Category Archives: Life
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.
There are some nice summary of the TEDxShanghai event. Here is the link. Enjoy.
The Question to Ask on Dinner Party
Check out Auren Hoffman’s blog post: TPQ – Thought Provoking Questions. This answered the question about “The Awkwardness of Meeting Someone in Person” I mentioned yesterday in this post. It is the lack of a good question.
Dr. Andreas Weigend’s TPQ was, “What was your biggest surprise in the last year?”
I got another one, it is asked by Adams Lashinsky: “How you can make big money in the next 20 years?”
Kongming Lamp – Hundreds of Them
I heard about Kongming Lamp, but never really saw it myself. Kong Ming Lamp, or known as Kong Ming Lantern, or Sky Lantern, is made of thin paper, and heated by a candle, so it flies to the sky with the heated air.
The previous few days, when I am at my home, I saw some “airplane” with only one single red light – very different from the airplane. I thought it was helicopter. When I see more and more of it, I even thought it is a big military action.
Tonight, when Wendy and I drive along the Jinxiu Road, I saw about 20 of them – very exciting. Then when we approach the Century park area, there are more and more of them – at least few hundreds of them flying in the sky, with more and more rising up. They are just like stars in the sky – the whole sky was lit up by these small lamps.
China really has many great traditions, that we only saw on books, and now, many of them started renaissance.
I just hope that the Shanghai government does not follow Nanjing to ban these lanterns.
Foot Starts to Recover
The ankle is recovering well. Now I can start to use the right food to walk a little bit in the room. When I am out, I still need to use crutches to go further.
Hopefully, after the 8 days of holiday, I will be able to go to office without crutches.
The life of being a temp handicapped person almost ends. I feel I have get used to this time, and feel a little bit unease to be completely independent. :-)
How amazing that people can adjust themselves to the environment!
Goal Driven vs Discovery Driven Life
From time to time, I reflect what I am doing and can find a strong tendency of living a “discovery driven life” in myself.
Sometimes, after doing a lot of things very excitingly, I found out I didn’t have a goal at the very beginning. I tend to discover the dots first, and then find ways to connect these dots together afterward, instead of having a prediction, a projected line, and drive things along that line and reach the goal. In MBTI analysis, it is a typical difference of P type of people and J type of people. Me as an ENFP tends to do things like that.
The reason I love the MBTI theory is, it helps people to understand the motivation of themselves, and the style of doing things, and how to intentionally develop the other side of the personality to be a better person.
For me, as an example, to develop the goal setting, and to focus on that goal for a given time period is something I need to train myself.
Believe Your Gut Feeling
Kai-Fu Lee wrote an article of “Follow your heart” when he left Microsoft and joined Google. I was told the same thing today. To me, that translates to “Believe your gut feeling”.
That is just not Right
Sometimes, we have to admit how weak the rational logic and reasoning are when making complicated decisions. Sometimes, when you have already thought for many times, and have already made a decision, and the decision is well-informed, data-proven, and perfect-logic, you just about to make a decision, but at the last minute, you feel something is not right. It just does not FEEL right. You don’t know why it is that way, but you just have that gut feeling. Can I call it intuition (BTW, I am an Intuition type of person – ENFP)?
Buying a House
It is just like buying a house. Sometimes, when you go to a new house, and you immediately liked it. You just like it so much that you know this is the place you want to live. But, there is a problem – it is too expensive. The other house, according to the influential analysts, has the best ROI, best location, best design, and is very cheap, but you just don’t feel good about it. My own experience told me, follow the gut feeling is the safest way to make these decisions.
I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell, the author of book Tipping Point, and Blink – the power of thinking without thinking. In his book Blink, he told the story that reflects what I feel.
Blink started with the story of the marble statue which is claimed to be made from the sixth century BC. The price they asked for is $10 million to sell it. The museum did all the possible research on it, and everything from style match, to X-ray detection to calcite exam… Everything they did proved that the marble is truly made many centuries ago in Athens.
However, the problem is, despite of all the hard evidence, people still feel it seems wrong to them. They can not tell what is wrong, but it just seems to be — “fresh”.
The whole book started with this story and explain why the fake statue survived in all rational and modern test, but just cannot fool people’s eyes – even at a blink.
People Recognize Patterns, but Logic and Reasoning is Limited
Blink continued to explore the reason why it happens. There are example like the blue and red card. The simplified version is like this (I just cannot remember the real numbers, and experiment – just made up some illustrative numbers. Refer to Blink if you want to know the real case).
The volunteers were given two piles of cards. Each consists of random blue and red cards. Participants can pick cards from any of the piles randomly. If they get a blue card, they get $100, but if they get a red one, they lose $200. The reality is, there are 30% blue cards on the left pile, and 70% of blue cards on the right pile. Most of people can find out the right pile is the best choice after getting about 30 cards. However, the physical test shows that as early as the first 10 cards, the heart beats will fasten and sweat appears hands when they reach out to the left pile.
The experiment tells people that the brain (or the body if you want to say it that way) already knows the reality, without the brain realize it. It is the sub-conscious, instead of the conscious.
That explains the reason of many “gut feeling”. It is a feeling that you know, but still have a hard time to explain it. Really experienced people can turn the sub-conscious thinking to conscious thinking, but “gut feeling” is always the one you need to consult for really complicated situation, especially when people is involved.
So, from time to time, checking gut feeling is the right thing to do to run a great business, although you should not build the whole business intelligence on the gut feeling of very few people.
P.S. At the same time, Chris has been in the International Space Station for several days, and has just directed the space walk. He is lucky to be the 500th man in outer space! I am looking forward to the same return of Chris, and looking forward to having him join us at YLF in November in Xia’men.
“It Works” is the Highest Standard
For a lot of services, especially the Internet services, and new technology, “it works” is the highest possible standard, not the basics.
The other day, I chatted with my friend in Google, and he asked me what is the future of eCommerce in China, and is there any new model that they need to follow.
My guess is, for the eCommerce to work in China, we just need to make some services work, and not neccessarily to be a new model.
If a website does not ask so much useless information and people can simply buy from an eCommerce site without all the hassle, why eCommerce haven’t become so popular?
If online payment works, so when people want to pay, they can pay, that is a huge drive.
“It simply works” is a very high standard to archive. Check out the website offering second car service. Can they really sell? Look at the classified site. The simply question is, can I get a cheap apartment or second hand there, without checking many spam listing?
Google simply worked, Craigslist simply worked like a magic, and Paypal just did one thing that it promised – to send money safely to your friends’ account, nothing than that.
If you build a service that is simply working, that will spread like wild fire.
I love to read Feld’s blog – his blog was introduced by Bo, and is my entrance level knowledge source on termsheet – the best resource on termsheet I can find.
Today, he posted a blog entry with title Deep Calm. I like the post a lot, especially the first simple paragraph.
I’m sitting in the early dawn light in a cabin in Tabernash, Colorado drinking a cup of coffee and getting ready to go for a run in the mountains.
He is absolutely right. To allow some time out of the daily chaotic routine/environment and escape to think about things with great importance is essential. It is especially so for people with management roles, investor rules, and those whose thoughts are more important than action. That is the reflection part of an escape.
On the communication part, Time really matters. To stay uninterrupted for long enough is essential to have meaningful communication. Feld’s suggestion is really a proven way to run a business.
Christina talked about mvm’s blog the other day. He mentioned a word – unhurried. Well. This is exactly the state I feel I am far away from. When I was in Microsoft – a big company, a nice internal supporting system, a decent package, and less burden from family, what a life it was!
Unhurried – that was exactly the word to describe my life before: you don’t have to rush back home to take care of kids, and you don’t have to spend hours with him/her (Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy about it – but it does consume a lot of time), and you still have luxurious time to have a cup of coffee with friends – on weekend! On the business side, the least worried person in the company is you. You don’t care about P&L of the company, or even the devision, and you only need to complain the welfare the company provides, or the quality of free lunch + dinner, and complain about there are just 20 types of coke and soft drink in the kitchen. You also read news, but none of them really involves you. That was exactly my life before 2005. Unhurried. Yes. I just found out the word. Thanks Christina for picking up the right word.
I really need to think about whether I should lead an unhurried life today, a pressure free life?
Calm down. Really Calm Down…
My Mood These Days
My long time reader xge asked the question under my entry Dogs Unprotected. How about Human?
I sensed a lot of bitterness and anger in many of your recent posts. Does it reflect a real change in you? I wonder if it reflects a real mood change in the general population and what happens if it does.
Posted by: xge on June 11, 2009 2:16 PM
Here is my answer to the questions. I am not happy and I read many other bloggers are not happy these days.
Just like the financial crisis made people in many countries depressed, the politics environment in China made people depressed, and unhappy, especially in this year, and especially in this special June.
I am not sure whether the Chinese society changed, or just the way news spread changed, but obviously, serious changes have happened.
I don’t shy away from saying negative things – hmm… Let me think twice about making this statement. The better way to say it is, I generally is more optimistic and happy than many people, but when I really don’t feel happy, I want to say it, and write it on my blog.
However, the recent atmosphere of media control, and censorship is much tighter than any time before. It reached to a level I never experienced. That is the reason I am generally not happy.
Well. Don’t misunderstand me. I am still a very happy person in daily life – look at my son, and look at the lovely business I have, my wonderful friends, and all the great things happened to me! I am happy in my life. But as a blogger observing so many “social events”, ilke cases involving both innocent people and corrupted officials, and tragedy happening in many cities that should have been prevented, and injustice, and stupid laws getting passed everyday, I am not happy.
ENFP is Incompatible with GTD
ENFP = Extroverted iNtuition Feeling Perception type of MBTI
GTD = Getting Things Done – a productivity methodology by David Allen
I bought a Moleskine notebook, and attached tags, and wrote my to-do-list on it, and categorize them as GTD suggested. It looked pretty promising at the very beginning.
In a conference, I met my friend Akio Tanaka (who should be of similar personality type as myself), and showed off my notebook. He asked: How long have you tried this system? I admitted that I only started two weeks ago. He said, let’s talk about it after a while.
Now, a while has past, and I admit, that to-do-list driven life is not what I want and what I am good at. GTD must be very useful for many people, and there must be some part of it suitable for everyone, but as an ENFP, I just feel that I am not compatible with GTD, and I am at the edge of quitting it (again).
I am curious to know what Robert Mao is doing with the GTD, because I GUESS he is also an ENFP.
Happy New Year 2009
Happy New Year everyone! We are at the beginning of the year of 2009 now. Wish everyone has a very lucky, happy, and rewarding new year!
Here are some peronsal plans for 2009.
- Making long term and big goals to accomplish in 2009. I always wanted to ask the question: “What did you accomplished in the previous year?” This is the test question that many of us, including myself, feel embarrased to answer. To make the 365 days collectively meaningful is more important than individual days, and seperate actions.
- Focus by eliminating goals. I know I am the typical P (Perceiving) type of person, who would like to follow my internal passion to anything that appears interesting to me. The problem though, is I am so able to start projects, but hard to conclude it, and leave many things open unfinished. By focusing on several things that is really both important and meaningful, I believe I will have a better 2009.
- Keep learning. I read from Feld’s blog about “Live as if you would die tomorrow, learn as if you would live forever”. I am only 32 years old but sometimes I started to feel the tendency of keeping what I have been used to do, and resist in learning new things. No good trend. I believe I will keep learning about management, leadership, and to live good life. I just want to keep shaping my characters to archive more (or more importantly, learning what real archivement means).
- Be a good person in real life. This is a wired goal, but let me explain. In 2008, with the raise of SNS, and all kinds of “new technology”, we get more and more engaged with people online, and with many people that you don’t have the chance to keep in touch in old days. It is more and more easier to live “virtually”. That is a good thing, but meanwhile, I want to keep my friend and family circle closer, and smaller. In real life, I am a father, a husband, a son, and a friend. I need to make sure I take care of people around me first by spending more time (offline), celebrate holidays, and creating memories that we will remember in long run.
- Excercise. I ignored excercised in 2008, espeically the later half. It is the time to pickup my excercise routine and keep it as important as…hmmm.. my blog routine. I hope I can also share about my progress on this blog with my friends.
- Finally, I want to be a good person, with good mind, and peaceful life. I want to archive more while keeping my personal life happier than ever.
The world around us, both international and in China, was crazy in 2008 – with the natural disaster in China (snow, and earth quick), and financial crisis, and then the ressession, 2009 won’t be another too sunny and bright year. However, I would love to celebrate the year everyday, and always try to stand out of the daily life to get a sense of direction. I hope I would right more items than I did this year.
Again, all my friends and family, happy new year!
Summary of My 2008
- Most memorable experience: the last 2 months with Baixing ? I just feel I returned to myself in 2000 ? hard working and getting great results.
- Relaxing trip: with Yifan joining the family, Wendy and I lost the chance to visit any place further than Hangzhou. We brought Yifan to Hangzhou once, when Yifan felt asleep in the baby seat at the back of the car, and he cried loud at night.
- Most memorable event: Feb 1, 2008, and June 20, 2008 ? the uncertainty around the business finally got lifted out, and we are at full speed now (switching gears three times during the year).
- 2008 is a tough year for me. Combining the pressure of family, and business, and personal life, it is pretty challenging to handle. 2008 is maybe the most exhausted year for my (think about the sweet 2003, relaxed 2004, fresh and spring-feeling 2005, and nice 2006?)
- Yifan started to walk and to communicate this year. The biggest shock I got during the 1.5 years of having Yifan was, he suddenly started to walk by himself.
- Don’t have time. I felt my 2008 was squeezed by so many things, that I never had the leisure time to be idle… Hopefully I can change it in 2009.
For 2009? I have a dedicated plan for it.
Busy Since After National Holiday
Since national holiday, I started to be very busy. There are always exciting things during my work. It is just like getting back to the life when I just joined Microsoft after graduation.
Wasn’t able to update my blog at interval I would expected. May also skip one or two if schedule does not allow. However, I do have many things to share. Just hope to get more time.
SVB Bank is like a Family
Just get back from SVB Bank Wine Tasting event. SVB (Silicon Valley Bank) is a very special bank. Based on my experience with them, they know what they are going to do, and have some great people in the team, and of great culture. It is like a family.
The event happened in Le Platine in the Xintiandi area. The venue is a very nice place for such private meetings. They mixed their partners, VC clients and entrepreneurs. The first part of it was not very interesting (I just want to be honest with myself), but the last part, I had the opportunity to talk with Hairong Ji from Focus Media (I learnt he was in SJTU for 8 years), and David Wu (my school mate of the same department. SVB folks joined the talk after they sent most of their guest out.
I had great wine – although every time wine tastes great for me. I had a lot and get a little bit dazzle after it. As Terrence put it, not every bank can provide good wine…
I won’t shy away from my praise of the SVB, just like I am a happy customer (and friend) of MovableType. SVB team is like a family, and as a customer, I am feeling happy…
P.S. Pretty busy days, but I have made up my mind to put most of my time into the business for long enough time. So time flys quickly for me.
Lost Passport and Found it
To prepare the trip to US in Sept, I was looking for my passport for more than one month. My bad – I just forget to put things and always spend pretty high percentage of my life looking for things. This time, I was completely feeling desperate. I don’t want it to be the second time I lose my passport.
The Previous One
I lost passport once at the end of 2002. The re-issue process was a nightmare for me. I struggled for more than half year to get a new one, including visiting many police stations, forced to lie to the stations to get the “lost claim”, paid for classified on Wen Hui newspaper, and waited for 3 months after the lost claim appears on the newspaper, and spent another one month to get a new passport.
I tried very hard to find my old passport, and avoid to get a new one. My experience showed that it may take about one year or so.
The New Process
Yesterday, I went to the Exit and Entry Administration Ministry of Public Security in Pudong. To my great surprise, the process has been simplified so much. Here is the new process:
1. Get the lost claim from local Public Security – you just go there, and claim your passport is lost, and they give you that paper.
2. Fill in a form – the same form for new application of passport, or re-issue, or lost, or damaged passport.
3. Stick a photo and hand in additional two passport standard photo – they have the service at 30 RMB and 1 minute.
4. Prepare photo copy of the Hukou Booklet (a.k.a Residency Registry), and ID card (with original copy)
5. Give all the materials to the official, and you can get your new passport in 10 working days – basically the same day two weeks later.
That means, if I have everything, the new passport is ready on Aug 11, 2008 for me.
Wow. I told the story to Wendy and she said, the society is improving itself, anyway.
I Found Mine
I was unlucky (or you can say, I am lucky from today’s point of view) that my National ID just expired one week ago, so they rejected my application, and my new ID card is available next week. I thought I can get back to them again when it is ready.
But today, I found my passport! It is hidden in the pocket of my suite in my home! I was so happy that I jumped onto the bed – I still have a valid US visa on it. It save me much time. The passport application process is much easier, but the US visa is harder during the last 5 years.
So, my suggestion is:
1. Don’t lose your passport
2. If you lose it, don’t worry, not as big a deal as before.
Expression to Appropriate Impression
On one hand, I am a high-tech fan – I tried all kinds of new things. I have a collection of my Hi-Tech Toys.
Meanwhile, I also show strong resistance to some of the new tings. One of them is GPS.
Why I Don’t Have a GPS?
No matter driving in the States or driving in Shanghai, I don’t use a GPS. Sometimes I do need one, like my trip to 30N119E, but I don’t want GPS to tell me where to go.
Good things about GPS:
- Save time by using the shortest path
- Make it easy to drive
However, the bad thing about GPS is, it is too easy to use, and people tend to rely on it, and thus lose the opportunity to really understand the relationships of the road.
Driving in San Jose without a GPS
In San Jose, I drive all the time during my business trip. I don’t have a GPS, and now I can manage to drive in most of the Bay Area just with my car. There are many mistakes during the journey, but it finally pays off.
I love the ability to understand the world better, instead of rely on something.
Drawing a Map
Below is a map I draw from my memory about Hang Zhou. Although it does not have smaller streets on it, I am happy that the major roads are complete.
The other day, when I was waiting for Wendy, I draw another map of Pudong, Shanghai. It outlines the major roads in the Pudong Area. Look at my work:
I do need someone to talk with about the roads. Wendy is typically the best candidates, while she is not interested in this at all. Today, I threatened Wendy by saying:
Either listen to me and let me illustrate the Pudong Expressway System to you, or I will grasp someone on the street to talk with.
Wendy was so patient to allow me to draw the following map for her – I know she is not so interested, but she cooperated very well.
Expression is the best way of appropriating impression
This is particularly true to this blog. After writing the blog, I am expressing what I see, and it is a much better way of appropriating my impression of the world.
Drawings v.s. Photos
The other hi-tech tool that I used too often is digital camera. It makes the process of record something so easy, but it didn’t help to make the process of appropriating easier. So I also draw! My drawing is not good, and I didn’t got any training. I know it is embarrassing to show it to anyone, but the good thing is, I remember the details of what I saw much clearer.
DEVP203 – Old Documents
Just found out a lot of old documents in my computer. There is a folder called DEVP203 – Development Process No. 203, or Microsoft Development Management Training Serious – Microsoft Development Process Overview. We did put a lot of effort into that training course, and delivered many times of the training in many different software parks, in many different cities back in 2002.
I also found a folder called WebRAID, another half year project. There are almost 100M of documents and code. I was so surprised how much effort we spent to create that project. They are in a height that I even cannot imagine that I have ever being there.
Wendy wrote about the same feeling (Chinese) many days ago. In short (her article was already very short), she said when she thought of the old good times, she still could remember the excitement and devote people put into the projects. She used the word “war” – hmm… that is exactly the word to use (war for excellency).
Summary of My 2007
At the beginning of a new year, I want to take some time to summarize my 2007.
- Most memorable experience – Yifan was born on June 2, 2007. This is a big life changer.
- Relaxing trip: the only long distance relaxing trip was to Cambodia, at the beginning of March
- Trip I almost forgot: Only by checking my blog did I remember that I had made a Hong Kong trip. It was too short – just over night.
- Kijiji finally starts to make some money, and this was remarkable for the team. I am also happy with the high-speed increase of the market and the business.
- Wendy spent huge amount of time with Yifan and took care of the baby very well. I’d like to thank her for taking so much responsibility for the family.
- The success heart surgery of my mother-in-law is a big blessing for the family.
- Being selected as one of the Fellow in the Young Leaders Forum was the most exciting honor I got in this year. Meeting the great people is also the most interesting thing in this year.
- The big organizational and cultural challenge in Kijiji in July was such a good thing for the team to build immune into the system and strengthen trust. We are much stronger.
- Met with many top guys in technical field in Silicon Valley during my only US trip in September.
- Yifan grows so happily and healthily. He is like the strawberry on the cake of our family. At the year end, he is coughing, and we spent last night/first morning of 2007/2008 taking care of Yifan. Although it is normal for kids of 6-7 months, we are really worried.
I am looking forward to a great 2008.
- More inspiration. I am typical Intuition type of people, and I need continuous inspiration to keep me excited. In 2008, the inspiration may comes from people I meet, from new business we enter, or travel, or simply from Yifan, and Wendy.
- Continue to Observe the Changing China. 2008 is a year most people in China were longing for since 2001. With Olympics Games in Beijing, there must be many changes happening throughout the country. I may also shift a little bit to Beijing to cover more about the game.
- Breakthrough in Kijiji. After 3 years of preparation, the next year is a great year for breakthrough. I am expecting a significant year for the business in 2008.
- More time with Yifan. In 2008, Yifan will turn 1 year old, and it is the starting point for us to explorer the world together. We are expecting our first family travel.
- More conscious of my life. I am expecting to bring more consciousness into my life, and build an even better "me" inside myself.
Welcome to 2008!
Toughest Time for Me and Wendy
Recently, from the family perspective, it is among the toughest time for me and Wendy.
After entering the 30s, and especially with the newly arrival of a baby (Yifan), many things changed. Combined with the recent heart surgery of Wendy’s mother, there are many things happening concurrently. The baby needs to be fed and taken care of, the parents need intensive care. Everyday, Wendy and I am running between home, work place, hospital, and sometimes back to work places – even car parking itself is a big problem, not to mention all the meal stuff. Wendy can fall asleep on my shoulder during even a short taxi drive.
I am not complaining at all. It is the time in life that we have to enter. In the Chinese saying: “parents above and children under”. Growing older means to be more powerful, and meanwhile, it means more responsibility. It means to give back what you owe parents, and to pass the due responsibility down to the children. It is not easy, but it is warm. It means no movie, no dining out, no spare time with friends, or even no time to stay late at office on work. It is another kind of life the we enter into. I suspect this time will last for a long time.
Just as I waved my hands to say good bye to my happy primary school time, and entered into the hot competition in middle school, or I said good bye to my pure life in middle school and entered an aimless university life, and then kissed good bye to my summer and winter holidays and started to work, or even left the memories of being a single behind me and setup a family, it is the natural process to enter into the next stage in life. There are a lot of fun waiting for me there. I am very grateful that Wendy and I am still young. We still have the power to take our responsibilities.
All we need is time to get used to the new life, and best wishes to my bigger family.
The best is yet to come.