Should Shanghai Host Expo?

Expo is just 4 days away. Is it too late to ask this question?

This Expo is Special

This year’s expo is special from most of the expo in the past. To be honest, I have never experienced previous Expo in other countries. I never heard about it before Shanghai started to bid for it.

Now, it is regarded in all the media as an event as important as the Olympics. Is it true? I doubt it. I especially feel so when government officials pointed out again and again that “Olympics is not government hosted – it is just civil events, and Olympics is just 20 days – expo is half year….” It is pretty funny.

Who Pays in Expo?

There are many versions of the answer and for sure, it is not easy to get an answer when all the budget and detailed break down is kept as a secret. I can only list some of the “rumors” I heard.

One version of the rumor is, the central government is paying for it. I don’t really believe in this version.

The other version state that all the money comes from the Shanghai local government, and Expo bond, without any investment from the central government. This version seems more likely to me (baised as Shanghai resident).

Disclaimer: without any solid evidence, I heard many people explain the reason Shanghai MUST get a big event like this: This is the only way Shanghai can keep its cost high, and thus keep more money locally instead of giving it to the central government. The current tax structure, Shanghai, as the economic powerhouse, and big manufacture center, Shanghai contribute a big portion of the total tax income (many sources say above 10%, but there is no way to verify this number).

To get more money for the local construction, it is a good idea to take the chance to build metros (look at the 11 metro lines openned before expo), and airports (2 new terminals), and expressways (many of them). This way, when the cost is up, Shanghai has the bargain power to keep more locally for the benefit of the city.

The Location?

The expo was originally planned in the Huang Lou 黄楼 area (at the intersection of S20 and S1), near the Pudong airport – somewhere out of the outer ring. Later, the plan was modified to be the current downtown location. To make it happen, huge amount of money is needed to remove a steel plant, and a ship building plant. These heavy industry plants were called by some government officals as “the last scar on the face of Shanghai”. The idea is, for a moden city like Shanghai when the land price goes so high, it is not a good idea to have several big plants in the downtown.

Expo is the perfect time to relocate them (with all the huge investment), get the land ready for construction, and build some temp pavilions on it. When the expo is over, that is a new area of Shanghai!

Micro and Macro Level

Although I started to concern about hosting expo based on the recent feedback of the 5 rehersal (people mountain people sea, and a little bit disappointing pavilions), there are some solid reasons why Shanghai wants and needs to build it.

It is about benifit.

I Promise to Add Twitter Profile Photo, Later

Please read this article first: “Not Happy New Year”.

In that article I wrote in 2006, I did an experiment. To prove that “I can never over-state the importance of the display name of an Instant Messenger (IM) in the current age”, I kept my MSN Messenger displayed name unchanged for half year (1/1/2006 to 6/30/2006) as “Jian Shuo Wang – Happy New Year”, and changed it to “Jian Shuo Wang – Not Happy New Year” for another half year (7/1/2006 – 12/31/2006).

At that time, I got many message to urge me to change my display name, and I got some sense of how people react to a person who use MSN Messenger often but doesn’t change the display name for one year!

That is my style – do an experiment, and do it in really long term.

Twitter’s Profile Photo

So you may have guessed the new experiment I conducted later. I used 3 years to complete this experiment. I kept the default Twitter profile photo for 3 years. My assumption was, Twitter will replace MSN Messenger as the key channel for people to connect with other, and twitter’s status will replace the display name of MSN Messenger to be the key way for people to express themselves. Now, it is about 1100 days of this experiment, and I am preparing to wrap up this experiment by the end of April. Here are my conclusions:

It is confirmed that Twitter plays a more important role, at least in my life, and in the lives of most my real life friends, than MSN Messenger. People care about my profile photo more than they cared my display name. Even compared with the year of 2006, the current queries are more (I know it is based of the big user name, since I had less than 150 friends on MSN Messenger, but about 800 followers, and following).

During my observation about @jianshuo mention on Twitter, I discovered that if you don’t have a profle photo on twitter, people will think:

  • You SHOULD user your PHOTO, real face photo.

  • You are incompetent to change the profile photo.
  • You are technically challenged person.
  • Surprised that it is possible for someone not to have a profile icon.
  • An icon on twitter is just like pant in real world. They are shameful to see others don’t have icon.
  • You are too shy (too ugly) to show your face to the world.

The message kept coming this way. Sorry that I ignored most of the message, because it is a social experiment itself.

Finally, when I am going to stop this experiment, I got back to the question behind it. A good product design is not only provide the functionality to allow people to change their profile photo, it designs a social environment that pushes everyone softly to update their profile photo, so everyone’s experience is better. Twitter is, maybe, a service with one of the highest photo completion rate, at least for its active users. I, myself, feel I am pretty stupid to run this experiment for as long as 3 years.

Facebook is …. Scary

I intended to use the word ambitious as many people used in their review after f8, but I really feel scary is the better word – that is more than ambitious – that is super ambitious.

The announcement of Facebook on F8 is very exciting. I just spent a little time to try out these features. Below are some buttons you can try to play with. Be cautious: I need to tell you this, clicking on the like button will tell your friends that you Like Wangjianshuo’s blog, which may be true.

Like button:

Activity Feed:

Recommendation:

I should have implemented on wangjianshuo.com, but I cannot, because Facebook.com is blocked in China and adding that iframe will trouble my domestic readers.

Facebook is a good company

When Google was about to IPO, I said this to Wendy: “No matter how expensive Google’s stock is, we should buy some.”

It turned out that it was about 100 USD on the first day. “What?” I was shocked, and did nothing, because I realized “No matter how expensive” really means “not higher than 30 USD per share”.

For Facebook, I repeat again, I will buy its stock at whatever initial price it is. This time, “whatever” does mean “whatever”.

Yifan’s Story about Kindergarten

Yifan has been in Kindergarten for few weeks. Here are two stories about his Kinderkarten life. I promise they are interesting stories.

“Exactly Like Kindergarten”

One day we went to a restaurant with Yifan. Yifan has a big dish of food in front of him.

He played all the time when everyone finished the meal. Yifan didn’t ate too much.

One hour later, we decided to leave. We paid the bill, and the waiter began to clean up the table, and removed his dish.

Yifan yelled to the waiter: “I haven’t finished yet! I haven’t finished yet!”

When the waiter smiled and apologized and returned his dish, he said this to his mom:

“I haven’t finished. They took my dish away. Exactly like kindergarten!”

Hey! Wait…. Everyone started to know a little bit about Yifan’s poor kindergarten life. We laughed for quite some time. Poor kid, although we all agree that the kindergarten is doing the right thing – discipline about time.

“I Waited!”

The other day, I asked Yifan about his kindergarten life. Here is the conversation (Y for Yifan, and D for dad).

D: How’s your day in kindergarten.

Y: I played.

D: Did you played seesaw?

Y: No. I didn’t.

D: Why?

Y: They didn’t allow me to play.

D: Did you wait in line?

Y: No. I didn’t.

D: You cannot cut into line. You need to wait.

Y: I waited!

D: Then did they allowed you to play?

Y: Yes. They did.

D: Then did you enjoyed the seesaw?

Y: No. I didn’t.

D: How come?

Y: Both of them left. Only me!

LOL.

Then I took the golden opportunity to teach Yifan the importance of a good friend.

Worried for Expo

The Expo Preview happened on April 20, 2010, ten days before the grand opening.

However, the feedback I got so far is very disappointing, almost scary.

I almost got a ticket but it was recalled – because the security worries about terrist (I started to wonder if they worry about it that much, how to handle the 70 million visitors?)

The feedback mostly concentrates on the fact that there are too many people. It takes about 1 hour to pass the security check, 2 hours to get anything to eat, 3 hours to get some serious food like Dumplin. For the China Pavilion? Most people can only see from the outside. Most of the comments I saw from my friends and people on twitter are – completely massy. Most of the news I saw on Shanghai TV, CCTV was, the first day was smooth and successful. The contrast is so big that I am not surprised.

Here are some photos I saw on Kaixin001.com. I cannot verify the photographer of the pictures. Here are some of them.

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Credit: annoymous

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Credit: annoymous

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Credit: annoymous

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Credit: annoymous

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Credit: annoymous

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Credit: annoymous

This is actually not very surprising to me. I started to worry about the Expo, and hope there will be no big accident related to the huge number of people. The people they handle on April 20 is just 2/5 of the actual expected volumn. What will happen then?

The World of Leadership of Management

I was in the world of Linux, and C.

Then I entered the world of Windows and project management.

Then the current world is about leadership and management.

I shifted in these worlds consistently, and frequently.

My friends change along the way.

I had Linus, Apple, C++ as my friends,

then I had new friends named MSDN, Don Box and TechNet.

In the recent years, on my bookshelf are Druker, and Welch.

They are all great minds in this world.

That’s my world, changing world.

My Car is Named Bandenger

I have decided to name my new car Bandenger, which basically means bench.

The Nissan Teana is optimized for comfort. It is absolutely better than a bench, but just as the way I named my previous Goudaner, it is a pretty cheap, ugly, and normal name, with the wish that the car can have good luck – people in China, especially in villages, and in old time, like to name their kids by “ugly” names – something like under-promise, over delivery.

It has completed its first 1100 KM, and I sent it for the first maintenance. The second maintenance date will be June 25, 2010.

Traffic Getting Worse before Expo

The good traffic condition only lasted for few weeks, before it is getting worse. From the slow moving cars on the road, and policemen with flashing police car at every city corner, I got the signal – Expo is no longer a count down number. It is getting real.

People get nervous. There are problems when there are visitor peak that the city cannot handle. There are also problems, maybe a bigger one, that there are not as many people as expected to come.

Businesses have learn a lesson from the over-promised-under-delivered business opportunity of Beijing Olympics. The hotel room price is still relatively stable.

The party is almost there. What will happen?

Metro Line #10 Opens

I cannot keep up with the construction news of Shanghai these days, at my daily publishing schedule.

Metro Line #10 Opens.

There is a station near where I work – the Shanghai Jiaotong University station. It goes to Hongqiao Transportation Hub (Hongqiao Train Station, Hongqiao Airport T2, Hongqiao Airport T1), and goes eastbound to downtown Shanghai, and wind northbound to New Jiangwan Town.

The Metro Line #10 is called by some people The Campus Love Line, because it connects some of the most respected universities in the city: Shanghai Jiaotong University, Tongji University, and Fudan University…

I will find time to take the line and report back with pictures. As previous lines, it operates from 9:00 AM to 16:00 PM these days.