Shanghai in 1990 vs 2010 [Photo] (WOW)

[caption id="attachment_52" align="aligncenter" width="750" caption="via @danielhewitt and @GuyKawasaki"] [/caption] Just an absolutely beautiful depiction of the type of growth that happens around the world (here: specifically Shanghai, China). I've been there a few times in my life - it's where all my family is from - but could never have imagined it to be anything like its 1990 self. Enjoy the view. [Source: Alltop]

The "Bored at Work Network"

So for the mini consulting project for Nyoo TV, I was specifically assigned to look into what characterized a viral campaign. That's when I stumbled upon an interesting video on TechCrunch (I'll link to it later). It talked about 5 things but what really caught my attention was this idea of the "bored at work network." I immediately felt kind of stupid for not realizing this earlier and extremely excited because it's a market segment I haven't thought of before. I guess I can blame my college student lens for this. When I think about it there are probably millions of people in the corporate world or at an investment bank that hate their job and just want some sort of silly release from it that they can share with their friends. Believe me, I'll be working on something that will try to use this new knowledge to my advantage.

Building a business, and helping the world? OK!

[caption id="attachment_42" align="aligncenter" width="544" caption="source: freerice.com"] [/caption] Recently in my Corporate Ethics (LGST210) class, we have been talking a lot about impact investing - where you make investments that have the purpose of helping make the world a better place and makes no sacrifices in profitability. This got me thinking... is there something I can do? I first though about freerice.com - what a great idea! I remember EVERYONE I knew used it all the time. So I thought, maybe I can use my newly acquired skills to build something great for the world like freerice. Then by strike of fate my friend told me about Vitanna, which is apparently based in Seattle and helps the underprivileged pay for a university education. Hopefully they will be a company that will partner with me as I create a site that presents gradually more difficult math problems, and they can help contribute to paying for an engineering degree. Just some thoughts at this point. Let me know if you know of any micro-finance firms or charities that could be potential partners

NyooTV Consulting Project Begins

[caption id="attachment_35" align="aligncenter" width="750" caption="source: nyootv.com"] [/caption] Today I started working on my consulting mini-project for my Enabling Technologies (OPIM 314) class. My group (of which I am the only freshman), decided to choose the NyooTV project and I was very excited. A little introduction. Nyoo TV is an Indian Online Video start-up. They seem to be emulating the best parts of Hulu (the premium content) and the best parts of YouTube (a HUGE library, and a social experience). They've grown tremendously in just the past couple of months, and our task is to come up with a low-budget marketing plan that will make them grow extremely viral in a specific market segment (I believe the deliverable was something like 2Million new users in the next 30 days). My initial reaction was to look at the Indian-American market. A market that our whole team knows much better than those currently living in India. Although this may not be the demographic they were originally thinking that we would look like I believe there is a lot of potential. Apparently the Indian-American population is somewhere around 3M and growing. Also, I talked to some of my Indian-American friends about Nyoo and they loved the idea, immediately started using it, and told me that they know all their friends would love it too. Hopefully by targeting this segment to go viral, it also spreads to their family members who are still living in India. I will report back as to what direction my group, as a whole, ends up going with.

New domain and a new project

[caption id="attachment_32" align="aligncenter" width="706" caption="source: shh.. it's a secret"] [/caption] Why am I up so late? I just bought this new domain (wesleyzhao.com) and had to make a couple new additions before I went to bed (added the tweet button [click it!], an about page, a projects page, and a bunch of other stuff too). But also, Dan and I have been getting started on a new project (let's call it Project Val). We made some great progress on the design and the front end and also made a big dent in the server-side stuff as well. On top of that, I learned how to deal with 'sessions' in php. I'm very excited for Project Val, and we really have high hopes for it. Email me or leave a comment, and I'll make sure you're one of the first to know when it's out.

Sudo START - Improving search algorithm for PleaseMatchMe

[caption id="attachment_6" align="aligncenter" width="344" caption="source: pleasematch.me"]

[/caption]

Alright. I decided I need to do a better job blogging. I wrote this post originally on Posterous, but got my own domain today and just installed WordPress.

So for my first post back in the blogosphere I want to announce to the world my excitement at achieving faster search results on PleaseMatchMe - a site I built with my friends Ajay Mehta and Tess Rinearson.

So, we had recently made our home page a simple 'search for your school' page instead of the sample game we originally started. We found this gave us a significantly lower bounce rate and kept people on our site. But our schools database was increasing and causing slow times to load. We wanted to be able to show the search-er the count of people currently in that school that are play-able so that added an additional load as we queried for live results for people in that school.

Here's what (genius, web-entrepreneur, programmer, and now-friend) Dan Shipper help me figure out:

  • I could use the 'LIKE' feature in my MySQL query to only get the best matching data from my dataset rather than loading all schools, and using a substring match in php.
  • I could keep track of the count of students for each school in my database and simply upgrade that number with each new user

Those two things SIGNIFICANTLY decreased search-time for our site. Though still some issues I need to work out. Currently I am running a python script to update the count every hour or so, when I need to be doing it real time by updating the count per a user. Last night, though, I couldn't get the intval function (returns integer value of an object) working in php and updating counts was failing. I had homework and had to stop and just use the python script for now.

Updates later.

Starting...now - Improving search algorithm for PleaseMatchMe

Alright. I decided I need to do a better job blogging. I will probably create my own website eventually (wesleyzhao.com) and put up a blog using WordPress, but this will do for now.

So for my first post back in the blogosphere I want to announce to the world my excitement at achieving faster search results on PleaseMatchMe - a site I built with my friends Ajay Mehta and Tess Rinearson.

So, we had recently made our home page a simple 'search for your school' page instead of the sample game we originally started. We found this gave us a significantly lower bounce rate and kept people on our site. But our schools database was increasing and causing slow times to load. We wanted to be able to show the search-er the count of people currently in that school that are play-able so that added an additional load as we queried for live results for people in that school.

Here's what (genius, web-entrepreneur, programmer, and now-friend) Dan Shipper help me figure out:

  • I could use the 'LIKE' feature in my MySQL query to only get the best matching data from my dataset rather than loading all schools, and using a substring match in php.
  • I could keep track of the count of students for each school in my database and simply upgrade that number with each new user

Those two things SIGNIFICANTLY decreased search-time for our site. Though still some issues I need to work out. Currently I am running a python script to update the count every hour or so, when I need to be doing it real time by updating the count per a user. Last night, though, I couldn't get the intval function (returns integer value of an object) working in php and updating counts was failing. I had homework and had to stop and just use the python script for now.

 

Updates later.

Reducing Unemployment Made Easy (Yes to Transit!)


The easy way to create twice as many jobs, is just to fund more public transportation. It's THAT easy.

Studies show that funding public transportation over highway infrastructure creates twice as many jobs for every dollar spent. Now as Congress and the Administration discuss a possible jobs bill, it's important that we as a nation understand what the smart move is. Mr. President, if you are going to fund infrastructure to create jobs and stimulate the economy.... go green. Please.

Currently, funds from the Recovery Act to highways reach almost $16 Billion. Public transportation received four times less (at $4 Billion). However, per each billion dollars spent public transportation created over 16,000 jobs where highway projects had just above 8,000. So not only does public transportation infrastructure make formore valuable real estatehealthier citizens, and faster commute times, but will also help turn our economy around in other ways by creating more sustainable jobs for every American out there.

The next time you vote for a government official, consider his/her stance on public transportation -- do they want to help or hurt our economy?

Excerpt from Smart Growth America <here>
Full article/report from Smart Growth America <here>

How walkable is your home?


Don't be scared to walk a mile in your own shoes.

They're your shoes after all.
Walk Score gives you a score between 1 and 100 depending on how walkable your residence is. Criteria includes things like proximity to transit, restaurants, coffee shops, movie theatres, schools, etc...

As we learned, high walkability correlates to high real estate values. So maybe it's time for you to reevaluate your living area. Or at least consider transit and sustainability the next time you make a real estate investment. Or maybe even just consider it NOW and be more green. Mother earth wants YOU to help.

Want to make big returns on real estate? Statistics say GO GREEN.


Walkable neighborhoods increase real estate value.

I am not lying to you. On average, houses with above-average Walk Scores commanded $30,000 more in value. And while the recession hit hard on all real estate, typically the most walkable held up and, in a few cases, increased.*

What does this suggest? If we get in gear as citizens or as a nation, more pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly, walkable, and sustainable cities will take hold and help us prosper. Begin to build infrastructure to support other modes of transportation and just maybe we'll see a peak for our beloved Nation --oh and the Earth will be happy too.

Excerpt from Congress for the New Urbanism <here>
Full article from The New York Times <here>

*statistics from Impresa and Zillow