Monday, April 28, 2008

Mamma Mia spirit

I went to see Mamma Mia last Friday, and got very impressed by the Mamma Mia spirit. The music is great, the singers and dancers are great, and the whole musical is great. I know there is always a dream for everyone.

I have a dream
A song to sing
To help me cope
With anything
If you see the wonder
Of a fairy tale
You can take the future
Even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream
I have a dream

Friday, April 25, 2008

Advice to start-up from Jim Balsillie, the CEO of Research in Motion

RIM is a company I respect. With all the innovative products, it is hard to focus on one single function, Email. But it succeeded.

Excerpt from GSMA website.

Q: Can you tell of the inspiration behind the idea of Blackberry. What were the technological and market forces at that time that made you believe that this could be a potentially great company?

Jim: Well, the inspiration, I think, really lies in seeing what we thought were the trends and thus anticipating the changes in the market, and doing the work in advance of these things happening. And you got to remember these trends are always obvious in hindsight, but at foresight they are far from obvious. In the mid 90s when we are working o

Q: last question. What advice would you give a young start-up in technology today?

Jim: Trust your original thought. You are trying to look around corners and anticipate what's happening and do original thought. And from that, from the view in the world, there are opportunities going and so you have to form your own thoughts, trust your own thoughts. I think always stay with passion and enjoyment, focus and intensity because that will give you persistence. Sometimes these things are more difficult, sometimes they take longer so, you need to have a focused and energetic approach to it. And the other thing I would say, always, you will have many opportunities where you'll have to make a choice on a short term approach versus a long term approach, or an ethical compromise or not and I found it just being honest and being straightforward and taking a long term approach. You sleep well and it pays rich dividends, and so never lie, never cheat, never take a short term approach...though sometimes it's tempting. But I've seen it and it's not a way to do business and not a way to live. It's actually not very smart because it comes back to you. So whenever one of those reasons is going to motivate you, take a long term, honest (approach)...If you cheat somebody, they basically say this is not someone I can trust. So take a long term, honest approach.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Scared of China"

One of the advantages living in the valley is to meet a lot of innovative companies. One of them is Meraki, a Wi-Fi service and equipment provider backed up by Google and Sequotia Capital. They are selling a very well-designed Wi-Fi access point, and having a full data management center. Their logan is to "connect the billion".

I talked to a guy from the company on its business in China. It's amazing that he said "We are scared of China". He referred to the fact that some companies in China tried to learn the Meraki products and then copy it all. "We are so scared of it".

It is a dangerous sign for China's manufacturing industry, especially in the technology sector. As I said before, intellectual property protection is necessary to boost the creativity. There's no free lunch, and people have to design their own stuff instead of continuing the habit of copying others. Or, outsiders will get scared, and China will lost the connection.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The creation of the first newspaper

From my favorite blogger: Marc Andreessen, on the relations between newspaper and consumer Internet, through reviewing the newspaper history.

"So just in this first post in the series, we get a sense of the profound wonder that the newspaper was even brought into existence, much less became widespread or had an impact on the world.

And we see the nature of the birthing pains of a new medium -- any new medium -- and obviously, all of the birthing pains of the modern consumer Internet are trivial in comparison to the mind-boggling headwinds the original newspaper entrepreneurs faced."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

This will be the future

from FT

Mobile internet access increases tenfold.

The number of mobile broadband connections globally has risen tenfold in the past year, lending credence to suggestions the industry is coming of age.

The GSM Association, the global trade body for mobile phone operators, is expected to announce today the 32-millionth mobile broadband connection, up from 3m at the end of March 2007.

It also found that the number of operators offering high-speed internet access through mobile networks had soared 44 per cent in the past 10 months.

The GSMA said operators in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America were all reporting an increase in the uptake of high-speed packet access handsets, which give users access to websites at speeds ranging from 1.8 -megabits a second to 7.2mbps.

It found that of 166 global commercial HSPA deployments, 100 offer speeds of 3.6mbps or above, while of the 27 countries in the European Union, 24 have commercial HSPA deployments.

Rob Conway, chief executive of the GSMA, said: "We are witnessing the creation of a virtuous circle in which mobile broadband is achieving greater economies of scale, driving down the cost of handsets and equipment and enabling more and more people to enjoy easy access to media-rich services."

The growth of mobile broadband services has set internet companies on a potential collision course with mobile and fixed-line network operators seeking to secure potentially huge new revenue opportunities.

In February, Google said it had seen 50 times more searches on Apple's iPhone than any other mobile handset, while Vodafone poached a senior Microsoft executive to head its new internet services unit.

The number of networks offering commercial mobile broadband services has risen sharply in the past year. Broadband on mobile phones is available in 73 countries from 166 operators, up from 96 networks commercially deployed in three countries.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Louisiana, Louisiana, they are trying to wash us away.......

It is my first Spring break. (since I only got winter and summer break in college). and I feel I've learnt a lot. If one day I am able to improve the education system in China, I will definitely include Spring Break on my agenda, since it is a great time to travel with classmates and learn about the world.

New Orleans is an amazing city. It is definitely different from any other American city I've ever been. The distinctive difference could be seen everywhere. On one side, it has the elegant European-style buildings around Jackson Square and French Quarter; on the other side, it is one of the poorest cities in U.S. with the highest crime rate.

Jogging along the Mississippi river, I feel I sensed the power from the water which has fed one generation of American; Food is good too, with Gumbo, Po-boy, Oysters and all other unique dishes; however, the homeless people sleeping on the street and under the bridge has kept reminding me that this is a poor area. The mix gives me a unique sense of the city, and thus attracts a lot of tourists as well as young generation.


The trip is sponsored by the school as a way to help local entrepreneurs to start their businesses. This is the third year Stanford is doing this. Our task this time is to help select an entrepreneur to open his or her business in a retail space opening in Upper 9th Ward, one of the poorest area and most destroyed places in the city during Katrina. 16 MBAs spent five days to interview the four candidates, analyze their business model, debate among groups on figuring one which one is most beneficial to the community and most sustainable. The new vocabulary I learnt is double bottom line, to balance the business between social benefit and economic return. It's difficult to measure. After hours hours debate/discussion/brainstorming, we finally made our decision on selecting a hair salon business to occupy the space. The hair salon will enhance employment and draw traffic to the area. And hopefully, she will open her store very soon.

Entrepreneurship is everywhere. MBA is not necessary, wealth family is not necessary as well. In the Hope House, a charity organization in town, we learn from Jonika(if I spell it right), a single mother who raised two kids by herself, to start a pasta venture. She sold pasta everyday, and managed to make a living. She didn't go to high school, though she dreamed to go to play basketball there. Her mother went to prison because of drug abuse, and she almost lost her life in the hurricane. However, she survived from all of that and became an entrepreneur. The same stories are heard in New Orleans every day, and it's very encouraging to anyone who is hesitating.

Glass, class

New Orleans is a city to sense the power and class. For examples, there will be seven tables in the room, with only two having glasses and waters, which means higher-class people will sit in those two tables. The city has a higher percentage of Black Americans, which is described by some columnists as "the corner that is being forgotten or tried to be forgotten by the American mainstream". Education is a big problem, since the city has the worst public school system. Luckily, after Katrina, most of the public school system were destroyed, which gave the opportunity for a lot of young educators to come to the city and set up charter schools. A HBS graduate in his 30s is working in a charter school to bring advanced education system to try to get more kids into better schools. "Is it worth"? someone asked me. "Yeah, it is. Imagine how much impact you could make in a big corporate? here, in this school, this 30 something is going to change the lives of 400 kids".


How to rebuild the city? Leadership matter, said one of the GSB alumni working in New Orleans. He believes someone with the leadership skill will change the city. The city, once suffered from inefficient leadership of the mayor and unresponsiveness from the Federal government, is on its way to lead itself. A lot of non-profit organizations, such as Global Green and Solar Energy Systems Group, have been to the city and worked on different projects. The Make it Right foundation, led by movie star Brad Pitt, is now building energy-efficient housing for the local people. It's a new and insightful direction, and the city is hoping to become the leader in the next-generation urban planning technology.

To me, the most sad thing is to learn that the New Orleans is sinking. According to NASA, New Orleans will sink about 0.17 inches a year, or near three feet over the next 200 years. Parts of the city are 5-10 feet below sea level now. People are building and rebuilding every year, but there is chance that water will come again and wash everything away. I will pray for the city and hope there will be better solution and technology to protect the city. Hope people will continue to be happy there.