You might be expecting a short bio on this page but be warned this is a longer read. Only those who are truly interested in learning about me should proceed.
See life from different levels.
I didn’t always want to be a designer. When I was growing up, the Internet hadn’t yet fully matured and wasn’t anywhere near a household name. “Web Design” wasn’t even a thing.
As a teenager in high school, I found myself drawn to science fiction. Old reruns (and updated incarnations) of TV shows like “The Twilight Zone” and “The Outer Limits” fascinated my young mind and left me marveling at the fantastic worlds created by the shows’ writers.
My favorite sci-fi show was “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” I always loved how good science fiction uses imaginary worlds and technology to explore social, political, and philosophical themes. Running through every episode of TNG was the hope to make the world and the universe a better place. To somehow, through the interface of technology and humanity, make lives better.
I’ve never believed that my life was necessarily defined by what I do or how much money I make. My overriding sense of purpose has been to make a positive impact. And as a designer, I’ve always wanted to do good work with good people and have fun while doing it.
My hope is to leave the world a little better than I found it.
When I fell in love with the Internet and the relatively uncharted world of web design, I was a freshman at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), studying engineering. You can say it was love at first sight: the web was a magical place, overflowing with animated gifs, eye-catching wallpapers, and a seemingly endless supply of The Simpsons soundbites and anime pictures.
I spent countless tinkering with code as I created websites and dreamed up new and creative ways to express myself online. It’s what I did for fun. And before long, I found myself spending more time on the web than I did studying my own major. It was obvious that my heart wasn’t in engineering and my destiny laid elsewhere.
Ultimately, I finished my undergrad degree in Math, and I spent a short stint after college working as a web designer before deciding to continue my education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science at UCLA, specializing in scientific computing for biomedical systems.
I had hoped that I could contribute to society with my newfound degree, but found that the job opportunities for my particular specialization was scarce or rather non-existent, and I wasn’t interested nor good enough to be a software engineer. As it turns out, you don’t really learn how to be a good programmer as a computer science major.
I dabbled as a data warehousing consultant for a year, but after completing a project for Coca-Cola, and I realized that I didn’t love my job. What I loved was design and interactive storytelling. And before long, I was back to doing design for some large projects for McDonald’s, The Home Depot, and more.
Looking back on my career, I’ve spent far more of my life working independently than as a full-time employee for any individual company.
My entrepreneurial spirit and passion for constant and diverse challenges just aren’t conducive to being a cog in a machine. I have never had any real interest in climbing the rungs of the corporate ladder, although I have found myself at the highest executive positions.
More than anything, I’ve always wanted to walk the road less traveled and carve my own path rather than follow someone else’s.
My favorite books are 1984 and Letters to a Young Poet. I used to read a lot of poetry when I was younger. I loved reading everything from Charles Bukowski to more romantic writers such as Lord Byron, Hafiz, and Pablo Neruda.
I was born in Seoul, Korea, but I’ve lived most of life in the States. Even though I’ve lived in New York and LA, and have had over 15 addresses in my lifetime, Chicago will always be my hometown (although I live in the ATL at the moment).