Unfair thought

I try not to be pessimistic. I try to be more scientific, objective and rational in my daily observation but when it comes to life it can never be judgement-free.

What judgement? The fact that something is off the range of fairness. Always.

My mind is wandering at various angles:

Technology vs. human mind: Our spiritual or cognitive progress is so slow while technology is moving in light speed. It’s already causing me a problem. I’m pretty educated tech-savvy person but I’m having difficulty equipping myself that suits current professional needs. My MS office and online skills aren’t just enough. Either I need to master CSS, SEO or other programming such as Java/ Ruby/ Pyton (what are they anyways and why those job titles that I find challengeable talks about these?)

Rich vs. middl-calss vs. poor: the Plutocrat book that’s always stanby in my bathroom really talks all about it. And i know from examples right around me. Someone I know is too rich that she won’t even need to pack whenever she goes from a home to another home of hers.. Everything is equipped at home 2, 3 and so forth that she just needs to hop on the helicopiter, as if going for a run around the block.

Middle-class. I’m middle class. Ivy educated w/ MBA with bilingual skills. Self-established after immigrating to the US. No complaints in living condition but not too affluent. We fear tax day like any other and when I lost my full-time position, things got tight but not too bad. What makes us middle-class is that we’re are not poor enough to get subsidy in massachusetts and It kills us to afford a private insurance.

Low-income. I just can’t imagine single moms/dads in blue color occupation without long-term outlook of their employement. what? 1 in 10 kids in America still goes without proper food everyday? Millions of children don’t have access to basic health care. How many homeless kids do we have?

Again, we’re talking about educated middle class struggling to catch up with their own expertise area to stay float in their job. Tomorrow a new kid w. SEO skills can replace John’s direct marketing job.

Access to education. College tuition at MIT was 20K 18 years ago. Now close to 55K. The real wage is stagnant for those years. But the tuition will never stop rising. We have to put 1K every month starting our kid’s birth and we might barely cover his 1st year or two of college. And if the kids get tuition loan, it’s going to haunt them entire life w/ 8 plus % rate.

Conclusion. Except for top .1 percent the rest 99.9 percent live like slaves with little chances even for their offsprings to rise above that. Does that make sense?

Definition of a ‘startup’

B*ppl [비플]

113835975 A form of a startup

As B*ppl blog will be dedicated in demystifying entrepreneurship, I feel the first natural step is to understand the meaning of entrepreneurship or synonyms like ‘startup’.

Even with my BS in engineering and MBA degrees, or even if I were a co-founder of (imaginary) Alpha-Beta startup, I’d have to think for a moment when asked the question: “what do you think a startup is?”

Here’s some insights from a Forbes article “What is a Startup?”, )

“A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed,” says Neil Blumenthal, cofounder and co-CEO of Warby Parker.

“Startup is a state of mind,” says Adora Cheung, cofounder and CEO of Homejoy, one of the Hottest U.S. Startups of 2013. “It’s when people join your company and are still making the explicit decision to forgo stability in exchange for the promise of…

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Aha moment! Facebook /= Social Network

B*ppl [비플]

The following interview that’s featured in Xconomy Boston suggests where the social network’s future lies ahead.

Basically, Gina Bianchini (the social network guru) says that more narrow sets of SNS will cater groups of smaller crowds with specialized interests. Facebook, by-far the most successful SNS will be probably seen as “mega” network where people with general and casual interests roam around. More controlled ways of interacting with smaller circles such as hobbies, professional, business purposes will be inevitably desired by users.

In fact, it’s quite intuitively known that Facebook, despite its jealous-inducing successes, is doing “so-so” when it comes to serving professional folks or niche groups. It’s really the home-base channel to locate long-lost friends or fan-base for a celebrity. Another analogy will be likened to restaurants and cafes in a common plaza. Facebook is like a plaza/square that people gathers for fun friday evening, most may or may not find the right folks to hang out or even…

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learning from Wayfair’s founders

B*ppl [비플]

Link to article: “The iron grip of Wayfair’s founders” or scroll down for the whole article.

This Boston-based online commerce provider is a complete surprise because: 1) people don’t think there would be anyone to contend with Amazon.com’s reign in e-commerce, and 2) I had no idea how innovative the business model was.

Now I have a whole new perspective and respect for these guys on top of learning how to be on top of your control over your creation. That is, you as a founder should be the central to the whole business more than anything. This also tells me that commerce as ancient it is as an industry (online and offline alike), there are still rooms to innovate. What’s important is “being an innovator”, not “being in a potential cash-cow industry (or some call it ‘a blue ocean’)”.

As a former engineering student and operation management enthusiast, I am curious how their technology…

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Startup guy/gal, you are the artist of your life

B*ppl [비플]

The most heart-warming piece that I read about entrepreneurs recently: “How quitting my corporate job for my startup dream f*cked my life up

Five questions I believe every future entrepreneur should ask himself before taking the first step to entrepreneurship:
1. Are you ready for the social pressure?
2. Are you single or do you have an extremely supportive partner?
3. Do you have enough cash to last at least a year?
4. Are you ready to sleep only few hours a day?
5. How do you define success?

As vague it sounds as it is jumbled with emotions and trivias of the pity human aspects, it also shows how serious and depressing a startup life can be. In fact, Brad Feld one of most successful tech VCs whom I also follow (check out his famed blog) talks a lot about dealing with his depression. I don’t think it’s…

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Random, imaginary interview w/ Neo (The Matrix)

Precaution: this really is random and silly. But there is reason why I wrote it. B*ppl is an imaginary interviewer.

B*ppl: hello. Thanks.
Mr. Anderson: yo, dude. sure.

B: Tell me briefly about your background and how you started your own software.
A: my name real is Neo. I’m a day-time desk dummy, night-time hacker. I felt like the world is about to be conquered by the Smith Agents so I came up with a software idea to deflect the Matrix. You know, I have been always an active hacker but then one day I woke up and realized this world sucks! I can’t just live like some sort of batteries of this rigid system.

B: Interesting! Did you always have such a rebellious thought of challenging the big guy w/ new software? or was there a particular event that struck you?
A: So I was mostly fine with being an excellent hacker to make fun of the agents but then one day I hit this major struggle. When I ran into authority (you know, smith), I received a signal from this guy called ‘Morpheus’ that I might need to wake up to the real challenge, not the itsy-bitsy ones. So that was the direct impact that made me to create this Matrix bending software.

B: That’s so cool. It’s funny how there are many people who feels that they are trapped in Matrix but never think of fighting against the status quo. So how did you sustained yourself when you just got out of the system? You lost your normal job and house.
A: it was kinda tough. Like you said, it was a whole new world. Now all I had was dirty cloth, tiny metallic bunk bed and myself. Luckily Morpheus fed me and trained me. This was really important time because I reprogrammed myself.

B: Let’s talk about Morpheus. What do you think that made him to believe that you were ‘the one’? Trinity is pretty good hacker and so is Tank.
A: You should probably ask Morpheus in person but for sure is that like every great guy he has this invincible conviction. Guess what? In fact, the Oracle told me that I’m not ‘the one’ but he didn’t listen. again, he didn’t listen! But that’s when I started to believe that I have skills, passion and tools to break the Agents. Had not I met a great mentor like Morpheus, I would have not created this game-changing stuff.

B: What an inspiring story! Were you not scared that your creation will have to fight directly with the Agents? I would have begged going back to the Matrix and live traditional life.
A: Well, honestly I felt like that at one point. But once you take step outside, in some ways, even if you go back to the Matrix it’s not the same. I knew that.

B: So tell me how exactly this Matrix bending software works? Is it a OS? antivirus? virtual machine? something that I can understand.
A: You know how the whole Matrix has become a life of its own once it was created. (B: oh, man! it was horrible) I felt like there has been unbalance in the whole system and none of traditional antivirus will work. Even upgrades through the same Architect will only bring about new problems. I had to invent something that regenerate the whole system.

B: Can you explain in more plain terms?
A: It’s a self-diagnosing eco machine. Behind the whole mechanism is really all about ‘love’. That’s all I can explain because the whole dynamics and internal coding is very specific to my internal processor.

B: Oh, so can I call it as ‘love virus’ to cure the ill system?
A: You can put it that way too although it’s too girly. Official term is “unconditionally giving system rebooter”.

B: Were all of your friends supportive of your idea?
A: not really. We had a guy who was sneaky. He must have had different idea of how it should be done to deal with the Agents. Well, in fact, he was bought out by the Agents. That put lots of strain on our team’s mission but then, we didn’t give up.

B: So are you saying that this guy almost killed your plan?
A: It really comes down to people, more than the product itself. I mean, I can make 1,000 different programs that can make money but when the real thing comes there are always people who has different agenda.

B: Oh, yeah. Good team~! (even the Lightening McQueen said that) Anyhow, the talk became a bit too heavy. What’s the next stage for the love virus?
A: Spread it as wide as it can go. The distribution channel is made of younglings and I have to train them.

B: The old channels won’t deliver them?
A: They will but then it takes time and I’m planning to adapt my code to traditional channels.

B: That sounds like headache.
A: oh, yeah. I don’t want to mess up and create another ‘Matrix’. I gotta be careful. They complain a lot.

B: I’m sure. You know what? I think this was incredibly awesome discussion. Thanks. I’ll spread the word about ‘the one’.
A:It’s ‘the one’-wannabe for sure 🙂 Any time, man. Thanks.

 

Strength of a worrisome generalist vs. technology

When any technological field such as biotechnology continues advancing in breaking formerly-impossible barriers, there should be at least one concerned-but-informed voice that invites discussions.

Technology advocates might call him or her a non-expert, coward or dragging force to better life assisted by technologies. But, as I’ve constantly reminded readers in many of my postings here, if scientifically trained eyes like mine has difficulties catching up with all these new development, what general population will be like? – so ill-informed that they are vulnerable to media propaganda making them easily swayed (one day you love the Facebook, the next day you hate it after learning about its cheating capabilities of your web habits). That’s why I strive to train my eyes to be the ‘bird eye’.

So this professor from MIT, Oye makes me thrilled to say “yeah!  I love new science & technology but I hate being taken advantages by them!” In fact, I personally met him at an UK event celebrating technology-related partnership event (TTIP, so called). He is a rear gem of intellects who knows technology but also digs deep into human implications.

He says the unexpected nature of human-engineered biotech is exactly what we should be wary of. I like how he set aside extreme worries such as bio-terrorism and makes his point valid in any scenario. Read more below, savor and ponder. Know geek sometimes can be a nice food for thoughts 🙂

Proceed with Caution
A promising technique for synthetic biology is fraught with risks.

August 19, 2014 Kenneth Oye

Genes in sexually reproducing organisms typically have a 50 percent chance of being inherited. Some genes have naturally evolved methods of improving these odds; these are called “gene drives.” The genomes of almost every sexually reproducing species contain either active gene drives or remnants of drives. Ten years ago, Austin Burt of Imperial College London proposed designing drives to alter genes in natural populations of mosquitoes. But the difficulty of precisely editing genomes to create engineered drives stymied the realization of Burt’s vision. This is about to change.

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