tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Blogcation 2016-09-16T14:26:49Z Johnny Wu tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1090714 2016-09-16T14:26:48Z 2016-09-16T14:26:49Z On hardware

It's been a few months since I've last checked in on this blog. Much of this transition has come from going deep into a new project and new venture involving building hardware alongside of software. Its been a huge learning curve but a blast as well, going from bits on the computer screen to atoms on the custom breadboard on your desk.

There is something immensely satisfying and yet deeply complex about designing software that has to interact with the internet and physical devices distributed around the world. I'm beginning to truly understand the meaning of full-full stack all the way down to the electrical layer.

I am going to keep this post short as we're in the midst of doing a ton of prototyping and development, but I'm excited to share some of the learnings and progress as we get to a more testable phase.

Looking forward to this new chapter!


Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1063480 2016-06-14T22:03:21Z 2016-08-12T06:31:38Z On starting over

Living in a startup world every year feels and stretched out to be multiple years of learnings, struggles, challenges, and successes.

I recently left @Localize after a year of heads down working and am proud of what we achieved from being in Techstars NYC to raising a $1.2 million seed round scaling from 2 engineers to 4 engineers and going from no revenue to tens of thousands of dollars a month. It's pretty amazing how much a small team can achieve by putting their heads down and working at tackling large problems day by day. None of it ever came easy yet the growth quickly outpaced our expectations. 

@Localize is doing great this year having added on 3 more incredible engineers and building up the infrastructure for a great Enterprise Sales and Account Management team. Really looking forward to watching the growth and product changes that occur this year as they ramp up for their Series A. 

Now back to the topic of this blog post which is on starting over. Having spent the last 2.5 years working for other peoples startups learning a ton and realizing the hard work that it takes to take an idea and bring it to fruition I've decided to take the plunge and start anew. 

What my cofounders and I are working on is still under wraps but we're excited to bring some of our vision to life, to bring a product into the real world, and hopefully create joy on our customers faces.

So hears to another year (and hopefully many more) of grinding and building out product day by day. 


Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/965136 2016-01-06T18:10:20Z 2016-01-06T18:11:26Z On Freelancing

In today's market as an engineer should one go full time at a growing startup? Should one run their own company? Should one freelance and add value to multiple products?

What is the tradeoff between full time employment and freelancing for many companies? This is a question I've had on and off for the last few years working. In the past I've done full time employment at a growing startup with the odd side gig that would be a few weeks of part time work on an application or prototype. 

The work has always been liberating; allowing for deep dives in new technologies, building products in diverse verticals, and having the pleasure to work with different product managers and technical coworkers. 

The one downside to going full time as a freelancer is not only being an engineer but a full time business owner. There are times when you need to make sure there are projects coming through the pipeline, contacts completed have been paid, taxes owed are kept up to. In a sense going full time freelance is like running a business of one with all things included.

In the past freelancing has been very attractive and liberating but the barriers of single handedly finding work and ensuring all aspects of the contract go well is almost a full time gig in of itself.

That is where Toptal comes into the picture, providing a marketplace for employers and freelancers to matchmake and make the best choices for their individual needs. Toptal to me becomes an advocate for both freelancer and company in the entire process. They provide a place for the Web Development Community to go to, to thrive, and to build great products.

Who wouldn't want a full time advocate in their corner to ensure success of projects and a steady of supply of projects to work on.

To me Toptal is a no brainer.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/938332 2016-01-05T17:44:24Z 2016-01-05T17:44:24Z On Market Bubbles

In the news recently tech bubble talk has been on the rise with increasing urgency, luckily it seems the current investing environment mood has been depressed or less excitable due to these fears. It feels like institutional investors and anyone that remembers the dot com 2000s eras are still scarred by that experience and are hyper-aware of the fact. 

On the other hand the "bubble" i'm increasingly more worried about surrounds Chinas struggle to transition from a economic power house growing at 10%+ year over year to a "middling" 5-8% growth economy. Government spending has switched from infrastructure and industries and has begun to turn towards consumer purchasing power and such.

Some numbers scare me a lot about the situations. Such as $1.2 Trillion dollars in over leveraged debt due to easy lending. Rising real estate costs. The foreign flight of money to the US and abroad to "save" that money for the future.

Furthermore China's population growth has dropped effectively with the one child policy, leading to a huge imbalance of the working class becoming a smaller proportion of their economy. 

China's slowdown has come as expected, the big question and worry is if the Chinese government and Federal regulators can help reduce the pain of the transition without a large scale market panic.

Luckily China's national government still exerts considerable control over monetary policy within china and on its currency and trading, so things may be smoothed out with the backing of the economic might of China's government.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/941732 2016-01-05T17:44:02Z 2016-01-05T17:44:02Z On Giving

Giving back seems to be the secrete sauce of happiness to a lot of happy people out there. When you think about the smiling happiest people you've met they're usually "volunteers" doing something for the community. This could be volunteering for the annual Thanksgiving day turkey meal for impoverished families and individuals. This could be hosting a fundraiser for a great cause to fight cancer to provide food, water and aid to impoverished regions.

Regardless of what an individual is giving back to, the net effects of giving seems to be very net positive in terms of life outlook, immediate gratification, and overall well being. 

A good example of this has been over the past few years, I've run two Charity:Water (http://www.charitywater.org/) campaigns during my birthday to provide clean and free access to drinking water in underdeveloped regions of the world. Over the two campaigns we've raised over $2500 that has gone to two  individual sites providing clean drinking water for an entire village. Imagine that what you spend on monthly rent in NYC, SF, and SEA could do for an entire village for years to come. 

Now I'm not saying we should all give all of our money away all the time. Instead when you are feeling a bit low, need a pick me up, or feel like you haven't done too much recently to positively impact the world around you, try some giving back. It'll do you a whole lot of mental well being and probably you will impact someone else's life in a big big way.

Here are some links to research on the positive effects of giving:





*Please note all essays are usually written as is, as a work in progress, based on thoughts I have. Opinions, ideas, and statements are mine and do not represent fact and should be filtered based on your own judgement.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/964336 2016-01-05T17:34:45Z 2016-01-05T17:34:45Z On Rereading Books

I've spent the last year working up to reading 1-2 books a week. In doing so the volume of books and content and ideas I've been exposed to has doubled or tripled in some cases. This has been great an all but I've gotten the sense that reading a book once, especially a good one requires multiple readings to truly understand some of the deeper meanings of a story, or more importantly the details and wrinkles beyond a specific way of thinking or theory. 

So in light of needing to better understand and learn from what I've read in the past, I'm focusing probably about 20% of my reading time moving forward to re-reading some books, re-reading passages, and looking for deeper insight and new thoughts that come from a second pass on a book.

I've read before that to truly understand a book one must reread it multiple times to truly understand the nature of what a book is about. I am becoming more and more convinced of this potential truth.

Enjoy reading, and reread a book if you enjoyed it that much!

*Please note all essays are works in progress that may or may not have been edited or read-over. Thoughts and opinions are of mine only and are subject to my personal opinions, biases, and filters. 

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/964322 2016-01-05T17:24:43Z 2016-01-05T17:37:55Z On Resolutions

Been recently thinking a lot about how often new years resolutions are set up to fail and what not. Let's spend the year getting fit, I want to make more money this year. All these types of resolutions are vague without any actionable items or completable goals. Goals need to be actionable, specific, and have some sort of clear time table.

Leo Baubata from Zen Habits has a great post about this  that you can read here  http://zenhabits.net/awesome-2016/.

He touches on the idea of breaking your yearly goal into manageable monthly and even weekly thematic chunks. The goal is to start small and have a positive tight feedback loop to improve upon. He also mentions getting accountability partners that include both positive and negative outcomes depending on if you achieve your goals.

One of my favorite ways to start actionable habits and goals is to use BJ Fogg's tiny habits system that focuses on the smallest irreducible part of a habit to get started with. For example if you want to start flossing everyday, he suggests that you start with flossing one tooth the moment you wake up in the morning.  You can read more about his process here http://http//tinyhabits.com/.

Overall, throughout the years of habit building I've found a collection of these bullet points really help make habits stick.

1) Do ONE habit at a time, give it a month!

2) Make sure it can be done DAILY (eg. flossing teeth, making your bed, meditating, running, etc. )

3) Set yourself up to WIN ( make it easy for yourself, instead of running 30 miles a week, try putting on your running shoes everyday first)

4) Have REWARDS and CONSEQUENCES (put money on the table for if you succeed or not, make it large enough you would hate to lost $1000 dollars by not waking up @ 7 am everyday)

Some good readings and tools out there for your viewing pleasure:

https://open.buffer.com/build-strong-habits-apps-tools/  - Nice overview of helpful apps for habits

http://pavlok.com/  - Cool negative reinforcement tool for habit breaking (smoking, etc)

http://zenhabits.net/  - One of the best and oldest blogs out there on this topic

http://charlesduhigg.com/the-power-of-habit/  - A great book behind the psychology of habits

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/952694 2015-12-18T19:06:13Z 2016-01-05T17:37:49Z On Relationships w/ Money

I would like to say I never really grew up understanding the value or fleetingness of money growing up. My viewpoint of money was you would get some for birthdays and holidays and spend that on stuff you wanted. My whole view was that it is a finite limited resource that should be attained to acquire new things. Totally rationale when you're not making money.

Unfortunately, this seems totally irrational when you are making money and having to pay for rent food etc. All of a sudden the reality of not having a job and having to cover expenses is right in your face. Some things early on I made mistakes in was getting a credit card too early, not truly understanding the impact that debt had on your psychology and happiness.

Without good money habits things can spiral out of control pretty quickly. 

My steps (heavily borrowed from great people) to money healthiness.

1) Pay off all debts (debt is #1 drag on someones freedom)

2) Save in tiny bits ( I like using digit.co to get started), $1 per day would be huge.

3) Start using cash/debit card more often, its a closer 1:1 link to the value of money

4) Hide that credit card for a rainy day (freeze it in ice if need be)

5) Get your emergency/Thailand trip money saved up $10,000 (should keep you afloat for 2-12 months depending on your burn)

6) Save to a 401k or Roth IRA, I like using (Wealthfront and Betterment)

7) Whatever is left over spend or save! You've made it.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/945595 2015-12-07T22:57:08Z 2015-12-18T14:32:36Z On saving

I've spent the last few years combating my inability to easily save through "good choices" and being "frugal". One of my favorite blogs of all time by Ramit Sethi preaches creating automated savings and earning more money. 

In the spirit of doing so I'm using these services and approaches to take the "choice" out of saving and saving a ton more in retrospect.

1) Automatic Investment deposits to Betterment and Wealthfront on a monthly basis

2) Using Digit for automated savings from my checking a

3) Leveraging Chase and Bank of America's minimum deposit amounts in their checking accounts

4) Put money under the mattress

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/941729 2015-12-01T18:26:58Z 2015-12-01T18:26:58Z On Writing

It feels like the more I read about writers, the key indicator of quality prolific writing involves the focused and daily practice of writing. Sitting your butt down on a chair (or standing) and writing for a few solid hours. This practice involves strength of patience, focus, and the ability to write and sit for long periods.

Beyond this it seems like concerted focus on rewriting, editing, and improving what you write is the tail indicator for success. Someone that can sit down, put words down on paper, and fairly critique what they write and improve on it tend to be the best writers.

Fitzgerald was known for spending unheard amounts of time perfecting specific sentences, paragraphs, and short novels beyond any other writer. Some of the best movie editors will spend months if not years perfecting a cut of shots for a scene so the pacing is just right.

From what I can gather, the best way to improve your writing is to let yourself write daily, to let it flow freely and then refine that before publishing it to others.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/938329 2015-11-23T20:42:19Z 2015-11-23T20:42:19Z On Mornings

Have you ever tried A/B testing having a productive morning versus a non productive morning. It changes the experience of the day by a ton. The feeling and productivity of getting important "things" done before 10 AM is HUGE, rather than waking up at 10 AM and slowly getting through your day.

As a society, it seems we're always complaining about a lack of time. Too much time spent working, not enough time for weekends, downtime, working out, eating right, working on things you want. This is all indeed true especially for people who work 80+ hours a week. Where you basically end up spending your waking hours working 10-12 hours a day, with something like 6-8 hours sleeping, which leaves you really 4-6 hours for EVERYTHING else, cooking meals, spending time with family friends. 

Now unfortunately "early" mornings on a 80+ hour work week is pretty hard to do. You'll need to be a machines, do like Elon, or like a real robot that doesnt need sleep.

But if you can focus on productivity of your morning, getting in your daily workout, day planning, food eating (breakfast), meditation/clearing your head, and the most important task for the day before 10 AM. You'll be golden goose. You'll become that "guy/girl/it" that really is a crusher of the day.

Man how did they workout, feel/look amazing, and finish that huge task for our deadline before we ever got in to work. And on the flip side how do they do it without sleeping!

What I've noticed by incrementally moving my biological clock wakeup time over the last few weeks has been, I get sleepier earlier which allows me to fall asleep faster, which leads to earlier and more productive days.

Here are some of my tips for getting up early:

1) Flux lighting only after 6 or whenever the sun goes down 

2) If you can get off your computer/laptop/tv  - 8/9 PM that would be huge

3) Read something before bed, hopefully its boring and puts you to sleep.

4) Keep your bedroom cold, below 68 F.

5) Blackout your room, the less light the better

6) Wear earplugs/eye mask if you have trouble sleeping

7) Set progressive alarms, so you wake up when you're body is at the right part of the sleep cycle

8) Do a tiny habit when waking up, I make the bed and brush my teeth

9) Drink a glass of cold water or shower to get you going

10) Having a morning ritual to do list to get your mornings going. 

11) Allow the first hour of your day to be about you and your health (yoga, stretching, warming up, meditation, reading, journaling, or all of the above)

12) Start on your most important task for the day. If you get that done you win for the day.

Thats it!

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/936518 2015-11-19T18:32:23Z 2015-11-19T18:32:23Z On daily journaling

Recently I've been working on the habit of morning journaling. The goal has been to write daily, in the morning, without a specific goal except to clear the mind and be more present in the day to day rhythms of life. So far the results have been spotty in terms of consistency and focus, but overall I've noticed an increased ability to regulate ups and downs of work/life etc with a somewhat grounded practice of writing.

When journaling, it often feels like dumping out some of the cobwebs and pervasive thoughts in your mind and offloading them. This oftentimes helps with two things, clearing out what is bothering you, and making real thoughts/imaginations/and dreams you have internally.

It's nice having this practice where the goal of the writing is not to show others, to write well, or to even have clear thoughts. Instead it is much like meditation, yoga, and exercise for your mind. A focus on taking care of your mental well being and preparing your mind for the day ahead of you.

I'm beginning to see journaling as an exercise for the mind to keep strong, keep healthy, and keep focus on what matters. As far as I ca tell this is the one life you get, its short, sweet, and sometimes terrible yet beautiful. So you might as well spend as much time taking care of it and watching it as necessary to be healthy happy and in the moment.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/935174 2015-11-17T20:47:02Z 2015-11-17T20:49:29Z On Workcations

I've recently begun to focus spending my income and time on experiences over material goods.

One of the outputs of this has been planning more trips traveling to different places. Instead of simply accruing vacation days and taking off for 1-2 weeks per year, I've focused on creating a work situation that allows for remote work and taking a day off here or there for travel time.

Now I know not everyone's job can be done in this manner, but if you spend the majority of your day online working you are probably working a job that can be done from anywhere. If you're lucky enough to work in this type of work and you have an understanding manager (who should also understand that flexibility in job locations is a great way to retain employees), try doing a workcation.

A workcation includes the benefits of traveling, exploring, and experiencing new places with the efficiency of still getting work done, being productive, and contributing to your company.

I've been doing it over the last two weeks of this month, and its been some of the most creative/productive time I've had at work as well as one of the more rewarding travel experiences.

Luckily in this time I've been able to visit friends in Boston, New York, and Austin. 

You should try it sometime. Its pretty great.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/931645 2015-11-10T21:12:28Z 2015-11-10T21:12:28Z On Accelerators

I recently went back to Techstars NYC to visit some old mentors and companies. It was great to be back and reminded of the intense period of time we had together working during the Techstars program. Months of late nights and long weekends building out product, meeting with mentors, and iterating quickly on the company to hit internal metrics and goals.

Looking back with some perspective, some of the biggest things I can take away from Techstars has been the value add of being part of a built in network of like minded entrepreneurs.

The culture of relentless focus on doing what it takes to hit metrics, to improve product, and to make customers happy. This definitely came out of the relentless process that is Techstars. The momentum you gain out of Techstars through its intense process has so many long tail positive effects on your company.

It makes fundraising easier, it makes building product more focused on the right things, and it makes focusing on the right things easier.

It's been good to be back and even better to be able to with some perspective appreciate the value added.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/927743 2015-11-05T00:15:57Z 2015-11-06T22:08:18Z On Paid vs Free

There seems to be a never ending debate around whether a product released should have a freemium or paid only tiers. There is no right answer to this but I wanted to break down some key examples I've noticed over time that help frame things better.

Advertising - If you are going after a social media play, a network effects driven play, a every human on planet earth should use this play. Most likely it should be free for the basic user. In terms of monetization if your going after billions or hundreds of millions of customers IE (Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Twitter). Going with a free model makes sense as you rely on the content generation of your customers to provide value. If this is the path you go down, you should think of advertising monetization in the long run.

Freemium Model - However if you're in the business of millions, tens of millions, maybe a hundred million users you'll want to look at a freemium play. You'll expect 90%+ of your customers to never pay you. You'll most likely cover the cost of these millions of users with advertising, with a play on a paid version for pro users. Good examples of this approach would be (Dropbox, Spotify, Soundcloud). 

Paid Model - If your market size may never reach millions of customers, or you're approaching companies/enterprises as your main target ie (SaaS or Enterprise Products) you will probably land with a low customer count high ARPU approach. This approach might mean having a trial period test product, lightweight plan for growing businesses. But most likely the focus of your business will be on the "enterprise" sales side. Your goal is have thousands, tens of thousands, or millions of dollars in revenue from each custom. Ideal company examples like this are (Salesforce, Box, Workday).

Having defined some sort of framework to identify what time of monetization strategy you might be going after based on your product and the ideal customer market size things should be a little clearer to see if there is a scalable market for your idea.

Below are some good questions to answer to help identify what kind of company/product you want to build. Do you want to build one that covers its cost with paid customers and grows over a lifetime (Teem Treehouse), or do you want to build a rocket ship and ride it off to mars (Slack). In the end both products/business paths reach a certain level of success. The main difference there is the journey. Who you want to be in that journey, what matters to you most, and what success means to you.

Are you going after a consumer market ? 

Is your average customer in the business of making money utilizing your product?

Can your customer on average even afford this?

How large of a company are you trying to build?

How quickly do you want this product to scale?

What is the end goal?

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/927696 2015-11-04T22:30:29Z 2015-11-04T22:30:29Z On Functional vs Object Oriented Programming

Starting out programming, I always found Object Oriented Programming to be awesome. It totally made sense, you could model your real life in code and data so easily. 

You have your class object that has class methods that did operations on the object, you have your class attributes that you can update. Anything and everything is fair game. But I recently read a good quote about how Object Oriented programming is great for large corporation because it allows you to monkey patch existing bugs and issues to objects.

This view of OO programming got me to thinking and digging more into functional reactive programming. Stuff such as immutable data, reactive declarative programming, monads, etc, etc kept calling my name. Though the concepts of FP are definitely foreign and note as easily relatable as OO, there are some awesome concepts and guidelines around it that make things feel so simple.

Rule: Data is immutable, it cannot and should not be overwritten.

If you want to update a value on a data object, you must create a copy and trigger a change related to the object in memory/storage.

Rule: Code should be reactive and easy to debug.

This means convoluted, hidden functions on specific objects were a no-no.

RuleCode should be readable and easily maintainable.

Code should be clearly expressive and obvious as to what it does.

ES6 which is Javascript's new version is supporting even more features that support a more functional, reactive approach to programming. Thing such as monads, generators all defer to a more declarative approach to programming.

Here is a great example of using Javascript Streams with functional programming using highland.js.

// returns [1,2,3,4,5]


Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/922184 2015-11-03T16:07:43Z 2015-11-03T16:07:43Z On The Value of Time

A lot of times people talk about how their time is money. But the funny thing about making this relationship is how disproportionate amount of money vs time. 

The accrual of money by an individual can be extremely high. IE Bill Gate, Warren Buffet. Billions of dollars per person or more. On the other hand the accrual of time by an individual, has an upper limit of 120 years so far, and a norm of 60-80 years. 

The term time is money hides the reality of the truth, time is nearly infinite in value relative to money. We have a finite amount of time to live yet we pursue money as an end goal as if it will satisfy the needs of a lifetime if we have enough. Instead money should be treated as a currency to buy freedom, flexibility in what you do with your time, not as an end goal.

In reality money is worth very little, you don't really keep it when you die. Ideally some of your offspring will thank you for any money you leave them behind. 

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/926748 2015-11-03T15:42:42Z 2015-11-03T15:42:42Z On Rituals

I sometimes wonder  how often people we deem "successful" operate on consistent routine.  There is a great book out there called daily rituals that covers the daily rituals of highly successful and productive people in the world.

One of the largest common denominators between them all was that they had a consistent pattern/routine they abided by. Some people were early risers/others were late risers. Some liked to work only in the mornings, some started work late in the afternoons. But the key component of each of their days was a well thought out process that maximized their creative output and potential.

The majority of their rituals came around simple actions that seem to set them up right for a high output day. Some took cold showers in the morning, others wrote first thing, most had quiet time in the morning. 

I guess its time to perfect that morning ritual. 

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/924135 2015-10-29T19:59:39Z 2015-10-29T19:59:39Z On Hardware

Hardware is hard. Really hard. You're talking about firmware, software, electronics, manufacturing, testing. Talk about full-stack development, this is true full stack development.

Peter Thiel, amongst others has complained about the very true problem of tech wanting to change the world and only doing so for bits and bytes.

He also mentions that Elon Musk is one of the few entrepreneurs that is making the jump from bytes to atoms with Tesla and SpaceX.

I believe the key to this ability to bring a startup, high pace, innovation based approach to hardware is the ability to replicate the software development process that exists today on the web.

Software is highly iterative, there are no version, you can deploy changes daily, multiple times a day. There's a reason why tech startups outpace any incumbents.

Unfortunately for the majority of time hardware has been made as versions. You have your 2014 Prius, 2015 Prius, Roomba 1, Roomba 2. This is often due to the fact that hardware manufacturing is hard and costs a ton of money/time to alter things. So most major companies don't change things year to year. 

There are some great parallels between the war between Desktop "Software" and Cloud "Software". Desktop version get released yearly, cloud software gets updated daily. Its pretty clear who wins that one.

There's a reason why Slack came along and smashed competitors in the face, they use chromium, a browser emulator on the desktop that allows for daily updates without needing a user to "update" their software.

Going back to hardware, the secret to Tesla and SpaceX ability to compete with existing incumbents is their speed of innovation. The Model S does not get released every year as a new version, instead each new car that is rolled out has new features added as new features are ready. 

All of a sudden features such as auto-pilot driving, ludicrous mode can be released in subsequent months instead of in a yearly cycle.

Beyond this Tesla has built in their own custom firmware/software into their car so remote updates can happen at any given time. Tesla amongst others has been able to bridge the gap of innovation from the web to hardware by allowing their engineers to continuously deploy, test and release improvements to the car via software updates.

If more hardware companies can build on this practice of speed and innovation into their manufacturing and product software, you'll see new startups blow incumbents out of the water in a matter of months simply due to the speed of their improvements.

Speed kills competition. Startups already know that. Its time to see more hardware startups take this approach and beat out their bigger competitors.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/924132 2015-10-29T19:48:27Z 2015-10-29T19:48:27Z On Startups

Currently joining a startup has become this sexy thing that everyone wants to join to change the world. Now, I agree this messaging is correct and should be the goal. 

What people miss out on in terms of startups that succeed and "make-it" doesn't come from just a great idea or luck. It comes from a combination of  three things.

1) IDEA: something that provides insight into a service/product/sector that is in need of innovation. Messaging clients are old school, let's build Slack a better one.

2) TIMING: The ability to deliver on this idea/innovation at the right time. Launching palm pilot was close but too early.

3) EFFORT: This is what separates the amateurs vs the pros. Startups that win put in 10x the effort and execution into something for 5-10 years before they win. Most startups don't get there.

There is no magical formula to becoming a successful startup. It's the same as a successful musician, athlete, normal business; it involves hard work over a period of time.

The main difference, so smartly said by Paul Graham, is that startups do it in a compacted amount of time. Instead of taking a lifetime to become great a basketball, startups go crazy for 3-5 years to become great at what they do.

So if you want to change the world, and maybe make it rich. Make sure you're mentally ready to dig at it for a minimum of 3 years and if you can survive and grow for 10 years, you might just make that IPO a reality.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/923123 2015-10-27T21:37:03Z 2015-10-27T21:38:30Z On Twitter

I've recently taken to re-using Twitter for the first time in users. I've used twitter before in different venues. I still have a username from somewhere when Twitter first had launched to see if I could get the @johnny or @johnnywu tag name. I could not.

Then I tried picking it up again sometime in college as it caught on as the the go to platform for updates. Then it lost steam in my mind for a long time. More recently during Techstars in NYC Spring 2014, we used/use it heavily for marketing/engagement for customers and followers for our translation and technology platform Localize.

More recently with Twitter's CEO re-shuffling, refocus on core customers, developers, and curation, I figured it might be time to try it out again.

Recently, I am trying to use it primarily as a platform for thoughts, ideas, and a sounding board. By approaching it like this, its changed my view and value of twitter. 

Twitter is great for: 

1) Event based information (breaking news, live events, etc)

2) Filtered opinions (following people you trust and believe in)

3) To me, most importantly, it is a great sounding board for your own current thoughts/musings.

Twitter is like a public ledger, of my thoughts. It forces me to track what I'm thinking, it takes note of what I thought in a time period in my life, and is most importantly public so your thoughts can't be that ridiculous (at least hopefully they'll be somewhat filtered).

So here's to a hopefully bright future and relationship with Twitter, for the long term.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/922460 2015-10-26T19:28:41Z 2015-10-26T19:28:41Z Doing what you want ]]> Johnny Wu tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/922433 2015-10-26T18:48:16Z 2015-10-26T18:48:16Z On Reading

The act of reading, or becoming an autodidact seems like one of the strongest indicators of long term growth, success, and intelligence.

It seems in our day and age those that are highly successful, carve out significant amounts of times to read. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama, Tim Ferriss, Ryan Holiday, Maria Papova, Nassim Taleb all seem to be incessant readers.

One of the most common excuses I hear or make to myself, is that we lack the time to read. Reading is a waste of time. I'd like to amend that misconception and say reading is one of the greatest uses of your time.

Learning, reading expands the perception of time. Reading can expand your mind, take your reality to another world, expand the life that you live simply by forcing your brain to think laterally and imagine vertically. Think of the times a story or book has taken you to another time period and you've been lost in its fold and perception of time. 

Reading expands the experience of reality in a way that changes the way you see the world. Reading is like cheating on the test of life, you get to experience, learn from, and steal from the wisdom of generations of writers and people that learned a thing or two in their life. Reading/writing is a means to pass on culture and knowledge as a species to the future generations of humans.

That being said I have a short list of recommendations around how to read more often. They surround approach to reading and getting into the act of reading:

TIP 1: Place books in physical locations you're likely to have some down time at. This could be your bedside table, in your car, in a backpack, or on the couch.

TIP 2: This is stolen from Ryan Holiday, amongst others, ruin the ending. Read the end to understand where the story is trying to go.

TIP 3: Jump around and explore, finishing a book should not be like a test or deadline, read it at the pace you're interested. Start new books as interest arises, but always make sure to come back to books when you're ready

TIP 4: Take notes or ear mark pages you find interesting for future use or even mental cataloguing of interesting facts

TIP 5: Read thematically, it helps fills out your understanding of a specific topic. Sometimes the best books to read in genre come from suggestions or tips in the books you are currently reading.

That's it. Reading should be viewed as a free experience into someone else's world, reading should be about growing as a person, and lastly reading should be about things you enjoy.

Johnny Wu
tag:johnnywu.posthaven.com,2013:Post/922157 2015-10-26T02:08:26Z 2015-10-26T02:08:26Z On Learning

Learn how to learn, the most important things to do.

Johnny Wu