looking to get some content up really quickly, it’s a great tool. With just a little customisation, you can get something decent up in under 30 minutes. 

The other thing that’s great about it is that it’s a desktop app, which means that you can work offline. And then, with just the click of a button, push the website online later. 

The user interface is pretty easy to use and looks good as well. 

It also has some SEO tools built in, which, if you know what you’re doing, makes it super easy to optimise. Site speed is great too. 

On the other hand, if you don’t know how to code but want to create your own designs, you may want to look at another CMS option like Webflow

In the meantime, I’ll see how I like Publii in the coming weeks. 

Multi-hyphenate

In one of his recent articles, Ryan Holiday makes a case for being a multi-hyphenate, or as Emilie Wapnick would call it, a multi-potentialite

While he admits that it can be a difficult thing to balance the pursuit of different skills, he also says that “it’s easier than people think”. 

“I compensate for that difficulty with the additional gains and breakthroughs I accrue by having access to different modes of thinking, different fields of study, and different types of experiences,” he writes. 

He finds ways for his different fields of work to complement each other. 

“We think pursuing these other interests will come at the expense of our “main thing” — but in practice, it’s often the opposite,” he says. 

“By becoming well-rounded we also become sharper — and not just sharper but stronger, and able to put more force behind the arrow.”

He adds that “wisdom is fungible” and that no matter where we’ve gained it, we are also able to apply it to other things. 

He uses Archimedes, who made a major discovery while in the bath, as an example for how breakthroughs in one area of work can come while one is in the middle of another thing. 

“These breakthroughs are a hidden benefit of range, of being good at more than one thing, of having multiple interests,” he said. 

Pursuing multiple things at once allows your brain to switch tracks. And in doing that, grow. 

Language

Some English phrases that I find amusing or strange, and the first thought that enters my head when I hear them:

I saw it with my own eyes. Who else’s eyes would you have seen it with?

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Why would I get cake if I wasn’t going to eat it?

A rolling stone gathers no moss. Moss? No thanks.

The early bird catches the worm. Night owls eat real meat. 

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. But what’s the best practice? 

I know there are meanings and possibly stories behind these, of course. But I can’t help myself sometimes. 

I’m curious though, about the origins behind how we started using these phrases, and how we ended up saying these things over and over again. How we understood their underlying meanings so fully. 

It’s like the Cantonese phrase fong fei kei, which, when directly translated means “release an airplane”. But what it actually means is standing someone up. 

I love the fact that language has a fluidity to it. Just like how programming languages get updates — to make them more efficient — language evolves as well. 

Because at the end of the day (look, one of those phrases!), isn’t the point of language to communicate? In as efficient a way as possible?

Work

While I was on the road today, I listened to a podcast episode from Millo that featured Ben Tossell from Makerpad. It’s one of the newsletters I subscribe to and has been an amazing no-code resource for me.

Although Makerpad is only a side hustle for him, it’s already generated him $130,000 since it launched about six months ago. What an amazing place to be in.

But listening further to the podcast, we hear that it’s been years of work for him. Learning enough to put the resources together didn’t happen in six months.

The revenue he’s earned is because of his years of experimentation, practice and growth in expertise.

So often, we look at overnight successes and wish that could be us. I’ve done it as well.

But think about it further and wonder if you’d also be willing to take on the years of struggle.

Like coming up with ideas, it’s easy to be envious. It’s easy to say, “I could have done that.”

It’s harder to actually do it. It’s harder to start, to be the first to make a pathway through the forest.

It’s hard to do the work. And yet, or maybe that’s why it’s always the work that matters.

Money

Money is everywhere, is what I’ve been telling myself for a long time. It’s become like a mantra I repeat to myself, mostly when I’m in the shower. 

It’s been two months of getting things going far enough to not look like a dumbass when talking to potential investors. A month-ish of filling out applications, meeting people and pitching. 

You are a force of nature, I say to myself in the car, while playing songs from my Girl Boss playlist on Spotify. 

But the truth is, I’m human. And the phrase “money is everywhere” has another meaning to it. 

Money is everywhere but time isn’t. To me, the phrase is a reminder that time is fleeting. That the people I love won’t be around forever. That I won’t be around forever. 

It’s also a reminder that health is something that once lost, can be hard to regain. 

Sometimes, we put so much importance on this thing — money — that we think has so much value, that’s really so common. 

If you lose money, you’ll make it back. Somehow. It’s something you have a semblance of control over. 

Health lost is sometimes difficult to regain. Time lost, is gone forever. 

Money is everywhere, reminds me that yes, money is great. But don’t forget the things that truly matter.

Sabah

Today is Malaysia Day, which is the date when Malaysia was officially formed. Not as some people like to say, when “Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia”. 

Malaysia didn’t exist — it only came into being after Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore came together to form it. I am reminded of this by a good friend in Sabah. 

(Singapore left Malaysia less than two years later, but that’s another story.)

So when someone says “Happy Birthday Malaysia” on the 31st of August, it’s technically incorrect. That is the date when Malaya became independent from the British. 

On the peninsular, we don’t consider our East Malaysian counterparts enough, I think. 

I discovered recently that there are Malaysians who think that Sabah is another country. Erm… what?

Perhaps not everyone remembers everything that was taught in history classes (I certainly don’t) but isn’t this general knowledge? 

I’ve been working on a project that’s heavily based in Sabah lately, and I’m starting to get an inkling of what it’s like on their side of the sea. Things are different there. 

Back in uni, I used to listen to my Ecology professor talk about how amazing the biodiversity in Malaysia is. In Sabah, there are things that grow that I’m only just beginning to discover. 

It’s going to be an adventure!

News

Young people don’t read the news, people say. But the truth is, they do. They just don’t read it on the same platforms as older people. 

“Young adults are more likely to consume news through social media sites than they are traditional news organisations, online or in print,” goes a Teen Vogue article about Olivia Seltzer, the 15-year-old behind the news organisation called theCramm.

Seltzer sends bite-sized pieces of the daily news to readers via text message.

Although I’m not exactly in that demographic, even I have stopped reading newspapers for years (since I quit my job at a newspaper). 

I get my news from text messages that friends send. I get it on my social media feeds. I get it via email.

Although I’ve not been working in news for some time now, I’m still very much interested in the media landscape. Every business I start is content-driven. I can’t help it. 

But media needs to keep evolving.

“Claiming young adults are zoning out on current events instead of zooming in ignores the fact that they’re digital natives, who grew up navigating an increasingly tech-reliant culture,” the article continues. 

“Instead of staring at cable news, they’re pioneering new ways to engage with the stories that meet them where they are.”

If news media wants to stay relevant, we’ve got to keep adapting.