Welcome Home, Chris and Endeavour

After 15 days in space, Endeavour Shuttle will return to earth in one hour – it should land in Florida at 10:48 EDT, or 11:48 PM China time.

Chris sent us (YLF) an email describing his departure preparation back to the Earth when he was in the International Space Station. It is the first email I got from the space – very cool. Obviously that very exciting and interesting email is private communication and should not be published, otherwise, I would be very happy to share what Chris experienced in the space on this blog.

As I wrote in my email back (Chris told me that it is possible for astraunauts to receive emails on space station), to hear from a friend about fact that night/day alternates at 45 minutes circle is much more “real” than reading it from a text book. I have never been so close to the space, and that is one of the inspiration of landing my own outer space exploration facility one day.

Image credit: NASA

Update 10:59, July 31, 2009

I watched it live on NASA TV, and took the following screen shots:

Xu Zhiyong’s Another Journey

At the same time Chris returns home, another YLFer, Xu Zhiyong, was brought away by the police in Beijing in his home. I admire Xu Zhiyong’s idea about Open Constitution Initiative, and his tiredless effort to help those treated unfairly by the government to get justice with his professional legal assistant. Several weeks ago, the organization Zhiyong started 5 years ago was fined by the Tax Administration for more than 1 million RMB, and soon, the OCI was banned by the government, and now Zhiyong himself is brought away by the police, and subject to sentence. Obviously the government is trying to prevent people like him to fight for justice to this country. To me, Zhiyong is actually doing something much more dangerous, and that needs more courage than the space exploration. I will closely monitor what happens to Zhiyong, and provide my help if needed (including update the status of the case on this blog).

Second Child For Some Family

China has implemented the One Child Policy for more than 30 years. I have two brothers, and I am among the last generation to have brothers or sisters in the last 30 years. If the policy were enforced earlier, there would be no “me”. Well. In China, there is always a grace period between announcement of a policy and enforcing it.

Recent years, it changed. I don’t know exact the date, but for certain family, they can have two children. The criteria are, the both parents have to be the only child in their family. Before, there is a several year gap between the two children. I heard the interval requirement has been canceled.

Encourage to Have Second Child in Shanghai

At the same time of population pressure, there are aging pressure. In 2050-2070, there will be so many old people for the society to support, but there are so few work force at that time. To solve this problem, to increase the birth rate is a choice.

Shanghai has been in negative birth rate for many years. Shanghai is among the first to publicly encourage people who are both the only one child in their family to have the second child.

Ban at the Same Time

At the same time, people who are not qualified to have the second child still need to follow the one child policy. Violation will subject to fine of 2 times of annual household income, and other punishment. Interestingly, people who are not party member, or working for the government takes advantage here. For most people like myself, there are just huge amount of fine. For party members, and government staff, they face much more severe punishment than myself. They will lose their job, ruin their future, and more interestingly, hugely impact their manager’s future. If they have the second child, their manager will lose their job, and their manager’s manager will look very bad.

So, on one hand, it is not allowed for anyone else to have the second child, and on the other hand, they encourage others to have second child.

The Conflicting Policy

I can understand how this confusing policy comes. In a big system, it is not easy to coordinate different departments, and people to follow the same guideline. It happens in a small company of just few people, and it happens to a big government like that in China.

I believe eventually, the one child policy will expire, but not soon.

My Conflict with Safe Guards

Recently, I found I often run into conflicts with safeguards – the safeguard at my residential area and the safeguard at the place where I had worked. Actually, this is very similar to the story of the mason in my post The World with Different Rules

The Story of the Safeguard

Many weeks ago, I went to Metro Tower to pickup stuff of Wendy. The safeguard closed the entrance to the load/unload area, and do not allow me to stop before the load area. He even ignored the fact that I just paid 30 RMB for parking at the parking lot, and just wanted to drive into the load/unload area.

I asked “Why as tenant of the building, why we cannot use the load area to pickup personal stuff – pretty heavy box”. This was his answer that drove me crazy:

“This is our company’s place. We do whatever we want. It is none of your business.”

The same situation happens with the property management company. The safeguards there obviously treat their manager’s order higher than any residents, and they think they are policeman, and the residents are people who they manage.

The “real” policemen in China, and government officials hold that kind of stupid attitude, and think they are the ruler, and all others are just fellow common people. I believe that takes longer to change, since it is definitely a political reform, and that cost time. But what surprises me is, in the private property like residential area, and office building, the property management company holds the same view.

Whose Place?

It is obviously not productive when I explain to them how it works – they just don’t listen and laughed at me “Who you think you are?” was the typical answer.

This is how I see it.

Take the residential area as example. The real estate development company pays the government (ridiculously high) price to get 70 years of usage right of the land. The real estate company borrow money to build the house. Then they sell it, and transfer the right of the land to the owners of the house (unlike in most countries, in China, house owners still don’t own the land, they just own the usage right of 70 years, and the land still belongs to the government, but this is irrelevant in this case). The certificate of that right is called “Big Certificate of Property” 大产证. Then each house owner has the certificate for their small unit, called “Small Certificate of Property”.

Simply put, the residents collectively are the owners of the whole area.

The owners hires the management company to manage the property, but all rights, including the car parking lots, and all the money in the bank account for maintaining the property, belong to the house owners. Not the property management company, and of cause not the safeguard.

The funny situation is, very few people really understand it. (Correct me if I am wrong here) I asked many of my friends (who are the house owners) and they cannot tell the whole story. I am not that surprised to see most of safeguards don’t know it.

So, that is the conflict. The safeguard thinks they are the Owner of the Place, and I think I am. When the two owners see each other, conflicts are inevitable.

The Future?

People are talking about political reform. But I am more concerned with the democracy on the residential area level. Before many people understand how private property works, and understand who are the owner, it is hard for people to really understand that the common people are the owners of this country, not someone else.

Back fro OOB in Shengsi

We were in Shengsi for company outing. Just returned. I left few days blank in my blog – pretty rare in the last few years. I will update about the outing soon.

This is also an interesting time slot that caused a lot of mental tension, and thinking power. I said to my partners that I have almost been converted from ENFP to ISTJ in the last few weeks. It seems now I am at least more introverted than before.

We Will Miss the Solar Eclipse

Ops. It seems we are going to miss the longest and the best total solar eclipse in Shanghai. Look at this picture and you will know how lucky we are to be located in Shanghai:

But being in the central location of the Solar eclipse is just the beginning of the story. The reality is, it is cloudy!

Here is the photo I took this morning.


It does not likely to be able to directly observe the elicpes. I would only guess that it will be dark outside for some time.

Longest? .The Only…? ..est?

We should be happy to observe the eclipse – the process of being completely dark, but shall we be happier if we know it is the longest in the next few hundred years? It is just like the last day of the 21 centuary – the event by calculation (not the observed event, but just by numbers, like 2001.…) is not as excited as real event, like launch of a rocket, or born of a baby. That is another example of why gut feeling provide more accurate guidance – you are just not as excited to one event and very excited to another.

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.

Right Lane – Most Important Road in City

The reason I love business world is, you have to reach a level of excellency in digging into details of all the aspects of your business to really be able to deliver a world class product or services. I tend to practice this skill in worlds other than business. Transportation of large cities is one of the area I spent a lot of time thinking. Here is one of my observation.

Smaller Road Blocks Leads to Better Transportation

I have the gut feeling that the smaller the blocks are, the better the transportation is. Examples are Puxi vs Pudong, or Shanghai vs Beijing. Puxi has much more cars than Pudong, and Beijing has much more big roads than Shanghai, but the Puxi is better in transportation than Pudong, and Shanghai is better than Beijing. Why? When I tried to verify this conclusion and to find the reason, I found some insights. One of them is the importance of right lane.

Right Lane is the Most Important Lane in a City

I thought all lanes are created equal – because they are equal in terms of width. But they are not.

I found this because of the Huashan Road construction. The Huashan Road is the road before my office. It is a main road that goes to Xujiahui on the south. There are 5 lanes at the crossroad with Hongqiao Road. One left lane, one left/forward lane, two forward lanes, and one right lane. The traffic is heavy but for many years, it went on well.

All of a sudden, one day, the whole Huashan Road is blocked. The long queue of cars line from Hong Qiao Road to Guangyuan Road (that is about 1 km long), and extends to Huahai Road (about 1.5 km long). Cars are jammed there, all the day time. From my window, I can see the long line, and hear continous horn from impatient drivers. If you thinking about 2KM queue, and there are 4-5 lanes on the road, you can imagine how many cars are impacted daily. Even buses detoured from this section of road.

What happened? Is there a big change?

Nothing except they closed a right lane at Huahsan Road and Hongqiao Road, and merge it into the straight lane, becaues of the Xujiahui Metro Station construction at Grand Gateway.

Right Lane Multiplied by Time

It is a shocking discovering for me. Before, I thought a right lane = 1/5 of the traffic. It turned out to be the wrong assumption. The key characteristic of right lane is, cars are allowed to turn right ALL the time – at greent light and red light. Cars at forward and left lane have to wait for red light to really “use” the lane to move. What is the percentage of time they can see green light?

At a crossroad of equally important two roads, if there is no seperate left turn light, each side can only use 1/2 of the time. However, that is the whole story. Since the left turn and forward traffic needs to wait for each other, the lane actually is used 1/4 of all the time (assuming left turn and forward are of the same traffic). If there is seperate left turn light, the forward is actually 1/4 of all the time.

Meanwhile, no matter what time it is, the right lane is always available. In a crossroad like Huashan Road and Hong Qiao Road, the utilization of right lane is almost 100% during day time (unlike most other crossroads). The conclusion is, a right lane can archive traffic 4 times as a left or forward lane under full utilization senario.

If the right lane is combined into the forward lane, right lane cars have to wait for the 1/4 of the green light, effectively decreased the output of the road – 3/4 of the traffic capacity is cut.

That is the secret why reducing 1/5 of the lanes causing the capacity to drop to almost half. If you take the capacity of an always green light road to be 1, previously, it was 2 (1 + 1/4 * 4), and now it is 1.25 (1/4 * 5), a 35% decrease.

This translate to the long queue of roads.

Right Lanes and Road Grid

When there are more smaller roads and smaller road grid, the key is, there are much more right lanes than big road system. Like highways, although there are many forward lanes, right lane per km is much less than smaller road system. If it makes sense for expressways to build large road system, it does not apply to cities like Beijng and Shanghai.

With right lanes, the road utilization is increased, because cars can choose to make right turn if they can, and causing less cars on the forward lanes. Meanwhile, right lane cars fills into the empty road when there is red light at the crossing road. In a road grid of many right lanes, the ratio of cars and road area is much higher (higher utlization), and causing a more efficent road system.

P.S. I enjoys learning insights of things like this a lot, just the same way as I run my business. Many people can do the same thing, but only few people really know what they are doing. The excellence of understanding is what I am chasing after.

P.S. 2. It also shows the power of convinience and the meaning of keep doing for a long time. Many things looked alike, if you don’t take the accumulation of time into account, but it is the time factor that makes something so unique. Like business, many companies look alike, but only very few of them can focus on what they determined to focus on, and keep doing it for a long time. That is huge difference.

Xinjiang! Xinjiang!

When the riot (I have to pay specially attention to my wording, although I don’t know what is the best word to describe it) in Xinjiang happened, I was in US. But I don’t think I missed any news than being in China.

Every time, when I don’t write about an important event, it is because I don’t feel I have known enough about the fact. That was the reason Why I Didn’t Cover About Tibet. That is the same reason I kept silence about what is happening in Xinjiang.

I cannot say anything about it, just because I am still not sure what happened there. What I can confirm is, immediately after the event, censorship on Internet reached the highest level, and it seems Internet in Xinjiang is completely shutdown – I cannot visit most of the Xinjiang site I know – like Xinjiang University.

Interestingly, no matter whose fault the event is, the first thing government thinks is to block all possible news channel, and shutdown whatever site they can shutdown, so everyone just use the standard news release.

I read many comments about the event in Google Reader, but it is just comments with the absence of facts.

So, here is what I plan to do. I just bring up this topic, so my readers can start to discuss about it, and giving me some education. Please, facts are welcome!

Channel 9 of Flight Control Center

Maybe the last key reason to keep me fly on United Airlines is the Channel 9 they offer. I believe most of people even don’t know that there is a special channel at every passenger’s seat: the 9th channel. That is the channel the pilot communicate with the control tower. Recently, most of the United Airlines captain don’t bother to turn it on, but they did turn it on the last time at UA857 from San Francisco to Shanghai. Here are some audio I recorded. Click on any of the dark image to play.

Part I near landing Pudong Airport

Interestingly, although I heard it is required to use English to do the communication, most of the conversation in the audio is in Chinese. It is the same situation when we fly near Tokyo Narita Airport. They are using a language I am not very sure whether it is English or Japanese – I just cannot get a single word besides the numbers.

In the audio above, a brief transcript is like this:

“United 857 …. 300” (the flight I am in)

“FM9142 go down to 12.” – Background information: FM9142 is from Qinhuangdao to Shanghai and will launch at around 12:10 pm that day. I don’t understand what 12 means. I thought it was runway numbered 12, but a quick check reveal that there is no runway 12 at Pudong Airport (there are only 17L/35R, 17R/35L – this should be future, and 16/34). What does it mean?

“247D 2400” “247D keeps 2400”

“MU2155 turn left, to 070” my guess is, they want them to turn left and heading to 70 degree?

“MU2155 ..” This is the flight from Yinchuan to Shanghai via Xi’an. They are scheduled to land at 12:15 PM.

“FM92142 down 600” I guess this means lower down to 600 meter level, and if this is the case, the previous 12 may mean 1200 meter altitude.

Above is just my guess, and I will send this to my United Airlines pilot friend to ask him what this means. I believe he will have the best answer for me.

Below is another piece:

Part II near landing at Pudong Airport

The message in it was:

“MU2155 direction 050”

“FM9142 can turn left direction 210”

“247D turn left direction 350”

“MU2155 down 15” from what the pilot repeated, I am sure 15 means 1500 meters in altitude.

From the communication above, I have the impression that all the planes are lineup as a big circle surrounding the Pudong Airport, and gradually lower the altitude to land. It turned out that we finally landed at runway 16 – the runway east of the T2, near the sea, from the north to south.

Below is another clip I recorded at the time when we were at range of control center of Japan. Anyone can understand any word from the conversation? I cannot.

Communication near Japan

Endeavour Finally Launched

I am very happy that Endeavour finally launched today at 6:03 AM. Unfortunately, after chasing the even for very long, I over slept this morning, and was not able to watch the even live – due to wake up too early two days ago.

Now I am watching the post-launch press conference, and watch the launch again and again, but the replay does not have all the communication between the crew, and the base station, which I am most interested in.

Very good. After trying for 6 times, they finally launched, and Chris should already be on the space – 200 miles+ above, and he is finally ready to do the spacewalk after years of training and waiting. Good luck!

Welcome to China, If Temperature is OK

Are you traveling to China from other countries, be prepared for the temperature check, in the background of H1N1 Type A Flu.

Don’t worry though. Let me describe the process so you have a preview of what to expect.

  1. On plane, you will be required to fill in a form of self-health-claim form. Everyone needs to do it, and claim whether you feel fever, cough or other flue symptom.
  2. After landing at Pudong International Airport, all passengers will be required to remain seated. Medical staff will get on board, and use a laser detector to check the temperature of every passenger. This seems very time consuming, but it is actually very fast. It is just the speed of flight attendants delivering drinks – several minutes are fine.
  3. If the temperature of anyone looks not normal, they will do a double check by inserting a temperature meter into the mouth to get more accurate temperature. Don’t worry. It is just for once use, and it is fine.
  4. After all the people of the airline is cleared, you can leave the plan, but you need to queue to give the form to the inspector. There is always this check in normal times, but during the special time like H1N1 Flu times, they check the form very carefully to make sure you fill in everything. This takes much more time than the temp check on the plane.

After all the process is over, the H1N1 check is ready, and you can proceed to custom, and luggage claim area.

Below: check started from the front rows.

This is how they do the check.

Check completed:

Below is the line to wait to submit the form – interestingly, just submitting the form takes the most time – no check of temperature happens here, unless you specify that you have fever in the form.

Welcome to China, if your temperature is OK.

Shanghai Also has Blue Sky – Part II

I very happily described the very rare blue sky in my previous post here: Shanghai Also has Blue Sky – for One Day. These two days after I am back from Silicon Valley trip, I found Shanghai also has clear sky, thank to the east wind from the ocean. I brought my camera with me (intentionally) just to capture the blue sky. Here are the nice photos. I love Shanghai a lot if the city remains like this, or at least half of the days are like this.

Below is the photo of the scene outside my office window. Look at the blue sky and beautiful cloud. I almost forget what cloud looks like:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Another east side of the scene above:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

This is the sky out of my car window this morning.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

With the blue sky, the grass looks nicer – seems to be more green.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

The secret of blue water in the swiming pool? Pain the sky to blue first.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

Sadly, in contrast, most of days in Shanghai are gray, and that is not a good thing for the people living in this city. When it is clear blue in the sky, I believe more people will turn into environmentalist to do something to protect the blue sky. I promised Helen to write more about polution situation in China. I will.

Chris is Going to Space Again

This is on NASA’s website:

T-20 Minutes and Holding

Tue, 14 Jul 2009 05:38:11 AM GMT+0800

The countdown clock at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida has paused as scheduled at the T-20-minute mark. This is a planned hold lasting 10 minutes. At Launch Pad 39A, space shuttle Endeavour’s crew access hatch has been closed, sealed and locked for flight. All seven STS-127 astronauts are safely strapped into their seats and are awaiting liftoff at 6:51 p.m. EDT.

Launch managers and weather personnel continue keeping a wary eye on the weather.

I am waiting at my desktop to see the live NASA TV of the launch of Endeavour Space Shuttle to the International Space Station. The flight has been delayed for four times, and hope this time good luck to the team and to http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20090612_good_luck_endeavour_and_chris.htm.

The flight schedule seems to be very flexible according to the weather condition. The count down was paused at 9 minutes, and waited for the final launch time. Isn’t it interesting that in this world, many things happens, but your attention is only drew those you feel connected with. Like this case, if Chris is not on board, maybe I won’t want to wake up at 5:30 AM to watch the launch of a space shuttle.

Difference between Reading News and Watch Live

When I watch the launch when it approaches to the schedule time, I continue to read the Launch Blog where Steven updates the latest news. It seems the weather currently still remains “red”, which means “no-go”, and hopefully it clears up very quickly. This kind of nervousness, expectation, and uncertainty is a key factor why people prefer to watch something live, instead of checking the recorded video.

Jon sent out the email to the whole YLF community, and I believe many YLFers are watching now.

Update 6:49 AM, July 14, 2009

This time, the launch was delayed for the 5th time due to weather condition. The storm is going to the wrong direction, and getting worse. The launch has to be canceled.

Compared to this flight cancellation, my flight cancellation due to mechanism problems of United Airlines plane seems to be the smallest problem to have. I don’t know whether Chris will write a blog article complaining the inaccurate launch time of NASA Airlines(mine), and maybe bad (actually no) service on flight at all (mine). :-)

No problem. Let’s try it the sixth time. Good luck!

Update 7:00 AM, July 14, 2009

Update from NASA: the new launch time will be 6:03 PM Wed, US Eastern Time.

OK. Then I will take my working suite (not as fancy as astronauts’ – just T-shirt with Baixing logo), and get ready to my launch scheduled at 7:15 AM. The launch vehicle (my FIAT Siena) will be ignited at 7:14:55, and it will be launched through a 1 hour time window before the storm of huge traffic hits the Nanpu Bridge, and send me safely to my International Working Station at 18F of my office building. My mission in the remote planet Xujiahui during this trip will be three meetups, several meetings, and (re-)install Windows 7 system on the computer system of my International Work Station, and then I will return to my base in Pudong for dinner and sleep via car shuttle scheduled at around 7:00 PM. I will be the pilot, and mission specialist. The only thing goes wrong will be, there is no NASA TV broadcasting my journey.

Now, I am entering my 9-minute count down… 9….8….7….6….

Fast Changing Shanghai

One of my favorite thing involving traveling to US for one week is that when you come back to Shanghai, you find so many things changed in one week. One week means a lot in current Shanghai.


From the first thing I noticed – the facade of the building under construction near my residential area were completed. Several new buildings (20+ stories high) just suddenly appeared there. Well. They were not built in one week, but it took just one week to remove all the greenish construction wrappers around the building to reveal a beautiful new building.

The structure of the via-duct at the Yanggao South Road 杨高南路, and Gaoke West Road 高科西路 was completed. From nothing to a big bridge over head is a big thing.

The new ramp of the Nanpu bridge is almost ready. Within weeks, we may be able to use the newly added ramp to get to Nanpu Bridge from Pudong side. That is a huge project, but they are almost reaching the end of it.

The elevated highway connecting Nanpu Bridge above the Long Yang road made huge progress. All the bridges from the via duct to Jinxiu Road are almost finished. Before I visited US, there were just huge poles spreading along the several mile range.

The Inner Ring from Nanpu Bridge to Luban Road section were painted to white. Before, it was just cementing, and the color is the default gray, and now it is painted to white. The Luban Road via-duct was completely painted to light yellow.

Before I enter the SJTU campus, the Gong Cheng Road was detoured to make room for the construction of the tunnel of the new Metro line. However, the detour should only last for several week before the station is completed. With more than 200+ metro station under construction, they have to be quick.


The count-down of Shanghai Expo have gone below 300 days. Now is 290+ days…

Today, the Shanghai has the bluest sky in the recent weeks. I love Shanghai a lot, IF the weather is always like this. This is just great. There are white clouds floating on the clear blue sky. The air quality is just like the Silicon Valley. I love it.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang using Li Jia’s camera

Well. To many different things happens. Every time when I am away from Shanghai for a while, and getting back is exciting. It is just like pressing the fast forward sign of a DVD player. You discover new things that you seldom notice when you are there every day.

What I love Silicon Valley a lot is, it is stable, and every time I visit, it does not change too much – AVIS has exact same counter (maybe same person greeting you at the counter), and the cars are always at K rows (K6, K39?). The restaurants are still there, serving the same dish. All the roads, are the same for sure.

Strange Feeling

At the same time of being exciting for the progress of physical construction in Shanghai, I feel more and more painful about the tightening censorship, and GFWs. On the policy side, China is really far behind what people expected it to be. The recent riot in Xinjiang is a big hit, although all the media try to stay as concise as possible about it. I don’t think I know enough to make a comment about it yet, but I am deeply concerned.

Back to Shanghai

Quick note: I landed at Shanghai Pudong Airport at 12:30 PM, July 11, 2009. From leaving Super 8 at Stanford at 9:00 AM, July 9, it is 51.5 hours (yes. I surely understand that there is 15 hours time zone difference it it), or 36.5 hours on the road.

Interestingly, United Airlines gave me another “Sorry for inconvinience” card. Am I lucky to receive two cards during the trip? One for bad equipments, and service, and another for delay for 10 hours?

I didn’t have the energy to update the blog since I am back – what I did was to play a while with Yifan. He loves all the yellow machinery car, the red tractor, and the music book I brought back, and played one of them in turn. I chatted for a long time with Wendy before I fell asleep at 1:00 AM Pacific Time. Now, I wake up at 1:00 PM pacific time. Think it this way, the limit I can sleep in normal days in Shanghai is about 1:00 PM. My internal clock works every well.

My United Airlines was Cancelled

Too quick to say bye bye to America. I am now still sitting at a bigger table, and a nicer room at Best Western El Rancho Inn & Suite near the San Francisco Airport (so near that I see flight landing just out of window!).

My flight UA857 from San Francisco to Shanghai was cancelled today. It is scheduled to leave tomorrow morning at 8:30 AM, and arrive in Shanghai at 12:30 PM, Saturday.

I would Prefer Bad Service than Delay

… and I would prefer delay than cancellation.

After sitting on my seat 61H on the flight for three hours, slept, waked up, fell asleep, waked up for many times, and replied many emails on mobile phone, I was told that flight was finally cancelled due to the plane engine gas leaking that could not be fixed within several hours.

Then we moved to counter 2 and waited their standing for two and half hours to get 15 USD dinner voucher, and free night at Best Western Hotel. Hmmm… It seems there is no additional financial cost to my trip so far, but my whole day of July 9, 2009 is spent at the SFO airport.

Sensation of Time

I was so bored that I drew a picture of the Spanish style hotel.

Some times, people were forced to do something that they won’t do in normal time, like drawing. If there were no such a flight delay, who knows what I will use the time for? At least not in a very interesting way. Sometimes the contrain gives people more focus (nothing to do!), and more focus makes life better.

End of Noodle Trip

My recent US trip started to form a routine. It always start with a PHO noodle – the Vietnamese noodle somewhere near the hotel I stay, and ends the trip at Tomokazu Japanese Cuisine noodle shop near gate G100 of San Francisco airport.

Choosing Food

In the bay area, the closest food to Chinese food, including Chinese restaurants, is actually Vietnamese noodle. I didn’t make a mistake here. I did mean INCLUDING Chinese food. Well, actually there is no such a thing called Chinese food, just like there no such a thing called European food. Most of the Chinese food here are Cantonese cuisine, not the food I am used to. I just need 1) Noodle 2) Hot soup instead of cold (iced!) water 3) Salty food, not just rice 4) with meat AND vegetables in it (cooked not fresh vegetables).


My personal type is perceiving – not the type of people who enjoys routines. But recent trip to US made me very routine oriented – plan exactly where to have lunch far in advance, and plan who to meet several weeks before. That is what the US society requires (no appointment? Sorry), and that is how I also found effective. By knowing exactly what I am going to do in the San Francisco airport to the detail level of where to have lunch actually save my brain energy and focus it on more important things.

Finished my Noodle, and End of my Trip

Just finished my noodle, and my noodle trip to US ends here. The UA857 to Shanghai is actually delayed to 2:30 – 2 hour delay. Rare, but it happens. BTW, there is no free wifi in San Francisco airport. I miss PVG now.

BTW, this morning, I am very sure I completely get rid of the jet lag – I was violently forced to wake up by several alarm clocks, but I still slept for 10 minutes more. Yes. This is exactly who I am, not the person who wake up 2 hours before the alarm clock, and feeling excited about the new day. Now, the sleepy cat is going back.

I am Back Home, Sweet Home!

Wendy and Yifan, I am back. I am bringing gift to Wendy I am sure she will like, and I am bringing toys to Yifan that I am even sure that he will be extremely happy – the cars – big cars! Cannot wait to see smiles, or screams from Yifan and Wendy.

Wrapping up my Trip in SV

I am sitting at my small table in the Super 8 hotel at Palo Alto. Yes. It is a small table, and a small room with noisy refrigerator, and it smells. But, I am happy.

Life as an Entrepreneur

Kissing goodbye with 5-star hotels, business class flight and jumping back to the real life of an entrepreneur, I just don’t believe I could make a better decision. The corporate style of work is just not my style. Let me tell you, Super 8 is really good – not because of it is good (please fix the noise of the refrigerator!), it is because it symbolize the spirit of cost saving, and the place you pay attention.

Pay attention on what you do, what you think, not where you stay!

Business Ambition

Paul Graham talked about Cities and Ambition. Silicon Valley is the area full of ambition. To be more precious, the ambition is in Palo Alto, in Mount View, in Melon Park, and in Sunnyvale. The ambition flows in entrepreneur’s mind.

I am very sure at this quite (again, except the noise from refrigerator) night, there are many entreprenuers are still working hard, or more importantly, thinking hard.

They may be showering now, thinking some hard problems, and forgetting to turn off the water. They may be driving but still thinking something important in the company. They may be in the office alone, when everyone else in the company has already left, so he can see his company from another angle. They do it because they believe in something big that others don’t really believe in.

And there are great people on the Sand Hill road, and in downtown Palo Alto. They are ambitious too, and they have a bold vision to the future. This trip actually changed my fundamental impression of how Venture Capital works. Or, to put it the other way, how the really outstanding VC works. It is all about ambition that is far beyond most people’s expectation, and the experience to make it happen.

Intellectual Power

There is nowhere like the SV that shows the importance of Intellectual power better. Well. Maybe Cambridge in Boston demos that more clearly. The intellectual power in SV is more mixed with experience and business. It is mixed with pattern recognition – the pattern for great things, or bad things – people smell things.

Interaction with great people here requires a lot of intelligent power. I never get so tired with the same amount of talking time than anywhere else.


Elliott shared with me his observation: Travel is life intensified. Yes. I had 7 meetings today, and meeting about 20 people. I had more meetings yesterday. I seldom do that in Shanghai, just because we had plenty of time. We should live a life like this in Shanghai also. :-)

Wrapping Up

I’d like to thank everyone I met to take the time to meet with me. To protect people’s privacy, I won’t list the names, or even initials, but I do want to thank everyone for your time. It is such a privilege to be able to talk with great people like you. Sometimes, I feel to have a hat of “flying all the way cross the Pacific” helped me to get access to people here – remote guests always comes before local people, aren’t they?

I have never been happier than staying in this small Super 8 room. I am sure I will keep staying at motel as long as I can. Not about money at all. It is the inspiration, and the message it sends to myself, and to people around me.

Good night America, and Hello, China! I will be back fully refreshed. SV is my source of inspiration.

I Just Love Silicon Valley

Before 2005, I always tell people – I love Seattle, WA, because of the great trees, lakes, mountains and great cities. At that time, every of my US trip is in Seattle. It turned out that I said that just because I never visited Silicon Vally. This is exactly the reason people travel – never make decisions about what you want most before you explore more places and lifestyle – the type of seeking for something unknown.

Why I Love Sillicon Valley

Althouh I would say many things: the convinience of access (no transition of flight is needed from Shanghai), the always sunny weather, the bay, the nice spread of cities, and realtively very good traffic, the key is the intellectural power and innovation you can get in this particular area.

I just had a whole day conversation with eight great people in the history of Internet/IT industry, and I admire so much about their clarify of pricinciple and mission, the extereme passion for something that has big impact, and the strong brain muscle to see things through.


People are really group animal – when you stay with people like this mind, you inevitably get affected, and think, and behave the similar way. I, as an ENFP type of person, inspiration, and theory, and people, and something new, and talking, etc, are so important to me. I got exactly what I wanted in this bay area.

I simply love it. It is the best place I can imagine to be (well, learning from the previous lesson, a better way to put it is, it is a better place than Seattle. Period.)

Although with busy schedule and cost concern, everytime I tried to postpone or cancel a sillicon valley trip, but every time, I am so excited about what I see here, and never regret for a single minute that I am here.

If you are technical guy, and especially an ENFP guy, you definitely will enjoy the place as much as I can. For the rest personality type, I think you will like it too (althogh I cannot say since I am not other type).

I am a Local

From the day one I am here, I refuse to use a GPS. I would rather get lost and wander for a while in the unfamiliar street to build my sense of this area than following the GPS direction. Now, for most of the places I go, I just drive there without the help of any map or GPS. The most visited places are the down town of each of the small cities – Castro St. in Mountain view (and Villa), University Ave in Palo Alto, Murphy in Sunnyvale, and Sand Hill/Stanford area. I am also used to be I-280, I-880, I-680, US-101, CA-85, CA-237 highway system here, and also the El Camino Real, Middlefield Rd, the Page Mill Rd… See, I am a local already, and I know where to take nice brunch in the morning in this area. I just hope one day I can bring Wendy to the area (she never been here), and show her my favorite places.

Again, too late, time to sleep. It is 12:30 Pacific Time.

P.S. Wendy SMSed that Yifan got angry with her again. Hmmm… What happened?