Monthly Archives: January 2005

Got My Mozilla T-shirt Today

Now I have entered true geekdom. Being a great fan of Firefox, I went to the online store and bought a t-shirt with the communistic star in front in support of this organization and its efforts. I will wear it proudly and scoff at the laughs I may get.
Open source is really gaining momentum. It is also the source of great change and upheavals in business in my view.
Consider what Firefox is doing now to Internet Explorer. Already Firefox has gained huge amounts of marketshare from Internet Explorer and didn’t need the distribution mechanism of Windows to do it. It is simply a superior product.
Thunderbird is another great product from Fast and great spam protection, it offers a great free alternative to any full featured mail client. The only thing that stops me from using it is sync-ing software with my Treo.
But the key thing here is QUALITY PRODUCT FOR FREE. Think about it. What you formerly PAID FOR IS NOW FREE. Think about the businesses that grew up around getting paid for the software they produced. For years they would charge for this software and people had no choice but to pay. With the open source movement, it is just a matter of time before literally every piece of software you have is now available for free.
Another example: We all used to go to the DoubleClicks of the world to get our ad serving done. Millions of dollars would go to DoubleClick for ad serving – likewise, millions of dollars were invested in building internal ad servers at Yahoo! and MSN. But now check out phpAdsNew: Open Source Ad Server. Someone wrote an entire ad server available for free!
Let’s talk more about the FREE concept. At a recent brunch with some colleagues, I was asked about what I thought about Google and their prospects. I answered that my biggest fear was that they would try to offer what was formerly charged for, for FREE. This would include every premium service that any web company charged for, like extra hard drive space for email already attacked by
Now what does this mean.
Companies could find themselves in the midst of unexpected attack on their chief revenue sources without proper contingency planning. They will find customers slowly or quickly melting away because they can get the same QUALITY PRODUCT FOR FREE at Google. I guarantee you that almost no company is planning for this (if you are, then I salute you) and think the probability that every company will be caught with their pants down is about 100%.
And then, it will take months if not years for companies to realign their planning and strategy to deal with this threat, if they survive at all.
Great for the consumer, not so great for companies.
It will be interesting to see if my prediction comes true.

Click Clack MOO! ..or Children’s Books from the Edge ..or My Daughter is Smarter Than I Thought…

Wandering through, I was looking for books for my daughter when I came across Click Clack MOO: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin.
I did not know what to expect from this book as I learned early on that I really needed to flip through the book to figure out how good it was. If it made me laugh, then I figured that my daughter would also like it too. If not, then I would pass.
The reviews on this book talked about how people did like it very much, but then they talked about how this book was a comment on society and politics and how a bunch of cows band together with hens to strike against the farmer for better working conditions.
Not knowing what to expect, I ordered the book. As soon as I got it, I flipped through it and thought to myself, “uh oh, seems a bit too complex for my kid – not sure if she will like it…”.
But I was surprised – not only did my daughter love the book but she makes me read it every time before she goes to bed! I am beginning to think that she has deeper understanding of these issues than I thought. I need to probe further – is she reacting to the plight of the cows and hens on the surface or does she understand the concept of striking against tyrannical management? Has she grasped the principles of organizational behavior and noting their skillful use by the cows and hens? Does she relate stories of the US workforce and labor unions and their historical struggle for fair treatment and working conditions?
Or does she just like the super silly illustrations? After all, she’s just 4 and a half years old….
Other truly awesome children’s books:
Perry Poops by Francis Pittau and Bernadette Gervais
My Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman
My Little Sister Hugged an Ape by Bill Grossman
And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon by Janet Stevens
Hopefully soon I’ll get my books section up, and I’ll list all my favorite books there.

Optimize this

I’m the first search result for ‘dshen’ on Google! Whoo hoo!
Previously, I was not listed in any search engine I tried. However, my moblog on was. So just for kicks, I tried listing my site on my moblog there because I knew it would be crawled at some point by the search engines.
Sure enough, I showed up on Google within the week. Wow, this search engine optimization stuff really works. Now onwards to learning all about this and getting Movable Type to automate SEO on all its pages…

Consequences in Raising Kids

As a relatively new parent, it’s hard to know when and how to discipline your kids. One of the best books I’ve read on the subject is Raising Great Kids by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It talks about raising kids with great character and doing so by balancing love and discipline.
For example, I was attempting to get my daughter to go to sleep the other night but just would not lay down. She jumped out of bed and wanted to watch movies, TV, play games…anything but sleep. After the tenth time of saying it was time to go to bed, I had to lay down a consequence, that I would take away a toy if she did not come to bed.
How did I know that this situation warranted this level of consequence? Was it too much or too little? How would she feel about it, or me for that matter? Would she still love me or hate me?
Difficult fears to run through while I was figuring my way through this dilemma. But even though I chose the toy removal consequence, I still reassured her that I loved her and that I still cared for her, but still she needed to get into bed.
Ultimately, and in a crying fit, she flung herself onto the bed and got under the covers, and then cried herself to sleep.
Hard to take for a new parent such as me, but who said parenting was easy?
Remember all the crap we put our parents through? I guess it’s payback time.

Split Brain

Yesterday I had my first jazz piano lesson since I was 4 years old. I enjoyed it thoroughly!
My jazz piano teacher is here at I am glad I found him because he will take me down the jazz/improvisation route, versus ending up in classical where I really DID NOT want to end up.
Sure is different experience than when I was 4 years old. I had this old Russian lady who taught my sister and me, albeit my sister stuck with it for many years. I could only stomach the posture and exact proper technique for about a few months before I quit.
This piano teacher is completely the opposite. Very free form as jazz musicians will be, and very into playing however one is comfortable. More to my liking!
My first lesson sure caused my brain to split up. Interesting ambidextrous neural pathways I could feel being built and rebuilt as I played scales with both hands. Very stressful in some ways, but I really still enjoyed the uncomfortable situation a lot.
It’s a lot like triathlon training for me. Learning something completely new, and causing your body to behave in unfamiliar ways. It’s the only way to grow!


Today I went to Starbuck’s and hung out with a bagel from Noah’s next door and a mocha. Although I was experiencing anxiety about being away from my PC – I did have my Treo however – I resisted the temptation to wolf down my bagel and rush back home to finish all the stuff I had to do.
Instead, I savored the calm moment of being there at Starbuck’s, reading some of my recent magazines that I got this last week, ripping pictures out of them for my coaching process (see my coaching blog), and sipping my mocha while listening to my iPod.
Steadily, I enter the realm of “slowness”. I just bought the book “In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement Is Challenging the Cult of Speed” by Carl Honore. I am eager to dig into this book as my life is just so ridiculously full right now and I need to make sure I do not overload myself inadvertently. I have lots of interests and really need to evaluate what’s most important, what I’m really committed to, and what can be done later.
So many of us veterans of the dot-com years can’t help but live in the hyper-fast world of information overload and shrinking deadlines and getting it done yesterday. But yet, we never stop to listen to a friend or my child, really absorb the richness of the world through our senses, or just sit and think deeply about a topic or our lives.
Even now, my favorite moments with friends are just sitting down and having a focused one-on-one conversation with them. I abhor conversations in group settings; they inevitably boil down to quick snippets of “how are you?” and “what’s up” and then that’s it before you move to the next person.
Back to Starbucks: So I still hit the Send/Receive button on SnapperMail on my Treo every now and then. Can’t break the habit that quickly…! But I do know that I am enjoying the relaxed nature of slowing down and plan to do this much more.

Unfetter my mind!

Today I learned something incredibly important.
So I met up with James who runs Wow – what unbridled creativity I saw! It was an awesome conversation he and I had. Not just for the content, but what it made me realize.
As we grow older, our brains get more and more shackled and we start thinking about what won’t work and what we can’t do. But the internet is not like that. I have seen so many things that I thought would never work suddenly spring into success!
And James just made me realized how shackled my brain was. I need to re-open my brain, my creativity, and my willingness to try lots of new things on my internet startup. It’s the only way to do something that others won’t have thought of and keep ahead of the innovation curve.
He also hired a bunch of Berkeley CS students. Not just for their energy and willingness to code all nite, but for their lack of brain constraints because they were young and untainted by the corporate world, and their youthful creative thinking on what could be cool and what could work. It was a way for him to not be limited and to generate new and interesting ideas, or ways of doing things.
No MRDs, no justifications to upper management. Just create and do.
It is a shame that larger corporations and our experiences (as we age) stifle this type of thinking and innovation. How do we all re-capture the child in ourselves and remove the shackles we have placed on our minds?
James, you just joined my list of HEROES. Dude, I wanna be like you.

Movable Type Rocks!

I am happy to say that my programming skills have not atrophied – although I can’t say the same for my CSS/HTML skills as this site looks really jacked in Mozilla. Oh well – one out of 2 ain’t bad. Next few days gotta fix the CSS on my little site to work in Mozilla.
Movable Type is great!