An Introduction, of sorts

Imagine, if you will — the average Singaporean university graduate. Possibly, your protagonist is going to have followed the path of least resistance all his life. He’s likely to have grown up in a most typical sort of childhood, going to typical schools while surrounded by typical persons, doing the exact same typical motions. After twenty odd years of following after what everyone else was doing, what do you think he’d have to show for it?

A piece of paper in the shape of a degree and a terrifying sense of cluelessness as to what’s coming up next in life.

Not pictured: The absolute terror of not knowing what to do with your life

That would be yours truly, 5 years ago.


What would drive such an typical man, in all his glorious typicality — to abandon all logical sense and leap headlong into a freshly bootstrapped tech services startup as a designer? A position he was in no way trained or qualified for?

Madness, possibly. Perhaps also a bit of liquid courage. Applied over regular intervals.

Hey, nobody’s perfect.

Sure, I didn’t quite have that start of destiny you’d expect for someone who only idly dabbled with design as a hobby. There was no Jumping at the Call, no suddenly awakened desire for a latent, hidden need to create. Certainly, Steve Jobs and Ira Glass didn’t appear before me in my dreams to pat my shoulder and tell me “Follow your heart!”

Rather boringly, I helped out at the startup for a few months while searching for a typical job to lead a typical life. I had almost no real skills nor experience with the world of design except a passing familiarity with Adobe Photoshop, Indesign and Premiere. Four months later, with a few client projects and a free app (hitting #1 downloads in the local iTunes marketplace), I departed the startup for a typical job in order to restart my typical life.

Startup life was harsh and cruel, with long hours and irate clients. For my efforts, I was paid a pittance, but so was everyone else.

It was also the best four months of my life.


And that’s the story of how I quit my typical job and gave up my typical life. I’ve since joined back up with the startup (technically now an SME with their own product), made some cool things with a bunch of cool folks, and thought to myself:

“I want to know more.”

I know I’m much better then when I first started out (I mean, just look at how terribly designed that app above was), blindly groping in the dark for direction. I’ve read books. I’ve worked in a team. I’ve practiced. I’ve learned to love Sketch (to somewhat unhealthy levels).

And yet paradoxically, because now I know more — I also know that I still don’t know enough.

So now I play the waiting game.

All abroad the UXDI hype train!

GA UXDI2 @ SG. I’ll see you there.

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