But What About Privacy?

THEM: Aren’t you concerned about privacy?
ME: What about privacy? Look at this way: think about how our data is used, not being collected.



Dear #startups Don’t Be Guilty of This Crime

Customer development is a fancy way of saying: I’m requesting a free brain picking session to better my product!

Look, I get it. I respect the start-up hustle. I also love helping people out but I have a day job. A very time consuming day job. So if you don’t sell me, I will turn down your request to save us both time. It’s not personal. It’s that if I say I’m going to do a customer development session, I will

  1. be interested in your product
  2. dedicate time
  3. provide as much well thought out feedback and sound advice

Because of 1-3, I refuse fulfilling development calls as favors for friends and this is why.

A few weeks ago, I made the enormous mistake of agreeing to a development call as a favor. This is how the conversation started:

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Those who follow Christine (@ChristineLu) Viv (@vivowang) and I across our respective social networks, probably got inundated by photos today. I’m sorry -well not really- but too bad. If it takes something gimicky as three Asian chicks to raise awareness, then so be it.

It’s 2010. Fighting for equality should not be. Our predecessors have fought that battle. Aren’t there issues other than equality we should all be fighting for?

I can’t believe people are still afraid of things they do not understand. So if it takes link baiting with photos to spread awareness, again, so be it. My hope, is that one more person participates, uploads their photos, shares with their social graphs to help the cause.

Change isn’t going to happen overnight, but it’s these little victories that add up to eventually, change. Or in this case, acceptance.

These are the times I appreciate the power of social media and inspired by those using these tools to fight good fights. To learn more about the NOH8 campaign, click this: THIS.

For those interested, there’s more after the jump (photos and text.)
Christine shared her (very personal) thoughts here: HERE.

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Proof Number of Followers Don’t Matter on Twitter

It’s frustrating to see so much weight placed on follower count, but articles like these give me a glimmer of hope. From AdAge:

“[…]But his first round of magazine-cover appearances suggest that the conversion rate between dollars and tweets is still pretty unclear. And not everyone, it seems, can cash in yet.

The issue sold just more than 1 million copies at newsstand, about 20% below the newsstand average for early issues this year and 20% below its newsstand average in April 2009.

People’s later cover with Sandra Bullock, who doesn’t appear to have a Twitter account but does have an Oscar, sold more than twice as many newsstand copies.”

Separately, there was an article in HBR today dissecting Twitter followers and how it correlates to influence.

Totally gonna toot my own horn, but I’ve been saying since lord knows when: Grow out of the Tila Tequila mentality. Follower count does not equate to influence. If 3 million people are following, but no one is listening, are you popular and not an influencer? Why didn’t Beiber’s People issue sell more than Sandra Bullock’s issue? Does popularity equate to conversion? Or even reach?

Only time will tell, but me? I’d rather have a fraction of followers who actually engage. I think it’s time we re-think the terms: influencer and popular. #fridayfoodforthought

Ignite LA Kinda Sucked #igniteLA

I sat on this post a day for I did not want to be the a-hole slamming such an amazing event, but two days later, I still stick by my initial thoughts: IgniteLA sucked.

Technical difficulties, it happens. Cruddy venue with sticky carpets and not enough chairs… hey, that happens too — especially since the event is free. But everyone I know who attends Ignites leaves…ignited. It was so disappointing how the night kicked off with a huge plug from APOC – USC’s New Media graduate program. The speaker, lectured us on the digital age, about how we are connected via Internet more than ever and how things go “viral” through Internet communities. Then. THEN she ended her speech by plugging her program and telling us graduates intern at top tech companies like Yahoo!. Uhhhhhhhhhhh okay. Whatever you say, lady, but most of us there are already eating, sleeping and breathing the Internet. Know your audience, Public Speaking 101. Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t Ignites about charging creativity, showcasing original, obscure people in the community…? That presentation set an unfortunate tone to the night.

Another huge bummer: IgniteLA’s site is under construction. That happens, sure, but the site is in Flash. Flash. FLASH. Really? REALLY? The least they could’ve done was put up a schedule or list of speakers. I only remember three of the speakers and that’s because they are my peers or friends of friends. What about the people who attended for the first time? How are they supposed to connect with the speakers?

Aside from a few presentations, I wish the content was vetted more carefully. There were some bizarre bizarre presentations, including one with the slide: RED. WET. HARD. (LOL) and it almost seemed like the organizers were showcasing their personal friends (most of the speakers were introduced as “My very very very good and amazing amazing friend x and x.”) The ones who weren’t their friends, were introduced with a disclaimer: “The next speaker came highly recommended by “so and so.” So weird. Frankly, I don’t care who a person is, who they know, who they are connected to, or where they they come from. Just give me awesome content. The most troubling was how the final slide of all the presentations didn’t have any of the speakers’ Twitter names or URLs.

On top of that, there was no Ustream, no official hashtag, and hardly anyone was live Tweeting. Perhaps I am spoiled by the caliber of the other Ignites, but LA is a great city with so many collective creative minds, it was a shame this Ignite left me wanting more UMPH.

Maybe next time, I guess…? (Well, I hope.)

added: Natasha and LaLaWag were underwhelmed too… #justsayin

Dear New Jersey, I don’t like you

New Jersey. Ever been?

If you haven’t, that’s okay — most only go to the airports. Heck, I was one of those too. Newark International Airport is so close to Manhattan, when I lived in The City, I used to fly out of Newark a lot — more often than I can remember. I’ve only been through the actual city of Newark once, only because I was lost. It was around 2003 when I just moved to the East Coast from California, and I still remember the sad sights, the racial slurs, and how terrified I was. I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could and never ever return.

Along with my Newark trauma, it took almost a year to adjust to East Coast life. You see, I was guilty of living in the California bubble — for a lack of a better term — and realized how rainbows and butterflies California is after I lived out of state. I rarely experienced racial divide. I am Asian (Japanese), and in California —especially in the SF Bay Area— blatant racism is non existent. People never outright called me names until I got to the East Coast. Why people thought it was ok to say “go back where you came from” or call me derogatory names was beyond me. I couldn’t understand why strangers hated me so much.

Another huge adjustment was witnessing socio-economic divides on a daily basis. In California, our cities are separated —or shall I say segregated— and the socio-economic lines are rarely blurred. Ghetto? What ghetto? Oh, urban areas I mean; don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable by being politically incorrect.

I was raised in a wealthy area and my friends and I were taught to stay within our city and area limits. Everyone abided except me. I’ve spent time in Hunter’s Point, EPA, and the Mission — areas that are predominately Black, Mexican, Samoan or Tongan, and was never afraid of walking down the streets. Scared, maybe, but never afraid. On the East Coast, there are parts where I am terrified of my well being (i.e. deep in Brooklyn or New Jersey.) The more states I visit, the more I realize California is a very special place

So coming from that, the cross country move was a huge adjustment and the East Coast felt like a whole ‘nother world. I was baffled, angry, then frustrated by clearly affluent people turning blind eyes to their surroundings. I went through a phase of yelling my disgust at the limos and town cars (in my head) shuttling privileged people who only care about themselves and their personal wealth. Granted, it’s not their faults, as capitalism is what our country is built on but I just couldnt help but wonder: Wtf is wrong with you? Our country is falling apart, why aren’t you helping to fix it? Why don’t you care? To me, the ignorance is equivalent to flipping off our country, everything it stands for and inadvertently disrespecting what our ForeFathers fought for: Freedom. Liberty. And justice for all. Then after I adjusted to life on the East Coast, my anger turned into sadness. I couldn’t and still can’t understand why so many people simply do not care.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh. New Jersey.

Wow. New Jersey. Where do I even begin? After my first encounter with Newark, I’ve been back to various cities for several reasons. Nothing prepared me for the sights of Camden, Trenton, Jersey City (the otherside of the Turnpike) and Newark. Don’t get it twisted, I have seen my share of the ghetto. I’ve been to the heart of Baltimore MD. You know, The Wire? Have friends residing deep in predominately Black areas of Brooklyn, where the only Asian person runs the local Chinese restaurant behind bullet proof windows. I’ve been down South — New Orleans, South Carolina, and a few other states, as well as Detroit — like the hood of Detroit. Even after all of my visits to different parts of the country, New Jersey, is the only state I never want to return to.

Am I making you uncomfortable? Are you judging me? Do you think I am being dramatic? Well, take a look at those cities in Google Image Search. Here we have Camden, Trenton and Newark – photos don’t lie. I haven’t stepped foot back in those three cities since 2005ish and the images are still burnt in my mind.

The cities (outside of downtown) were mostly flat, and rundown buildings were stretched for miles on out. When I close my eyes and picture the streets, I still get overwhelmed by the sadness and helplessness  — almost like claustrophobia from the thought of being stuck, as the same questions circle in my head: How is it okay the streets are scattered with broken glass, flat tires, garbage, and…filth. Why do the citizens hate me so much they think it is ok to call me racist names? And what about the children? Do the kids know there is a whole world, just waiting to be explored by them? That they can achieve anything they put their minds to?? How do the residents…find hope?

On and on the questions continue and it is frustrating how there are no answers. So it’s not really New Jersey I don’t like. It’s our people, our government, and the state of this country that I really don’t like. And the worst part, is that I don’t know how to make it better.

@Dreamhost and @netsolcares Double FAIL

Ok. Don’t laugh, but I finally decided to register a domain and host my blog back in December.

My first choice was Dreamhost, what a big mistake. Long story short, their site kept redirecting me to some Dreamhost App panel thing (with a broken URL) because I needed to sign up and consolidate something in order to create an account.

Uhhhh, what? I just wanted to register a domain and sign up for a hosting package…

Since general consensus stated Dreamhost was awesome, my heart was set to sign up with them. It was a bummer no matter how many which ways I tried, Dreamhost kept telling me the app panel thingy with the broken URL was required as the first step. Fine, whatever,  so I launched the chat app for live help. After waiting for a live person for what seemed to be an eternity (ok, about 45 minutes – not even exaggerating @Kristy is my witness), this happens:

After waiting and waiting and waiting, the person who was helping me, ended the session. Now I am not sure if there were technical difficulties or connection issues or what but way to reassure new customers, Dreamhost! I don’t care what any of my trusted friends said: I was over trying to sign up with them.

Back to square one.

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