Your byte size news and commentary from Silicon Valley the land of startup vanities, coding, learn-to-code and unicorn billionaire stories.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
How to get a job at Square? - Girl Geek Dinner Edition Part 1
Having raised more than $300 Million dollars in funding (introductory read: how to get a job at square by +Mashable ), and having been founded by Twitter founders, Square hardly needs to convince people to join. Intersecting hardware, software, mobile, financial payment processing, and pushing the frontier of use of new frameworks (Ember.js D3 for its Seller's Dashboard), Square is hardly a easy pick for any dazzling ambitious souls. You can read about the development and wireframing process here. And engineer Allen Cheung decided to explain it in more details on Quora (why the framework?).
If you are applying for an engineering job, it's best to know the stack and mobile dev environment, here's Quora's take by the Engineering Manager, Zack Rock. And why not read the company's own words on how to get in? The Square Engineering Corner blog provides some insights into the nature of the job and how to get one here. You can learn about the pair programming interview, or the code challenges. What's on a company's website, is really a fair game to ask in any interviews.
In the Mashable article, Seth claims that Square engineering interviews start with a Skype call with a code problem to be worked out with a real engineer (read, this takes time and energy, submit a good solid application. These interviews aren't cheap to come by). And if all goes well, then the candidate proceeds to a full day problem solving oriented interview to get a taste of what working here is really like.
Perks? You can have faith this place has amazing perks, so all the more reasons to beef up your raw talent or do lots of homework.
I will do a part 2 after the girl geek dinner, which usually provides valuable insights of what the process really is like and how to get into the door faster. Stay tuned.
Last but not least, Square hires for plenty of business, finance related roles. With some due diligence, good talents and a strong professional background, really, any one has a chance. You don't have to code, but if you can, super. There's a strong engineering culture here
Mashable article How to get a job at Square http://mashable.com/2013/02/17/square-jobs/
Square Engineering Corner blog Ember.js and D3 for dashboard http://corner.squareup.com/2012/04/building-analytics.html
Square Engineering Corner blog http://corner.squareup.com
Glassdoor talks about Square interviews http://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/Square-Interview-Questions-E422050.htm
(Quora links are embedded in the article)
Friday, April 11, 2014
Announcement: At-Lotus Top Brand Hosting Beijing International Design Week
At-Lotus Boutique eBay
At-Lotus Boutique Square
At-Lotus Boutique Shopify
is now hosting competitions in Beijing for the International Design Week.
This is exciting news for us, considering that China is our next market.
We are excited that Chinese designers will be featured in this competition.
We are also excited to continue to deliver the best products to all corners of the United States. Will be posting more Kikkerland products soon!
|At-Lotus Boutique store banner|
Friday, March 21, 2014
A Day in Life of Technology Consultant
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
MailChimp Update Plain Text Editing is Gone
MailChimp used to have an option allowing editing plain text form of a newsletter. It's the ultimate plain form (possibly the most readable, definitely the most light-weight), the next is probably with images disabled (with the alts displayed), then there's the full multimedia versions, some even with GIF embedded (like General Assembly ones).
During our weekly newsletter sprint, I noticed that the feature is missing and tweeted +MailChimp @mailchimphttp://www.twitter.com/mailchimp
Gasp @mailchimp took away the Plain Text editing option? Where can I find a blog post/ release about this? What's the deal behind it
— Sun (@i_stanford) March 11, 2014
Thankfully the reply came quickly with a full reply!
Read the full-length MailChimp support reply regarding plain text editing being removed or see the screenshot below.
@i_stanford Hello Sun, the Plain Text step of the campaign editing process has indeed been removed from ... https://t.co/ZQX9HAtCKm
— MailChimp (@MailChimp) March 11, 2014
Thank you awesome growth boss +Igor Lebovic showing me how to be a +MailChimp super user one step at a time. Of course we are a startup, and our newsletter is not perfect each time, but just proud that we spend a lot of time on quality control, iteration, and really think about testing and deploying newsletters rather than just publishing.
Monday, March 3, 2014
10 Surprises at YCombinator's First Female Founders Conference
- Adora Cheung (co-founder of Homejoy) gave an unusual speech about the ups and downs of entrepreneurs, who are "sprinting a marathon" full of surprises and hurdles. Her rise to success took maxing out her credit card, becoming nearly homeless, brushing teeth at McDonald's and becoming a "cleaning lady" and had to justify why she wanted to clean with a college degree. (I personally think she's the best speaker. YC alumni seem to all agree that her speech was inspirational).
- Jessica Livingston (partner at Y Combinator) recalling having to do everything that was non-technical at the founding of Y Combinator: from doing tax to carrying air conditioners. And working hard with her baby boy on the desk, next to her work station.
- Jessica Livingston (partner at Y Combinator) announced the Female Founder conference on the YC blog, yet Paul Graham was the cover of Inc.'s press.
- More than 50% of the room raised their hands when asked if she is an engineer!
- More than 50% of the room raised their hands when asked if she is a founder!
- Kathryn Minshew (co-founder at The Muse) and her team were rejected by more than 10 accelerators in NYC before getting accepted into Y Combinator. Kathryn is also a super fast talking ex-McKinsey consultant (yay, consultants! Disclaimer: I am an ex-consultant too). Her team all left their glamorous job to found their dream startup.
- Jessica Mah (co-founder at inDinero.com) went from poster startup child on newspapers and the president of UC Berkeley's Computer Science club to getting five-star office spaces with Jacuzzi hot tub, to nearly broke, had to let go of everyone, went through a lot of self doubt, to land in the typical startup in the living room/garage situation. She and her co-founder each had a room in a house, and hack with the entire team in the living room. Some say she's the very best speaker.
- The audience is super amazing! Among the audience, there are serial entrepreneurs, startup 1st employees, engineers, PhD's and graduates of all kinds of bootcamps including Dev Bootcamp, Hackbright, and Coding Dojo (lolz myself?). There's NatashatheRobot, Michelle Sun a Hackbright graduate and a Buffer engineer who went to found the First Code Academy in Hong Kong, China, Vanessa Hurst who co-founded Girls Develop It and Code Montage. Jessica Greenwalt, a Y Combinator crowdsourced medical info startup co-founder, Vivian Xue the founder of The Box Noir and Soothie in Los Angeles. The list goes on and on and is nothing short of being inspiring.
- 34.5 % of women founders have started companies with their spouse/ significant other. It is still unfortunately true that women may have trouble finding co-founders at time. Founding a company with a significant other can be potentially a hack. PG and Jessica have been co-founders at YCombinator when they got married.
- Last but not least, women have founded or co-founded extraordinary startups. It's still a "surprise" though already a fact because there isn't enough coverage yet. Homejoy, The Muse, Eventbrite, InDinero, YCombinator, HireArt, VMWare, Science Exchange, and many more!!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Annyeonghaseyo Hello Korea! What the Codecademy Girl Thinks about Online Code Schools
A dear Twitter friend was kind enough to translate almost the entire write up. You can see the Korea version here.
|Apparently I have a Korean version of my name Dilys Sun :)|
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
A Sober Crunchies Gives Back
And indeed when the BART went on strike, techies of the valley barely felt a pinch, when the rest of the peninsula lined up for MUNIs, ferries, and even cable cars to get by.
There was a simple call to action: omakase's charitable donation drive came right after the speech. Donate now, and even label what we donate or volunteer for - show that we care.
The Crunchies helps a little. Ron Conway specifically called that no one is exempted: we each needs to do our share. Before we go build a tech utopia, we need to think about the rest of the society, and what would happen to it, if we unilaterally decide our course of action.
Don't forget, when we unplug from the society we also unplug from our users. Not a single award winner tonight failed to acknowledge its users. In a tech utopia, we have Steve Jobs, Crunchies founders, but do we have users, consumers, investors and ... electricity? There may be a significance that Edward Snowden won a Crunchies award. Or is there?
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Hello Glass Uh-oh Google - Picked up my First Glass When Gmail Was Down
Failed to Add to Glass and Voice Actions Malfunction in Google Glass
As a Glass Explorer on baby day 1, two consequences: MyGlass website keeps saying cannot add app to Glass, Path is temporarily over quota 500 server error, and Voice Actions (the Google voice search, likely Google Now also had trouble) just won't work. You can say tons of "ok glass", but Google Glass voice actions or voice search wasn't working when Google social, email, and possibly voice search features down. Thanks to perfect integration with the Google suite, your Chromebooks and Chrome Pixel probably wouldn't have worked well Friday.
Supposedly the outage only last for short amount time, but was definitely experiencing trouble long after. Looks like the config error has caused rippling error report.
But this is not a rant. It's actually a part of the experience of trying a new technology. Some of the thoughts raced through my head: wow glass is cool but mine may have hardware problems, touchpad is cool but I wish the voice commands work, wait a second it worked intermittently maybe I just have bad accents! This interesting confusion leading me to think my English is broken was quite funny.
Unable to demo voice command also drove me to explore the MyGlass iOS app (read more below). Helped me found a helpful testing and demoing feature called screencast.
It was an insightful experience to understand the interconnection of Google services, and more importantly how the rest of the web use Goolge hosting (Path wouldn't work for a while, Premium Pixel download didn't work, not sure if also connected), and a rare experience using Glass without the voice commands.
This morning (Saturday), glass is working perfectly and responding very well to voice commands.
Picking Up Google Glass : Highlights
|First Google Glass Picture is High Quality!|
There are some awesome things to note though: the picture quality is high! Sharing is easy using the touch pad. Google Glass studio has gorgeous views, beer, and tentative staff who makes you feel like a VIP. Supposedly, there's phone support for Glass Explorers too. If voice actions continue to go on strike, I will have to give them a call.
Funny enough, putting a Google Glass on is excitingly disorienting. Having a "third eye" takes time to get used to, and made me do silly things like knocking things over and mistakenly miss my elevator stops. Because voice actions don't work, I had to use Wink to take a picture, and the touchpad extensively (which also takes time to get used to).
Titanium 4 eye rest rods with memory? Pretty cool. A twist on shade panel, and bone conduction technology (maybe I really didn't needed headphones at all). People have talked all about these experiences. The errors are new, as it's not every day that Google goes down. The iOS app is fairly new - MyGlass.
MyGlass iOS App Allows You to See What the Glass Explorer Sees!
MyGlass lets you access some myglass web portal options. Its coolest feature is the screencast which mirrors the glass view, so others can finally see what the Glass Explorer is seeing. And less passing around of let other people sweating on your precious glass ;-) I was able to demo the glass to my parents without them touching my glass. Pretty nifty for development testing too. On Quora, people asked what does a Glass Explorer see. Now you would know!
Friday, January 24, 2014
UX Designer & Developer Tamara: Her Beautiful Transformation into a Maker [Guest Post][Learn-to-Code]
‘Labeling’, the worst enemy of makers
Thursday, January 23, 2014
5 e-Commerce Lessons Learnt
|My customers love me on ebay - certified|
Never underestimate your reach
|December US sales Snapshot|
Guerilla Marketing and Bootstrap minus Marketing Budget
The key is to send jots of traffics to the website and waiting to generate viral content. Most of us, unfortunately do not have the talent nor the timing to crank out viral contents, so it is important to "espresso" your site traffic often. And twitter is perfect for that job.
Campaign like a Champion
Gamify the Hell Out of This "Traditional" Realm
|Obtaining PowerSeller status|
|Becoming a top rated seller on ebay|
Spread and Channel Like a Virus
Friday, January 17, 2014
Learn Coding & Change Career : Ramon Porter's Amazing Journey, and You Can Help! [GUEST POST]
What I’ve Done So Far
If you're looking for a resolute, good-natured, and hard working junior Ruby on Rails developer. Please check out my profiles!
How I Started
My journey into web development started with a 2,000 mile, one-way trip across the country! My girlfriend and I left warm and beautiful southern California for Michigan with one purpose; I needed to learn to program.
This wasn’t the quickest decision I’d ever made, but I clearly remember justifying to myself how moving back in with my mom and grandma would allow me the free time to focus on studying. There’s also the additionally obvious benefit of having my family close by after having been so far away for some time.
During my first couple of months back in Michigan, I built an office, setup the computer and got started in HTML and CSS. Eventually, I read somewhere that the best way to learn was to have an idea/project in mind and just jump into building it. So that’s what I did.
What I’ve Learned So Far
The first thing would be that I have ALOT to learn.
I remember hearing James Edward Gray II once mention in one of the Ruby Rogue podcasts that programming has a plethora of topics to consider, each one containing an ocean of information in itself. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That being said, here are a few additional lessons I’ve learned over the past 3.5 years.
Learning with others beats solo coding in your mom’s basement.
This one is probably self-explanatory, but to be certain, it’s my opinion that it is much more fun learning from and interacting with other like-minded individuals.
For me personally, I’ve learned that maintaining a student mentality is more important than standing out. Excellence speaks for itself and occurs naturally over time with focused practice and proper attitude.
Writing blog posts will seriously help solidify concepts internally.
I remember the teachers at Dev Bootcamp encouraging us candidates to start and maintain a blog. At the time, it seemed like a lot of work that wasn’t directly related to programming, so I never kept up with one my first time around.
Boy was I completely wrong!
Not only is a blog a good resource to go over personally when attempting to remember implementation details or the like, but I have also received so much enlightenment and encouragement from many people just when I needed it most. I certainly underestimated how powerful interacting with people in this fashion would provide a better well-being overall.
Prioritizing isn’t necessarily the same as limiting yourself.
Lastly is to practice, and have some fun!
Enjoyment of the process will keep you going during those frustrating periods.
Here is a list of resources that I’m still finding invaluable as I continue along this path towards a new career:
The Well Grounded Rubyist by: David A. Black – Takes a scientific approach in covering the ins and outs of the Ruby language.
Eloquent Ruby by: Russ Olsen – Russ demonstrates how to write code like a true Rubyist.
Apprenticeship Patterns by: Dave Hoover & Adewale Oshineye – Is a pattern book that’s focused on a new developer’s motivation and morale when considering the direction of their lives and careers in the software industry.
Want to hire Ramon or just chat with him for an inspiration story? You can find Ramon on Twitter
Think you have a great story too? My blog is a free space for promoting beginners in coding, learning, hacking, and changing careers. I'd be glad to feature good stories, and mentor you to market your brand. It's a free pay-it-forward model. You help the next person in need.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
2013-2014 A Year of Hack Schooling
14 days into the new year. Let’s imagine a brand new beginning. This is the year you become who you truly want to be : a full-time developer, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a writer, a maker … There’s a hack school (or an app) for each category, and 1000 other websites that promise to make us smarter. And you know the dojos of the new school generation: Udacity, Coursera, Codecademy, Khan Academy. Here are some trends and caveats to keep in mind, in my humble opinion. Let’s talk about the new comers.
Disclaimer: This isn’t just about coding
Hack school isn’t just for coding. And code schools, which are for coding, are no longer obscure. Recently news giants like Wall Street Journals and Fast Company have both covered Codecademy.com, San Francisco code schools and communities scored mentions too!
MOOC’s meh and massive dropout scenario
MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) have continued to moo for the past two years with student rosters in the multi-millions. Yet we can call it massive dropout classes. Even Udacity’s founder with his own pen and voice could not get a good completion rate. New courses are showing up with free coursework but premium certification / progress submissions. Coursera came up with authentications, aiming to provide credibility. Khan Academy expanded its computer curriculum. MOOC has been a bit meh in growth. Just not enough motivation, not enough discipline.
Y Combinator still hales this year as the year of education
Nevertheless, this is still truly the year of education. Second half of 2013, Startup School by Y Combinator took place. Paul Graham accepted CodeCombat on stage. Ron Conway confirmed in a later session: education would be a priority on the investment front. So indeed, there was CodeCombat, OneMonthRails, and AirPair (developer expertise knowledge transfer/education/training) all showed up in YC. So the rumor is true: education is a shiny star. Note each startup has a different model though. They are not your traditional education either.
How much is elite education worth in dollar amount per hour?
A brief talk about the traditional education: ivy league + Stanford are very expensive. They are elite not hack. One of our favorite calculations after sleeping in and missing class in the Stanford days: how much is each class worth? 45,000 a year, 3 quarters, say 2.5 months of 20 units, a typical economics class is 5 units, 5 hours per week. Say I am taking 4 classes x 5 hours/week = 20 hours/week, 20 hours/week x 2.5 months/quarter 4 weeks/months = 200 hours each quarter. $45,000 / 3 quarters = $15,000 per quarter. That’s about $75 per class. That’s a lot yet a small amount to pay for experts (it’s nice to have a class paying $75 a pop though, Stanford is happy). Udacity’s new class price is $150 a month. It’s definitely elite, considering that most internet subscriptions are well under $30. Even Salesforce.com for business is way less than $150/month. Still, for corporate training, $150/user/month, it is actually a great deal to take training out of house.
New gigs are just cooler than plain old training
Online schools, even in-person, intensive bootcamps cannot mimic the social bond, pressure, competition, motivation, and group mentality an university can provide. But for the corporate world where these bonds are not considered essential (compared to the alma mater of good memories), gamified, software as a service, MOOC, project-based content, learn by doing, or any other new gig is exciting! New offerings are so much more exciting, agile, and cool than the incumbents (thinking about the traditional corporate training seminars, click-through, quizzes at the end, and a generic certificate).
A plethora of skill shops
There’s Skillshare for just about learning anything bite-size and cool, like how to make a vine video. There’s Treehouse projects if you would like to make an app fast. There’s DIY.org for young adults and kids to become a maker and earn scout-like badges. There’s Tinkercad for 3D Printing. The possibility is truly endless. Let’s not forget Udemy which pretty much is Mooc that covers everything, but doesn’t have the heavy weight of university-level education like Coursera has.
Pursuit of happiness in education as … an after thought?
Young 11 yr old TEDxTalk speaker Logan mentioned a good point: what about pursuit of happiness. The dream that clings onto to so many Americans? Maybe the reason we love these newcomers is that they offer fun, excitement without the pressure of our parents’ school systems. All the badges and points, the user stories, projects and gadgets are really our new education as a lifestyle. It is our pursuit of knowledge and happiness.
Finally the ugly words: education as a business
It has always been since the day schools are privatized. We now have the traditional schools, community schools, government schools, trade schools … and the new bootcamp style code schools. With the promises of remaking careers, code school has attracted a high-paying pool of professionals-turned-student learnerpreneurs. Now publications caution against these 100% 100K promises. Code schools also scale back on their “guarantees”. However there will be super user stories and evangelists.
Each player in this hack schooling sphere is finding a way to potential glory. One thing for sure, it has never been so easy to learn just about everything. As someone who likes to read and learn, this is heavenly. Ultimately though, degrees, certificates or badges need to be put to work. I spend a lot of time think about how to be a productive hacker. My 2013 year of education continues to 2014, it’s all about productivity improvements. Now that I flexed my wings in unknown realms, time to talk some numbers.