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  • How I Read

    4:15 pm on August 9, 2013 | 4 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , data, , reading

    7/365: Currently Reading

    This post is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to my nor­mal posts, but thought that I would share a very rel­e­vant on-going theme in my life and how I’m going about it: read­ing and writ­ing. The moti­va­tion behind this was spurred by the shut­ting down of my beloved Google Reader which has served me faith­fully for the last few years as my main por­tal of con­sum­ing infor­ma­tion. I ago­nized over what could take its place and after read­ing this post on on How to Read on Far­nam Street Blog (arguably my favourite go-to web­site), decided to improve how I am con­sum­ing and shar­ing my infor­ma­tion and to use some tools more inten­tion­ally than I have in the past.

    Tra­di­tion­ally, I’ve used my Google reader as my pri­mary Inspec­tional Read­ing method, and as a way to keep up with news and thought lead­ers in spe­cific indus­tries. I still read on aver­age a book per week (yes, some­times I do slip up!) but haven’t been very good at going a step fur­ther in Syn­topi­cal Read­ing. Also, in either case, I haven’t been the best at keep­ing track of arti­cles that I really enjoy, or dug deeper into them for more Ana­lyt­i­cal Read­ing. I’ve used half-heartedly to save these arti­cles I like, but still — not good enough. Hence, in efforts to be bet­ter at track­ing and shar­ing, I’ve divided my infor­ma­tion con­sump­tion into the fol­low­ing three cat­e­gories based on the How to Read post:

    1) Inspec­tional Reading 

    - I’ve migrated over to Feedly in replace­ment of my Google Reader and although am still get­ting used to the inter­face, I do like the design, and the process of migrat­ing over has forced me to cut down about 20% of my RSS feeds so I can derive more focused con­tent. I still have WAY too much feeds for my lik­ing, so I need to cut down at least another 30% more.

    - My twit­ter feed also serves as a way for me to keep up with news that I skim through on a fre­quent basis.

    2) Ana­lyt­i­cal Reading

    - I’m going to start using Pocket a lot more to fil­ter through from my skim­ming of my Feedly and Twit­ter feeds to arti­cles that really catch my eye. (It helps that I am a speed reader so can skim very quickly through large quan­ti­ties of information)

    - helps me cap­ture key ideas that I can revisit and cap­tures quotes that I really like for arti­cles online.

    - Tum­blr will do the same for for me as find­ings does, but for books that I read. I just to make sure that Read­mill is pulling infor­ma­tion con­sis­tently from my Kin­dle highlights.

    - In terms of ‘sav­ing’ arti­cles that I like, I’m test­ing out Potluck, which so far is under­whelm­ing, but what I like about it is that I can see what other friends are read­ing as well. I might return to if the plat­form doesn’t pick up, as I like deli­cious’ hash­tag fea­ture (makes sort­ing and search­ing so much easier)

    3) Syn­topi­cal Reading

    - I find that this type of read­ing is best done when I force myself to pen down my thoughts and hence, will be blog­ging more about my read­ing and cross ref­er­enc­ing it with arti­cles that I read. I’ve debated migrat­ing over to Medium but haven’t reached that tip­ping point yet.

    - I’m cut­ting back on my One Book per Week and instead, mak­ing sure that I read more delib­er­ately and aim for a book per 2 — 3 weeks and inten­tion­ally what I’m read­ing on this web­site. I find that I’ve read so many books, but have missed out on the value that each of them pro­vide as after a while, they all blur together. I’m mak­ing it a habit to reflect after each book and write down my thoughts on the book while it’s still fresh.

    P/s: I’ve updated my What I’m Read­ing list, and am open to sug­ges­tions on how I am best tracking/sharing books that I want to read. 

  • Storytelling & Four Shifting Forces

    2:27 pm on October 22, 2012 | 0 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , data, , , , technology,

    Back in New York, I attended one of the best Cre­ative Morn­ings ses­sions, a cap­ti­vat­ing talk deliv­ered by Jonathan Har­ris on the sto­ry­telling. I’ve blogged before on decon­struct­ing the power of sto­ry­telling, and if you’re look­ing to under­stand more about this, Jonathan Har­ris’ projects are absolutely remark­able. They have ranged from doc­u­ment­ing an Eskimo whale hunt to cap­tur­ing human emo­tion on the inter­webs to inter­view­ing Tibetans on hap­pi­ness. Here’s his Cre­ative Morn­ing talk and my visual notes from that day:


















    So my notes couldn’t quite cap­ture the tail bit of his talk (I basi­cally ran out of space!), but essen­tially, he high­lights key trends that he is observ­ing in our evolv­ing world of tech and storytelling:

    1) Rise of Social Engi­neers: Never before has there been such a small sub­sec­tion of soci­ety ( aka. soft­ware devel­op­ers in tech star­tups who are hav­ing a big effect of mil­lions of human through design of software.

    2) Urges & Out­comes: All tech extends some pre­ex­ist­ing urge. What is the urge within humans that needs to be enhanced?

    3) The Ethics of Code: How can we reg­u­late soft­ware? Could there be a self-directed eth­nics from the cre­ators of soft­ware? This ties in back to point 1 on the respon­si­bil­i­ties of a social engi­neer, given their wide-spread influence.

    4) Heal­ers & Deal­ers: Star­tups are basi­cally falling into two buck­ets: heal­ers and deal­ers. Heal­ers: mar­ket­place com­pa­nies that con­nect peo­ple. e.g. kick­starter. Deal­ers: Atten­tion economies that take up your finite resource aka. time by con­vinc­ing peo­ple to spend time on their product/sites. e.g. facebook.


    All in all, I was very struck after the end of his talk with this question(s): what kind of pres­ence do you want to have in this world? Am I a healer or a dealer? As our world’s lan­guage con­tin­ues to trend towards a technology-based one, how do we posi­tion our­selves to become cre­ators once more, instead of just cura­tors of information?

    For now, I sup­pose I am sat­is­fied with being a Healer in the invest­ment world. The big­ger pic­ture of all of this, is won­der­ing, as an investor, what trends in soci­ety do I want to help accelerate…

  • One Book Per Week: Tumblring My Findings

    8:13 pm on June 17, 2012 | 5 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , data, , , , OneBookPerWeek, ,

    Since com­ing to New York, I’ve devel­oped a healthy habit of read­ing on the sub­way going to and fro from meet­ings. My Kin­dle has made it a lot eas­ier to read in a packed sub­way car and my expanded net­works have pro­vided me a wealth of books to add to my read­ing list. After a con­ver­sa­tion with a good friend who inspired a goal set­ting quest, I decided to embark on a One Book Per Week Project — where I would read a book a week as a per­sonal self-development goal. It has been two months in, and I am pleased to share that read­ing is firmly back in life and can offi­cially say that I have read all the books on my shelf. I’ve added some of the books that I read and loved to my Book List but more than that, I would love for my read­ings and dis­cov­er­ies to be shared in a more pub­lic way. Hence, going for­ward, I will be doing this in two ways:

    1) Tum­blr

    I started a tum­blr where I would post quotes and high­lights from books that I am cur­rently read­ing. Major­ity of my read­ings are now done on my Kin­dle and thanks to this awe­some tool called:, all the high­lights from my Kin­dle read­ings will be shared to my tum­blr. Quotes Galore aka. my per­sonal quote bank and track­ing of books that I am cur­rently read­ing. Below is a snap­shot of I def­i­nitely rec­om­mend that you check it out!

    2) Mole­skin Book Visualization 

    One of the skills that I have been work­ing on is the Art of Visual Think­ing. I am nat­u­rally a visual leaner, but the art of trans­lat­ing thought and com­plex ideas into pic­tures is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent thing. Hence, to help me along with this learn­ing process, I decided to com­bine it with my One Book Per Week Project. I bought some brand new mole­skins and will be sum­ma­riz­ing up the books I am read­ing into one page in my mole­skin. This not only enables pushes my abil­ity to retain infor­ma­tion, but also allows me to piece together the book in my own way.

  • Unleashing Data for Development

    12:58 pm on September 29, 2011 | 0 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , data, , ,

    *This post was orig­i­nally pub­lished on on Jul 18, 2011

    There are three things about devel­op­ment data that you need to know: 1) It is beau­ti­ful; 2) There is a hid­den story within each com­bi­na­tion; and 3) It needs to be set free.

    Last year, the World Bank released it’s prized pos­ses­sion of data – one that tells the sto­ries of eco­nomic, socio and polit­i­cal real­i­ties around the world. This is a push to “democ­ra­tize devel­op­ment data” and embrace its open infor­ma­tion pol­icy. It’s absolutely incred­i­ble what has been done with the data and I wanted to high­light some of the ini­tia­tives that have been born out of this:


    This is the main Knowl­edge Bank where you can infor­ma­tion from poverty rates to the aver­age life expectancy of a coun­try. Data is sorted by topic, coun­tries, indi­ca­tors, sec­tors and the World Bank even made a neat fea­ture of key devel­op­ment indi­ca­tors around the world. It cov­ers over 200 coun­ties and in some cases, dates back as far as 50 years.

    The data is updated reg­u­larly and as you can see from the screen­shot below, you can even find infor­ma­tion on the newest coun­try in the world – South Sudan! The site includes the Bank’s widely-used and extremely use­ful datasets: the 2010 World Devel­op­ment Indi­ca­tors (WDI), Africa Devel­op­ment Indi­ca­tors (ADI), Global Eco­nomic Mon­i­tor (GEM) and Global Devel­op­ment Finance.

    2) Apps for Development

    With the launch of the the above resource, the World Bank orga­nized an Apps for Devel­op­ment Com­pe­ti­tion – bring­ing together the best ideas from devel­op­ers and data to cre­ate use­ful soft­ware appli­ca­tions that is related to the Mil­le­nium Devel­op­ment Goals (MDGs). The com­pe­ti­tion was a tremen­dous suc­cess and the Bank received apps from 36 coun­tries: 30 of the 107 final sub­mis­sions from Africa. You can check out the win­ners from this com­pe­ti­tion here.

    A side spin­off from this com­pe­ti­tion was also an Inter­na­tional Day Hackathon on Dec 4th last year where devel­op­ers write appli­ca­tions using open data to sup­port and encour­age the adop­tion of open data poli­cies by the world’s gov­ern­ments. My favorite appli­ca­tion is the San Fran­cisco Crimespot­ting – an inter­ac­tive map of crimes in San Fran­cisco and a tool for under­stand­ing crime in cities. Help­ing keep peo­ple safe with open data. Amazing!

    3) Map­ping for Results

    This Plat­form pro­vides detailed infor­ma­tion about the World Bank’s work in poverty alle­vi­a­tion and devel­op­ment around the world. It pro­vides access to inter­ac­tive maps that high­lights loca­tions of the bank’s projects around the world and involved releas­ing data pro­vided by gov­ern­ments and other entities.

    4) Data on the Go!

    The World Bank is bring­ing acces­si­bil­ity of data to a whole new level by pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tion on an iPhone app. They have six apps ( 4 pub­lished and 2 in the pipelines) that are being devel­oped and the inter­face and usabil­ity for the data is just incred­i­ble. My per­sonal favorite is the clas­sic Datafinder – an app that lets you access 50 years of WB data on global eco­nomic indi­ca­tors that can eas­ily be shared in pre­sen­ta­tions, research and projects. Two more apps are being released in August 2011 – The World Bank at a Glance and the World Bank’s Finances.

    Data is truly beau­ti­ful and with the world’s devel­op­ment data at your fin­ger­tips, we can use, ana­lyze and even crit­i­cize.. but the only thing we shouldn’t do is ignore it. The video below is an exam­ple at how mag­i­cal data can be. 4 min­utes – 200 coun­tries, 200 years by world renown econ­o­mist – Hans Rosling.

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