Ray Wu

Working on MagicBus.io

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My Alphabet

NYTimes, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter. These are four websites I visit the most. Every time I need a mental break, I tap “n,” “f,” “t,” into the browser URL and with one pinky action I kill some time.

It occurs to me that these handful of websites dominate the namespace of the URL autofill. I was curious to see what my present alphabet of websites look like.

I’m most surprised by “c,” “h,” “p,” “r,” “u,” on my list. I guess I rarely visit websites starting with those letters.

  1. angellist.com
  2. bankofamerica.com
  3. crossculturevc.com
  4. drive.google.com
  5. eat24.com
  6. facebook.com
  7. gmail.com
  8. heppel.dk
  9. inbox.google.com
  10. jsonlint.com
  11. kayak.com
  12. linkedin.com
  13. maps.google.com
  14. nytimes.com
  15. online.citibank.com
  16. profile.yahoo.com
  17. quicksprout.com
  18. rzchen.com
  19. seamless.com
  20. twitter.com
  21. up.jawbone.com
  22. venmo.com
  23. www.nytimes.com
  24. (no x)
  25. youtube.com
  26. zipcar.com

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True Love—a practice for awakening the heart, by Thich Nhat Hanh

The purpose of this post

These are notes and excerpts I took directly from the short book, True Love, from Thich Nhat Hanh. I am a novice to meditation, and the practice of mindfulness. This book is a wonderful introduction.

I received this book as a gift from a special person in my life. The timing couldn’t have been better. I wanted to share these notes with my dearest friends—my sangha.

TL;DR & Notes

In order to love, we have to be mindful and present, and communicate that energy to our loved ones. Taking refuge in the sangha is important. The sangha is a practice community in which brothers and sisters in the Dharma practice the cultivation of mindfulness daily: eat, drink, wash dishes, work in gardens, drive—and not just during times of sitting meditation.

The are four aspects of love that we can attain through mindfulness.

There are also four mantras to keep in mind.

Beware...

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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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