Museums of Seoul

A quick Google search will show you that Seoul alone has dozens of beautiful, interesting museums. I’m willing to go on a month-long trip to Seoul just to explore the history that’s captured there. Unfortunately, we were only able to stop by one museum on this trip, but I list a few other museums I’d like to visit on my trip  back.

Note: Amazingly, museums in Korea don’t have an entrance fee (unless it’s a special exhibit). Most museums, palaces, and other historical sites are closed on Mondays. The museum we went to is open 7 days a week.

National Museum of Korea

The National Museum of Korea has three floors of artifacts and stories, so wear your walking shoes. There are plenty of cafes scattered throughout where you can take a break, and the museum has free WiFi for when you want to enjoy afternoon tea and reconnect with the world.

In addition to the main museum, they have a special exhibit and children’s museum. If you want to see the current exhibit in particular, I recommend going there first, or you may find yourself too exhausted after making your way through everything else.

When you’re done exploring the exhibits, head outside to the nearby Yongsan Family Park and go for a walk.

Other Museums of Seoul

Seoul has so many amazing museums I doubt I could visit them all (comfortably) in less than 2 months. When I return, here are the top 3 on my list that I’d like to visit.

  1. The War Memorial of Korea – It’s fascinating to see how different countries’ museums depict wars. I love the soberness of it all.
  2. Dongdaemun History & Culture Park – I caught a quick glimpse of this on our last night, but sadly the museums had already closed.
  3. Cheonggyecheon Museum – We took a free walking tour along the stream, where we learned a little about its history, but we ran out of time for the museum. I recommend taking a walk along the stream after your visit.

What do you gain when you give something up?

I originally wrote this article as a volunteer writer for the CCF Magazine. I’m republishing it here, because I’m doing a mobile phone fast for the upcoming week. I’ll be using this booklet to guide my reflections throughout the week.

prayer-and-fasting

The subject of fasting comes up approximately 77 times in the Bible, according to Donald S. Whitney of Lifeway. Jesus fasted when he was tempted by Satan, King David fasted when he was mourning his young son, and Queen Esther fasted before she put her life in danger to protect the Jews from Haman. We consistently see the players in the Bible demonstrate the importance and power of fasting.

The loss of appetite is a natural response to hardship or depression. However, fasting is different in that it’s purposeful. When we fast, we aim for growth.

How to Approach Fasting

But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:17–18)

The verse above makes sense when you realize that fasting is not always meant for times of mourning, sadness, or trial. Christians are encouraged to fast regularly, not because God wants us to be periodically in mourning, but because he wants us to continue to grow. Fasting is a form of spiritual devotion, not something that should be done to “impress” God.

In the Bible, many people fast for a number of reasons. They may be repenting, strengthening themselves spiritually, purposefully sacrificing to demonstrate their desire for God, or waiting on God to answer a question or need.

Food vs. Lifestyle

One of the most common ways to fast is to give up food. You can only have one meal a day, you can eliminate something from your diet, or you can give up food completely. However, fasting isn’t exclusively about about food. It’s a lifestyle discipline, designed to remove temptations and things that aren’t good for you, with the end goal of bringing you closer to God.

For example, if you find yourself on Facebook for much of the day, commit to taking a break from social media. If you’re usually on your phone when you’re out with friends or at church, try going a few days without your phone (it’s a little extreme for our society, but not impossible). Do you spend time on Reddit and Imgur at work? Uninstall the apps and un-bookmark the websites. There are a lot of things you could do, but take a while to identify what is pulling you away from more important things and taking up your time. At the end of the day, what’s important is your intention and what’s in your heart.

Prayer and fasting

When you fast, you give up something with the aim of gaining something. This could be an answer to a question, an improved relationship with God, or peace in a time of trial. When we fast, our goal is to enjoy time with God through prayer. Fasting without prayer is fasting without purpose.

When you give something up, you gain time. Instead of browsing social media for 20 minutes before bed, you can read a book, take a walk and talk to God, read your Bible, have quiet time, or do a devotional.

You may not realize it immediately, but the time you’d normally spend eating (or doing whatever else you decide to give up) adds up. By fasting, you turn that time into an opportunity to become closer to God, even in as little as 10 minutes a day.

Fasting as a group

If you want to fast with others to keep you accountable, reach out to some friends and ask if they’d be willing to do a week of fasting with you. The advantages to doing this with a group of friends is you can reach people who haven’t accepted Christ yet, and you can arrange to meet up regularly to encourage each other and talk about how God is answering your questions and otherwise working in your life.

You can also fast as a family (although don’t force anyone to join). It’s likely that you spend a lot of time with your family, and doing a fast together will help remove temptations. For example, if you have dinner with family but are giving up one meal, you could use that time to go through a devotional as a family instead.

Finally, you can fast with your church. The church I’ve been attending has regular weeks for fasting, such as Intercede in January and other events mid-year.

Kiwi Birdlife Park: Educational Fun in Queenstown

If you’ve never seen a kiwi before, you’re missing out. Since New Zealand developed so far away from any other land mass for 80 million years, they didn’t have many natural predators aside from birds of prey. I believe they only had three native mammals, all of which are small bat species. That means birds took on more of a mammal role, and compared to humans are largely defenseless. The kiwi is a flightless bird with no arms or wings, and a nose at the end of its long beak. It’s adorable.

The Kiwi Birdlife Park is on the way from downtown Queenstown to the Skyline Gondola, and is marked by a distinct red tunnel surrounded by plenty of signs. This is one of my favorite stops in Queenstown (I went twice), even with the lure of jet boating and paragliding just a few minutes away.

kiwi-birdlife-park-entrance

The park is a great place to walk around, and there are informative signs at every bird enclosure. However, I recommend you borrow a headset and take the self-guided tour. I read all the informative signs, borrowed a headset, saw the conservation show, and saw the kiwi feeding, yet still learned something new each time.

My favorites were the giant Wood Pidgeon (Kereru), the beautiful Yellow-Crowned Parakeet (Kakariki), and of course, the adorable flightless kiwi. I wasn’t able to get a photo of the kiwi bird because they’re nocturnal, and any flash would frighten them. You’ll just have to go see them for yourself at the park.

There were so many other birds to see around the park, from a rare flightless duck that came back from extinction, to the cheeky kea bird.

Tip: If you see any rodents, let the staff know right away. They aren’t native to New Zealand, and since the park tries to keep it a safe habitat for the birds they need to keep the rats out. I happened to see a mouse scurrying around in the kea enclosure, so I let someone know to put a trap there.

As a special treat, I also met Nigel the goat. His mom left him on the side of the road, where one of the park attendants found him and is now taking care of him. He’s only around 10 days old, and fairly young, so he imprinted on her. He also tried to hop from the shelf onto me, but he’s cute so he can get away with it.

nigel-the-goat

Want to learn more? Please visit them, because the park is a family-owned business and not government funded. That means their operations and conservation efforts are supported by your entry fees, gift shop purchases, and donations.

I sponsored a native plant to be replanted, and bought a children’s book for my niece from their gift shop. I would have also loved to get a coffee, but their cafe closed at 3:30 p.m. today.

Here are a few more facts I snapped around the park.

The park is so much fun, especially if you like animals. It’s a great place to bring your kids, because they teach about native New Zealand wildlife as well as the importance of conservation. I recommend a visit to anyone visiting Queenstown; it’s fun, educational, a nice walk, and there’s so much to see.

Where to Learn About Management, Marketing & Strategy

Every so often (and more often than not, these days), I come across amazing articles that must be shared. Simply Tweeting them isn’t enough.

So I’m collecting some of my favorite posts about management, leadership, marketing and more (the ones I couldn’t help but read all the way through) right here to share with you.

Management

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

“New research reveals surprising truths about why some work groups thrive and others falter.”

What motivates us at work? More than money

“We really have this incredibly simplistic view of why people work and what the labor market looks like.”

5 Things You Should Never Assume About Your Teammates

Don’t assume they use the same tools, prefer the same work environment, or have the same communication techniques or priorities.

Building a Content Team: How I Pay, Motivate, and Manage Blog Writers

There are a few arguments here I may not agree with, but it provides a great (and transparent) method for managing a content team.

Inside Automattic’s remote hiring process

How does Automattic consistently hire an awesome team without ever hearing each other’s voices?

The Wolf

“The Wolf moves fast because he or she is able to avoid the encumbering necessities of a group of people building at scale.”

Ten Rules for Web Startups

Leading a web startup? Be picky.

The ‘Adaptable Leader’ is the New Holy Grail — Become One, Hire One

“There are three distinct mindsets that allow new employees and leaders to become constant learners: the Gamer Mindset, the Beginner Mindset, and the Growth Mindset.”

What kind of agency owner are you—a Technician, Manager, or Entrepreneur?

Your happiness at work may depend on the answer.

Hard Choices: Growth versus Profitability

Which should you choose for your company?

Strategy

Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule

“When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster.”

#45 – Work vs. Progress

“The more challenging the problems the less linear the work will be.”

What Psychology Teaches Us About Structuring the Workday

“Instead of thinking about your day as one long to-do list or trying on different time-management exercises for size, take a closer look at the science of how your brain functions throughout the day and try to match the right tasks to the right mindset to help maximize productivity.”

The Startup Pivot Pyramid

This pyramid is a visual representation of how to build a startup from the ground up. From the foundation to the top we see; customers, problem, solution, tech, and growth. We learn that changing something at the base also changes the top of the pyramid, since you’ve altered the foundation.

Marketing

How to Go Viral (and Not Regret It)

It took Jeff Deutsch an impressive six months to write this 6,000+ word article, and it’s no surprise why. It’s excellent, chocked full of stories, lessons and great things to know from amazing marketers. Definitely worth reading and revisiting multiple times. Also, it’s funny.

Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

“From finding the right team and coming up with ideas that’ll resonate with your audience to successfully promoting your content and scaling your content efforts up over time, we aimed to create a holistic look at the field of content marketing.”

The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

“The Beginner’s Guide to SEO has been read over 3 million times and provides comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.”

7 Ways to Use Cognitive Biases to Increase Email Signups

Learn about loss aversion, the framing effect and more, plus how to use them to your advantage.

Lessons learned from Airbnb’s Email Specialist

An interview with Lucas Chevillard of Airbnb.

Ecommerce SEO: The Definitive Guide

Learn about why SEO is so vital if you’re selling online, and how to improve your results.

The first rule of pricing is: you do not talk about pricing

The second rule is you don’t think about pricing (heavily tied to psychology), and the third rule is experiments are the only way to make sense of it all.

Consulting As a Side Job

A comprehensive guide to becoming a great consultant.

13 Advanced Link Building Strategies You (Probably) Haven’t Used

The title says it all, but you’ll find plenty of links throughout the blog post leading to other useful articles on this website. I love the depth of his analysis, research, and testing with all of the strategies.

Etc.

Some everything-interesting bonuses, because there are just so many great articles out there.

The Life and Death of an Amazon Warehouse Temp

“What the future of low-wage work really looks like.”

New Zealand Maritime Museum and Art Gallery

I didn’t have to leave for the airport until 3 p.m. so I made use of my last half day in Auckland by visiting the New Zealand Maritime Museum and Toi o Tamaki Art Gallery.

New Zealand Maritime Museum

This museum was amazing, packed full of stories and interactive exhibits.

If I could have visited only one place in Auckland, it would be this museum (although I haven’t seen the war memorial museum yet).

At the start of their section on the first settlers of New Zealand (“New Beginnings”), you pick a ticket at random. At the end of the room, you find out more about your character, as well as how he or she lived and died. One of the features was a teacher and activist who married at 66, and another ran a brothel and died at 23, so it’s quite the array of personalities.

an-early-immigrant-story

My favorite room was Kiwis and the Coast, which has an awesome lighthouse section. You can learn all about the history of lighthouses in New Zealand, how they work, and how to send an SOS in Morse.

I liked the story of the lighthouse keeper (Taylor Peter) who ordered a carton of matches, meaning a dozen boxes, and got 20,736 boxes instead. He says that 14 years later they still have some.
lightkeepers-tale

Tip: if you get hungry, check out Mecca across from the museum. I had the servers recommendation of Moroccan eggs with a freshly squeezed apple, carrot, and orange juice. I also saw a group of lucky kids learn about ocean safety on a boat in the harbor.

mecca-moroccan-eggs

Auckland Art Gallery

Entrance to the main gallery is free, with prices for their special exhibitions. I paid an extra $15 to see A Space to Dream, which centered around South American revolutionist art.

a-space-to-dream

I like art, but it straddles the line for me. A common theme I saw in the “art” was destruction of public property, which I honestly think is inconsiderate.

Not an art person? Albert Park is right next door, and it’s a beautiful place to explore. Due to the weather and limited time I only caught a glimpse of it, but it’s gorgeous.

Side Project Ideas (Feel free to take any)

Side projects are one of the best ways to market your business and stay on your toes. There’s always going to be a learning curve when you create something new, so doing a side project is also a great way to gain new skills and improve on existing ones.

I’m creating this list to brainstorm a few ideas, and potentially give them away. Why? This is practice, my way of getting out of a rut. If they’re good ideas, they’ll happen whether or not I list them. It doesn’t matter who gets the credit or the cash.

House listing directory

Brokers are welcome to list their spaces online on a website that serves as a directory for an area. Each listing must have an expiration date, to avoid houses still up even after they’re sold. This could expand into the rental market, but should focus on one area. Ex. Oregon vs. all of America. Should definitely start out as a free service, just to connect brokers to people looking to rent or buy a house/apartment.

Lessons in your inbox

Learn about the world by reading your email. Curate an email newsletter covering world topics (ie. the 10 most important things in the world today), or marketing, or just interesting facts that can serve as ice breakers or conversation starters. Each section can link to a longer article about the fact (source), but readers should get the gist just from reading the newsletter. Total time it takes to read should be no longer than 2 minutes.

Grown-up bounce houses

Kids’ parties are so much more fun. Why? It would be great to bring fun back into birthday parties, especially as you get older. Target audience would be 25- to 30-year-olds who are still fit enough to have bounce houses and other fun activities at their parties. Tagline could be something like “making birthday parties fun again” or “we got old, but our parties don’t have to.”

Tax software for freelancers in [country]

Freelancing is a growing industry, and the rules surrounding it in developing countries are complicated. Software like TurboTax would be much appreciated, but isn’t always available. Larger companies typically already have their own software to automate their returns, make payments, etc. Ideally the software would also allow freelancers to file and pay exclusively online, without ever having to wait in line somewhere or go through an accountant.

Start a side project

An automated email course (MailChimp is great for this) walking someone through the steps of starting a side project. This includes testing the idea, narrowing your audience, evaluating market demand, selecting the platform, tools to use, how to market, getting funding, etc. It will take a while to create everything, but after that all people need to do is sign up to start getting the emails.

Email myself

Something like Pocket, but to your inbox. You can save various URLs in this web tool (could be a Chrome extension), and whenever you’re ready hit send and the tool will email all the URLs to your inbox. I’ve browsed the web on my mobile phone many times and have manually copied + pasted interesting links to email to myself and check out later.

Build a business: [Country]

All the resources (and contact information) needed to start a business in a certain area. Places to learn about the business laws, articles discussing tax rules, directories for shipping companies, customs brokers, packaging, talent management, accounting, etc. The basics of setting up your own business, which varies by country (or even city).

Travel with new friends

This one will focus on traveling with fellow remote workers. Instead of joining a retreat organized by a host, connect with people who want to travel in the same area as you. For example, I want to go to New Zealand in September, and the platform will help me connect with other remote workers who are looking to be there. It should have a system for confirming hotel/hostel/airbnb reservations, flights, etc. Plus, it’ll list WiFi spots, since everyone traveling together will have the same sort of lifestyle (needs a few hours of work each day).

Any ideas to add? Or want to collaborate? Add a comment below or contact me.

Photo Privacy: Organize and Secure Your Photos with Sherish

Sharenting: When parents share information about their children on social media Did you know that more than 1/2 of parents who share about their children on social media give information that could identify their child’s location? A sharenting study by the University of Michigan found some disturbing trends in the social media habits of parents regarding their children. Many parents over-share on social media, and could unknowingly disclose sensitive information about their families to unscrupulous viewers. Sherish Logo The solution to this dangerous lack of privacy lies in Sherish, a new app developed to provide users with a secure place to store and share their photos. Sherish is completely private; you share certain photos with specific people (vs. a list of friends so long you probably forgot who’s on it), and you can revoke access at any time. As the image owner, you remain in full control of who sees your family and personal pictures. Sherish Twitter header Sherish is super simple to use, ad-free, and offers unlimited storage space. That means you can save as many pictures as you want! You can attach voice notes to any image, so for example, if you have a picture of your child’s first birthday, you can attach a recording of the family singing happy birthday. Sherish also has tons of other features, including duplicate removal, automatic backups, easy importing, complete and total privacy assurance, convenient organization tools and more.

Download Sherish here

I’m also pleased to announce that I’m helping out Sherish with some social media and writing on a trial basis! I believe in the need for a service like this, especially because we have to think about the future. Do you know whether your children will appreciate that picture of them using the bathroom when they’re old enough to sign up for social media? No. Once an image is out on the Internet, it’s almost impossible to “get it back” and eliminate all copies. When something goes viral it actually is impossible–people can save images right off their desktop, take screenshots on their phones, etc. I also like the assurance of privacy, which is refreshing in a cyber world where social media sites have confusing privacy agreements. I know that some sites will slip in a clause that allows them to use any of the pictures you upload for ad purposes–imagine having your face on a sidebar ad for some sleezy product. Infuriating, right? Anyways, try it out. They have a special promotion right now where you get 6 months free, so get it before it’s gone!

Software Starter Kit: What to Install in a New Laptop

Have you ever heard of the dreaded “blue screen?” The blue error screen is one of the most feared and hated things you can see on your precious computer. I got one recently on my [almost] brand new Lenovo with Windows 8.1.

Blue error screen

I had to do a complete system restore, losing all my files, images, installed software and bookmarks.

ChromeShout-out to Google Chrome for having an awesome browser restoration plan. I just logged into my Gmail account and poof, all my bookmarks and passwords were imported. But aside from that, everything was gone.

Anyways, after realizing how hard it is to set up a laptop from scratch, I’ve created a list of useful, free software that you can download online.

What to Install in a New Computer

VLCVLC

VLC can be used to play almost any type of audio or video files. It also has great functions, like choosing your subtitles (when the files are available). My favorite video player ever, completely worthy of #1 on the list.

AVGAVG

Some great antivirus software that has a good track record. They offer both a free and paid version (the free version has worked well for me so far).

Open OfficeOpen Office

Microsoft Office is great, but it’s expensive! Open Office does many of the same things for free. It’s open development software, which means it was developed by users for users.

AudacityAudacity

This is useful if you need to record sounds and play them back, etc. Mostly used it in my language classes, but it stuck with me since it’s so useful and easy to use.

SkypeSkype

This application is great for business and personal calls, to have meetings, video conferences, or just chat.

winRARWinRAR or Zipeg

For accessing all the compressed folders, such as zip or rar files. Usually I go with WinRar, but decided to try Zipeg this time since I read some good reviews of it.

Microsoft Picture ManagerMicrosoft Picture Manager

One of my favorite image editing applications. It doesn’t have as many functions as GIMP or Photoshop, but it’s user-friendly and effective. Here’s a guide on how to install Microsoft Picture Manager.

I hope this list helps some of you find programs you love working with, because it means something good will have come from my system reset and lost files/memories.

Please, please please back your files up every month! It’s a pain in the butt trying to remember all your bookmarks, passwords, installed applications, etc.

2014 was a contract, Make 2015 a better one

Every year should be better for you than the last one was, and one way to make sure that happens is to treat each year as a contract.

  • Consider everything you’ve done and are doing this year, and decide whether you want to take it with you into the next. Look at your current living situation, your roommates, your wardrobe, your personal brand. What do you want to take with you into 2015? What should you leave in the past?
  • Fire the clients that cost too much time for too few returns. These clients could be a relationship, a job, a habit, or anything else that has bad ROI. As a professional, signing contracts you need to “get by” will do that and only that. You’ll get by, learn for a little while as all new experiences go, and then you’ll stop growing, stop moving and maybe even stop dreaming.
  • Discuss renewal terms. Every time you renew a contract, you know a little more about the company than you did at the last contract signing. Maybe now you know the company is stingy with vacation leave, or they are not paying you a living wage. Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of experience, get better terms moving forward. You could agree to give yourself every Sunday to relax, or to save up more of your paycheck for retirement.
  • A contract exists to ensure the survival and encourage the growth of the company and signee. When a professional signs a contract, he or she is there to help the success of the company. A historic researcher wouldn’t sign a contract to teach math. Look at what parts of your contract didn’t result in the success of all parties. What parts of your life aren’t helping you grow and learn?

Happy New Year! Make it better than the last.

The Law of Diminishing Returns

A concept in economics that if one factor of production (number of workers, for example) is increased while other factors (machines and workspace, for example) are held constant, the output per unit of the variable factor will eventually diminish.

Although the marginal productivity of the workforce decreases as output increases, diminishing returns do not mean negative returns until (in this example) the number of workers exceeds the available machines or workspace. In everyday experience, this law is expressed as “the gain is not worth the pain.”

The Business Dictionary

The rule of diminishing returns states that if all the factors of an equation remains constant except one, the return decreases as that single factor increases.

A great example of this is productivity decreasing over time. People who regularly work 40 hours a week are more productive in the long run than those who work 60 hours a week. Long hours and leaving work late are nothing to be admired–it just demonstrates an incapability of getting work done effectively and on time.

“Long hours…are often more about proving something to ourselves than actually getting stuff done.” Jessica Stillman, Why Working More than 40 Hours a Week is Useless