Chow Making the Chinese American Restaurant at Museum of Food and Drink

My notes from Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant

Went to the Museum of Food and Drink in Williamsburg last week! It was awesome! The exhibit was called Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant. At nearly every panel I felt a visceral connection. Here are some of the pieces that resonated, and why: In my opinion, this sums up the Chinese mentality, pride, and way of life: “They did what no one else would do.”   More fun times.  
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How to Persuade People to Work for Free

In the last ten years, I’ve worked for free many times. “Uh, no shit. It’s called an internship.” Not so fast. I’m not just talking about internships (though of course, I did those too). I’m talking about working for free outside the safety umbrella of a university. Without the structure of an internship program. As a grown-ass man with man bills to pay: I worked on sets for indie movies and music videos. I read scripts. I researched for authors. I watched Youtube videos. I did casting. I consulted on marketing plans. All free work. In rare cases, yeah, it
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The Importance of Pre-Meal

On January 13, 2009, we opened our restaurant, Shogun, in Delmar, NY and my father held our first pre-meal inside the kitchen. As the first of the soft-opening customers trickled through the front door, he shared this nugget of instruction: “This is how you pour miso soup.” We were about to open a Japanese restaurant — and we didn’t know how to serve the soup. This is like asking for garlic bread at The Olive Garden and your server saying, “Garlic what?” Case Studies: The Difference Pre-Meal Makes I always thought pre-meal was the best part of a shift. Our pre-meals
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A Million Moments of Serendipity

Couple weeks ago, I was researching charisma, the ability to build rapport, that sort of thing. It led me down the path of the Charismatic Man: the Bill Clinton’s, the Dale Carnegie’s, the Neil Strauss’s… All of which were extremely interesting. But not the right context for me. A familiar voice creeped into my ear as the deadline for this research approached, a voice rooted deep in the lizard brain, strong and powerful — but one of very limited vocabulary: Why did you take on this project? You’re not smart enough to figure it out.  You’re running out of time.
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I Get Anxiety Over This Type of E-mail

There’s one type of email that I loathe above all others. Can you guess what it is? I bet it’s not what you’re thinking. I hate ’em. Seriously, I’d rather read hate mail. I’d rather read Tea Party literature hand-curated by Ted Cruz, or ad-copy from AT&T explaining how bundling my cable, phone and Internet could save me $300. The interesting part? About 75% of the time, what’s inside these emails… Is glowing. Overwhelming positive. Even raving.  Yet the anxiety still seizes me like talons around testicles the moment I see the number (1) in the sub-category I keep for these emails, like a raised
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Trade Up Problems

Below is the transcription of the best three-minute segment of an interview I’ve heard in a long time. And I listen to a lot of interviews. [01:37:53] It’s not like you read one book and do one thing, and it’s figured out, and you’re done. it’s a constant course correction. You need to have those rituals to go back to. [01:38:29] People don’t get it. It’s messy. Life is messy. [01:38:45] It’s messy. Life is always going to be messy. It’s in figuring out how to manage that mess, and planning, “what am I going to do with this?” [01:39:30] Life is suffering. If you
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What Makes Me Valuable

To others? If I did this task better, how will it affect my career five years from now? How will it make me more valuable five years from now? I think it’s important to step back and ask ourselves that on occasion. If I schedule all these lunches today, will it make more valuable to others? If I send out all these rejection letters? If I mail out all these check letters? If I connect every call that comes through? If I indiscriminately do drinks five nights a week? If I book this travel? If I move widget A into the
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What I’m Reading: 3/30/2014

These are the highlights of what I read, watched, and listened to this past week: For Pleasure Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard (book) 60% of the way through Can You Hack Charisma? by Teresa Chin (article) When she was working on a story for Forbes and felt she had a reason for introducing herself to people, for example, she noticed she would hold an upright stance—more so than when she approached someone at a party. Her personality didn’t change, just her internal sense of comfort, and the way her actions appeared to others. change the exterior first, which will affect the interior. 
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Multiply Strengths vs. Improve Weaknesses

The school of thought goes like this: “Focus on your strengths to see exponential growth. At best, improving your weaknesses leads to marginal growth.” The idea’s touted all over the internet. Here’s one or two places. Check your Google for others. In theory this sounds fine. By sticking to your strengths, you’ll “produce” (in the broadest definition of the word) more for the world, at a higher quality, with greater satisfaction. Versus struggling through tasks which require a disposition you don’t have, or skill sets you haven’t acquired. For example, in all likelihood I will never become a terrific programmer
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What I’m Reading: 3/23/2014

Highlights of my reading, listening, watching this past week: For Pleasure Prayers for Rain by Dennis Lehane The last Lehane book on my list to read. 12 Rules for Learning Foreign Languages in Record Time — The Only Post You’ll Ever Need by Benny Lewis Silicon Valley’s Youth Problem by Yiren Lu In a follow-up interview: “Can you tell me more about the angst you describe in Silicon Valley? Those of us on the outside might think that angst does not belong in the same sentence as, say, $100,000 starting salaries. The angst I’m describing has nothing to do with money in
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