Pedestrian in Hangzhou

Hangzhou is a city full of innovation in public transportation.

Look at what they did to traditional pedestrian in Hangzhou!

They put an arrow on the right side of the pedestrian to indicate the side for people to walk.

What do you think?

Other innovation includes

  • LED display board to show how far the next bus is from the bus stop.

  • Dynamic car lanes that changes according to traffic
  • Real time traffic camera on cable TV
  • A big camp at every interaction on the bike lane so people can rest in the shade of the umbrella at the Sun, or when it is raining.

Coins or Paper Money

We talked about the network effects of a real society many days ago. Hopefully, that explains why Chinese don’t use voice mail, calendar, or classified. We talked about it in YLF 2009 conference, and there are people who don’t agree with what I said.

Then I have another great example. When I was in Chengdu, no one uses coins. They always use the paper money of 1 RMB. Everyone hates coins. Why? Not for a rational reason. It is just because when you have a 1 RMB coin, you cannot spend it. People won’t accept it, and they ask you to change it to 1 RMB paper money. Just because you cannot spend it, you don’t accept it, and because you don’t accept it, others cannot spend it. The stronger the current feedback loop is, the harder it is to break.

On the contary, people in Shanghai LOVE coins. They don’t want paper money, although they unwillingly accept it. People will be surprised to get 7 coins as change to buy a 3 RMB ticket with 10 RMB note.

That is the network effect. Before debating about whether coin money is better than paper money or not, we need to look at where you are going to spend it, Chengdu, or Shanghai.

Did you Observe the Decline of Blogging?

In November, I just feel some changes in the blogsphere. It seems to me that blogging activities are getting declining in the past month. I check my Google Reader few times a day in Oct, and every time I can get many updates, but recently, I check it daily and still didn’t get too much update. I didn’t change the feed source. It turned out that people blogged less. Did you observe the same decline in blogging?

P.S. Me? Don’t worry about me. It was just occasionally travel times, mixed with my passion for coding this week. Will be back to normal soon.

November Turbulance

November 2009 is the month with most turbulance in blogging in the recent year. The frequent travel to Xiamen, to Chengdu made regular blogging harder than ever, and recenty, I was highly devoted in defactoring some of the code of the production environment. I found out code is really what my passion is at. I love to code any way, especially the design pattern, and defactoring. Hope I will have time to sit down at my computer to get videos, pictures of my trip out of my camera, and camcorder, and upload some of them to this blog. Please be patient for another few days.

Back from OOB in Chengdu

Sorry that I didn’t post it earlier. I was out of blogging to Chengdu with the team in the last few days, and just got back to Shanghai. The continuous trip made blog posting hard, especially in a relaxed, and fun city like Chengdu. We had great fun, and return to hotel after 2:00 AM. I will make up some post to tell you more about Chengdu.

Xiamen Photo

Let me put some photo I took during my Xiamen stay here. I do not remember how many times I went to Xiamen – this is the second time I visit Xiamen this year.

2009 – Young Leaders’ Forum 2009

2009 – Baixing company outing

2008 – 3rd China Webmasters’ Conference

2006 – 2nd China Webmaster’s Conference

200x – Microsoft Channel Meeting

200x – Microsoft Company Outing

Gulangyu:

Xiamen island:

Back from Xiamen via Spring Airlines

I wrote about Spring Airlines three years ago. At that time, the low cost airline just celebrated its first anniversary. Now, it not only broke even, but also made decent profit, and grew very fast. I am a Spring Airlines fan. Let me tell you why.

I Always Fly China Spring

Recently, I really enjoyed flying with China Spring. Wendy, me and Yifan fly back to Zhengzhou via Spring Airlines, and fly to Xiamen and back via Spring. The 99 RMB flight ticket is very attractive. But there are more than that. As a business person, I appreciate what Spring Airlines did.

Low Cost with Relatively Bad Experience

Many people complained about the airline. They complained this and complained that, but they never complain about the price. The secret the airline keeps the ticket so low is very wise.

The seats are very tight. It is very compact. They re-arranged the seats to allow 20% more seats than most other airlines. It is tough and painful to sit there, but other than complaining about it, how can people refuse to take that airline? The ticket price is low!

There are no food, not beverage, and no any service on board – just a bottle of pure water. My guess is, if it is not required by the government, they will remove that also (since it is not allowed to bring any liquid on board, they have to offer something to drink). You have to pay for anything else.

They sell things! This is the part they got most complain. From the beginning of the trip to the end, the flight attendants sell stuff at the front of the seats, and use the on board broadcast system. People complain that they cannot fall asleep. They sell from Disney toys, to MP3, to shaver, and they have plan to sell real estates, and cars. Everyone complain about it, but that is the way they keep the flight ticket price low. I would say they are genius to make the decision to intentionally offer bad experience to keep the cost low, and it works very well. Everyone complains and most of them continue to choose that airline.

On the baggage allowance, they are the lowest. On the time for reserved ticket, they are the shortest (if you don’t pay in 30 minutes after reservation, your reservation will be automatically canceled). On the turn over time, their flight will take off again after 20 minutes of landing, so they push the limit to move passengers as quick as possible, no matter you like it or not. They require you to use their website or call center to book (no other agents and dealer), and you have to have your online payment account ready before you are qualified to buy a ticket from them. Bingo! I love their style.

They also have unified aircraft – A320, and they fly 14 hours out of the 24 hours – compared to 11 hours of the industry average. It is common sense that aircraft only makes money when it is in the sky.

They are also planning to sell standing seats if they get the approval from the government. Yes. You see it right – standing seats on the plane. I believe if approved, they can further push the cost from Shanghai to Zhengzhou, or Shanghai to Xiamen to under 10 USD on regular basis.

I Love China Spring

I admit the operating philosophy of Spring Airlines sounds great for me. Every business wants to use good words to describe themselves – the best experience with the lowest cost! But we are not genius. The only way that works is to give up a dimension of value, and only focus on the other. Spring Airlines stands for low cost airline, and they stand firmly on that area. I firmly believe they will be doing very well in the future, and will buy their stock if they go to IPO.

Concluding my YLF Trip in Xiamen

I am currently in a small hotel called Yoyou Inn (photos) on Gulangyu. We have finished the 3 day of YLF 2009 Forum in Xiamen, and the three day extension trip, and got back from Zhangzhou, Quanzhou to Xiamen.

In the later 3 days, I was always on the road roaming from one city to another. Not just our American counterpart, I, myself, hasn’t been to other part of Fujian other than Xiamen an Fuzhou. Although I tried my best to avoid saying “China is blah-blah-blah” on this blog, I still make the mistake to pretend I know what China is on this blog. Obviously, the part I saw with our American YLFers is not exactly the China in my mind.

I will fly back to Shanghai tomorrow, and when I settle down in Shanghai, I will try to write more about this wonderful trip.

I’d like to take the time to thank Jan, Jon, June, the National Committee on US China Relationship and all participants of the conference of this year. I am so happy to spend 1/52 of my year of 2009 with the great people here this year.

Day 2 of YLF 2009

During the discussion at night, we started to talk about voice mail – why there is no voice mail in China. I happened to write a Chinese blog about it more than one month ago: The Network Effect of Technology Application. In that blog, I argued that Chinese don’t use voice mail because of lack of network effect. Voice mail is only useful when more people (at least more than half) will actually check their voice mail if you do leave one, or people will often check their voice mail only when you get at least one voice mail once every year! (I setup an answer machine with Wendy’s and my greeting at home, only to receive one valid voice mail during the first half year before I gave it up). The reason there is no network effect (no other people using that technology) is because voice mail emerges far ahead of mobile phone, and people in China just frog leap from no phone to mobile phone. The same situation happened to Video Recorder in VHS format – the tapes of video. Chinese directly entered VCD era – the first home video system in most Chinese families are VCD. The same for fax machine, and newspaper classified. Oh. I remember I also wrote about it in an English blog: Why People don’t Use Voice Mail in China and later, Whole Society is the Biggest Network Effect.

Another thing that people don’t mention was, calendar. Do you have a Calendar briefly discussed about it, but again, it is something with some sort of network effect – calendar is only useful when everyone has one if you want to keep the exact time for meetings. Otherwise, your life will be miserable with delay of meetings, and no shows if you are the only person who are not flexible enough to move meetings randomly on that day.

Buddhism

One of the sharpest question about Buddhism during our visit to South Putuo Temple was about the high ticket price to enter most temple in China. In my personal view, with the systematic destruction and a little bit construction of religion in China, the Buddhism temple has gone to a path to tourism location. The original meaning of quiet meditation and peace in soul have been forced to count the revenue of donations, so they build bigger houses to attract more people. The improvement of buildings in a temple certainly cannot meet the stronger religious needs from the confused people.

A Generation of Confusion

I know our American friends were confused by the Confucius ideology and the materialism and needs for a higher moral standard in China. When asked how I feel, my quick answer is, I am confused.

China has entered into a stage of conflicts. Within a short period of 30 years, the rich and the poor, the money-centric culture, and the traditional virtue, the new laws, and old conflicting laws, the materialism and the remaining internal pride not to talk about it — all these things mixed together, in a chaotic way that many people including me are quite confused, and one way out (as many people take), is don’t think about it, if you don’t to be more and more confused. I talked a lot about that confusion in my daily life on this blog in the last 7-8 years.

American Songs

Heard an interesting song when going to Karaoke with American fellows: Love Shack. It is an interesting song – very funny for me to listen and with a nice MTV attached to it. The closest song I can find to match that style of 1980′s American song is the Mice Loves Rice about few years ago in China. It is nothing serious – just that type of song completely for fun with repeated sentence: “I love you, just like the mice loves rice”. It is an expression of simple, stupid, but true happiness, and people love that popular folk song. I am happy that people in China started to appreciate those songs without high morale standard in it (as opposite to those propaganda songs)

Xiamen

Another note about Xiamen. It is, as I always say, an amazing city. This is maybe the third time I am in Xiamen this year. Xiamen is just 299 RMB or 1.5 hour away from Shanghai, and the airport is pretty close to the hotel area (not the downtown – the hotels with beach), and you can safely treat Xiamen as the back garden for Shanghai (although most people say Hangzhou is the back garden). I love Xiamen and I love to put my meetings in this amazing city.