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James Hong

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Enough with the Facebook/Friendster analogies...

I get annoyed when i read articles these days that try to compare the facebook to friendster.. Here's one for instance.

Anyone who has used facebook knows that it's no friendster. As jonathan abrams has alluded to, friendster's hugest problem was scaling the site properly. the facebook has done it extremely well, and on top of that, they have made their site a utility rather than a flashy new media site..

In 5 years, i predict that the facebook will be a public entity, and easily a multi-billion dollar company... and that valuation will be justifiable based on actual business fundamentals, not on hype.

and by the way, if jonathan had sold his company for $30 million in stock, it would NOT be worth a billion dollars as that fast company article mentioned. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the valuation google was putting on itself back then was around 10 billion. Ignoring any dilution from their public offerings, that would place the value of that stock at around 400 million. Not chump change by any measure, but can we please stop throwing the billion number around just to make some sort of sensationalistic effect?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I think better when I'm not really thinking about it..

It has occured to me that a lot of the better thinking and better decisions I've made in the past happened when I wasn't concentrating on the problem. For instance, the idea to originally not host pictures on HOTorNOT but instead send people to Geocities and then have users submit their image's URL (in order to avoid paying for bandwidth) was thought of while I was sitting in the drive thru line at In-N-Out Burger at 1am when I was supposed to be figuring out whether I wanted a single burger or a double double.

I also seem to have random thoughts about problems when I am talking to people, and something they say triggers thoughts in my head that may have very little to do with what they are talking about, but still.. some keyword they said triggers something in my brain.

I've always wondered if this is why I tend to be a bit A.D.D, because I do my best thinking this way rather than concentrating. Not sure if they are related, but it would explain a few things.

One time I was interviewing a guy for a job position, and he was close to the solution but for some reason couldn't get it. So after 10 minutes of frustratedly watching him almost getting it, I told him to stop and that I wanted to try an experiment. I aksed him to put the paper aside, and i asked him a series of random questions.. "what is your favorite fast food restaurant," "what is your favorite tv show", "what books have you read lately", and then i immediately told him to look at the problem again.. and within 10 seconds, he got it!

So I saw this journal of experimental social psychology abstract today and wondered if this was all related, and found it interesting.. Moral of the story is, when you have a really hard problem, do something else for a while.

Ap Dijksterhuis and Zeger van Olden
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, September 2006, Pages 627-631

This work compares conscious thought and unconscious thought in relation to
quality of choice. Earlier work has shown that people make better choices
after engaging in unconscious thought (i.e., unconscious activity during a
period of distraction) rather than in conscious thought. However, the
evidence was obtained for choices between hypothetical alternatives with
quality of choice operationalized normatively. As quality of decision is
essentially subjective, in the current experiment participants chose between
real objects with quality operationalized as post-choice satisfaction. In a
paradigm based on work by Wilson and colleagues, participants were briefly
presented with five art posters, and chose one either (a) immediately, (b)
after thorough conscious thinking about each poster, or (c) after a period
of distraction. Participants took their favorite poster home and were phoned
3-5 weeks later. As hypothesized, unconscious thinkers were more satisfied
with their choice than participants in the other two conditions.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Not to be self referential, but..

I just saw an article about, a site with online videos where entrepreneurs give their advice, and remembered that they interviewed me at a party one time. So anyone starting a company, here is my advice:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

GREAT blog to read if you are thinking about taking Venture Money

My friends Naval and Nivi have created a fantastic blog.. I heartily suggest entrepreneurs thinking about taking venture money read it.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Wow, I presume this will never happen again in my career

Just got back from a bar, where I attended my first ever company drinkfest where the occasion was celebrating turning OFF over $10k a day in revenue!

Feels Surreal... but still feels good! I think (I hope) we are doing the right thing here!