Drawings For Donations 💌

I drew 65 postcards commissioned by 59 donors raising $1,204 in donations for the COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Funds earlier this year. In May 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued a “stay-at-home” order until the end of the month, so I wanted to keep my mind busy by diving into some creativity and raising funds for a good cause during this pandemic. It was humbling to see the outpouring of all the love for this special art project. Thanks to all of my friends and family for the support.

The inspiration for this project came from what I was seeing in the community, especially what I was seeing from my cousin Evalynn Romano who was helping the UW custodians with surprise breakfasts. I felt if she was able to take time to contribute, I could do the same. So I tested it out and asked my close group of friends on GroupMe if they would donate for a “postcard drawing” from me and my friend Hua Yu did just that. I received $1 via PayPal for my first postcard drawing. That was enough validation for me. I chose a non-profit in the Artist Trust who helped local artists in Seattle. I created a personalized Google Form where potential donors learn about the art project and fill out a form with their name, address, a drawing prompt, and how much they wanted to donate for a postcard (e.g. $1, $5, $10, $20, and Other). After submitting, they would get an automatic personalized email with information to send the donations via PayPal or Venmo. I even got a couple of physical checks. It was a super simple set up.

And that is how it started. I posted a call for postcard art commissions on Facebook and Instagram with links to the #DrawingsForDonations Google Form and waited. I was nervous in anticipation. Were people going to contribute? Was this a stupid idea? I began second guessing myself. But within a couple of hours, I received several submissions. And throughout the month, they continued thankfully flowing in. The whole plan was to complete some postcard drawings, post them on Facebook and Instagram with links to the form, tagging the donor with a personal message on the post — rinse and repeat. The postcard drawings received 1,137 reactions and 143 comments across Facebook and Instagram. The more I shared the artwork, the more submissions I would get. It was working! This became a perfect way to fill my time while stuck at home.

The heart of this art project was the variety of drawing prompts I received from all of the donors. Each submission was entertaining, intimidating, and encouraging in their own ways. It was a challenge forcing me to push my creative boundaries for what I could draw.

From drawing animals and flowers…

…to scenic views and family portraits…

…to birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and even baby reveals.

The drawing prompts were all over the place, which was fun and kept me on my toes. I have talked about my love for drawing before. And each time I looked at the blank postcard, I saw the progression from laying it down with pencil, to making it permanent with ink, and then adding some life to the postcard with colored pencils — such a satisfying experience. With every postcard I mailed out, it put a smile on my face and I hope it showed.

Sharing creativity with my friends and family was an enjoyable experience. It gave me a chance to catch up with so many folks in this process. I really felt connected, even if it was just text back and forth or hopping on a quick FaceTime call. During this pandemic, it was good to make those connections. And if my postcard doodles was a chance to symbolically visit the homes of my friends and family, that in itself was all worth it. I will continue to find similar art projects to do moving forward and I am excited to see where this creativity journey takes me. Be on the lookout.

Thank you for all the support 😊💌

Angie Acosta, Alexa Alejandria, Sarah Allen, Lay Brand, Manda Brown, Nicole Bryant, Thu Bui, Michelle Dearth, Joey Delovino, Mely Delovino, Cherelyn Espina, Jeremy Flores, Adam Florsheim, Morgan Fraser, AJ Ghambari, Ken Goldstein, Eitan Greene, Lee Griffin, Linda Hong, Danielle Kelly, Pamela Lacson, Anna Hoi Leung, Suzie Lew, Anthony Lista, Amanda Matlock, Ansellino Mena, Natala Menezes, Daryn Nakhuda, Chi Nguyen, Phong Nguyen, Dillon Nishimoto, Minh Pham, Anthony Raimondi, George Raimondi, Leonora Raimondi, Eva Romano, Evalynn Romano, Dave Schappell, Jessica Schauberger, Katie Shipley, Jasmeet Singh, Marissa Dogeagle Smith, Bryon Sunga, Gina Sunga, Honorio Sunga, Jonathan Sunga, Leonida Sunga, Marie Sunga, Elenita Taganna, Renata Taylor, Lyndi Thompson, Thu Vo, Amber Waisanen, Philip Whitman, Ryan Wong, Hua Yu, Irene Yu, Tun Yu.

$1,204 for 65 Postcards from 59 Donors

#DrawingsForDonations Postcards in the wild

If you received a postcard, I would love to see where in the wild they live today. Feel free to email me a photo and I can add it to the gallery below.

1-year at Uber ATG

Today marks the 1-year anniversary of Mighty Ai joining Uber ATG. Time flies. It is somewhat crazy to say that I have been, more or less, with this crew for over 5 years now. And it continues to be a fun rollercoaster of a ride personally, professionally, and emotionally. I will happily admit, more highs than lows. Though it has not been easy, I have grown a lot.

I have made a ton of friends along the way and have seen some come and go. Watched our product go from a purely iOS app crowdsourcing annotations for companies like Bing, Snapchat, and Pinterest to being laser focused on building out labeling products for the self-driving use case at Uber ATG — and everything in between. The evolution has been eye-opening and gratifying to be a part of. We have moved in and out of 4 different offices and have visited offices and customers all around the world — Boston, Pittsburgh, Boulder, Austin, San Francisco, San Jose, Stuttgart, and Bangalore. We just keep moving forward.

I always see myself coming back to the experience. There is a joy with the process of building amazing products with a group of extraordinary individuals looking to make a dent in the world, especially now in self-driving. I sometimes cannot describe the feeling, but when you have that alignment — it works, and it is such a rush. I experience that a lot here and that is why I probably have stuck around for so long.

I look forward to seeing where this rollercoaster goes, and will continue to make moves to build some amazing products along the way. Cheers! 🥃

Women’s March 2018

One year after the first Women’s March, like clockwork, we took to the street to voice our disapproval with everything. A lot of my fellow citizens came to march for women’s rights, the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, immigrant rights, DACA, #shitholecountries, and even just the vehement disapproval of our current administration and President Donald Trump. Whatever it was folks came out to protest and march for, they came with an extraordinary combination of anger, disgust, hope, and excitement for what they believed in. They came out. They made themselves known and I was glad to march along side with them.

I wouldn’t say I’m the most vocal person about these kinds of topics, but I do love putting ink to paper. Since President Donald Trump has taken the White House, I have been sporadically sending the man some postcards regarding how I feel about his horrendous performance so far. Each postcard consists of two things:

  1. A drawing on one side since I do like to draw.
  2. A short message addressed to President Donald Trump.
  3. My return address just in case he wants to write me back.

The funny thing is, I probably have had more interactions (albeit postcards) with President Donald Trump than I ever did with President Barack Obama. I wish I did this when he was in office, the messages and drawings would have been so much more positive. Come back, Barack!

Don’t Stop Fans From Talking About Your Product

Seattle Seahawks - Golden Tate

Yesterday was Seahawks Sunday here in Seattle, and it started as any one of these would. Woke up at 6am to get the tailgating party started. Checked the weather and checked for directions on my iPhone. Scootered over to Utah St. right behind Macrina Bakery on 1st Avenue since it wasn’t raining. My dad and I setup shop and used my iPhone to notify folks of our location and coordinated by messaging missing items. When the tailgate started, we were able to post photos onto Facebook and Twitter easily and even comment on status for folks to come on by before the game. From 6am to 1pm, using the internet was as smooth as being at home — but when you hit CenturyLink Field, you can kiss that goodbye.

It’s funny with a stadium named after “high-speed internet” company like CenturyLink, it exactly lacks what it sells. It was the same feeling when it was called Qwest Field. This isn’t anything new. As a season ticket holder for the last several years, I’ve always found myself doing the patented “lift your hand up high with your phone to get reception” move with no avail. I know it may be my AT&T coverage, but fellow season ticket holders with Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile have had the same problem. This is an issue.

CenturyLink Field hosts over 67,000+ fans each Seattle Seahawk game and even with the Seattle Sounders FC, they’re able to hold 33,000+ fans each game. That’s selling out the stadium each game, and the majority of those rabid fans use smartphones — so why are they making it hard for fans to talk about their product on the field. They’re not leveraging them to spread the word about the players, the teams, the game, and more importantly the experience. The teams are missing out on people posting their thoughts, photos, and location on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. What better idea would it be to provide the fans who are struggling to send out tweets, statuses, and photos with the ability to do so?

For this NFL season, five stadiums have already been outfitted as a pilot for in-stadium wifi: MetLife Stadium (Jets/Giants), Gillette Stadium (Patriots), Bank of America (Panthers), Lucas Oil Stadium (Colts), and the Superdome (Saints). This isn’t a new idea with teams from both the MLB and NFL exploring wifi opportunities. I’m just surprised for a tech hub like Seattle, why don’t we have wifi in CenturyLink Field? As a huge fan, the product is the experience. I’d rather share my experiences in the moment rather than waiting after the game or when I’m home to do so and I believe the majority of the 67,000+ fans feel the same way.

Everyone Will Learn How to Code Eventually

Evil Monkey

Back in high school, I was all about doing things in tech. We were lucky since Mr. Wes Felty was a faculty member at Ingraham High School, and he also doubled as the network system administrator for the whole Seattle Schools District. There was a ton of opportunity to experiment, and here are some of the projects we were able to do:

  • Friends and I helped rebuild and update our school’s website
  • Learned how to build computers in our A+ course
  • Wired and set up the Rainier Beach High School network
  • Through MESA, helped Seattle Parks and Recreation improve their website

I can only imagine what kids are learning nowadays. Ten years later, I’ve continued to stay within the HTML and CSS borders of coding. This year, I’ll be breaking free from those borders. The goal is to learn the basics and harness some coding skills which will come in super handy. As the “business” guy, I think it’s especially important to learn since understanding what goes into coding could be your leg up whether you’re the one coding or managing the product. I want to be able to build product and having a skill set to build prototypes without waiting for this “special” developer to do it is key for me.

So along with 300,000+ others, I joined Code Year brought to you by Codecademy. I just finished my first week of lessons in Javascript, and I’m left wanting more and lucky me there’s a couple more lessons to do. Naturally, I’ll probably be diving into other resources on top of the to-dos for Code Year. Having minimal coding experience, I’m looking to catch up and there’s a ton of resources out there as my buddy Scott Windsor says:

So what are you waiting for? Go sign up at codeyear or codeacademy or tryruby or Khan Academy. I even teach ruby lessons as well if you want one on one help and instruction.

Coding is just like any skill set. Let’s just take sales, for instance. A lot of folks don’t have any selling experience, but they end up learning how to do it because in the end — it’s a good to have. I feel the same with coding. You may not end up being the best coder in the world, but having the extra bit of knowledge will go a long way in whatever job you have and it may even help you land one. You’ll eventually be learning this stuff sometime in the future, why not just start now. Don’t wait 10 years like me.

Check out my first application from Codecademy, FizzBuzz. It’s crude, but it’s a start.

// for the numbers 1 through XX,

var number = prompt ("How many numbers do you want?");

for (i=1; i<=number; i++) {

// if the number is divisible by 3, write "Fizz"
// if the number is also divisible by 5, write "FizzBuzz"
 
 if ( i % 3 === 0 ) {
 if ( i % 5 === 0) {
 console.log("FizzBuzz")
 }
 else {
 console.log("Fizz");
 }
 }
 
// if the number is divisible by 5, write "Buzz"
 
 else if ( i % 5 === 0 ) {
 console.log("Buzz");
 }
 
// otherwise, write just the number

else {
 console.log(i);
 }
}