On this date last year...
I finally get to sit down and write an entry here and BOY do I ever miss it, lol! As of this weekend, this website goes back to its regularly scheduled programming, lol. Okay, a brief overview of what just took place these past few weeks:
In a nutshell, Jim and his friends threw a few informal Happy Hours in Shanghai earlier this year that drew in enough of a crowd such that they soon needed a name, a website, an email management system, and so forth, so in February he approached me about a partnership whereby we'd supply him with the above and in return, they'd represent ORIENTED in Shanghai.
At first I was a bit hesitant as I was already consumed with all that I had going on here, but when he approached me again this month and started going OFF about what a great idea this is and that I MUST do it, I gave it some more thought and then 24 hours later, said to myself... hmmmm... HMMMMM!
It wouldn't be *TOO* difficult to set up Happy Hours in ALL of the major cities around here -- God knows I've been organizing events and people forever, both for my job and for community service projects here and in the U.S. -- and we know enough people who would want to participate so um, why not?!
I did freak out a little (okay a lot) when it dawned on me just how many people this would benefit/impact -- see list below -- but I got over it pretty quickly and just resigned myself to making it happen with the help of a number of terrific people (see list of Event Organizers).
It costs very little to set it up if anything at all, everyone wins -- especially the local economies that will benefit significantly from the presence and contributions of the above individuals -- and it is a low-maintenance effort on everyone's part with the EXCEPTION of what I just went through to set this whole thing up (lol).
Notice how I progressively start to look really shitty...
So... in the course of two weeks, we confirmed all five cities for April -- Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, San Francisco, and Seattle (and I am *very* excited about the people we have on board), and, the website and email management system are now fully functional. Shanghai and Taipei went ahead with the March 28th event, both of which drew in over 80+ people.
In Taipei, since this was to be our first event, we expected around 30 people to attend. Needless to say, we were pleasantly surprised with the turnout, and I'm also happy to report that Chin Chin Yap and Andrea Chen just agreed to sign-on as our third Event Organizers in Beijing and Taipei respectively, rounding off the numbers (and international backgrounds) quite nicely.
I'm pretty happy.
Hope everyone else is too.
Also, I've had to put literally everyone else on hold in order to make these Happy Hours happen -- including the project manager of the web team (who has been waiting on me to sign off on their final proposal so that the programmers can get started), my lawyer (who submitted the term sheets to me for review last week, which I only got to yesterday), and my investors, who are probably wondering why on earth ANYONE would ever put off the paperwork to receive funding!
Okay so maybe they aren't so happy... oops!
I've had so little sleep these past few weeks that I was a bit dumbfounded when Jim said to me over lunch last week, "Christine, don't spend too much time on this, you should focus on your business...", or something to that effect.
If I wasn't so friggin' tired at the time... I would have hit him.
Since the site was launched, I have been getting a lot of questions. The two most frequently asked are:
Is that YOU in the graphic on the Homepage?
To the first question, my answer is "NO". I was planning to write up a full-length entry about my stance on competition (which I think is a great thing), but I think instead I'll just say that the ORIENTED Happy Hours are going to bring even more attention to CAPT than it could possibly do on its own at the regional level and that therefore it will help to increase its membership - not the other way around. Other local social/professional organizations will also enjoy the same support.
- Is this going to compete with CAPT
I was also quick to remind people that CAPT's newest officer found out about the organization through ORIENTED.ORG and that Gus Adapon -- who co-founded ORIENTED.ORG with me -- just recently joined the CAPT Executive Committee not too long ago as well, to assist them with their technical and events planning needs.
Or is it... a mutually-beneficial co-existence?
You tell me. Or actually, don't. I don't want to hear it any more (seriously).
On that note...
While running on the treadmill last night and reflecting on the above, it occurred to me out of nowhere just *HOW* we are going to help bring exposure to these organizations. So I made a quick phone call at 9:00 p.m. from the gym and held an ad-hoc meeting at Warner Village with a brand new web design company that I was introduced to the night before at the ORIENTED Happy Hour.
I pitched the idea to them.
Thus, this mini-project I refer to above should be up and running within a week. (My main web company is way too busy with my original proposal to them and had already taken time out of that project to help me set up the Happy Hour site. I can't be buggin' them again for another diversion without getting killed for it.)
So that's that.
As for the second question, the answer is also, "NO", lol. Although admittedly, when my original web designers first showed me the design for the Happy Hours website, I did think it was me too, for more than a split second. Looks just like me from the back with my hair up and all, lol!
Last but not least...
Remember that OOL I was freaking out about back in October? Well I can openly talk about it now. I was informally offered the position as Special Assistant to Sam Mok who was just officially sworn in as Chief Financial Officer of the U.S. Department of Labor, who will report directly to Elaine Chao.
Had I taken the position -- and assuming a) I would have passed the background check (which is why I was not allowed to talk about it openly at the time amongst various other reasons), and b) that HE passed Senate confirmations (which there is no way to predict and is the reason why a formal offer could not be made back then) -- I would be back in the States by now (where I am trying to get to), and be right smack in the middle of the Asian American political community (where I'd love to be), and have a salary I could not command on my own if I went back to look for a job right now.
I declined the offer (obviously) but with MUCH deliberation and had documented my reasoning behind it here. It was a really tough decision, and... I do wonder how I would be feeling today had I decided otherwise.
The reason I mention this now is because Sam Mok's Swearing Ceremony took place on Thursday, March 28th... the same date as our first ORIENTED Happy Hour in Taipei.
Life sometimes works in the strangest of ways... know what I mean?
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