Thursday, October 4, 2012

Quote of the Day

Recently I came across a quote written by Leonardo di Vinci which really stuck to my head, and here it is:

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication

What does this quote really mean?  Well I am sure for different readers, there are different interpretations.  For me personally, I relate to the quote in 2 ways.  On a personal level, I have lived a chaotic and hectic cosmopolitan lifestyle all my life.  In hindsight, it is quite amusing to see how I could have survived schedules of working 16-hour days, while taking care of my husband and daughter, maintaining social gatherings with friends and family, and merging into a herd of travellers during Easter Breaks only to find that vacation ended up to be more tiring than work itself.  There was never enough time.  And now with my deliberate attempt to live a simpler life with balance, I can see the beauty and peace in doing so.  It has taken me years and years of being a hamster running on a wheel to realize that simplicity in life, relationships, taste, and activities is truly the most enjoyable.

The second way that this quote relates to me is of course through Chimpped!  Chimpped stands for simplicity and that was the entire reason we decided to create the platform in the first place.  Time is the most scarce resource and I just could not stand to see much of it being wasted in doing non-value added processes such as making bookings.  But to introduce a simple solution and have it adopted is not a "simple" task.  In fact, it is very difficult.  As we were building Chimpped, I did have people ask me why were we so silly to spend all this time, money, work and complicated issues in order to solve simplicity for other people?  My answer was:  why not?  Chimpped may just be a simple idea and not a big industrial or scientific break-through, but it doesn't need to be.  We just want people having the option to spend less time booking or coordinating schedules for all the activities that they do.  We also want Service Providers to have a simple and easy way to connect with their customers.  Afterall, "Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication"!

Do you prefer simplicity?  Here are some choices to compare to see what you prefer?


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What's the Magic Word?

Throughout the journey of creating Chimpped, I have discovered a vast array of helpful resources and tools that made the business, creative or execution process less complicated and challenging as it otherwise could have been.  I want to share some of these resources with you over various blogs.  An upfront disclaimer from me:  there may of course be better or more suitable alternatives than the ones I share, depending on each person's or business' needs.

As a start-up business, everyone rolls up sleeves and dives into any work that requires to be done.  There is no fancy title to shield against tedious, small and uninteresting tasks -- but of course with passion and a clear vision, all tasks are fun to do because they are like pieces of puzzle that ultimately form the Masterpiece.  Given that, it wasn't too long before Tony or I became associated with different websites that help us to achieve those "tasks".  For example, there were design websites, file sharing sites, incorporation document sites, etc etc.  This was perfectly fine because whichever sites we were using or researching on, they were easily bookmarked and filed.  The problem was with the PASSWORDS.

Every site we used required registration for an account.  And every site had their own different security and format preferences for passwords.  Some require at least 4 or 6 or whatever number of digits. Some require a minimum combination of capital letter, lower case and numbers.  This obviously meant we had to use different passwords depending on the rules and criteria.  Then there are different login ID requirements.  Some ask for email address which is simple enough, but some require you to set a unique login ID.  I had at least 25 sites that I used regularly for business (Chimpped) purpose.  That means I have to remember at least 50 unique IDs and passwords associated with any specific site.  And of course all the sites tell you to create really "unique" passwords that are hard to crack meaning the passwords are even harder to remember because they can't be easy ones like your birthday.

I could barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday or my mother's cell phone number, let alone all the combinations of letters in different sizes plus numbers. 

Then came the discovery of  It is a simple and secured website for one to store login information for different websites.  It has all sorts of helpful functions such as filing the sites into folders, etc.  But for my purpose, lastpass does the trick in 3 steps:  (1) Login (yeah, this one I have to memorize), (2) add a site URL, and (3) input the login ID and password.  Now the brain can be freed up for more productive things.  Of course, any online security article will tell you not to save passwords in just one place so while lastpass does the trick for the most part, we still have to store the more important and private sites' credentials in encrypted codes within our mattresses.  And let's not even begin the discussion about the Security Questions that have to be answered (your childhood bestfriend, first pet's name, street name of your elementary school, etc). 

Why can't we replace passwords with just a thumb-print scan on our laptop, computer and smartphone (at least for the most part)?  If fingerprints are good enough for Government Security, might they not be good enough for most of the websites out there?  There are certainly enough scanning technology out there where I would have thought this is actually possible.

OK, I'll stop dreaming.  For now, I still love using


Monday, September 17, 2012

I Want Orange. Like It or Not.

I wrote about how the name and logo of "Chimpped" came about, and realized I must not deprive you of knowing how the color combo of orange, white, dark brown and light brown came to be.  When it comes to color, there is an insurmountable number of choices and permutation of the choices.  Yet the color does become an important identity of a brand so we also did not belittle that decision (e.g. the blue of facebook, the metallic of apple, green of groupon and red of yelp).

We felt the color of Chimpped should also align well with the definition of our happy and smart little chimp.  At the same token, I did not want the the app or website to give the impression that we're just something fun when in fact our whole idea is providing a service to users and businesses.  Thus there needs to be a breath of stability and maturity in our brand as well.  A home presents that stability and I just like the decor palette of dark brown, light brown and tan, which give a sense of warmth.  We want users and service providers to feel "at home" and comfortable when viewing and using Chimpped.  Another image that this color palette reminded me of was chocolate -- creamy chocolate with multiple layers. 

We also needed that "something" to give the warm and cozy background palette an electrical and energetic boost.  Red seemed too aggressive for me.  Blue certainly would be a wannabe of someone, something.  Yellow on the palette would not stand out enough.  Purple is too new age for me.  Pink can be the color my daughter chooses for her website but not on mine please.  ORANGE it is - energetic, sharp, stylish but not too pressing. 


You would think the hardest part was to decide on the above.  But that was not the hardest part.  The hardest part was to extract what I wanted in my head and eyes into the exact shade and resolution to be replicated by our Graphic Designer.  It was always..."a notch lighter", "2 notches darker", "a different shade...not exactly that", etc etc.  Believe it or not, we still have designers working behind the scenes to fine-tune the colors and screens right now! 

OK...what's the point of all of this?  I spent 2 blogs talking about our logo and name and color.  You must be wondering..."and the point is?".  The point simply is just to share with you some parts of the journey.  It is no different than when you eat at restaurants and the chef sometimes come out to chat to you, excited about how he/she discovered the best tomatoes in a secret little farm or how adding a spoon of lemon juice into the dressing made all the difference in the new taste.  The chef is simply sharing his or her passion with you on the journey of making your dishes and in passion, every detail is memorable. 

I am just sharing with you the excitement, details and journey.  Having said that, there is just so much I can write about logos and colors.  Tony and I decided that for our next blog, we will share with you some helpful sites to use, which we discovered during the Chimpped journey.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Why "Chimpped"?! And What's with That Wink?

"Is it pronounced Chimp-ped"?  "It sounds like You've been Chimpped"!  "Any relation to Chump"? 

These are just some of the questions or comments I get when introducing Chimpped.  For the record, Chimpped is pronounced as "Chimp" with the "e" in the "ped" part being a silent vowel (sounds like "chimpt").  And no, I don't know what "chump" means although some people tells me there is a bad connotation to it. 

Tony and I created Chimpped with the vision of it being a simple, smart and convenient tool for everyone.  The first representation of that description (and more) that came to our minds was a Chimpanzee -- smart, swift, fun.  And given our platform is all about "doing things" (as opposed to just view, read, listen, write, or post), we changed chimp into a verb form:  Chimpped!  This word doesn't exist in so it is a made-up word.  And let's face it, with the zillion of web domains that already exist in this world, it is not a bad idea to be original.

As for the logo, that took more time than coming up with our brand name.  Tony and I both knew we wanted an original monkey or chimpanzee face but we still needed to have some direction before speaking to designers.  The variations and choices were numerous.  Try googling "chimpanzee" or "monkey" images or pictures.  Do we want just the face or half body or full body? With or without clothes?  How about cartoon style or real-live image?  And the questions go on.  At one point, I got so frustrated (not knowing what to decide on) that I took out my daugther's colored pencils and started to draw a chimp from scratch.  The only reason that idea did not go through was because my daughter said I drew a very pretty and cute bear.  (Not even Tony knows about this)


Finally we caved in and left it to the designers.  We went to a few of them with some text descriptions of what we wanted (including the wink), and picked the one that made us smile.  The only change I added to the design that we chose was making the smile bigger, happier.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

About Chimpped

Hi! Most people who have seen or heard about Chimpped and its purpose are enthusiastic about our mission to reduce time spent on making appointments. I like that idea too, and that is why Chimpped was created. This is only the beginning and although far from reaching the vision, I would like to share with you the story about Chimpped. If the below quantity of text seems daunting, my sister wrote an awesome blog summarizing our story.

My name is Mimi and I co-founded Chimpped, but let me confess upfront: I don't have a technology academic or working background. I am also not an Ivy League school drop-out or graduate (which seems to be a common resume theme in Silicon Valley). In fact, prior to Chimpped, I was not even living in Silicon Valley or the U.S. **Don't worry, the other co-founder and engineers of Chimpped are highly experienced and are veterans in technology**

So who am I? I was a long-time veteran of the financial industry, juggling between a demanding career, frequent travel schedule and a 5-year old daughter at home. Originally from California, my family and I have worked and lived in Hong Kong for the past 15 years where I trotted all over Asia for work and fun. Finally in 2011 and as difficult as it may seem at that moment, I decided to call it quits to spend more time with my family.

Periodic frustrations had provoked me in the past whenever I received phone calls in the middle of a work meeting only to confirm a massage appointment, or when my face turned red as the restaurant hostess assured me (to my disagreement) that no reservation was made under my name, or when I had to secretly tiptoe to the back staircase to make an OBGYN appointment so colleagues couldn't hear me. But that was just a part of life and I did not think much about it other than getting frustrated in the heat of the moment. Boy, did that "no big deal" perspective change when I started to care for my family full-time.

Scheduling appointments for my family, husband, daughter and myself simply took up an absurd amount of time. A lot of things we did on a regular basis involved making bookings, from dining with family, to dining with friends, to my daughter's ballet, art and ice-skating classes, to her doctor check-up, to my haircut, down to our pet's visit to the vet. You get the picture. Not only do I have to go on various sites to research and conclude on a Service Provider, but I needed to do a combination of calling (with busy and "closed for the day" messages) and emailing. After that, there is a process of writing things down, inputting the confirmed appointments manually on my desktop and iPhone calendars, and sometimes even a self-made spreadsheet matrix of my daughter's activities.

Just writing the above process tires me out. "Why?" I asked myself. Why can't this be simpler? Without being a tech wizard, I thought we certainly may have sufficient technology capability to pull together a solution. After confirming with my long-time friend Tony (who is way more experienced in tech than me), we decided to embark on a journey to make this happen. So we gathered a team of brilliant engineers and started our way to build Chimpped.

Our goal is to make the whole booking experience simple and convenient -- not just what you see on Chimpped today, but more features will come out to complete our goal.

My daughter and I literally packed our bags and moved to California, all in order to realize a dream one step at a time. Next week, we will share with you why Chimpped is called Chimpped.