Learning from Games

Just happened to scan a book called ‘Web 2.0, new tools, new schools’ and came across a piece called ‘Learning from Games’ by David Warlick. Some thoughts:

“Video games, IM, social networks and SMS are far more responsive to youngsters’ input than anything from my childhood. These responsive information landscapes, where children play, are intensely instructional. The are learning engines”

“There is a sense in most video games that an answer to the question or solution to the problem is always there. It is simply a matter of finding or reasoning through the answer or solution. A classroom should work the same way, with a ubiquitous sense that the answer is always close by; that it merely means turning over the right stone, and finding that stone is a matter of logic and prior knowledge.”

Is it time for our view of learning to evolve?

Testing a new function on Jutsu

Testing a new web widget for my startup – Jutsu. This is an example of a progression path for Kite Surfing that I am using. I find it really helpful to know where you are and what actions need to be taken. Meaningful segregation of the different levels and action steps will be important for motivating learners. The original web page can be found here on Kitesurf Discovery path

My Kite has arrived!

Liquid Force Envy

It’s arrived. My Liquid Force Envy 2011 kite! The essential bit of kit to begin my journey in kiting. The marketing says its a super stable, easy to relaunch kite – a beginners kite. Played with the bar and lines, rehearsing setting up and packing away. Don’t want to look like a kook right? ;)

I’ve spent the last 2 weeks at the bay just watching. Seeing what the kiters were doing. Where they entered the water. Where they exit the water. How far down the beach do they go. I tweeted a question to Kitesurfer Peter who recommended the predictWind app and have been cross checking that with actual conditions.

There are still many questions in my head. Like ‘what happens if the wind changes?’. Unlike surfing, this sport takes a certain amount of preparation. If conditions turn bad, you can’t just swim in. You need to somehow get your kite back in as well. Feasible if the wind was blowing on shore. But offshore? Even though we practised self rescue during the lessons. I know that performing this in deep water and high winds will be an entirely different game.

The plan now is to practise body dragging with my gear. And only when I achieve good kite control to start getting strapped into the kite board.

Excited. Love the thrill of being a beginner.

Post Surf Brew

After surf coffee


Australia has some amazing scenery. Taking 5 for a coffee after the morning surf. :)

First KiteSurfing Experience

kitesurf experience


All these years.. I hadn’t realised that kitesurfing was accessible at my doorstep until i attended the Mai Tai crew’s OzApp roadshow at the York Butter Factory. To think that all those on-shore days could have been spent on the water learning.

When Summer came round and the waves backed down I went for my first kite surfing lesson in St Kilda. Have to say it was slightly ominous, as I approached the beach a group of policemen were pulling a body from the bay. But I tried to pay it no attention.

First impressions. Much more technical than most board sports. The first 2 hours were spent purely on rigging up the kite and getting used to the safety mechanisms. 3 types of safety releases kind of says that this can probably get dangerous.

Then came the trainer kite. The last time I attempted this was on holiday in Tianammen square and it was lucky that no one got hurt. I was surprised by how easy the trainer kite was to fly. This feeling was unlike other board sports. It was as if you were tapping into something alive, due to the ebb and flow of the wind, the kite felt like a live fish. Then when we got into doing dives into the power zone. Whoah!!.. OK. Now I am hooked. My attention maxed, feeling the sudden surge of power.

On the 2nd day.. I managed to get up. The feeling was not unlike wake boarding. Except you had to control the tow rope yourself. I got up.. coasted a little and plonked back down in the water. After a few times.. I realised that this was going to take more practise, preferably with less kites around. Though it was only baby steps, it felt like a new world had opened up – Port Phillip Bay now looked like a massive playground. All i needed to do was to stay up.

And so begins the search for a good harness.

CarProfilez graduates Founder Institute 2013

CarProfilez - Vincent Cheong

CarProfilez – Vincent Cheong

We did it! CarProfilez has graduated from the Founders Institute Sydney. Was it hard? Yep! Was it challenging? Yep! But it was exactly where I wanted to be. Adeo Ressi and the team behind Founders have managed to recreate the fast paced, highly engaged mode of working in a startup. For those that are thinking of quitting their steady jobs and pursuing their ideas, this is a good way to test the waters

I have written a few tips which I found to be helpful.

Know what you are passionate about
In the first weeks you will be generating ideas and testing their viability in the market. A startup is after all, an entity in search of a business model and you will probably be making lots of pivots on your journey. However the course moves really fast and you risk falling behind if you change your idea one too many times. Knowing your passion makes it easy to find something workable within the same idea space.

Make it Real
From building launch pages to setting up twitter accounts. The program has assignments where you will actually be bulding your company week after week. By mid point you will have an incorporated company. So don’t just do the assignments to pass. Treat these exercises seriously and it’s like hitching your startup to a rocketship.

Make connections
For me personally, this was the best aspect of the program. Getting to meet the mentors, who are all successful entrepreneurs. getting to know how they think and just being able to chat with them over a Beer or two.
The key to change is to firstly change the way you think, and being around these guys is the best way to do that.
Being in a team of up and coming entrepreneurs, Working with people who are driven and passionate really drives you to want to succeed. I’ve made good friends over the last 3 months and I am just as amped about their businesses and will be rooting for them when they launch.

Read the supplementary material
Startup owners manual
Lean startup machine
There’s also a wealth of online video from other alumnis available in the course.

Learning while Flying

Dave McClure on Udemy

Dave McClure on Udemy

Flying every week takes up some valuable time when you are working on a startup. This is how I maximised the down time while flying.

Emails – Boarding planes is possibly the worst waste of time ever. I pull out my iPhone to catch up on emails.

Take off & Landing
Idea Generation – No electronic devices are allowed. So pull out the Moleskine and start scribbling.

In-flight mode
I am really digging Udemy. I downloaded the app to get additional material for the Founders course. But have since downloaded a lectures on gamification, startup funding and more.

Other tips
Evernote. This is where everything goes.
I have found Instapaper to work really well. Offline cache webpages for reading on the plane.
Don’t check your luggage in. Waiting for cargo sucks time.

My working space - Metro Hotel


Flying to Sydney over the last 3 months for the Founder Institute course, I have been lucky enough to be able to crash at my cousin’s place. I have also been basing myself at the Metro at Central.
It’s my make shift office and where I get work done when I am in Sydney. Nice desk and chair (I am surprised how many hotels don’t have a workable desk), clean environment, quick access to good food, and one of the closest stations to the airport line (saves you 15 mins). Only gripe – the wi-fi si pretty unreliable.

Today, CarProfilez scored a free upgrade to a suite.

Pitching vs Showing

A big part of the Founder Institute program is pitching. To be able to tell people about your product in 1 min, 3 min, bar time formats. Gotta say that this does not come natural to me. I  have always found it easier to visualise the end product via a video or prototype. But to go outside your comfort zone is one of the main reasons you take the entrepreneurial path, and what I have learnt so far has been really useful.

Here’s a video MVP for AutoProfilez.com I made when I first thought up the idea.

Time to make magic : Founders Institute

About a month ago a friend of mine working in US tech told me to check out the Founder Institute.
I checked out a few of their videos online and was intrigued.
Essentially the FI program boils down the experience of building a startup into 3 months of intense work with an aim to cut down on the failure rate of startups. I really liked the no-BS style and realised that this is a program where you would have to do make things happen yourself. I applied with a video which I hoped would show what I think the mobile future would look like.
Long story short.. I got awarded the scholarship for the Sydney branch.
Since that awesome piece of news, the energy levels have already surged. I’ve devoured everything online and I can’t wait for the actual program to begin.
It means that I will have to travel up to Sydney a few times a week..
But hey.. there might even be a chance to sneak in a surf up there. :)
Time to make magic.