Ray Wu

Working on MagicBus.io Managed JFDI.Asia Accelerator

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I woke up in tears and in joy

I dreamed about my dad. It was like a movie reel through time.

I saw him clearly. I saw how he interacted with his friends, his golf buddies. He was generous with the younger guys. He tried to give them advice. He gave a young man some pocket money to go out and enjoy dinner with his friends.

I was sitting there, a kid, observing at the table side. Like I often did when I was little amongst adults.

I saw other people I knew in flashbacks; 20 years younger. I saw my aunt and uncle and myself circa 1990s; grainy imagery.

Through the dream, my father’s features changed. I watched him as he aged and his hair turned silver. Through it all he was his animated self, full of life! Only older, but he was never less authoritative.

This dream began and ended with me picking up his medical records. I spoke to a nurse for a moment before tears came down my chins. A good cry.

I woke up in tears and...

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3 Things I Learned from My Dad

He was a passionate giver and a prolific producer. He had one of the strongest work ethics and he always smiled.

Passion

His work was his passion. He wore his belief on his sleeves. He was stubborn and lived by his principles. He could be abrasive, misunderstood, and controversial. People who understood his tenacity loved him; everything he did was out of passion. He made friends and foes alike as an artist. He also wanted to share this passion with everyone; he was a teacher, a researcher, an author, an architect, a public servant.

Generosity

He made friends through all walks of life. He organized get-togethers for his classmates, trips to Japan for his associates, and years of lectures for his students. He stopped and talked to homeless and disabled people, and got to study behaviors and designed public bathrooms for people with disability. He gave away new toilet designs that were...

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Fight Momentum Swings

Sam Altman talks about how important it is to have momentum.

In the last few months since we started working on MagicBus, we’ve felt the momentum swings.

I think momentum comes from building off of different small wins.

Sometimes I feel like I am in a slump and fall behind on emails; things just don’t feel right.

The only way to fight this slump is to face everything head on.

We have a task list. I find that ticking things off the list everyday is a great way to gain momentum.

Getting to inbox zero is also another way to get back the momentum. Sometimes I discover a great gem in the pile of emails. and I wish I had seen it sooner.

More often than not, momentum comes from our customers. When I see how excited they get, I know we are onto something really important, and that feels great.

Sam Altman told the story of Facebook’s growth team in the early days. How small wins from the team...

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What I learned about Product Experience from failed BloomNation delivery

Today I had a lackluster product experience through BloomNation. I selected same-day delivery and picked a great looking bouquet. The flowers never got delivered because the florist did not have cornucopia in stock as part of the arrangement.

I got an email at the end of the day and was told that the last delivery truck had left. It was really a bummer to my entire experience because the florist said she’d left two voicemails earlier in the day—and I wished she or the system had emailed before the truck left.

She was professional, but this brought up an interesting misalignment in priorities as a customer and a vendor.

My priorities:

  1. I wanted flowers delivered TODAY and not next Monday when cornucopia arrives in store
  2. I wouldn’t care if the cornucopia was swapped out for something else

Florist’s priorities:

  1. She wanted the bouquet to be as perfect as the design on BloomNation
  2. She...

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One Post a Week

I decided to start writing again. I should write everyday, and even just for 15 minutes.

A couple of years ago I wrote everyday for 15 minutes. Sometimes I got really into the blog post, and ended up writing for 40 minutes to 2 hours. Sometimes I quit after 10 minutes because no juice was flowing.

Hiten Shah recently started writing everyday for 30 days on his blog. It was a personal challenge from Om Malik.

I decided it was time for me to start writing everyday again. The most prolific bloggers that I know, write everyday to practice (Jamie Lin, Andrew Parker). Jamie recently commented on this to me, on a days of not writing—they are opportunities lost from connecting with new users and readers.

Writing is also important for a new company’s blog. I started digging into SEO and SEM for MagicBus and realized we need a lot more online presence. I started blog.magicbus.io and needed to...

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Startup Customer Service: the Surprise Factor

Every product manager should be like Digg Reader’s CTO Michael Young & Spuul’s CPO Michael Smith (Smitty)

Since the new Digg Reader came out I have been hugely impressed by the work and attention to details.

My loyalty grew partly because of how responsive Michael Young, its CTO, has been. He responded to my tweets when I least expected it, consistently. This was the surprise factor that brought delight.

Here are two separate occasions when Michael Young responded to me about my RSS frustrations.

Michael Young to Seth Levine

Michael Young to Jeff Paine

When my RSS feed didn’t work, I didn’t think it was Digg Reader’s fault at all. But it was Michael Young’s personal touch that gained my attention and made me love the product.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with Smitty, one of the best product guys that I know. He responds to every review and comment on Google Play Store, Facebook, Twitter. A few months ago I wrote a blog...

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A Dialogue on Accelerator Programs: is it useless?

Lucas Carlson put himself out on the web (I respect that a lot) and challenge the usefulness of incubator and accelerator programs.

He penned this post, “Incubators are Bullshit”, and I couldn’t help but write a comment on his blog to voice my opinion. I strongly believe that accelerators are in the people business

My original comment on Lucas’s blog post

What seems to be “busy work” at incubators sometimes do amount to nothing. I’d like to share this with the incoming companies at JFDI.Asia (disclaimer: I manage the accelerator program) as a reminder of what not to do (endless hours of intro meetings with mentor whiplash) and what to seriously focus on (spend time with customers, focus on OKM, and on building and testing the product).

Lucas, I looked up and saw that you live in Portland—I don’t know the scene there—but not every part of the world has a strong know-how or a startup...

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On Leadership, Accelerated Innovation (reactions to WhatsApp), and Entrepreneur’s Mindset

Here are a couple of articles that stood out for me in the last few weeks.

On Leadership

  • Sam Altman for President, by Paul Graham
  • How to Get a Job at Google, by Thomas Friedman
  • Satya Nadella, Chief of Microsoft, on His New Role, by Adam Bryant

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a leader. These three pieces all touch on the topic. All three point to the essentiality of humility in a leader, in recognizing when to lead, and when to step down.

From Friedman’s piece,

What we care about is, when faced with a problem and you’re a member of a team, do you, at the appropriate time, step in and lead. And just as critically, do you step back and stop leading, do you let someone else? Because what’s critical to be an effective leader in this environment is you have to be willing to relinquish power

From the interview with Satya Nadella,

I was throwing very ordinary...

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Joining a startup accelerator? Here’s the most important criterion to look at

I wrote this blog post and originally published it on Tech In Asia. Editing done by Terence Lee and Steven Millward. Apply to JFDI’s accelerator program before February 21st.

In 2013, I had the opportunity to work with 19 teams from all over Asia through JFDI, a startup accelerator based in Singapore. I got to know each of the founders personally, and worked closely with them on a daily basis.

Recently, when I saw Collabspot’s founder Jeremi Joslin and his partner and CEO, Laurent Gasser, I recalled to myself just how much progress Jeremi and Collabspot have made since I first met them in 2012. That was back in Manila.

At that time, he was living in France, and was working with Gino Tria, Adler Santos, and John – the Collabspot developers – in the Philippines. I was introduced to them through Rafael Oca, an alumni from JFDI. Today, Jeremi lives in Singapore, with a newborn added to...

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3 Tips to Early Stage Startup Execution

We like founders that execute (guess what JFDI stands for), and I really enjoy working with teams that get sh*t done.

Yesterday, I was talking to Tomas Laboutka of HotelQuickly (he’s a mentor at JFDI), and he also obsessed over the importance of getting stuff done—which would build momentum.

From talking to successful entrepreneurs like Tomas, through my own experience, and seeing JFDI’s founders achieving their near-term goals, there are 3 main ways to organize a startup so you can also become an execution machine, and I offer anecdotal examples and tools to help you do just that.

JFDI.Asia is looking for teams to work with; if you like getting sh*t done, please join us.

1. Set Clear Objective

Founders often get bombarded with tasks and things to do. While keeping a laundry list of tasks can help you finish all your to-do’s, a list does not help you prioritize.

Recently, I have the...

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