So This Is My Why | Issue 23

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Hey STIMYers!

Have you ever heard of “timebanking”?​

It refers to a form of alternative currency where instead of money as the currency, you are swapping time and skill. In joining a time bank, you agree that you will be earning and spending “time credits”. E.g. if you volunteer to help someone else for 1 hour, you get 1 hour of time credit. If you need help in the future, you can use the time credits you’ve accumulated.

According to Edgar Cahn, the founder of modern timebanking, there are 5 core values of timebanking:

  1. Everyone is an asset.
  2. Some work is beyond monetary value.
  3. Reciprocity: By paying it forward, we can build the world we live in together.
  4. Community built on trust is necessary.
  5. Respect underlies everything we value.

Each time bank also has certain rules:

  1. All hours are equal, regardless of the act done.
  2. Time credits can’t be sold or converted into money.
  3. Time credits can only be spent on labour that builds community resources, helps a charitable cause, provides personal support or remedies a social problem.

​If you’re interested in learning more, this Stanford Social Innovation Review article – which also gives examples of time banking in action – might interest you.

Now onto STIMY’s latest episode!

STIMY Ep 64: Esther Wojcicki

Esther Wojcicki

Esther Wojcicki is possibly one of STIMY’s most high profile guests to date.

She’s most known for being the mother of 3 highly successful daughters (Susan, her eldest, is the CEO of YouTube) & also introduced the T.R.I.C.K. teaching methodology which helped transform Palo Alto High School’s journalism program into the biggest in the country.

But what is Esther’s story?

Why did Esther think that education was necessary so that she could stay alive?

How did you make her way through university after her parents disowned her financially and what drives her now?

We cover all that and more in this episode.


  • 3:54: Growing up as a Russian Jewish immigrant
  • 7:02 Why Esther thought education was necessary for her survival
  • 10:41 Being disowned for pursuing a university degree
  • 16:51 Figuring out how to be a parent
  • 19:41: The lemon girls
  • 20:59: Swimming at 12 months old!
  • 33:09: Steve Jobs & 7 free Macintosh
  • 36:54: “How to Raise Successful People”
  • 38:34: Defining “success”
  • 40:09: What the T.R.I.C.K. methodology is
  • 48:58: How tiger mums can help kids become more independent
  • 49:45: Instances when you need to be a tiger mum?
  • 56:41: The 20% rule

​Other places to listen to: Website, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Listen Notes

Looking for past STIMY guests? Check out:

  • Joey Law: Mother to Hillary Yip on what it was like being the former Senior Inspector of the Hong Kong Police & mother to a preteen/teenage entrepreneur
  • Hillary Yip: 15-year-old founder of MinorMynas, on what it’s like to balance homeschooling with building her own startup since the age of 11
  • Robert James Ashe: Former Head of Post-Production at the Conan Show on all things late-night & being the father to 3 amazing children with physical challenges
  • Lim Pui Wan: On her single-minded pursuit to become a professional miniature artist & how she ended up on Ryan Reynold’s limited edition Snapchat series!

With Karl Mak (founder of Hepmil Media Group – SGAG, PGAG, MGAG) on how he built Southeast Asia’s largest meme startup.

Favourite Finds of the Week

Article: How Will & Jada Pinkett Smith Built their Content Empire

Who wrote this?

Trapital is an interesting newsletter that dives deep into the business & strategies behind hiphop/R&B, e.g. how Weeknd created his brand and Beyonce’s streaming strategy.

Why read this article?

This article was Dan Runchie’s deep dive into how Will Smith & his family have built their content empire. Charting how they adapted to the times, from when they first started (an actor’s name was enough to sell tickets) to why Will Smith opened up about his private life, using social media to become modern-day box office draws much like what The Rock has done.

The way they’ve determined who should be present on which platform and the kind of content that they put out was really fascinating.

Red Table Talk

On that note, lets talk about the Red Table Talk.

What is it?

The Red Table is a video-based interview run by the females of the Will Smith clan: Jada Pinkett Smith (Will’s wife), Willow Smith (Will’s daughter) and Grammy (Will’s grandmother).

Why watch?

I’ve never been one to stick around for celebrity news/conversations, but Red Table Talk is surprisingly insightful.

While I might not necessarily align with some of the view shared, it is an interesting way to see how people think and process certain things. Topics range from the Smiths’ period of separation from each other, to interviewing the people involved in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, why women are mean to each other and the realities of interracial marriage.



You might’ve seen this eye mouth eye emoji floating around.

It refers to that moment where you’ve left confused or speechless, thinking “well, that was awkward” and “it is what it is”. Only this series of emojis became something bigger.

People started adding it into their Twitter profiles, which granted them membership to a giant Twitter group conversation. That “membership” was in turn channeled to work relating to racial justice (e.g. The Okra Project & The Innocence Project).

Josh Constine wrote a fantastic, in-depth dive into this entire phenomenon known as “nametagging” (link below).​

Here are 3 tips he gave to use nametagging to grow an online movement:

  1. Name yourself something that can easily be conveyed with emoji
  2. Doublecheck that your chosen emoji look nice and consistent across platforms
  3. Instruct your followers that they’re encouraged to add the emoji to their names


Fourthwall is a new startup that aims to be a one-stop platform for all creators, big and small, to sell memberships, merchandise, tipping & way to connect with their fans. When fans buy something, it has an integrated Cameo-like feature to let creators send a personalised video or audio message as a thank you. It removes the need for creators to have big teams to manage their different verticals.

They recently raised $17M from investors including Seven Seven Six (Alexis Ohanian is the founder of Reddit), Lightspeed Venture Partners and Initialized Capital.​

This interview that Fourthwall’s founders does with Garry Tan (one of their investors from Initialized Capital) is a pretty interesting one, where they talk about all things Fourthwall, the expansion of the creator economy & building a personalised relationship between creators/fans.

Upcoming STIMY Guests

  • Dominic Puthucheary – one of the founding members of PAP (he was recruited to join by Lee Kuan Yew!)

Also, 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) 😊

Until next week!

Ling Yah

P/S: If someone forwarded this newsletter to you, you can sign up here.

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