Hello! I'm Stephen. Thank you for stopping by my site.
During the day, I am a software engineer at WhatsApp, building features for our 2 billion users.
At night, I'm a serial side project maker. In the last 10 years, I've started 10 side projects in many different areas. Few are wildly popular. Many are dead. Several of them are still hanging around today. Combined, they have 500,000 users to date.
- Fruition allows you to add custom domains and pretty URLs to Notion pages. Hundreds of sites are built with it.
- GoFastCall is an open-source Chrome Extension that takes you to your scheduled meeting in 1 click. Check out the hype launch video.
- iTunes Instant lets you search for songs, movies, TV shows, and apps quickly. Press: Mashable, Fast Company, The Atlantic, Gizmodo, ZDNet.
- Artsy Editor is a WordPress WYSIWYG editor that has been profitable since day 1. Press: The Next Web, TechInch, TechProne.
- TwtRoulette helps you find interesting people to follow on Twitter. Press: Forbes, TechCrunch, Huffington Post, PCMag, Business Insider.
- NeedNumbers auto-imports contacts from Facebook groups to your phone. Press: TechCrunch.
- ACPark is a local park finder for Alameda County, built at a hackathon. Press: ACGov, Mercury News, GovTech, Socrata.
- Ohboard is a whiteboard Chrome extension for ideating and wire-framing. Press: KillerStartups.
- SocialBusinessCard converts your social media profiles into business cards.
- OneExtraLap is a social quizzing site. It was my first crack at creating a web app. Despite the lack of users, it taught me so much.
I believe side projects are a great way to learn new technologies, build fun things with minimal commitments, and create an audience.
If I still have free time left, I like listening to podcasts, working out, cooking new recipes, and of course, writing.
Born in Kaiping, China, I had the good fortune to come to the US in 2008. Although I didn't speak any English, I became fluent in 2 years thanks to my patient teachers, supportive family, and a lot of hard work. Here's the full story.
You can learn more about my professional experience on LinkedIn.
You can also hear my stream of consciousness on Twitter.
What are your best posts?
I recommend you start with:
- 25 Things I Learned At Age 25
- 10 Years Ago
- Stanford Essay: Starting from the Bottom
- How Did I Get 38 Willing-to-Pay Customers Before Writing Code?
- iTunes Instant Manifesto
What is this blog all about?
This is my little corner on the Internet, where I jot down my thoughts on things that I care about.
Even though I study computer science and work as a software engineer, most of the posts will not be technical. Instead, I geek out over psychology, fitness, mental health, travels, relationships, money, books, podcasts, and so much more. If I were to summarize the topics in one sentence, they are things that young professionals (i.e. me) ponder a lot about but don't have a strong handle on.
I'm by no means an expert. I'm just a student of life. I'm sharing my first-hand experience as I go. Learning in public, as they call it. Maybe my writing can help a few people along the way.
(Note that the blog also contains posts I've written before the 2020 blog revamp. I started my blog back when I was in middle school, writing about whatever happened to interest me at the time. Of course, those interests have shifted over time as I went through high school, college, and professional career. The beauty of a personal blog is I get to see my skillset grow and my thoughts evolve over time.)
What brought you here?
Thank you for stopping by! I would love to learn what brought you here. I want to hear your stories, your interests, and your questions.
How can I help you?
So many people have helped me get to where I am today. I want to do the same for you. If you have questions about software engineering, entrepreneurship, app design/development, college admission, studying in the US, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!