Fun: New York 2010 :: Red Bull Air Race

http://www.redbullairrace.com/cs/RedBull/flash/RBPlayer.swf?data_url=http://www.redbullairrace.com/cs/Satellite?c%3DRB_Video%26cid%3D1242852357113%26locale%3D1237400589415%26p%3D1238611393596%26pagename%3DRedBullAirRace%2FRB_Video%2FVideoPlayerDataXML

Prepare for Takeoff – New York 2010 :: Red Bull Air Race Videos.

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China: GMIC And CHINICT Tech Conferences In Beijing: Learnings From China

Great article on techcrunch about a Beijing tech conference; was in town a month ago, too bad I missed it, would have been great to attend:

After exploring the mobile and Internet landscapes in Shanghai and Beijing, the GeeksOnAPlane (GOAP) group (30+ techies mostly from the Silicon Valley) continued their Asian field trip to Korea today. In Beijing, the GOAP attended two of China’s largest tech conferences: CHINICT, “the largest conference on China tech innovation” (which was livestreamed on TechCrunch), and the “Global Mobile Internet Conference” (GMIC), both of which are held in the city every year.

The GOAP got in touch with and gained unfiltered insight from dozens and dozens of local entrepreneurs, VCs and industry observers during the conferences and the events that took place around them. What follows are just a few learnings and impressions the GOAP group picked up during their China web crash course in Beijing (the size of the tech landscape is summarized in my previous post).

GeeksOnAPlane at the GMIC And CHINICT Tech Conferences In Beijing: Learnings From China.

How Zappos was Born: Place Bets on Passionate People – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review

Thought this was a great quote describing “bootstrapping” (quite literally too) at Zappos…

Nick talked about the progress that the website had made over the past few weeks. They were already getting $2,000 worth of orders a week, and the numbers were growing. They weren’t making any money, because anytime an order was placed, Nick would run to the local shoe store, buy the item, and then ship it out to the customer. Nick wanted to put up the website just to prove that people would actually be willing to buy shoes online

via How Zappos was Born: Place Bets on Passionate People – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review.

Doing business in China

I traveled to Beijing to meet truckers and brokers first-hand while performing market research with Xin Tian You (XTY). Xin Tian You (XTY) was founded by industry veterans with the vision to transform the Chinese transportation industry. China has 26M truckers, approximately 12M trucks (85% individually owned/operated), and hundreds of thousands of information brokers. Shipping and truck information market is highly fragmented, inefficient, and lacks transparency; return-trip logistics is problematic and costly. XTY created a mobile app that puts shipment info at truckers’ fingertips, helping them reduce costs and wait time for finding return-trip cargo.

Big Data Is Less About Size, And More About Freedom

My favorite quote in this interview:

Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist, recently said,

“The sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians… The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it”

Unfortunately for those of us working on these problems in real life, it is not so simple. The archetypal data-renaissance man is mathematician, statistician, computer scientist, machine learner, and engineer all rolled into one. There are opportunities where you can lack some of these skills and work with a team that supplements your weak points—a startup is not one of those.

via TechCrunch Big Data Is Less About Size, And More About Freedom .

Facebook Kicks Off Implementation Of QR Codes

I can’t see this on my own Facebook profile yet, but we’ve gotten a number of tips in our inbox in the past 10 minutes so it’s safe to assume it’s not a hoax or anything: Facebook appears to have started enabling users to generate custom two-dimensional QR codes.

From the looks of the screenshot embedded above, there are two types of QR codes: a personal barcode or a “status QR barcode”. This also seems to appear on Facebook Fan Pages.

via TechCrunch: Facebook Kicks Off Implementation Of QR Codes .

QR barcodes are two-dimensional bar codes… similar to what you see on computer generated postal stamps when you use USPS automated kiosks.  The QR codes on facebook would have a link to one’s facebook profile, presumably.  This has tremendous potential, I believe, and could be use in everything from loyalty marketing programs, to integration w/ airline/hotel checkins etc. Of course, there’s the privacy issue, but that could be fixed with PGP or other security issues.  Heck, why not use the QR codes to store your public PGP key and use as a voter identification at these new high tech electronic voting booth.  Lots of possibilities here… a cheaper alternative than embedding RFIDs on everything… (I wonder if people realize how companies have begun embedding RFIDs in clothing — well, that’s a topic for another day)

QuickStats – Amazing online tool to grab US Education Statistics

Was doing some research and found this amazing online resource for finding statistical and demographic info on college students in the US.

You can dynamically build charts and tables using a Pivottable-like web interface.  Very cool stuff indeed.  Hope to see this functionality in other web sites.

Check it out at QuickStats .