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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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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First Impressions Stick

It’s human nature, I think, to believe your first impression. The one made the second someone walks through your door, and puts their hand into yours. Humans are predisposed to look for evidence that corroborates what we already believe, not find reasons why we may be wrong. So if you come into your first Hollywood production company as a intern, big-eyed and cash-money green, that’s how people will see you. For a long time. If you come into a studio as an assistant, they may never see you as executive material. Not that it doesn’t happen — of course it
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When It Was Time to Stop Working for My Father

Last week, I talked about how to recognize when it’s time to leave your organization. If they’re telling you: “Don’t try new things.” “Toe the line.” “Do what worked before.” Then it’s time to go. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Of course, quitting your job never is. This is the story of quitting my first job after college… working for my father. I worked for my father for about two years, starting in the winter of 2008. It was one of the best learning and life experiences I could ask for. In hindsight, we opened the first restaurant, Shogun
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If You’re Looking for Permission You’ve Come to the Wrong Place

One of my favorite interviews of all time (and thanks to the handcrafted Aux Hook-up in my car, I listen to many) is Bryan Elliot’s interview of Seth Godin, for the Icarus Deception. In the interview, Seth says — and I’m going to paraphrase here: “The excuse that, ‘My boss doesn’t give me permission’ is a bad one. Why should he? You’re not asking for permission, what you’re saying is, ‘Can I go do this thing, and if it works, I’m going to take all the credit, and if it doesn’t, you’ll take all the blame.’ Who would agree to
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Where’d Ming Go?

Hey dudes. I’m still very much here – but have been working on projects that pulled me away from posting on this blog. Will start posting again soon. (If you want to see one of the projects that’s absorbed a lot of my time the last few months, click here to read Fighting Broke, my blog on personal finance and career advice for Hollywood assistants.) Talk soon. Photo Credit: Mti Abhi
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