Monday, December 18, 2006


Home, sweet home.

One week almost passed. I had some nice family food while not really too much sleep… What a surprise. I had got up once at 4:30am to catch the greyhound bus to Ottawa for my wife’s F-2 visa interview. I had got up again at 7am to have the skype meeting with folks in China. I also had one skype phone call from 12am to almost 4am with JG in Thailand then got up at 9am. Enough sleep like a pig? Far from it…

Montreal to me is the same but to my wife I know it’s much different. I really felt envy her French now. She can speak quite some sentence as well as reading newspapers. She is going to be a local Quebec resident while I am still a foreigner. I definitely should learn another language as well. Germany? Very possible since I can have Marin’s help at anytime while Spanish could be another good choice too since it’s so widely used in both South America and North America now. But the pronunciation of r will kill me…

There isn’t much news happened this week. Like a week for me to catch up various things I had missed or failed to do in last two BCAP weeks so next week will be a very productive week.

Some hints:

Business 2.0 Magazine is really a great magazine to read. It’s part of CNNMoney network.

Businessweek is great too.

I should continue my habit to read in the Library one hour everyday, to catch up all the newest stuff. It should cover books reading as well.

The other hour should be spent on techcrunch and venturebeat everyday too.

Then swimming twice a week in the weekend? Jogging every the other day?

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Finally, I am sitting at my lovely home in Montreal. Now I am using my wife’s lovely Dell laptop to write my first weekly blog in Montreal, to wrap up the last week of my semester in 2006.

It’s a BCAP week. It’s the final academic presentation week for our BCAP project. It’s academic because our BCAP team needs to present in front of a faculty panel consists of professors from our MOD II. We had DA professor Terry Reilly, MEIA professor Kevin Jones, Law professor Petty and FIBD professor Soydel. We are really lucky to have Terry. His DA class is always wonderful because he has such a good comedy talent to add various hilarious comments to the class. The presentation went well as well as the Q&A session after the presentation. All of our seven team members answered various questions and the professors are quite satisfied. I am quite confident we may get an EPS for this BCAP project.

I guess we are one of the few BCAP teams that don’t have a female member. And we are also one of the few BCAP teams that have seven team members. That’s a lot. Fortunately, all of my team members appreciate straightforward and open conversation. There is neither dirty political fight nor personal attack at all even at a few fierce arguing moments. I love my team. We are also quite relaxing during the BCAP time. Considering quite some team almost met everyday for three to four hours, we are really like in vacation. But when the time comes, we just work around the clock. I love this way of working. It’s much more efficient when you in a tight schedule. This reminds me the TechMark time in the orientation week.

After the final BCAP presentation, I met my team members in another team’s BCAP room and I had three cup of Russian Vodka. That’s a lot! Fortunately, I had some baked fish fillet in my woodland hill apartment before returning to the Olin hall with GZJ. Otherwise, I may be hammered already. The lovely BK and ML are struggling at the edge of getting drunk. That’s really funny. Later I went to a nearby bar at Newton with JD and ML to see what other classmates were doing. Man, I really don’t like the bar, a noisy place with poor but expensive food. Is it the only choice for relaxing for American? Poor dudes…

I hate BCAP too. First I am in the IT industry while I’d much prefer any non-IT industry to learn something new. Second it greatly damaged the R project. BCAP drained people’s energy and enthusiasm. When you returned to home, you just don’t want to do jack. That’s bad. Even worse than the normal school days. R almost stalled for two weeks. The Chinese team could still work on the R&D side but the US team was much under performed. I foresee the winter break going to be a busy month for R.

Finally here is the good part. I had talked and met two partners of local VC firms. The talk was very informative and helpful. It’s great to learn others perspective about who I am, how valuable I could be and what I could bring to the table. It made me more sober about myself. Thank you, Mr. Steinberg. Your words I’d learned from the Babson Innovation Forum, “courage never hurts”, gave me a lot confidence and brought me so many unbelievable results. I am still kind debating about a career in VC or continuing doing start-up things since I always have ideas to do. Even VC partners gave me different advices. Some prefer the first while the others prefer the latter. Well, I will continue focus on entrepreneur track for now. Focus…

What I had learned the most from this first semester?

1. The important of a purpose and the execution. I had benefited so much from this one.

2. Networking skills. Now I think I almost learned the most suitable networking skill for myself. I have my own need and my own style. I am glad to find my way rather than following others’.

3. Confidence. Yes I am in the States now. So what? My own style fits here so well.

Thank you, Babson. This second half of 2006 is such a wonderful period for me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Books for Entrepreneurs

Here is the URL of the original post at businessweek about books for entrepreneurs...

"Why Should White Guys Have All of the Fun?" - Blair Walker and Reginald Lewis, (John Wiley & Sons, 1995)
"The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship" - William Bygrave and Andrew Zacharakis (John Wiley & Sons, 2004)
Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder (Vintage Books, 1998),
Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott (The Berkeley Publishing Group, 2002)
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan (Crown Business, 2002)

Though many doubt entreppreneur could be taught, certainly some reading would be helpful for entrepreneur-wannabes. Beside those books, the best place to start reading maybe those blogs posted by venture capitalist or entpreneurs such as:

From the Eyes of an Enterpreneur

Friday, December 08, 2006



1。有个明确的目标。 明确的目标以后可以随时改变,但是它可以让你在有新目标之前的时间效率更高,譬如是看DVD还是给自己的目标工作,譬如研究开公司的问题。一个后果是你会放弃很多个人娱乐,但是是在心甘情愿的情况下放弃

2。利用2年时间开个公司。其实真正关键的不是一定要开个公司。而是利用开公司的过程更加深入的利用babson的各种资源,课堂/教授/校友,还有周围的一切。这样会让你更主动,而不是天天被Mod Map签着鼻子走。因为打算开公司所接触到的资源绝对和因为找工作所接触到的资源绝对不是一个层次的。原因如下:



其次,中国的哲学思想是先宏观。从大到小。在babson同样适用。每门课一定要明白为什么上这门课。是否大家还记得babson是如何安排1年级的4个模块的?mod 1: idea generation;mod 2: market analysis & opportunity evaluation; mod 3: launching a start-up and mod 4: growing。这个就是过程。怎么学最好?就是从mod 1开始就打算做个公司,即使完全是为了上课的考虑。譬如mod 1结束,你确定了一个开公司的想法:在babson开个小零售店。mod 2就是帮你分析可行性的过程。CSCA是竞争策略,如何和附近的star market/shaw's和wholefood竞争?如何和市里面的88超市竞争?Moda是市场,如何确定目标人群?如何定价?MEIA是给你一个数学工具来量化的分析各个结论的好坏。定价的方案是否和附近人群的收入水平合理挂钩?elasticity? 你是否涨价,如果star market涨价,cross elasticity? 如果你有一个真实的机会来应用这些课程/framework,课堂很容易,考试也不难。



我的这一个学期收获很大,还顺便拿了个圣诞礼物。CSCA/MPS, MODA/MEIA/ESC。希望大家下学期生活愉快。


Sunday, December 03, 2006


Indeed a busy week, but with a happy ending. We finally finished the joint final exam of MODA and MEIA. MODA stands for Marketing Opportunity and Demand Analysis. MEIA stands for Marketing Environment and Industrial Analysis. The final exam is much easier than I expected and I even think of having an EPS rather than originally dreamed MPS. (For folks wondering EPS/MPS, Babson MBA is using an alternate grading way: we using ESC/Excellence, EPS/Exceed Professional Service, MPS/Meet Professional Service, MP…) Even though I had not spent much time on the classes and assignments, I know the subjects very well and the result of exam will prove so. First of all, you must understand the whole picture. Why doesn’t name MEIA as Managerial Economics since the recommended textbook is called “Managerial Economics”? Why doesn’t call MODA as simply Marketing? If you understand that the principle of MOD II is opportunity evaluation, another important phase for launching a start-up, you will see the rational. More importantly, the professors are focused on teaching us a systematic way to not only make a decision but also make a better decision. MODA is to help us identify and evaluate any potential business opportunity while MEIA provides us quantitative tools, economics, to assess those opportunities. Every chapter of those classes, from 5Cs and 4P of MODA to marginal cost and price elasticity, is simply fulfilling the objectives of MOD II. I find out many classmates easily falls into the details without understanding the whole picture. Looking at everything from a strategic and higher position will benefit everyone a lot.

The preparation of exam took a lot of time of R team inevitably. It even made me a bit anxious. I believe we are in the right track and direction. Even though it makes me feel better when met others who are still idea discussion stage, I know I am running against time and against the other smart guys somewhere in Silicon Valley, NY or Cambridge. I am also running against the class, the assignments and the exam. I am also even running against myself. I realized already that it’s so easy to give up your so called hobbies. I have not read anything about soccer since last Sept after I flied from Beijing to Toronto. The answer is simply time. I believe the whole start-up experience maybe something similar to the effect of coffin addiction. You just want to do it and want to get it done as quick and good as possible. If you realized you are working on something may leave a mark in history, not to mention the positive return in terms of money and other things, you will believe being entrepreneur is one of the coolest career in the world.

Finally we got our formal advisor board established, though I need to give John a call tomorrow evening to convince him. To me, the first “NO” from others is always a clear wake-up call to let you to be better prepare to convince that person next time. Steve, John and Sam would be a very strong board. I am also thinking of forming another advisor board that contains only other MBA classmates, about five students, at least 2 female students. I have a rough candidate pool based on my own experience and recommendation from Marin and Andreas. This could be done after the DA and MCF joined exam next Tuesday.

Now the most important for R is the alpha version. Even though I have found three ex-colleagues who agreed to work on part-time basis, I feel it’s still risky. So Marin and I agreed to put some personal money together to hire a fulltime developer from We really look forward to finish the development of alpha version in 2006. That would give us a big leap in 2007. We could immediately start organizing the internal test of alpha version, collecting buyer data, using buyer data to develop seller and finally, contacting potential angel investors. We may even be able to develop the alpha version during this Dec to a stage that Marin and Andreas may offer a quick demo to people in California during their winter trip. I may join them too!

Oh, we had also went to the second workshop for start-ups organized by NECINA. It’s hosted at the Boston office of Brown Rudnick LLC, located in downtown Boston. Much less people than the first workshop hosted in Highland Partners, even though the subject this time is Financing options for start-ups. One senior associate from Highland Partner, one local active angel investor, one VP from Silicon Valley Bank (The same guy I’d met in Cyberposium last week in Harvard) and an entrepreneur who received venture capital investment together formed the panel. The discussion was interesting. It just brought me and Marin a strong feeling to have our alpha version website done as soon as possible.

Time flies. Yes, just three weeks left before the winter break. Just five weeks left before 2007. I am so happy I had this opportunity to launch R with Marin and Andreas. 2007 is going to be another fun year.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I know I should start writing the weekly journal no later than the weekend. But I failed to do so for the past two weeks. It’s really a pain to recall what had happened but also a good way to review the past as well. Right now I have a could-not-been-better morning: class started at 10am (Yes, we are in the luckiest section!) and there is only one new email this morning (though this makes me feel a little bit disappointed…). Anyway, let’s turn the clock back to Nov 06, 2006.

For R, the most important thing is we have a new member now. His passion about R is the most impressive and I’d like to have him on board. The good thing of a larger team is there are more brains. We had couple of fierce discussions about the business model and the action plan. Our classmates are really helpful. A few discussions with them in woodland hill and Olin hall did give us some fresh ideas. We really should move on to build our student advisor board. Ah, as one suggested, we would better off to have female classmates in the advisor board if we can’t find a female team member.

The 12th Cyberposium event held in Harvard last Sat is fantastic. We had some great panelist and I’d met a couple of interesting person and built a good relationship with. As I previously mentioned, be proactive. This is a big big factor to differentiate you from others. Besides, this reminds me the words from the keynote that Mr. Tom Steinberg, founder of Staple and partner at Highland Capital, had given in the Babson Forum of Entrepreneurship and Forum,. What he had said? A couple of things. Be brave. Be rule-breaker. Be xxxx. Courage never hurts. I benefited from them a lot. Everyone should ask themselves, do you want to be an audience or you want to be part of the event? I would choose the latter and I’d approached a few other people, MBA students from Ivey that I will meet in Montreal during the winter break, a Bentley MBA who also working for a VC firm, an interesting dude from SVB… Especially with the VC guy, we had talked a lot in the whole morning and I am very happy I’d talked to him first. Yes, there are many people like me who may not want to initialize a talk but would be more than happy to accept an invitation to start a talk.

This whole week had a lot discussion about R. Especially a lot about various different aspects. It’s necessary to bring Andy updated about where R is and this introduction process inevitably led us to review quite a lot of our previous conclusions. This is very similar to the teaching process. The only time you will know whether you really understand a topic is to explain it to someone else and to answer all his or her questions. It’s quite painful to be challenged about the previous conclusions for everyone but it is really helpful to force yourself calm down and review your past decisions. Is it really right? Is it really good?

I kept the swimming in the weekend. It’s really a wonderful feeling to be in the water. Free, comfortable… One research hypothesis said that in part of our history, our ancestor had been forced to live in the environment where they need always standing or swimming in the sea. And this hypothesis believes that’s why our skin is closer to sea animals such as dolphin rather than other ale or monkeys with long and thick hair allover our body.

I decided to place this journal at my personal blog. It’s a big change to publish your personal life on the public domain. Is it good? Does courage never hurt? Let’s see.