Casting Off Cruise Ship Preconceptions

Carnival Cruise Ship
Getting older makes a cruise ship vacation a more appealing product. That maxim is most certainly the case when you take a quick glance at a cruise ship’s clientele. Aside from a cruise having the perception of being pricey, it’s worth wondering what other factors allow the industry to do well with older folks but not so well with younger ones. I have a hunch why, but it comes purely from my own experiences.

Based on my past travel habits, cruising falls outside of my travel preferences. Take away the appeals of travel like planning the trip, immersing myself into the local culture, and experiencing unexpected delights and there’s not a whole lot left. Where’s the fun in sitting on a giant floating hotel with all the amenities you could ever need? How can you experience a destination when you’re only in port for less than half a day before sailing onward? And can you really take in the local culture when everything is handed to you in a sanitized package?

The answers to those above questions are: 1) I’m burned out from work and need a span of time to be completely lazy, 2) a single activity that I’ve booked at the port is enough to enjoy the time spent there, and 3) absorbing the local culture isn’t too high a priority. Read More »

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Marketing Case Studies From the OC Night Market

OC Night Market
This past Saturday, Penny and I went down to the OC Night Market held at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, the Night Markets are patterned off the ones you find in Asia. In it, hundreds of vendors set up food stalls serving anything from the savory to the sweet. While the prices are high, the variety and novelty that’s on display make it worth checking out if you want to be able to walk around and sample to your heart’s content.

With all those vendors out there, deciding what to eat or drink from the myriad of choices can quickly become overwhelming. There are a lot of stalls, sure, but many stalls had the same sort of dishes. How is one stall’s lamb skewers different from another’s? What’s the difference between one stall’s takoyaki versus another’s. These underlying questions made choosing between each stall an irrelevant choice at best and a gamble at worst. Because of that, the key to successful Night Market sales would be product differentiation and clever marketing ideas. And here are two examples of products/stalls that did very well for themselves. Read More »

Posted in Entrepreneurship | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A Eulogy to My Grandfather


To my Grandfather, Nguyen Tu Mo:

The story that often gets told about me when I was one or two years old was how slowly I ate. My mother would come home from work in the evening to find my grandfather, my Ong Noi, patiently feeding me baby food. Except that wasn’t my dinner. I was still finishing up my lunch with Ong Noi offering me one slow spoonful after another. The ordeal of feeding me had started at noon. Read More »

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5 Takeaways From My Trip To China

Skyline Shanghai
As of this post, I’m in the midst of my second trip to China. And like my previous trip, it’s had its share of eye-opening moments, moments that have reinforced and expanded upon what I learned the first time I visited China. It’s also given me a lot of downtime. Because of that, I’ve been using that time to go over my first trip, a trip that took me to Shanghai and Guilin. In looking back, I learned a whole heck of a lot.

So with that, here are my 5 takeaways from that trip: Read More »

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I’ve Started A Board Games Website!

Terra Mystica
It was in 2008, after yet another a busy tax season. I had worked for the accounting firm for about 1.5 years and was looking to do something different. A coworker and I had tossed around some ideas for what we could work on while we were in the lull between busy seasons and decided to try an idea that we had brainstormed together. So on that fateful day, I ran back home after work, and signed up for a hosting account and domain name. On a whim, I decided to sign up for another domain for kicks. Nothing came of the first domain. The second domain became Anime Instrumentality.

And what a ride that’s been! My passion for anime music continues to this day. From it, I was introduced to a larger community of anime bloggers, got the opportunity to do presentations on a specific composer at Anime Expo, and made a lot of friends in the process. I also learned a lot about web marketing (SEO and Social, in particular), web analytics, and even a bit of A/B testing. All of this translated into work I did for MarshallWear’s e-commerce site and the stuff I’m doing now at my current job at Core Digital Media.

The urge to work on passion projects continues however. After working in performance marketing for a little over two years, I’ve become interested in seeing whether I can replicate Anime Instrumentality’s success. This time, I’ve decided to start a board game website titled My Board Game Guides. Most of you probably know how much I love board games, how much I love teaching board games, how much I love spreading the love for board games by introducing people to it, and how much I love running board game afternoons/evenings. My goal in starting My Board Game Guides is to write general interest articles related to board gaming, provide news about new game releases that may be of interest to others, review the many board games out there, and create strategy guides on how to play those games well.

And if you do visit, let me know what you think. Pretty much, everything is me taking a WordPress theme, putting in the widgets and going from there. But I’m very excited about this. So wish me luck on this next adventure and hope to see some of you over there in the process!

Posted in Entrepreneurship | Tagged , | 17 Comments
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