Death of Blogging?

I am trying to avoid this topic, but as a 9 year blogger, I have to admit that the declining of blog sphere has been an obvious trend, and we have to face it.

The whole Internet is involving quickly. Just like the Geocities.com cannot be hot for ever as its first few years, blogging cannot be as cool as 2001 – 2005. Comparing to the newest media, and tools, blog started to fall short in many aspects.

Real Time Web

The Internet has never been as instant as today. The whole Internet is more like a big IRC chat room by itself. When you enter some short messages, and hit enter in twitter.com or t.sina.com.cn, you are like chatting with the world like old MSN or chat room days. Your message is broadcasted to people, not only at the other side of your IM, or people  in a chat room, or a IRC channel. Your message is seen by the whole Internet. That type of real time is never possible before.

Blogging has been the frontier of the Internet of real time web. Blogs have been quicker than news in early days, but now, it is slower than twitter, or weibo.

Information Fragmentation and Defragmentation

To make real time web possible, you have to cut what you are going to ship into smaller chunks. You just cannot input 500 worlds before you hit “Send” in your Instant Messager (MSN or QQ). Only information pieces, not articles, or longer paragraphs can goes fast enough, and make it easier to consume on the reader side. It is easier to combine many short 140 characters sentences into a bigger article that makes sense, than putting many paragraphs togather.

Information defragmentation involves a process of information distribution, and combination. “Follow”is a much easier action than RSS – people can learn to click a button quicker than installing a RSS reader, locating the small orange RSS icon, get the URL of XML, and add it to the reader. People like simple stuff. Always.

Personalized Web

With the fragemented information in real time, that is huge volume of information. You have to personalize the web. Different people should see different thing on the same page. To give everyone the same thing – the last tweets from everyone – just does not make any sense. The reader will complain there is nothing interesting on the homepage of twitter, and the writer complains that their message got skip to the 100+ page in one secnd. The only solution is personalized web – everyone has its own news feed (in Facebook’s term) or time line (in twitter’s).

Blogging itself is not personalized to user. It has to be used in combination with a RSS read and manual work of many people. That is also a reason why people prefer microblogging.

The Death of Blog?

Does the evolution of Internet claim the death of blogging? Not that quick yet. Although I see significant decline in number of blog posts people write, and less readership than before, and at the mean time, the microblogging writer and readership went up dramatically, I still think blogging will survive and be a long lasting platform for people to write stuff, although not as hip or cool as before.  It is still the best way to write longer articles that has long last values, instead of real time information like news, or dinner appointments.

At the end of the day, blogging or microblogging or the future stuff are just the tools of thoughts, and the only thing that matters are the thoughts behind it, and the people around it.

Harvard MBA Recommendation Questions

I started to help people to give recommendation for business schools. This is the question from Harvard, and I think they are great dimensions to assets people’s ability. This is a list:

Below Average (Button Third)

Average (Middle Third)

Good (Top Third)

Excellent (Top 15%)

Outstanding (Top 5%)

Leadership Potential:

Self-Confidence:

Personal Maturity:

Professional Maturity:

Imagination and Creativity:

Motivation:

Intellectual Ability:

Analytical Ability:

Quantitative Ability:

Teamwork Skills:

Listening Skills:

Ability in Oral Expression:

Ability in Written Expression:

Self-Awareness:

Global Perspective/Awareness:

Interpersonal Skills – With Subordinates/Colleagues:

Interpersonal Skills – With Superiors:

Beijing use Lucky Draw for License Plate

After 20 years for Shanghai to use bidding for car license, Beijing is introducing a lottery based license plate system. You have to submit application, and try your luck. For the first week, the odd is 1 out of 12. With more and more people joining and the previous participants still in the pool, the chance gets fewer and fewer. If I can vote, I would definitely vote against it.

Just watched the 10:30 CCTV-2 program by Rui Cheng Gang 芮成钢, another YLFer focusing on Gabby. He interviewed John Holden, the previous chairman of National Committee of US-China Relationship, and one of the founder of YLF program, and shared his own experience with Gabby and Mark. (YLF was held in Huangshan in 2003, and Gabby’s home state Arizona in Sedona in 2004).

YLFers Gathered to Pray for Gabrielle Giffords

I didn’t expect a normal Sunday morning started with beeping of many email alerts on my phone. It was from the email threads from YLFer friends that I heard the sad news about the shooting of Gabby and other innocent people in Arizona. I was completely shocked.  It turned out to be the headline of all major news sites, even the headlines of Sina.com.cn later this morning.

Gabby was a YLF 2003 Fellow, and so was her husband Mark Kelly. They met each other via the Young Leader’s Forum in Huanshan in 2003. Thier marriage was among the few other unexpected, wonderful side effects of the US-China relationship program. It is also rare that both persons of a couple are friends of the same group of people.

With the strong personal connection within the small YLF community, we felt so sad for Gabby and Mark. Besides the emails, the 8 Shanghai based (and visiting) YLF just gathered in Lujiazui to send our sympathy, support and prayers. The same gather happens in NYC.

It will take me more time to understand the whole situation, how it happened, and why, but it does not require too much thoughts to immediately feel the pain, shock, and sadness, when the person involved is someone you know, and greatly admire of.

I was angry to see the typical comments on some Shanghai forums who expressed some kind of “joy”when something bad happens in America. It is a shame for the persons who wrote it. It is a global community and everyone on both side of the ocean should make the personal commitment to fight against the senseless violence like this. China is also not unfamiliar with tragedy with completely innocent people involved. We should stop this violence no matter at what reason, at what country.

I just hope Gabby could be fine very soon.

Curiosity Keeps People Happy

I am generally happy in 2011, from the first few days of holiday and the first day of working. At night, Wendy and I went downstairs to the Paris Spring shopping mall for a cup of coffee. Two interesting things happened.

Starbucks!

To our greatest surprise, a section of the shopping mall was under construction. On it hangs big Starbucks logo, and big “OPENING SOON”. Below it was “We look forward to serving you amazing coffee, we just have a few things to take care of first.”.

Great! I finally have a Starbucks store that I can walk into from my bed room in 2 minutes. The store is just outside my reading room window.

I started to walk to all Starbucks store in a day in 2003. There were just 12 of them. Then it grew to 117 in 2010. Now, it is coming to Pudong near my home.

I am a big fan of Starbucks. I hear you, their coffee may not be the best. I personally prefer Coffee Bean and Tea Leafs too. But I like the store.

Where is it?

About 5 years ago, Eric randomly pointed to a Microsoft ad and asked Which subway station was the picture taken?. That led to an interesting journey of searching, blog posting, comment reading and replying, and finally result finding.

Today, I did the same thing. At the basement floor of the shopping mall, on the wall, there was a big photo of an Europe architect. On the architect, it showed something like this:

TIS XII PONT. MAX. …. MDCCLXII

I know MDCCLXII = 1000+500+100+100+50+10+1+1 = 1762. What the rest means?

By doing a simple Google search in my iPhone, I learnt that the whole sentence should be:

POSITIS SIGNIS ET ANAGLIPHIS TABULIS IUSSU CLEMENTIS XIII PONT. MAX. OPUS CUM OMNI CULTU ABSOLUTUM A. D. MDCCLXII.

It is carved on the Trevi Fountain, one of the most beautiful fountains in the world, in Rome, Italy.

Let me quote what I wrote 5 years ago on curiosity of life here again:

This is a vivid example of curiosity for life – the rational motivation for many things we did. I enjoyed the time to search for the answer for the simple question “Where is this station”, and enjoyed the excitement when I happen to see the picture on my dinner table. The research time and the excitement moment are quite rewarding to me. It brings something new to life, so the life is not boring at all. Sometime the reason we travel, ask, research, and study is simply out of curiosity. Curiosity is the genuine human being’s instinct that must be satisfied. The city life, sometime, has killed the passion so people feel boring, while there are millions of poorer people who are happier.

Challenges to Trust

I started to re-think about the Google’s decision to withdraw from China. If the rumor “attack-from-within” turned out to be true, it is a very reasonable action. The company’s culture is built on trust – new hires from intern to employee were given enough freedom based on trust – they can see documents they need to see, and access to resources they need to access, without limit. That was exactly like the time in Microsoft before 2000 (I still remember how shock I was when I was able to see piece of source code few weeks after I got into the company).

However, that culture, and the way of people’s behaviors were seriously challenged when integrity issue happens. When misbehavior of very few force the company to change its foundation – the full trust to its people, it is the worst challenge possible. No over-react is too over.

The same philosophy applies to the gun right in some countries. Although massive shooting caused many people to die, people still firmly believe gun rights equal to human rights. They are not defending the criminals, they are defending the foundation that people should be trusted to own their own weapons. It is a matter of choice of lifestyle and culture.

Integrity can never be comprised, no matter how bad the consequences are, because it was the culture of “trust”, and freedom to trust people that in stake.

I hope I had made it clear about it.

Android Seems to be Very Easy

At 3 PM in the afternoon, started to read an Android book (Hello, Android, Introducing Google’s Mobile Development Platform, Third Edition) and started to write some Android application. It turned out everything was simple and smooth, much better than I had expected. It always takes people some time to learn new things, and as a technical guy by heart, I just cannot stop and don’t do some coding on the Android platform myself. It won’t occupy too much of my time, since my time is better used in other stuff than coding, but to get a real sense of a system, the best way is always to do it yourself.

jianshuo@facebook.com

It is obviously a new era.

I was happy to register jianshuo @ hotmail.com email address about 14 years ago, when hotmail.com was just launched one year before. That was the starting point of Internet, and email communication.

Then I got jianshuo @ gmail.com, the main email address I am using today (I still keep telling people the old jianshuo @ hotmail.com email address, and let the mail forwarded to the gmail one).

This morning, I got a new email address jianshuo @ facebook.com – the Modern Messaging System of Facebook. I have to say, Facebook has a good product design that we can learn a lot from – the way they helped people to get started with the new messaging system. Feel free to send some test mail to my new email address, and see how it goes.

My Observation

At first glance, and few try, I have to say, it is a wonderful product. I was amazed by the following improvement:

1. How it shows the sender – no longer email addresses, or simple profile – it is a complicated profile of a real person.

2. How it replies. It makes replying an email as quick and simple as replying a chat message – just one single line that you can send message back to the person with some typing and just a “return” key. How far it is from “stop writing, change to mouse, move over send button, and click”, to “enter”? It is farther than people think.

Good job again, Facebook team!