First Principles Studio
Product studio for a better future, starting with a better self.

👋 Welcome!

I am . I have spent the last twenty years as a people-first, business-minded CTO.
I have built successful consumer and enterprise products across finance (), enterprise SaaS (), health (), media (, ).
First Principles Studio advises and invests entrepreneurs that help us live more purposeful and healthier lives.

Why first principles?

My formative years studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at instilled in me the “first-principles thinking” approach: breaking down complex problems into solvable elements → solving each element → reassembling them from the ground up → synthesizing and simplifying the result into clear takeaways.
In pursuit of quick results, many companies unintentionally encourage hacks and imitations than critical thinking. I witnessed how half-baked, low-conviction strategies combined with subpar execution, result in repeated disappointing outcomes.
Similarly, in our personal lives, the TikTok culture exposes our minds to half truths, shoddy reasoning, and false experts.
We can do better. Here we strive to apply first-principles thinking to everything we do—how we diagnose problems, evaluate investment opportunities, and build products.

⛰️ Impact areas: self, community, environment

American novelist Jack London once wrote in 1916,
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
Our time is precious. We should strive to make an impact across three dimensions: ourselves, our communities, and our environment.
Progress begins with personal accountability and growth.
Critical thinking: Our mind is both a gift and a responsibility.
Longevity: Promote longevity through healthy habits.
Purpose: Live with purpose and less distraction.
Wealth: Financial literacy → responsibility → independence → freedom
Antifragility: Thrive in the face of adversities.

We wither in a silo. We thrive as community.
Families: Strong families build strong societies. As a father of three mixed kids in a multigenerational household, I'm on a lifelong journey to set the baseline for how we interact with others.
Work: How can we be better coworkers and leaders at work in this remote-first world? What tools and best practices can we adopt to minimize unnecessary friction?
Culture: As a first-generation Asian American, what can I do to support the AAPI community?

Lead a more self-reliant lifestyle to build a more sustainable future through our everyday decisions: what we eat, what we wear, how we travel, our energy use, etc.
Quote to ponder on (emphasis is mine):
We can do things for ourselves or we can pay others to do them for us. There are the two “systems” that support us; we might call them the “self-reliance” system and the “organization system.” The former tends to produce self-reliant men and women; the latter tends to produce organization men.
In the modern world ... there has been an enormous and historically unique shift: away from self-reliance and toward organization. As a result, people are becoming less self-reliant and more dependent ... They may claim to be more highly educated than any generation before them; but the fact remains that they cannot really do anything for themselves.
It is in the essence of self-reliance that you start now and don’t wait for something to turn up.
Dr. E.E. Schumacher, CBE (1976)

Suggested readings:

🎙️ “Work-In-Progress” Podcast

Wisdom > hustle

Media tends to either glorify or castigate individuals. People are put on pedestals on their way up, and torn down when they inevitably prove to be flawed humans after all—from heroes to villains.
I believe most of us are neither heroes or villains. We are all work in progress—living out our purposes and honing our gifts as best as we can.
The “work-in-progress” podcast distills and source wisdom from successful-yet-under-the-radar makers: many of them are operators at private companies, and many of them local in our own communities.
“Success” in this case is not defined by outsized revenue or wealth. Instead, it’s defined by individuals’ impact in their respective communities, and their thoughtful approach to life.
This podcast is not about sensational headlines; it’s about curiosity and wisdom. Its voice is casual, heartwarming, and insightful.
It does not make you feel bad about wherever you are in life, but instead it challenges and sharpens your perspective, your mindset, and hopefully nudges you to take the next right step.

🔥 Latest episode:

Previous episodes:

👉 Notify me when new episode drops!

🚀 Companies I Actively Advise

Online therapist-led emotional fitness classes and one-on-one therapy.
Community of software developers getting together to help one another out.
invest + advise
Invest in the children you love.
invest + advise
Belonging in the world's leading workplaces.
More good. Less stuff.
Consumer Goods
invest + advise

🚀 Companies I Invest In

*Alphabetical & selective list
Aerial quality imagery - from space.
All great gardens start with Arber.
Stripe for trucking.
Every place has a story. Now every story has a place.
AI powered digital ad and marketing copy.
Artificial Intelligence that Makes Your Ads Work.
The intelligence augmentation company.
Data reliability delivered.
Supercharge Your Retention Efforts.
The future of automotive retailing.
Handcrafted fine jewelry with genuine ethnically sourced natural stones.
Consumer Goods
Leading career development platform.
Asynchronous discussions at work.
Prototype and build voice interfaces.
Democratising geospatial intelligence
Natural, organic, and edible coating that extends the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The world is your store
Smart journalism for the South Asian diaspora and South Asia-curious.
Building safety & sustainability tools to protect our food and our planet.
MLOps Co-pilot for post model development pipeline with monitoring & observability.
Visual content for modern marketers.


Sneak peak ... My work-in-progress mascot:
©2024 First Principles Studio

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