Category Archives: Friends

Hosted US Congress Delegation

On Saturday night, I helped NCUSCR to host another United States delegation: Congressional District Office Staff Delegation to China. In the hotel room of Regal International Hotel near where I worked, we gathered in a guestroom, sitting on the floor, and had some beers and snacks. The chat was wonderful, and it is their last night during the trip to China. I would like to keep the content of the discussion off-record. I WAS asked about what is boundary of blogging in China in the censorship environment. What we talked is partly out of the boundary. :-)

This is maybe the third time I talked with people from US Congress. I don’t know why it matters so much, but the news of US Congress Failed the Auto Bailout is at the headline of many newspapers – in China. Why? I just feel it is not such a big news for China yet – maybe because of my ignorance.

Talk with Kai Fu Lee

It was about two years since I last had lunch with Kaifu in Shanghai. Kaifu Lee is the head of Google China, and we worked together when we were both in Microsoft. I visited Google China office the last week, and spent about one hour in his office.

Kaifu Lee is a Great Friend to Have

I know Kaifu for quite some time, and I admire his academic achievements. Besides that, Kaifu is pretty lovely and kind. Last time, when I send my LinkedIn invitation to my friends, Kaifu returned email about to tell me to use another email address. :-) The only one who treat everything so serious.

The Turbulence

The big chaos, and controversy when Kaifu joined Google from Microsoft – the key news.

The Battle with Baidu

I honestly told Kaifu, that I worried about Google China a lot when it just entered China. It seemed to me that Google has done almost everything wrong initially, exactly as eBay. Meanwhile, its competitor Baidu is a hard player in the field, and use completely local strategy to fight….

Google’s Fans

When Google enters China, there are many Google fans in China. The very high expectation for Google was just as people’s expectation for Microsoft in the early days when it just entered. However, as anything new, it is so hard to deliver the same standard of what is established in US, and they did make some mistakes like the Pinyin IME, and some others.

In 2006, there are many Google fans who get disappointed by Google China, and some started to draw a line between Google (Mount View), and Guge (Google China). Standing in between of the censorship, and all kinds of stupid regulation, and the Google’s international consistency, and standard is not a good thing people expect.

Realistic Expectation

After talking with Kaifu, I think the realistic expectation for Google China is needed, although people don’t really care about what is realistic.

To expect Google China to take the role to fight against the Firewall is realistic. It is just a commercial company with its responsibility for shareholders. To expect Google to fight the same way local companies did is also not realistic. Any company has its own ways of doing things, and for international companies to understand China, it takes time. Think about Microsoft – it took about 10 years to really become mature in China (remember how many general manager was fired in 7 years? 6!)

Good Luck to Google China

Google China is doing great. It has obviously far more exceeded my expectation. Google China not only survived (unlike eBay China), but also getting some market share back these days. During my recent work with Google China employees, I just feel the young Microsoft is getting back – young, energetic, passionate, and professional engineers with a clear goal and vision, and culture…

Best wishes to Kaifu, and Google China.

Visited Two Companies

Visited Aspect Gaming, and AdChina today.

Nice Internet startups in Shanghai. Had wonderful lunch with Justin, and talked in depths with Alan. Both are good friends of me. They are both in Shanghai Mediazone Tower (Wang Wang Tower) near Nanjing road.

We really should get together with great people more often and get inspiration. I do need to talk with people – my type of people need inspiration to live, and to work.

Maybe I should setup a goal to meet some great people every few weeks (if not every week), to keep my life exciting.

First Two Sessions of YLF 2008

Just finished the first two sessions of YLF (The Young Leader’s Forum) this morning.

It is a wonderful presentation, and I am so happy that I have get rid of my jetlag, so I can concentrate to the presentations, and join the discussion.

There are so many things that I want to record, and then discuss about it, but let me just quickly move the following bulletins from my note to my blog, because I am very sure that this blog last longer than paper.

– about China’s law breakers

– Moral standard vs the system

– Lack of religious and its impact to China

– Development in economy vs the change in morality that changes people’s behavior in China

– The plastic bags (we didn’t talk about it, but I just thought about our experience during the Pike Market the other day)

– Diversity of personal identity

– Marriage in a producing economy vs a consuming economy

– Spider web theory and animal theory

– “How can you be so stupid” type of question when we look back about what the milk things in China, and the financial crisis in US (and the world)

– Sublime

– People are always trying to be greedy.

I know the sentences, and words does not make sense without a background. Sorry for that, but I hope I can take more time to do the reflection and explain more…

My Presentation

Since the theme of this year’s forum is discover, my topic was “Discovery: 6 Years of Blogging”. I updated the slides uploaded here: Discovery for YLF 2008 in Snoqualmie.ppt

Since there are so many things to talk about, and there are so limited time – 10 minutes, I just wrote 5 slides, and it worked well.

Problem of Having a Good Email Address

I have a friend in San Francisco who has a very good email address:

tom@aol.com

The last year, I sent an email to him to his email address, and not surprisingly, I got a reply like this

From: —–

Sent: Monday, September 03, 2007 6:53:40 AM

To: jianshuo@hotmail.com

This is an automated response – please read carefully. “Tom@aol.com”

receives several hundred eMails per day that are not intended for myself

but were addressed incorrectly. As a result I can only accept eMail from

known eMail addresses – your eMail address is not YET known to my eMail

Filter.

*****************************************************************

***Please verify that you are trying to reach ——- @ BV.

***If that is the case, please reply to this Auto Response and

***include “To Tom” in the subject line***

***This will get your eMail past my filter directly into my Inbox.

******************************************************************

I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you – once I receive

your eMail with “To Tom” in the subject line I will add you to my

filteras a “Known Sender” and you should be able to reach me easily for

as long as you use the same eMail address.

Your original eMail with headers is below. If there was an attachment,

please re-atttach that again if possible.

Thank you!

Tom

I think I don’t think there is too much problem for disclosing my friend’s email address since tom @ aol.com, just as example@microsoft.com, or jack@yahoo.com, is one of the most often used testing email address people may think of. It is so funny to have this “good email address” problem. I do believe he will get several hundred emails to his mail box, and maybe adding two or three after I publish this article. Good luck to Tom.

How Many Mobiles do You Have?

How many mobile phones do youyu use on daily basis? I have one. If you count the SIM card in my CDMA Internet access card in my laptop, I have two. But I have a friend, who has much more than that.

Xuetao is my friend in Dopod.

He always have new numbers for me to contact him. When I want to call him, I look up my address book in my Dopod mobile phone, and he occupied many entries in it:

  • Xuetao Shanghai
  • Xuetao Beijing
  • Xuetao SMS
  • Xuetao China
  • Xuetao
  • Xuetao Chen
  • ….

Even after that, I still receive SMS from numbers I couldn’t recognize – and many of them turned out to be his new number.

I complained to him about the confusing numbers when I was in his home last Saturday, after he  mentioned that in Shanghai, on average, everyone buy 1.1 mobile phones per year.

In his living room, he showed me the SMS cards and mobiles he is using.

Wow. I was shocked.

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He added: all the SIM cards are currently valid, and he is still using them. He has written mobile phone numbers on the back of some of his cards.

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These are the mobile phones.

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Hmm…

I guess I won’t complain, since I just have a fraction of his mobile phone numbers.

How many mobile phones do you have?

Stumble Upon Jack, Samson, and Terry

Wendy and I went to the Starbucks near our home (the nearest one which is 3 km away from our home) this afternoon. Then saw someone on the street – they turned out to be our friends Jack Gu, Samson and Terry.

Below: Jack Gu

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Below: Samson Jian

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Below: Terry

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Small world – didn’t expect that we can meet on the street (in the middle of almost nowhere).

Accumulation of Friends

After the age of 30, I just realized I have accumulated many friends that we may stumble upon at any time, as it happened many times in the recent years. Microsoft, for example, easily gave me the opportunity to work with 400+ talented people and among them, I know 100+ very well in the last 7 years. That is a big wealth for anyone. So does university and middle school. I cannot imagine it but I do have many friends who I know since I was younger than 10 years old and we still hang around in Shanghai. Last time, when I was in Carroll’s tree trimming party, I found out she has some friends who kept coming to the part in the last 40 years. That was amazing. So I need to do a better job to get connected with old friends, and keep in touch for longer time (if life-time is too infeasible).

China Price – Alexandra Harney’s New Book

In the next few weeks, Penguin will publish Alexandra’s new book The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage. I know Alexandra from my last trip to Nanjing during the Young Leader’s Forum – a very sweet, wise, and professional girl. I know she has been working on this book for two years, and it must be very worth reading.

This book is about the hot topic of "made in China", and what the real price of China’s manufacture is, including pollution, and impact to migrant workers.

Harney shared some of the comments her initial readers sent to her. I didn’t have a chance to read it yet, but I am really looking forward to it.

"Harney has given us an almost forensic field guide to the strikingly low cost of labor-intensive goods manufacturing in China. By systematically sifting through the factors that cheapen the production process, she has denied us the luxury of uncertainty." – Daniel Rosen, principal of China Strategic Advisory and fellow of the Peterson Institute for International Economics

"This gripping, beautifully reported book lays bare the tumult of hope, fear and skullduggery that exists behind the ubiquitous ‘Made in China’ label. It should spur manufacturers, investors and consumers to worry a lot more about where everyday products come from." – James Kynge, author of China Shakes the World

"Essential reading for anyone concerned about how dangerous pet food and children’s clothing manufactured in China make it into American stores." – Kirkus Reviews

The China Price is now available for purchase on Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com and other online retailers. An audio version will also be released simultaneously from Tantor Audio Books. Later, Chinese and Korean language versions will be available as well.

Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/China-Price-Chinese-Competitive-Advantage/dp/1594201579

Tantor Audio

http://www.tantor.com/BookDetail.asp?Product=0609_ChinaPrice

Barnes & Noble

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/The-China-Price/Alex-Harney/e/9781594201578/?itm=4

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/China-Price-Chinese-Competitive-Advantage/dp/1594201579/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1204787839&sr=8-1

Please support my friend and talented writer Alexandra!

Jian Shuo Wang is on Facebook

I finally starts to use Facebook. It is a very nice service, and recently, more and more friends in China is joining the network.

If you are my reader, and want to add me, here is my profile: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505173495

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Since Facebook is designed to be useful only for people who know each other offline, I don’t want to break the rule to expand my network aimlessly. However, I think it is a good idea to add my readers to my friend list, so there is a more effective way to get connected. Please make sure you add the following sentence:

I am your blog reader

Or at least mention the word

blog

In your add friend request.

My Current "Connected Friends on Facebook"

I pulled out all my friends in Facebook, and created a Friend Wheel like this.

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I know there are many of my friends I didn’t put into this wheel yet. 2008 seems to be a connected year for me.

P.S. After posting this blog, within minutes, I got three friend invitation. Nice to meet you, Xiang, Ollie, and Sam!

Victor’s Car Plate was Stolen

After Victor’s dog was stolen and killed, and after his bicycle was stolen months ago,and his wallet, he also lost his car plate today.

How the Plate was Stolen

You know car plate, right? Every car has a plate. It is attached to the car, and can be easily detached. So, there is a business here in Shanghai to steal people’s car plate, and blackmail the owner. Victor is the victim of this car plate stealing case.

This morning, when he went to his car, and he found both plates at rear or head of his car was gone. Someone just removed the plates. It was not a big surprise for people in Shanghai anyway. The thief usually would leave a note at the window with contact information (typically a mobile phone) and instruction to the owner about how to get the plate back. The routine is, you call the phone number, and the other side gives you a bank account number. You deposit the money, and they will send a short message to you about the location of the plates.

Victor didn’t find any “instruction” – bad customer service of this professional thief, I would say. So he went to the police office to report the case. There are other people in the line to report similar cases. So he checked around and found other people has the instruction. He took a look and then called the phone.

Conversation with the Thief

The conversation was interesting. The thief answered phone quickly – I hope all customer service center answer the phone as this guy. Victor asked whether he took the car plate. Victor told him the number, and the thief checked, and be back and said: Yes, we have that plate.

The interesting thing is, the thief even complained that they typically only took car plate from outside Shanghai, since they can blackmail for higher price. For example, if they get a Beijing plate from a car in Shanghai, they can charge for several hundreds or more to the owner, since according to the current regulation, the owner has to drive 1000 miles single-way to Beijing to get a new one, and it took about 2000 RMB for round trip, and almost 3 days. Most car owners will pay the money to get their plate back. For Shanghai plate, however, the owner only need to spend one day and 200 RMB to get new plate. So the “value” is not very high for the thieves.

Anyway, the thief complained and asked Victor whether he wants to pay 300 RMB. Victor said no. Then he asked whether 200 RMB is OK. Victor said absolutely no. Then the guy hang up. Later, he called back and said he is OK to return it at 100 RMB. They didn’t make the deal.

The Police

Victor gets back to report the case to the policeman. The fact is simple – many people report the owner of the same mobile phone number stole their car plates, and blackmail them. The more important thing is, the phone is accessible, and there are many deals happening. It should be pretty easy to catch that bad guy.

The reality is, not surprising for me at all, the policeman just recorded the case, and said, Victor can pay and get a new plate now. He also told Victor don’t worry since even if he reports his car was stolen, that is all he can do – just to record it on the book.

Well. It is the same thing as the last time I reported the completely drunk driver scratched my car. In that case, the drunk driver’s car was there, my car was there, and I know they went to the building, but the policeman said there is nothing they can do and disappeared very soon.

Hmm….

OK. Another story about how the real life in China is like.

P.S. This is Victor’s blog about this event.

Comments on Robert’s Social Aggregator Ideas

(This post is posted via Microsoft Live Writer – it is pretty impressive)

Robert wrote a great blog about his thoughts on Social Aggregator. He pinged me on Skype about it. Let me do spend some time to write a kind-of review about the thoughts.

A social aggregator can aggregator various information (not just RSS feed of a blog or Flickr account!) from many feed sources, store data in local cache(db) for performance and queries, user can apply different filters to get very interesting result.

This reminded me of Rapleaf. I just met Auren in Nanjing the last week. Rapleaf is a reputation management tool to aggregate all kinds of information on the Internet about a person’s reputation. It seems similar ideas with what Robert is proposing. I know there is difference. However, the challenge I think Rapleaf faces is, there are not so much information in the Internet space. (Auren, correct me if I am wrong). For example, searching my email in Rapleaf didn’t turn out to be interesting result for me because of lack of information. Hopefully one day, when user’s profile information expands like the total number of pages on the Internet does, this aggregation can succeed as Google did. What I am trying to say is, the current problem is not lack of aggregation tools. The problem is lack of enough sources for people to aggregate. For people like Robert, Isaac, Joi Ito, Auren, and me, maybe yes. Good solution. But for many people I know, it is far from useful. Just as I know not much about music, conducting, art, drama, and space technology, they may not know Internet well enough.

I have the same comments for the three bulletin Robert wrote:

  1. Use LINQ as query language?
  2. Social Aggregator
  3. Use LINQ as query language?Use LINQ as query language?

It is the lack of data, instead of manipulation of the data that matters.

The other comment I have about "Very interesting results that a social aggregator can generate" is, to rely on the usefulness of other application is risky; to rely on the usefulness of many applications together in more risky. For the aggregation idea to work, it has to find source that people really like to put their reading list on (maybe Amazon), or put their wish list (maybe eBay), then this application is useful. The problem is, it is not easy for everyone to agree on which service is the best, and use that one altogether.

On the idea of the previous blog, I think it is very cool application for geeks, but not individuals. To educate people to setup a blog or even an email address is not easy, not to mention to have everything ready (like Blog, Photo sharing, wish list….). I am not saying that it is not useful, but due to the high threshold, not many people is really "qualified" to be the user of this application.

In the YLF in Nanjing, I did a survey, and to my surprise, out of Internet space, even the most high-profiled people, or those archived people, don’t adopt Internet applications very quickly.

Blog is a big thing, just like email. I believe it is big because it enables anyone with Internet access to WRITE on Internet, just as email enables everyone on Internet can reach each other. These are really big thing. That is the reason I am not super excited about the idea of Social Aggregator.

P.S. I am trying to provide negative comments on this idea, as I think different ideas help to polish the idea itself. I am also happy to disclose that I am also the person who said FocusMedia is a bad idea. That means, based on my track record, if I say something bad, there are very high possibility for the idea to really succeed. 

Saw June with Michael Bloomberg

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is in Beijing today. Although I heard many great things about Mr. Bloomberg from my friends, I am not interested in him as much as I am interested in YLF participant June Mei. I saw her in one of the press photo:

beijing-bloomberg.june 
Image in courtesy of Xinhua News Agency

June was behind Bloomberg. Looking forward the Mayor’s (and June’s) visit to Shanghai in the following few days.

Atlantis Launch Delayed

Just as many of my friends (and readers) in U.S and Europe started to pay attention to Shanghai news in their local TV station when we meet each other, I started to watch closely to launches of NASA after I meet with YLF fellow Chris.

The launch was scheduled to launch several days ago, and it is scheduled to launch today (Sunday), but it turned out to be postponed again because of the false reading from the engine cutoff sensor system. I watched NASA TV for some time at the due time, and found out nothing happened when it is approaching the launching time. NASA TV even didn’t provide any background sound, that I even thought I didn’t get any video from NASA TV, before I saw a helicopter flying in the background.

Image credit: NASA

Good luck to the Altantis and looking forward to its successful launch in early 2008. Good luck to Chris. It seems he has to wait for another one month or so to be really work in the Mission Control Center.

Gave Chinese Names for my Friends

In Tongli, in the shop next to our hotel, they have 20 small baskets of badges of Chinese characters – each badge has a character on both side of it. People can pick two or three badge to form the Chinese name for themselves. For example, I can pick 王 and 建 and 硕, and have them on a ring – that is my name.

Chinese Name for Ashish

I happen to be with Ashish at the shop. I think it is a cool idea to give Ashish a Chinese name and send the name tag to him as a gift. I thought very hard about it and picked from the 2000+ characters available in the baskets. Finally, I got one, and I am very happy about it.

Before I tell you the name, let me introduce Ashish a little bit. Ashish is the CEO of Forward Hindsight, a consulting firm to help Fortune 500 companies on risk management. He is very successful with his company. Ashish came from India, and has the best characteristic of an India in him. He speaks very good English with no Indian accent at all, although he can easily switch from Indian-English to American-English. (I tried hard to learn how to say “I am from Mumbai” in Indian-English. That is of a lot of fun). He is the author of Sustainable Disruption. The most significant thing about Ashish is, he devoted his life and his company to solve a big problem – world hunger. He does everything just to help people in hunger through out the world. This is amazing work.

So to think of a name for Ashish, I tried very hard to archive three goals:

1. Pronunciation should be similar

2. I should reflect his vision about attacking the world hunger in the name.

3. It would be idea to have some kinds of India flavor in the name to reflect his origin of India.

So, here is the final name I choose:

阿施世

阿 = Pronounced as A – just the pronunciation. Put at the from of a person’s name to show intimacy.

施 = Pronounced as Shi (first tone). It means to give, to help.

世 = Pronounced as Shi (forth tone). It means the world.

Put it together, the names pronounces as “Ashishi”, almost exactly the same as the English name. By meaning, it means Help the World, reflecting his vision of helping to cure the world hunger. Finally, when I check around, people said it has some feeling of Buddha. That may help people to connect him with India.

OK. Ashish seems to like that name. I am very happy about my brain work.

Chinese Name for Chris

I gave Chinese name to my other friend in the Young Leaders Forum. His name is Chris. He is an astronaut working in NASA, Huston, TX. He is expected to go to the space station soon.

Obviously, he wants some name that reflects his dream to explore the space, and he wants something like star, or sky in his name. The challenge for me is to find out a Chinese name that reflect this, and at the same time, be as similar as the pronunciation of “Chris”.

So, here is my final name I choose for Chris:

可历星

可 = pronounced as Ke (third tone). It means “be able, capable”.

历 = pronounced as Li (forth tone). It means “experience”.

星 = pronounced as Xing (first tone) – the pronunciation is very similar with English word Sing. It means “star”.

Put together, the pronunciation is Kelixing, or Klising – pretty like Chris, although there are some differences. The meaning is “be able to experience stars”. This is exactly what Chris is going to do in the space station. Not many people in this world has the ability to really experience the stars or the space as Chris does.

Chris. Used with permission

I Just Realized I LOVE to Give People Names

I feel accomplished when I choose the best Chinese names to reflect the pronunciation and meaning of my close friend. It does take time to really know a person well before I can give a English name.

Hope Ashish and Chris like the Chinese name I chose.

P.S. June Mei gave me high rating of this name. She is the top interpreter in Chinese/English world. We talked about the translation of 万 (ten thousand) to Million instead of ten thousand to reflect the reality that both are the largest number in daily use, and often, people in Chinese do not mean the number of ten thousand when they say “万岁”.

Ashish Gadnis

Chatted with Ashish, my new wonderful friend tonight, and we talked about my blog. I said, as a gift, I will devote a special page for him, and hopefully, when you search Ashish Gadnis in Google, this page should be the first result. Then, I can post more information about Mr. Ashishi Gadnis on this page – like the handsome photos or other great things about this great person.

Ashish, if you saw this page by any chance, drop me an email.

Nanjing is an Amazing City

I am in Nanjing.

The Hopkins-Nanjing Center is wonderful, and the students, and faculty there are wonderful. I am very happy that China has such a great center with real international scope – they have Chinese students taught in English and American Students taught in Chinese – amazing idea implemented 20 years ago.

The bar at No. 72, Beijing Xi Road is a great one, especially on Friday night. We had wonderful time there, and left around 1:00 PM. It is that kind of school style + international style (mixed of students from different countries) and had wonderful settings. If you ask me about the most similar place, I would say the University Cafe on University Ave. near Standford.

The discussion today was fantastic (again, off the record meetings), but it really changed a lot of my ideas about international affairs.

I do love to stay with the friends I met in Nanjing.

Chinese Middle Name for Erik’s Baby

Erik is a very good friend of mine in eBay. He is a typical American young man in my eyes – handsome, passionate, smart, professional, interested in many things, and open-minded. Most importantly, his heart is full of love. I enjoy working with him very much, and really love to have hosted him in Shanghai at the end of 2005. Erik was also curious enough to visit Victor’s home in rural areas in Jiading, and was happily surprised when he was greeted by tens of pigs in the pigsty.

Erik and his wife adopted two children from China and another two from Vietnam. They love children. I am happy to have a dinner with the happy new parents, and the two little kids, who are still too young to communicate in either Chinese or English, or Vietnamese. Anyway, I believe the kids are lucky enough to have so good parents like Erik and his wife. (At that time, the little girl really love to eat rice!)

The good news is, Erik’s wife got pregnant and in December this year, they are expecting their 5th children in the family ! I am very happy for them, and think it is a wonderful thing to have the 5th children join the other 4 and then form a really big family.

Chinese Middle Name Wanted

Erik wants the 5th children to have an Asian middle name as the other four as well. This is a good idea. So Erik dropped me an email and asked me whether I can suggest a Chinese name. This is the general requirements:

Do you have any suggestions for a Chinese middle name? My wife would love the name to have a meaning like Gift from God/Heaven or Miracle from God/Heaven.

I have some Chinese candidate characters in mind now, but I’d like to ask my readers to suggest a beautiful name for the upcoming boy.

Any idea? We should really help Erik since he had taken enough trouble (many times of trip in Asia per children) to help the four little children.

Hey, What’s This on Shangzilla?

My kind reader notified me about this strange post on Shangzilla:

City to build enormous statue of Wang Jian Shuo

And there is a strange photo:

Image from Shangzilla.com

This is strange, isn’t it? My friends in Shangzilla (or Shanghaiist) are so creative to bring out fake news like this. Haha. I am amazed, although feel strange to see my “head”, not the whole body hanging on the top of a pole. Hmm… Not so good.