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In Life

By Daniel Kao

Doing Your Life’s Work

On 03, Mar 2014 | No Comments | In Life | By Daniel Kao

Last week, as I was applying for an online contest, I looked at my calendar and realized that I have been blogging for five years. That’s five whole years worth of who I am that has been shared online.

It got me thinking. So much has changed since the day that I decided to start blogging, and yet some things are still exactly the same. I had no idea what today would look like five years ago, and I have no idea what things will look like five years from now. But day in and day out, I find myself doing a lot of work, and putting all my effort into various different things.

What do I really live for?

It’s a question that everyone faces. No matter how certain and confident a person may project themselves in the world, there’s always a deep question in the shadows questioning whether or not you deserve to be there. (tweet that)

Even today, while trying to think of what today’s blog post should be about, I took a deep breath, thought about how jammed pack these past two weeks have been, and asked myself if I’m really making a difference. I had no idea what to write about. Who even cares if I write?

There are so many areas of life where I could put myself down, look at myself like an amateur, and cause my feelings of insecurity to push me into hiding. But that doesn’t get me anywhere.

Your life’s work isn’t going to be easy, and nobody is every a hundred percent certain that they are the best fit or the most appropriate qualifications for the job. You just have to take a deep breath and know that you can do it. Have grit.

Because you are where you are for a reason. Don’t let what you have just fly by.

photo credit: Robb North via photopin cc

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How I Work

On 27, Feb 2014 | 2 Comments | In About Diplateevo | By Daniel Kao

I’ve don’t believe in putting tools above mindsets and strategies, but sometimes it still is helpful to see how other people work and the tools they use to get their work done. Inspired by Lifehacker’s How I Work series, I’ve decided to venture into the slightly more personal space of my life and share my workflow with the world.

Current Computer: Lenovo Thinkpad R400

I’ve had this computer for a while now, same one I had two years ago. Still runs more than fine for my daily needs, and the build quality of ThinkPads is truly legendary. I dual boot Windows 7 and Arch Linux, which allows me to use graphic / creative stuff in one operating system and code in the other.

Current Mobile Device: Galaxy Nexus GSM


Still going strong on the trusty Galaxy Nexus. I wish Google would release a kitkat update for this little guy, but it doesn’t look like that’s happening. Android is a great mobile platform, and it’s also great to have the pure android experience on a Nexus device.

Other Electronics: ASUS Transformer, FitBit Force

I have an ASUS transformer for light computing days at school when I don’t feel like lugging around my laptop, as well as to read ebooks on. My ridiculous appetite for books is satisfied largely through this little handheld tablet.

My new FitBit Force is my venture into wearable technology. I’m quite pleased with it so far, and it’s turned my daily exercises nearly into a game. I like it’s subtleness unlike other wearable technology solutions out there that look absolutely ridiculous *cough* galaxy gear. Being able to quantifiably see how active I was today is definitely a cool thing.


2014-02-18 15.22.47

My workspace consists of a dual monitor setup attached to a docking station for my laptop, which is extremely convenient when I come home and want a full blown computing space. I also have on the wall very carefully chosen colors and arrangements. Unfortunately, I am probably sitting in front of this thing for too many hours a day.

Apps I Can’t Live Without

The list is really long here, but I’ll go through them briefly. I use Thunderbird for email because I’m still not used to using email straight in the web. I use Chromium cause it’s awesome like that. I still use Pidgin for AIM and gchat (yes I’m still on AIM). Evernote is where I keep all of my thoughts and write all of my blog posts before they are published. If you don’t use Evernote, you’re seriously missing out.

As for Internet apps, I use tweetdeck to manage all of my never ending twitter interactions, and Buffer to schedule content sharing. Google docs and google calendar are also huge ways of organization and collaboration for me.

Sites I Frequent

There is always a tab open on Hacker News in my browser window besides my everyday Facebook, Quora, Tumblr, and Pinterest feeds. I also visit Lifehacker, Engadget, and Wimp regularly to keep up to date with tech and such.

My TODO List Manager

I’ve been using Google keep to keep track of things to do ever since it was launched. It has a great flexibility with lists and other note taking abilities. I also use Google tasks for Homework and other things that have time sensitive due dates.

Music I Listen To


Switchfoot has gotten me through life, no matter where I’ve been. Fading West is an amazing album. Other than that, I do have a couple EDM playlists on Spotify to get me pumped whenever I need more energy, or country music for whenever I feel like driving a tractor.

Currently Reading

I’m always reading, and right now I’m enjoying “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill, as well as “Abundance” by Peter Diamandis.

Sleep Routine

Amazingly enough, I am able to get about seven hours of sleep a night consistently, usually between the hours of 12 to 8. Sleep is important for me, as it helps me to really have energy and focus through my days.

So there. Those are the tools I use.

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A Piece of My Heart

On 27, Dec 2013 | No Comments | In About Diplateevo | By Daniel Kao

I started Diplateevo in 2009 with a simple idea to simply have a way to share the things on my mind. Since then the response has been truly amazing. I got just over 70,000 pageviews this year, thanks to the incredible support I’ve had for my writing.

To me, writing is a form of organizing my thoughts. It’s a space where I can put my thoughts into words so that they become clear. Essentially, it’s a place for me to organize my thoughts and cultivate my own voice.

Having the space and discipline to regularly put words to the things on my mind is one of the most powerful habits I have ever adapted. It’s something that I strongly encourage people to do, because it helps bring out who you are and what you believe in the midsts of all the noise in our daily lives.

Whether it be public on a blog or private in a journal, the goal of writing should be nothing more than a manifestation of who you are. Be honest and real with yourself.

And if you make it public on a blog, it just might happen to receive feedback from people all around.

Thank you to everyone who has read and supported me in 2013! Looking forward to new heights in 2014!

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In Life

By Daniel Kao

26 Questions I Don’t Have Answers For

On 16, Dec 2013 | No Comments | In Life | By Daniel Kao

  1. Why should people care about my writing?
  2. Who am I to write about education?
  3. What should schools look like?
  4. What is the most effective way to learn?
  5. Am I supposed to go to school?
  6. What am I supposed to be focusing my time and energy on?
  7. How are friendships built?
  8. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
  9. Is being vegan the healthiest diet?
  10. Are there such things as aliens?
  11. Is bitcoin a good investment?
  12. What are the best stocks to invest in?
  13. What’s the best way to earn money?
  14. Why can’t we just be hippies and not have to worry about money?
  15. What is the meaning of life?
  16. What is love?
  17. Why do humans need so much sleep?
  18. How do I lead a group of people to a common goal?
  19. What makes the most effective leader?
  20. Why should I listen to authority?
  21. Who should I put in authority of my life?
  22. Where am I going with my life?
  23. What am I going to do after I graduate?
  24. Why did I write this post?
  25. Why didn’t I include some questions on here?
  26. Why do I have so many questions?

Sometimes you just don’t know, and the best thing to do is admit that you have more questions than you have answers.

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

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In Life

By Daniel Kao

How to Find the Freedom to do what you Love

On 07, Nov 2013 | No Comments | In Life | By Daniel Kao

I’m young.

I haven’t even begun my twenties and yet the number of people that I’ve interacted with over the last couple of years blows my mind every time I think about it.

I received a nice, heartfelt email yesterday that reminded me why I do the things that I do.

I find it is interesting that you’re a CS guy, but still giving the time to discover the critical truth of different society issues. Speaking of unconventional ideas to express your vision and beliefs on this changing dynamic cultural, socio-economic world. It’s very fun and compelling!

Growing up, I was the kid that had too much energy, couldn’t sit still, and laughed at anything that made a noise. But deep down, I was afraid. I was afraid of stepping too far out of line, afraid that people wouldn’t like me, or afraid that I would become a failure.

In the beginning, blogging scared me. Just like how public speaking is one of the biggest fears in the world, I was also afraid of what people would think about what I had to write. I published my first few blog posts afraid of who would read it. The irony was that I wanted to build an audience, but I was also afraid of people reading it and disagreeing with what I had to say.

It wasn’t until I understood the value of being myself that I began to write more regularly and freely.

Being Yourself

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has faced these kinds of doubts and fears. Think about it, how many of you know people (or can identify yourself) in any of the following?

  • I don’t think anyone cares about what I have to say.
  • There are millions of people much better than me.
  • I’m not a good communicator.
  • I don’t have the time to share my thoughts.
  • I’m afraid of what other people will think.

These little fears are thoughts that ultimately limit and paralyze you from doing what you were created to do. And it’s interesting that we are usually the ones that tell ourselves these fears. The biggest obstacle between us and our potential is usually ourselves.

I had to make a decision along my blogging career. I had to decide that blogging was something that I wanted to take seriously, and that I wanted to overcome my fears and put myself out there. I had to make the decision to become digitally extroverted (even though I’m an ambivert) in order to connect and build relationships with the people that I have.

And looking back, it’s better on this side. Trust me.

Leave a comment (or respond to this email) with one fear that you face, and what impact that fear has had on you.

photo credit: The U.S. Army via photopin cc

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Providing Value at No Cost: Giving out Free Books

On 21, Oct 2013 | No Comments | In Entrepreneurship | By Daniel Kao

One thing that business principles revolve around is the basic idea of providing value. All businesses revolve around the exchange of value.

Cost then, is merely the determination of value. If I price something at fifty dollars, that means that I am determining that the value of my product is worth the value of fifty dollars. In fact, by selling something for fifty dollars, that means that the value of fifty dollars is more valuable to me than the value of my product to me.

However, as Seth Godin comments, the internet age is now throwing a curveball into the game.

“In a competitive, undifferentiated market, the price will generally be lowered by competitors until it is just above marginal cost. Think about that… If it costs a dollar to make something, and your competitor is selling for $1.10, then in an efficient market, you have every incentive to sell your item for a penny less than that. It’s better than not selling it.

There are many implications of this, the first being the explanation of why so much stuff online is free. Free is a magical concept, the place where trial and virality live. If the marginal cost of a new user is virtually zero (and in an ad supported business, a new user is actually profitable, not a cost) then it’s no surprise that it’s hard to charge for your app when there are other apps that do precisely what yours does.

Big, established companies have traditionally had a difficult time understanding this concept. The market for ebooks, for example, ended up in Federal court because otherwise smart people in book publishing couldn’t get their arms around the idea that their marginal cost of an ebook delivered by Amazon was precisely zero. No paper, no shipping, no ink.” – Seth Godin

The reason that Facebook is able to offer a social network for free is because there is nearly no marginal cost for adding another user, and by adding another user, they have a larger collection of users that they can leverage for advertisements, publicity, etc.

As a new experiment on diplateevo, I have decided to give away one free book every month through a random drawing. It is called polyglot, and you can check it out here. I am doing this for a number of reasons.

  1. I want to provide a resource for people to learn more. By providing a free book, hopefully someone will be able to benefit from the wisdom written in the book. This will hopefully also be a way for my readers to expand their knowledge of what people are currently publishing.
  2. I want to experiment with the idea of giving away free books and see how people respond. I am interested to see what kind of community I can build by giving away free books, and have a better feel for what people need.
  3. I want to see how knowledge gets passed around. As part of the polyglot program, books that have been given out for free are encouraged to be continually given away and passed around for free. I am interested to see where my books will end up.

So go ahead and let all your friends and family know, and I will be picking the first winner next Wednesday!

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