Skiing in Tahoe

At middle of Mt. Pluto.

Skied for the morning and noon. Tired that I cannot even walk.

Beautiful mountain and lake. Scary trail.

Waiting here so other Stanford guys get to top.

PS. Still have problem using Android soft keyboard. Use backspace a lot.

Tsinghua & Jiaotong University Alumni Gather

I am just back from the Tsinghua Alumni gather. It turned out to have many Jiaotong (or Chiao-Tung) guys there.

Charlies obviously didn’t tell me that I because one of the youngest person in that room, with some alumni leaving university before I was born. I felt embarrassed to be put into the speakers’ seat with two outstanding entrepreneur (Steward) and VC (Jackie). I hoped I was somewhere in the crowd.

This is the third big gather I attended during the trip, with another Stanford one next Monday. I love the valley because the different organizations connect people together, and the exchange of ideas create value.

To who visited this blog for the first time because of this event, sorry that I didn’t bring enough name card (to be honest, I only had 1 when I entered the room). Since you are here, no name card is needed. My email and phone number is on the homepage. Friend me on Facebook.

P.S. The unexpected gift is, I found my school mate Kunlong Gu who I haven’t seen for 11 years. Very excited.

I Should Not Open Nexus One at Night

I made a mistake. I should not have opened Nexus One at night. I just cannot resist the temptation to open it, charge it, and entered my Google Account. Then what happened? I spent about the last one hour, from mid-night to 1:00 AM to play with it.

Just I wrote in I Bought Nexus One, it is like the story of Little Horse Crossing River. How this little horse feel?

It is completely wonderful! I love it. Maybe it is because the problems Robert Mao described has not happened in the first hour. The phone is very impress, especially the email and contact sync part. This little horse is very happy.

I need to go to bed to avoid missing tomorrow’s meeting now.

Met with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook

Spent the afternoon in Facebook office on the California Ave. It is a very nice and promising company with great energy. It is surely not as established as Google is, and I clearly see the rawness of a startup company. Their cafeteria is very utilitarianism, not as fancy as Google, and their office is very open. Everyone has a table, and there is no cubicle.

When we walked along the roads, and someone like an engineer sit down from a weird corner table. Matt didn’t made the introduction, and I felt his face very familiar. Then we chatted a little bit and realized he is the Mark of Mark in Facebook. Then, “Hey, where is my camera?”

Jian Shuo and Mark Zuckerberg. Photograph by Matt

He is definitely very young and looks pretty quiet.

Reported by New York Times

Update Feburary 24, 2010

Correction: I didn’t realize that International Herald Tribune is a New York Times newspaper. The report is actually physically printed on IHT, not New York Times. On the web, it is on site.

End of update

Maile dropped me an email to let me know that the report she was working is published in New York Times of Feb 24, 2010. You may want to buy a copy of New York Times today – I will do. The title of the report is: Bloggers Open an Internet Window on Shanghai .

Among the report, my favorite part is paragraph mentioning Yifan.

Mining the hundreds of posts he has written over the past eight years, readers can follow Mr. Wang through his apartment moves, on visits to various countries – when he worked for Microsoft he made several trips to the United States – and even watch his son, Yifan, grow from a mere idea to a chubby-cheeked 3-year-old playing with Legos with his dad.

That put smile onto my face, and the part I worried about is about the mention of tips to access Facebook, and Twitter – it is what I wrote but may put this blog to the same situation as Twitter, and Facebook – needing some proxy to access. :-) Anyway, there is nothing wrong stating a fact.

I Bought Nexus One

I finally bought Google Nexus One.

I know there are many people who said bad things about like, like Robert Mao; and I have other friends who really liked it (although they said it is not as good as iPhone, but still worth trying if I am a heavy Google user). After reading so many reviews, I get more and more confused, and then I thought of a story, the little horse crossing the river. Ant Cow said different thing from little squirrel to the little horse.

So, the best thing is, try it out, and if it does not work out as I expected, sell it on Baixing.

Here it comes! It is on the way!

Feb 24, 2010 7:41 AM

At local FedEx facility


Feb 24, 2010 5:21 AM

At dest sort facility


Feb 24, 2010 3:08 AM

Departed FedEx location


Feb 23, 2010 11:30 PM

Left FedEx origin facility


Feb 23, 2010 11:29 PM

Arrived at FedEx location


Feb 23, 2010 11:01 PM

Departed FedEx location


Feb 23, 2010 1:09 PM

Shipment information sent to FedEx

Feb 23, 2010 12:19 PM

Picked up


P.S. I wrote more blog than I am in Shanghai, since I wake up at 6:30 AM these days, and has nothing to do before the first meeting at 10:00 am, and I have a lot to share.

P.S.2 Happy birthday to Jim Sang.

Street Names in America is Mystery – Part II

After I wrote Street Names in America is Mystery, there are many great reply. Many of them are already published in the comment section of that blog entry (problem of scattering content everywhere on the Internet), but many came from Google Buzz, and email. The answers are very good, and I want to share it with you. Thanks my friends for always so kind to help me out.

Song Li

basically, as long as you do not create a name conflict in your city’s street name space, and it’s not anything nasty, the local resident, i.e. company or real estate developers can choose the name. Say Apple’s headquarter: 1 Infinite Loop, pretty smart name you-know-why.

For some cities like Seattle, street names are numbered so that people know exactly where they are by reading the street / ave numbers.

If you look at how many street types are there, you will find it even more interesting: blvd, ave, st, ln, pl, ct, ter, etc etc

Robert Mao

I feel city like Seattle’s naming strategy is typical American: 实用但没文化 :) Feb 21

Song Li

@Robert, yes, it’s engineering’s way of thinking, quite practical. I only start to miss Seattle’s street naming convention the night I first drove in San Jose – almost all streets start with “San “, and you don’t know when some west street is actually heading south.Feb 21

Jian Shuo Wang –

The Seattle naming convention is very practical. I actually love it, the MIT style

Shengquan Liang –

Street names near bay area seem follow a different route. Like “El Camino Real” is everywhere, maybe it was an exception? Places like Chicago push the MIT style to another extreme, the street number could be used to measure the distance (#/8) to city center…Feb 21

Jian Shuo Wang –

What is the naming system in Chicago? Didn’t notice that.

Shengquan Liang –

There is a pretty good summary of Chicago’s grid system here:

It is a grid indeed.

Robert Mao –

El Camino Real is a long road. I think EI and Real is from Spanish. “Real” is “road” in spainish I guess.

Maile even sent me a long email explaining this:

Dear Jianshuo,

I saw your post on Buzz, so I thought I would add to the conversation…

El Camino Real does come from Spanish. It means the “royal path/road.” Camino just means “path” or “road” or “route.” Real means “royal.” El is just “the.” You can read more here.

Alma and Serra are also Spanish. Alma means “soul.” Serra comes from the verb “to cut” or “to saw.” It has the same Latin root as the English word “serrated” (like a serrated knife). However, Serra is also a family name, and it was the name of a Franciscan missionary (Junipero Serra), who was involved in establishing several Catholic missions in California in the late 1700s. Maybe Serra St. is named for him?

Quarry is an English word. It means a place to take stones or minerals from the earth (a limestone quarry, for example), a bit like a mine.

Hans is a Germanic name. Perhaps it was the name of an important person, or just an ordinary person, who lived on this street.

Many, many streets in California have Spanish names and this is because California was part of Mexico (and before that even, Mexico was part of “New Spain”). I don’t know a lot about this history, but maybe you can look up something about the Mexican-American wars (after which California officially became a part of America). Many of the towns start with “Santa.” This means “saint.” This goes back to the Catholic tradition–when there were many Spanish missionaries in the area. Santa Ana is Saint Anne. Santa Monica means Saint Monica. San is the masculine form of Santa, so it also means “saint.” Except, you will always see a masculine name after San, such as San Francisco, which is a bit like Saint Francis. Los Angeles means “the angels,” which is why some people refer to it as “the city of angels.”

Each region of America has different rules/reasons for street naming. In Boston and New England, you have a lot of old English names which refer to places in England, such as Marlborough, Essex, Gloucester. And in the old, commercial parts of towns and cities, you have simple names, such as “Water Street,” “Milk Street” and “School Street.” Very often, these streets were named for the activity which took place there, so very likely, there was once a school on “School Street.” And often you have street names that are taken from the names of people or powerful families, such as Cabot, or Lodge, etc.

I grew up in Hawaii, and by law, all of the street names must have some relationship to Hawaii, or be a Hawaiian name. For example, I lived on Manu Mele Street, as a child, and in Honolulu, there is a very big street called Beretania, which was the Hawaiian word for Britain (because it was the British who were the first Westerners to discover Hawaii).

Usually, when you see a city where the streets have a kind of logical system, such as numbers or letters, it means that it was a relatively modern city development–it was planned, or at least, that part of it was. So if you look at New York, the bottom of Manhattan is kind of a mess, and the names are more basic, such as Broad Street, Wall Street, Church street. This is the oldest part of the city. As you move north, the streets are numbered and very straight and organized. This part was where the city started really planning its development.

I think this is a very interesting topic. (I’m very interested in language, names, history, etc.) I’m no expert at all, but I hope this can be a bit helpful, or interesting for you.

Enjoy your stay in California.

Best wishes,


Busy and Excited

It was a busy day, mixed with a little bit jet lag. But as always, very excited. I am continued to be amazed by how mature and high-quality of people’s thought here. There are 5 hour long meeting with the greatest people in the field in the afternoon, and then saw great guys like the Jeremy running Yelp, Mark running Second Life, Ron who invested in Google and PayPal as angel investor, guys in Facebook, eBay, Google and other great founders of many famous and nice sites. It is also great to see my friends here with lunch or dinner, or breakfast, or cafe. Besides the great meetings in the US Internet circles, to have the opportunity to connect with the Chinese entrepreneurs in this area is also my favorite. I am happy to be on a panel of GSR’s New Year party, will be at Tsinghua Alumni dinner, and another dinner for Stanford CEO group. The schedule is so full, that I cannot add another 1 hour meeting into it. That is me! An ENFP needing inspiration and tireless seeking for it.


Obviously, there are so many meetings and gatherings happening everywhere on so different topics in this area. When there is big conferences like The Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, there are private meetings. New Year is a great time for Chinese entrepreneur society to gather, and there are many gather hosted by different organizations, like alumni, club…

When I reflect this when I have some time, I just realized how important these gathering helped the whole group to be more competitive in the global scale. By connecting the most brilliant brains in the area so frequently, they get synced of what is going on, and react to the trends in a timely manner TOGETHER! That is a big thing behind the culture of Silicon Valley.

I am thinking of hosting more dinner and events like this when I am back to Shanghai. Stay connected with entrepreneurs, investors, media, and other guys can help to booster the development of the industry, and individual companies, persons.

Tip: Another thing is, the dinner/gather are always sponsored by an organization, which is very likely to be private held company, like a investor partnership, and these companies have the budget ready for these events. Although it is a very small portion of the total cost, they are very efficient. The venue of many of the gather is sponsored by private companies in their own office building, further making it feasible to happen frequently.

P.S. Just called Expedia to cancel my previous reservation. Took 41 minutes and 56 seconds… They need to improve their efficiency.

Content Scattered on the Web

From time to time, editors came to me to ask to republish the content of this blog to other blog sites. I generally agree to the request, and grant free permission. Examples are:

Wangjianshuo on

Wangjianshuo on

Wangjianshuo on

Wangjianshuo on

Although I do not disapprove the content replication, I do doubt the effective of this, especially when they use editors to check the blog content and publish it onto another web. That is very traditional way of doing magazine. The Internet has evolved, and it is not about media – the carrier any longer. Copy and paste an article to a newspaper or magazine makes sense, but to another website, especially manually does not add too much value.

The result is, you can see some of them stopped as early as 2006 (4 years from now), and some stopped later, and some just get started, and I am sure it will stop over time. That can be waste of time in the long run.

I also replicate the content to other places, like Facebook, and recently Google Buzz. The problem is, if someone comment on my content in Facebook, chances are I cannot see them, since I do not check Facebook often. For many conversation, when the discussion scattered in both Google Buzz and comment section of this blog, it is a big lose for community of both side. I am really thinking about a way to sync Google Buzz comments with MovableType. It should be easy, and I like the idea, but don’t think I have the time to write some sample code.

P.S. Good news is PubSubHubbub implementation on this blog worked very well, and I am happy to see when Google Reader support it, you can get this blog update in Google Reader in almost real time. It is an important step for this blog.

The Hills of Sillicon Valley is GREEN

I visited the bay area many times (), but most of them are in summer. I was surprised to see the hills of the valley is green! All the previous visit showed me yellow mountains. With the blue sky, white cloud, green grass land, and cows scattered on the green grass, I drive along the I-280 and wind with the mountains, I just have the feeling of Jacke entering the Pandora jungle. Besides all the great inspiration, and good weather, the bay area can be good tourism destination – very like the mountains I see near Tibet area.

I heard the grass will only be green for about one month, and when the raining season is over, they will turn yellow again (11 months out of the year). This is the first place I know where grass turn green in winters, and yellow in summers.

One meteorology question: how come bay area is so warm when its longitude is as high as 37&degree, it is warmer in the winter than Shanghai, which is just a little bit north of 31°ree;? Is it because of the ocean? (Shanghai is at the ocean too!)

Building Safty by Increasing Vulnerablity

I thought about it long time ago. In the GSR New Year Part, I talked about this idea with the audience here. Let me record this simple idea.

There are many system that archived safety, not by making it more safe, but by making it more vulnerable, and thus decrease the barrier of usage, and then as a result, increased the user base, and finally archived lower security incident percentage – a more secure system. Let me give you some examples.

Credit Card

The idea of credit card is crazy. Before the electronic and real-time processing, you can use credit card just by giving a number. At the very beginning, even the card itself is not required, and now when paying online, you don’t need the physical card – just the number.

This is a very vulnerable system. There are thousands of easy ways to hack this system. What if I just oversaw a number, and use it to purchase my goods? What if I gave the number but denied that the transaction? How vulnerable the system looks like.

However, that is the most widely accepted modern payment method. Why? Because by eliminating the need of back-and-forth check, and other steps, it makes it so easy for people to use. Then the user base grows so far – faster than the fraud, because of the simple fact that there are more good people than bad people. As long as the fraud is controlled under a certain rate, the system is becoming more and more secure.

Online Payment in China

The opposite case is the online payment in China. People emphasize on security, and made the system so secure that it is very hard to use. You need to go to the bank in person, sign the documents, and get a certificate (sometimes a USB based certificate). Then you go back and install it, and you need to install an ActiveX control (Sorry, Firefox!), and go through a long process to pay online. Sometimes, it even need mobile SMS confirmation…

Secure? It is more secure than credit card system, but the problem is, much less people are using them.

Percentage = Numerator / Denominator

Let’s define the security as the percentage of fraud of all transaction.

Hold on if you don’t agree on this definition. If the absolute number is more important than the percentage, that is another story.

So, there are two ways you can decrease the percentage – decrease the numerator or increase denominator.

I see huge opportunity to increase the denominator by making the system simpler (but less secure), but not too much upside for decrease the numerator. (If you have virus on computer, they get what ever you enter, both in the credit card case, or in the current China online payment system). You can actually makes the system more secure when vulnerability can get you much more denominator.

More Examples

There are examples of this everywhere. Many hotel or restaurant offers you to book just by phone, email, without credit card guarantee. That is vulnerable because guests can be no show. However, since this system makes it much easier to reserve than requiring advance payment, they get much more customers. Actually, they are paying a No-Show insurance for each guest (they will have to pay the lose related to the no show if it does happens). Again, if the rate is controlled right, this is secure.

Another fictional example is, windows are very easy to break. However, if all the windows do not have any protection against a rock, the chance for your window to be broken is actually extremely low.

You Control The Fraud to be Proportional to Users

The criteria for this to happen is, you must control the fraud, and limit the damage of any individual bad guy. In the window breaking example, if someone can only break handful of window per night, the whole system is secure because of the assumption that there are less than 0.1% of people who want to break other people’s window. However, if there is anyway for the 0.1% to press a button to break 100 windows at the same time, this insurance type of mathematics model does not work.

That explains why certain vulnerable system works, and others don’t. If the bank set a limit to the credit for each card (which they do), or for the hotel booking, limit people to reserve just one hotel room (they never allow someone call in and reserve all the rooms of that night without guarantee), that will be a simple, and secure system as a whole.

How Stupid I am Not Knowing Priceline

Zheng shared a wonderful tip with me when I talked about my hotel search experience:

In order to stay in mid- and up-scale hotels at good prices in the US, you need to BID on Priceline has two prices, a undisclosed one that you have a limited number of chance to BID (Click on “name your own price” on their site) and a public one that you have seen.

Bidding has some risk of not knowing what hotels you will end up with, but there are sites like

where you can have a good idea where you will land.

If you are willing to drive a little bit (~20mins), you can easily get 4* in Santa Clara or Cupertino for $60-80 a night. (Hyatt Regency)

And you can always get a 3-4* SFO hotel (Sheraton, Hilton, Hyatt Regency) for $35-50 a night in most times of the year.

The price difference between weekdays and weekends is mostly from the difference in the supply and demand

Hotels in business-oriented areas (Silicon Valley, most airports) are cheaper on weekends. And tourist traps like Miami beach would be cheaper on weekdays.

Hotels in Palo Alto are pricier than San Francisco, because a lack of chain hotels such as Mariott and Hyatt.. San Francisco really has an oversupply of business hotel in the downtown area too.

I don’t know if you use It combines the search result from major suppliers, such as orbitz, expedia.

BTW, you can also get good car rental deals from priceline if you bid. Should be able to get $13-15 a day at SFO most of the time.

Posted by: Zheng on February 22, 2010 9:55 AM

Thanks for the tip. When I started to do some research on, and finally booked Hilton San Jose at $50 per night, I realized how stupid I was to stay in $199 LarkspurLanding Hotel when I was in eBay, and recently stayed $65-99 Travelodge or Super 8.

There are some obvious things like this that locals know but others just ignore the simple fact. I shared the emergency number in case of fire is 119 instead of 911, and many of my readers responded much beyond my expectation – they don’t know it. I would thank Zheng to give me this tip.

Priceline is a Good Sites

From time to time, we find good sites like Priceline, that we have want to share with other friends as soon as possible. I told Tina about my finding, and not surprisingly, she laughed at me for just finding it out.

Just as I wrote in My Advice to Entrepreneurs, Priceline is not a perfect site for everything. There is no refund. You don’t know what hotel you are going to check into, and the customer service is hard to reach, BUT, it is cheap, and I am sure cheap things with same quality will win. Other services like this are eBay, Skype, Google, and many more… The service is simple, and the idea is simple, but it works!

Hope I build the same type of thing.

Google Reader Support PubSubHubbub

One of the most significant steps of the promising PubSubHubbub protocol is, Google Reader started to support PubSubHubbub. That means, a post on this blog will appear in Google Reader (and Google Buzz in Gmail) immediately after I click Save. That is cool. I am happy I finally enabled PubSubHubbub support on this blog the other day.

Again, welcome to the world of real time web.

Update February 21, 2010

P.S. My test shows, this update appears in Google Buzz about 10 seconds after, but it took about 1 minute to appear in Google Reader. Maybe it is because of cache (enemy of real-time web), or high volume?

Learnt What Open House is

When I read classified section on local business (I am surely interested in this newspaper based offline business), I often saw the phrase: “Open House”, but don’t really understand it. Then Amy taught me today that in Silicon Valley, from 3-5 pm every Sunday, people will put open house sign at their house. Potential buyers can wander around their favorite area, and walk into any house with this sign without appointment.

Knowing that, I saw open house signs every few blocks along the Embarcadero road. Yes. There are many of them. What a smart way of selling house.

In this area, I started to rely on Yelp to find restaurants (looking forward to meet up with Jeremy, Yelp’s CEO in their office this week). This lunch, I had lunch at Left Bank with reservation via OpenTable. These are amazing web services. I envision that services like OpenTable will be popular in China in 5 years, but not now, or in 3 years.

Hotel Searching Experience

As I commented in this blog entry: Hello from Palo Alto, I cannot bear the noise of Travelodge. I am moving.

So I did some basic research, and here are my findings.

Price Difference

In a mature and complicated business environment like US, when there are so many ways to optimize for the profit of a business, the rating of hotels varies a lot.

The top rated Creekside Inn (and I went there myself when I pass it tonight) is great. Their price varies from $79 of tomorrow, to $135 at weekdays. For the same day, their price differs from $79 via, to $99 on Creekside Inn’s own website, to to $150 in other book site,

At $79 rate, it is near or even cheaper than motel like Travelodge or Motel 168.

It seems when book a hotel, we need to do more research.

Tip: If staying over weekend, you can get into better hotels with lower rate.

Brand and Location Difference

The brands like Radison, Hilton, and Holiday Inn represent 5 star hotels in Shanghai, and other places in China, but I can easily find them cheaper than Super 8, or Travelodge on the same day. The other difference is, I can find cheaper hotels in downtown San Francisco than in Palo Alto.

View from a Customer

When we create website, we put most of our attentions to ourselves, but as a customer, we see the world in the more common way: We check everything. We check different hotels, and we check different websites for comparison.

Everyone needs service providers (websites, hotels, restaurants). As service providers tried their best to find customers, customers like myself is trying hard to find a good service provider too.

For booking, and always reveals the best (identical) rate for hotels, while and are double that price. Do they know it?

For hotels, when a nice hotel can lower their price at off-peak days than budget hotel, what is our choice?

I am going to give Creekside Inn and Cardinal Hotel at weekend a try this time. At the end of the day, I need to find a good but cheap hotel for my future trips.

Why Restaurant’s Menu is Printed Daily?

When people travel, they use fresh eyes to ask silly questions that is not often noticed by local people. That is one reason why people travel.

I have my question of today: When I had dinner at California Cafe at Stanford Barn 700 Welch Road Palo Alto, CA 94304 (recommended by Yelp), I noticed that they have Feb 20, 2010 printed on the header of the menu. That is what we often find out in nice restaurants here in the States (and now in Shanghai).

Why they did it? Is the main reason coming from changed menu dishes, or just to let people feel more special?

Street Names in America is Mystery

Street Names in America is mystery for me. Let me randomly put some street names I am familiar with:

  • Hans St
  • Serra St
  • Alma St
  • Quarry Rd

These are not English words. Does people invent a word and use it to call the place they live, or what?

I at least understand certain types of road names:

  • Interstate, or state roads that are numbered, like US101, I-280, CA-85
  • Named after another name, like Oregon Expr, Santa Cruz Ave
  • Just some nice names that means something: Sand Hill Rd, Sweet Oliver Rd (inside Stanford), Garden Dr.

But the names I listed at the very beginning does not fit into any of them… Can anyone help to explain this?

Hello From Palo Alto

Just want to wave and tell everyone that I have safely and smoothly arrived at Palo Alto via United Airlines UA858 (seat 41B through Gate 95 at SFO), and drove all the way down from the airport to downtown (via AVIS Pontiac G5 car, via US-101, Oregon Expr, El Camino), and arrived at Travelogue.

This is the airplane that took me here (at the time of the shooting, it was still parking at Gate D77 at Pudong Airport).

Photo by Jian Shuo Wang

Hotel – Travelodge

It seems it is too noisy here, and I need to actively look for a better place to stay. Although I Now Prefer Inexpensive Hotels, and I never lived in five star hotels on business trip, and always find the cheapest hotel possible to save cost for the company, I just realized the hurt to productivity may not compensate the little saving. I stayed for some days in the Super 8 at the opposite side of the street – was not very good (the smell!). This time, I moved here, still not a good option.

The Bay Area is not Sunny!

It is the rare time, that I don’t see a shining sunny California at my arrival.

Big face of me


I can use Twitter without a proxy, and feel… hmmmm… strange. Although I can access Twitter either in Shanghai (via a proxy, of cause), or bay area, the difference is huge. It is not just convenience or not… I am just not used to it. Need some time to get used to.

PVG to SFO in Febuary

Just packed everything according to a previous check-list – feeling so good to have a reference of what to bring to the States. I will fly to San Francisco tomorrow via UA858.

Looking forward to another exciting trip in the bay area. I am always inspired by the people there. Here I am coming!


PVGUA 858 20FEB 1334 0814

SFOUA 857 02MAR 1157 1745+1

I will basically in the Palo Alto area (Stanford!). Ping me if you want a meetup. Current schedule is very busy, but I am sure I can manage to get few hours out of it.

P.S. I am still flying with United, and I promise to change to another one the next time. I got one Sorry coupon on each way via United the last trip (first, second), but this time, I really had no time and not in the mood to seek for another airline.