William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)

44 day writing streak

The stuff that didn’t work

“I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” — Thomas Edison

Regardless of the particular people you aim to serve or the types of problems you aim to solve, it remains true for all endeavors that some actions done even with the best of preparation...
2021-02-06 14:29:14

What connection creates

Connecting with a diverse group of people creates the possibility for three things to happen: 

The possibility for every idea where common ground is found on to become ignited with energy and excitement.The possibility for every nuanced perspective shared to foster everyone’s ability to think in bigger, more abstract terms which...
2021-02-05 19:14:30

A heuristic for picking a path

Paths that feel exciting usually mean there’s an opportunity to advance something important.
Paths that feel scary usually mean that doing something you haven’t done before is called for which, while intimidating, offers the opportunity to stumble, learn, and ultimately grow.
If the goal is to advance important work and to increase...
2021-02-04 20:28:15

More important things

Many of us are familiar with the kinds of experiences that can completely absorb our attention and give rise to overwhelming feelings of frustration, anger, and anxiety:
A heated and unresolved argument with a colleague, family member, or friend that leaves you both feeling unsettled.
Final exams that you don’t quite feel...
2021-02-03 14:30:07

Shifting attention towards happiness

Moment-to-moment experience is largely influenced by where attention is focused, and most of the time attention shifts automatically from one event to the next.

When seemingly positive events happen, this hardly seems problematic:
It’s a beautiful day outside, your hot coffee taste delicious, the lunch you have with your friend in the...
2021-02-02 14:54:31

Looking for edge damage

When glass breaks, it’s easy to point to the most proximate cause:

The mechanical stress from the rock you saw hitting the glass.

Or perhaps thermal stress from an extreme shift in temperature.

Oh well. 

In many cases though, the impact of a hard thing or the sudden change in climate are not solely...
2021-02-01 15:03:17

Form, fit, function, and generosity

The solutions you build to help other people can be described in terms of form, fit, and function.
Form is what the solution looks like: a revolving belt, glass bent into a particular shape, an app.
Fit is how well the form meets someone’s needs from their perspective (this might be worth...
2021-01-31 15:58:33

A leap is several small steps in disguise

Big goals have at least three distinguishing features that set them apart from small goals: 1) they involve creating a change that shifts a culture forward, 2) they usually require several steps and 3) they do not happen over night. 

Sometimes we treat big goals like leaps - destinations that we...
2021-01-30 16:23:17

The perfect way is a myth

The idea that there is a somehow a perfect way to do things — to engage the people we aim to serve, to build a product, to live a life — is a myth.
We live in an eclectic society, which is to say that what works well for someone, may...
2021-01-29 20:21:56

Don't bury the lead

A lead is anything that someone needs to see and react to in order for progress to happen.
Important questions, key pieces of information, and unseen drafts are all examples of leads.
When we are not careful, we sometimes end up burying the lead. For example, we might put the lead in...
2021-01-28 14:35:45