Sunday, April 22, 2012

Summer is here in Silicon Valley

I just realized it's been 6 months since my last blog post. How time flies! Here's what's been happening so far.

In late Oct 2011, I attended the legendary (at least to me) Y Combinator's Startup School 2011 in Stanford university (Thank you Paul, Jessica and Y C crew). It was a very unforgettable and rewarding day. I finally got to see many celebrities in the startup community in person, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreessen,  Max Levchin and Aston Kutcher :) just to name a few. Here are a couple of photos I took there (sorry about the terrible layout, it's blogger's fault):

One funny comment one of the speaker mentioned was a lot of startups are a lot like the South Park episode: Gnome. If you don't have time to watch the video, there's a wikipedia page. The business plan includes 3 phases: 1. collect underpants 2. ? 3. profit

I went back to Hunan province, China during Christmas to vist my parents. It was cold as usual. I got sick for the most part of the trip. But it was good to be home. A lot more ex-colleagues in Shanghai got cars now. About half of the people who went to dinner with me in Shanghai drove. I think only one person or none had a car when I left for the U.S. in 2008.

I attended the 2012 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas in Jan, 2012 right after I got back from the holidays. It was an event I wanted to see for a long time. But it turned out to be a big disappointment. I like to interact with people and attend pannel discussions when I go to conferences. CES is more like a big trade show. If you're into gadgets and enjoy spending time looking at numerous electronics products with little differentiation, it's a good event. Otherwise, save yourself some money and don't go :). I'm speaking from a non-business attendee pont of view. If you go on business, that's a different story.

The only highlight of CES was seeing many Chinese companies coming up with Android devices. I especially liked the ones at Huawei's booth. They feel good holding in my hand and run the latest Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) version of Android. Here is a photo of the booth:

It rained for 3 weeks or so here. For a State that's famous for its sunshine, that's a long time. It finally stopped raining a week ago and weather has been really nice since then. 

I saw a Techcrunch article: Stop Looking For A Technical Co-founder last week that really resonated with me. I find it very true that "Most quality software engineers today have offers of amazing work environments and 6-figure salaries from the likes of Google and Facebook. Few are crazy enough to say no to that. Those that do typically have their own ideas, aren’t sure they need you, and have heard enough cliche pitches to ignore you by default."

Fortune's article Warren Buffett's $50 Billion Decision was also a good read. "Although I had no idea, age 25 was a turning point. I was changing my life, setting up something that would turn into a fairly good-size partnership called Berkshire Hathaway. I wasn’t scared. I was doing something I liked, and I’m still doing it." If you're 25 and are reading this, this (doing something you like) is probably the best advice you can ever get.

If you're like me, living in a country other than your home country, this New York Times article probably will make you home sick: The New Globalist Is Homesick. "Like Mr. Valencia, 20 to 40 percent of all immigrants to the United States ultimately return to their native lands. They know that Skype is no substitute for actually being there."