Sunday, October 31, 2010

Google's acquisition

I found a very interesting image detailing Google's past acquisitions. Too good not to share :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

bets on mobile

Entrepreneurs in technology industry like to make bets. They bet on technologies such as PHP, JSP, ASP/.Net; Oracle Database, MySql; iPhone, Android...They bet on the kind of business to go into.  Perhaps the most important decision an entrepreneur can make is what business to go into.

I recently read Tony Hsieh's book: Delivering Happiness. In The book, he mentioned that the most important decision a poker player can make is which table to sit down. I really agree with that.

In retrospect, I think Tony didn't pick the best table to play his cards. He mentioned that Zappos made $100 Million in enterprise value annually on average. It translates well in to its $1 Billion sale to Amazon 10 years after it was founded. $100 Million a year seems to be a really big number. But when I look at a few companies in the mobile space, I realize wealth was created much quicker there.

For example, Admob was acquired by Google for $750 Million less than 4 years after it was founded. On average, it created about $200 Million a year. Twice as much as Zappos.

After a few months working in the Internet industry, I'm convinced that there're still a lot of money to be made in this industry.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Google TV thoughts

There is one thing I agree with Steve Job's talk this Wednesday. That is listen to the users. I really liked the new Apple TV from the demo. It's small and simple. It does HD streaming for movies and TV shows that's it.  There're only power cable, HDMI, Ethernet connections at the back with built-in wifi. What Apple learned in the past 4 years is that people don't need another computer on their TV. I hope Google TV gets that.

I think Google is trying to catch up on user-friendliness. Unfortunately, people tends to hire people who share similar traits. Collectively, it's hard for Google to design products that are very easy to use, good quality and elegant. Because Google engineers are hired to solve difficult problems not to listen to the users:).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I'm turning into an Apple fanboy

I got my first Mac computer a couple of weeks ago after my friend Rahim described me what a versatile platform it is. I ordered my ipad online because it's sold out in 4 stores near Sunnyvale. I even called a store today to make sure they had it in stock. But when I got there 1.5 hours later, they were sold out.

I use Nexus One Android phone and really want Iphone 4. However, I liked Tethering support on Froyo (Android 2.2). It helped a lot when I first moved to the bay area since there was no internet in my apartment. I could just use my laptop's wifi and my Nexus One as an AP. I got decent Internet speed for browsing and chat. Also, when I visit countries outside the US, unlocked Android will really help my phone bills. Because I can basically buy a local pay-as-you-go plan and not pay outragous International roaming.

Before I started my job at Google, I went to Yellowstone national park in Wyoming. It was a very good experience. I camped by the lake with a few friends. We even rented a moter boat and had a fun ride on the lake.
IMG_2193 IMG_2169DSC05562 DSC05614

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Very useful battery saving Android apps

The biggest problem I had with my Nexus One smartphone is battery life. It took me a while to figure out how to extend it. So now with the help of three apps I am able to use the phone for a day and have about 50% battery left. Usually the battery just dies within a day.

1. Advanced Task Cleaner 2.0 which allows me to add apps to auto kill list. It is a useful feature because multi-task drains battery. Automatically killing apps running in the background you don' t need saves battery.

2. Advanced Task Killer which allows me to kills apps instantly. It's like task manager in wnidows.

3. JuiceDefender. This app almost doubles the battery life. It disables 3G and other services while the phone is in sleep.

I think I'll get Iphone 4 in 2 months when it becomes readily available. Now I just need to decide whether to get a ipad or not :).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some updates

There has been a lot of changes in my life. I don't really know where to start. So basically I studied 3 years Engineering in lovely Belgium. After getting my Bachelor and Master's degree I returned to Shanghai as a software engineer. After 3 years in Shanghai, I decided to get a MBA in the U.S. After 2 years MBA school, I finally got my MBA degree last Sunday.

When I look back, it all start to make a little bit more sense now. Just like Steve Jobs said in his famous Stanford Commencement speech: "you can only connect the dots when you look backwards".

So much for my student life. On the technology front, I recently started using a macbook pro. After many years struggling with the PC, I have decided to make the switch. It surprises me that Mac has became a very versatile platform both for daily internet use and development. I've been using the macbook pro for over a week now. Didn't miss my Dell laptops a bit.

I don't have my windows 7 setup on the Parallels Desktop yet. So occasionally I would go back to my old laptop for school email, play music at the background stuff. Now it's summer, my dell xps laptop gets very hot. In case you didn't know, I had the hard drive, mother board, lcd screen and heat sink replaced in the less than 2 years time I owned the xps m1330 laptop. Dell's 3 year extended warranty is good. But it's a poorly engineered laptop. Latitude line seems much better. But it wasn't available at the time through my business school's purchasing program.

Another surprisingly pleasant benefit on mac is that it's super simple to setup Android, iPhone and PHP development environment. I used Ubuntu on my dell Inspiron 510m before and had a lot of problem with the upgrades since I don't upgrade regularly. So I had to revert to Debian on the Inspiron. However, Debian requires a lot of time to take care of the hardware drivers and setting up the system. So long story short, I've setup an Android, iPhone and PHP development environment on my MacBook Pro in less than 2 days. I can also do my day to day internet stuff. MacBook Pro has acted as a versatile platform. The best computer experience I ever had so far. Don't see myself going back to PC anytime soon.

Since I have the Nexus One, I am trying to see if I can develop some simple app for fun. Let me know if you're an android developer as well. We can share some learning experience and bounce ideas off.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

OOB for two weeks or so

Out Of Blog because of secret project again. Will update with details in 2 weeks.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Work till you can not work

Just finished "reading" the book called "Free" by Chris Anderson who authored the famous book "Long Tale". I used "read" because I actually listened the whole book while driving and on my trip to Silicon Valley for my job interview.

It's a brilliant book. It explains the "freemium" and "googleconomy" pretty well. I gained additional insight into the Internet industry. It even helped adding information to some of my responses of the interview questions a little.

The title of this post is from an article I was reading today. I was trying to solve an issue caused by the upgrade of my older laptop's Ubuntu's version to 10.04. I managed to get a work-around so the laptop can dual-boot Ubuntu or Windows XP. I certainly missed the days with Debian when I didn't have to deal with much upgrade issues.

As I was dealing with the Linux distribution, I wanted to know what Linus Torvalds is up to. Then I started watching a tech talk he gave to Google about Git. The next person I thought about was John Carmack. Then I started reading an interview someone had done with him. In the interview he explained the beauty of programming and said something like: you don't rely on anybody else; you just use your computer and work until you can not work.

This reminded me the 10000-hour rule mentioned in Gladwell's book "outliers". I read this book briefly before. Now I loaded the audio to my Zune player (as a poor student, can't afford a ipod). I'll "read" the book the second time thoroughly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

OOB for a few days

OOB (out of blog) for a few days because I will be on a trip to Mountain View, California till Friday. Then come back in Friday evening for the MBA end of the program Awards dinner. 

4 weeks till I finish the MBA. Hectic times. Hopefully good times.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

140 Character Conference in LA

I attended the 140Conf in LA today. It was my first social media meeting. I enjoyed it quite a bit. So it was worth the 1+ hour drive from Orange County to The Comedy Store. The host Jeff Pulver flew in today from NYC and will go back with a red eye flight.

I think I added Jeff on Facebook initially because he is a friend of a venture capital list Fred Wilson who writes a quite influential blog called A VC. Then I got to know this conference through Tweeter.

Much to my surprise, the conference is not technical at all. And a lot of passionate female twitter users showed up. Since I suspected a large number of twitter users, I used tweeps around layer of the Android augmented reality app Layar. I was very surprised by how many twitter users and their pictures showed up on the app.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Experimenting with social media

I got a Google powered Android smart phone called Nexus One recently. This triggered a lot of things I've been doing and learning in the past few days. One of the biggest change that happened to me since this internet enabled phone is that Twitter suddenly start to make sense to me.

I've also started to try to add the "like" button from Facebook to this blog. After that, I got hooked. So I added twitter button as well. I think more people will click the like button just because there are a lot more Facebook users than twitter users.

Speaking of Twitter, Conan O'Brien signed up for Twitter because he was restricted from appearing on TV or Radio. For those who are not familiar with Conan's issue check this link: Basically Conan and his TV station did not agree with each other and Conan had to give up his show. So long story short, 1 million people followed him on Twitter in a few days he signed up. Conan decided to do a tour which he was allowed to do. He posted one tweet and the tour tickets were sold out in a matter of days without a dollar spent on advertising. I think Twitter and Facebook truly changed the way people get information and how advertising can be done.

Here is a video I enjoyed: Conan visits Google

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Switching back

forgot to say that i'm switching back to this blog since I've been a student in the past 2 years and don't like to pay for hosting and domain names:).

Back from San Francisco

Met amazing people in San Francisco and the Bay area. Special thanks to everyone I met at Google, Ricardo, Caris, Yvonne and Pei.

Used my Nexus One phone through out the trip. Navigation, checking emails, making calls, twittering, getting public transportation, finding restaurants...The only problem is short battery life and overheating when mounted on the wind shield as a GPS. So I will bring my actual GPS on my future trips.

I'll try to return the car kit tomorrow since I won't be using Nexus one as my main navigation device. I'm keeping the Nexus One phone because I'm still on the AT&T 2 year plan till August, 2010. Nexus One is still the most powerful Android phone on AT&T. I plan to sell the Nexus One and switch to Verizon's most powerful Android phone then.

Here are some pictures I took on the trip:

2010-4 san francisco networking