Jenie Gao Studio

Always Observe, Always Ask Questions, Always Improve.

  • profession: declare a calling

  • Jenie I want to be a part of a culture of thinkers, doers, believers, and teachers, where the answer of "Yes!" to opportunity rings prominently and the cry of "No!" out of trepidation is as good as obsolete.

    I believe that I - like any other individual - am responsible for creating (or destroying) the quality of our culture. I believe in progress. I believe in learning by doing and growing by sharing. I believe in education. I believe our ability as humans to actively teach one another is our greatest asset. I believe that the true measurement of our leadership is our ability and willingness to explain what we do well, so that our peers and following generations may not only follow but also improve upon what we have done.

    I believe in respect. Some will say, "I don't need to like you to work with you," and while that's not wrong, I would challenge that philosophy by saying, "I don't need to agree with you to respect you." Our life work should be an expression of what we care about, not of our egos.

    I believe in growing pains. I believe in living in the discomfort zone. I believe the troubles and challenges we face exist not to stimulate our complaints but to give us reason for gratitude.

    I believe in utility. I believe the process of creating is as much about what we remove as what we add. To put our own stamps on the world, we have to know when to cut ourselves away, which often feels like cutting ourselves down a notch. We are great when we are humble.

    I believe in beauty, which may be the hardest fundamental to believe in. As people, we work so hard to make sense out of an illogical world that has few answers for our many questions, and we want to fix so many broken things. But even so, I believe in recognizing the magic and enchantment that surrounds us. For without it, we have neither gratitude nor reverence for the life we have been given, the opportunity to live out our greatest dreams, the fortitude to thrive in the face of our nightmares.

    I believe in follow through and commitment. We are successful when we take ownership of our actions and those actions reflect our life philosophies - even and often especially in the face of unpopularity. And when we do not stray from the core of our values, we make the world successful. When we lead ourselves, we teach our peers, our families, and our future generations, to lead themselves as well.

  • redamancy: return love

  • recommended reading

    favorite children's book: the phantom tollbooth, by norton juster

    recommended non-fiction:
    logo design love, by david airey
    rework, by jason fried and david hansson
    switch: how to change when change is hard, by chip heath and dan heath
    what would google do?, by jeff jarvis
    the 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, by john c. maxwell
    the last lecture, by randy pausch
    the culture code, by clotaire rapaille
    when fish fly, by john yokoyama

    recommended fiction:
    the fault in our stars, by john green

    favorite quotes

    "The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else to do." - Galileo Galilei

    "... for one of the nicest things about mathematics, or anything else you might care to learn, is that many of the things which can never be, often are. You see it's very much like your trying to reach Infinity. You know that it's there, but you just don't know where-but just because you can never reach it doesn't mean that it's not worth looking for." - Norton Juster

    "Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend." - Bruce Lee

    favorite talks

    the last lecture, randy pausch
    the power of vulnerability, brené brown


    many thanks to Michael Wessel Photography for your incredible work