Sign in

Kai-Wen (Kevin) Fang
to write is human; to edit, divine |
“Do we really need all these boxes?” | Photo by Unsplash

Subscriptions, Subscriptions, Subscriptions.

Every startup company these days tries to sell you a subscription.

Boxes of random consignment knick-nacks. Letters from dead people. Skulls of dead animals. Paying for junk delivered straight to your doorstep each month is the new, hottest trend in business.

The problem is, the bubble with subscription-based businesses removes consumer options, causes investors to demand companies switch pricing models, and promotes boom and bust business which seek to maximize profits in the short term and burn out a la “fast fashion”.

There are certain products which are best sold on a month-to-month basis. Netflix and other streaming services charge…

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

When Amazon began its meteoric rise to power, no one could have imagined the company expanding from an online bookstore to the premier source of Nick Cage sequin pillows, real human finger bones, and everything in between. As ascribed to its global shipping networks and logistics management, Amazon's dominance has allowed it to make founder Jeff Bezos the Forbes billionaire record-breaker and propel its quarterly profits to $5.2 billion.

In the past few years, however, Amazon has been hammered by advocacy groups and angry consumers for allowing the sale of counterfeit products intermingled with the genuine. …

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

New Year’s Resolutions don’t work.

It’s currently almost a month into 2021, and every single one of my friends has broken their New Year’s Resolution.

They’re not alone — studies show that only 8% of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution actually keep them all year, and 80% have failed by the start of February.

If you are part of the 80%, don’t worry! The problem isn’t due to self-control or mental fortitude — we fail because we misunderstand what resolutions are and how we can avoid breaking them. …

Photo by Virginia Choy on Unsplash

With each passing day, the world appears bleaker. Joblessness, global pandemic, economic and political stagnation — depression is at an all-time high, and mental health care is cut as hospitals and doctors remain overwhelmed. The daily notifications I receive regarding full ICU beds where I live and record infection numbers in my state blend like the days I spend indoors, waiting in limbo for the world to return to normalcy.

Under this backdrop, high school seniors, many of whom have not been in a classroom since March of last year, are currently applying to colleges. A selection of items missing…

Photo by Kirsten Drew on Unsplash

To preface, this is Part 2 of an article I wrote about a year back, titled “What Is A College Application “Spike” And Should I Have One?”. It remains to this day my most visited daily article, likely due to PageRank placing it as the top search result under the keyword “Spike College Applications.”

Thanks, Google.

It’s no secret that I detest the term “Spike,” enough at least to write a 6-minute article about it (and this longer follow-up piece as well). …

Games are supposed to be fun.

You play them for the excitement, the suspense, the lows of falling behind building up to the highs of finally winning it all.

So when I was a sobbing wreck at the end of Before Your Eyes, why did I enjoy it so much? Why is it, in my opinion, the video game best suited for this pandemic year and the most emotional game I’ve ever played?

Before Your Eyes is a story-driven narrative game where each scene cuts to the next if you blink. …

Photo by Zhanhui Li on Unsplash

I followed the proceedings of Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard in October 2019 and remember feeling worried. I would submit my college applications in just two months from that day; to hear that my ethnicity might play a role in admissions was concerning.

Looking back, I distinctly remember taking steps to appear “less Asian.” I didn’t mention five years of piano lessons and instead stressed the gregarious and dramatic aspects of my personality. In place of focusing on computer science or entrepreneurship, I extolled my interests in the vocal arts, political advocacy, and classical literature. …

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

The question in the title might at first seem odd — what student applying to Computer Science (CS) doesn’t actually want to study it?

I’ll start by saying — if you compete in Code Jam, go on GitHub more than social media, or spend your free time on Linux forums shilling for Arch — this article isn’t for you.

Where I grew up, however, students were by default a CS major. Unless you had firm beliefs regarding your major or intended career, the common consensus was “just study CS, and you’ll work it out later.”

Perhaps they’re not wrong. CS…

Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

The college application process for many students represents the culmination of their high school journey, where all the hard work pays off with a letter of admission to what they hope will be their dream college.

There is much discussion over what to focus on or include on an application — do schools prefer quantity over quality? Should students focus on the breadth or depth of experience? Do readers prefer simple language or sophisticated prose? While there is no single correct answer for how you should fill out your application, there are certain things you would be wrong to include.

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

“If the Democratic nominee isn’t Bernie Sanders, I’m not going to vote in November.”

I often see self-proclaimed “free thinkers” who discriminate against peers who are not “free” enough. Present mostly on internet forums, they judge everyone with a stubborn, gatekeeping mentality under cover of anonymity. An arbitrary bar is set: if a newcomer to the hobby, party, or sport does not fulfill it, they are not “real.” What even is “real”?

Every niche has these zealots — you can find them in disparate fields as veganism, gun lobbyists, and TV show fandoms, pushing their message: “If you are not…

Kai-Wen (Kevin) Fang

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store