Robert Yang

seasoned cross-disciplinary builder integrating art, technology, and commerce

Cover Letter

Dear Synthesis Team,
My daughter has been enrolled in Synthesis since January 2021 because the Synthesis learning experience resonates deeply with our family. We know our schools fall short of preparing students for the future and love how Synthesis fills the gaps.
I want to share my perspectives as a concerned parent. These are key themes we share with our daughter and they show our alignment with Synthesis values.
We have a different report card. We are attentive to our children's agency, self-sufficiency, and belief in themselves. These are valuable enduring skills that matter more to us than an A in Algebra.
One thing leads to another. Keep moving and things will happen. It’s okay when you get blocked. Take some time, and the different ways to connect the dots will be revealed when you start moving again.
Having doubts is okay. Everyone has them. Even the best in the world. Let’s figure out how to be comfortable with having natural doubts and uncertainty.
Intelligence is the ability to recognize patterns quickly. What steps and practices can speed your pattern recognition?
You will always learn more from doing. If you don’t like classes where teachers make you sit and listen, and then give you tests, we share your frustrations and feel the emotions that come with it.
Experimenting leads to progress. Test your ideas, then observe and take note of your outcomes. It’s okay if your tests fail - you should expect it. If you’re not failing, you’re playing safe. Push at the edges, and see what magic happens. (And yes, school and your teachers can train to you play safe.)
And finally, remember whatever happens - It’s not permanent, perfect, or personal.

I look forward to talking with the team to help build the Synthesis vision.
Thank you.
RY Sig.png
Robert Yang
Cell: 310-600-6821

Application Question

I’ve read about Synthesis Vision and Strategy Deep Dive document. And here’s my response to your application question:
In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge Synthesis faces in achieving its mission?
Resistance is Synthesis’ greatest challenge as it grows past the initial early adopters.
Early adopters are easy first customers. My daughter has been a Synthesis student since Jan 2021. Our decision to apply was easy because we know how our daughter thrives when learning through play. So, Synthesis' model of active learning resonated quickly with our family.
I agree with Einstein who said, “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.” I'm not sure, however, others agree until it's too late and the love of learning has been dulled.
Parents often recognize in hindsight how our school systems slowly erode their children's natural curiosity and love of learning. They wonder why their child doesn’t have confidence in their capabilities and unique individual qualities. I believe the loss of the love of learning is a slow decline. It’s hard to see it until it’s too late. So, the resistance challenge comes from convincing the frog to jump from the slow-boiling pot.
Another source of resistance is going against the inertia of legacy education systems. Conventional wisdom tells parents the system worked for them, so let the system work for their children. They fall back on their own trusted paths to success - get good grades, test well, and be admitted into a good college. When I raise doubts that our gold-ribbon school district could be failing our children, they will shrug off serious questioning or action. Changing minds is hard for educated professionals when their degrees define their success.
The current success of Synthesis is an exciting accomplishment. The early adopters are still out there - your waitlist is evidence of that. Yet, planning for the next wave of Synthesis students would be a worthwhile and pragmatic effort.
I would agree another big challenge is accessibility. Affording Synthesis is a privileged option for our family. Delivering Synthesis to under-resourced students would bring meaningful impact to their communities and families, and I'd love to tackle how to solve the accessibility issue.
Finally, here are a few ideas I had to address the challenges.
Data-informed Action - What internal data could provide insights to reduce resistance? Insights could reveal 1) what channels produce the best conversion, lowest churn, and highest renewal rates, and 2) where are new channels for student growth?
Alumni Bridge-building - Connect alums to external internships, mentors, and learning opportunities with other super collaborators and problem-solvers. Illustrate for parents a tangible value for Synthesis learners in the greater community.
Peer-to-peer learning - Lower cost of facilitation by building a peer-to-peer learning program so students with seniority (or junior facilitators) can lead community games. Introduce a badging system so students can “earn” their way into peer leadership roles.
Composability - Lego and Minecraft come to mind as eco-systems that attract and empower others to their platforms. How could composability help build network effects and lead to greater student engagement?

Experience Overview

Digital Product Manager / Business Strategist
Worked on project teams to formulate business strategies and unify the efforts of designers, developers, and client needs. Projects included web applications in AI, financial services, education platforms, meal planning services, and various e-commerce store build outs.
Video Game Art Lead
Led Playstation 2 art team for major film franchise game. Coordinated with game designers and software development team to produce creative game assets from game backgrounds to in-game video sequences.
CGI Artist
Worked on various video game, music video, commercial production, and feature movie CGI teams.
Interior Architect
Planned and built over 1.5 million square feet of commercial office space projects from junior planner to studio manager and firm founder.

Past Clients & Projects

Square USA
Heavy Iron Studios
Digital Domain
Rainmaker Digital
Fabric Labs
Lola Tech Systems
Campus Explorer
Level Connections
Case Zero
Royal Order
Finest Watches
Noyo Home
Steelhawk Airsoft

Fun Fact

Incubating public speaking skills workshops for teens
My current passion project has been holding workshops to help middle and high-school students build their personal communication and public speaking skills. Our workshops use the Ultraspeaking () framework for professional trainings and we are learning from our early cohorts how to adopt it for teen-age students.
Here’s a calendar of our past workshops -

Chronological Resume

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