Happy Birthday, Hello Kitty!

Ah, one of my childhood staples celebrated her 35th anniversary with a Hello Kitty Art Show – Contemporary artists Gary Baseman, Ron English, Buff Monster, Camilla d’Errico, Luke Chueh, Deph and Yosuke Ueno showed their HK inspired work.  I am bummed I missed this event at Royal/T!  I hadn’t kept up with the latest products from Sanrio, but I loved these Mimobot USB sticks!


Nissan V2G Vehicle-to-Grid Concept


So a project that I worked on has finally been released, and it’s seen some good press! (Isn’t that what you call 2 mildly positive blog entries, nowadays?)  Anyway, all the soul that I put into my work feels like it’s worth it when something I touch comes to fruition in any form.  The Nissan V2G, an electric vehicle designed for Gen Z kids in 2030, came from Nissan Design America and it was neat to see all the blood, sweat and tears from the team turn into something blog-worthy.  Check my name in the research credit! 

I also proposed the name which was chosen, that serendipitously turned out to be an electric vehicle system we’ve been talking about for a while.  V2G is a system in which EVs communicate with the power grid to supply electricity to the grid or smartly charge during off-peak hours.  Perfect for the story of Nissan’s future for EVs!

I shouldn’t forget about all the other projects I’ve worked on which has just hit the roads or will be launching soon!  It’s neat to say that I am actually driving the vehicle concept that I developed at the beginning of my stint at Nissan Advanced Planning.  The Nissan Cube!  I drove past one today and the girl who was driving it totally fit the target customer Sam (25 year-old Confident Creative Echo Boomer) that I fleshed out.  (Nevermind that the Cube also appeals to a bunch of old Boomers because of its super low price.)  “Yay!” to small victories.

Links to blogs:




Ann Ngo: About Me

 ann ngo

Though I am a researcher at heart, when I can design information that I’ve absorbed into meaningful innovation for humans or spark the imaginations of others, that is my nirvana. Using visual stories as my medium, I synthesize consumer trends and human-centric considerations into design inspiration. My arsenal includes graphic design, infographics and interactive media.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, here’s why I’m writing.  So this my “about me” blog, which I’ve written after 10 months of sporadic blogging on WordPress.  (Better late than never?)  At first I posted personal accounts, but more and more I want to also add some of my thoughts about social trends I have noticed so that I don’t forget about them.

I love figuring out how things (and people) work and discovering those “ah ha!” nuggets of information that bring clarity to cloudiness.  Traits I aspire to embody: Open-minded, observant, insightful, articulate, meticulous.  I look at the world through a wide-angle lens, then work my way to a microscope.

Hopefully, you’ll enjoy my personal stories or my pedantic diatribes. Ha!

Generational Differences

Something has been bugging me, so I thought I would write about it to get my thoughts in order. My profession is “Design Researcher”, so I study people a lot… specifically consumer behavior and how demographics, generations, psychology or social trends factor into how one’s lifestyle may differ from another.

When it comes to generations, I’ve been categorized as a member of Generation Y (or Millennial or Echo Boomer or the many other names for us).  I typically agree with analysis and data that have been published about Gen Y, but of course there are exceptions.  In my role as a researcher, it is important for me to remain unbiased and to provide subjective information to my colleagues, so I try to be fair and open-minded when in discussions.  That said, a lot of what I personally think goes unsaid when I’m at work.

I have to give some background first.  Gen Y has typically been seen to possess these traits: optimistic, tech-savvy, collaborative, multi-taskers.  On the flip side, some would say that Gen Yers are narcissistic, self-entitled, aimless kids with ADHD.  Here’s where I take off my scientific hat and just rant.

In my social circle, I come across many Gen Xers.  This is a generation whose members were labeled as “slackers” (which Gen Y has now inherited, as well) and who were latch-key children of disenfranchised Silent Gen parents.  I generalize, of course.  There have been numerous articles published about how they feel squeezed by the Baby Boom and Gen Y cohort, and I’ve witnessed plenty of Xers voicing their disdain for other generations.  Here’s some Gen X vitriol:

"I don’t really understand the tyranny of the boomer moment," Gordinier says. "Great, you had a party in Haight-Ashbury in 1967, I’m thrilled for you. Can we hear about the flappers in the 1920s instead? How about the Great Depression? There’s other times in history that are interesting."

Gordinier is no more entranced with today’s teens and twenty-somethings: "They just love stuff. They love celebrities. They love technology. They love brand names. . . . They’re happy to do whatever advertising tells them to do. So what if they can’t manage to read anything longer than an instant message?"

Wow, talk about bitter.  I know some Gen Xers who pit themselves against the other generations and consistently try to tear them down, shitting on thoughts or ideas they didn’t invent themselves.  Because I know they must just be exhibiting their cynical DNA, I can’t help but get frustrated at unfounded antagonism.  Perhaps in these instances, my optimistic core thinks, “hey! that’s cool… how can we make it better?” instead of my sometimes cynical dark-side that could say “that’s crappy, you suck”.  It’s so much easier to be negative than positive, but is it really productive?

As more Gen Yers come into the workforce, it’s interesting to me to see how Gen X and Gen Y can work together.  I feel like I’m a minority where I work now, but I was once in the majority.  At that time, it was clear to the Gen X minority that sometimes crapping on ideas without offering any good alternatives up was a hindrance to the creative process.  Over time, those Gen Xers had to play nice to survive (many of them didn’t make the recent cuts) and they learned “if you can’t beat them, join them”.  If only their willingness to work with Gen Y was genuine, and not just to save their own skin, I think it could result in a lot more positive action.  But hey, what do I know?  I’m just part of the dumbest generation.

Meaningful Blogging

I was thinking about blogging… and why we blog.  Personally, part of me wants to blog to keep friends and family in the loop about what I’m up to… but another part of me aspires to blog about meaningful stuff.  Stuff that people might find informative or interesting.  It would be neat to become a prolific writer about one certain subject or another.  This is why I migrated from Livejournal to WordPress… perhaps to me it was like moving on from MySpace to Facebook. Growing up of sorts. Ha!

Anyway, I also thought that blogs should always be accompanied by some photo I had taken… and because I lost my Canon 20D that Hung bought me for Xmas (damn me!) I think a part of me died when I lost my first SLR.  I can’t bring myself to post pictures from my P&S camera… it makes me sad that I could have had a better quality photo.

So I was just thinking out loud there, but at work I’m working on a project that has gotten me back into reading books about social trends and generational differences.  I thought I would start posting some neat stuff that I found here to remind myself or be of use to someone else  (It was my original intent, actually.)  Don’t worry though.  I will continue to consistently be inconsistent about writing entries about my personal life… of that you can be sure.  🙂

speaking of babies: meet kirin

something must be in the water, because babies are popping up everywhere!  my friend annaliese had a bun in the oven and we had a blast putting a shower together for her.  i think we had 6 baby games and prizes galore. haha!  i wish i hadn’t been a co-organizer so i could win some of those. 😛  we made her sit in a “throne” to open gifts and wear a sash that said “it’s a boy!”.

kirin liam manning finally came into the world on 5/12/09 and i got to see him fresh out of the oven @ 4 hours old.  he’s quite a sweet little redheaded guy.  and he’s huge!  i think he’s as big as my niece, though he’s more than a month younger.  must be those 6’ tall people genes!

annaliese and kirin at the hospital, and three weeks later.  congrats, you guys!  (she has all the cuter close-up pics of him somewhere.)

my niece penny ngo

Every time I see a picture or video of my niece, I always smile – she’s that cute!  I’ve been able to see her grow periodically from when she was 1 month old, 100 days old and more recently 4 months old.  She’s put on some baby weight, which makes her even cuter, not to mention a cute laugh and gummy grin.  i can’t believe how fast she’s grown!  I miss not living near my bro and sis-in-law… and I wonder when is the next time that I’ll be able to see my niece?  Selfishly, I don’t want her to grow too fast.  Anyway, some evidence of her cuteness is below.  She’s a big ball of adorable.

@ 1 month

@ 3 months

@ 4 months