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A gamedev, writer, and side project enthusiast. Sharing my life learnings and my perspective on the pursuit of the good life.

Last year, I was the only one who couldn’t drink at the company party. But today, I toast to my biggest milestone yet: making my first $120,000 net worth at age 21. But I don’t have a college degree, I’m not a genius, and I don’t work for a FAANG company.

This is how I did it. 😎

Sounds a little sus. Who are you? 👩‍💻

Firstly, the disclaimer! This is not counsel from a licensed financial advisor. My name is Alisa Khieu, and I’m just a sleepless dreamer. Meaning, I’m just a kid with lots of hopes and aspirations that I’m working really hard toward. …


I’m a 21-year-old with no college degree, and I made $14K USD in 8 months after teaching myself personal finance and investing. But that’s just an article hook, and there’s a lot of depth in learning how to save money and build an investment portfolio.

Firstly, a disclaimer. 👩‍💻

This is not counsel from a licensed financial advisor. I’m just a woman with several personal finance takeaways after trial-and-error, tons of research, and a lot of YouTube. I also acknowledge that I’m lucky to have a stable job during a pandemic and disposable income I can afford to invest. …


the hypotheticals of self-actualization through the lens of game design

Fundamentally, game design is about creating interesting rulesets for fun experiences. Players vicariously adventure through crafted worlds as their personas traverse danger, solve puzzles, and slay epic monsters. As people overcome these ‘manufactured challenges’, their characters level up with fanfare for all their accomplishments and achievements. It may take time and practice for someone to figure out how to beat a boss, but players go at it tenaciously because people can feel themselves improving and progressing each time. The goals in a game seem attainable, and if they aren’t, that’s…


Exactly a year ago, I started investing, and I’ve been chronicling my journey in personal finance ever since. When I got started, it was honestly because I was concerned about inflation.

Because I don’t think the majority of people are paying attention to how bad it is. I don’t say that to scare people or dramatize it. Most people are vaguely aware it’s happening with the rising prices of groceries and everyday essentials, but don’t seem to know its exact extent or significance — so let’s bring up the actual data.

35% of all US Dollars ever were printed this…


In my mind’s eye, there’s a world where I sit in a house made of paper.
There’s only one window, and through it, I watch everything else go by.

It’s like seeing my life from a stranger’s eyes through some 80’s television set in unintelligible static grey. It’s the ‘implacable otherness’ of it all that gets me, as if everything and everyone is alien, including myself.

Sometimes, you don’t know how to articulate how bad you feel.
People can try to help, but sometimes nobody seems to understand.

So you sit there, suffocated by this inexplicable darkness. And you’re just…


We want stories about people pursuing their dreams, searching for their truth, and figuring out what “The Good Life” means to them. If you’re chronicling your journey or sharing your personal development, our publication Sleepless Dreamers will take submissions to our publication!

🌃 SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

We recommend submissions of 5-minute length. Your writing could be published before and doesn’t need to be a draft, though unpublished writing is preferred.

  1. Please check your grammar and spelling. There are free online tools, and you can often catch mistakes by reading your article aloud.
  2. Submit articles about personal growth, self-fulfillment, and dreams. …

Working in the gaming/gamedev industry, I’ve learned a lot from analyzing the science behind fun and player behavior. Personally, I really enjoy games because it’s exciting to face new challenges, level up one’s character, and get rewarded. There’s a lot of beauty to games that make people feel empowered.

If you’re on a quest for progression in real life, here are the 3 most important life lessons imparted to me from my mentors and experiences, told through the lens of game design!

🧙🏼‍♂ ️ “You should always be Learning and Earning!”

If you’re questing in-game, you’ll realize on any mission that your character is either learning new skills or…


When I think about my mother, I often want to cry.
One day, I hope she feels truly happy and not alone.

My name is Alisa Khieu, and I am the only daughter of two Vietnamese immigrants. As refugees, my parents had nothing, but they sacrificed a lot of themselves for the hopes of their children. It’s the immigrant story so many have heard of — all that parents do for their children, all their dreams for their kids to live a better life than they had.

And that’s really important to talk about. And while I could glorify their…


If you’ve never understood blockchain games, this is the 8-minute TL;DR about blockchain games and their success— with zero blockchain jargon.

It’s Marketing 101 that you should speak in the language your audience can understand, and too often do I see blockchain games turn people off with verbose terminology. While understanding the complexities of the latest tech is cool, your product’s dead if you can’t communicate with a succinct value proposition.

So let’s just get to the most important part: what you can learn from blockchain game design, and why they’re so successful.

🕵️ To do this, let’s analyze what…


If you want to be smart, you have to surround yourself with smart people. My dad taught me this early, and it got me far in life. But when you surround yourself with so much genius and talent, you’re going to look into the mirror one day and think to yourself, “Oh shit, it’s me. I’m the imposter.”

😱 Begin the Existential Crisis

If you think you’re a fraud, newsbreak is that 70% of people also do, according to a study in the International Journal of Behavioral Science.

In today’s online world, there’s so many ‘takes’ from strangers now more accessible than ever before. You…

Alisa Khieu

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