Episode 40 On Digital Afterlife

This was supposed to be a sci-fi-ish episode, until we got to the point that we both agreed that this could go very serious and very deep. But it's also because Bo was not fully awake. So this is a pretty slow and scattered episode. We talked about bits of what might happen to one's data when someone passes away. We don't have a clear answer, but it's definitely something we can keep thinking about.

Anyway, I cannot believe we made it to episode 40!

01:00 Following the topic of last episode, we started talking about what might happen to one's data when someone passes away. What if the tech companies have full ownership of your data afterlife? What if the data they own actually worth a lot?

10:00 If you can make someone you love but who passed away into a chatbot, would you do that as a way to hold memory to? Is it still the person you used to know, or is it algorithm?

19:00 What if Facebook turn someone's page into a graveyard, is it worse?

25:00 What if the digital information can decay?

35:00 Then we talked about the VR graveyard in Hong Kong (what!!!).

37:00 The real show stops here, but I added some parts that we discussed in Chinese and English.


Sound Snack E2 - Canton Style

Can you recognize a city by listening? I guess there are some signatures in some cities that are hard to miss, the public transport, the accent of the people, as well as the air. This episode is going to be a bit noisy, perfect if you are listening on your way to work. It might tele-transport you to another city :)

This is Guangzhou. Enjoy the journey.

Episode 39 On Privacy Settings

Did you receive a wave of Privacy Setting Updates from most of the digital services, like Instagram, Trello, Pinterest, etc? It happened to me, and I read some of them carefully. They provoke some new questions: what are these updates about? What are they protecting? What data does user own? This is what this episode about. Enjoy!

01:00 We sidetracked a bit and talk about funeral.

06:00 Bo opens up the topic by pointing out four major points in these changes: a) about data deletion; b) about data portability; c) privacy by design; d) data protection officers;

15:00 Can decentralization help with the data ownership problem? We started the discussion into what data you own and not own in digital services, and what data portability means.

26:00 What if the technology works in a different way, what if I myself store all the data I created instead of digital service companies?

33:00 A bit recap of what blockchain is and then we start the deduction of how centralization and decentralization services approach data storage from different paths.

50:00 Data deletion on blockchain? And then we touched a bit on data legacy: how would you pass down your data if you are gone?

Episode 38 From Bike Sharing to the Future of Cities

So there's something going on in San Francisco that's not happening in Beijing, sharing electric scooters!! I asked Bo on this topic. From there, we discussed about the bike sharing, the two company buyout deals happened about the same time in Beijing and SF, and the future of cities.

01:00 General intro of sharing electric scooters in SF.

13:00 What's so interesting about Uber bought Jump?

20:00 It's interesting to compare the two news in bike sharing in Beijing and SF. Meituan, the company that started as a copy of Groupon and grew into a tech giant covering restaurant reviews, and food delivery, bought Mobike, one of the leading bike sharing companies. This news is interesting when contrasted with Uber purchased Jump.

31:00 Will Uber become the monopoly of transportation in the US? Bo mentioned it doesn't make sense for Uber to use self-driving cars for ride share.

40:00 Opening up the imagination for self-driving cars and the future of cities.

Sound Snack Pilot – By a Crossing

Hey, this is a new project by Joy, Sound Snack (Edit on Apr 13).

I didn't realise I had long history working with sound, until we paused the podcast for almost 4 months. I recall that I've been a host in my junior high school radio station, playing music and reading announcements; in college, together with 3 friends, I started a project, Sound Museum, to evoke the awareness of environment by showing people sounds from nature in a website. Two years ago, Bo and I started this really casual podcast, Beginner's Mind. 

There's something charming about storytelling by sound. The sound, voices, and also, most importantly, the silence in-between, tell stories that all your imagination allows. I'm a big fan of spontaneity, co-creation, and interpretation based on each person's experiences. 

Hope these 5-minute sound clips bring you peace of mind even when it's noisy. 

Be happy :)

Episode 37 On Facebook

Surprise! We are talking to each other again. :) The first topic is what everyone is talking about, Facebook. We try to take on the topic from our own experiences. Enjoy!

01:00 Great ability comes with great responsibility. Why we feel betrayed by the social network?

13:00 Are you more concerned about your own personal data being exposed or the data of a mass population being exposed? We talked about regulations, comparisons between US and China, etc.

30:00 How will the news change you? Bo said no affect, but pointed out that maybe it's time to separate the company into smaller companies.

39:00 What would the new social network look like? Decentralisation?

Show pause for a while

Festival season arrives! Happy holiday!

As Bo need to concentrate more on his rising startup, I am happy for him! But I am a bit sad to announce the podcast will pause to update for couple months.

Thank you for all the attention and support.

Episode 36 On Education

Happy holiday! Quite a month! Joy has been travelling (again) and this time, Bali. So you will probably hear some background music from the resort. Joy got up at 11:30pm and Bo got up at 7am to make the call. Both were yawning until the conversation started. We talked about Alt-School and our view on education. Enjoy!

01:00 Catch up a bit. What is Alt-School? What's going on with Alt-School? Then we started the discussion of the business model -- where it's heading by shutting down two lab schools.

15:00 Would you send your kid to Alt-School? Bo says yes. We further discussed that education startups take time to prove themselves. We digress a bit to another topic: design babies.

24:00 Can selling programs to other schools help Alt-School make money? The program is pretty expensive for public schools.

34:00 Bo is a dropout from college, and we talked about his view on education. Joy also talked about her education in China. Then we talked about personal choice to go through the path that everyone is going through. It was my favourite part of the discussion.

45:00 By comparing our own education experiences, we discussed that the traditional education method might not be failing, and sometimes it's hard to know which way is right for the kids.

Episode 35 On Amazon and Alibaba

Joy was travelling in Tibet for two weeks, and thus the show paused for a while. Now we are back on track, the topic we picked is about Amazon's purchase of wholefoods. We found the topic really interesting because it relates to Alibaba's recent moves on "New Retail" movement.

01:00 We catch up a bit on work and life, and then jump right into the topic. Amazon purchased Wholefoods couple months ago. How does that affect Wholefoods? How will it affect Instacart, a startup that delivers grocery to people's doorsteps? Bo proposed that Amazon bought Wholefoods as an experiment to find out how to support retail industry.

21:00 Joy talked about her experience in Alibaba's new supermarket store, Hema. We discuss why Alibaba started the New Retail movement, why they opened Hema, and waht's their next move.

41:00 One thing keeps coming back in the conversation is that the genes of a company decides the direction of their products, Amazon calling itself a "Day One" company, and Alibaba trying to "make it easy to do business anywhere". But then why do they both get into the entertainment businesses?

Episode 34 On Bitcoin and ICO

Several days before the recording, Bo sent me few localbitcoins links and suggested that I could get in touch with these sellers, and ask them about bitcoin situation in China. I didn't do, because... I explained in this episode. The episode continues the conversation of bitcoin and the recent ban in China.

1:00 Bo suggested that I could get in touch with bitcoin sellers in China and interview them. His main question is how did Chinese get crazy about bitcoin. How the ban is going to affect the market in China?

16:00 Bitcoin will only be popular when it becomes a daily use, but right now there's not much progress in this approach. Big corporates accept bitcoin for some transactions, but they are not keeping them. Coinbase is one of the products that is building up the industry, from making secure bitcoin wallets to maybe a merchant app. It would be promising if an e-commerce company is built solely on bitcoin transactions.

35:00 What is ICO? Bo explains it by describing it as building a casino. The three characteristics of this casino is 1) the owner is a stranger; 2) the price of the chips is not stable; 3) whether the casino can be completed or not is unknown. And the ICO that Bo might invest is a penguin lap dance business (what???).

49:00 Bo makes comparison between the two investment methods, venture capital and ICO.

Bonus: I attached the part when we chat in Chinese on the topic for about 15 minutes.

Episode 33 On Triple Bubbles

Hello, World. We are back!

In the past two months, we've been going through some life changes, like leaving a company and joining a new one, or building a new one (in Bo's case). For me, I've been working on a translation project for a while and it finally came to completion. So we start chatting, recording and keep the show going.

The show begins with the latest news that China bans ICO and bitcoin exchange in Mainland. And then it goes on like a Q&A of bitcoin.

5:00 When did Bo start paying attention to Bitcoin and why? How will it change the banking system? What is blockchain, and the value of bitcoin?

16:00 What does it mean when people are mining bitcoin? Bo says they are more like accountants than miners. How does bitcoin make future online transaction easier? It might change the tax system too.

30:00 China bans bitcoin exchange and how it's going to affect the market. Is there still opportunities for late comers to the market? Why does it matter to people's life?

44:00 Fun fact that a country in Africa (turned out to be Kenya) uses mobile phone minutes as currency. Then we talk about the caveat of investing in bitcoin, and it leads to discussion of new types of cryptocurrency coming up.


* "Old people buy gold, and young people buy bitcoin", comes from an episode of L2inc ("A Primer on Crytocurrency")

* The title, Triple Bubbles, was a joke about Bo's life in Silicon Valley, living in the housing and startup bubble, while speculating the bitcoin bubble. I think it sums up the era we are at very nicely.

Episode 32 On Mobile Working

We came back after a long break. And the first topic relates to mobile working, artificial intelligence, new iPad pro, and a lot of other buzz words.

01:00 What's the prospect of future mobile working? Bo explains how narrow AI might play a role.

14:00 Joy looked in to some of the hardware for mobile working, and raised the question, what makes iPad pro special. Bo answers the question from the new interaction patterns and the standpoint of being a programmer.

28:00 iPad creates the new possibility for future interaction like gesture control, which is already being implemented in in-car interaction. Bo talks about his failed attempt to create a startup basd on gesture control.

39:00 The future of mobile working depends on how likely big corporates are adapting to the new tools. Some companies are already handing iPads to their employees.

43:00 How will the mobile working trend go in China?

Episode 31 On Medical Startups

01:00 We chat about Bo's first visit to Forward, an innovative clinic just started in San Francisco. It tries to create a futuristic hospital experience with new machines and big data. It's similar to another enterprise, One Medical. We compared the two approaches on pros and cons.

16:00 Forward gets my attention because it keeps track of health data of their members and offers 24/7 medical consulting. I feel the data-driven approach is going to change the future clinical experiences, so we dive a bit deeper into AI, deep learning, machine learning and other buzz words.

28:00 We discuss the medical startup landscape. Forward is one of the approaches, others include the online marketplace, DNA testing, etc. But whatever the landscape, the trust seems the main issue that most people care about in this the medical startups.

Episode 30 On Being Present

We paused the show for a month due to CNY holiday and some technical issues. We each had different experiences in the past four weeks. While Joy was in Nepal for the physically, mentally and emotionally challenging meditation bootcamp, Bo has been working very diligently on his side project in the calm and quiet Bay Area. Again, we didn't have a topic. It used to drive me crazy that we didn't have a set topic, but now I feel I am getting used to the flow that just comes up naturally. And it turned out well. We started with Joy's ten days of silence and chatted all the way to the inescapable reality that we are facing now.

Enjoy! Be happy :)

01:00 How does it feel to live ten days without talking?

10:00 The people who came to the mediation camp

19:00 Why did I sign up for the meditation camp? And we discussed meditation from our own perspectives. Bo thinks it was just about breathing in and breathing out. Joy thinks it's helpful in helping her focus and better manage her emotions.

32:00 What is the technology that creates most emotion roller-coasters?

44:00 Nothing is new in the Bay it seems, and Joy raises the question: are people in the Bay Area jealous of the startup scene in Beijing? And we touched a little bit of mobile payment vs credit card. I wonder if US is going to rely on mobile payment one day as what's going on in China now.

56:00 A little touch on the the situation we are facing today, does it empower you?

Show Pause for a Month

We didn't have a topic last week but we did have a fruitful chat. Started with the Women's March, which Umi and Bo participated, to decreasing children population in SF, to the reflection of living in a bubble, to the fact that we've learned design thinking or programming skills but only to make apps that's not solving any problems, etc. It was deep conversation for me personally, and I thought the audio will help me (and you, unknown audience out there) relive the conversation. 

Yet, unfortunately, something went wrong with the recording. We ended up with videos without any sound, which is frustrating. That counted another missing week. In the incoming two weeks, I am going to be in Nepal attending a meditation retreat, which equals to noble silence and electronic devices detox for two weeks (excited and terrified). There goes another two weeks of episodes.

I know we are pretty bad at posting in a timely manner, and I rarely get to know our audience, who's out there listening to us chatting on random stuff. The feeling is not unlike human being's constant questioning of life in space. But anyhow, I feel I need to explain a bit because this show is important and meaningful to me. 

It's not an end, we are just taking a little break. Talk to you soon. 

Episode 29 On-Demand Bicycles in China (ENG)

The English version is here

0:00 We changed our name to Beginner's Mind. The reason will be further explained in another post.

2:00 On-demand bicycles in China is blooming. But first we define the three main concepts, O2O, on-demand services and sharing economy.

12:00 How does the on-demand bicycles work from start to end? And who are the major users?

22:00 What are the main differences among the bikes?

33:00 What are the main pain points of the bikes?

44:00 Will the companies do well in the Bay Area?


Episode 29 On-Demand Bicycles in China (CHI)

It's 2017.

We are back after the long break. This is a special episode, because we recorded twice, one in Chinese and the other in English. It was accidental. We usually spend 10 to 20 minutes running through the key points before the actual recording, so we talk in Chinese and put down some show notes to discuss later. But this time, while we talked about on-demand bicycle startups in China, we just went along. Though we recorded later in English, following loosely the previous structure, we felt the first run has a better flow than the second version. Yet, we think it's important to let non-Chinese speakers understand the craziness and innovation in this business.

So here we are, with two new episodes for the new year!

Chinese Version

Here are the questions we discussed from the very beginning, roughly in this order.

Why does the on-demand bicycle business bloom in China at this point?
How does the government react to this new business?
How did they receive five rounds of investment in one year and why did they need that much money from very early on?
What's the biggest innovation of these bikes?
How do these bikes work? How much do they charge?

What's the difference between the two main competitors, ofo and Mobike?
How do they maintain the bikes on the street?
What are the main differences from a user experience's standpoint?
What are the main use cases for these on-demand bikes?

Technical broken down. The screen was frozen for a while and you can hear it here.
Have they made profit yet? What is the business model in the long run?
How accurate is the GPS on bikes?

It was called bike sharing sometimes, but we think it doesn't belong to sharing economy.

Defining the three terms, sharing economy, O2O and on-demand.
What might be their next step?
What are the oversea markets they are expanding to?

We tried to do the calculation of how many bikes are needed around some of the busiest metro stations in Beijing.

Episode 28 On Cloud Computing

Bo started using AWS cloud service to stream games to his old macbook. The experience was really good and that got him thinking about the cloud computing a lot lately, the opportunities and the problems. For me, it's more like a learning process, to understand the different concepts in cloud computing.

01:00 Long story short, Bo explained how he started streaming games from AWS and got really awesome experiences, which led him to find out new personal cloud computing products like Sixa and Paperspace.

10:00 The differences between SaaS, PaaS, and Iaas, the last of which is what we are going to focus more in this episode. We went further to explain the difference between public cloud and private cloud.

19:00 Will personal cloud computing be widely used in the near future? It depends on various elements, like the speed of the Internet, privacy issue, and other technical issues. On the other hand, to promote a wider adaptation of the technology requires a work-around with existing cloud structures in the companies, and to persuade CTOs or CIOs to buy the product.

40:00 Similar to the success of Slack, the adaptation of personal cloud computing is most likely to start with startups, or teams in big companies. Relating to Joy's experiences in China, we touched a bit on regulatory level.

Episode 27 On Startups in Iceland

Hello, December! We skipped November due to Joy's two-week visit to India, and the holiday season. We've been thinking about this topic for a while, startups in Iceland. There are a lot of interesting things going on in Iceland, besides games and the VR boom.

Three major topics we are covering are: the overall startup environment, the reason behind the startup culture, and moving forward, what's the advantages and disadvantages.

01:00 Online gaming is one of the industries that Iceland is known for, but it's also the ground for startups in fishing, and renewable energy. 

14:00 We spent some time discussing how the geographical and demographic elements are shaping the startup scene in Iceland (as compared to Southeast Asia we talked about before).

26:00 Moving forward, not enough funding resources is definitely one of the disadvantages entrepreneurs in Iceland are facing. 

Episode 26 On Election

The episode was supposed to be about startups in Iceland, which we both have read some fun articles and would like to share our findings. Yet, the election last week struck us so hard that we couldn't avoid. I was quite hesitated to share my thoughts on this topic: it's controversial, complicated, and until this point, I am still trying to figure out what exactly happened. We tried to go beyond our emotions – anger, depress, fear, etc, – and try to reflect on how the result affects us, and what we can learn from it.

01:00 We share about our feelings on this result. Then get into the reflection mode: the electoral college, the voting rates, how Americans exercise their political rights, etc.

11:00 Another main reflection occurs is the feeling that we've been living in the bubble, or tribe, which is constructed by the social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Medium, etc. How this can be changed?

24:00 The election revealed that advanced technology, like machine learning or personalisation, is rapidly changing the way we consume information, as well as the media landscape. And it's going to affect us further in the future. More work can be replaced by machines, and people in the future need to find new ways to create value to get income.