• Just spent the last two days in LA, at UCLA, and I’m feeling insanely inspired. Why? Some thoughts:

    The first observation that I have made is that it looks like media, entertainment, shows, cinema film vlogs, are the future. Why? Let us just look at all of the advertising and the new products; all of the new interesting digital cameras are all centered around video and vlogging, and also making cinema. Think about the new compact canon cinema camera, and also the new Panasonic Lumix cameras which are phenomenal for vlogging and video. And cinema.

    What do nerds and everybody share in common?

    It doesn’t matter who you are, it looks like everybody loves media. For example, all nerds like to watch TV shows, cinema, films, entertainment etc.

    Also if you think about all age groups, whether it be newborn kids, kids, toddlers, teenagers, adults, middle-age people, the elderly, etc.; everybody watches YouTube, and or Netflix or something like that.

    What can you do about it?

    Everyone has different life goals and different life pursuits. For myself, I am interested in directing our energies towards things that we can actually do ourselves, with no gate keepers, no restrictions, 100% freedom and control.

    It seems that the most straightforward answer then is having the ability to record videos, and just upload them online, whether it be to YouTube or your own self hosted videopress.com account (linked with your WordPress.org Website Blog) via WordPress.com

    Why self hosted video instead of YouTube?

    First of all, the simplest and most straightforward way to build your own solo media empire is just making a website blog via bluehost.com and installing wordpress.org. Own your own domain. Ideally your first name last name .com, or you could just make it your first name last name photo .com, or your first name last name photography .com.

    For example, I own Erickim.com, Erickimphotography.com, as well as Erickimphotography.com/blog.

    In the very long term, your domain name, and your website name, and the .com domain will be critical.

    Why .com? To me it is the only legitimate domain name, something that everyone can actually remember. Let us consider google.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, apple.com, amazon.com, etc.

    What is the goal?

    The reason why I am more interested in using smaller and lower resolutions, for example 720 P, 24 FPS or 30 FPS, smaller file sizes is this:

    Your video files will upload and process 100 times faster than in higher video formats, even compared to 1080P, 4K, 5K, etc.

    And the question is this; in the context of the video you create, are you creating it for the pleasure and entertainment of others, or, is it for your own benefit, to propagate your own thoughts?

    I say the primary motive should be for your own benefit. The fact that others may watch it is just an added benefit. The number one critical factor is that you yourself enjoy publishing it.

    The equipment

    Currently speaking, the best equipment to have included the Ricoh GR 3X,

  • First idea.

  • Something I’m thinking a lot about entrepreneurship:

    Why scale?

    Or in other words:

    Why is scaling up seen as desirable?

    And also– are there hidden downsides of having a really big scale?

    When it is better to be a mouse than an elephant

    Example from Nassim Taleb‘s “Antifragile” book:

    A mouse is less likely to break its bones than an elephant.

    This has to do with scale. A bigger elephant is more fragile to falling than a smaller organism.

    And contrary to modern thinking– it seems that (in the long run), smaller companies tend to out-live really really big companies.

    Furthermore, merging two companies almost never seems like a beneficial thing. When companies scale larger, things get more complex, and often the resulting chimera company is inferior.

    Why I would prefer a Mazda Miata over a Ford Mustang

    The Ford Mustang is a very cool car, but I would always choose a Mazda Miata over it.

    Why? Smaller cars are generally more fun to drive! It is more fun to drive a go-kart than to drive a tank. You feel more responsiveness in a smaller car than a bigger car. A smaller car also handles better, turns better, and you can feel the acceleration better as well!

    I think this has to do with scale. A smaller-scale car seems superior:

    1. Cheaper to produce
    2. Fewer materials
    3. More fun to drive
    4. Easier to park (no more need to loop around the block several times to find a big enough parking spot).

    In theory it seems that ‘bigger is better’, but in real-life living, it seems that “smaller is better”.

    When is bigger better?

    If you’re in a street fight, and there was a 300-pound beast fighting a 120 pound person, I would vote on the 300-pound beast.

    But then again, it gets tricky. A trained 120 pound person might be able to beat a 300 pound (goof).

    Size is a quick heuristic (rule of thumb) to signal strength. But often smaller guys are stronger!

    Who are the strongest guys at the gym?

    This is something I find very fascinating:

    The strongest guys at the gym (500+ pound deadlifters) are muscular, but they don’t look that “muscular” or “strong”.

    In fact, most powerlifters are quite modest in size. And it seems that they can lift a lot more weight than body-builders (who have more impressive looking muscles).

    In praise of smaller cameras

    Tommy trojan
    USC, 2019 #ricohgriii

    I am currently shooting with a RICOH GR III, which is actually even SMALLER than a Ricoh GR II (already super small!). And it is great, because this is what I have discovered about photography:

    The smaller your camera, the more likely you are to carry it with you everywhere you go, the less friction necessary to shoot photos.

    Thus with smaller cameras, you shoot more! And the more you shoot, generally the happier and more creative we are!

    Why I prefer AirPods over Massive over-ear headphones

    Bigger headphones have more impressive bass and sound quality than smaller headphones (Apple AirPods). But I will always prefer the AirPods.


    In everyday living, you can have the AirPods with you everywhere you go! There is far less friction to use them than to use a huge pair of headphones. Also the problem of storing the big headphones (it takes up half your backpack).

    Bigger companies = more stress

    If your life goal is to maximize the amount of stress and concern in your life, hire more employees.

    This is the tricky thing with scale:

    As you scale a company up, complexity increases at an exponential rate.

    For example as any parent can attest:

    Going from 1 child to 2 children isn’t twice as hard, it is probably 200x as hard.

    I know for myself, I hate having to ‘manage’ anyone else. Why? I can barely manage myself, let alone manage another human being. Furthermore, we only have a limited amount of energy in a given day. I don’t want to waste any energy having to micro-manage people.

    My ideal co-workers: independent and self-driven individuals with great passion. You don’t need to manage these type of people; they direct and manage themselves!

    Why do we desire more numbers?

    It seem as humans, our mental calculations are still too basic from an intuitive level.

    For example imagine if we were still cavemen. Obviously 100 apples is superior to just 1 apple.

    But in modern-day life, is 100 million really superior to 1 million dollars? Having 100 million might be 10000000x more stressful than owning just 1 million dollars. And the person who owns “only” 1 million dollars might actually have more personal freedom, happiness, and joy in their lives than the richer (but more enslaved) person.

    Social proof

    Of course there is this notion of ‘social proof’:

    The more people who attracted to you, the more legitimate and powerful you seem.

    But this isn’t accurate. If you have Bill Gates follow you and admire you, he outweighs 10 million “normal” people. But we humans aren’t good at judging this, we just get suckered by numbers.

    Who do you desire to impress?

    To me, I would rather impress 3 individuals who I venerate than 3 million “random” people.

    It also does seem that from an entrepreneurial perspective, better to have 10 rich people in your business network than 100,000 “middle-class” people follow you.

    Conclusion: Smaller is better

    Strive to be small as possible. If you need to scale up and expand, that is fine. But to scale for the sake of scaling ain’t the goal.

    The goal is to become more powerful, gain more influence, and to exert yourself more. And perhaps, better to have a few great individuals putting forth great effort than millions of “normal” people?


  • There is no ultimate ‘truth’ — only varying degrees of “truthiness” (degrees of truth).

    The basic notion is this:

    The purpose of philosophy isn’t to discover an ultimate truth. The purpose of philosophy is to discover DEEPER LEVELS of truth, which I propose as “truthiness”.

    Personal truth

    Furthermore, it is a waste of time (vain effort) to strive to fully-understand the truth of others, society, etc. It seems the most practical use of our energy is to best understand ourselves. To understand our our personal ambitions, bias — to empower ourselves to strive for more!

    Know yourself (deeper)

    The Latin phrase: “Temet nosce” (know yourself) seems to be a very wise saying. I propose something more:

    Strive to know yourself deeper.

    In other words:

    Strive to gain a deeper knowledge of ‘truthiness’ about yourself.

    Furthermore– once you gain deeper self-knowledge, use it as a form of empowerment. To know yourself, to not desire to be any different. To know that your greatest virtues might be interpreted by others as your greatest vices.

    BE BOLD, BRAZEN, and unabashedly you!



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  • For the last 2 years, I have been experimenting with disconnecting. This meant:

    • For about 1-2 years, I didn’t own a phone
    • After this period, I used phones (Xiaomi and iPhone) for around 6 months without a data/phone plan.

    The basic notion was this:

    By not owning a phone or a phone plan, can I live a more zen, focused, productive, and happy life?

    My lessons thus far:

    1. Phones without a data plan are very useful

    Google maps works well without a data plan. Also, using an iPhone in airplane mode is a great tool (imagine a mini iPad that fits in your front pocket). I also consider the iPhone a great camera— probably the best in terms of ability to use a “full stack” photography solution.

    But having a phone with a data plan — this might be a net negative. You end up checking your phone or mindlessly surfing the internet and social media when you technically don’t need to.

    Thus the first lesson:

    It seems the optimal solution is to own an iPhone without data/phone connection. Just use Google hangouts when you must make phone calls with WiFi (WiFi is ubiquitous nowadays).

    2. Internet is good, but always being connected is bad

    I’m quite convinced that always having internet connectivity is bad for your brain. Inability to focus, or let your mind wander. This also means bad for your creativity.

    I propose this “barbell” connectivity notion. The basic idea is:

    When you wanna use the Internet, use it intensely with a laptop or computer device. But if you desire to maximize your productivity, don’t get a data plan for your phone.

    3. I can finally think again

    The upside of all this:

    I’ve been able to think more clearly, I’ve been able to wander and dream again, and I’ve been able to focus on people, conversations, and my work again.

    Furthermore, I’ve become far more creatively productive — increasing my artistic output.


    I might or might not get a phone plan in the near future. If so, maybe I can experiment getting a “dumb phone” with a phone plan if I want to make phone calls. Or perhaps I can try to program my iPhone with a data plan in a way which I usually keep in airplane mode. Or I can try to figure out how to optimally configure it to not be distracted by it.

  • # Test Your limits

    Dear friend,

    A fun idea to ponder: aren’t you curious what your limits are?


    I had this idea while at the gym when I got a new personal record for my “one rep max” for 95lbs Dumbell press (before my maximum was 90 lbs).

    This is what is fun for me in powerlifting: I’m just curious to see what my limits are, and whether or not I can surpass *above* what I think I’m capable of.

    For example, when I was in college and started powerlifting at age 18, I could only do 135 pounds. I then wondered whether I could Deadlift 200 pounds. I then did it. Then the next goal was 300 pounds. Hit that. Then 400 pounds. Hit that when I was 28 years old.

    The interesting thing is this:

    > Whenever I thought I hit a limit, I was somehow able to surpass it.

    Which made me realize:

    > We can achieve more than we think we’re capable of, and we’re much stronger than we think we are.


    I think about this a lot in business, life, photography, art, fitness, etc:

    > What are my limits?

    I’m just curious to see what my limits are.


    ## What does it mean to test your limits?

    To me, testing your limits means pushing *beyond* your maximum-perceived limit, or your prior limit.

    For example in powerlifting this is quite easy; you just try to increase your “one rep maximum” per exercise. If you can see you can lift heavier stuff week-over-week, you’re going *beyond* your limits and maximum.

    Now with art and life, this becomes more difficult to judge.

    For artwork, I think it means to take bigger risks with your artwork. This can mean taking more risky photos in street photography (of “scary” people), or it might mean taking more ambitious compositions by getting closer, integrating more layers, and more action, while keeping it simple and elegant.

    For business, testing your limits might mean increasing your rates or prices, or perhaps going into new or unknown territory. To try out a new niche, or to create a new niche/category of your own.


    ## Memento mori

    Remember, you will and must die. Knowing this, don’t you want to see how high you can fly before you get pulled into the depths of hades?

    Don’t worry about flying too close to the sun, your wings won’t burn and fall off. Just use some superglue, steel your courage, and take flight!

    FLY HIGH(er)!