How your choice of words reflect you as a person

Over the years, I have been active in curating events and programs for students that encourage personal and professional development.  In particular, I try my best to share experiences with students from my alma mater, University of Washington.  A few days ago, a student from UW reached out to me on LinkedIn, in an effort to recruit me to join his team for a well-known multi-level marketing / MLM program (kudos for taking initiative, by the way).

However, what is your first impression when you see this thread?


I have nothing against MLM programs.  Many people have been quite successful from these business opportunities.  I have nothing against the sender of this message either.  His effort in taking initiative to contact me shows that he is driven and ambitious and should be praised.  

However, my main concern is about a person’s ability to effectively communicate.  Perhaps it is a language barrier issue.

One key point: Think about how the other person will respond to words you use… It reflects who you are as a person.

And here are  my thoughts, captured inline.


Despite negative connotations associated with MLMs, perhaps one can shed some light on the benefits of it.  Diverting one’s attention or avoiding the “Amway” keyword won’t help you become successful.  Perhaps his one-up followed this strategy too and didn’t fully disclose this to him.

Another key point: Embrace your brand.  If you can’t, don’t even bother selling it.  Why sell something you hate?

Whenever you try to sell something, figure out the value proposition of what you are offering.   How does what you offer add value to others?

Have you come across any similar interesting experiences?  More importantly, what can we do to help others succeed in today’s society with personal connections or in the business world?

Feel free to share in the comments below!

Introducing the Galileo Development Board from Intel

NOTE: Shockwave Flash is required to view this video.

Introducing the Galileo Development Board.. Intel’s solution to Arduino.  This video showcases an application of the board for large lighting display and control applications.  Click here is the official public site from Intel for more information.  Do you have any good ideas for other uses of this board?  Comment below!

How to Showcase your LinkedIn Profile and Recommendations on WordPress


Hope things are going well.  It’s been a while since I have written my last blog post. I am planning to get back into the habit of blogging, so I will share updates in a subsequent blog post. Today, I would like to introduce you all to an awesome plugin for WordPress that lets you showcase your LinkedIn profile and recommendations.

You have the option of embedding your entire profile, or having a Rotating Scroller for recommendations as well as displaying a Contact Card.

I have integrated the three of those components onto this website.  Here are the examples.

I made one modification to the plugin for the Contact Card to show up to the first 500 characters from my LinkedIn profile summary on the Contact Card.  You can make that change in the file ‘wp-linkedin/wp-linkedin.php’.

I tried increasing that number to 2,000 at first but it seemed to cause some latency, so I arbitrarily chose 500 characters, since my profile summary isn’t that long anyway.  Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about doing that.

The plugin is called WP LinkedIn Plugin.

Here is a blog post written by the creator of the plugin.  A shout-out to Claude Vedovini for creating this wonderful plugin!

Photo Credit: Sylvain Kalache,

Tips to Building a Professional Brand

This was previously published as a page, but it seemed to make more sense as a blog post instead. (WordPress, the blogging platform that runs on, distinguishes between the two).

I’ve been asked many times.. what is a good way to build a professional brand? As a result, I decided to compile a list that will be updated periodically to reflect new ideas. Feel free to contribute. Drop a comment. Although it is not set up like so, this is meant to be a collaborative wiki-type page.

Make a Linkedin Profile. Add everyone you know. Devote less of your internet time on Facebook and more on Linkedin. Check out people’s profiles. See who your friends know. See who friends of your friends know. Join groups that relate to your field. Read the discussion posts. Participate in them. Better yet, create a group and try to get members to actively participate. Is there one for your alma mater or school? Remember, as a group owner, you get much more visibility within your own group. Set goals for yourself. Once you get over 500 connections on Linkedin, your profile will simply say 500+. Make this your goal and you will be part of a distinguished group of individuals.

Connect with me.

Learn how to add your Facebook friends on Linkedin.

Attend a networking event. This is a good way to meet people. And talk (or practice talking) to people. There are many people who have the same technical abilities as you. Now, what differentiates your skill set from another person is your ability to communicate.

Have lunch with somebody who is going in the direction you want to move in.

Build a career portfolio. There are a number of reasons you should do this. Check it out here.

For UW students in science and engineering: The SEBA Mentorship Program. Apply before Monday, December 9, 2011.

More ideas to come. Please feel free to make any suggestions as well. Adrian (at) AdrianChu (dot) com. Thank you.


Webinars about LaTeX vs. Microsoft Word and Technical Writing for Teams

Hope things are going well.  This is a follow-up post to one I made from a year ago about Technical Writing for Teams.  I’d like to bring your attention to two free webinars offered by STREAM Tools.


October 5, 2011, noon to 1 pm: How To Achieve LaTeX Functionality with Microsoft Word

LaTeX is great for writing complex documents, but sometimes you just don’t have a choice and have to use Microsoft Word. In this webinar you will learn how to best automate the formatting of complex documents, move content between documents, and effectively use document templates. Who knows, once you learn, you might never go back to LaTeX.

The webinar will start on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at noon, Pacific Time. Login a little earlier to test your connection.


October 6, 2011, noon to 1 pm: Technical Writing for Teams: Introduction to STREAM Tools

In the webinar, we will discuss the concept of STREAM Tools and will present several useful examples of efficient techniques for content management within a group collaboration setting.

The webinar will start on Wednesday, October 6, 2011 at noon, Pacific Time. Login a little earlier to test your connection.


Important Information:

To obtain webinar login instructions, please send email to streamtools(at)gmail(dot)com.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


My Current Professional Summary: One Year Later

It’s amazing how the third quarter of 2011 is about to be over.  This year has been full of milestones for me: from participating in technology commercialization activities at the University of Washington and graduating from the Department of Electrical Engineering to entering industry.  At the same time, I have been trying to maintain a dynamic professional summary.  The word dynamic in this context refers to how it is constantly changing to adapt to career progression and other changes. The ideas is that this summary should be similar to an elevator pitchShort and sweet!

Here is my current one on Linkedin.  I’m sure I have made numerous revisions to it since day one.  Unfortunately, I didn’t save every iteration of the updates.

I am a strong generalist with diverse experiences in developing and commercializing smart technologies and working with built environments in startup businesses, small and medium enterprises, and FORTUNE 500 companies in both the public and private sector. Currently, I am working with the Server CPU Development Group at Intel on the next generation Xeon microprocessors.

At the University of Washington, I worked on Technology Management projects with the New Ventures Group at the UW Center for Commercialization and served as Teaching Assistant in the graduate level Program for Technology Commercialization. I graduated from the Department of Electrical Engineering and I discovered my interest in bridging the gap between technical and business disciplines.

While at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, I supported Lean Manufacturing initiatives by developing applications for manufacturing, project management and business intelligence in Microsoft Access and Excel using the VBA language, which have been translating to tremendous savings of time and resources for the customer.

My passion about making a positive difference in the lives of others by bridging connections and mentoring led me to create the UW Career Network, a growing community with 900+ members who work together to help each other develop their careers.

In addition, I performed energy efficiency consulting and research with U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Assessment Center; have been involved in numerous property development projects, managed an Asia-focused international building materials company and am a licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Washington.

However, I was able to find one from about a year ago.

Strong generalist with diverse experiences in aerospace/engineering, technology commercialization, trading and real estate development sectors; working with startup businesses to FORTUNE 500 companies and both public and private sector entities. Most recently, my work has been focused on applications to the aerospace industry. I have had two internships with two different programs with Boeing Commercial Airplanes working on manufacturing engineering, configuration management, product integration and certification. Additionally, I have been working with the UW Center for Commercialization in different technology commercialization projects.

Currently, I am a Senior in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington, specializing in VLSI design and energy efficiency technologies. Within the department, I am an Undergraduate Fellow, a member of the Industrial Assessment Center and I have been working on an interdisciplinary code and algorithm development research project in conjunction with the Department of Applied Mathematics. I am an active participant in a number of student organizations and serving as an officer in the Science & Engineering Business Association (SEBA) as well as the IEEE and IIE student chapters at UW.

Also, I am a licensed real estate broker in the State of Washington and have professional experience in retailing, real estate development and the trading of building materials. In addition, I am well versed in East and Southeast Asian culture and business practices. After graduating, I hope to enter industry or pursue graduate level education in Electrical Engineering, Financial Engineering, Systems Engineering and/or Applied Mathematics where I hope to take my research experiences to a new level where I can apply my knowledge into developing solutions to solving problems of humankind. At the personal level, I am passionate about making a positive impact in the lives of others.

It does have many similarities, yet at the same time it does have some updates.  Do you have any suggestions for enhancements? I would deeply appreciate any constructive criticism.  Click here to view the rest of my Linkedin profile.

Photo credit: Chris McKenna,

Spring Break Updates

Sorry for the brief hiatus in posting. These past months have been extraordinarily busy. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to update you in some projects I have been involved in:

Digital IC Design

Most recently, I have been taking E E 476 and E E 477, VLSI I and II, the senior year classes for the Digital VLSI circuit design track at the University of Washington. In this course, we worked on designing a number of integrated circuits using Cadence Virtuoso from schematic to layout. An example of projects we have worked on include:

1. 10 bit x 10 bit modified Booth encoding multiplier;
2. 20 bit fast Kogge-Stone tree adder;
3. 256 bit SRAM and;
4. multi-functional arbiter

SEBA Mentorship Program

For my work in the Science & Engineering Business Association (, I have been coordinating the Mentorship Program designed to provide undergraduate and graduate students in the engineering and science fields the opportunity to network with professionals in the Seattle area. This year, we had over 130 student applicants and 21 mentors participating in the program. I’d like to thank each of the mentors for their involvement in the program:

Andrew Steiner
Brett Gaspers
Brian Albarran
Carl Weissman
Christopher Porter
Dan Freeman
Jeff House
Jeff Miller
Lisa Meyr
Lisa Oelsner
Martin Wilson
Max Effgen
Palash Islam
Rainer Kuehling
Rob Newton
Ryan Bergsman
Saqib Rasool
Scott Bright
Shawn Plaster
Tom Gorey
Warren Michalsen

UW IEEE Student Professional Awareness Conference

As Corporate Liaison for the UW Student Branch of IEEE, we held the Student-Professional Awareness Conference on February 24. It was a catered dinner and networking opportunity along with a presentation by keynote speaker Paul Kostek. Unfortunately, there was some snow in the Greater Seattle area that evening. On behalf of the IEEE Student Branch at UW, I’d like to thank the students for attending and the corporate attendees who made their effort to make this event possible: Intel, Boeing, Accenture, Crane Aerospace and

Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition

This year, I served as Marketing Co-Chair and Team Ambassador for the 2011 UW Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition. As Marketing Co-Chair, I worked with the Public Relations team at the Foster School of Business to work on outreach efforts for the competition from a student’s perspective. Additionally, I had the privilege to write a guest post for the blog Foster Unplugged ( As Team Ambassador, I represented the University of Washington as a liaison for the MIT team Sanergy ( who ended up winning the grand prize. Congratulations to Sanergy!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I start off this post with the common proverb: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” I won’t be writing a thousand words here to describe the picture, but feel free to add your own imagination to it.

For this project, we had to choose a visual aid that would best explain “renewable energy implementations on a farm.” Hence, we chose a site map because not only could we indicate what we implement, but where we do it. Visual aids are effective in delivering presentations because it can tell a lot more than text. See for yourself. Read the following excerpt and consider timing yourself to see how long it takes you to synthesize all the information.

To supplement our presentation, we will be providing a site plan of an imaginary chicken farm. The purpose of the map is to show areas where renewable energy sources can be placed and implemented. Situated in the center of the map is a rectangle. That rectangle represents an aerial view of the main facility where all the chickens live. On that rectangle, we show the integration of photo voltaic panels that will be placed on the roof of the coop. Beginning from the southwest corner of the building is a chain link fence that goes to the leftmost edge of the rectangular property. To the south of the fence is parking for delivery trucks, employees and visitors. Near the northwest of the property is a small hill, where our team suggested placing wind turbines. Directly east of the main building is a smaller rectangular-shaped facility used to convert biomass into electricity. That facility is nested among a forest of trees to make the area more pleasing to the eyes and the nose.

Now, try reading through the excerpt once more and try sketching it out. After doing so, click *here* to see the actual picture and we can prove two theories.

1. Did it take you longer to synthesize the paragraph than the photo?
2. Was your sketch different from the actual picture?

If you answered both YES, that shows the effectiveness of the visual aid. Two main advantages are: visuals can be interpreted more efficiently than text explanations and are more accurate and to the point. Although, visuals can also be interpreted, unlike text, what you see is what you get. Also, it is important to note that although the text tried to be clear, there are a lot of things that are left out: dimensions: width, length, thickness of the lines; size of the trees; size of the hill, quantity of trees and exact location of each tree, etc.

So just for fun, feel free to send in your sketch to adrian (at) adrian chu (dot) com and we can compare and contrast it with the original sketch. Thanks and have a great day!

The Feeling of Change

It is the seventh week of Autumn quarter at the University of Washington. HCDE 333 has been a rewarding class. During the past seven weeks, we had the opportunity to work on a fine tune skills in various important documents. So far, this class has changed my abilities and provided me with a number of valuable skills that can be applicable after graduating.

I received wonderful feedback in improving my resume and cover letter. We had the opportunity to prepare and make an effective proposal package (in both written and Power Point formats). Also, since this class began, I have gotten in the habit of updating my blog more frequently. I feel more comfortable in writing blog posts as well as working in team-based writing projects. Through this class, I have gotten more exposure in leveraging web-based productivity tools like Dropbox and Google Docs.

The other benefit of collaboration is the opportunity to network. Through this class, I have had the chance to work with a number of new people and learn to adapt to team working environments. The structure of the class provided us the chance to work with our project team for the majority of the course on a number of different projects. Having worked with a group of four other people, I have no hesitation that I would want to work with them again on future projects outside of this class.

Although at times I do feel nervous when delivering a presentation, this class has given me the chance to practice more and see what areas I can improve on. Sometimes I may get too involved in the presentation and deliver it extra dramatically. As discussed before, presentations are important in school as well as in the work place.

So, overall, change is good.