Microsoft Zizhu Campus

I visited the Microsoft Zizhu campus, and met with many old friends – I didn’t expect to see about 10 persons who joined Microsoft around my joining, and they are still there after more than 10 years.

I was a little bit sad though to see the current Microsoft is more like the Yahoo! Sunnyvale campus, than the office in my memory. The building quality is not good enough, and that surely does not justify the long distance from the downtown.

Unnatural Community Means Failure

I am quite amused by Alexis Madrigal’s story How Google Can Beat Facebook Without Google Plus. This is one of the best article talking about the deep reasons why a product succeed or fail.

California City

He mentioned California City, CA. Although it is the largest city by land in CA, it only has 15K residents – 1/10 of the number in residential area I am living. The California city has all the infrastructure a great city needs to have, but, it is just an empty city. People gather because of other people, not the infrastructure.

Websites face the same problem. Most websites have in place before the first 100 visitors come to the site, but the problem is, the only problem is, people!

But by most accounts and third-party research, the service is growing its number of users but not their engagement. People are “on” Google Plus, but they are not really ON Google Plus. The infrastructure is there. The street signs are there. People own plots of land. But there’s nobody actually visiting town. To make it obvious: Google Plus is the California City to Facebook’s Los Angeles.

Basically, people are saying, Google+ is a ghost town.

Considering the same thing on other websites, including my own, the core of the sites are people. Internet connects people. When the real people are there, the infrastructure supports, not the other way.

Time on site

Time on site is an important indicator of how people use the product. Google+ has 3 minutes per month. Facebook has 405, Pinterest has 89, and Trumblr is 89 too. (src)

John Herman even mentioned that Google+ “looks like a cubicle farm and smells like a hospital.” How can a product smells like a hospital?

Why John Herman describe it as a hospital? Because of the clean and clear interface? The technical thinking behind it?

A website is built for people to “USE”! Use means spend time on it. Use means getting back frequently, not by accident, not by clicking links that they randomly run into.

Seamless is a Bad Word

When I talked with my friend in Google about Google+, I heard the word Seamlessly often.

You search, and your search queries get to G+ seamlessly. You use Picasa, and your photos integrate into G+ seamlessly. You do x, and you do y, and all these things are synced into G+ seamlessly.

Seamlessly means unconsciously. Seamlessly means they are not intentionally using the site. That explains why classifieds search does not work, and many aggregation sites does not work, because people don’t have the intention to have their content shown on the page. They have no idea about what they share when they “unconsciously” share it.

A community is not about content aggregation. It is about consciously participation. If people see what others are saying, and post intentionally, that is the core of the community.




Talents are the Key to Success

This is a pretty dumb statement. Everyone knows it. Everyone says it. Every textbook have it. Every leadership session talks about it. Every…..

But common sense is not common, and some times it does not make sense. (Jian Shuo Wang’s invented the second part of this phrase).

I sat down with Quanzhan this noon to afternoon to talk about the talent. It is not surprising for a research organization of Tencent, talents are the No. 1 priority. The selection standard,  the talent, and the retention are something that makes a great workplace and a winning business.

Recently I spend well more than half my time on talent recruiting, and to get wisdom from people who are good at it. That is the No. 1 job of a CEO.

BTW, does any of my blog readers know anyone, or you think yourself is someone we are looking for, please let me know by sending me email to wangjianshuo at We are looking for people in the following area (most of the jobs are in technical field, with some other roles).

  1. Anti-fraud. How to fight again fraudsters on a classified site.
  2. Search. The in-site search, and the organization of hundreds of millions of posts generated by our users.
  3. Platform. The way to structure the site in a way to allow internal and external developers to be more productive.
  4. Payment and monetization products.
  5. Marketing and industry experts in one of our main categories.

If you have a feeling that you may be the right person, but not sure, just sent a note to hr at Feel free to put me on the CC line to make sure I read it.


Shanghai Real Estates Still Under Control

The Chinese government always have more methods to control whatever they want to control. They can control how many child you are allowed to have, and it is not surprising to see how many houses you can buy.

According to the House Purchase Restriction order:

  1. For local residents who already have one apartment, and non-local residents who have been paying tax for two years, they can only purchase another one.
  2. For local residents with two or more apartments, or non-local residents with one or more apartments, they are not allowed to buy any houses/apartments.
  3. For anyone who buy second apartment, the down payment have to be as high as 60%, and the interest rate has to be 10% higher than average.
  4. Tax for transfer of houses purchased less than 5 years are significantly higher.

There are many other restrictions. These are the powerful rules to keep buyers out of the market, and the house market kept flat and down ever since.


Connect with People We Know

Here is the challenge. Just as scaling the organization, as I grew, well, to 30-some, the relationship network I accumulate over the last 20 years started to reach a scale that is hard to manage the old way. Maybe that is the reason why time flies faster and faster. Think of Yifan – he only has about 10 person relationship he needs to manage right now (at the age of 4, parents, grandparents, teachers, and a girl-friend). I have at least 1000 people in my address book that I had once kept pretty close relationship along the way.

Stay with the Past

Although it is so nature that when we move on, the old relationships fade out from the horizon. High-school classmates, past colleges of old companies. There is actually not too many reasons to re-union, but the past is always what defines us today, and science research shows staying with the past makes us happier.


Communication won’t happen automatically, unless you design it to happen. I have friends who hang up photos of his friends. It is a good way to remind people of the persons they care about. Out of sight, out of mind. If there is a way to keep people in sight, it is easier to keep them in mind, and makes the connection easier.

Electronic Tools

There are Facebook or other tools, but they are not helpful if the person is out of mind. I have to say the most impressive offline event I saw was Carroll’s tree trimming party. There is friend who comes to the party in the last 43 years! A tradition like that will greatly help to keep people connected.

What is CEO’s Job

What a CEO should do? I have to recommend an article from Ben Horowitz again (the second time in a week): How Andreessen Horowitz Evaluates CEOs.

Here is some note I took away from the reading. You should definitely read it too, by yourself.

According to Ben, he thinks the CEOs should do two things:

  • Does the CEO know what to do?
  • Can the CEO get the company do what he knows?

This is very broad and “empty” statement at the first glance, but Ben explained it in a very good way.

First one

About the first one, “Does the CEO knows what to do?”, Ben suggested “One should interpret this question as broadly as possible”. Basically, it is like: CEO needs to know everything. Don’t laugh. It is actually very true. The CEO has to have insights of many things, from the office arrangement, to hiring, to marketing, to technology, to finance. Knowing what to do is about consistently keeping thinking about what’s behind the surface. It is tough, but … exciting.

In particular, the story – the question “Why”…

The other interesting part about know what to do is to make decisions. What Ben contributed in this idea is to clearly point out that CEO needs to make decisions with very limited information, always! The expectation to understand more about it is just not realistic. That actually gave me great relief about the situation I am in.

Second One

The second one is about getting the company do what he knows.

It turned out to be organizational capacity, get things done culture, quality of hiring, and the work environment. It is not surprising that Ben mentioned the Netflix culture building slides.

For Baixing, as a company with 50+ full time employees, we tried very hard to build a great company, and with great result. We are trying so hard to make sure the people are the core of the organization, and build the culture to help people to perform within it. It takes years of experience to get it…

Traffic Rules in Shanghai

Disclaimer: I am trying to tell a joke – a humorous way to illustrate the problem of Shanghai’s traffic. Do not treat it as a tourist guide. It may cause serious danger, damage, or death.

Traffic rules you have to follow in Shanghai.

  1. Yield at Red Light. Red light in Shanghai does not mean stop. It means yield. When pedestrian observe red light at cross street, they must stop first, look left and right to make sure there is no cars, and they cross the street. BTW, do the same thing for green light.
  2. It is Illegal to Use Pedestrian. Always choose the section without zebra to cross. Don’t touch the zebra with your foot.
  3. Horn when you see people on Pedestrian. This is to show your respect.
  4. The First to Mover Has the Right of Road. When you are turning right to merge into the main road, be fast to rush into the road, to get the road first to claim the right of road, and the upcoming traffic has to full stop to yield. The even better way is to rush into the road before looking left for upcoming traffic, to make sure you get the right of the road every time.
  5. More to come…

IKEA Beicai Store Photos

Yifan wanted to visit IKEA, so we went there, the new store, which is opening on June 23, 2011. Here are the photos.


Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang on iPhone 4


Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang on iPhone 4


Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang on iPhone 4


Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang on iPhone 4


Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang on iPhone 4


Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang on iPhone 4

The store is bigger than the current IKEA Xujiahui Store. At least it has three stories. The parking area is better, and with better transportation system – the Middle Ring Road provides even better access for bigger areas in Shanghai, and I hope the nearby road can avoid the traffic jam IKEA Xujiahui Store brought to the area.

Life without Coffee or Tea

I decided to try life without coffee, tea or spicy food from two weeks ago. So far, I feel great.

I said good bye to Starbucks or Coffee Beans and enjoyed water and orange juice more often.

I also tried to sleep earlier and to try to think more and doing more important but less stuff. By giving some constrains to life, do we lead a more spiritual live?

I will share my answer after I practice for more time.

It is obviously a new era.

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

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

This morning, I got a new email address jianshuo @ – 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!


A nice Monday.

The post expo days are much better than the half year – at least for the Pudong section.

Young people always brings energy to the team.

The Asia Games obviously didn’t draw too much attention from the people around me.

The Chinese Blogger Conference was just announced today – the conference will be held on this Saturday, breaking the record of the most rushing conference revere and they didn’t announce venue yet. The only thing people outside Shanghai knows is, it will be held in Shanghai so buy the ticket now. The rushing style of the conference is so interesting.

I took some photos using iPhone. It was good, but I didn’t have time to upload yet.

So much for today.

PS. I posted this article using iPad. Not too bad for typing.

Weihai by the Sea

This is the second day I am in Weihai 威海. Here is some observation during the day.

Where is Weihai

Weihai is at the tip of the Shandong Peninsula, at the other side of the Korea Peninsula. In that area, there are four major sea-side cities: Qingdao, Yantai, Weihai, and Rizhao.

My Impression

Weihai is a newly raised city. According to the plate number, it is 鲁K – traditionally, the capital city of the province is numbered A, and the cities are then number according to significance. K is not a very top number.

It turned out, as many Chinese cities, especially cities along the sea, the city has developed very quickly. The most big buildings are either government building, or new residential area developed by developers (just as the situation in Luoyang). Below is the building of the People’s Bank:

Guess what is this? The local Police Office.

The two statues near the sea.

The art center:

The Shandong peninsula is generally green and nice.

We saw it when the aircraft was landing.

The team spent nice time at the beach this afternoon. This was before we took a group photo.

Back from Beijing

The Beijing trip is very intensive. I met with many people:

CHINICT guys, GOAP, Christine Lu…

Li Min


Chedong, Ada

Liang Gongjun



Zheng Yun






Liu Yuan (Kevin)




Dai Zhikang

Peter Zheng

Beijing is a media center, I confirm that.

Beijing is the center of Internet in China. Positive confirmation for that.

Travel is life intensified

The new spring of Internet in China is coming, either at the second half of this year or 2011. I am very sure about it after attending the China Webmaster Conference.

OOB for Few Days

Recently, I am busy working on recruiting – getting the best people possible for the Baixing team. Chinese Job Posting is here. It takes quite some time, so, I am going to be OOB (Out of Blogging) for few days to concentrate to the most important job I have. If you happen to be willing to work at Baixing (formally Kijiji China), you are very welcome to send your resume this way. We have exciting positions for Software Engineer, Architect, Marketing Manager, and PR Manager here. The quicker I can fill these positions, I sooner I can get back to normal posting schedule on this blog. :-) We are open to talents across the whole China, and will also be interested in people from other part of this world.

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.

Why I Didn’t Understand Social Media

This post is in response to Robert‘s request to clarify my status update in Facebook. I said

just realized that I don’t really understand the social media yet.

Robert asked why. Let me share some indicators.

I never took Social media serious

I had a twitter account on February 14, 2007, and sent my first twitter message that day. But I didn’t really take it serious afterward. I dropped some tweets in the beginning and recently, but compared to 1195 blog entries I wrote since than, 869 messages are much fewer. Majority of them are notification of new blog entries. Obviously a blog entry is longer than 140 characters, and takes much more time to write.

The same happened with and, the two major SNS I still consider myself “using”.

No wonder that I don’t have too much in-depth knowledge about the rising of Social Media.

Social Network Services (SNS) vs Social Media

Let me clarify two concepts first. SNS is the websites everyone uses today – Facebook, twitter, or Kaixin001, or Renren… SNS is the service to help people to connected with their friends. People don’t use it as a “media”.

Social Media is a another concept. Just like most people use paper to write mail to their friends, some small amount of professional use paper to print newspaper. The previous paper is called tool, or carrier at most, the later is called “media”. Another example, not all blogs are media, at least not with that intention, but many blogs are built to be a media.

“Social” media is a new form of communication. They leverage the social interaction to spread out the message. Although it exists long before Internet even come into being – the Tipping Point described the roles of connector, maven, and salesman in the case of the American War of Independence.

So a group of people and company are researching how to leverage the social connection (especially in today’s SNS sites) to spread out the message.

How They Do Social Media

I talked with Isaac in Xindanwen the other day, and got a lot inspiration. Here is the step some companies do on their Social Media effort.

  • They build their identity (a fan page, or an account) in all SNS site (call it as cloud of people). There is nothing new about it.
  • They generate interesting contents and feed into accounts. They designed the message to flow from the account of one network to another. There is nothing new here either.
  • They do research to find the most-well-connected people in each network (the Connector role in the Tipping Point book), and try to let the connector follow them. If that is hard, they check out who the Connectors follow, and make them (the Maven) follow their account. This is the key since you need to design the path for the message to spread.
  • They track who re-tweeted, or re-posted it, or “liked” it, and fine tune the message to make it either more useful, or more interesting, with the hope that the message will be spread out by the Connectors. If an influential connector RTed the message, huge amount of people will notice it, and it is likely that they will RT again, and again, and then hit another big connector. The circle goes one.
  • Finally, with the message spreading out so quickly, many people will start to follow the genuine source of the message, the account the company or person setup.

With time going by, with the help of connectors, there will be more and more people follow the original account, making it a powerful, sustainable channel for the company. That can be called a true media, or a social media!

That is Something New

When Google became big, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) becomes important, and now everyone knows link matters. Now, when SNS shows the trend to deliver more traffic, and more awareness than search engine, it is something that everyone in the industry should look carefully at. Obviously, I was not in this circle before.

P.S. I just broke my rule of only following people I know on Twitter. I just followed back all the 824 followers, and start to use as Twitter client. People warned: “You cannot follow that many people! That is huge distraction, and you cannot handle it”. Well. After I did it and check the timeline for a while, I realized, it is just like glance on the 800 people in the People’s Square. You may not see every individual, but the few individuals you happen to noticed tells you a lot of information about this city already. You don’t need to check every of the 800 people, or look at them 24 hour to get the impression that “it is hot, and people are wearing T-shirt”, or “the economy is bad, since most of them are not happy”…

Skiing in Tahoe

At middle of Mt. Pluto.

Skied for the morning and noon. Tired that I cannot even walk.

Beautiful mountain and lake. Scary trail.

Waiting here so other Stanford guys get to top.

PS. Still have problem using Android soft keyboard. Use backspace a lot.