It all started with a newsletter 10 years ago.

Unable to sleep one night, I picked up the phone, checked my email and saw an opening in Issue 25 of the EdSurge newsletter for a part-time editorial assistant. I pecked out a few thoughts with my thumbs and eventually dozed off. The next morning, I polished those half-baked ideas into coherent sentences and sent it off.

That would mark the start of an incredible journey for the next decade. A journey from a single newsletter into an award-winning newsroom, bridging communities of educators and entrepreneurs, teachers and learners, finance and…


I read nine books last year and thought it would be a modest but attainable goal to hit a dozen in 2020. A pandemic and a California lockdown should have worked in my favor, but suffice to say I limped across the finish line. Working from home (or rather, sleeping at the office) has warped my sense of time and the natural cadences of life. Also I played a lot of video games.

This was a year where simply finishing anything, however barely, is good enough.

One of my most vivid memories of the year was going into a Barnes…


In February 1992, my family immigrated from Hong Kong. My parents were worried about what would happen when the city returned to Chinese rule, and we were privileged and fortunate to be able to move to Los Angeles, where we had relatives.

A month later, Rodney King was violently beaten by Los Angeles police officers. Next month, after their acquittal, the riots broke out. We could see the silhouette of the downtown skyline from the backyard of our home. I remember faint plumes of smoke billowing against the hazy orange sunset.

I was 6 at the time and had no…


I don’t read very many books. When I do, I read them like I eat: terribly slowly. Just as I like to give tasty morsels an extra chew, I like to read and re-read eloquent sentences, elegant metaphors and witty punchlines.

Then I usually forget about them. (A short memory and nearsightedness, as it pertains to both my eyesight and life goals, have gotten me through life so far.) But I thoroughly enjoyed some of what I read this year, so perhaps writing about these books will help me remember.

Mind you: these are reflections, not reviews, so take them…


Last week, I found an old roll of 120 film that I shot but never developed. Here are some shots of life from 10 years ago.


Like the company, EdSurge apparel has morphed over the years.

Note: Apologies are long overdue to the ladies who’ve had to put up with (and put on) some of these ill-fitting creations over the years.

The lower case Collection (2011–2016)

In the beginning, the first letter was lowercase: edSurge. Edgy and eccentric, and certainly electric — a jolt ⚡ to the educational media world.️

But it also proved confusing from a writer’s perspective. (Should the ‘e’ be capitalized if the company name starts a sentence?) It was also an annoying rule to enforce, one that felt irrationally uptight every time we corrected those who used…


My friends and colleagues have been raving about Blue Apron. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a New York City startup that delivers ingredients and recipes to your doorstep so you can cook and enjoy meals.

I am not a fan.

Now, one of the most important things I learned in college is to refrain from publicly blogging about things other people like that I don’t like. After all, no one likes a Negative Nancy, much less a Toxic Tony.

But I have found that simply expressing why I don’t like Blue Apron often evokes a…


I’m sorry I didn’t get to your email
for my inbox
where children once played
Lays barren as a graveyard
where hopes languish in disregard

I’m sorry I didn’t get to your email
for my inbox
once peaceful as Elysium
Spiraled into a maelstrom
as bloody as Antietam

I’m sorry I didn’t get to your email
for my inbox
once sunny, cool and clear
Rains pests, corpses
and frogs that befell Egypt

I’m sorry I didn’t get to your email
for my inbox
once pure and soft with sand
Lays littered with bodies
like the shores of Normandy

I’m sorry…

Tony Wan

head of investor content @reachfund. co-founder & former managing editor @edsurge. thoughts and ramblings are purely my own.

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