Monday, February 20
How would you describe what you do?
I'm the Managing Editor at Hypebeast.com, a mulit-faceted online magazine that focuses predominately on fashion but also includes elements of art, design and lifestyle. A lot of it these days is management based whereas when I FIRST started, I was a "blogger." I still hate the term blogger but no point running away from the truth.
What is your background?
After graduating from university with an economics degree, the first stop was to the Motherland (Hong Kong) to try my hand at professional football (soccer). After a season, the romanticism of playing a professional game as my job in a generally unrespected and difficult enviroment had me look to greener pastures. At the time I was blogging for Kix-Files.com (a local sneaker online store) in exchange for sneaker hook-ups and eventually caught the eye of Kevin at Hypebeast. I made the switch over and began as a contributor.
Who inspired you at the outset?
I don't think I really had any real inspirations at the start. My level of thinking was so superficial that I was essentially just going through the motions. I knew I enjoyed what I was doing and that seemed to be good enough for me with no greater desire to achieve more nor was I pushed by somebody that inspired me. Maybe I wasn't thinking deep enough or was too narrow minded, but when I first started this gig I didn't have a lot of aspirations or goals.
Who, or what, inspires you now?
I would say generally people that have balance. This can be applicable to both the work they do, the way they conduct themselves or their general philosophy on life. I went through several years championing the self-administered title of "Extreme Eugene" which manifested itself through all parts of my life. Looking back, it was good to enter that phase cause I eventually realized that the middle is often the most sustainable and the place where I'm most efficient and happiest. But going back, I have a friend, Jasper Wong who has really opened my eyes towards placing value in the intangible. As the founder of POW WOW, he's made it his goal to help push the art and creative scene in Hawai'i with little to no business plan in the beginning, he dove in head first knowing he wanted to improve the situation... of course losing money is not sustainable so the fundraising aspect has understandably been a greater part of the project, but his willingness to toss aside material compensation in favor of this project is admirable. All too often, people place their greatest interests in tangible things rather than focusing on the betterment and value offered by intangible things such as cool creative projects.
What was the last useful thing you learnt?
Hypebeast has grown so much lately that I've become some blogger to a Managing Editor that requires actual management skills. I'm not off to get an MBA anytime soon so daily reads about management and business plus everyday experience is the best I can do. Things I've learned in recent times would be the proper way to hire and filter through job candidates in addition to how to instill creativity and problem solving throughout your team and company culture.
What are you working on right now?
Outside of Hypebeast, I'm working on a performance running shoe brand with some friends called SMAAT. It's away from what I usually do but footwear has long been one of my greatest passions and combining aesthetics with performance is an exciting opportunity for me. Also, for the aforementioned POW WOW, I'm planning an art show called "Day Job?" The show revolves around amateur photographers in the creative world. I think it's interesting to see how creativity can be applied through different mediums by somebody who say is a painter or a brand owner or blogger.