Monthly Archives: February 2009

Jian Shuo Wang’s Talk on Lunch 2.0

Let me briefly record the transcript of my talk on Lunch 2.0 meetup. I talked very fast, and may be only used 3 minutes. It was supposed to talk about my business baixing.com. But as always, we want to be low profile about what we are doing, I talked about something instead. It is basically based on a Chinese blog article about entrepreneurship I recently wrote.

I started by saying “I am Jian Shuo wang, CEO of Baixing.com. It is a online classified service that provide housing, jobs, second-hand, services, and community. Since the business model of classified is so simply, let me talk about three things I learn from 4 years of my company”. Tomorrow is actually the 4th year anniversary of baixing.

Then I said about the first learning:

First, Focus. After doing many different things, the CEO of blogcn.com, a blog hosting company, to claim that he spent 4 years to learn that blogcn.com should really focus to blog. That is also what I learn. Baixing is all about doing classified well, as Dianping.com is created to do dianping well (reviews). Many company started with an idea to do something, but it is too easy for us to forget what were are supposed to do.

That was my short first point. The second:

The second is, cost. We discovered a magic formula that no one else in this world every understand: Profit = Revenue – Cost. (laughter). In good times, we only care about revenue, because founders look at valuation of the company. $1 in revenue may make $20 difference in valuation. They don’t care to spend $10 to get $1 revenue. Today, luckily, everyone is getting back to the essential of business: spend $1 to get $1.10 back. That is the reason we look at cost.

Then I talked about the third learning.

Third learning, simplicity.

We want to add more features, but never really understand the cost of it. We are all tech companies, and we know to add a comment feature is just few hours of coding. But when we put it online, we learn a new word: spam. Then we need to hire people to moderate it. If we are talking about people, we are talking about hiring, firing (if you are “lucky”), creating report, review report, and everything related to people management. You need to bring people out for dinner, and think about moral building. Back to feature. Someone may want to delete a comment…

CDE!” my audience laughed.

Right. Like CDE.. Then you need to create a cool concept called user account, and they need to signup, set password, change password, and stupid people like ourselves may even forget passwords…

Think again before adding many feature.

OK. That is the three things I learn from my past 4 years as an entrepreneur: focus, cost and simplicity. Thanks

Pretty short talk, isn’t it? I guess it is just three minutes.

Expats More Need Community

I just attended the Lunch 2.0 organized by George, invited by Gang Lu and Calvin. As I described in my last blog International Events in Shanghai, I was surprised to find out it is a pure international event – the expat entrepreneur community meetup.

The conversation is in English – I delivered short 5 minute speak along with my old friend Zhang Tao (CEO of Dianping.com, and host of this Lunch 2.0), and new friend David Feng of Citiology. The attendants, as I expected, are mainly expat entrepreneurs in Shanghai

This leads me to think about community needs in a city. It seems to me expats need community much more than local people. The scene here I saw in Lunch 2.0 reminds me of the similar Chinese engineer meetup in the Silicon valley. It seems it is much more easier to organize such groups in a foreign city.

People has the need to talk with people of the similar background. In US, Chinese people traditionally tend to live in China Town, and int he recent twenty to thirty years, people from mainland China going to US are mainly students for higher education, and there are many groups connecting them, like the Huayuan Science and Technology Association..

In Shanghai, it seems the same is also happening. This time, the community seems to be around the young entrepreneurs, rather than students. Many years ago, when I just started my blog, I also joined some of the expat community, and at that time (early 00’s), expats in Shanghai are mainly professional managers in big international organization, like Microsoft, Motorola, or P&G. They are not interested in doing business. Their topic is mainly about where to shop, how to hire a nanny, and is it safe to to here, or there, is it safe to eat this or that, or is it safe to …..

Good. I see the change, and expect more changes happen.

International Events in Shanghai

I don’t know about you, but I feel that there are more and more international events in Shanghai. To be more exact, by international, I mean events organized by expat community (people not native in China), and use English as the main language, plus the international (western) style, and format.

Lunch 2.0

Let me give you some example. Tomorrow, I was invited by Gang Lu, blogger of www.mobinode.com/ and Calvin, founder of Qifang.com to attend an event Lunch 2.0 Shanghai (facebook page) in Dianping‘s office. It is not a surprise for Shanghai to have entrepreneur meetup, but from the RSVP list, I have a feeling that this event is very international. At least I am very sure there are some people on the list who don’t know anything about Chinese, and from the name and background, I am sure another 10 people should use English only. Hmmm…. I didn’t expect that. Shall I ask whether I should use English or Chinese in delivering this speech?

SXSW @ M1NT Shanghai

Another event is SXSW @ M1NT Shanghai. I heard about it from Elliot Ng. Obviously, from the speaker list, and from the attendant list, and the venue, you know two things. First, it should be an English centric community. Second, there is already a very big expat entrepreneur community in Shanghai already. Look at the successful companies our international friends have built here in Shanghai.

Entrepreneurs’ Organization – EO

Introduced by Alvin Wang of minfo.com, I started to notice EO – the Entrepreneur’s Organization. They have a Shanghai chapter. Alvin said many great things about the organization – it is all about thoughts sharing among annual 1 million USD above revenue company CEOs and founders. I checked the website, and to my surprise, it seems to be another English speaking community – I checked the photo gallery here.

More in the Past, and More to Come

There are some significant difference in these events and the Shanghai local events.

1. English speaking.

Of cause I suspect we speak a lot of Chinese, but insist to say Chinese unless you don’t really want communication, and want to provide an excellent chance for our friends to learn oral Chinese.

2. Western style.

Although the events happens in Shanghai, it is completely in western styles. The venue are in top places in Shanghai, and the expense is of cause pretty high. The decent bars, and social events are not common practice in Shanghai yet – we tend to go to a tea house, or more often, go to a big restaurant have setup some big tables of food.

3. Expense.

This also interesting. Lunch 2.0 charges 22 RMB, according to the previous event. SXSW @ M1NT Shanghai charges 100 RMB and 200 RMB at door. EO Shanghai charges about 20,000 RMB annually to be part of it (well, this is not the case of an event, but… still pretty expensive)… Charging for conferences, and events are common practices in US (which commercial conference is really free in US, or Europe), but it is still not the common practice in Shanghai yet (“Conference? Do they cover accommodation and flight? No? How come?”)

My 2 Cents

I think it is the good sign that Shanghai, after 80 years of isolation (I am counting from 1930’s), Shanghai is getting back to the international community. I noticed more and more international events are adding Shanghai as a stop along with San Francisco, and London. Hmmm… Good thing. I would expect the the local community may need some time to get used to this kind of diversity. We need to be more open about this, and let the both community to integrate together.

For me… It seems get English as a second language is getting more important. :-) and to be a bridge connecting the two side world is also meaning work to do.

Good luck to all the events, and communities.

Virtual Physical Name Card

If I sent this link to you, I want to sayGlad to meet you. Sorry that I didn’t bring my name card with you today. Here is my Virtual physical name card. Keep in touch!

If you just discover this link by yourself, continue to read about why I posted this.

Sometimes, I went to meet with people only to find out I didn’t bring my name card. I promised to send to them later, and most of time, I did. The interesting thing is, many of them, we know each others’ contact information already (like email and mobile phone), but just feel the need to exchange a card to get complete information (title is one of this information that we seldom directly ask). So I take a picture of my name card (two pictures for both sides) and post it online. It feels better to see a real name card than VCard.

A Blogger at a Media Event

What happens if a blogger attend a media conference designed for journalists? This was what happened today, when I was invited to join the Australia Pavilion Foundation Completion Ceremony. Here is my observation.

Amateur vs Professional

It seems everyone in that room was there simply because it was their jobs.

There are officials from both Australia and Chinese government – should be pretty routine job for them to participate in events like this. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean it is not important, but to do ceremonial thing again and again may cause people lose the real passion doing that – just holding wedding ceremony many times may cause the bride and groom to lose their passion for love at the moment of exchanging finger ring.

There are PR agency, food vendor, logistic vendor, venue service people there. They are doing their job (well done,BTW). They are professional. All the attendants: journalist and camera men all went there for work. They are professional. It seems I am the only person who are there just because of curiosity (with a warm invitation).

This is an interesting contracts for me and inspired me to really think about the line between amateur and professional about doing anything.

Working people

Amateur with Attitude of Professionals

Sports, for example, are often amateur for most people. However, I found people who do it with the attitude of profession enjoyed it much more than others. People like running get nice running shoes, and record how long they run, and do many research about it (like guys Yiqipao). We are amateur in most things – there should be only one or two things we think we are professional (the things we do to make a living). In the end, the line between professional and amateur is really blurred.

Professional with the Passion of Amateurs

The more interesting thing I learnt from today’s event was about doing professional things with the passion of the amateur. Look at the people who participated in the media conference. I am sure if I have to attend all the similar events and have a pretty big news report waiting for me to write, I will lose my passion too. I won’t do what I did today. (I used the stair to go to every floor, and examined every corner I am allowed to in the building).

Looking at what we do in offices! We are profession, and we do it professionally. But if we imagine we are just the walk-in stranger, and we can discover much more of our daily life than otherwise.

The Right Combination

To combine the attitude of the professional and the passion of the amateur may be the best case possible. Thanks for the opportunity today to be a professional amateur, and an anmateur professional.

Australian Pavilion Foundation Completed

I am currently sitting at the audience seat of a special event: Shanghai Expo Australian Expo Pavilion Foundation Completion Ceremony. I was invited by Ogilvy Public Relationship Shanghai as a "journalist" of digital media – interestingly enough, this is the first time. The original ceremony was planned to be held before the Australian Pavilion construction site (wow!) but now it was moved to a conference room inside the Expo Land building due to the heavy rain this morning. As you can imagine, it is not fun at all if you have to get to the center of a construction site in this weather. Pretty disappointed, to be honest, and I want to find other ways to get into the site – I mean before the Expo starts. I am a big fan of construction site.

The Australian Pavilion

The Australian Pavilion has been shown in Metro stations and along the roads across the whole Shanghai. I just understood that the reddish color of the pavilion symbolizes the red earth of Australia – I didn’t think about it yet. 

image 
Image in courtesy of Australia Pavilion and Shanghai Expo website

Photo taken by Jian Shuo Wang via Nokia N78

The Meaning of an Expo?

Many of my readers, my friends, and even me for some time were wondering why there should be an Expo at the first place.

Culture Event

The Australia Pavilion, for example, has a big performance center with capacity of 1000 people on the 3th floor of the pavilion. There will be art performance there (daily?).

Imagine that even without an Expo, how many culture events happening everywhere across the globe? You see many performance from many countries in the Oriental Performance Art center, and events like France year in China, and China Year in France. What a great idea to have an altogether party for every country to participate? That is the idea behind World Expo.

VIP Business Areas

According to the materials they distribute, there will be 200+ invitation only business meetings inside the pavilion. Whoever challenges about why have meetings should admit that it is way more effective to have gather everyone in a bigger party, than having many 1:1 meetings. A big meeting involves one travel arrangement for each party, while the other way means thousands of travels from so many parties. To have a business meeting center inside the Pavilion is a great idea. I am sure many pavilions do the same. To have a 100-day "big meeting", it brings everyone from the world to gather in one site (Expo Site), and help to facilitate communication and boost business opportunities.

Australian Food

This morning’s event include show case of Australian food. According to the organizer, the food were prepared by the same food vendor for the Australia Pavilion in 2010.

Photo taken by Jian Shuo Wang

Photo taken by Jian Shuo Wang

I am not a big fan of food, and it is a waste of resource to give me really good food (especially western food – I just feel I am a rabbit). For breakfast, Baozi + Bean Milk seem a better combination than cake + orange juice. I believe that is the reason to have food exchange program to help people understand the difference of food.

BTW, when Mr. Peter Tesch, Commissioner-General of the Expo effort from DFAT fo Australia told us what to expect, he mentioned “The drinks will be cold, and the food will be delicious…”. I thought to myself, it would be a great chance in this Expo event to help to translate the meaning of “the drink will be cold” into Chinese, because, for Chinese people, if you say, the drink will be cold, that is worst thing. We say, the tea will be hot… :-) By mixing the culture and business of Australia and China together would be the most beneficial thing I can imagine in the coming expo.

The New Logo

The new logo of the Australia Pavilion is very nice. Without any explanation, I can recognize the Australia map, the blue sky, the red earth, and the golden sand beach. I would not have had the ability to understand it without my rewarding trip to Australia in October 2007.

Good luck to the construction of the Australia Pavilion, and look forward to experience the great “Journey” the Pavilion promised to 70 million visitors in 2010.

P.S. Anna sent me the picture of the Australia Pavilion construction site:

shanghai-australia.pavilion.construction.jpg

Credit: anonymous

It seems we didn’t miss too much today. :-)

First Impression of Shanghai Expo Site

Note: this entry was overwritten by another one for some time, and I have now recovered it

Well. To be more exact, this is my first impression of the Shanghai Expo planning headquarter which is located partly inside the Shanghai Expo Site.

Where is it?

The Shanghai Expo Building is located #3588, Pudong South Road. Coming from the north of the Pudong South Road, you can see a 12-story building with big ExpoLand logo on it. That is it.

What is it for?

To prepare for the Shanghai Expo, Shanghai government setup a special organization called Bureau of Shanghai Expo Co-ordination. Even people like me who don’t really understand the Chinese government structure can see the significance of setting up a standalone bureau in a government means.

The Bureau of Shanghai Expo Co-ordination is located on the second and third floor of the ExpoLand building. I found it out both by the name plate at the entrance and by intentionally got lost twice.

The fourth floor is the conference facility, and most of the floors above 4th floor are occupied by the Shanghai Expo Land Holding Co. Ltd. That must be the reason why this build is marked as ExpoLand building. I suspect (not sure) that it is the same structure as most other mega projects in Shanghai: The government will setup a holding company (instead of a government agency) to interface with the participating countries and organizations, and do it in a pretty market oriented way. They have done this successfully in the construction of Shanghai Metro and most of the bridges and expressways.

The Buildings

The entrance of the Shanghai Expo organizing center is petty narrow, but when you enter it, you will see many buildings (11 as far as I see).

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

These are all the buildings with busy people preparing for the event.

Below are the new buildings – seems to be many office buildings spreading out along the Huangpu River – from the lowest on the south and taller at the north area.

Inside the building #1:

My Impressions

  1. The Expo is Near. You can see people busy working there, and the sites are being built.
  2. Very professional organizational work. I have a strange feeling that I am in a company, not a government leading initiative. The design and internal facility inside the expo building mislead me to believe that it is a normal company that I have visited. Pretty big contrast with the traditional government image.
  3. International. It is by no means just a Shanghai effort. People from many countries participated. I saw many people outside China working there. The dining room is big and impressive. I believe they are as involved as organizer, if more than them.
  4. The standard is high. I just feel at the background of city development of Shanghai, the expo site must of world class, based on my observation of newly built buildings, and renew of the old facilities.

Below is the Google Satellite map of the Expo headquarter I talked about:

Favorite Road: Wukang Road

I have been asked many times about my favorite road in Shanghai. It is so hard to answer this question, since I have many roads in my minds that can be my favorite road. So I am trying to make a list along my way of discovery of my real favorite road. Wukang Road 武康路 is just a starting point – let me repeat, I have not decided to give my favorite road title to Wukang Road yet.

Where is Wukang Road

Wukang Road is a north-south small road in Xuhui District 徐汇. It starts from the Huaihai Road, with the historical V-shape Wukang Building 武康大楼 as the landmark, and extends northwards until it reaches Anfu Road 安福路, where the Shanghai Drama Institute is located.

Image in courtesy of Google Maps

Why this Road is Special?

Like many of small roads in the Xuhui villa area, the road brings you the best part of old Shanghai (and obviously, it still represents the current Shanghai). Things I like most:

1. The trees

There are many Wutong Trees 梧桐树 (or Phoenix trees) along the both side of the road, and form a beautiful and artistic “cave”. The road is small, and there are not many cars on it (actually, it is a north-to-south single way road). Walking along the road is best experience, since you can just take your time. No hurry, and no car horn. It takes about 30 minutes for one way.

2. The old villas

The highlight of the road is the old villa, and old residential area behind the trees. Even people familiar with the area may not know the name and history of all the villas. Most of the villas are either French style or Spanish style with big yards, and tall trees. Wandering in that area, you don’t feel you are in a big city at all. Sometimes you can see people grow vegetable in their garden, and in an extreme case, I saw chicken running around in one garden. It is amazing how life is in these 100 million RMB houses.

3. Connection with other nice road

Along the Wukang road is a nice area. You will see Xingguo Road 兴国路, Taikang Road 泰康路, Hunan Road 湖南路, Fuxing Road 复兴路, Wuyuan Road 五原路, and Changle Road 长乐路 – all these roads are as beautiful as Wukang Road, and all worth some time to explorer.

It is a petty that I don’t have any picture of this beautiful road yet. I will try to take some and post them here.

Update Photos uploaded March 8, 2009

This cloudy Sunday afternoon, I invited Wendy to go to Wukang Road with me. I did bring my Nikon D50, but I only found out that the battery is dead. So I am using Wendy’s small Windows Mobile phone to take some photos.

Photograph by Wendy Fan

Photograph by Wendy Fan

Photograph by Wendy Fan

Photograph by Wendy Fan

Photograph by Wendy Fan

Photograph by Wendy Fan

Photograph by Wendy Fan

Photograph by Wendy Fan

Six Apart’s Problem?

Whenever I search for some plugins on MovableType community, I constantly run into the great plug-ins by Byrne Reese. The plugin that is in my head is AutoLink. I am thinking about installing it tonight. However, when I just browse the articles on Byrne’s website, I stumbled upon an article dated back to December 5, 2008: A sad departure from Six Apart and looking to the future. Byrne left the company? It was from that entry did I understood that Six Apart has done 8% layoff in November 2008.

I Do Care about Six Apart

Long time readers of this blog may understand my love to MovableType and its creator, Six Apart. Without MovableType, I am very sure I won’t have started blogging 7 years ago, and won’t write for 7 years. My blog started just as a test drive of MovableType in 2002, and my first entry of this 7 year old blog was exactly about my experience of installing the software: < href="http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20020911_movabletype_successfully_installed_on_windows_xp.htm">MovableType Successfully Installed on Windows XP. In the last 7 years, I used MovableType more often than Windows. I open MovableType everyday, and I even don’t do so for Windows (I also used Unix system).

I still remember my first visit to Six Apart office by introduction of Chris (CEO of Rojo.com at that time, and later became CEO of Six Apart), met Mena and Ben, and visited the office many times later. I also enjoyed hosting my friends Ginger and Seki in Shanghai.

My friends in Six Apart treated me so well. On for 5th Anniversary of blogging, the whole Six Apart team had a wonderful celebration party for me, and Ginger brought me to see baseball game at AT&T Park.

It would be fair to say, I am a hard-core MovableType fan, friend of the company, and the person who cares about this company a lot.

My Thoughts about Six Apart

From the upgrade of MovableType from 3.x to 4, my direct feeling is Six Apart is losing its focus, and slips to the wrong direction. I said, MovableType 4.2 is disappointing after I had been expecting it for a long time. But that is not the key problem. I just feel Six Apart is doing too many things at the same time, and now, MovableType is no longer the focus of the company. I am very sure that my friend in Six Apart will argue that MT is still the most important product, but importance is really measured by resources put into it.

I read about Chris’ post about Changes of Six Apart:

This year was one of profound growth and change for Six Apart. In addition to welcoming almost 90 new people and growing to a company of over 200 employees, we launched Six Apart Services, Six Apart Media, Blogs.com, Movable Type Open Source and MT Pro, a suite of TypePad-powered products, including Blog It, Blog Link, the TypePad iPhone app and TypePad AntiSpam, and reached the final stage of the biggest technical project in the company’s history: the migration of TypePad onto a new platform. And, as you all know, we aren’t done yet, with several of our most significant product releases still to come this year.

.

Let me count the initiatives:

  1. 90 new people (almost double) in one year
  2. Six Apart Services
  3. Six Apart Media
  4. Blogs.com
  5. MovableType Open Source
  6. MT Pro
  7. Typepad-powered products
  8. Migration of the Typepad platform

I believe this was just the new initiative in 2008, and there are many lasting projects accumulated from as early as 2002 when the company was formally founded. All those projects need maintaining resources.

Among all the initiatives, I think I personally have most concern toward Six Apart Services, and Media. Although it is where revenue comes from, but don’t forget about the cost side of the equation. Any company has its unique DNA. Who founded the company? What is the story? Who hired the first 10 people? What format the company meeting is? All these small details makes a company unique, and optimized for one particular task. Simply put it, I don’t think the same group of people who build blogging software can do service well, or sell advertisement well, or the other way. The result is either a hard-core engineering team building great software + a so-so advertising and services team (the best possible situation), or a diluted so-so engineering team + a so-so advertising/services team (most possible).

That is the reason why Ben can ship MovableType 1.0 with one person, and now 200 people shipped MovableType 4. Don’t get me wrong. MovableType 4 IS great in many aspect, but I am just talking about the ratio of resources put into it, and the outcome. Till now, I still think MovableType 3.2 is the best blogging software in the world – I still have my Chinese blog, and my friends’ blog running on it. MT 4 is great in functionality, but the core is not about functionality for many people, it is about simplicity, reliability, and speed, which I think MT 3.2 is better.

In tough times, it is even more important to keep focus. My personal bias is, Six Apart was a great technical company and should remain to that core. I know everyone faces revenue challenges, but doing engineering is the most cost-effective way to run a company, isn’t it? Saving the cost of expansion to other business also means moving toward profit.

I Still Stand on the Side of Six Apart

Although I have some pretty harsh comments about my great friends there, I want to make it clear that it was just because I care the company so much. I want to see a successful company, and my best wishes goes to Six Apart from Shanghai, China.

Track Click on Elements

I once used the code below to track the clicks on elements on a page. If you know JavaScript, you may understand what it is about.

// Track every click within the page.

document.onclick = function(e) {

    e = e || window.event;

    el = e.target || e.srcElement;

if(el.tagName.toLowerCase() != ‘a’ || el.tagName.toLowerCase() != ‘input’) return true;

    var name = “”;

    var i = 0;

    while(el != document && i++ < 10 && el.tagName.toLowerCase() != "html") {         name = el.tagName.toLowerCase() + (el.id == "" ? "" : "@" + el.id) + (el.className == "" ? "" : "." + el.className) + "/" + name;         el = el.parentNode;     }   _uacct = "###########YOUR GOOGLE ANALYTICS CODE HERE############";   if(typeof(urchinTracker)=='function')     urchinTracker(name);   return true; }

Basically, it just record entries like below in your Google Analytics account.

html/body/.related/a

html/body/#header/div.navigation

Congratulations to Ryun and Jenny

Ryun and Jenny got married tonight. I just got back from their wedding ceremony in Shenyuexuan at Dingxiang Garden.

It is always nice to join the wedding ceremony of friends, especially when you know both the bride and groom. It keeps reminds us that there are much more than work in everyone’s life – to have some good friends, and to have a warm family (with husband, wife, and parents, and children) are so wonderful.

Ryun’s website at hejiachen.com seems went do, so let me just grasp a photo of him.

Photo credit: Ryun

Photo credit: Ryun

P.S Today is also the one year anniversary of Jia and Xiaojing. Congratulations for the wonderful achievement – to getting together for the first year means a lot! It is really a good day, even the raining seems so romantic.

A15 Expressway Shanghai

Shanghai has pretty huge construction these days. Yesterday, Wendy and I drove to Minhang, and saw the construction of a brand-new long expressway was under construction: the A15 Expressway.

This new expressway is not well-known yet. It starts from the Pudong International airport, and go from there west-bound, and get cross the Huangpu River via a huge Minpu Bridge, and continue to go straightly west, cross current A4 road, and go to Zhejiang province. It was reported that the expressway will be completed this year (2009).

I just talked about the Shanghai Zizhu Science Park yesterday. I thought the park is just too far away from anywhere in Shanghai. With the construction of A15, and Minpu Bridge, I just realized the significance of the Zizhu Park – it is exactly at the conjunction of A15, and A4 (the other side of the conjunction is the Shanghai Jiaotong University Minhang Campus. This way, the Zizhu Campus is much more closer to the Pudong Airport, making it a good place to build factory and R&D facility.

I ever described the Zizhu Campus to be in the middle of no where (many people still thinks so), but it is just at the starting point to become a pretty good place to be. Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park is another example. From the Puxi Centric view point, it is too far away from the People’s Square, but on the other side, it is much closer to the Pudong Airport – an even more important criteria to determine the future of an area.

With the spreading of the road facility and all the plans became real, I started to think about the city planning. There are some key road that can significant change the dynamics of the landscape of an area. We are just not experienced enough to understand all these just from plans. Maybe only more experience can help us to predict the future of an area better.

Microsoft Shanghai Zizhu Campus

It was a sunny afternoon (update: it quickly turns into thunderstorm tonight), and Yifan fall asleep. There is nothing for Wendy and I to do – pretty rare in the last two years, so we cherished the great opportunity to wander around. Wendy had a crazy idea, and I was even more crazier than her: I agreed.

The idea was, to drive 35 km away to Microsoft Shanghai’s new campus in Zizhu Science and Technology Center. The construction of this center is pretty important to us, since Microsoft is moving most of its technical people to that center, which, unfortunately, including Wendy.

Zizhu Science and Technology Park

Shanghai Zizhu Science and Technology Park 紫竹高科技园区 is located at the far south side of Minhang district. It is pretty far from the city. If you have some concepts of Shanghai Metro system, it is at the south end of the Metro Line #5 (to provide you some hits, Metro Line #1 is the north-south line in Shanghai. Metro Line #5 starts from the most south station of Metro Line #1. Got some idea about how far it is?).

The area became hot because Shanghai Jiao Tong University moved from it Xuhui Campus to the Minghang Campus in 1984, and continued to expand the area of the campus. I have spent 2 years studying on that campus, before I was relocated to the main Xuhui Campus. I left the campus in 1999, and got back to the Xuhui Campus in 2007, with a company setting up there.

The Change of Zizhu Park

The Zizhu Park was just a concept when I was there from 1995 to 1997. There are no buildings, and even more roads. If you check out Google Satellite map today, you still see almost nothing.

Later, some companies moved in, including Microsoft, Wicresoft (Microsoft’s joint venture, where I also spent about half a year), Intel. The area became a “real” science park. All of them was squeezed into several public buildings.

Image in courtesy of Zhou, Xiaohui

Image in courtesy of jeffwilcox

Recent few years ago, Intel built their campus there, and many people of Intel moved there. Then Wicresoft – a Wicresoft building and a campus. Then Omren…

Image in courtesy of jeffwilcox

Microsoft Zizhu Campus

The Microsoft Zizhu Campus was designed to be a huge project. The big complex consists of four buildings and a big cafeteria in the middle. The current project only includes the cafeteria and one building.

When finished, all Microsoft Shanghai technical resources will be moved there. To name a few: Microsoft Global Technical Center, Microsoft Advanced Technical Center, and many divisions of Microsoft Live Development Center. To be short, almost all the people I know in Microsoft moved there, except the Microsoft Shanghai Sales and Marketing Organization (they will move to the Grand Gateway).

Image in courtesy of jeffwilcox

Transportation is a Huge Problem

Zizhu Science Park is pretty nice. It is obviously not as popular in hi-tech companies as Zhang Jiang Hi-Tech Park. But it is catching up. The arrangement of the new Microsoft Zizhu campus is also very attractive – with VIP in-house health care, and sports facility, but the key problem of this campus is, it is too far away.

Wendy has tried every thing to find the best way to get to that campus. She tried to use normal route of A20 -> A4, or tried A20 -> Lianhua Road, or even tried to use Ferry at the Metro Line #8 station. The reason is discouraging. The campus is at least 35 km away from our home, and up to 60 km away from some of the engineers working there. That means, you need to prepare at least 2-3 hours on transportation to get there. Hmmm…. It is really to far away.

Let’s see how things evolves, when the moving day comes for the many different groups with nearly 1000 people.

Photos?

I hope I can upload the photo of the new building now, but it is still in Wendy’s mobile phone, and I am still looking for a connection cable. I will update when I have photos available.

Who is Chris Devonshire Ellis – Part II

I have already decided leave this Chris Devonshire Ellis (a.k.a cde) alone after I briefly wrote this blog entry: Who is Chris Devonshire Ellis. As I said, I don’t care who he is – good or bad – it is just completely not my business. He was brought to my attention just because the three pretty silly threatening emails, and two phone calls. Well. I received a few of them because of some other people’s comment on my blog (and interestingly, more than half of the threatening letter comes because they want me to delete their own comment on this blog, like this).

But, things get more and more interesting these days, and I cannot help write something about this person, to provide some more information to help people understand some aspects of this “well-known” and “well-connected” guy.

Threatening Instead of Requesting

As I stated in my previous blog, he asked me to remove some comments about him on this blog entry: Second-Generation Identity Card. Then he wrote blog stating that it is about Chinese people libel about foreign people. I even don’t bother to argue that it is him who distinguish Chinese and foreign people in treating comments.

Now the problem is, it is not about requesting for something that is right (or wrong), it is all about threatening.

Recently, in his email to Lostlaowai.com, he threatened to report his website to Public Security Bureau to revoke his visa because Ryan wrote an article: Would the real Chris Devonshire-Ellis please stand up. Unfortunately, this entry was removed, and I fully understood that he actually does not deserve any attention. This CDE has done this to many bloggers, including myself. In all these letter, he not only stated that he asked certain content about him removed (which if he has the right evidence, it is pretty reasonable request), he *threaten* people of all kinds of terrible things.

The Threatening Emails I Got

Although he treated other bloggers and me terribly, I still want to play nicely to certain rules. Although I believe I have very reason to publish the threatening emails on this blog (I am not sure though, any legal advice from my readers?), I choose not to, and just quote indirectly about the pretty length emails.

The last email (the third similar emails) he sent to me, he mentioned that he will have meetings with the Minister of Industry, and he told me that he will bring this matter concerning me, and my employer to the minister’s personal attention. He also threatened to take legal steps for damages for defamation. I have no problem that he brings this matter to the court at all – follow the law, and I think that is the simplest way to do it, but it sounds so silly and even fool to threaten a blogger to bring his blog to the minister of the country. Wow. I will be flattered if you do so. In the end, he re-stated that I must face the consequences if I do not follow exactly what he told me to do.

The previous two are equally lengthy and “rude” (sorry but this was my feeling). Interestingly, after the three emails, I received phone call to my mobile from a girl who claimed to be his lawyer, and asked me to remove the comments, and my new blog article about him. I asked her to send me emails or fax and tell me which part of my article has problems, and she didn’t reply ever since. (I am not surprised to receive emails, but feel pretty funny that his employee also tried so hard to “protect” his boss’s already pretty bad image online – search the term Chris Devonshire Ellis on Google to see).

Old Stories in the New Background

When all these happened, I did a search in my own inbox, and found out this Chris Devonshire Ellis has already been the “old friend” of blogger, and expat community. My friends have ever been threatened by this guy back in 2007, and this person sent thousands of comments of the similar thing to his website. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Then I took some time to read the article about Chris Devonshire Ellis that I posted: Second-Generation Identity Card. If you read the comment carefully, you see many people stood up to express their support to Chris Devonshire Ellis. I promised not to reveal private information about commenters, but what I can tell you is, it is the same IP address, and same client behind all these supporting comments, and the IP address comes from Hong Kong SAR. There are more and more these comments coming before I was forced to close the comment section of that article. I am sure that many bloggers experienced the same thing – tell us if you are also one of the victim of this CDE.

Chris Devonshire Ellis on the News

The even more interesting movement recently was about the fake stories, and fake interview this Chris Devonshire Ellis claimed to conducted with Chinese officials. And China Bank Regulatory Committee (CBRC) put an announcement on their website to tell the truth. His false report even made big jump in the RMB to USD exchange rate. Check out some bloggers’ report on this issue:

#cde Became a Top 10 Trend in Twitter

You can check out Twitter now at channel #cde. It is pretty hot – I mean now, at 0:05 AM, February 21, 2009 (Shanghai Time). So many people annoyed by this single person #cde gathered there, and the channel #cde even became top 10 trends (hottest topic on Twitter worldwide) today. I even started to admire how powerful this person became to have so many die-hard enemies on the Internet – not an easy job to accomplish.

Finally, Let’s Stop Here after Learning the Lessons

There are some lessons to learn for #cde this time.

  • It is OK to send legal statement requesting something as long as there is a legitimate reason behind it, but it is NOT OK to threaten anyone, just like report to PBS, mention something to high officials, or promise a DDOS attack – bloggers typically won’t do something just because he/she is scared of this.
  • To post too many positive comments under different IDs is too simple and naive. People know that, and it is just a matter of time about when people discover it.
  • Don’t over-react – this is a typical case where a very small comment that no one will notice became a big event in blogsphere. It can be completely avoided if Chris Devonshire Ellis, and his employees didn’t over-react to a level that no one can tolerate.
  • A bonus tip: to have a phone call is even worse than threatening email – that makes people really angry.

Chris, you have my email and mobile phone – it has been listed on the homepage of this blog for 7 years. Feel free to write or call, but please be aware, as I started in my privacy statement, I reserve the right to publish content you sent to email address jianshuo @ hotmail.com, or call my mobile phone. If you don’t want your threatening email to be published, don’t send them, and you are encouraged to directly go to court to sue me, or even better, talk about this blog with your high-ranking official friends that you imagined by yourself. Peace. I just hope I can get back to my normal life of blogging (a much more fun work to do than dealing with #cde), and just let this ridiculous event disappear from everyone’s attention.

Meaning of 886 in Chinese

I received email asking about what 886 means in Chinese. This is an interesting question.

886

Simply put it, 8 may generally means rich, because it has similar pronunciation of being rich. 6 means smooth, since the pronunciation of 6 is pretty smooth by itself.

886 is a pretty good number, in most Chinese people’s mind.

Meanwhile, it is also the international long distance area code number for Taiwan (mainland China is 86, and Hong Kong is 882).

Numbers and Its Related Characters

Since there are tens of thousands of Chinese characters (number 0 to 9 are just ten of them), and there are basically only 200 or something pronunciations, as you can imagine, many characters maps to exactly the same pronunciation.

Although there are characters with exactly the same pronunciation with the 10 numbers, like cloth to 1, dance to 5, wander to 6, wife to 7…, these numbers are not generally mapping to this meanings. There are some characters with pretty similar meanings, like 4 and die, 8 and rich, 5 and me, 1 with want, 2 with son, that are generally used to “translate” the numbers.

Impact of Numbers to People

People in China generally (although it may be too generally to say so) care about numbers and their meanings, to certain extend. A good number (with many 8 or 6 in it) is much more popular than others.

For office and residential buildings, people don’t like number of 4, 14, just like western people don’t like number of 13. So you may see some buildings with stair numbers like this:

16

15

12B

12A

12

11

10

9

8

7

6

5

3A

3

2

1

A Joke about Telephone Number

When I was in Shanghai Jiaotong University, I have a schoolmate who don’t want to tell others the telephone number of their dorm, and in early 1995, they all bought a pager, or mobile phone. Their phone number was:

54742484

(with 5 means I, 7 means wife, 2 means son, and 8 means dad, and 4 means die…)

Thanks to the Crisis

This is the second entry about the Financial Crisis. As an Internet entrepreneur, I have some observations.

It Reminds us the Basics of Business

One of the key basic rule we noticed these days is: profit equals revenue minus cost.

This equation is obviously but was not paid attention to during booming times. When Internet investment is hot, people tend to think about revenue and cost this way:

Every dollar in revenue may result in 20 dollars in valuation of the company, and for that 1 dollar, many first-time-entrepreneurs and VCs are willing to spend 1.2 dollars to get, or even 18 dollars! That is the source of the crazy Internet bubble when people spend 18 dollars just to get 1 dollar – the sin of valuation.

Now, everyone gets back to basics. If you spend one dollar, and you cannot get 1.1 dollar back, why bother doing that?

Thanks for the Crisis

For the generation of China like myself, we were born in 1970s, and started to work in 1990s, we were lucky enough to get a job (pretty good one) after graduation. When we started to run business, we experienced the up turn and now the down turn. The contrast helped us to understand how to run business better. Without a down turn, an entrepreneur or a company does not grow up, and never becomes mature. It also provide golden time for profit making company to be stronger.

I’d like to see how this crisis change the world, and more interested to see what the world after the crisis looks like.

Financial Crisis and Shanghai

It may be too late for me to write about the financial crisis, and its impact to Shanghai (I tried hard to avoid to use too big terms like China – basically, I only know a very small portion of the city of Shanghai, not to mention about China).

Shanghai IS Impacted

Despite of many claims that China is fine so far, I clearly feel the arrival of winter, or at least approaching of financial winter.

Taking Wendy and I as an example, although we are not directly impacted, the sentiment of being more conservative surely impacted us. We have canceled almost all the movie expense, and cut our dining out to once every week (before, it was once once every day or twice per day).

For layoffs, recently, I started to see signs like this. The winter has clearly impacted some higher risk companies, like Internet companies. It is not surprising to know friends leaving their company, and I feel very bad about it, and also, it is almost inevitable in this environment.

Role of Controlled Media

It is interesting to see the role of media in financial crisis. If you open all the major newspapers, and websites, the theme of all the news is: We face challenges, but everything is still fine, and at least it will be fine. For the majority of people who rely on the limited source of information, they are more optimistic than they should be, and ironically, this is a good thing in this era. The current economy is all about confidence. If majority of people are still confident (or blindly confident) about future, maybe the situation won’t go as worse as it should be. In the US crisis, I am sure Internet plays an important role, that everyone knows the bad news, almost at the same time.

I will still keep an eye about what is happening here in Shanghai, and if you have any specific questions about what the real situation is, feel free to ask me, and the questions help me to observe what is happening around me better.

Shanghai 2010 Expo Site

Everyday, we drive along the Nanpu Bridge, and see the Shanghai Expo site spread out on the west side of the bridge – from pretty crowded Shanghai typical residential area, and factories, to a destroyed land with barely nothing, to a big construction site, and then become a new Lujiazui style cluster of high-raising buildings… The change just happens gradually without me even noticing it.

The other day, I took taxi and ran along the Lupu Bridge, and took the picture below:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

From these photos, the shape of the China Pavilion is ready. More and more countries are joining – the pavilion of the Luxembourg has already started construction. The Australia Pavilion is on the way (they invited me to join their ground breaking event the next week).

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Below is the China Pavilion:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

The Area of the Site

Below is a site map of the area.

Image in courtesy of Expo 2010 China website

I would say, to choose to place an expo site into the city center is the best idea ever. Instead of arranging the site to a pre-booked site near the Pudong Airport, having an expo along the Huangpu River helps to bring the two sides of the city together.

I am happy that the site is just 5 km away from my home, and I am seeing new roads, and new viaduct built everyday. I have started to seek for some information about whether they off half-year ticket so I can bring Yifan (3 years old by then) there every weekend…

Xizhimen Viaduct is Too Confusing

If you have a chance to visit Beijing, besides Tiananmen Square, you have to visit the Xizhimen Viaduct 西直门立交桥. I am quite amazed by how confusing it is. I always wanted to drive on that bridge, because it is a serious challenge for anyone’s IQ.

The big interchanged was built about 10 years ago to solve the complicated transportation problems. After 4 years of design, and 200 million RMB to build, the viaduct becomes a headache for drivers. News about drivers spent hours on the viaduct often appear on newspaper. Let me examine this wonderful viaduct.

The “Classical” Xizhimen Bridge Challenge

Imagine that if you are driving from the west to east to the viaduct, and you want to turn right to south bound (a typical right turn scenario), you would expect to directly turn right at the viaduct. The ridiculous thing is, there is no right turn lane. The correct answer is:

Turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right….

If you are lucky enough, and at every turn, you cleverly identify the correct lane, then you can get to the direction. The real situation is, very limited number of drivers can figure it out. They often find themselves driving toward a highway leaving Beijing. Drivers who ever found out the right road even cannot make sure the next time, he is as lucky as the previous time.

Below is the diagram of the viaduct. It is not the problem of Google. The calculated everything right.


Bigger Map

The route in the diagram only lead you to the south bound direction, not on the expressway. If you want to stay in the second ring road (the express way), below is how you can do it.


Bigger map

Amazing, isn’t it?

Transportation Options in Shanghai

I am always happy to receive emails from my readers to tell me that my blog has helped them in some way. No matter how small the note is, I feel very happy about it. Here is another one, and with a quick question to get from one location to another.

Hi JianShuo,

greetings from Singapore!

I am going to Shanghai next month and chanced upon your blog.

I must say that it really offers great advice compared to the expatriate websites online. Your detailed and informative data has offer a perspective that is stereotypically more Asian-oriented. Kinda makes my life easier should my overseas counterparts ask me for directions during our upcoming seminar.

Thus, after utilizing your blog information, I just felt that I need to pen you a compliment and do keep up your good work! (Especially the pickpockets at XiangYang and also the new location. I will just send the links to my counterparts)

Ohya, if you able to answer my query out of your busy time, I need to get to 399 Lujiabang Road from Nanjing West Road train station. It is more realistic to get there by Taxi? I am a firm believer of train travel as it will escape unexpected traffic jams. That’s my lesson learned from my regional/international business travel. The Shanghai Metro map downloaded are either too simplistic without exact line exchanges.

And if you happen to want to visit S’pore, it will be my turn to offer my little advice. :)

Enjoy the cool weather.

Regarding the question from one location to another, like in this question, from Nanjing West Road to Lujiabang Road, my consistent answer was always: take a taxi.

Taxi v.s. Bus v.s Metro

The major realistic ways of traveling in Shanghai is either bus, metro and taxi.

For visitors (especially visitors who don’t know Chinese), Metro is definitely the best option. It is not only reliable, fast, cheap, and comfortable (plus some tourism value), it does not require the visitor to interact with anyone. For taxi, you need to tell the driver where you want to go, and there is pretty high risk that the driver cannot understand you, or even worse, misunderstand what you mean. For bus, you need to find the change first, or talk to an attendant. For metro, even if you need to buy tickets, the English interface ticket vendor machine can help you a lot, and you can take your time to study the route before you buy the ticket. The good thing is, there are more and more Metro, and lines are typically built around most visited places.

However, for most other vast areas, when Metro is not available, visitors need to face the choice of taxi or bus.

I would highly recommend my readers who are the first time visitor to Shanghai. Why? Bus can be better, only if you find out the right bus. If you have the destination printed out in Chinese, taking taxi is much easier. Shanghai is not a very large city in terms of area – the downtown area typically cost you 15-20 RMB (3 USD).

If you do want to take taxi, use Google Map. They provide bus transition tool to help you plan. I always use this tool myself. The route they suggested is very accurate, based on my personal experience in Shanghai so far. They only offer Chinese version.

My Answer to the Question

If you decided to take bus, check out Google Maps. There are many bus routes to get there – just one bus without transition, like bus No. 23. See picture below:


View Bigger Map