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25

Nov
2014

No Comments

In Podcast

By Daniel Kao

Lakshya Datta on College Experiences, Writing, and Starting a Company

On 25, Nov 2014 | No Comments | In Podcast | By Daniel Kao

“We might as well not limit our ambition, do a favor to our future self, and not limit how big you dream. Because I think if you dream realistically, it’s not a dream.” In this episode, Lakshya shares about his college experiences and starting his own company.

Show Notes and References

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10

Nov
2014

No Comments

In Podcast

By Daniel Kao

Brandon Lee on Education, Learning, Networking, Attitudes, and Habits

On 10, Nov 2014 | No Comments | In Podcast | By Daniel Kao

Today I have the honor of sharing a conversation I had with one of my closest friends / mentors. Brandon has been one of the biggest influences on my journey, and much of who I am today can be attributed to him.

Show Notes and References

  • Brandon’s background as a child (3:12)
  • When Brandon began thinking for himself (5:20)
  • Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsburg (http://www.amazon.com/Education-Millionaires-Everything-College-Successful/dp/1591845610)
  • Brandon’s journey through education (7:35)
  • Brandon’s learning framework (12:55)
  • The 4 Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss (http://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Chef-Cooking-Learning-Anything/dp/0547884591)
  • The learning framework applied to learning piano (15:00)
  • The biggest gaps between learning and education (17:50)
  • Brandon’s journey after college (18:23)
  • What recommendations would you give younger people? (24:45)
  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek (http://www.amazon.com/Start-Why-Leaders-Inspire-Everyone/dp/1591846447)
  • Ramit Sethi (http://iwillteachyoutoberich.com/)
  • How to network (29:55)
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Andrew Carnegie (http://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friends-Influence-People/dp/0671027034)
  • Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi (http://www.amazon.com/Never-Eat-Alone-Expanded-Updated/dp/0385346654)
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (http://www.amazon.com/Power-Habit-What-Life-Business/dp/081298160X)
  • Habits and attitudes that change everything (33:56)
  • How Brandon does his mornings (38:12)
  • What success means to Brandon (40:18)
  • http://www.quora.com/Brandon-Lee-11
  • http://millionaire-by-25.tumblr.com/

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The Relationship Between Competition, Grades and Learning in Education

On 04, Nov 2014 | No Comments | In Education | By Daniel Kao

Peter Thiel talks about how in economics, competition and capitalism are opposites.

In a similar thread, I’ve been thinking about the effects of competition and grades when it comes to our education system. The system is set up with the belief that grades play two main roles: the role of measuring how much you’ve learned, and the role of motivating students to do better. But as a side effect, grades breed competition.

And then there’s learning. Just as competition and capitalism are opposites, I find that learning and grades are also opposites. Learning a very personal endeavor, and is always best achieved by having personal agency and drive to learn. By standardizing learning and encapsulating it within grades, we have taken out the most powerful force of learning and turned it into more of a routine.

And even though grades don’t inherently cause competition, they do create a quantified gauge of an arbitrary number that is supposed to reflect how well you’ve learned. But unfortunately, instead of serving as a guideline, many people use their grade not to reflect how well they have learned, but how well they will be able to avoid the punishment that comes with receiving poor grades – whether it be social, academic, or otherwise.

Learning is also a very organic process. It’s a process in which you take in knowledge presented by another human being and you integrate it into your own life. It’s almost an adaptation of knowledge into understanding and application.

I’ve found that I do my best learning through personal curiosity, creativity, and self-directed practice. I find that a very good way to get myself disinterested in a subject is to take a class on it.

Learning is most powerful when it is organic, and our education system is often the furthest thing from organic.

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27

Oct
2014

No Comments

In Podcast

By Daniel Kao

Chris Yin on Fulfillment, Entrepreneurship, and Building Products that Matter

On 27, Oct 2014 | No Comments | In Podcast | By Daniel Kao

Chris Yin has a huge passion for using startups to build products that make a difference! He has worked both at small scale startups as well as larger startups and has some great thoughts for young aspiring entrepreneurs. Listen in as Chris shares about fulfillment, entrepreneurship, and building products that matter.

Show Notes and References

  • Chris’s background, thoughts on moving from Xpenser to Coupa (2:20)
  • Process of starting Pathways Ventures (6:00)
  • Aqua Design Innovations (http://aquadesigninnovations.com/)
  • Invest in people, not ideas (12:40)
  • What to learn from failure (14:35)
  • How Chris got interested in entrepreneurship (18:35)
  • Being driven by the desire to learn (20:50)
  • The mentors that have shaped Chris’s life (22:02)
  • The difference between tactics and mindsets (23:55)
  • The books that have had an impact on Chris (24:36)
  • The Hard Thing about Hard Things – Ben Horowitz (http://www.amazon.com/The-Hard-Thing-About-Things/dp/0062273205)
  • What recommendations would you give to aspiring young entrepreneurs? (25:10)
  • What does success mean to you? (30:52)
  • What do you morning / daily rituals look like? (31:45)
  • What books would you recommend most to people? (34:10)
  • Zero to One – Peter Thiel (http://zerotoonebook.com/)
  • Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman (http://www.amazon.com/The-Design-Everyday-Things-Expanded/dp/0465050654)
  • The Art of War – Sun Tzu (http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-War-Liddell-Hart/dp/0195014766)
  • Abundance – Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler (http://www.amazon.com/Abundance-Future-Better-Than-Think/dp/1451614217)
  • Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb (http://www.amazon.com/The-Black-Swan-Improbable-Robustness/dp/081297381X)
  • Parting thoughts on life, work, business (39:05)
  • @chriseyin
  • http://www.chrisyin.com/

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Student Voice Live! 2014

On 22, Sep 2014 | No Comments | In Education | By Daniel Kao

For the first time in my existence, I boarded a plane for New York City. I was headed for Student Voice Live! 2014, a convening of education stakeholders from all across the United States.

As I was struggling to stay awake during the board meeting, one of my colleagues shared about how the work that Student Voice does should be actionable and foster tangible change.

I hesitantly wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Hesitant because I know that making a tangible dent in the face of global education is not only a daunting task, but an extremely difficult one. The education system is one of the largest systems in the world, interconnected with just about everything else and encapsulating over a million different issues. And it’s challenging to even imagine how a small team of students could even make a difference in such a space.

But as the day went on, and Student Voice Live! happened, my eyes were opened to conversations and more importantly the potential of impact in a way I have never seen it before.

Even though Student Voice is a relatively vague concept that tends to spark more discussions than action or results, it still is a determining factor in how the students of today are prepared and empowered to take on the problems of tomorrow.

There’s been some research done into this idea, but the challenge today as it has always been, is figuring out how to arrive at a goal that is so seemingly abstract.

I don’t necessarily have a good answer for that at the moment, but I do know that this past weekend was an example of students coming together and using their voices to put something on that was tangible.

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04

Sep
2014

No Comments

In Life

By Daniel Kao

A Book a Week

On 04, Sep 2014 | No Comments | In Life | By Daniel Kao

At the beginning of this summer, I decided that I wanted to read one book a week.

The reasoning behind this was simple. Books are a resource that authors spends years crafting and compiling their knowledge and experience that I can pick up for less than $20 and learn about what they learned in a mere couple days of reading. The vast wealth of information, experiences, and perspectives are so immensely large that not reading books would mean missing out on a great deal of learning.

It hasn’t always been easy, however, to fit in reading time in between all the different things that I have been working on this summer, but I did my best to be intentional and consistent with my reading time.

So in no particular order, I’ve had the opportunity to read the following books this summer:

From the engaging narratives of The Promise of a Pencil, I’m Feeling Lucky, and Jesus’ Son to the deep philosophy of Black Swan and The Obstacle is the way, reading has definitely given me a better perspective of the world and how I approach things. It’s given me frameworks to think about everyday choices, and how I can better myself and the people around me.

This is a habit that I hope to continue for years to come, and perhaps I’ll write my own book one day. Feel free to follow me on goodreads, I love chatting books!

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