From sea to shining sea

If there is anything I have learned in the past 15 years since coming to America in 2000, it is that America is beautiful. Today, I will be dipping my toes in the Atlantic Ocean as I spend Fourth of July with my parents in Jacksonville, FL this year. I can't help but think that exactly one year ago, my breath was being taken away, in much the same way, by the Pacific Ocean at

#CampEmeraldBay

, and for everything in between, I am endlessly grateful.

Looking out into the Atlantic Ocean (Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, FL)

America is great because it is so vast. It's not only vast in landscapes, but also vast in ideas and in diversity of its People.

Each city that I have had the chance to visit in the past year has been so absolutely different, each so absolutely gorgeous, energizing and vibrant in their own ways. Yet, what is more noticeable is all the things that weave us together as Americans and the common story, aspirations, hope and Dream we all share, whether born here or not.

America is not perfect and we have made mistakes, many of them. In fact, the manner in which we became such a vast Nation is not one of our best moments. But, as Emily Mortimer (MacKenzie McHale) says in Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom,"America is the only country on the planet, that since its birth, has said over and over and over that we can do better. It's part of our DNA."

People around the world look to America when they need a leader, a Nation that has a moral compass to stand up for the fundamental rights of all People and a Nation that recognizes the values it was created for. There's a lot to easily be cynical about, but it is the moments where America acts uniquely that we so often forget about how great our home is. From creating some of the brightest minds and promoting creativity to taking action on some of the world's hardest problems, America still remains both a force for good and a beacon of hope for much of the world. We are not in that position because we are perfect—we are in that position because we can so honestly, openly and vigorously have the tough conversations publicly, while still remaining one Nation.

A lot of people compare America with China nowadays. They talk about the Chinese government working so efficiently, a comparison that scares me. Efficiency is not what we want and was not what our Founding Fathers intended for. That's also not how democracy works, even if the world is moving faster now. For all the gridlock we have, we should also keep in mind that this Nation was built on the notion that there is no one right way and that all ideas should be put on the table, to be considered and discussed by the American People.

So, this Fourth of July, while you celebrate with friends, good food and amazing fireworks, also take a moment to reflect on all the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans and all the responsibilities so many of us, so often, shy away from. Reflect on how different we each are as Americans, but also everything that makes us One Nation. Reflect on all the mistakes we have made, how We the People can all work together to make this Nation better and all that we can be proud of and celebrate.

And so...

I pledge allegiance, to the Flag, of the United States of America,

And to the Republic, for which it stands.

One Nation, under God.

Indivisible. With Liberty and Justice for all.

Cross-posted on Google+: 

https://plus.google.com/+iantang/posts/e8qxXWySz7z

First year

This week marks the first year of living with +Google Glass—not one year, but the first. As in there is more to come. 

I still remember seeing the UPS truck downstairs, setting Glass up for the first time and more. The journey since then has been so exciting, surprising and constantly refreshing—we are in uncharted territory and everything is so new.

And, genuinely, for me, Glass continues to bring magic to life. It has positively changed how I interact with technology, whether it is getting directions, searching +Google, sending a message or just taking a photo without missing the moments that matter. This weekend in New York, as with many other situations, I really felt like I got to push technology out of the way most of the time and explore, while also relive the moments exactly as they happened afterwards.

Glass invigorates me with the same energy I felt when arriving in New York for the first time: ever-changing, nonstop innovation and undying optimism and belief in core ideals.

Photo credit: +Deepa S

Of course there are a whole list of improvements Glass can undergo. Of course there are situations where Glass is not suitable and where I don't wear Glass, just like regular glasses or smartphones. But, I think most people forget that this is a highly beta project and still a Google moonshot, just like +Project Loon+Google Fiber, and the +Google Self-Driving Car Project.

Personally, I don't think Glass will ever be a failure for Google however this goes—it will either continue to evolve or be a valuable insight into wearable technology for the future. So, while the haters continue to hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, we, the players, are gonna play, play, play, play, play, as +Taylor Swift eloquently puts it.

The media may write whatever they wish about Google like how +Google+ is going to die, or Glass or even Taylor Swift, but I'd rather spend my energy supporting risk-takers, the future, the ideals they stand for and a better life. All these risk-taking brands and people I support are far more than what the media portrays—just look at Taylor's actual album sales versus what experts projected. Plus, the broad reception I receive from the public about Glass just does not align with how the media usually characterizes it as.

Sharing the magic with various people and seeing their faces light up with joy as they learn about what is true continues to give me goosebumps.

But, most of all though, the past year has seen a whole bunch of passionate, smart people come into my life, online, in real-life or both: the community of Guides and Explorers shaping this whole project, including +Chara Kelley+steph lake+Virginia Poltrack+Jeff Bond+Spencer Kleyweg+Morgan Tuohy+Jeffrey Young+Ana Medina+Christopher Rios+Brian Kelley+Mason Rothman and +Eddie Daniels, just to name a very few.

Here's to what we accomplish together next, +Google Glass and #GlassFamily.