While every individual has his or her own unique style, there are a few tenets I believe are universally applicable for crafting truly creative memorable work:

  1. Obsess over your work. Half-hearted efforts produce hearted results.
  2. Shave extra fat from your projects. Aim for elegance and simplicity in concept and execution.
  3. Don’t fall into chasing sexy ideas. The most effective concepts are often tried, true and unglamorous.
  4. Open-mindedness and perspective are the origins of creative thought. If you’re struggling with ideas, have a venti glass of brandy and try doing something new for the first time.
  5. Time is an essential element of outstanding work. There are no replacements or substitutes.


Riley Masunaga


“Oreos are as ageless as Cleopatra.”

This quote comes from Mimi Sheraton, the first woman restaurant critic at the New York Times, who published her book  “1,000 Foods To Eat Before You Die.” at age 89.

I think it’s a lovely reminder that the simple pleasures in life can hold a different place in our hearts from sophisticated ones.



What happened to traveling around the world?

After graduation, I traveled through Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Istanbul, Milan, London and New York.

You didn’t just stay in Japan?

Nope. I just stopped posting on social media after my first month or so of travel. Too focused on the moment to bother informing people of where I was.

So where the hell are you right now?

Chicago, Illinois.

Not Japan?

Nope. Left Japan over 3 months ago – although I went back for 5 days to attend the US-Japan Council Summit for 5 days.

Why didn’t you just stay in Japan?

I had to come back to Chicago to do work.

You work? I thought you were a bum.

Jesus Christ people have a low opinion of me. I’ve been doing digital marketing consulting since coming back. I can’t exactly drop everything and book it out of town you know?

Favorite color?


What comes next?

I’m working on a variety of personal projects including a blog and some products(details incoming.) and also returning to Tokyo in February to teach English with Gaba.

You’re obsessed with Japan aren’t you.

No. Go away.

You’re a liar. Anything else to say?

I leave Chicago December 7th. If you owe me money I will find you. If I owe you money, please submit the details written in triplicate to my secretary.


Keep running.

Run faster and farther.

Run because you can, not because you know where you going. Run because even if you only have a faint notion of your direction, running will get you somewhere new, and you’ll be stronger because of it.

I love to run (only in the sense this metaphor – real running sucks shit). I love the chase, and the feeling of growth. But I’m also exhausted. I miss being able to slow a bit because you know where your finish line is. I miss not having to worry everyday about whether or not the finish line even exists.

To an extent, I miss the comfort of being handed a goal.


For some reason I’ve met a lot of young folks recently – people entering highschool, starting college and beginning their first internships. A few of these folks surprised me by asking me, the homeless unemployed traveller for advice.

Caught off-guard, I’ve been giving some really crap advice – but having been in the same position, anxious and afraid, some time ago, I gave it some thought and tried to come up with some decent life advice.

Here are ideas I’ve picked up and try to live by them everyday. I have them written down in a notebook I keep on my person:

  1. “The things you must always ask your self:
    Does this need to be said?
    Does this need to be said by me?
    Does this need to be said by me now?” -Craig FergusonListen to others.
    Learn to accept silence.
    Shutting up and listening often lets you have the most amazing conversations
    and encounters.

2. “It’s not like you have any dignity or anything like that come onnnnn” -Yessi

Do the things you want and push outside your comfort zone.

When in need for a courage boost, I call upon the words of my favorite 4 foot tall psychopathic Chinese designer/friend to give me courage.

When we fail, the consequences are never as catastrophic as we imagine.

3. “Reduce situations.” -SAM

SAM was a computer program designed by one of my professor in the late 80’s to understand human emotions. If you told SAM how you felt about a something, it would breakdown your situation to its logical and emotional elements.

Studying SAM taught me to step back and look at a difficult situations like a computer – separating the logical and emotional aspects of a situation.

Sometimes pure logic should define action. Other times you follow your heart. Regardless, understanding emotion and logic separately helps you make better decisions.
4. “People never get the roses while they can still smell em’” -Kanye West

Share your compliments.

Ms.Cowell, My highschool public speaking teacher asked us to write a eulogy for a loved one, reminding us that “people forget that eulogies aren’t just for the dead”. This moment stuck in my mind – how often do we take the time to let people know how great they are?

Giving random complements is scary because it’s uncommon – but this rareness is what makes the complements surprising and (usually) pleasant.

A kind comment can mean a lot to a person – and personally I think the courage it takes to speak your thoughts makes the complementor just a little braver every time.

5. “Time enjoyed is not time wasted” – ???

Live with intention. Don’t do things half-assed.

Your time is finite so why waste it? This doesn’t mean to spend every second razor focused on some kind of a goal – it means to not sit in front of the TV letting your brain melt.

If you’re going to watch something – do it because you enjoy the show, not because it autoplays. If you’re going to work, work for something you believe in. When you’re moving towards a goal, make sure it’s something you really want. If you’re doing a sport, do it to win.

6. ” A year is a drop in the bucket” – Anonymous Internet Person

A while back someone online wrote a story about how their career blew up in their face and they ended up completely broke. In the end, they wrote that their story was unfortunate and unavoidable, but that they were blessed to have hit rock bottom while they were young (early 30s) and to have only lost a few years of time.

When you’re young, a year sounds like an eternity and the idea of failing in your 30’s is terrifying. This story serves to remind me that everything that happens in a life is just a tiny piece of a puzzle.

Good things are as important as bad things, and the most important thing is the picture that forms from the sum of your life experiences.

7. Being busy is not a sign of accomplishment -Some article? Idk.

We live in a world where being busy is often glorified. Busy means you’re wanted, needed and doing important things.

Be careful not to let yourself get swept up in artificial busyness. Always take a step back to prioritize things you need to do and things you can do – things you need to worry about and things you’re choosing to worry about.

Often, you’ll find that you have more time and attention than you thought.