The Fools Who Dream
Written while listening to Audition (The Fools Who Dream).
On August 21, 2016 at 9:36 AM, Kim and I got the wonderful news that we were pregnant.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I thought about what kind of father I would be; I thought about what kind of father my dad was to me.
My father taught me through stories from his childhood. He told me about the stories of Jorgito and how he ditched school and hitchhiked with a friend all the way to the beach. He told me about all of the trouble he got into at school and how he would “borrow” his sister’s car in the middle of the night and take it for a joy ride.
I loved those stories.
Naturally, being the A-type personality that I am, I got my notebook and made a list of the stories that I could tell our child.
But instead of just telling stories, I thought it would be even more impactful to read my stories from a fully illustrated book. If I used visuals, then the stories would stick and our child would be much more likely to remember the lessons.
And if I’m going to put in all of the effort to fully illustrate the stories, then I might as well make it available to anyone so that all parents and children can benefit from my lessons.
Finally, with the idea to write children’s stories planted, I felt content and went to sleep.
In September 2016, I was browsing Netflix and landed on a film called I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, a documentary about Steve Aoki.
Unexpectedly, I found the film to be a reflection of my life: Asian American who grew up in Orange County, raised by a single mother, desperately tried to fit in with the cool kids, and driven to make my father proud of me.
I also saw it as a defiant protest to what every Asian American parent teaches their children: play it safe by getting into a good school and become a doctor, accountant, or lawyer so that you can have a financially secure job.
Instead of playing it safe and working in the family business, Steve found his own creative, artistic path in life, worked ridiculously hard (harder than all of his peers), and succeeded in doing something meaningful.
After watching the film, I wanted our daughter to learn those lessons without having to watch all of the parts about drugs and alcohol. I wanted our daughter to feel inspired to pursue creativity and art and know that Kim and I support her every step of the way.
And then it hit me: what if I write a children’s story about Steve Aoki?
How hard could writing a children’s story be?
It turns out, there are some incredible children’s books available today. It’s easy to publish a random children’s book and never get found by an audience, but I felt confident that my angle of writing stories about contemporary artists would help me stand out.
In October 2016, Kim and I took a 2-week vacation to Tokyo, Japan and I took it as the opportunity to write the first draft of the book.
I had a main objective: write a story that is good enough to get my friend Wilbur interested in illustrating the book.
Luckily, Wilbur loved the idea. In fact, he has always wanted to write children’s books too, so this was a great opportunity to join forces and build a meaningful company.
In February 2017, an interesting opportunity presented itself. Two of my good friends were interested in starting a new project.
So I pitched them: let’s build fully animated children’s stories in a mobile app so that children from around the world can learn and be inspired to become artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs.
And thus, 四人 was born.
Today, Wilbur, Edwar, Lucho, and I are proud to publicly announce Humble Bee to the world.
Our mission is to inspire the next generation of artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs to dream big, work hard, and live meaningful lives.
In two months, we will publish our first fully animated story on the App store: Steve Aoki and the Dim Mak.
If you would like to support us, then you can help us in two ways:
- Follow this publication on Medium, Twitter, or Facebook to get notified when our story publishes
- If you know Steve Aoki, then we’d really appreciate an intro