Why I like to build things of my own

I’ve been absent from this platform for a while. I wanted to take some time off to think about whether I wanted to continue writing articles of the sort that grew my readership or to change course and write about what I really wanted to write about — the journey of building something of your own.

I’ve made my decision. I’ll still occasionally write about topics related to how to build a startup, but for now I’ll write mostly about my personal experience of building something of my own.

For this article, I don’t have a clear one sentence answer for why I like to build things of my own other than “it excites me.”

For the past few months, I’ve been working on an app with two friends and on my YouTube channel. They’ve been my two projects for a while, and from them I think I can explain why I like to do them.

Perhaps the insights I share might help you put into words why you want to do something of your own (if you’re thinking about doing something of your own) or why you should continue to do something of your own (if you’re about to quit).

A cartoon dumpling being picked up by a pair of chopsticks
Icon made by https://www.flaticon.com/authors/freepik (Freepik) from https://www.flaticon.com/ (Flaticon)

I built an app

It’s called Piky on the Apple App Store (see above for the app’s icon) and is an app that shows you restaurants in NYC recommended by popular IG foodies.

Putting all this effort into one project once again uncovered the age old question of why, which I had for a while been avoiding for fear of providing an inadequate answer to myself. Feelings of excitement guided me from idea to the launch of our MVP and today felt like the day to put those feelings into words.

So today, I asked myself why.

Why did I put all this time into building Piky?

For the app, the answer was clear.

I built it because I enjoy the process of building technology that connects people to things that they would enjoy. Something wholesome and unique, like a great restaurant and the great memories that come from having a great meal with friends or someone you just met.

An image of a phone with the YouTube loading screen displayed.
Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

I’ve been doing YouTube for almost a year

While thinking about Piky, I also started to think about my YouTube channel.

I do YouTube for the people.

Let me explain.

Growing up, I had a solid group of friends. People I would meet every single day.

But one day, that changed. I got a bad grade on an exam and felt judged for it. I felt shame and this helplessness that came from not being able to rewind the clock and study harder for the exam.

The fear of getting judged pushed me away from the people I once considered my friends. It turned life into a binary situation where it was either work as hard as possible and rise above everyone else to avoid judgment forever or forever live in judgment because of inadequacy.

I’m no longer that person today. Life is no longer binary for me. Perhaps it was doing everything right to the tee and still not creating ideal situations that made me start questioning whether life was really just about avoiding the judgment of others and pleasing all those around me, especially authority figures.

But to cut things short, I’m slowly moving away from being the people pleaser and avoider of judgment. As I’ve started growing a community (r/nyctakeout on Reddit), I’ve come under judgment and accepted that sometimes, coming under judgment is simply a natural side-effect of standing out.

So what does this have to do with YouTube?

Well, for one thing, I know there are plenty of other individuals out there right now in the situation that I was once in.

Unsure of how to start, doubtful of their abilities, and fearful of uncertainty — who want to make the leap into the unknown and try something new like building an app, going to a different country, and so on. Who just need that nudge.

I want my channel to be something that can help these people see past their current situation and nurture that feeling of excitement and wonder that comes from doing what they want to do, and not what they are told is the “right thing” to do.

And that it is possible to create your own rules and find your own ways of moving forward. Can’t find a developer for your app? Pitch people on LinkedIn. Don’t know how to make a video? Watch lots of videos and set a goal to make a short 1 minute video in a day.

It excites me to know that there are at least a couple of people who find my channel useful for making them feel like what they want to do is viable and possible, and acceptable. I hope my channel continues to help people in that way.

I also do YouTube because of the people I’ve watched over the years who’ve influenced me. Mostly people who came from humble beginnings and managed, over the years, to create something people can identify with.

It’s hard to meet people in real life, at least for me and especially right now. Whenever I meet someone new, I try to make an effort to get to know them and to organize ways to meet with them. Maybe I’m just not going to the right places and/or meeting the right people. I guess it’s a mix of both.

Of course with YouTube, it’s not like you can tell who a person really is based on their videos alone. But you can make a pretty good guess and then from there start conversations.

Based on the videos I’ve seen by lots of different creators, there are so many interesting people on YouTube and it would be nice to get to know some of these people.

Anyways, that’s all for this article.

Check out my app if you live in NYC and want to find some great food spots that aren’t typically listed on review sites.

Thank you for reading this article. I’ll see you in the next one.




I write for lonely creators - people like myself who are trying to create something of their own and feel isolated in the process.

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Jason Cheung

Jason Cheung

I write for lonely creators - people like myself who are trying to create something of their own and feel isolated in the process.

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