The Ballerina’s Guide To Conquer Fear

My ballet teacher- Olga, was accepted to Vaganova- the world’s most prestigious ballet school at  the age of 10.

She practiced until she was 15  when they kicked her out.

She got a back injury and could never perform on stage.

Vaganova only trains the best, even when most would think they are extreme, harsh educators.

A slight mistake could be a grave mistake.

Olga moved on. She got a teaching degree to teach ballet then moved to Vietnam with her husband.

I keep thinking about this.

How brave she is- Pursue a fragile career, accept a tragic outcome and move on.

So no matter what happens, you will be alright.

Another thing stuck with me in today’s class

“Do it 1000 times, then you will get it”- Olga smiled to me while bending my foot to make a proper Cou-de-pied.

The pain struck my foot. I couldn’t help but smiling back at her.


Email Crush This Week

Every week on Friday, I pick  an email from my ever-flooding inbox to show how its design looks great.

The winner this week is AirBnb. They have launched a series of emails to announce the launch of a new Airbnb, with a focus on local travel experiences.

Here what they have done right.

1. A Stunning Banner


A series of beautiful posters is grouped together with great consideration for  the  transition of colors and types.

2. Brilliant Typography


We do not often find a man slicing salami  this appealing
and classy.

With the right lettering, everything is possible





Typography also helps uniting  a heap of images you have just found from anywhere on the net.

In this case it is to make a poodle and vodka bottles look uniform.

3. A Balancing Act

To balance an email with lots of visual effects and high-impact photos, this  humble call-to-action form is used.


Your customers would not die of eye fatigues. They might click on that humble CTAs and do what you want them to do.

Not all ESPs are born equal, and why you should care.

Few is more frustrated than spending hours on coding  your email then finding it broken apart during testing, especially for the reasons you cant control. For example, the Email Service Provider (ESP)

The guilty this time is Mailchimp. They stripped out my wrapping table tags leaving a mess behind.


as many others when wronged I took it to Twitter. Maichimp person on Twitter was very helpful yet admitted their shortcomings in supporting custom HTML.


Yes,  I am not the only one whose email layouts were destroyed by Mailchimp. I tweeted a link to the relevant forum discussion.

Meanwhile Campaign Monitor leaves our code alone. The emails sent out by Campaign Monitor looks as good as I expected.

It looks like the Mailchimp mishap comes from their effort to edit the custom code before sending the emails out. Some efforts can do more harm than good, though. It is safe to assume that  the people who use custom code know what they are doing; and do not want any babysitting.

Let them be, let  the code be.

As Mailchimp sorts thing out, I recommend my clients to shun it for now.