Welcome to the Brainfoodinator podcast by Charlotte Zhao. The ultimate aim is to create a safe space for adult learners to find inspirations and become empowered to teach themselves new skills. Podcast format will be a daily personal audio journal, I00% unscripted and unedited. There will be ordinary days with small lessons & reflections, as well as accelerated learning projects detailing the insecurities, frustrations, and progress. Story Time episodes will be with guests. For corresponding blog posts, please visitwww.brainfoodinator.com. Join FB community:goo.gl/K7Pm6
Opera Figaro was composed by Mozart and supposedly the BEST opera ever according to many! It was an all day event, very british style - people dressed up all fancy and brought their own picnic 🧺 A pretty memorable day~ Forgot to mention that the estate was in a very interesting state - barely holding together, strong Shoreditch vibe on the inside 😂
Had a meeting with my friend, and I was reminded of the type of corporate misery and the stifling feeling I once had too. It’s important to remind yourself of why you walked away from something! Once determined, the journey ahead becomes exciting :)
A strong reaction triggered by me mishearing a number. Vivienne Ming talks about prioritising your purpose in all decision making. It’s not always easy, but will be worthwhile when looking back on your life :)
#FreeLatifa is a campaign for freeing imprisoned Dubai princess who despite having access to riches lacks the most basic human rights... We have the perception that we live in a society where there is free media, but the truth isn’t so simple! Check out freelatifa.com to see details of the story yourself! Let’s be grateful for the freedom we have
Quite long and detailed accounts of our experience and some reflections. Warning - I totally vented :P It’s a very honest personal experience of what it’s like there rather than only showing you the pretty parts!
We all live in our own bubbles! There are all these other worlds that we are utterly unaware of. I was reminded of the fact by Brandon Wade, this “online dating entrepreneur” who has created a lot of niche dating sites that are basically all about sugar daddy setups... And he did it to solve his own problem 😂
Eric Schmidt’s new book details the lessons learnt from legendary coach Bill Campbell. Bill coached teams of business executives and created collaborative culture like he did with sports teams! Human psychology works the same in all context ;)
The documentary on Alexander McQueen showed you the life story of amazingly talented Lee McQueen. I also realised through his story, instead of worrying about working with the best, just work with your friends :)
Small wins are important and the ritual of celebration actually makes a difference! Tonight was a night of celebration for women in software, and it was very nice to be surrounded by people who recognise your contribution
Professionalism is something we could take for granted in the corporate world. Then sometimes we get disappointed by people we encounter. Sometimes the different standards in professionalism is resulted in cultural differences...
Just like how we would invest time in mastering tools like a tennis racket in order to better enjoy the game itself, our physical body is also a tool in our own life journey. If we could master our physical body, in terms of both strength and energy, then we could maximise the enjoyment 😉
When a room full of educators come together and share stories, a few things become clear - part of the struggles educators experience are no flaws of any individual, but the inevitable inefficiency that’s part of human groups beyond a certain size
More hybrid roles! Rather than radical specialisation, encourage employees to be more well-rounded! It doesn’t just spice up a workday. Chances are, these multidisciplinary employees will end up building better products too :)
Caught up with an old friend, and it turns out he worked as a CTO for a startup that’s doing pretty well for the past 2 years! He reflected on how funny that one’s experience hasn’t really changed, but because one positions himself differently, he’ll then be exposed to different opportunities ;)
It takes courage to grieve, to face one’s deep emotions, the powerful sorrow... Buddha prepares us for the sufferings in life by reminding us two things: 1. Nothing is constant; 2. We are all one, and interdependent.
Deliberate practice and creative work that require real focus, we can do maximum 4/5 hours a day. Safe guard those hours. Right after a session of deep work, go for a walk or engage in some other deep play to allow your mind to work in the background :)
Possibly the most tattooed PHD you’ll ever meet! Met him as part of my trip up to Sheffield to set up a pilot program with some parents for Quirkey~ Supposedly the greenest city in the UK! Will try rock climbing there next time ;)
Never had the chance to participate in politics before, since I spent my whole adulthood as a foreigner in different countries until fairly recently! Got to exercise my rights as a citizen and very much enjoy the freedom of speech! 🇪🇺🇬🇧
Funny how small things could cause so much headache in our daily lives! My experience with shoelaces that are too long taught me something valuable on how things that seem unimportant might actually deserve some priority :P
Just ride the flow! Sometimes it’s better to feel on top of things than to guard precious precious personal time. Sometimes, the only way through is to put in more time~ Try to apply 80/20 rule, but be fine with the long days too.
Investigative journalists risking their lives to uncover stories that matter to us and reveals systematic corruption. Highly recommend the documentary “The Panama Papers”. There is something beautiful in how almost 400 journalists came together globally to collaborate on the story!
Amazing conceptual gallery (WhiteChurchPassage.com) opening that essentially serve as a social commentary! Congratulations to my friend whose company got into Stanford’s Launchpad program! Finally, a massive emotional lesson and progress from the past few months on the startup journey :)
Start giving. A beautiful piece detailing the author’s personal journey on discovering the true meaning and value of belonging to a community - https://www.facebook.com/672706154/posts/10157295617381155?sfns=cl
Truth often gets lost in the process. Not that people intend to spread rumours, but truth is never black and white and hard to preserve. Learnt a valuable lesson on the importance of suspending my judgement until I’ve communicated with someone directly and applied my personal assessment.
1. Crazy or almost there? (Podcast Zero to Launch episode 1). 2. Focus on the users and product or worry about building a team? 3. Customers only care about the value you provide, not how you deliver it.
It’s way easier to push marketing materials out when you are not the only one working on it. This probably extends to other areas too! Wonder what’s the psychology behind such nuanced shift in attitude.
Michael Norton is the author of "365 Ways to Change the World", and a serial social entrepreneur. In 2000, he co-founded UnLtd, which supports social entrepreneurs in the UK and is now spreading internationally, and in 2011 he co-founded the International Centre for Social Franchising.
I call Apple’s strategy “Grossly Underpromise”. Then as a result, you’re almost guaranteed to over deliver ;) V&A’s special exhibition on Christian Dior took my breath away! Beautifully curated masterpieces~
Tate Modern has special Friday Lates and tonight’s one is themed around feminism. My favourite project from the artworks we saw was done by this Argentine artist Judi Werthein. She designed a brand of sneakers called Brinco (meaning “Jump” in Spanish) in 2005 for Mexican migrants to cross the US border. A very thought-provoking and controversial piece!
We all have triggers and it’s easy to enter reaction mode. Given how we often misunderstand and misinterpret things, it’s good to always check our understanding first before reaction. If we are also able to apply the non-violent communication model, the odds of successful communication will be in our favour💪🏻. When it comes to our closed ones, it’s a good practice to assume the best intentions as the baseline of communication 😊
Google.com/students - here you can find Google’s apprenticeship program, (not this moment because the applications are only open in October), AND it’s actually open to people of all ages! You also get Open University credits towards a computer science undergraduate degree as well! Pretty awesome opportunity 😍
The finite game or the infinite game? If you play to stay in the game and play to improve yourself and your company, you’ll be winning in the long run. Check out Simon Sinek’s talk on this, hopefully it will give you some inspiration ;)
Took a pause and reflected on the entrepreneurial journey so far with a founder friend who’s been hustling for 5+ years. Business is an art! End of the day, you need to solve your customers’ real problems. Everything else is secondary. Also, think about what you personally truly want🐾
It’s okay to start with a specific focused vision. If you are addicted to solving problems for customers, once you solve a problem well for a tough customer group, chances are your product will be loved by many more! Marvel started by building prototyping tools for designers, until they realised everyone was using it then their vision got bigger ;)
Just remembered the sweetest 6 year old boy helping me with my garbage bags earlier today, and suddenly nothing else seemed important 😂 Such sweet human exchange that reminds you the beauty of life and there is so much to be thankful for!
Hidden Brain podcast has this amazing episode called “Close Enough” (https://overcast.fm/+Ht3gEvYhg), and it’s given me insights on what research I need to conduct. Ended the day with ROH’s brilliantly humorous and elegant ballet performance of “The Two Pigeons”.
A unique story about painters who are able to paint a Van Gogh’s replica in 22minutes from scratch! It’s only possible after 20 years and over 100,000 copies... The numbers seem so unreal, but it also illustrates human potential!
We somehow feel safe in real life having private conversations in public places, like cafes and restaurants. The tables allow people to face inwardly and have their own bubbles. So how do recreate that experience online?
Absolutely fascinating story about how Elizabeth and Theranos came to be what they were. How she played a character, manipulating her own voice and all. The podcast is produced by ABC News. Let me know what you think!
Things always take longer than we’d expect, so it’s important to practise radical acceptance! Also, a small lesson on persistence today - after repeatedly querying the receptionist on whether someone’s picked up a 🧤, she finally remembered she found one but left it in the bike room! I was certain it was only dropped inside the building and I was right :D
The influencers I met today are very different from the people I normally come to contact with, and the difference was so big that I experienced the psychology of people from the left behind places. When you can’t relate to some people so much so that you don’t even have the desire to communicate or listen......
A day full of exhibitions, started off at the British Library for the Giant Bible and Doomsday Book, then headed off to the Royal Academy of Art for Michelangelo and Bill Viola. Then ended the day at Canary Wharf’s Light Festival :) Also, met my boyfriend’s mom, a super cool lady and a historian~
It’s been a long week but had a good ending! I’ve settled on the go-to-market strategy! A fellow founder at Zinc decided to leave but reminded everyone to carefully nurture the fire 🔥 inside us and not to take Nos for an answer, as all we need is one Yes!
Today I went to Bett, the EdTech show at London Excel centre. It was super impressive but also overwhelming to see all these companies from all over the world 🌍 getting together to compete for your attention. It doesn’t seem at all effective to me, but exhibition is still a large business...
All feelings are trying to us something. So definitely don’t recommend suppressing any emotion. But how do we effectively handle bad feelings? Anna, one of my favourite YouTubers has a tip! You might also want to check out her YouTube video here - https://youtu.be/nI8uTbUwYJs
Had my first immersive theatre experience! And it was all a surprise. We dressed up in 1920s costumes but I had no idea where we were going! On another note, also officially parted ways with my cofounder. All for the best, with lessons learnt :)
One woman’s journey on closing the achievement gap and how she helped kids from underprivileged background believe that everything is possible! Although these miracle charter schools shockingly resembles Chinese schools😱 Are the tradeoffs between students’ short-term stress level and academic excellence worthwhile?
Self-acceptance is a practice that I sometimes need to remind myself of... I sometimes forget I’m being harsh on myself. Today I felt my mind was very noisy, until I meditated and practiced radical self-acceptance :) Ended the day with Angel Comedy Club, fresh materials from established comics on Tuesdays! Highly recommend!
An intimate portrayal of a working class resident of Hull, a forgotten city in Northern England. If you want to understand the invisible poverty and how a hardworking man with dream and ambition still gets himself stuck in a dead-end job with soul crashing debt, you’d want to watch “A Northern Soul”.
It’s like having a writer’s block. Because the vague idea I have in mind seems so brilliant and I don’t feel I have a clear image to then translate onto paper. So I ended up procrastinating... Finally broke the bad pattern and made something though!
Fun night getting to know my cofounder’s wife and them as a couple! She’s worked in anti human trafficking for the past 5 years in Cambodia teaching sex trafficking survivors hair and makeup skills~ Very meaningful work and fun person!
There are different to onboard a potential cofounder. There is “until death” do us apart from the get-go, and there is increased commitment upon milestone achievements. No right or wrong, only preference!
Met a super cool lady at the Apple store by Omotesando! She’s a retired teacher, full of great energy and silver hair 👩🦳, but was at the front line serving demanding customers. Absolutely loved her attitude as her reason for working is to get new experiences 😄
The day was supposed to be for digital detoxing, but didn’t go as well in that front 😂 Still plenty of fun and relaxing time with awesome view of Mt. Fuji, plus traditional Japanese style inn with onsen (hot spring)! Great way to relax~
Decided to skip Yokohama and properly reviewed for Smartly midterm and took the test! Rather glad I did that, now I feel quite happy with statistics! Loving Smartly even more now~ The quiz format really helps you stay focused even with dry content!
We went to the temple in the morning - there was an insane queue to get in and pray, but also meant quality time with the family! Then some observations on my aunty’s family dynamic~ Overall, a great start for 2019 😄
Last day of 2018 was rather nostalgic - old friend and city, but many has happened too! Some things will never change and others do~ 2018 has been a transitional year for me. How about you? Looking forward to an exciting 2019!
With the right guide, it becomes a lot easier to discover a place’s charm! Seoul is a very livable city, especially when you know the right places to go :P Also, some reflections on the Korean language~
Korea is in-between China and Japan, both geographically and culturally. After initial disappointment on its lack of unique architectural identity (based on my first impression), I’ve warmed up to its diverse cultural and culinary offerings. Plus tip on how to survive Korean winter 🥶
How your ability to construct purpose and believe your effort would pay off are the most important predictors of your lifetime outcomes. And meta learning skills are trainable at any age! Randomly selected entrepreneurs who receive resilience intervention increase their companies’ chances of success by 60%!
My default way of unwinding and distressing has always been films and TVs. A story about comedian will always have a special place in my heart. One lesson from season 2 - you probably don’t ever want to perform in front of friends and family, because they are the source of your materials!
Japanese Buddhist’s guide to the practice of non-reaction is an Amazon best seller in Japan (not sure what’s its exact English book title). I picked up the book from Chengdu airport and had very much enjoyed it during the flight ✈️ . Back to real life tomorrow!
Some update on the 72-hour-visa-free China trip. And how the curious little ones touched me! I guess what ends up missing when you live overseas and away from your big family is the multigenerational bond...
While the offer is real, it’s NOT as easy if you want to use it. If you are staying at a hotel, it’s more convenient. But if you are staying with a local - you’ll need to register with the police and all....
Helped my dad achieve a huge milestone in his swimming “career” and seeing the pure joy on his face made it priceless! Forgot to mention it was also the late King’s birthday, so the grand palace is once again closed. Missed it twice on my visits already >
Groom’s mom is in her 60s and has been learning Chinese from about 1 year ago in an attempt to better understand her new daughter-in-law’s culture and her family. She was able to give a moving speech all in Chinese!
A great way to see people’s real selves is through games! Today, I attended an epic scavenger hunt and pub quiz. Also, I had a moment of realisation on how public personas are built and how it’s different from reality.
I was reminded by Mia the importance of TRULY understand your customers! Learning how to talk to your customers for real - no better place to learn than from Jobs-to-be-Done - http://jobstobedone.org/radio/the-mattress-interview-part-one/
Brene Brown is such a fantastic public speaker! She’s daring to be vulnerable on stage, and almost a standup comedian! Her breakdown of trust provides us a roadmap on navigating this big hairy yet important thing. Before speaking of trusting others, do you trust yourself?
“General Magic, the upcoming documentary, is a tale of how great vision and epic failure can change the world. The film features members of the original Mac team along with the creators of the iPhone, Android and eBay.
These designers, engineers and entrepreneurs saw the future decades before it happened. General Magic captures the spirit of those of us who dare to dream big and the life-changing consequences when we fail, fail again, fail better, and ultimately succeed.”
It was great fun on-boarding Sara to the team! She finally made it back to the UK on an entrepreneur visa. Reid Hoffman’s event with SCVC2UK was also interesting. It’s a small startup world, the same people end up bumping into each other a lot~
Tom Blomfield is very much a “get sh*t done” type entrepreneur, and he shared some key lessons with us at Zinc today. Early on, just focus on getting users! Do what doesn’t scale, find your 1000 true fans and worry about scale later.
Have you ever heard of Bamboo Saxophone? It’s this super portable, flute like instrument that makes sounds very similar to saxophone! You have to hear it to believe how powerful this tiny instrument is, using material straight from nature!
V&A has some amazing exhibitions going on! Why don’t we have programming language that isn’t in English?~ London Korean Film Festival is happening now! Watched “Little Forest” earlier. Very heartwarming and in many ways a beautifully curated food porn :P
Had fascinating conversations tonight! A friend who feels the pain of society’s overly harsh tone towards fat people and what might be a better approach than “fitness“ is simply an active lifestyle, even if there is no weight change in the end.
Christoph is an amazing illustrator who’s full of creativity and he shares his key philosophy on art creation - abstraction. Because viewers are fluent at interpreting visual images, the task is on the artist to remove as many lines as possible to find the right level of abstraction! This also reminds me of coding~ In the end, everything’s connected :)
Watched movies on my day off, and was very touched by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s amazing acting in “A Star Is Born”. Did you know Lady Gaga tried to become an actress before she became a musician? She was goooood!
Zinc Day 20 - Sprint 2 is officially over, which also marks the end of boot camp phase. People are forming teams, at least testing out potential pairings. Some reflections on the whole cofounder dating process~
GPs are the most well respected and trusted people in a place, so initiatives in the Greater Manchester area focused on helping the underprivileged are designed around GPs. “Social Prescribing” becoming a common practice amongst GPs also positively surprised me. Loving the initiatives!
A friend of mine is starting at EF at the same time as Zinc is kicking off, so we get to compare notes on how the two accelerators are like. Also, some shocking update on a friend’s experience with bureaucracy...
Physical environment definitely plays an important role in stimulating the people interacting in it. Office space becomes particularly important. Based on my office tours, at least in London, Google office wins Facebook~ But can’t comment on their headquarters. Supposedly FB HQ is modelled after Disney Land~
Tonight was for codebar. It was very fun, discovered a codebar coach was a YC graduate. And got to practise my speech whilst hanging out with lovely people - implementing Brene Brown’s method of writing! :D
Being reminded that a clear financial model would make or break a company, and entrepreneurship is a marathon. There might be moments when concentrated extreme efforts are important, but it’s still a marathon.
Various different topics but fun! "You weren't meant to have a boss" (www.paulgraham.com/boss.html) - comparing employees in big corporations as lion in zoos - comfortable, but not lively. Then some thoughts on what to do around Brexit... Estonia surprised me again on its e-residency. It’s been out for a few years, but I only just heard about it :P
Xianzhe Xu quit his job to pursue his love for manga without any prior training. 4 years of 12-hour-days dedicated to crafting his very first series that ended up awing Japan! His dedication, patience and grit made the masterpiece possible.
Luxe.co hosted a fashion innovation forum with a focus on UK & China, and there were some pretty amazing guests. Kresse Wesling from Elvis & Kresse is one of them. Their commitment to sustainability, their brand DNA and 50% profit sharing commitment make them such a fascinating case study!
Deadpool 2 has high entertainment value because it breaks the common patterns of superhero movies. It might never win the Oscar’s but it’s one of my favourites. Then some reflections on the value of art.
When you see trash left behind in beautiful forests, your heart hurts... National Cleaning Day is an effective way to raise awareness on the effect one’s behaviour has on the environment. Finally, what writing means according to an MFA who teaches creative writing.
Forest, Lake, Stars and Friends - what else do we need? Being reminded of the beauty of the universe by the shining stars in the dark sky! Music and singing with friends after a good meal - pleasure of life~ Aim to be up early for a hike tomorrow morning!
The day after the wedding ceremony, celebration continues. And we'll be going hiking tomorrow! Also, have to reflect on how difficult it is to be vegan when you don't have the chance to cook for yourself :(
I typically recommend learning in quiet spaces, but Smartly app allowed me to study accounting while hanging out at a party. It was an interesting experiment! The game-like design makes it possible to concentrate :)
Elizabeth Gilbert’s book on how to lead a creative life has been truly heart warming! To unburden ourselves from the anxiety of creating art, remember that we are not geniuses, but we could have geniuses, sometimes.
Musashi is a self-directed learner, famous Japanese samurai from the 16th century. He’s also known for being a Buddhist, philosopher, artist and writer. He believes in the “way of strategy”, and practices many arts with no teacher!
AKB48 has about 150 girl members. According to its producer Yasushi Akimoto, the group’s concept is about gathering ordinary girls without much talent or personality and showcase their growth in an intimate accessible way with their fans through nightly performances. Akimoto san also doesn’t believe there are great talents in Japan...
My 10-Day Silent Meditation retreat experience - the highlights! And my excuse for having missed 4 days of audio journal - but back on track again!! p.s. dhamma.org has information on the vipassana meditation retreat :)
Werner Herzog is a soldier of cinema, completely self-taught and does things his way! Aaron Sorkin the writer for “The West Wing” also approaches screenwriting very differently from the most~ great masterclasses!
Robin Williams documentary “Come Inside My Mind” help us understand a genius, an industry and comedy some more. Steve Martin’s masterclass on comedy gives us hope and confidence in building a craft rather than relying on genius.
Valletta is officially the smallest city I’ve ever visited! I’ve also been enjoying Dr. Gabor Mate’s book “When the Body Says No”, provides a refreshing holistic look on health, especially with oppressed emotions.
A future dystopia “Matrubhoomi: A Nation Without Women (Hindi: मातृभूमि, translation: Motherland)” is a 2003 Indian film. It reminds us of the UN theory that women’s access to birth control and small family sizes are main contributing factors to peace!
Alexandra Stein’s book “Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachments in Cults and Totalitarian Systems” provides an in-depth look into social psychology of ideological extremism - necessary read, because everyone could become a victim!
Humans all have strong desires to belong and it can be easily taken advantages of... power corrupts... Every coin has two sides, including political correctness. Finally, a brave journalist and her hopeful solution to immigration issues~
Watching “Wild Wild Country” made me realise the “group” I’ve met are effectively a cult. It’s important for all us to realise that not all cults are religious either, they could be AA groups, or self-help groups. And their recruitment process is sooo gradual, their “love-bombing” tactic is so effective, anyone could become a victim. A cult doesn’t have to be evil, but it’s totalitarian approach makes it unhealthy...
Great fips from a documentary maker! On the importance of mentorship. How crestive projects are all like writing - first draft is key, no matter how shitty. Get it out of your head first, then it will get better!
Leo Matsuda has a great storyboarding course on skillshare! Seeing how ROUGH his first draft is and his whole work process really opened my eyes! And to realise the importance of reference pictures in the process~
*Spoiler alert* - a lot has been crammed into the last episode and it’s a lot longer than usual! Interesting meta-message stating human beings’ “free will” is really just an illusion... what do you think?
It was not easy figuring out what to write about her. Even though she’s an intelligent woman, she’s been hiding behind the title of First Lady, which has nothing to do with her own merit. But I eventually found something!
Love doing human portraits and particularly females! #redlipquotes :) How I slipped back into an old addiction (hopefully just today!) p.s. you can see my daily artwork on instagram @brainfoodinator2.0
Reflections after visiting Churchill’s War Rooms. Forgot to mention he’s also very hardworking, but had great relaxing daily rituals - 2 baths a day and an afternoon nap + demanding staffs to be quiet 🤫