May 2022

Brian Dys

Creative Leadership

About Snippet

Brian Dys

👋 Oi, mga repapips, Brian Dys here! I love music, photography, and creative stuff like UX design and art. This is a place where I collect my thoughts and works. Apart all these, I’m Jaycelle’s better half and Bryce’s dad. 🥰


Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the ride.


Moving portraits

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Nanay & Tatay Wedding Portrait
A wedding portrait of my paternal grandparents.

I admit, I am amazed by technology when it can bring photos to life. Decades ago, I scanned my paternal grandparents’ wedding portrait with the purpose of restoring it. It was scanned in four parts and the best restoration that I could do was stitch them together and remove some blemishes using Photoshop. I thought that I needed some painting skills if I wanted to restore the cracked part (which I didn’t).

Fast forward to 2021, my mind was blown to discover that technology could make animated portraits. Literally, it could make old stagnant photos come alive. If you want to see it for yourself, upload some pictures at MyHeritage Deep Nostalgia.

Here are they in their wedding day. Nanay, as we call our grandmother, survived her husband, Tatay. She’s now in her mid-80s, still as witty and beautiful as ever.

While I was at it, I also ran their portrait in MyHeritage In Color to somewhat colorize and enhance it. Amazing!

Nanay & Tatay Wedding Portrait - Enhanced
A colorized and enhanced version of the wedding portrait of my paternal grandparents.

Update: 3 April 2021

When Nanay saw the moving portrait

Sabagay nung teenager ako, nanalo ako sa beauty contest. Kinukuha ako mag-artista ng tauhan ng Sampaguita Pictures, ayaw ng stepmother ko, baka raw mapariwara lang ang buhay ko. Sa Castillejos, Zambales yun, year 1949.

Nanay Carolina

I said that if ever she took the offer, she would be alongside Susan Roces in Ang Probinsyano. She corrected me by saying that her colleagues would be Tita Duran, Pancho Magalona, Rogelio de la Rosa, and, Carmen Rosales. And that we won’t be born into the world. But she reassured me that all of us, my brothers and I, would be actors as well.


Avaloq Philam Life

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The first time I’ve been at Avaloq’s office at Philam Life building was during my second interview. I was impressed by the interior design of the pantry. There by the couch were some company brochures in the style of a newspaper. I took one home to familiarize myself with the new company that I was planning to join.

Fast forward to almost a year, I was back to this office to get a Macbook device which was an official issue for UX designers.

Avaloq Mac Device
A top view of Apple devices.

While waiting, I hang out by the pantry and had some coffee. There were wine bottles and glasses on the wall but only as decor (they were empty, I checked).

Brian Dys at Avaloq Pantry, Philam Life
Brian Dys drinking coffee at the office pantry.

Outside, during lunch, it was a typical workday — only that everyone’s wearing face shields and masks. There were many people lining up at Dunkin’ at Paseo Center. I went to Yellow Cab for a grub.

Ayala Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas
Ayala Ave. with light traffic and the statue of Ninoy Aquino.

I was oblivious to the fact that some companies have their employees back on site until I went to the office myself. This was also evident on the road, by the number of vehicles going somewhere. Life goes on, indeed, with the pandemic still as dangerous as it started — we just managed to become familiar of how to stay safe in the outside world. I hope complacency in being careful does not get the best of anyone.

An MMDA enforcer and a motorcycle rider at EDSA near Reliance St.

It was a Friday — a celebratory day wherein just last year when my officemates / friends would go out for dinner and some drinks, and sometimes the office turned on its party mode. Now, I had to rush home to avoid the heavy traffic in EDSA.

What permanently changed, we’ll only know as we’re putting old normal things one by one into the new normal.


Strapped for straps

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Swatch We in the Khaki Now
A photo of Swatch watch and a wallet in a drawer. Photo by Brian Dys

It was more than 10 years ago since I bought a Swatch watch called Something New. It was tiny classic black and white watch that had a plastic strap that cost one-third of the watch’s original price (and it breaks every year, the strap). This is what really deterred me from buying from Swatch. Metal and leather straps were me when I was 14 years old but not anymore. Durability and style require delicate balance.

Swatch - Something New
A screenshot of Something New from Swatch’s website. 19 Feb 2021

After that, I switched to Casio, with another classic — an F-91W which is a cheap ₱999 watch whose strap also breaks — but this time, every six months. Again, the strap cost a third of the original price. After around 3 strap replacements, it is now again in a brink of breaking. Planned obsolescence for “bottom-of-the-line” products — these watch makers have perfected a ploy.

Casio F-91W's Broken Strap
A flipped Casio F-91W with a broken strap.
Casio - F-91W
A screenshot of F-91W from Casio’s website. 19 Feb 2021

Just a couple of days ago, I couldn’t leave the mall without taking home this greenish-looking watch called We in the Khaki Now. With it, I partnered another watch for Jaycelle as a surprise — Sunblush (Swatch has a really fun way of naming their watches).

Swatch - We in the Khaki Now
A screenshot of We in the Khaki Now from Swatch’s website. 19 Feb 2021
Swatch - Sunblush
A screenshot of Sunblush from Swatch’s website. 19 Feb 2021

Of course, after eyeing these two awesome watches, my first question for the salesperson was, “What kind of straps do they have?” I was glad not to hear “plastic” or “rubber” — but “silicone“. It’s time to give it another try.

When I got home, I searched for more information regarding the straps and found out that We in the Khaki Now has a “bio-sourced material” strap. I just hope that this time the straps would last for years.


Extract and carry on

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Spent this Friday afternoon combing my work inbox — taking notes and flagging important emails that I will take on at the start of 2021. Most of my work that involves team management are already churned in Figma. In other words, I don’t worry about forgetting everything behind because I’ve already managed to extract the important elements.

Enjoy Your Empty Inbox
A screenshot of Microsoft Outlook showing an empty inbox.

This is the practice that I want to embed consistently in my life — extract and carry on. It’s like the following metaphors or mental models:

  • Stepping stones – using what you’ve learned as a means to an end
  • Building blocks – using what you’ve learned to make a whole
  • Two birds in one stone – doing something efficiently

The lack of this practice would render, in my mind, a very messy backlog of things that, as time goes by, makes it even harder to make sense of because it became a giant tidal wave of mumbo jumbo — a real counterproductive practice. Forgetting them won’t simply do because experiences are a treasure trove of lessons. So the smart thing to do is to extract and carry on.

An important aspect of extract and carry on highly depends on the frequency of doing it. Imagine a correlation between time and memory relevance and reliability.


Our memories simply work that way — as time goes by, we tend to not remember things the same way. From a different perspective, we tend to forget. The saying, out of sight, out of mind captures its essence best.


As memories fade away, the way we retrieve or remember them, and the way we interpret them also change — even with the aid of digital documents. It might help you see and remember literal evidence of how many balloons were there in your fifth birthday but memories are different from ephemeral experience. That’s why if it’s not in the now, it’s not wholly what you experienced but a memory of your experience.


For how long until you will feel that your backlog is already a giant tidal wave? Don’t let it reach that point. If you could wrap up your life weekly or monthly, then that’s more manageable than wrapping it up once a year.

Looking back a year long when you’ve got a weekly or monthly chunk of the important stuff would be easier, and could actually be an enjoyable activity without the arduous stuff of remembering and extracting.

Pushing this idea to the extreme, I ask myself if I could save only thirty-six photos of a particular month, which could these photos be? It could mean forgetting about the rest of the photos that didn’t make the cut. That could also solve the problem of digital storage, but that’s a different story.

You get the idea — extract and carry on aims for a hangup-free and richer life.


First Day High

Valero cor. V.A. Rufino
At the corner of Valero and V.A. Rufino streets.

Woke up early morn scampering to find all the knickknacks that once filled up my backpack. I emptied it since March early this year and retired it into a forgotten corner of the house. The quarantine’s end wasn’t in sight, after all. All the things that I think I might need when in the office were all lined up on my desk — they are the following:

  • water tumbler
  • coffee tumbler
  • laptop computer
  • notebook and pen
  • battery pack
  • umbrella
  • digital pouch
  • toiletry pouch
  • shades
  • jacket

The bag? Yes, it’s nowhere to be found. I was about to check a mountain of luggage one by one and thankfully, Jaycelle was half-awake to tell me that it might be in a box full of bags. There it was, my old army green friend.

My MRT Ride
My bag and I, we’ve been through thick and thin.