Hailin's Weblog

December 26, 2007

Founders at Work

Filed under: social — Tags: — Hailin @ 10:05 am

“Founders at Work”, a collection of interviews with founders of many successful startups, turned out to be something very fun to read.  Both of WordPress competitors – Blogger and Six Apart, are described in the book, and that makes the reading even more fun.

Some interesting points:

Most startups are started by geeks like you and me, who initially just want to do something fun, or to solve an immediate problem he faces daily. For 37Signals, it was the need for a simple tool for internal project collaboration; for del.iciou.us, it was organizing 20,000 bookmarks efficiently.  The problem that one man tries to solve turns out to be a common problem and the solution is welcomed by thousands users instantly.

Keep it simple.  Simplicity is beauty. Most of the Web 2.0 startups have small teams, so keeping it simple is about survival or death. Users like simple, elegant technologies, and best things are indeed very simple.

Ability to solve a core problem that differentiates the startup from many peers. Paypal solved the fraud problem that sucked millions of dollars monthly. Its competitors couldn’t and died.

December 19, 2007

Anonymity

Filed under: social — Tags: , — Hailin @ 8:52 pm

Yesterday evening, after washing piles of dishes, I sat down and read an interesting article on Forbes, titled “Hidden behind the net – anonymity lets creeps, criminals and malicious mobs run wild.”

My interest in Internet privacy dated back my graduate school years, when I co-authored a few popular papers on this topic.  Prior to 2001, privacy was a much hotter topic; Terrorists attacks changed the dynamics.

I believe anonymity is good. It allows everyone to voice his or her opinion without fear of criticism or prosecution in a large part of the world. 

The larger issue or today’s Internet is not lack of accountability; it is the lack of privacy, and the search engines are part of the reasons.  But can we blame big-G for that? No.  For the same reason we can not blame the auto industry for causing 40,000 highway death every year.

December 8, 2007

Bruce Lee interview video

Filed under: education — Tags: , — Hailin @ 9:45 pm

Bruce Lee, legendary Kung fu master.

It is interesting to hear him saying that the highest form of martial art is a form of expressing oneself. During graduate school years, I’ve studied some kung fu with an excellent master whose skill is probably better than Bruce Lee, I’ve also studied some math with internationally renowned mathematicians. One similarity I do notice is that yes, both are forms of expressing oneself.

December 6, 2007

Light and darkness

Filed under: social — Hailin @ 8:04 pm

There is an ancient Chinese saying “It is easy to give sinister words, but hard to utter good phrases”.  In other words, human beings have tendency to criticize, condemn, and judge.  Yet it takes great understanding and big heart to console, encourage, and build up.

Why our human nature has this tendency to blame others, and not ourselves?  It’s because we are all prone to the self-righteous attitude.  Then, why this direction and not the other way around? I’ve been pondering over this question for a long time now, and I believe the explanation can only be found from theological point of view.

There are two forces exist in and beyond this universe.  Force of Light and force of darkness. The force of Light creates, nurtures, fosters, encourages, and gives meaning to otherwise mundane existence.  The force of darkness destroys, depresses, demolishes, defeats, and judges.  Similar notion was vividly illustrated in C.S. Lewis’s book.

Seek and walk in the Light. Everyday let’s put a smile on a child’s face, cheer up a grieving heart, and console a languishing soul.

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