Design Strategist. A wild duck who always fly high.

Julia Tsoi’s photo
Julia Tsoi’s photo
Credit: Author

Hi there! My name is Julia, and I am a design strategist who draws.

My Story

I grew in Hong Kong, a very international city where you can find Eastern and Western culture melted from both sides, especially food. I spent most of my time in my childhood studying hard under our famous cramming education. Memorizing all the book content and scoring high in examinations are the common goal for Hong Kong students.

Yet besides studies, I was fortunate to explore the arts of ancient Chinese literature, ballet, and music, where I play piano and percussion in my leisure time.

All the grown-ups always tell us that if we could not enter the top 3 universities here, we screw up our lives. So on the day when I was appointed to the top 4, I was hopeless. I thought the world was ending, and I would never be happy again in my life. …


The proven tactic helps me decide on my action

Illustration of decision making
Illustration of decision making
Credit: Anastasia

We need to make decisions every day, from small decisions like whether we snooze the alarm or not, to the big decision on career and relationship.

When asking about how people make decisions now, some people use a decision tree. Some build a comparison table to visualize all the pros and cons of the decision. Talking to families and friends, alternatively, is also a common way to understand the situation from an outsider’s perspective.

As for myself, I make decisions with my gut instinct. Fearing not knowing the other alternatives in life, I am frightened with regrets and not living the most of it. Leaping for a chance? …


And you can have yours with a few clicks too

Illustration of website building
Illustration of website building
Credit: Pawel Olek

Last year, I read the entire series of books from Austin Kleon, including The New York Times bestseller “Steal Like an Artist,” “Show Your Work!,” and “Keep Going.” I like his humor and his way of finding creativity in this chaotic world.

In his book “Show Your Work!”, Austin showed us how to become known by others on a creative journey. There was particular advice that caught my eye:

“If we have only one takeaway from this book, go build your website and show our work.”

If Austin writes it in such an assuring manner, why not give it a try? So, I bought my domain and host service on Cyber Monday and started the journey to build my website. …


Search within. And you know how you can be happy.

Photo of a happy picture
Photo of a happy picture
Credit: Sarah Ziegler

The night before, my friend asked me a simple but profound question — “what does happiness mean to you?”

I went in silent.

At the end of the day, it is not something that we will consider daily, especially living in a metropolitan where the city never sleeps.

Happiness used to be so simple when we were young. You get the candy, then you are happy. A new toy? Nothing better than that in life.

But when time goes by, happiness becomes way more complicated. You might get a good grade in school, but then you need to keep the performance up and fight for a decent university. Later on, when you graduate and get a fair company offer, you need to start worrying about the office’s politics and how to get promoted in the next year. …


We need to be still. Be strong. And be you.

“Don’t be an apologetic artist”
“Don’t be an apologetic artist”
Credit: Kelson

How often do you apologize in your day-to-day work? I have to confess that I do it pretty often. I am not sure whether it is nurtured by my teachers in school or the mindset instilled by my parents. But I am crystal clear that the word “sorry” is a common phrase used frequently in my professional life.

Never Use the Apology As the Opening of an Email

I made this mistake for a while until my mentor reminded me recently.

“Sorry for replying late.”

“Sorry for bothering you on this.”

“Sorry, but I really need your help.”

I thought I was trying to be polite and humble, yet my mentor told me that it, unfortunately, makes me look weak with a lack of confidence. It kills the positive vibes during the first few seconds when people read our message. …


Time to spend some quality me-time and set up the stage for the next year

Illustration of Christmas painting
Illustration of Christmas painting
Credit: Julia Tsoi

Coming to December, we all start taking day-offs to celebrate the end of the year. Since this is a special year where we cannot go overseas, below are the 35 ideas you can do at home. Completely safe and sound.

Entertainment

Movies

  • Scent of a Woman(1992)
  • The Invisible Guest (2016)
  • Eat Pray Love (2010)
  • The Shawshank Redemption(1994)
  • Parasite(2020)
  • The Body(2019)
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet(2018)
  • Train the Dragon(2010)
  • Love Rosie(2014)

Series

  • Too Hot to Handle (2020)
  • Sex Education Season 1–2 (2019)
  • Stranger Things Season 1–3 (2016)
  • The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
  • Emily in Paris (2020)
  • The Umbrella Academy Season 1–2 (2019)

Documentary

  • The Social…


And it could be your Christmas gift this year too

An illustration about a woman doing shopping
An illustration about a woman doing shopping
Credit: Septiana Budyastuti

It is always a good practice to reflect when coming to the end of the year. Looking back, I spend a lot less on entertainment since I stay home most of the time (also no new clothes are needed!).

My purchase this year is mainly about self-growth and improving my quality of life. Below, I come up with a list of items that proved to be a good asset that you may consider having too.

Gadget

1. iPad and Apple Pen

Earlier in the year, I bought an iPad Air 3 and Apple Pen for productivity and entertainment. …


Website and apps. Screen and animation. My experience in testing out a prototyping tool

Illustration of a designer drawing on a screen
Illustration of a designer drawing on a screen
Credit: Ivan Haidutski

Throwing back to the old days when I was a young consultant. There was a time my boss asked me to work on a PowerPoint deck for his presentation. And you can imagine that he does not have time to walk me through his idea; instead, he gave it an open-end question and asked me to build with my best knowledge and effort.

Challenge accepted. I was so excited to formulate the deck in the way I wanted it. So I directly jumped into my creative zone, crafted out the content, and made it the most appealing presentation in my life. Carefully selected wordings, visually-appealing graphics, fancy animation between slide and slide, all you can imagine. …


“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”― Mark Twain

A girl holding a baloon
A girl holding a baloon
Photo by Cata on Unsplash

Last month, I joined a virtual workshop that a social association hosted to inspire students to explore their passion and purpose in life. Those were the student studying in high school, aged around 15–16. In the session’s opening, they asked the question — “What is your goal in life?” and had the student typed their answer in the chat.

To no surprise, some people wrote about earning a lot of money, traveling around the world, being a celebrity, you name it. However, there was one particular answer that repeated for serval times scared me.

Retirement.

It is frustrating to know that students are already dreaming of retirement, even before they get into university. It implies that they already assume they would not like the job; Each working day would be nothing more than torture that they want to run away from it. And all they want is to end their career as soon as possible, then head to retirement and finally enjoy the life they deserve. …


We are talking about professionally showing your view, but not losing your temper

Illustration on conflict in workplace
Illustration on conflict in workplace
Credit: Julia Hanke

When I was an intern, I never say no. I never disagree with people. And I took orders whenever they asked me to do. Deep in my heart, I had the very traditional perception that being the youngest person in the team means we need to nod, smile, and obey regardless.

The first time I cried for work was because I made a mistake, then a manager humiliated me. She criticized me personally, using the term “stupid,” “brainless,” and “total failure.” It felt horrible. However, despite how harsh she was, I did not feel angry at all with the attacks. …

About

Julia Tsoi

Design Strategist in Tech | Ex-IBMer | Apple Developer Academy Alumni. Bird without legs and I would always fly high. https://juliatsoi.com/

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store