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GeekMBA360

Career and Money Advice At The Intersection Of Business And Technology

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Create the best possible environment for myself

November 10th, 2014 by GeekMBA360

I used to think that I can survive and excel in any environment with persistence, strong work ethics and mental toughness.

I cannot say I was wrong but my thinking has evolved.

A fish needs to the right water to thrive.

Each individual needs the right environment to maximize his or her talent.

I’ve been giving this topic a lot of thoughts.

I want to create the best possible environment for myself.

We’re all different so the environment that is right for me might not be right for you.

The environment I’m cultivating for myself have the following characteristics:

  • Work for someone who I really respect. Or work with someone (in the case of an entrepreneurial venture) who I really respect. Having really smart and capable people at the top is really important for the business, and for my career and personal happiness.
  • Stay away from the high pressure rat race of New York or Silicon Valley. That means I will intentionally live in a smaller city with a more balanced lifestyle. I’m living in Seattle and I like Seattle. The only downside of living here is the rainy days from late October to mid Feb.
  • Let me focus on creating values and allow me to do what I’m good at. I like consumer focused business because I want to touch people’s lives, I like online direct marketing and analytic, and I admire and appreciate the mentality of a value investor.
  • Minimal amount of office politics and bureaucracy. There will always be politics. But it’s more tolerable in some companies than others. I prefer smaller environment that is focused in getting things done. I want to stay away from environment that functions like working for the government.
  • Location agnostic: I don’t mind work long hours on something I really enjoy. But, because I have families in different parts of the worlds, I want to have the flexibility of working in any place in the world. With internet and my line of work (e-commerce), this is becoming increasingly doable.

What is the optimal environment for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Which city is the E-commerce capital of the world?

November 10th, 2014 by GeekMBA360

The answer is Seattle.
It’s interesting how many companies are opening offices in the great Seattle area.

Google already has a large presence with offices in both the Fremont neighborhood (i.e. the “Center of Universe”) and Kirkland. Both Facebook and Twitter have offices in Seattle.

Apple is opening an new office in Seattle. Alibaba has “secretively” set up an office in Seattle.

But, what hasn’t been reported is the number of Consumer Package Goods companies that are setting up shop in the greater Seattle area.

If you visit Bentonville, AR, you will see an ecosystem built around Walmart. Many of the CPG companies have offices near Walmart headquarter.

Today, we’re seeing an eco-system built around Amazon.com. For example, P&G has moved their e-commerce staff to an office in Issaquah, WA (a suburb of Seattle).

I think more and more consumer package goods companies will set up shop in the greater Seattle area to better manage their relationship with Amazon. This will be great for the economy in the greater Seattle region.

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Is there a bubble in the Silicon Valley?

November 10th, 2014 by GeekMBA360

I am hearing some familiar stories.

Software developers are switching jobs every few months.

A few start-ups are getting hundred of millions of funding without any revenue.

In fact, in the case of one start-up, the job applicants are not allowed to see the product the company is building. This company has the backing of all of the big name venture capital firms. The amount of funding this start-up received is astounding.

But, I feel that I have seen this movie before. Webvan is a name coming into mind.

When job applicants are chasing the next IPO and venture capitalists are throwing money at start-up with no proven business model and revenue, it’s time to get concerned.

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CommentsTags: Start-up Success

How I make my commute more productive

June 14th, 2014 by GeekMBA360

I used to listen to sports talk radio during my commute. Lately I have decided to make my commute more productive.

I have been listening to audio books and podcast. My favorites are:

Enjoy!

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Awesome summer reading list

June 1st, 2014 by GeekMBA360

I have been reading a few excellent books:

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CommentsTags: Book Review · Learning and Growing

This Southwest Flight was scheduled to depart and arrive within 15 minutes

January 10th, 2014 by GeekMBA360

My travel from Oakland, CA to Seattle, WA on Monday January 6th was a nightmare.

My flight, Southwest flight 231, was scheduled to depart around 4PM and arrive in Seattle at 6PM.

Around noon on Monday, I checked the flight status on southwest.com. It showed that the flight was delayed by 4+ hours. It wouldn’t leave until 8:40PM.

When I checked again at 3:45PM in the afternoon, the web site showed the flight would depart at 8:30PM, and arrive in Seattle around 8:45PM.

Obviously, this didn’t look right. Initially, I thought someone probably forgot to update the arrival time.

But, just to be cautious, I called the airline’s 1800 number.

The customer service agent told me that the flight would leave at 6:20PM. The website was wrong. If I didn’t call and relied on the web site, I would have missed the flight.

I got to the airport by 5PM. After I cleared security and arrived at the gate, the departure time had changed again to 7:15PM.

I took a screenshot of the website page that showed incorrect time to the agent. She gave me a dismissive look, and said “oh our computer system probably crashed for a few hours”. No apology whatsoever.

I have been flying Southwest Airline for a very long time. Their service is getting worse and worse every year for the past few years. I’m going to start using other airlines more often.

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CommentsTags: Company Analysis

Build a 4 Hour Work Week (4HWW) Muse business: The Hot Niche Firesale

July 17th, 2013 by GeekMBA360

If you have read The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich) , you’re probably familiar with Tim Ferris’ recommendation of building a Muse business.

A Muse is a low maintenance business that  generate significant income. My favorite Muse business model is online, location independent business that allows me to work anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in building a Muse business, you might want to check out The Hot Niche Firesale. It offers you 48 top-of-the-line, original software products that you can resell for 100% profits.

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CommentsTags: Start-up Success

Are you climbing the right mountain?

July 17th, 2013 by GeekMBA360

I have to admit that I’m a driven individual. I’m ambitious and competitive. However, I also consider myself highly ethical. The result is internal conflict – I tend to fight against myself – I want to move up the ladder but I also don’t want to play the politics.

I struggled. I had my moments of frustration, doubt and anger. But, I also persevered. In the past six months, I found myself getting promoted twice. Today I’m in charge of a half billion dollar business with a large team.

I can handle the job. But, here is an interesting lesson I want to share with you. I’m not sure I want to continue to do this job for a long time no matter how successful I am. In a large organization, I spend a lot of time to deal with politics and “play the game” in order to get things done. A lot of people at VP level or above are all about themselves – they are egotistic, clueless, and malicious. It’s not fun to be around these people.

My sweet spot is medium sized, high growth organization, or late stage start-up. A big realization I had recently is that I need to make sure I’m climbing the right mountain. My goal, value, strength, and passion need to be aligned in order for me to be happy.

If you are a driven individual who is trying to “get somewhere” in your career, I strongly encourage you to ask yourself the question “am I climbing the right mountain?”

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Free tool to sync up Microsoft Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar?

July 17th, 2013 by GeekMBA360

My work calendar is on Microsoft Outlook. I use Google Calendar for personal use.

I want to have one combined calendars to have visibility into both my work and personal schedule. In other words, I want to do one-way sync between Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook (the data will always be synced from Outlook to Google.)

It’s excruciatingly painful to find a FREE tool to allow me to do this.

1) Google used to have a Calendar sync tool but it recently discontinued it. Mind boggling decision.

2) I started looking into sync Outlook calendar with other calendars.

3) Yahoo had a calendar sync tool but it’s no where to find. I actually find a page for “beta version” of the sync tool but the software didn’t seem to work.

4) I opened a new Outlook.com account – I want to give Microsoft a shot. If their web calendar can easily sync with their desktop Outlook calendar, I will happily to switch to Outlook.com. Well, as you could imagine, Microsoft is great at upsetting consumers! Their free sync tool can only sync from Outlook.com to Outlook desktop but not the other way around.

5) I’m back to square one. Fortunately, I found a version of the old Google Calendar tool saved on a server somewhere in Australia. For the time being, the software still works.

I still don’t understand why Google, Yahoo and particularly Microsoft make it so hard to sync calendars? There is a golden opportunity for Yahoo or Microsoft to steal some market share if they do this right.

Is anyone at Yahoo or Microsoft listening? Hello!

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CommentsTags: Tools & Tips

Microsoft gives me every reason not to switch to Window 8

July 17th, 2013 by GeekMBA360

I studied computer science. I have worked in software & e-commerce for 15 years now. I consider myself a computer power user. Computer is the primary tool I use at work.

I desperately want to upgrade to a better and more modern operating system. Unfortunately, Microsoft is doing a great job to discourage me from upgrading to Windows 8 and buy a Microsoft Surface.

Every time I’m at Costco or Best Buy, I visit the computer section. I like to play with the products they have on shelf. The Windows 8 interface is so confusing – the most basic tasks I want to do are 1) switch from IE browser to Microsoft Excel 2) run two Excel spreadsheet at the same time 3) connect to my office computer via VPN and remote desktop. These are very simple tasks on my laptop that is running Windows. Unfortunately, the Windows 8 user interface is extremely confusing. I really don’t want to bother to figure it out.

The more I play with Windows 8, the most I dislike it. I might never want to purchase a Windows machine again. I can live with Mac or Chromebook.

Microsoft: you suck!

A frustrated user.

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CommentsTags: Tools & Tips