Elliott Ng

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Google. China. Entrepreneurship. Hiding brightness, biding time.

My 3 Words for 2012

 

photo credit: Chris Michel

As 2011 pulls to a close, I’m reflecting on what has been a whirlwind 2011 for me.  While I’m still in processing mode on that, I also want to start thinking forward to 2012 because I know it’s going to be an even faster, even crazier roller-coaster ride.  I thought I’d start by finding “3 Words” to help guide 2012.

Background: What are “3 Words?”

Back on Jan 1, 2010, I read a blog post by social media consultant Chris Brogan titled My 3 Words for 2010 where Chris described a simple exercise: Come up with 3 words that serve as “guiding pillars” for the New Year:

Instead of resolutions, which don’t usually help me very much, I work hard on using these words as a lighthouse for my actions and efforts.

Faced with the prospects of what looks like a daunting year ahead, I’m using this 3 Words exercise to create a flexible guiding set of themes that I hope will become a living, evocative framework for objective-setting and decision-making.

I’m sharing this in the hopes that this might spur your thinking on 2012 and give you another method if “resolutions” don’t work for you.

Hmm…isn’t this just objectives and goals under a new name?  Not really.  I got a bit hung up on this, and if you’re been “corporate” in one life or another, you probably will too.  See Notes at end of this post for an answer to this question.

Another important, liberating principle of Chris’s “3 words” exercise is that it doesn’t matter if anyone else understands what these words mean.   It is about creating “guiding pillars” for yourself…not a tagline for others.  Do my words sound like nonsense to you?  I don’t really care.  These are my words, to help me, not you!

My 3 Words for 2012:  Spiky, Intentional, Bold.

Spiky.

To me, “Spiky” evokes a number of related concepts to me: focus, passion, outliers (in the Gladwellian sense), creative ecosystems (in the Richard Florida sense, see Notes), exceptional, committed to excellence, relentless.

Steve Jobs was Spiky…most of us just aren’t Steve and/or don’t want to be…but how do we want to put a ding in the universe in our own way?  After he died, I pored over the coverage.  I re-read the 2005 commencement speech. I watched the video of the speech.  I watched a version of the Think Different campaign “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” narrated by Steve himself.  I read an exceptional obituary by Steven Levy that aimed to describe and honor, but not mythologize.

Steve’s death caused me to ask a tough question of myself…when was the last time that I created a product that I personally and deeply felt was truly exceptional and without compromise?  When was the last time that I set myself to solve the most important problem to date in my career?

I didn’t like the answers I came up with.

Outliers are Spiky…but what am I putting 10,000 hours into?  Like everyone else in the Silicon Valley tech bubble, I’m into Gladwell’s Outliers (see TIME’s Lev Grossman’s review), which says that success is not just about individual talent, but about lucky timing, a supportive ecosystem, and 10,000 hours of hard work generating “accumulated advantage.”  So what have I done for 20 hours a week for the last 10 years, to be even in the running for becoming an “outlier?”

Wow, I didn’t like the lack of specificity on these answers either.

So for 2012 I want to seek my Spiky-ness.  That means choosing what to be Spiky at and being more intensely focused on it than most other people.  That also means being brutally disciplined about saying no to things that I don’t want to be Spiky at.  It means searching and finding something that I care passionately about and doing it.  It means creating something great.  It means taking complete ownership as a (quasi) “Founder” and not being an “employee.”  It means doing things I want to blog about and speak about.  It also means taking the things that “I have to do” but wasn’t previously passionate about, and becoming passionate about it.  It means holding myself and those around me to a standard of excellence and exceptionality that may not always feel “nice.”

Intentional.

Intentional is evocative of several loosely-related things to me.

Intentional: Get better at Saying No.

One of the tough conclusions I’ve come to about my personality is I don’t like saying no, and I don’t like to be the bad guy.  I’d like to improve in my ability to say No in a productive, collaborative way with people inside and outside of Google. I aim to be more intentional about what to say “yes” to and letting “no” be the default answer.  Selective. Choiceful.

Intentional:  The practice of “deliberate practice” 

Via John Hagel of the Center of the Edge, a Silicon Valley think tank, I came across the StudyHacks blog by academic Cal Newport, who expands on the Gladwell “Outliers” idea in a post about a study on chess players that had the following insight:

…after interviewing two large samples of chess players of varied skill, the paper’s authors found that “serious study“  — the arduous task of reviewing past games of better players, trying to predict each move in advance — was the strongest predictor of chess skill.

In more detail:  ”…chess players at the highest skill level (i.e. grandmasters) expended about 5000 hours on serious study alone during their first decade of serious chess play – nearly five times the average amount reported by intermediate-level players.”

Similar findings have been replicated in a variety of fields. To become exceptional you have to put in a lot of hours, but of equal importance, these hours have to be dedicated to the right type of work. A decade of serious chess playing will earn you an intermediate tournament ranking. But a decade of serious study of chess games can make you a grandmaster.

This is such an awesome post, you should go read it now.

Did you read it? Good. Continue.

The question is: what is the “right type of work”?  Newport then later writes about a similar study comparing exceptional violinists to the merely standard ones, with a similar conclusion that “deliberate practice” to accelerate mastery is what made the difference:

We can start by disproving the assumption that the elite players dedicate more hours to music. The time diaries revealed that both groups spent, on average, the same number of hours on music per week (around 50).

The difference was in how they spent this time. The elite players were spending almost three times more hours than the average players on deliberate practice — the uncomfortable, methodical work of stretching your ability.

The question is: for product managers and for tech leads/managers, what is “deliberate practice” and the “right kind of work?” I’ve been thinking hard about what “top performers” are doing that others can do better at, and what “deliberate practice” will help people get there.

Intentional:  the personal dimension.

Intentional also evokes a more thoughtful and sustained focus on my family and my faith.

In 2011, my oldest son turned 10-years old…it was only yesterday that he was 8, and two days ago he was 3!  In 3 years, he will enter 7th grade and be a teenager.  In my over-simplified model of parental influence, I figure I have 3 more years of being highly influential until I become completely irrelevant as my son shifts from being parent-centric to being peer-centric.

Intentional also relates to how my wife and I want to deepen our relationship with each other, and how we can be a more closely coordinated team of partners in parenting.

The move to China also has caused me to think hard about how I want to live my faith in my daily work and family life.   I’m personally interested in how the Christian faith can be most relevant to academically and professionally “successful” people in China.

Bold.

credit: gapingvoid.com

When I graduated from business school, I turned down a perfectly fine offer to join McKinsey to start an “dot-com” startup with $30,000 of credit card debt and student loans taken out 4 months before graduation.

Damn, I was a lot bolder back then.  Would I do the equivalent thing today?

Bottom line is that I want to work hard to cultivate that boldness.  You can be bold when you have the power of youthful naivety…I just didn’t “know any better.”  Age and experience teaches you the “real” probabilities of success.  And with 3 kids, I’ve got the practical worries of paying school tuition, mortgages, and saving up for college.  For Google in China, I feel it is even harder to cultivate a sense of boldness…there are so many internal constraints and other external factors (e.g. market, government, etc) that hold us back.

And yet, situations of adversity require us to step up and be bold.  I believe that the greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity for the forging of character.  At Google in China, we are hugely blessed with the opportunity to test our own personal character and (to be blunt) to also test that of our founders and company leaders as well.

At Google, both in China and in Mountain View, I see some of the most talented people I’ve worked with in my career worrying over their quarterly performance rating, or their next promotion.  Maybe the fact that sometimes I think that way makes it all the more depressing when I see it in others.

What are your dreams?  What are you passionate about?  If you could set realism aside, what can you be bold enough to think you might be able to do?  Let’s focus on doing that together!  Be a partner with me in being Bold in 2012.  If you’re not interested, please don’t sap my energy with your “realism!”

What are your 3 words for 2012?

One of the 5 people who read this far?  Let me know who you are by sharing with me (via email, Google+, Facebook, Twitter) your 3 words for 2012.  I’m interested!

Notes:

Some additional thoughts that interrupt the flow of the main post but someone might find useful.

Hmm…isn’t this just objectives and goals under a new name?

Objectives are something specific you aim to achieve, with quantifiable measures to define whether those objectives are achieved.  You’ve probably heard of the term “SMART” – a framework for setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Oriented objectives. (Google’s version of it is “OKR” for Objectives and Key Results.)  ”3 Words” doesn’t replace objectives, but are complementary.  ”3 Words” is more about “themes”–ideally evocative of a vision that you have.  Because it’s just 3 words, it can be related to the “what,” the “how,” and the “why” of what you want to do or become.  What I like about this approach is that you can be inconsistent and not get hung up about exactly what the 3 words are.  They can flow in and around your objectives, either defining the “What” at a more meta level, or providing more of the “How” you want to achieve your objectives, or touch on the underlying “Why” that drives your Objectives.

Spiky is a term inspired by Richard Florida’s World is Spiky

By the way, the term Spiky comes from the debate between Tom Friedman–who made the reductionist claim that the World is Flat–and Richard Florida, who rebutted with a similarly reductionist counter-claim (in The Atlantic, 2005) that, no, the World is Spiky (nice summary by John Hagel).  Florida’s continuing thesis (see his writings in The Atlantic)  is that innovation is geographically spiky and will disproportionally come from geographically based ecosystems (e.g. Silicon Valley) that foster innovation by attracting what he calls “The Creative Class”).  Florida’s writings make sense — than “Spiky-ness” is not about the achievement of intellectual lone rangers, but the outcome of a massively networked group of exceptional people.  For me, being Spiky is about being part of a team, a group, an ecosystem.

Starting 2011 by joining Google in China

I’m heading over to Building 43 at Google’s Mountain View headquarters tomorrow morning.  As some of you know, I’ve decided to take on an exciting–and challenging–opportunity to serve as director/head of product management for Greater China, based in Beijing.

In this role, I’ll be leading a small, very-talented team of product managers who are doing two things: (1) launching products and supporting global R&D projects focused on Google’s global markets, and (2) driving a product roadmap serving the domestic Chinese market.  I’ll be commuting to China from Mountain View until June or July, at which point my wife, our 3 boys, and some subset of our accumulated “stuff” will lift off from our home near Mountain View and land in a new home somewhere in Beijing.  In the meantime, I’ll have plenty of time to rack up frequent flier miles, become “Googly” (aka programmed in the Google global culture) and build important relationships in the global R&D organization at Google which is Mountain-View centric.

If you’re reading this post, you probably already know that I think China is “one of the biggest stories of our time.”  Like most of you, I also firmly believe that when the history of our period is written, the internet will be another one of the biggest stories of our time.  In this role, I’m excited about the chance to play my part in both of these stories at the same time.

I remember my naive enthusiasm for China back in 2006, when I first got involved in some startup ventures in China as an advisor and micro-sized angel investor.  After all,  China’s macro numbers feed a typical US tech entrepreneur’s optimistic tendencies.  China graduates 500k engineering students annually compared to the US’s 150k students (although the quality of these students are not the same).  China overtook Japan as the 2nd largest economy in 2010 and is expected to surpass the US’s economy in 2027, according to Goldman Sachs.  The story is the same on the internet and mobile.  As of December 2010, China had over 450 mm Internet users, as estimated by the Chinese State Council Information Office, as compared to the US market of 230 mm users.  China had 38 mm 3G (smartphone) mobile phone users and a total of 842 mm mobile phone users by Oct 2010, according to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

But during the past 5 years, I’ve come to appreciate an apt characterization of China made by James L. McGregor (now on Twitter), former Wall Street Journal bureau chief and Dow Jones China chief executive, who called China “the world’s greatest startup” and “the world’s greatest turnaround.”  I now try to understand everything in China in terms of these two faces–or aspects–of China.

Just about one year ago, Google announced it’s new approach to China which some later characterized as “the pullout.”  Some others have characterized 2010 as a “bitter winter” for the Chinese internet overall.  In fact, according to the saying “guo jin, min tui” the rest of Chinese entrepreneurs and non-state owned businesses also faced a bitter winter of challenges in 2010.  Even Jeffrey Immelt went off script to express his frustration.

When I told a few friends that I was considering working for Google in China, some were even surprised that Google still had operations in China!  Perhaps they were left with images of an illegal flower tribute which symbolized the end of the story.

For reasons of confidentiality and discretion, I can’t say too much about what makes me excited about joining Google in China.  What I can say is that the rumors that “Google has lost all of its good people in China” is just false.  No doubt there are some very talented people who left to join the welcoming embrace of some other domestic Internet companies, or decided to pursue their own new startup opportunities, but I was incredibly impressed by the Googlers I met in Shanghai and Beijing in my visit to the Google offices in December, some of which joined Google even before the Kai-fu Lee era.  As with any startup, the key to success is always the people, and on that dimension I found myself excited about the prospects of working with the Google China team.

One final comment.  With regard to everything related to China, I’ve been inspired by Deng Xiaoping’s saying “tao guang yang hui, you suo zuo wei.” Maybe someday I’ll write some more about why this connects with me on so many levels.  But the idea of “keeping a low profile,” “building capabilities,”  ”hiding brightness,” and “biding time” is great advice for most companies to follow in the Chinese marketplace, much more so than in the US.  And the saying is evocative of a time in China’s history, Reform and Opening, where China’s ascendency was far from assured, and certainly not the conventional wisdom in the West as it is today.  So I guess following Deng’s advice means keeping a low profile and making stuff happen rather than creating a lot of hype that you can’t deliver against!

I’m deeply thankful for the support I’ve gotten from my professional community in both China and the US, and I wouldn’t have the confidence to take on this huge challenge without you.  Al Gore, in a TED lecture, quoted an African proverb: “If you want to travel fast, travel alone.  If you want to travel far, travel together.”  While he was talking about the climate crisis, I’ll take creative license to apply this toward the global development of the internet and the peaceful rise of China, and where these trends intersect.  I’ll expect to travel together with many friends on this journey.

photo: CC courtesy of veen on flickr.

Coming soon: changes in 2011

I’m afraid that Twitter and Facebook has sucked the life out of my blogging, so please connect with me there (or on LinkedIn).

This week I signed on to join a global Internet company to lead product management efforts in China…starting in January!  It’s a big change for me and my family on a number of dimensions.  I had originally envisioned my next step as co-founding a new company or joining a venture-backed startup company at an early stage of rapid growth.  But my long standing interests in the global internet with a special focus on China lured me into signing up for a pretty exciting Beijing-based opportunity.   I’ll be based in Silicon Valley until my kids finish this school year and then we will pack up our worldly belongings (that is, after a massive Craigslist, Freecycle, and Goodwill purge) and move to the heart of Chinese culture, Chinese government, and the Chinese internet industry.  I have high hopes to improve my rudimentary Chinese, and also to develop a detailed taxonomy of Chinese cuisine types through personally eating all kinds of Chinese food!

I’ll share more once I actually join in January, after I find out what the guidelines are for blogging.  I hope to continue to blog on CNReviews, here, and maybe Tnooz.

Notes to self: 2009 in Review

Placeholder post for me to record my thoughts and reflections on 2009.

Some quick, stream of consciousness thoughts:

Q1

US economy continued to stagnate.  The stock market hit a low in March.  After the famous Sequoia Startup RIP presentation we put plans in place to shut down our Beijing R&D team.  I took the lead on the overall plan for the company.  It was the right thing to do but it was extremely unfun because the team was doing many great things and our Beijing R&D operations fed my interest in China-related activities.

Went to China February 22 – March 4 (or so).  Took two half-days off to tour Chinese contemporary art galleries with RedBoxStudio and Maya Kovskaya.  Still haven’t written about those 2 amazing half-days.

Q2

April. TravelCom in Atlanta.  We announced that we hit 1 mm UV/month.  I also picked a social media fight with TravelPost and Kayak.  Fortunately, that ended well, with a little bit of media coverage we wouldn’t have had, and everyone ended up staying friends.  Meanwhile we are making huge progress with our UpTake Blog Network and our idea to create Travel Insights 100.

On my China side projects, CNReviews was rebooted and reimagined by Kai Pan, my new lead editor and partner.  We also start getting contributions from BloggerInsight, which are invaluable for providing some more business-related content.

Q3

UpTake continued to do extremely well, but in part because of seasonality of travel traffic.  I took time off to attend a few conferences:  Gnomedex, Conde Nast World Savers Congress and the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.  Finally decided to move on to pursue my interests in China and social media.  Yen and I started making plans quietly for my departure.  Everyone on my staff is past the 2 year mark, and doing a great job, so no guilt over leaving.

Q4

Left UpTake in October.  Announced my departure.  Yen wrote a very nice farewell post as well.  But then get pulled back into the PhoCusWright preparations.

In other matters, I spoke at AAMA Entrepreneurs workshop about lessons learned from my startup experience.  Led a case study at Plug & Play University with Professor Tom Kosnik.  Was on two panels at Rethink Hawaii: one on China and the Internet, the other on Fast Pitch.  Coached a Stanford E145 team called “Midnight Love.”

In November, attended PhoCusWright Conference.  Spoke at PhoCusWright at the “Blogger Town Hall” meeting.  Blogged about travel innovation.

Bummed out that I couldn’t attend CNBloggerCon this year.  Anyway, it was in a remote cave (in Lianzhou) somewhere in Guangdong Province near the Hunan border.  Amazing they had Wifi, but the location was chosen because it was not likely that authorities would shut down the conference.  In previous years, it was in Guangzhou (2008), Beijing (2007), Hangzhou (2006), and Shanghai (2005).  CNReviews sponsored the conference and we sent Kai and Min Guo there to cover it.  But Kai didn’t choose to write anything about it.  Rebecca MacKinnon did.

China trip: Dec 1-11 (or so).  Attended China Travel Distribution Summit and was quite honored to be sitting on the same panel as guys like Fritz Demopolous of Qunar.com, Ivan Zhang of Kuxun.cn, and Hao Wu of DaoDao.com.  I’ve know Fritz for a while and am always impressed by what he has accomplished, and his humble but intellectually assertive demeanor.  Someone said that they consider Fritz to be 70% Chinese.  That’s something to aspire to.

Return to California.  Spent the holidays at home, with Karen’s relatives coming to celebrate Christmas with us.  Dress up as Santa Claus for the first time.

Alicia Titus: Remembering her on 9/11

I’m remembering Alicia Titus today. My prayers and thoughts are with her family.

She was on my team at Netcentives in 1999, and then left to learn photography and ultimately to become a flight attendant based in Boston for United Airlines. She was on United Airlines flight 175 when it crashed into the World Trade Center at 9:03 am EST / 6:03 am PST (full timeline of events on Wikipedia).

Every year I try to drop a quick note on her guestbook at her tribute site, SweetAlicia.org. I also posted about her on the then Kango (now UpTake) blog here.  Pat Jenkins at UpTake also posted on September 11 Memorials around the country.

Here’s a few pictures of Alicia from SweetAlicia.org:

alicia titus with snake

Alicia Titus flight attendant training

While Alicia was Netcentives and worked on my team, it wasn’t until after she died that I realized that there was a lot I didn’t know about her. The crazy dot-com bubble days, where I felt like Keanu Reeves in Speed trying to keep the bus from exploding, wasn’t conducive to really spending time with people and building deeper relationships. Anyway, on 9/11 I often read her tribute site and other tribute pages like this one on BrokenHeartTrading.com and on Sep11Memories.org.

During this past year, I found an old waterproof film camera that I had failed to develop over the years. I developed it and found pictures of Alicia and my other team members on one of my most memorable offsites. I uploaded a those old Netcentives Offsite Photos from 1999 onto Flickr.

In the photo below, Alicia is 3rd from the right:

Alicia Titus Netcentives

In the photo below, Alicia is 5th from the left:

Alicia Titus Netcentives offsite

In this photo below, Alicia is #2 from the left:

alicia titus surfing

You come into contact with so many people in your life.  Seasons come and go.  There are so many people in this picture that I care about and consider friends, and yet we’ve lost touch.  Paul Erlicht, Deann Fairfield Work, Bethany Selland, Jonathan Blatt, Ashwin Verma, Tom Harvey, Lisa Cross.  And that’s just the people that decided to go surfing at that offsite.  It was a blessing to work with so many amazing people during that season of my life.

9/11 and Alicia reminds me to make an effort to go one level deeper in getting to know people, beyond the normal course of business.   I wish I had done so with Alicia.

Remembering her on this day.

FriendVenn diagram for Elliott Ng

I used FriendVenn to look at who I subscribed to vs. who subscribed to me. Use at your own risk because you need to put in your FriendFeed password into the app.

I then went through and added some people that I know or wanted to follow that I wasn’t subscribing to, and also pruned some people that I was subscribed to for no reason that also wasn’t subcribing back to me. I didn’t really scrutinize the 90 reciprocal subscriptions.

Here are the results:

You have 229 subscriptions and 181 subscribers. Here’s how they break down:

139 people you are subscribed to. 90 people who both sub to you and you sub to. 91 people who only subscribe to you.
Aaron Klemm
Adam Glickman
Adam Ostrow
Alan A. Lew
Albert Barra
Alex Iskold
Alex Nesbitt
Ana
Andrew Chen
Andrew Yu
Andy Lee
Benjamin Golub
Bradley Horowitz
Bret Taylor
Brian Carter
Brian Solis
Carla Thompson
Carlo Maglinao
Charlene Li
Charles Knight
Charles Peng
Chris
Chris Alden
Chris Brogan
Chris Foley
Chris Heuer
Chris Shipley
Chris White
Chris Wright
Clayton Donley
Cody Marx Bailey
Cyndy
Dave Winer
David Berkowitz
David Hornik
David Sifry
Deborah Micek
Devin Anderson
Don Lafferty
Emily Chang
Eric Eldon
Eric Gonzalez
Eric Martindale
Erick Schonfeld
Fergus Burns
Fred Wilson
Gabe Rivera
Garrett Camp
Gary
Ginger Makela
Greg Galant
Greg K.
Greg Veen
Ionut
Isaac Bythewood
JM (Nettie) Daum
Jacob Morgan
Jeevan Padiyar
Jeff Jarvis
Jeremiah Owyang
Jeremy Zawodny
Jess Lee
Jessica
Jim Stanger
Joel Postman
John McCrea
Jon Lebkowsky
Jonathan Yarmis
Joseph
Just A Clerk
Justin Gardner
Kevin
Kevin
Kevin Fox
Lisa
Lisa McMillan
Loic Le Meur
Lori Laurent Smith
Louis Gray
MG Siegler
Marc van der Chijs
Mark Forman
Marshall Kirkpatrick
Mashable
Matt Mansfield
Micah Sittig
Mike Miller
Nicolas
Nova Spivack
Owadenko
Pat Jenkins
Paul Kedrosky
Paul Walsh
Philipp Lenssen
Ross Mayfield
Ryne Nelson
Sam Lawrence
Scott Beale
Semipro
Shannon Clark
Shawn Jooste
Shel Israel
Sramana Mitra
Steve Rubel
Stowe Boyd
Tangos
Tara Brown
Tatum
Thebluestbutterfly
Todd Cochrane
Tom Foremski
Tom Reeves
Udayan Tripathi
WebLeOn
Wendy Piersall
Yong.Wu
Yuvi
Zheng Le
alipasha
bill
bonede
dan farber
dannysullivan
engtech
flypig
gamcat
iJohn
isaac
jdowland
l0ckergn0me
mary
mathew ingram
michael arrington
sedgewick
shara
soufron
soultravelers3
sunzhifeng
zephoria
Andrew Baron
Ashwani Kumar
Auren Hoffman
B.T.
Brandon
Brandon Titus
Bwana McCall
Carsten Ullrich
Chester Ng
Chinkerfly
Chris Clarke
Chris Howard
Christine Lu
Christopher Black
Christopher Michel
Claire Herminjard
Corvida
Daniela Jorge
Dave Stanley
David Feng
Dedric
Eckart Walther
Frederic
Geri Druckman
Giannii
Harris
Harry
Heather Meadows
Humphrey Chen
Jake Luer
James Cham
Jason Calacanis
Jason Kaneshiro
Jianjun Zhang
Jim Turner
Joey Lo
Julio
Kaiser Kuo
Kathy Johnson
Katie Mitic
Kenneth Tan
Kent
Kevin Werbach
Mark
Mark Gentry
Monica Laurence
Obesity Help
Oliver Ding
OnDemand Beat
Paul Denlinger
Paul Lucas
Pejman Nozad
Phil Harnish
Raj Gossain
Rajil
Rebecca MacKinnon
Reno Peng
Richard
Rick Castello
Robert Scoble
Robert Seidman
Sam Flemming
Sarah Perez
Some Girl
Stanley Wong
Steven Hodson
Suave
Sudirman
Terry Hicks
Thomas Crampton
Todd McKinney
Tony Hung
Udaiveer Mathoda
Viktor Kozeny
Wilder
Winser-Traveller
Yong Su Kim
dave mcclure
falanke
frank yu
guoqirui
herock
ian kennedy
muoto
number5
raymond rouf
rob
ron
sage brennan
streetforce1
AlexBowman
All TheThings Will Happen
Ambar Pansari
Andrew
Angus Lau
Bam Azizi
Ben Parr
Ben Wern
Bradley C Hughes
Bryn Youngblut
Casper Oppenhuis de Jong
Charles Bihis
Charles Frith
Cheyne Winterton
Chris Billman
Chris Rossini
Craig Thomler
Czar D.J. Peterman
Daryl Lorette
Eric Berlin
Faizar
Fons Tuinstra
George Gilbert
Gersham Meharg
Giselle
Grant Bierman
Greg Goodwin
Harald Felgner
Hutch Carpenter
JackChang
James Mallinson
Jason Chang
Jia Liu
John Biesnecker
Julio Medina
Kendra Bonnett
Kip
LPH
Maria Trombly
Mark Douglass
Mark Wilson
Mat Wiemann
Merrill
Michael Netzley
Michael Stewart
Mick Adams
Morgan
Neelie Meier
Nitin Karandikar
PerfSpot
Pierre-Philippe Martin
Rich Whitaker
Rick Martin
Rick Newman
Rob Diana
Robert Kuhlmann
Robert Ness
Robert Sanzalone
Romain Guerel
Scott Purdie
Sherrie
Sherrie
Stan Abrams
Stefan Hayden
Steve Spalding
Susan Beebe
Susan Grisanti
Susan Grisanti Guitarist!
Svetlana Gladkova
The Product Guy
Thijs Jacobs
Thomas Hawk
Todd Mintz
Tom Dickson
Vic Podcaster
Wayne Sutton
Wil
William Moss
Yung-Hui Lim
anthony wong
d e f c o n
farzad zamani
faylwy
funkyboy
girk
kukoo
lonnie b hodge
ream
ron k jeffries
stanleytam
viki

Shannon Clark tips on being more productive

I had the chance to celebrate with Shannon his birthday last week at an apres-Supernova conference event.   Shannon is starting a stealth-mode advertising network called Nearness Function.  He shares an introspective retrospective (can you say that?) with his blog readers here.

Here’s a picture of Shannon at the Blogtropol.us lounge at Web 2.0 Expo:

Shannon has an earlier post with tips on being productive.  I like them and thought I’d just capture them here:

  1. Dress for success
  2. Stay hydrated
  3. Vary your posture and pay attention to your surroundings
  4. Surround yourself with others who are getting things done
  5. Have to-do lists that you refer back to on a regular basis
  6. Cross off at least something from your to-do lists every day
  7. Snack and eat healthily
  8. Get some physical exercise every day

I feel like I already focus on 4-6 and I want to continue to do that better.

Maybe what I’ll tackle next is #8 and #1!  Number 1 is relatively easier to accomplish than #8 which has not been an area of success for me in the past.

Thanks Shannon for the tips

Shanghai Yarn Shopping

At my wife’s request, I did some yarn shopping in Shanghai. Not knowing anything about yarn, knowing only a little about Shanghai, and being a confirmed uninterested shopper, I set out to a specific intersection provided to me by my wife via her Ravelry friends. True love means overcoming your worst fears and shopping for yarn!

Here’s the storefront.

Here’s the front entrance.

Here’s some of the shelves, chock full of yarn.

Here’s the yarn I purchased.

Here’s how much it cost (in RMB).

Here’s the shopkeeper and me!

Sichuan Earthquake: I wish I could do more

This past week was crazy. On Monday 5/12, after the Sichuan earthquake happened, we tried to respond by sharing news of China earthquake pictures and blogosphere coverage, then later compiled an earthquake donation guide that is now up to 40 ways to give. I donated to American Red Cross and Mercy Corps so far, both of which are reputable US tax-deductible organizations with reputable local partners in China, the Red Cross Society of China and the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA). Oliver Ding then created a great slideshow version of the donation post. In short, I wish I could do more. Prayer, donation, and sharing information is what I’ve done so far.

China earthquake vigil

Christine Lu’s Harmonious Fries award

The continued polarization between Western popular opinion and Chinese popular opinion continues. I read Chinese Internet Users Say Enough to International Bullying which talked about the (L) China viral movement. The TechCrunch commmenters, especially the anti-(L) China commenters, were so offensive that I got baited into writing a 450+ word comment on TC. What a waste of my time — I’m not going to change any minds over there. Anyway, I’ll just post it at the bottom here for recordkeeping.

Christine Lu launched her Harmonious Fries award to celebrate people trying to bring people together rather than split them apart. Here’s mine!

Elliottng Harmonious Fries

Thanks Christine! Follow @christinelu at Twitter!

Here’s my TechCrunch comment:

It amazes me to see TechCrunch haters on virtually every topic here on TechCrunch. I feel blessed to live in the USA where freedom of speech and freedom of the press allows us to express virtually any point of view without serious concern about my personal liberties being curtailed by the state. I (L) USA!

At the same time, it disturbs me that the anti (L) China commenters are so much more judgmental and one-sided than the pro (L) China commenters. Look, I am not fluent in Chinese and can’t read Chinese media or BBS. BUT there seems to be ABSOLUTELY NO EFFORT MADE by most Western audiences to even UNDERSTAND the point of view of the Chinese people who feel Westerners are getting only 1 side of the story.

The amount of global awareness by educated Chinese people is on par with that of other educated people in most countries. It is the developed 1st world, and America in particular, where people have completely taken their freedoms for granted and not sought to engage in dialogue with others, and just take their own preconceived notions and allow events and news to just reinforce whatever they were already thinking.

On balance the pro (L) China commenters seems A LOT more reasonable and cosmopolitan than the anti (L) China commenters, at least on this thread. Doesn’t that surprise you? Aren’t “we” the ones who are free and “they” the ones who are brainwashed and held down by a repressive government?

Look — if “they” can climb over the Great Firewall via proxy servers (which btw is a total pain in the *ss) to see the outside world, maybe “we” can read Global Voices Online or Rolang Soong’s fabulous translations on EastSouthWestNorth blog (www.zonaeuropa.com) to climb in. Visit. Listen. Keep an open mind. Try to understand. Have a dialogue. Then try to convince. That is far superior than staying in our own little world with our own preconceived notions.

America may only have another 20+ years as de-facto world leader to steer the rules in place before we turn over leadership to a more complex multipolar group which will undoubtedly include China, India, EU, and Japan. Let’s regain our moral authority by reengaging the world with more humility and open-mindedness and only then will we get to create the world we want before we have to turn it over. The close-minded comments of the TC haters on this board convince me that we are still “same bed, different dreams” with the Chinese, and most other peoples in this world for that matter.