You should blog

She looked across the table at me and said without any pretense, “You should blog.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. But I knew what she was asking—to blog about user experience and everything related to it.

I blog here because I believe that my thoughts and opinions are super unique. But in terms of user experience—my professional career—I may have some points of views but they…usually aren’t different anyone else’s. But that might be the plight of my own path—that I sincerely believe that I don’t have anything to say.

Or more importantly that I may cause controversy on something so sacred to many people. It’s easier to stick with what I know best—that nobody else knows—namely me. The moment that I tread into an open territory…I have a feeling of wariness.

I know this because I have an inherent belief that user experience at many places are too focused on things that don’t need attention. Everyone always forgets to see the forest in between the trees.

What is a hipster?

There are probably no real hipsters in the Mission in SF anymore. Except for the ones that cram into $$$ or rent-controlled apartments.

The ones that I know are 9-6ers (or even more)—work hard, ride taxis, and spend a lot on random gadgets. They know obscure music because some online service tells them. They a box of CSA—because it’s good for the planet, but a lot of it goes to waste because they get free food at work. Their place is completely out-fitted with new pieces from William-Sonoma or Room and Board. Used clothes? No way, they buy from lululemon (for a weekly yoga class). $50 is about right for a weeknight dinner…$100 is normal for a weekend.

I know that I do obviously scoff when I hear a claim of being a hipster, but that’s just me.

An international destination once a year

To this day, the biggest regret in college is not having done study abroad.

When I meet someone who hasn’t traveled outside the country and isn’t interested in traveling internationally—I wonder why. Is it the discomfort (the mosquito that bit me in Southeast Asia?) or the fear of the unknown? The inability to speak the language? And perhaps the fear….that it won’t be fun.

Although before every trip, I have this moment as I frantically pack. I think that I would rather stay here. It’s easier. I don’t want to go. But the logical person in me propels me to the airport because after all, I already paid for the ticket.

So is this why people don’t take a leap?

“And how do you know that you’re not leaving something good?” a friend asked.

I immediately replied, “And what if you already know that it’s not good?”

For years, I have always disliked the I-think-that-I-am-happy-where-I-am although I hear the everyday complaints. So…why don’t you do something about it?

Because people fear change.

I took a leap recently. A big one. I wasn’t afraid when I declared that I would do it. And nor was I when I was doing it. It was when I landed that I discovered that it was different in its own special way. But I know with time, it’ll grow with me and it would be ok.

This time, it was good

More than any other city in the world, New York City is city that I have visited the most outside the cities that I have lived in. Almost once a year (for pleasure, never for business) since I finally claimed independent.

But this visit, in contrast…I think…I probably could live here. Before, it was so overwhelming. I always felt that the people I knew here—despite how much I loved them—were rushed, busy with their own lives. This time, it was better. I knew my way around (especially since I have this vow that I will never take a taxi). And moreover, I was surprised that the stores…they weren’t just in San Francisco.

There are a few things though: the weather, the cabbing culture, and most importantly, the jobs that I actually would take.

But they often say…it is the magic of New York. This city—not truly “American”, but a place of its own for dreamers alike.

Walking in the “Ghetto”

My sister warned me about walking in the neighborhood where her office is located in Brooklyn in the neighborhood of East New York/Woodhaven. It was completely ethnic…not a single sign of gentrification unlike the Mission.

My sister’s coworkers were concerned, “Are you sure that she can make it through this neighborhood?”

But it wasn’t the strange looks that I got walking around with a trendy bag and a well-designed pea coat. Or the fear of stepping in something uncomely. Or the surprise of graffiti everywhere.

I had a horrible time getting through the neighborhood because of two things:
1. Horrible weather. Rain and wind ruined my umbrella and froze me to a drippy mess, pushing my cold to its worse yet.
2. Convoluted streets. I swear that I will not rely on smart phones again for mapping, because as a result I won’t plan ahead of time…and will promptly spend too much time staring at my phone in confusion. Mapping spontaneously is not my preference.

Until tomorrow!

Now being a researcher

I remember as an interaction designer…that day-to-day, my creativity was exhausted. I would come home each day , not wanting to create or communicate. At work, I would create and defend designs all day…and that left very little for anything else.

And now doing research, it’s analysis and seeking. In some way, it’s different now. I suddenly feel less compelled to…analyze at some level. I used to love considering why people did things and what it implied.

Sad, but that’s what my blog is all about.

What is cruelty?

When you leave another Internet-less.

No email
No twitter
No facebook
No news
No deals a la groupon

But then you remember that this was life only 15 years ago and perhaps in many parts of the world. But the moment you have the connection again, the soothing data flow makes you forget the seething pain of less than 30 seconds ago.