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James Hong

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

oh my god..

ok, i don't normally post random youtube things unless they're oddly unique.. I think this one qualifies.. Youtube is enabling hordes of people to bypass the need for Jerry Springer to have them on his show to reach the public.. isn't the internet great? :)

UPDATE: Someone pointed out that at 5:45 into the clip, you can see her pulling on a lock of hair, and you can kind of tell that she's actually wearing a wig.. so this clip is actually fake.. Which in many ways is more interesting, and now makes this post even more relevant. This is basically the next lonelygirl15.. people making so called "reality" clips that are actually staged, in order to get attention. Is it really any different than any reality show on MTV? (Don't get me wrong, as staged as those shows are, I still love 'em!

UPDATE 2: My friend Jeremy Liew sent confirmation that the video is fake.. TORONTO, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - The recent "Bride Has Massive Hair Wig Out" video was an initiative from Sunsilk Haircare Brand in Canada. The video was created to dramatize that "bad hair" is one of the challenges faced by young women, many of whom have experienced their own "wig-out" moments. It was never Sunsilk Canada's intent to portray anything other than a dramatization.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Do YOU have the balls to try? Part I

My friend Jeremy Liew eloquently points out today that the beauty of silicon valley is not that everyone succeeds whenever they try to build a startup, but rather that we applaud entrepreneurs even when they fail... because every entrepreneur recognizes that the hardest step in becoming a success is always the first one.. the decision to drop everything and go for it, against all odds.

It is no surprise that a lot of SV success stories are about entrepreneurs who succeeded on their second, third, or fourth tries. HOTorNOT was my 3rd startup attempt. Paypal was Max Levchin's 3rd. The Facebook was not Mark Zuckerberg's first website. The list goes on and on...

I agree with Jeremy.. Fail or Succeed, what all these entrepreneurs have in common is the guts to try. I know that is a cliche thing to say, but I think every entrepreneur out there realizes how hard it is to start something new, whether starting a web company or a new restaurant or any other business.

So anyone criticizing failing companies should realize that those people got further than the people who criticize probably have. It's true that I think a lot of ideas people are working on out there are idiotic, but I also have the utmost level of respect for them as individuals for trying... (the truth is if you don't have at least 9 bad ideas first, you'll never have 1 good one either).

In reality, Jim and I lost our balls over the last 4 years, and for good reason.. we were tired of being broke and figured being risk averse wasn't a terrible thing. So we kept running the site as a cashcow. The decision to restart HOTorNOT recently is a fairly ballsy one, we are shutting down the cashcow and going for it again. It's risky, but a hell of a lot more fun!! I'll write more about that soon, but in the meantime if you happen to be (or know) a top notch developer who wants to join us in building cool stuff AND learn how to be entrepreneurial, check out our Jobs page! For the time being, we're only looking to let 4 people in.

Monday, January 08, 2007

In Case of Emergency.. is actually a pretty funny show

After meeting Kelly Hu in Hawaii last month, I set my Tivo up to record her new show, "In Case of Emergency".

Truth be told, I was expecting it to suck.. I mean hey, most sitcom pilots do, and only the good ones survive.

So I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually liked the show and thought it was funny.. enough at least that I left the season pass running on my tivo to get a few more episodes.

Here's a clip of Kelly from the show. Check it out, it's on Wednesdays at 9:30.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Farewell, and Thank You.

Jim's Ph.D. advisor, Richard Newton, Dean of Berkeley's College of Engineering and legend in the EDA industry, having been one of the first developers of SPICE (a groundbreaking circuit simulator program) and involved with the founding of Cadence, Synopsys, and countless other companies including HOTorNOT, sadly passed away yesterday. There is a blurb about him on the EE Times website.

Although I didn't know him as well as Jim got to, he always struck me as an ideal role model. Super smart, but also a really really cool guy. About as undorky as a superstar engineer could ever be. Super personable, and a great mentor who was always willing to help us out when needed. For instance, when we first launched the site, and we stuck it on Berkeley's network... when we got caught, richard made sure they didn't cut us off until we found a suitable alternative. That's the kind of guy he was.. super cool.

This is a great loss for Berkeley, for Silicon Valley, and for everyone who ever had the privilege to meet and know Richard. He will be sadly missed.

Richard, thank you for your guidance and help over the years.