We had the good fortune of connecting with Dang Tran and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dang, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I think I ask myself this question a lot. If I’m passionate about an idea then I keep going. My passion is driven by believing in the milestones and end goal. I’ve had many ideas in the past and try to execute it. Sometimes it never leaves the whiteboard.
With Gravity Chopsticks, the idea stuck to me. I sketched it out and 3D printed a prototype. My first milestone was to get it to go live on Kickstarter. My second milestone was getting it funded, created and shipped. By setting these obtainable milestones I was able to gauge if I should keep going or give up.
With Kickstarter it gave me validation that my idea was on the right track. I was able to present my idea to the public with people who I do not know. Talking to people who you don’t know will usually give you a valid feedback on your idea. People who knows you tends to sugar coat so that your feelings won’t get hurt.
I’ve been through this process enough times so it gets easier to gauge when to keep going or give up.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love PC games and console video games. The one video game that inspired me as a kid was Final Fantasy 7. I was blown away by the graphics and gameplay. I became more interested in 3D rendering and programming ever since.
I started an iPhone video gaming startup a few years after college. I eventually switched to writing software full time that helps researchers fight diseases leveraging DNA.
During my free time I would create things to print on my 3D printer. This helped me validate my Gravity Chopsticks idea.
It seems like this is all over the place. But I think it leads down to one thing. Which is creating a product someone finds useful and/or can enjoy.
There were many challenges that I endured along the way. I believe that my passion and interest in what I was doing helped me get past all the barriers.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love to wine and dine. My favorite spots that come to mind are Little Italy, La Jolla, North Park, Convoy District and Old Town.
Little Italy – I love Vino Carta Wine Store and Bar. I can sit there for a few hours sipping on wine and enjoy their charcuterie board. Born and Raised is my favorite steak place there. I also love the oysters at Ironside Fish & Oyster. This area is minutes from the bay.
La Jolla – George’s at the Cove Ocean Terrance has a great ocean view with a wide food and drink selection. Herringbone’s oyster happy hour is another one of my favorites. I would goto Himitsu for some delicious sushi. Take a 5 minute drive to Mt Soledad and you can see all of San Diego.
North Park – West Coast Tavern has an awesome brunch menu. I love ramen so my next spot would be Underbelly. Shank & Bone is a spot that I haven’t been to yet but wanting to try. It is a modern and classic Vietnamese restaurant. The owner use to own Ebisu Sushi in Hillcrest, a spot I use to throw my birthday parties at.
Convoy District – First place that comes to mind is Crab Hut. They have delicious crawfish and crab legs there with a full bar. They have a location downtown and in Mira Mesa. Out of the three I would visit the Convoy location that started it all. Convoy St has many restaurants and bars. Plenty of Korean food there.
Old Town – I love the Margaritas at Cafe Coyote. San Diego Ave is full of history. A lot of delicious Mexican food there. Right down the street is Sushi Tadakoro. Did I mention I love sushi?
University Heights – If Sushi Tadakoro isn’t enough then I would visit Soichi Sushi on Adams Ave. Chef Soichi previously worked at Sushi Tadakoro. He delivers authentic Japanese Omakase. He has an amazing sake selection.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I thank my wife Niki for keeping my ideas in check. She comes up with great ideas and gives me feedback to improve what I’m working on. I can go off on a tangent on an idea and she pulls me back. I don’t think I would be able to successfully launch Gravity Chopsticks without her help.
I thank HypeVR for providing me with their awesome Red Digital Camera to film my first Kickstarter.
My sister Quynh Tran and Handonam Photography for assisting with my Kickstarter marketing assets.
Thanks to my friends, family and the Kickstarter community for funding my idea into a real product.