"A new chapter arrives"

2017 was definitely a year with big steps. Today I spent some time reflecting on the past year, about First Code, about myself, and about what I could do better.

Public Sharing

2017 was a year full of sharing. I spoke at multiple events such as EdTech Asia 2017 in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, a pre-Rise event in Hong Kong, Slush Singapore, and a bunch of in-house First Code events. All I want at these events is that the auidence has something to take away from my presentation, and so each time I make sure to pick 3 clear points and build my talk around them. I respect speakers who appear well prepared and who care about the audience.

First Code Academy

I’m extremely proud of First Code this year. Not only were we able to make a huge progress in building a sustainable company, we also developed a number of new leaders on the team and a lot of good practices that will take us far. Although there are many, many challenges to overcome in the near future, I want to be grateful for what we have right now. Being thankful should be a requirement as we continue to strive for excellence.

Things I’m happy about:

  • Nurturing new leaders on the team and providing the right coaching and support for them to lead
  • Becoming more data-oriented, having an end goal in mind all the time
  • Having more time dedicated to big picture thinking and planning


An annual review cannot be done without a list of books. I didn’t manage to read a lot this year (compared to 26 books in 2016), but a couple books really stood out.

  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
  • Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
  • Principles: Life and Work
  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  • The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living
  • Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (Pragmatic Programmers)


I can feel a huge change in me this year. Long story short, it is a feeling of giving extra care to the people around me, listening first before I speak, and paying attention to things around me. To me, this is a feeling of empowerment.

What I Could Do Better

  1. In a startup environment, there are a lot to do and sometimes responsibilities are not clear. A few times I found myself being distracted from my core responsibilities. I hope that I could catch myself in time and get back on track.
  2. People who know me know that I'm introverted. I'm a believer in doing rather than meeting people and talking. While I'm thankful that I have a few friends who I could reach out to talk about achivements and challenges, it is time to branch out to meet more like-minded people.