Monthly Archives: May 2012

Chinese Provinces I Visited

Xiaoliang wrote that majority of people in Israel visited 12 countries before age of 35. Let me count how many Chinese provinces I visited.

  1. Heilongjiang
    1. Harbin. I visited there as interviewer when we went there to recruit from Harbin University of Science and Technology
  2. Liaoning
    1. Dalian. Visited there many times for business, and jus for tour.
  3. Beijing
    1. Visited this city for at least 30 times. The most frequently visited city other than my home city.
  4. Shandong
    1. Jinan once, Qingdao for many times, all for tour, and Yantai once, Weihai once.
  5. Jiangsu
    1. All the major cities like Suzhou, Nanjing, Changzhou, Wuxi, Huzhou… I always wanted to visit Yangzhou
  6. Shanghai
    1. This is where I set my home at.
  7. Zhejiang
    1. Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Ningbo, Zhoushan…
  8. Fujian
    1. Quanzhou, Fuzhou, Xiamen for many times, because of the Drum Wave Island.
  9. Guangdong
    1. Guangzhou, Shenzhen for many times. But not other cities.
  10. Guangxi
    1. Guilin – the traditional tourism city
  11. Yunnan
    1. Lijiang
  12. Hainan
    1. All the major cities, and stayed for at least one night in each city during our around Hainan tour in one spring festival: Haikou, Sanya, Qionghai, Dongfang… Sanya is my favorite beach destination, and I have been there for almost 10 times.
  13. Sichuan
    1. Chengdu – for many times
  14. Anhui
    1. Hefei. Just once.
  15. Jiangxi
    1. Nanchang for a brief night to attend a company party of Microsoft
  16. Henan
    1. My home town. I visited most of the cities for many times: Zhengzhou, Luoyang, Kaifeng, Nanyang, Pingdingshan, Xinyang, Anyang…
  17. Shaanxi
    1. My other hometown – Xi’an, Tongchuan.
  18. Hunan
    1. Changsha, and Loudi.
  19. Hubei
    1. Wuhan – visited their to deliver a course for software park once.

Provinces I have never visited are:

  1. Jilin
  2. Xinjiang
  3. Ningxia
  4. Inner Mongolia
  5. Tibet
  6. Qinghai
  7. Tianjin
  8. Shanxi
  9. Guizhou
  10. Hebei
  11. Chongqing
  12. Taiwan
  13. Gansu
How about you?

P.S. Passing by in a train or plane or bus means I nerver visited.
P.S 2. Transit airplane or visit without a night stay does not count for “visited”. How about you?

Unnatural Community Means Failure

I am quite amused by Alexis Madrigal’s story How Google Can Beat Facebook Without Google Plus. This is one of the best article talking about the deep reasons why a product succeed or fail.

California City

He mentioned California City, CA. Although it is the largest city by land in CA, it only has 15K residents – 1/10 of the number in residential area I am living. The California city has all the infrastructure a great city needs to have, but, it is just an empty city. People gather because of other people, not the infrastructure.

Websites face the same problem. Most websites have in place before the first 100 visitors come to the site, but the problem is, the only problem is, people!

But by most accounts and third-party research, the service is growing its number of users but not their engagement. People are “on” Google Plus, but they are not really ON Google Plus. The infrastructure is there. The street signs are there. People own plots of land. But there’s nobody actually visiting town. To make it obvious: Google Plus is the California City to Facebook’s Los Angeles.

Basically, people are saying, Google+ is a ghost town.

Considering the same thing on other websites, including my own, the core of the sites are people. Internet connects people. When the real people are there, the infrastructure supports, not the other way.

Time on site

Time on site is an important indicator of how people use the product. Google+ has 3 minutes per month. Facebook has 405, Pinterest has 89, and Trumblr is 89 too. (src)

John Herman even mentioned that Google+ “looks like a cubicle farm and smells like a hospital.” How can a product smells like a hospital?

Why John Herman describe it as a hospital? Because of the clean and clear interface? The technical thinking behind it?

A website is built for people to “USE”! Use means spend time on it. Use means getting back frequently, not by accident, not by clicking links that they randomly run into.

Seamless is a Bad Word

When I talked with my friend in Google about Google+, I heard the word Seamlessly often.

You search, and your search queries get to G+ seamlessly. You use Picasa, and your photos integrate into G+ seamlessly. You do x, and you do y, and all these things are synced into G+ seamlessly.

Seamlessly means unconsciously. Seamlessly means they are not intentionally using the site. That explains why classifieds search does not work, and many aggregation sites does not work, because people don’t have the intention to have their content shown on the page. They have no idea about what they share when they “unconsciously” share it.

A community is not about content aggregation. It is about consciously participation. If people see what others are saying, and post intentionally, that is the core of the community.

 

 

 

Yifan’s Hair Cut

Yifan grows up, and he is not afraid of hair cut. He is cooperative tonight when I brought him for haircut. He acted as grown-ups. Look at the photos:

It is just one week away from Yifan’s 5 year birthday. His mom said, I lost another job – to hold Yifan to have him haircut. I said: we are going to lose more and more functions that Yifan really needs you in the days to come.

Sunday Dinner with Yifan

We had Italian dinner at Coolzey Pizza at Huashan Road. The benefit of living in Shanghai, despite of high living cost, is access to all kinds of food, if you want to explorer.

 

We are away from the downtown Shanghai for too long, and since Wendy is driving, I can take some photos of the skyscrapers.

 

 

P.S. In the afternoon, Yifan met with his other classmates, and they played football for long enough – to be hungry.

 

 

Yifan’s New Drawing of Owl

We basically didn’t send Yifan to any pre-school education other than his kindergarten, to give him enough time to explorer what he loves at home. He showed great interest in drawing, go, singing, and making stuff using paper and Lego. So we started to bring him to drawing class and see if he loves it.

 

Chengshan Road Under Construction

After completed for few years, the Chengshan Road surface is under construction. The big machine had get rid of asphalt of the surface, and waiting for the new surface to be laid out. So, currently, the road surface looks like this:

It will be few days like this, and it caused big problem with the traffic. It reminded me of the most advanced asphalt paving system I have ever seen. It combined the two steps into one, and the road is instantly new with the asphalt. Shanghai should learn from Weihai.

Yifan has a Visitor

Yifan’s best friend at kindergarten is Xuanxuan, our neighbor. He had Xuanxuan visited us tonight. The two kids spent great time together drawing trains, and building trains using Lego. Two kids can talk and can share happiness, and can understand things that only makes sense in their world. China really need to think about changing its one child policy. I don’t know how this half century recorded in history.

Their drawing of the Shanghai Metro is not bad.

 

 

Bottle Opening Fee

Many restaurants in Shanghai charge a bottle-opening fee for any wine brought by customers themselves. The typical amount is 50 RMB per bottle. I didn’t know the reason of this pricing and thought it was too expensive.

Recently, when I compare the purchase price and the retail price of the wine, I started to form a theory that they charge for 50 RMB, because that is the typical margin for them to sell a bottle of wine there. For example, a bottle of wine priced at 100 RMB/bottle are likely to have about 50 RMB as purchase price. Does it make sense?

Talents are the Key to Success

This is a pretty dumb statement. Everyone knows it. Everyone says it. Every textbook have it. Every leadership session talks about it. Every…..

But common sense is not common, and some times it does not make sense. (Jian Shuo Wang’s invented the second part of this phrase).

I sat down with Quanzhan this noon to afternoon to talk about the talent. It is not surprising for a research organization of Tencent, talents are the No. 1 priority. The selection standard,  the talent, and the retention are something that makes a great workplace and a winning business.

Recently I spend well more than half my time on talent recruiting, and to get wisdom from people who are good at it. That is the No. 1 job of a CEO.

BTW, does any of my blog readers know anyone, or you think yourself is someone we are looking for, please let me know by sending me email to wangjianshuo at baixing.com. We are looking for people in the following area (most of the jobs are in technical field, with some other roles).

  1. Anti-fraud. How to fight again fraudsters on a classified site.
  2. Search. The in-site search, and the organization of hundreds of millions of posts generated by our users.
  3. Platform. The way to structure the site in a way to allow internal and external developers to be more productive.
  4. Payment and monetization products.
  5. Marketing and industry experts in one of our main categories.

If you have a feeling that you may be the right person, but not sure, just sent a note to hr at baixing.com. Feel free to put me on the CC line to make sure I read it.

 

Accumulation Calories Burning and More

Accumulation Calories Burning

Nike+ is a great product. It turned running into something interesting. I started to accumulate my calories burning history from March and that is the main driver for my running. Blog posts are the visible mileage of my writing, and the thinking behind it. It is said:

If you cannot messuare, you cannot improve

Either blog posting or Nike+ is a way to measure, and to improve, because numbers are the few things in this world to have a clear direction, while ideas, and wish are pointing to many directions.

Attending Microsoft Event

I attended a Microsoft event this morning by invitation. It was a good one – nice setting, nice logistic, and nice content. It brings me back to the Microsoft world – decent PPTs, very well prepared content – likely to be prepared by someone in the headquarter, and translated, and a group of CIOs and CTOs.

There is one thing wrong, though. It is a pure Microsoft environment. In this setting, you see very few Mac computer – the majority are black Dell or IBM running Windows, and the majority of phones people use around me is Windows Phones. I can imagine how powerful the environment influence to the people in it. From what I see, there are too many reasons to believe that Microsoft is still the center of the universe, which is no longer true if you put yourself into another non-Microsoft environment, like University Cafe at University Ave of Palo Alto.

I told myself to be open minded and be cautious of the environment, and fight for the freedom and independence of thoughts.

TEDxShanghai

There are some nice summary of the TEDxShanghai event. Here is the link. Enjoy.

TEDxShanghai 2012 见闻与感想

TED、上海和演讲

Thoughts on TEDxShanghai

Losing by Spending Money

When we spend money, we thought we bought something. But recently, I realized it may be losing, in many cases. Here are examples.

Buying a Car

Ever since I bought my car, I felt more and more disconnected with this city. I don’t talk with people on the way home, and I don’t see anything new. I don’t observe, and I don’t hear anything. I am losing many things.

Hiring a driver

I hired a driver to send me to work. I started to lose even more. If I want to, I can argue that my life is no difference from a prisoner commuting from one cell to another, with just void in between.

Hiring an Ayi

With an Ayi, you don’t need to do the household work. You don’t clean the house, and you don’t need to cook – the best time for the family to chat, and to exercise.

Buying An iPad

Great, right? But you lose much more time living in real world. The game on iPad seems more interesting in physical games, and the email, twitter message and pictures are much more interesting than the world around you.

Sometimes, buying just means losing. Consider twice before you buy.

TEDxShanghai 520 Event

I attended the TEDxShanghai event today (May 20, 2012) at the Shanghai Concert Hall.

TED means Technology, Entertainment, and Design. It was started in mid-1980s, and kept the vision of “Ideas worth spreading”. The famous TED main conference in California charges 7500 USD for each participants, and is sold out soon.

TEDx is independently organized TED event. It is brand licensing model, like franchise. It is non-profit – all profit needs to go back to the TED organizing itself. There are strict rules of each TED event – the rules makes the TEDx events pretty consistent with the main TED theme.

Location

The location of the TEDxShanghai this year is a great one: the Shanghai Concert Hall – one of the best reserved old Shanghai time architect. The hall may have been destroyed when the Yan’an Elevated High Way was built. Some creative guys thought about the idea to move the building. They lifted the whole architect up, and moved 66 meters southward, and even lifted it 3.3 meters higher. It was an amazing project. The current Shanghai Concert Hall is just as new as a century go.

This is the outside facade of the building.

The inner roof of the building – magnificent.

TED

As the TED style, the VI was consistent (good). This is a ticketed event. People need to hold tickets, but I believe the tickets are free. Among the audience, the key sponsor Kraft held many seats.

This is the stage of the TEDxShanghai. A big screen with TED-red backdrop. The logo implies the theme of the event – an international gathering which happens to be in a city in China. During the event, English and Chinese are alternatively used.

It was a surprise how many people attend it. 950 seats were sold out, and there are people sitting on the stairs of the aisle.

During the event, it is pretty “TEDDY”. A good speaker with some simple slides.

There are even interactive events outside – on the square before the Concert Hall. The Taoism Taichi master taught participants to play Taichi.

In this event, the most presented topic is art, and music – the E in TED. There are some D elements, but I didn’t see too much T. Below is Jasmine Chen, Jazz artiest was singing Chinese folk songs with Jazz music.

The highlight of the event was Jimmy Choo’s presentation: The First Step of Making Shoes in Penang. Jimmy Choo was a famous shoe designer (known as Princess Diana’s shoemaker), and he was surprisingly supper humorous.  He demonstrated the steps to make a shoe on the stage with some funny flavor in it. I run upon him during the break and took a photo with him.  (P.S. I actually not feeling good to take a photo with celebrity like this. I would love to be introduce with someone by a mutual friends, and had some deep conversation, and we know each other for what we do and what we are good at, not just a wax-statue type of posture picture. I will take less of this kind of photo).

The biggest inspiration from Jimmy Choo’s presentation for me was, if you want to be good at something, you need to be really passionate about it. Jimmy Choo is famous, but he is so good at making shoes, and he still enjoy making shoes in public! Again and again!

The Speakers

The life line of an event like this is the quality of the speakers. I would say about 1/3 of the speakers are well above my expectation, and many aren’t. I am not saying they are not delivering good speech. They all did, but based on my knowledge of TED standard, they shy a little bit from that line. There are many things the organizing team can do to help. For example, the Taoism Taichi presentation – if the presentation was structured with a Taichi show, that is much more powerful than speech. A pity that they didn’t show their best. Looking forward to the next time.

TED Rules and Its Enforcement

 The surprising part of this TEDxShangahi event was its violation of TEDx rules (Lawrence knows I will write about it). There are three sessions directly related to sponsorship at least. One is the KRAFT’s session, the second from Shanghai NYU, and the third is the Peneng Philharmonic Performance, because KRAFT, Shanghai NYU, and Peneng Tourism Bureau are both sponsors of the event. It was clear stated in the TEDx rules that no sponsors can speak during the event, and more interestingly, no speakers can later spouse the event. The rule is well understandable to keep the distinct line between sponsorship and editorial, and to keep the integrity of the event. This is an obvious flaw of the event, but I am sure the TEDxChina, and TEDxShanghai team were aware of it and will fix it.

Good Event

In conclusion, it is still a fantastic event, and it offers great value to the audience. I’d like to thank the speakers to take the time to speak in the event, to share, and to inspire people like me. I am definitely interested to be involved in future events like this.

 

Baixing Office Pictures in May 2012

At weekend, I am staying in the office of Baixing.com and took some photos of the empty workspace. After moving to this building (Haoran High-Tech Building on the campus of Shanghai Jiaotong University) for 5 years and move to the 2nd floor for half years, the office is finally fully opened. We occupied the first half and expanded to the second half recently.  People often ask me what the office look like. Now, let me give you a tour.

This is the new logo wall:

The hall way with few meetings rooms.

Looking from north to south, the main office area.

The drawing of the wall – it is the work of one night.

The photo of the whole company in Vietnam, an putting in the winter of the last year.

The free drinks, wines, and beers. I don’t really understand the tradition that people don’t drink beer or wine during working time. Why not?

iMac! There are plenty of them in the office.

Another one, and the big earphone! We hope the find the right balance between communication (open space, and sitting near each other), and privacy (the right to be quiet and not interrupted often).

The sofa near the window.

A corner in the office.

Again, the other angel, from deep inside the office and looking to the door.

What to have a tour yourself, feel free to let me know, and let’s have coffee together!

P.S. This is the first post after I completely migrated the blog to WordPress system.

My 3 Words for 2012

It is almost the middle of the year, when I read Elliot’s blog entry: My 3 Words for 2012, where he got inspiration from Chris Brogan. For an ENFP, to-do-list is not my style. I would rather have a theme and put everything around that Guiding Pillars. With a theme, it is more like a pull not a push, and that is the mode of life I enjoy.

Here are my three themes: Talent, Do, (  ). I am leaving the third to later time.

Talent

I believe I have entered into a new era of management. I started to understand that a company is just like a LEGO brick game itself.

In a technical world, people seldom write code from grand up. They choose a language, and they choose an open source software, and they chose the right server, and they put codes to glue them together and build the right system.

To find the right type of person (the right personality, the right skill set, and right motivation) and put them into the right environment, working toward the right goal, and vision, is as important as what I mastered in the technical world.

So the right talent is the key, and the management skills and systems are the glue to put them together.

In this theme, I will put more effort in putting serious effort to learn people, to find the right person, and to get them aboard. I will systematically get to know them, find the right fit, and try everything I can to bring them on board.

Do

This is a simple word. I believe I will move toward more action-driven style. The life of a journalist is good, but to apply the observation and learning to action is as important. I am going to take a more action-biased approach.

Do means to take actions after thinking. Do means to think about next steps, and get there. Do means focusing on the path to get where you to get.

Yifan Loves Taking Photos

When Yifang got a chance to take photos with iPhone, he will carefully point to any object that got his attention and take photos of it. Everyday, he generate a lot of “garbage pictures” on my iPhone.

However, I decided not to delete them. I am going to keep them forever, at least to safely transfer the photos to Yifan when he grows up, and he can make the decisions later. I created a folder called “Yifan’s World” in my laptop, and drag all the pictures he took there. Here are some samples of what he took.

Spam Enters China

I am not talking about email spam, or comment spam. I am talking about Spam from Hormel – the lunch meat.

I am not sure if it has been in China market for a while or not. I just saw it on the table of my dining room few days ago.

I am happy that people are rich enough not to have to each spam every day.

Migrating MovableType to WordPress

This is a migration guide I wrote solely for the benefit of myself. Although I don’t think I need it the second time, to have a detailed reproduce steps written and modify to reflect the actual steps are the basic skills of a support engineer (by training).

The Problems

The basic export/import stuff works for MovableType to WordPress – pretty straight forward. There are only three minor issues that prevent the smooth transition.

Problems 1: URL change.

My MovableType uses a naming system I created, not the default. The Individual Entry Archive page URL was:

<$MTArchiveDate format=”%Y%m%d”$>_<$MTEntryTitle dirify=”1″$>.htm

After exporting, the URL is renamed by the base name of the MovableType, not the full name. For example, URL:

http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives /20060127_long_vacation_of_spring_festival_comes.htm

becomes

http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/ 20060127_long_vacation.htm

The solution:

Unlike most of the solutions found on Internet, I am going to change the base_name in the Export file itself. I will change the MTOS-4.38-en/lib/MT/ImportExport.pm file. I am going to change the line

BASENAME:<$MTEntryTitle dirify=”1″$>

to

BASENAME: <$MTArchiveDate format=”%Y%m%d”$>_<$MTEntryTitle dirify=”1″$>

This should solve the problem to let WordPress know the right way to preserve the URLs.

Dash Problem

This solve the old post problem that was imported from MovableType. For the new post, the problem is with the “-“. WordPress uses dash instead of underscore to replace non-alphabetic characters. I just need to go to wp-includes/formatting.phpfile and change all the dash, to underscore in the function sanitize_title_with_dash. This solve the future post problem to make it consistent with the older posts.

Update July 25, 2012

Be sure to comment out the following line:

preg_replace(‘|-+|’, ‘_’, $title);

Because WordPress just leave – as it is, and replace it to underscore causes many previous articles broken.

Problem 2: Encoding difference

The default encoding of MovableType was ISO 8859-1, and WordPress uses “UTF-8” (right choice). The steps in the migration plan solved the problem. Otherwise, the problem I met was, the content after the special character, like ASCII code 92 was cut off, which is a necessary replacement of a single quote ‘.

WordPress uses UTF-8 as the default encoding. So if your MT blog uses ISO 8859-1 or Latin – 1 to encode posts, convert the posts to UTF-8 before importing, to ensure that all characters display properly.

On *nix and OSX you can use the iconv program to convert your import.txt file: $ iconv -f ISO-8859-1 -t UTF-8 import.txt > import_new.txt

After I did the conversation, I went on for the extra mile to use the following command in vim to change all the annoying encoding x92, x93, x95 to its proper format:

:%s/[|]/’/g (119, and 1623 replaced)

:%s/[|]/”/g (979 and 897 replaced)

:%s//o /g (334 replaced)

:%s/[|]/-/g (323 and 264 replaced)

If the original MT uses UTF-8, it won’t be a problem, although the exported file is not directly readable in editor in Mac.

Problem 3: Convert Line Breaks

By default, when I use two lines to separate a paragraph, but in WordPress, it becomes a single line and the two paragraphs are put together with only one line break.

It turned out the bug 16147 is exactly talking about the problem and fixed the problem. Just go to the importer.php file and remove the following line.

 (if( !empty($line) ))

Something to note is, since WordPress load plugins automatically, /wp-content/plugins/movabletype-importer/movabletype-importer.php does not exist in the downloaded package.

Problem 4: The Chinese Title

Using the sanitised title as part of URL is good to keep it unique, but the Chinese title causes problems. You cannot just use the Chinese encoded names as WordPress, resulting huge number of % and numbers in the URL. The original less of consideration of MovableType actual worked very well by just taking some a or e out of the encoded title, but need some research.

Configuration

After migration, there are some configuration work. Basically by looking at the admin tab one by one, we can get some idea. Here are some outline:

1. Configure the upload file folder.

2. The URL slug – use %year%%monthnum%%day%_%post_name%.htm

3. Open XML-RPC

4. Change display name for default user.

Done

That should be all I have to do. Did some quick research and quickly fixed the problem. I am going to do the actual migration the next weekend. Then you will see a brand new blog.