The drive to be great

The drive to be great is almost always intrinsic.

There are external rewards that motivate actions, but that’s purely the premise. Emotionally, I think it’s simply the urge to answer the questions of becoming better: can we do it better? can we provide a better product? can we really solve it?

And the drive is the excitement when we think about the possible growths ahead.

Innovation and progress are made by humans. And I think inventors, entrepreneurs, rule-breakers, innovators, … don’t do all the great things they did just b/c they think it’s the right thing to do. I guess they did it simply because of the thrill, the self-satisfaction that somehow emerges in their mind when they solve problems, discover and change things.


There is no choice. There is no deliberation.

It’s always about the road ahead. And so they are, always moving.

Bạn đang từ thiện bao nhiêu khi mua tờ vé số 10k?


Cứ ngồi trong quán ăn, quán cà phê là ai ai cũng thấy người bán vé số. Vấn đề tâm lí ở đây là phần lớn người bán vé số là người già và em nhỏ.

Câu hỏi được đặt ra ở đây là: Mua vé số có phải là làm từ thiện không?

Khi bán 1 vé 10k, số tiền bán được được phân bổ xấp xỉ như sau:

  • 1k – 1.5k: người bán [1]
  • Phần còn lại (8.5k – 9k): dùng để trả cho người trúng giải, nộp thuế và chia cho các đại lí.

Cụ thể, số tiền trúng giải chiếm khoảng 50% tổng số tiền vé bán được [2], nộp thuế nhà nước khoảng 20% – 30% tổng doanh thu [3]. Số % còn lại thuộc về đại lí và người bán.

Như vậy, trên góc độ “từ thiện”, mua một vé số 10k thì chúng ta đang “từ thiện” trên 2 góc độ:

  • Cho người bán 1k – 1.5k
  • Đóng góp chung cho xã hội: 2k – 3k; vì tiền thuế thu từ vé số được quy định (trên lí thuyết) dùng để xây dựng các công trình công cộng, giáo dục, y tế, …

Như vậy, nếu qua việc mua vé số bạn muốn “cho tiền” cụ già bán vé thì có lẽ không mua vé mà cho cụ 2k thì tốt hơn:

  • Bạn từ thiện cho cụ được nhiều hơn khi bạn mua vé số (2k > 1.5k)
  • Vé vẫn còn đó, cụ có thể bán cho người khác
  • Bạn chỉ tiêu 2k thay vì 10k

Tham khảo:
[1], [3]:



The early-stage start-up game

The early-stage start-up game is not an idea game, but more often a focus game.

People doing start-ups are mostly brilliant, and oftentimes they have more than an ocean of ideas to try.

But trying all those ideas would definitely lead to death, b/c many of them actually don’t contribute to getting to product-market fit or a scalable business.

Continue reading The early-stage start-up game

Players vs Coaches. Researchers vs Teachers

Being a football player is not the diametrical opposite of being a football coach. Likewise, being a researcher doesn’t exclude the teaching role; more often, it entails a teaching role.

But it’s interesting to recognize also that being a player is quite different from being a coach. And what makes a good researcher is not necessarily what makes a good teacher.

Continue reading Players vs Coaches. Researchers vs Teachers

Lessons from Perelman Story

The life story of Perelman:

  • the mathematician who solved the PointCaré Conjecture
  • rejected the Fields Prize (the first and only person to do so)
  • rejected 1 mil US$ prize for his solution of the Conjecture.

has left me with some realizations that I think you may find useful or otherwise thought-provoking.

If you don’t know about him, you can read my summary about Perelman story here.

Below are the main lessons I’ve learned:

  • I used to dislike early specialization programs for young pupils. But Perelman’s story has made me more open to this.
    I now accept that it may be necessary for finding and growing exceptionally talented people (esp. in Math?). Hence, it seems important to help children identify their talents as early as possible, by giving them many opportunities to get exposed to various disciplines. (This is not the same as forcing young people to follow a field decided by parents or someone else)

Continue reading Lessons from Perelman Story

Muhammad Ali: When it really counts

Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest heavy boxers in the sport’s history. 

It was told that in a conversation, the interviewer asked him: “How many sit-ups do you do?”

He answered “I don’t count my sit-ups”.

But he then elaborated: 

“I only start counting when it starts hurting. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.” 

That’s when it really counts: not the miles you’ve run or the work you’ve accomplished, but the extra miles, the extra hours, the extra work, the extra responsibility that you take, while others refuse or not motivated enough to do or take.

That’s what really matters. The extra miles, not the miles


I’ve been hearing a lot about him through the news. 

Now I know why he’s among the greatest athletes.