Spotlight on Albert Dong / by Haley Smith

Meet Albert Dong - A Brown University student and a Design Partner at Dorm Room Fund.

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What were your ambitions when you were younger, and what are they now? How have they changed?

In elementary school, my life ambition was to be an archaeologist and travel the world discovering new dinosaurs. Even as a child, that goal defined who I was and how I acted. I told my entire school and even announced it on stage at our graduation ceremony. Imagine my embarrassment when I was pulled aside later and told it was the job of a paleontologist, not an archaeologist, to research dinosaurs.

I scrapped that idea shortly after and shifted my ambitions multiple times growing up, mostly framed within the context of a career. In college, I jumped between various life goals from being a baller finance bro (all stereotypes hyper-romanticized) to a digital nomad designer. 

Now, I’m trying my best to not to validate the successfulness of my life in terms of my career anymore. There so many interesting things I want to do in the world: building world-changing companies and making anamorphic art. I love tea ceremonies. 

I doubt I’ll be so fortunate to experience everything that the world has to offer in my lifetime, but I do want to structure my life to allow for that exploration — and enjoy life as much as humanly possible.

In what ways do you support your personal development?

I used to have a bad habit of consistently looking peripherally — always trying to see what other people are doing and wondering if I can move faster or be better if I was doing what they were doing. Oftentimes I would see someone else making greater growths and I would quickly abandon what I was doing to follow their path in pursuit of similar growth rates.

I realized though that growth curves are both variable and personal. Some actions have a low slope in the beginning and grow exponentially later. Others have a high slope in the beginning and then begin to decline exponentially. Each of these slope curves are personal so what works well for one person may produce terrible results for another. 

So now, instead of operating within the scope of a day, I try to operate within the scope of a quarter. I’ll put my head down for 3 months at a time on the things that I want to do and after that period is up, I’ll aggressively reflect on my actions to figure out whether its worth doing what I’m doing.

What are your top strategies for networking?

Dissolve the idea of scarcity! There’s always more interesting people to meet so don’t get hung up if you don’t click with someone you wanted to get help from. Chances are, there are 5 more people out there who can offer you the same level of assistance if not more. Find them and keep reaching out until you find someone you enjoy talking to and actually want to work with.


Breakfast of Champions: Water
Words you live by: If you die, you die
Fave Film: Akira