Sunday, February 24, 2008

Getting a hang of study life...

Darn, I haven't written anything in 2 weeks. I don't remember what I was doing, but was very busy though;).

I think I need find a few other classes (at least to listen in), since I don't think I am busy enough and I don't think I am super smart;). It's not always comforting when your classmates are working like hell and you are not.

Anyway, as for the courses I am taking, ERBA is a little bit time sucker, but I don't find it too hard though. PDD can be time consuming, but at least not yet. Sloan courses are what really interest me though. Well, it's the main reason for me to do this program.

So many things can be written, but I just don't remember them;).

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Business Plan for Cognika

A few of us from SDM08 had a little talk with Shashi, a SDM04, CSAIL Ph.d-to-be and founder of Cognika. Quite interesting product and I can see a huge market for this new application. We were asked to help them to draw up the marketing entry strategy, business plan and other analysis. Quite interesting. This can be a very good case for class 15.390. I should check if I can get a few fellows from class 15.390 to join us.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

First Day of Spring Term and decisions need to be made

Today is the first day of spring term. We had 15.980 and ESD.802. 15.980 was .... entertaining. Looking forward to a lot of fun with Pref. T. Allen. His theory of the impact of physical location to communication pattern is quite interesting. It's like something "oh, right, now he mentioned it. I also noticed before".

ESD.802, thesis seminar, was quite ... depressing. To me, it's not like I didn't know the urgency of looking for thesis topic and advisor. I guess I just don't like to be reminded again and again. Well, I have written a few topics I'd like to look into. The biggest question I have right now is: should I do a pure technical thesis, or management+technical one?

The same question to what I want to do here at MIT: should I focus on technical side, or on the management side? I had clear answer before I came to MIT: I want to move to management side. The problem I have right now is: darn, there are so many cool technologies out there in MIT and they really get on my engineer nerves;). I can get involved with so many cool tech groups and research activities. Do I have enough energy? Let me see what I was checking tonight:
  • Semantic Web: As mentioned before, I did a little this on Tech search paper for ESD.34. It's good that Shashi Kant sent his note to ask if anyone want to volunteer working with his start-up, which I replied with yes. Then I noticed his name in DIG website and then found his SDM thesis was actually about Semantic Web and its application. Very technical thesis. I definitely need to talk to him when we meet on Friday.
  • Looked around CSAIL to validate my little thinking regarding AI, or my little theory of how a machine can learn. Obviously, I need a little more academic reading there. Not sure if my theory can totally fit into machine learning.
  • After ESD.802, I talked to Pat regarding dual degree. The conclusion is that doing dual degree makes a lot of economic sense;). I only pay $3000 for each extra term. I probably can get into TPP easily. How about other department? How hard will it be, to get in and to finish? Do they fit into my interest areas, or what my interest area should be?
  • Meanwhile, I also want to work on business skills: negotiation, finance, marketing (I want to listen in the finance and marketing classes). Damn.
Well, I really have to think about it. Am I being engineer for too long;)?

Oh, we also went to the tech fair today. It was much better than the European career fair on Saturday. Quite a few summer intern opportunities available in technology management area. Then, in the afternoon, I realized that I cannot do off-campus intern. Oh, well, a least I got 2 free T-shirt and a backpack;).

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sheakspeare Ensemble

Eli, Jill, John Kluza, Ken and I went to see Sheakspeare Ensemble last night. It was very good. This was a student acting group. Quite a few programs in there: Much ado abut nothing, Merry Wives of Windsor, Sure thing and The importance of being Earnest. I liked "Sure thing" the most. It was something like you can go back to re-do something until it's something you like. Here's the link to their group:

Before we went to the show, we had dinner at Eli's place, small but comfy place. I was stupid to blindly trust google map. It sent me to the Elm street near Davis Sq, instead of the Elm street in cambridge. I ended up taking a taxi from Davis to Eli's place.

After the show, we went back to Eli's place and had some dessert. We then played some weird board game John brought. It's called Killer Bunny. It was actually quite fun. The game was about winning the carrots, but in the process of it, you need to keep your bunnies alive. The fun part is that you can trade your cards with other players by fair exchange, bribing, or in Eli's way, blackmailing;). It was fun. Oh, I also played Chinese Checker with Eli. I didn't know that he knows how to play. BTW: not surprisingly, I won the Chinese Checker;). Eli, Jill, thanks again for having us. I had fun.

ESD.34, Technology Research paper

Jeremy, Rob and I turned in the technology research paper for ESD.34 couple of days ago. I figure I should write something about it.

The main idea is to go to various MIT communities to look for emerging technologies. The deliverables are a memo to your boss and a detailed research paper on the technology selected. My topic was Semantic Web, aka Web 3.0. Jeremy was doing some version control stuff and Rob was doing something called MapJAX (in hope of his boss will hire him back to do the upgrades, nah, just kidding).

I had a chance to go to CSAIL and talked to the DIG gorup (they are not responsive by email;)), namely Eric and Lalana Kagel. I also had quite a bit of talks with Drew Volpe, director of technology development of Endeca and Karun Bakshi, a past MIT graduate who used Semantic Web in his research project. Thanks!

I am quite interested in joining some research projects in DIG and W3C. However, I am not sure if I can find the time though.

TechVenture on Jan 26.

I attended TechVenture on Jan 26. Nice event to meet some entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and listen to their stories. I talked to Anand about my RFID idea. Well, I still need to do a lot of research on this thing though.

I also had a chance to talk about Semantic Web with Drew Volpe, Director of Technology development of Endeca (I was doing my technology research paper on Semantic Web). It's good to know that some companies are starting to support Semantic Web.

IT outsourcing and India

I had lunch with Nitin and Nisheeth after the Europe career fair. We had a little talk about the outsourcing thing. It's interesting to know that the salary for an average (5+ yr) programmer in India is 50+ k USD/yr. This is quite high in my opinion. If this is really true, it will definitely will slow down the IT outsourcing trend. (note: the pay for an average programmer in China should be around 10k USD/yr).

This is somewhat related to the thesis topic I want to do, IT outsourcing and its trend. Oh, well, I still haven't decided yet. We'll see what will come up in the thesis seminar this Tuesday.

PDD and SmartBidder

Finally, I had a chance to talk to jab about this SmartBidder he was bragging;). Sounds very interesting. It would be more interesting to see the market research results from Jeff and Eric though. It's good to know that Rob is also on board too.

To be honest, I am a little worried about the market research results. Well, I am worried about any market research results for IT Web business;). Here's my point: IT/Web requires very little investment and therefore anyone can do it as long as he has a good idea. This business is basically a competition of idea creation. Given the number of people in the world, this is a very competitive business. Up until now, anything I can come up with is either done by some else, or too hard to do.

However, I am NOT pessimistic though. One thing I learned from Pref. Ralph Katz: Inventing is not the only way to be successful. Most of the times, it's about find new application for inventions. This is very true.

MIT Europe Career Fair and MIT China

Intended as preview for next year's job hunting, a bunch of SDMers (Nitin, Nisheeth, John Webb, Jeff) went to the Europe Career Fair today. I found this fair was not really targeted for us Sloanies/SDMers. Its main focus was some technical positions aimed for undergrads (entry level technical) or PhDs (senior level technicals). At this moment, my area of interests is still with technology management or general management positions (don't give up the hope;) ).

However, I did get a chance to talk to the MIT-Spain program. They have quite a bunch of internships available in Spain. This made me to look into MIT-China program. Not surprisingly, MIT-China can help you arrange internship in China too. I fired away an email to the director there. Hopefully, I can do a internship in Beijing or Shanghai in my area of interests (management). It would be very helpful to gain some experience of working for western company in China. Let's see how it will turn out.