So This Is My Why | Issue 7

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Hey STIMYers!

Welcome to Issue 7 of the STIMY Newsletter featuring Malaysia’s top street artist – Kenji Chai aka Chaigo. 

But before that, if you’re here for the first time or would like to have this weekly newsletter delivered straight to you, click the Subscribe Now button below!

Boy, if you thought last week was chaotic, the past week hasn’t slowed down in the slightest.

Here were some highlights for me:

  • AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex), an American congresswoman, went on Instagram Live for an hour to share her experience of the storming of the Capitol. You can watch the full video here;
  • Trump has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube, Spotify, Snapchat, Shopify, Reddit, Twitch, Tik Tok & Pinterest. Did I miss anyone? As you can imagine, there was a lot of outrage. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, Tweeted here explaining his decision & asking what people thought of it;
  • After Whatsapp’s announcement of the sharing of personal data with Facebook, Signal’s download rate skyrocketed 4200% & Telegram surpassed 500 million active users (25 million new users in 72 hours);
  • Jacon Calacanis (Silicon Valley angel investor) put out an interesting call for funders raising capital, asking them to list their name, a 1-line pitch, funding stage & link to short deck/product video, which has received quite a bit of traction & interesting ideas! See Tweet here.
  • This guy could lose $220 million because he forgot his password 😱;
  • Muji the Cat survived an 11-day ordeal at La Guardia Airport & was reunited with her owner after the use of canned tuna traps & Abby the tracking dog;
  • And finally, Happy 20th Birthday to Wikipedia!

Now onto this week’s STIMY guest: Kenji Chai

Foreword:

One of my favourite things about running a podcast is that I get to speak to so many interesting, highly accomplished people from all over the world. People that I’ve never met before.

But not so with today’s guest, Kenji Chai, who is one of Malaysia’s most well-known graffiti artists. And also someone who guided me through my first mural art 🤣

Here is an important distinction to bear in mind:

  • Mural Art = legal / you have permission from the owner of the wall to paint (often a commission)
  • Street / Graffiti Art = illegal / you don’t have permission (can be letterings and/or elaborate artworks; the main factor is that it can be done fast)

​Which of course begs the question: Why do certain people insist on living in the grey?

STIMY Ep 31: Kenji Chai aka “Chaigo” (Malaysian Street Artist)

Kenji Chai Vui Yung - Malaysian graffiti artist, mural artist ("Chaigo" dog alter ego)

To better understand Kenji’s world, we began with his childhood in Sandakan, Sabah to his initial discovery of the world of art, how he came up with his first “tag” (aka street name, Black Fryday), why his alter ego is a stray dog (Chaigo), his tips for doing street art (hint: wear runners & do it at noon!), why certain street artists make it huge and his plans moving forward.

Highlights:

  • 1:46: Coming from a broken home
  • 10:31: His former street name, Black Fryday
  • 19:40: Doing free work to get his name out
  • 24:57: Being hired to draw a giant cockerel for Nandos (his first building mural artwork commission)
  • 30:31: How Kenji got his commissions while just starting out
  • 31:35: How “Chaigo”, his alter ego, was formed
  • 34:07: The first time he (illegally) drew Chaigo at Kampung Attap
  • 36:33: The rules of street art to avoid getting caught!
  • 37:42: Why Kenji keeps doing street art when it can land you in jail?!
  • 38:26: Why Kenji doesn’t always sign off on his art & how people can trace it back to him
  • 39:51: Working on the 25-storey RED by Sirocco mural art over 21 days
  • 54:26: How street artists like Kaws make it big on the international stage

You can listen to Kenji’s episode in full on: STIMY Website, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Listen Notes.

Looking for past STIMY guests in the creative world? Check out:

  • Ep 2: Red Hong Yi – Malaysian architect turned artist on how she began her creative journey & built a career around painting without a paintbrush
  • Ep 10: Benjamin Von Wong: Canadian photographer and social artivist who has generated over 100 million organic views with his work on how he transitioned from being a mining engineer to a highly successful artist that now focuses on the social impact space.

Cesar Kuriyama is an American tech entrepreneur who has successfully built a mobile tech that allows users to record daily 1 second videos as a form of journalling. Listen to learn his journey from studying at art school to giving a TED talk about his idea that led to 1 Second Everyday!

Favourite Finds of the Week

One of the “big tasks” of running a podcast is not in sourcing for guests, but also booking guests in for an interview. And as you can imagine, sending multiple emails & struggling through different time zones is hardly the most effective use of time.

Hence, Calendly.

What is Calendly?

Calendly is an app (there’s a web-based version too) where you can create your own calendar listing your availability, the length of each meeting, how many meetings a day you’d like to take, and any time lapse in between meetings.

You get a unique web link for each calendar you create, which can then shared with future guests.

Meeting bookings then become seamless because:

  1. Guests can click on the Calendar & select a time that suits them best (Calendly automatically converts the calendar into their time zone);
  2. Once a time slot is booked, an automatic email is sent to all parties to confirm the meeting and include a personalised Zoom link for the meeting;
  3. The meeting automatically appears on both of our calendars.

Best of all, the above can all be obtained on the free version.

The paid version, which I haven’t found to be entirely necessary, offers more features e.g. sending reminder emails/texts, thank you emails etc.

Thoughts:

Calendly is such a Godsent! The sheer amount of time spent when it comes to arranging for multiple meetings a week is slashed because Calendly does all the heavy lifting.

Experiment: The Coffee Challenge - A Lesson in Courage

What is the Coffee Challenge?

So the Coffee Challenge has been circulating around the likes of Noah Kagan & Tim Ferriss for a while now and it’s a very simple test of courage. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Go to your local cafe (could be Starbucks);
  2. Order something (coffee, tea, or whatever you want);
  3. At the cashier, ask for a 10% discount (and negotiate, if your request isn’t rejected outright!).

​That’s it.

Sounds simple, right?

But you’d be surprised how extraordinarily difficult it is to walk up and ask for a discount, knowing full well that they are unlikely/unable to give it to you, with a whole line of people (pre-COVID times, anyway) listening in to your “ridiculous” exchange.

So why do it?

Because while it might sound like a simple, even silly, experiment, we actually don’t tend to put ourselves out there. To go out of our comfort zone and just ask for things.

​The Coffee Challenge helps to stretch that “courage” muscle in a harmless little moment. Even if the very worst happens and everyone in the coffee shop ends up laughing at you, so what? Just walk out and never see any of them again.

Link:

Read the article below on other Stranger Challenges that Noah has come up with, including high-fiving or taking a photo with a stranger on the street, or purposefully sitting in the wrong airplane seat.

Person: 李子柒 (Liziqi)

Who is Liziqi?

Liziqi is a Chinese YouTuber with over 14 million followers, renowned for her ability to make breathtaking farm-to-table 10-20 minute videos showcasing her life in the countryside with her grandmother. Her videos take months to make (sometimes years!) because she shows everything from planting the seeds in the paddy field to harvesting, cooking, and leaving them to ferment into wine.

The interesting thing about her videos is that they are never narrated. You might catch snippets of her conversation with her grandmother in her Sichuan dialect & there are occasional Chinese subtitles by the side to identify the ingredients she’s using, but that’s it. So it hardly matters if you can’t speak Mandarin; I didn’t understand most of it apart from “popo”.​

Why you should follow Liziqi:

There’s something incredibly hypnotic & soothing about Liziqi’s videos. I’ve never been one to watching farming/cooking videos but once you give any of them a try, you’ll find yourself very quickly sucked in and clicking onto her next few videos.

​Liziqi also has a real eye for aesthetics so everything is gorgeous and stunningly arranged.

Because each video takes so long to make, expect an average of 1-2 new videos released per month.

Article: To Remote or Not?

The question that most companies are grappling with now: When this pandemic ends, do we remain fully remote, maintain a hybrid, or go back into the office?

The Information did a comprehensive analysis of some of the biggest companies out there & what they’ve decided on. Here are the results:

  • Fully Remote: Cameo
  • Remote First: Shopify, Dropbox, Affirm, Brex
  • Hybrid: Microsoft, Uber, Twitter, Facebook, Snap, Square, Robinhood, Okta, Zillow, Atlassian, Wish, Twilio

Some extracts:

  • Apple: Tim Cook was surprised by how effective remote working is, but finds that it isn’t as conducive to creativity.
  • Netflix: Expects most employees to return to the office
  • Google: Remote work will extend to September, and they’re working on a plan to let employees to return 3 out of 5 days a week
  • Microsoft: Will have a hybrid work arrangement but this will happen no earlier than July
  • Facebook: Will work remotely until July at least, and offices to reopen only when vaccines are widely available. Certain managers & senior employees can end up working remotely full-time, and long-term engineering hubs are planned so that employees can have in-person meetings without needing to be in the office every day.

Upcoming STIMY Guests

Help!

I’m looking for potential new STIMY guests to feature.

Do you know anyone with an interesting/inspiring story? Or someone whose backstory you’d love to hear?

Feel free to hit me up @ sothisismywhy(at)gmail.com 😊

Until next week!

Ling Yah

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