Wednesday, September 23, 2015

eBay has the ambition to be the next Amazon but it isn't working

The Battle of Two eCommerce Sites

This year, eBay celebrated its 20th birthday and really beefed up its seller standard. Users can easily request full refunds, and even when the seller cooperates, the "Item Not as Described" still counts against the seller as a high defect rate. While eBay has added new tools like promoted listing, it became much harsher towards its sellers by implementing many new standards,  lowering its tolerance for customer-seller resolution, becoming stricter with item relisting and listing in general. These moves are alienating its younger and newer sellers for sure.

Some more senior sellers are used to standard hikes, and are used to making small changes to comply. But younger sellers like myself are seeing the increasing value of platforms like Shopify which respects sellers and allows sellers to take back control. It is a proof that happy sellers can give great customer experience.

eBay wants to make itself more like Amazon, who is knowing harsh towards its sellers and at times will shut down one's livelihood. But customers don't see eBay as a generic site like Amazon, but a very specialized used goods, specialty goods site. Without those items, and many individual sellers, eBay will have trouble attract new customers. Its brand name is simply not associated with new products. It'd better work with younger, innovative sellers to change that, rather than shutting them out with hard-to-nagivate standards that have way too much history, legacy and lack simplicity.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

How to Instagram according to celebrity Brooklyn Beckham (David Beckham's Son)

How to Instagram as explained by teen celebrity and Vogue.
Social media tips from a millennial. 

Social Media Tips from a Millennial and Teen Celebrity - Brooklyn Beckham

Miss Vogue (Britain) teamed up with Brooklyn Beckham, son of renowned world cup soccer star David Beckham and super model / celebrity and fashionista designer mom - Victoria, to teach us How to Instagram 101! Watch this video below called Brooklyn Beckham's Guide to Instagram to get a quick 5 minute tip on how to get started with Instagram, the celebrity way. This young first born of the famous soccer star and fashion celebrity has his own following in the fashion world. He frequented teen Vogue and other fashion magazine covers. The Beckham family is often seen together wearing British trench coats and boots at Burberry fashion shows.

He really fits the Instagram persona too: young, fashion-conscious, artsy, shimmering, socially vocal, and is never separated with his phone, also his best camera.

Brooklyn walks the audience through a few easy to understand tips, and follow each slide with a detailed explanation from the heart of a millennial. What's a better way to understand Instagram a tool that is best utilized by millennial and has a strong millennial following than hearing directly from a teen celebrity?

Brooklyn explains it way better and in a softer tone. We did a quick summary below for our readers, but not in his exact tone. Watch the video above, it's a quick 5-minute Instagram best practice.

No Selfie Destruction

Take it easy on the selfies. No one wants to see an account full of your self love. Capture interesting surroundings and stories instead. Too many selfies = self destruction by selfies.

Don't Ask People to Follow You

It will be awkward to ask people to please be friends with you in real life too. It's just awkward.

No Selfie Sticks

No means no. Simple as that.

Go Easy on Filters

Instagram's signature feature - image filters - and yet the most over-used feature may just be too much. 


THE ULTIMATE RULE is to have fun. No fun no follower-ship. 
Play with Instagram, be playful and have some real fun. The followers will follow. 

The Beckham family frequents Burberry fashion shows in style.

Brooklyn's younger brother was a guest Burberry winter season model!

Happy Instagram-ing!
Brooklyn Beckham's Guide to Instagram
How to instagram 101 from a millennial and teen celebrity,
David Beckham's son

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

20 Startups Unicorns that You Didn't Know

Yesterday these were mere startups, where founders sweat away to build from ground zero. Today they are already billion dollar unicorns, when you are not paying attention. From ... type ... type type.. type. There are now more than 100 "startups" that became unicorns! Unicorn companies by definition has more than $1 billion in valuation. Trivia: a lesser known "decacorn" can be used to describe ten-billion-dollar ultra unicorns like Uber, Airbnb, SnapChat, Pinterest, Dropbox,

  • Uber valued at $51 Billion August 2015
  • Airbnb valued at $25.5 Billion  June 2015
  • Palantir valued at $20 Billion July 2015
  • Snapchat valued at $16 Billion May 2015
  • SpaceX valued at $12.0 billion January 2015
  • Pinterest valued at $11.0 billion February 2015
  • Dropbox valued at $10.0 billion January 2014
  • WeWork valued at $10.0 billion June 2015
  • Spotify valued at $8.5 billion April 2015
  • Square valued at $6.0 billion August 2014
  • Stripe valued at $5.0 billion July 2015
  • Zenefits valued at $4.5 billion May 2015
  • Cloudera valued at $4.1 billion March 2014
  • Jawbone valued at $3.3 billion February 2014
  • DocuSign valued at $3.0 billion April 2015
  • Bloom Energy valued at $2.9 billion September 2011
  • Slack valued at $2.8 billion March 2015
  • Lyft valued at $2.5 billion March 2015
  • Houzz valued at $2.3 billion October 2014
  • Instacart valued at $2.0 billion December 2014
  • Domo valued at $2.0 billion March 2015
  • Blue Apron valued at $2.0 billion June 2015
  • Github valued at $2.0 billion July 2015
  • Honest Co. valued at $1.7 billion August 2015
  • MongoDB valued at $1.6 billion December 2014
  • BuzzFeed valued at $1.5 billion August 2015
  • Social Finance (SoFi) valued at $1.3 billion February 2015
  • Medallia valued at $1.3 billion July 2015
  • Warby Parker valued at $1.2 billion April 2015
  • Gilt Groupe valued at $1.1 billion April 2011
  • AppDynamics valued at $1.1 billion July 2014
  • 23andMe valued at $1.0 billion June 2015
  • CloudFlare valued at $1.0 billion December 2012
  • Evernote valued at $1.0 billion May 2012
  • Eventbrite valued at $1.0 billion March 2014
  • Kabam valued at $1.0 billion August 2014
  • Shazam valued at $1.0 billion January 2015
  • Pluralsight valued at $1.0 billion August 2014
  • Twilio valued at $1.0 billion July 2015

For more unicorns and non-US unicorns visit Wall Street Journal's The Billion Dollar Club visualization and table.  There are a few that made an exit : Shopify, Lending Club The reality is that unicorns take many years if not a full decade to materialize. With a few exceptions, many companies many famous products and but are still quite small in valuation. 

A sortable list of startup unicorns, its valuation,
geo location, industry and investment partners.

On CBInsights you can see a sortable table of unicorns by geographic location, industry and investors. It's very helpful for entrepreneurs thinking about founding a startup or raising funds. CBInsights The Unicorn List: Current Private Companies Valued At $1B And Above

The lesser known founder of Didi Kuaidi a Chinese startup unicorn
which is No.6 on the Fortune's Unicorn List


Learn AngularJS with detailed walkthrough lesson 1 now provides a realistic interactive in-browser course that teaches AngularJS! It's pretty exciting. But AngularJS isn't exactly a beginner topic. Many experienced developers of other languages would like to pick it up too. It's hard to control the tutorial difficulty.  I have recorded and shared two videos below one is a detailed walkthrough of Lesson 1, giving necessary information about AngularJS and its role in web development. The second video focuses more on the actual exercise and does not provide detailed background info.

One correction: in video 1, I said Firefox does not allow me to open and edit the code files. That is incorrect. is compatible with firefox. You just have to find the green Open button in the middle panel. This will open the file and allow you to edit. This is actually very realistic simulation of web development! Good job Codecademy.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tutorial : Getting Started with SQL and Database Basics in Minutes

This video tutorial demos how to get started with SQL and practice it easily in a browser / on the web without installing additional database components. It also provides an intuitive example and analogy for beginners to visualize database and database tables using Excel. I did a quick walkthrough of how to use W3School's Try SQL feature to practice SQL language on the web.

Essential Product Management Skills | How to Become a Product Manager in Silicon Valley

This is a short list of essential skills that a product manager in Silicon Valley will want to have. Ideally, the candidate has a lot of experiences and a computer science degree if he/she wants to work for Google / Facebook. This is a first post, will add follow-up posts about 1. a day in life of a product manager 2. interviews of high paying Silicon Valley product managers 3. sample interview questions.

In practice, you don't have to have all skills. Experiences and results really speak louder than a traditional resume. In a later post, we will cover the "touchy feely" "soft" side of Product Management. Comment and ask questions below.

Skills & Tasks
Wireframing prototyping skills
Web analytics skills
Marketing, campaigning the product, Public Relations (PR), "getting the word out"
Product marketing, publicity
Managing prioritizing backlog
Presenting roadmap, flow chart
Engineering estimates
Leading teams
Gathering and researching inputs from stakeholders and customers:

  • From internal teams such as sales, business development, marketing etc.
  • From customers through customer research, define target customers and personas
  • On external market forces such as competition, market dynamic etc.

Product vision
Feature requirements
MVP wireframes (product feature list)
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
User flow chart
Use cases, epics
Product launch plan
Product description
Product release (beta programs)

User testing
Functional testing

Tools & Techniques
Agile tools and techniques
Waterfall versus agile
PM best practices

Managing / Coordinating people
Product development teams
Product owners

Beginner Tutorial: Getting Started with AngularJS Hello World in Minutes

This demo tutorial (as opposed to follow-along tutorial) shows that you can hook up AngularJS to your html file in just minutes. Things we cover including how to start the ng-app, evaluate an expression {{ 1+2 }}, set up a controller, even debugging AngularJS.

AngularJS is a big topic and I am not the best developer to explain it. However, I want to demo that just like jQuery, AngularJS requires some initial setup. It takes a bit of muscle memory to get used to. After that, you can start your AngularJS app quickly, and take your time to get better at it.


Why do we use a Mac?
Many modern web developers use Mac for various reasons. For beginners, it's easy to program on Macs. The configuration and setup is usually smooth. Some languages are preinstalled and readily available like Ruby and Python.

Why do we use Sublime?
It's a free powerful and clean-cut text editor, which makes it great for beginners.

Why do we use CDN or a hyperlink for the AngularJS source code?
It's easy, readily available, optimized. We don't have to download a copy of the source code and that's nice.

How to debug AngularJS?
AngularJS is JavaScript after all. For beginners, console.log is always your best friend. Use console.log often to make sure your scripts and code is connected.


  • We like to use a basic expression {{ 1+2 }} that AngularJS can compute to demonstrate that AngularJS code is connected successfully.  We think an AngularJS hello world example is to make this expression evaluate to 3.