Thursday, March 24, 2011

What The Network Hub looked like in 2006…

Let’s turn back the clock a few years… in 2006 my partners and I were all in university.  John and I were both attending SFU and Jay was attending UBC. School wasn’t the only thing on our mind, we were also juggling clients from our web company – building databases and designing network infrastructure between classes was normal since we’ve been doing it since high school. Between coding/designing/managing/school we were desperate to connect with other people who can understand our struggles and can celebrate our successes with us.

The three of us had a vision to make a space that is a fraternity house for people who work for themselves but not by themselves. We scraped together all our savings, took on extra projects and worked part-time jobs on top of school work to make The Network Hub happen because there was no IFs or BUTs, it HAS to be done.  Whether it was coming to the space after school to help the contractor in order to speed up construction or staying late to paint or sleeping on the floor because we were too exhausted to go home because school was about to start again, we did whatever it took to get the job done.

This is how it all began… the before pictures and then the in-progress pictures!

343687702 0a026400a8 b 2 What The Network Hub looked like in 2006…

343687706 3feac5e722 b What The Network Hub looked like in 2006…

343687698 09f870d0cc b What The Network Hub looked like in 2006…


about 1024x755 What The Network Hub looked like in 2006…

4651681363 b656a97fd5 b What The Network Hub looked like in 2006…Picture by talented Jeremy Lim for Freelance Camp 2010

4651679037 ae74c7df7d b What The Network Hub looked like in 2006…Picture by talented Jeremy Lim for Freelance Camp 2010

4655030232 2158f5bc9c b What The Network Hub looked like in 2006…

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

So you got high Klout score… so what

imagesCAH2YXH3 150x150 So you got high Klout score... so whatWith the emergence of social media “experts” popping everywhere and some are aggressively flaunting their Klout scores to intimidate their potential clients and friends, I feel the need to do a breakdown of how this works.

Here is a little bit of a preamble, I appreciate Klout and I have advised some of my friends to use Klout as one of MANY  tools out there to analyze how they are doing on Twitter.  It is a good tool if you genuinely are interested in authentic engagement but Klout isn’t perfect, nothing is.  If you really want to, you can game Klout to get a high score.

Here is how you game Klout:

1) Engage with people who have high Klout scores, people like @hummingbird604 @jason_baker @kempedmonds @vancitybuzz and ignore people with low Klout score

2) Ask controversial questions or ask for RTs, for example “What do you think about #charliesheen?” or “I love iPad 2, RT if you agree.”  BONUS: If you exploit trending topics and tag people, it increases your score even faster because it forces people to respond.  As an example, “What do you think about #charliesheen? @hummingbird604 @vancitybuzz @kempedmonds @jason_baker

3) Run contests on Twitter, pony up a few hundred bucks.  Heck even 50 bucks will get people excited.  “Win $50 bucks, just RT to enter”

4) Campaign people to follow you and make them feel guilty if they don’t.  BONUS: Once they follow you, you unfollow them because you score higher if you have more followers than followings

5) Tag everyone in your tweets so you get on their radar in order to achieve #4, for example “Nice to see you tonight @hummingbird604 @vancitybuzz @kempedmonds @jason_baker @more influencers”

You don’t have to add any particular value and still have high score because Klout relies on an algorithm that most definitely take into account of reach, amplification and network.  If your “network” are people with high score – well it thinks you are somewhat of a big deal.  Begging for RTs give you amplification because you are reaching other people’s network, it doesn’t take into account that you are paying for this reach with contests or because you applied social pressure by tagging people making them obligated to response. If you follow a few influencers, pressure them to follow you and engage in conversation with you then you achieve a high true reach score.

There are people like @hummingbird604 @vancitybuzz @kempedmonds @jason_baker who have achieved high Klout scores because they genuinely engage, they care and they provide value for their followers and you can tell from their interactions on Twitter.  Then there are those who game Klout to flaunt, intimidate and make other people feel inferior which is NOT the purpose of social media.

To them I say, “You can game Klout but you can’t game people”

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Tool Tuesdays: What time is the best time to tweet?

One of the big questions right now in social media is what time is the best time to tweet?  There are a few ideas out there.

Guy Kawasaki mentioned in his blog post, “Looking for Mr. Goodtweet:  How to Pick Up Followers on Twitter”

Tip 9: Repeat your tweets. Try this experiment: take your most interesting tweets (as measured by how many people retweet them, perhaps) and post them again three times, eight to twelve hours apart. I used to think that people would complain about repeating tweets, but I’ve never had a complaint. My theory is that the volume of tweets is so high and most people check in at about the same time every day, so people don’t notice repeat tweet

Read more:

Dan Zarrella, HubSpot’s social media scientist did some studies and found,

I noticed that retweet activity tended to peak around 4pm EST, suggesting that this might be the best time to tweet a blog post for maximum potential retweet reach.


When I looked at retweet activity over the days of the week, I saw that they peaked later in the work week, specifically on Friday.

Read more:

This all make sense but for social media to truly be social, I think the goal is to engage with my followers and a blanket approach is a good starting point but to really create a relationship, it has to be customized to my own followers.   That’s not to say I don’t tweet on Friday at 4pm EST and repeat the good tweets so more people can see it.  I believe in the Dan Zarrella’s science and Guy Kawasaki’s practical experience, I would never ignore hard evidence but I also want to make sure I understand MY own followers.  In comes, Timely which is aptly name for a service whose sole function is to schedule tweets for maximum impact.    It’s pretty simple when they break it down on their front page, so simple it provokes a DOH why didn’t I think of that and did that myself kind of reaction.  The magic is in the simplicity of Timely.

You add your tweets, it schedules to tweet out the tweets according to the time it thinks will produce the most impact – impact is defined as increase in retweets, mentions and followers.  The science of it is it analyzes your past 199 tweets and figure out the best time slot, it learns as your following grows.

timely Tool Tuesdays: What time is the best time to tweet?

Timely does absolutely produce results it promised – there is an increase in retweet, mention and retweet per tweet.  My only problem with Timely is, if it schedules consistently the same time I might miss out the opportunity to reach out to new followers to build relationships with people who operates outside of the time frame that yields the most impact.  I don’t solely rely on Timely, I use it to tweet quotes mostly.  I read and share all my links mostly live.   Even just figuring out what time is your most optimal times to tweet is very interesting, if it’s just for the sake of knowing but I believe in knowing what times to tweet also tell you a lot about the followers that engage you.

I hope you find Timely useful, if you have used Timely let me know your experience.  If you are going to start, pop back in at some point and let me know how it went.

Note: These are tools I have used for a substantial amount of time (> 2 wks) and have found useful for me, this is not a paid post and paid is defined as money, swags, free dinner, t-shirts, pens, free coffee, gift certificate… absolutely nothing!

Read more: Tool Tuesdays: What time is the best time to tweet? | The Social Network Hub

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A Colourful Discussion on Being Green

garden 300x200 A Colourful Discussion on Being GreenLast week, a diverse group of community leaders from the South Asian, Filipino and Chinese communities gathered at city hall for a roundtable discussion with the goal of making Vancouver the Greenest City in the world by 2020.

The discussion was moderated by two media professionals from the local Filipino and South Asian media – Marieton Pacheco of Balitang Vancouver Filipino TV news and Tarunnum Thind of OMNI TV. Representing the city were Deputy City Manager, Sadhu Johnston and Greenest City Planner, Lindsay Cole.

I attended the meeting as a representative of Tulayan (Bridges), a Filipino cultural group, along with my co-organizer Rafael Aquino (@ayoslang) and some friends from the Filipino community, @NicoleIgnacio and @LMHVancouver.

Preet Bal and Manmeet Poonam Sandhu from Sandhog Creations Society spoke about their successful efforts in making the Vaisakhi parade greener. A model that can easily be adapted by other cultural events in Vancouver and the rest of the lower mainland.

The input from the diverse group of young and old community organizers was refreshingly frank and insightful.

It was pointed out that the contributions of minority communities are not generally acknowledged whenever there are discussions about making Vancouver a greener city. For example, the idea of growing vegetable gardens in the backyard is already a common practice in the homes of recent immigrants. Buying in bulk, a common practice with immigrant families, helps reduce the amount of packaging waste that is thrown out. Using all parts of an animal in their dishes is a common practice in Asian cooking, a practice that makes better use of available resources and reduces waste.

A rather glaring ommission that was pointed out is the lack of minority faces in the marketing materials printed by the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City campaign, thus neglecting the contribution of the minority communities and perpetuating the perception that these goals do not include them. It was agreed that acknowledging the contributions of the minority communities would be a good first step in bridging these communities’ efforts with the city’s Greenest City goal.

Another strong feedback from the group was that it was very important to appeal to immigrant communities on a more practical level. For example, the majority of recent immigrants are simply unable to afford higher priced organic food. As well, third world country immigrants may not be as familiar with the idea of recycling, and educating them on the practical monetary incentive of returning used bottles would be better received.

The roundtable talk felt a little short given the amount of issues and ideas that were being discussed, but I also came away hopeful knowing that everyone involved will bring back the same idea to their respective groups – that together, we can accomplish more by working towards the same goal.

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Events in Vancouver: Fashion’s Night OUT

logo Events in Vancouver: Fashion’s Night OUTIt’s cold, it’s rainy and it feels better to be hiding under a blanket at home than to be outside BUT there is an event worth getting OUT for!  Fashion’s Night OUT is presented by The Bay at White Space in V Lounge on March 8.  It indeed it will be a night to remember with cocktail reception, silent auction, live DJ and gift bags with a fashion show presented by The Bay.

The wonderful thing about this event is that 100% of the proceeds will go to Out in School.  Out in Schools is an amazing organization that facilitate discussions with youth on bullying, homophobia and stereotypes.  Vancouver is a tolerant city that embraces diversities but with the recent incidents of gay bashing and violence, there is much we need to do through education of our youths about tolerance.

Watch this video from Ellen DeGeneres about tragic suicides among gay teenagers due to bullying 

“These kids needed us. We have an obligation to change this. There are messages everywhere that validate this kind of bullying and taunting and we have to make it stop. We can’t let intolerance and ignorance take another kid’s life.”

Ellen DeGeneres is right, these kids do NEED us and we have an OBLIGATION to make a change. Join me and others who want to stand up and says NO, we will not lose our children to intolerance and ignorance.

Grab a ticket and show your support, purchase your ticket here at

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Things to do in Vancouver: When you are snowed in…

So it’s snowpocalypse in Vancouver, you stored away your winter gears and is weary of motorists who freak out when we get a cm of snow so what to do? Here are some suggestions:

1. Get a blanket and curl up with that book you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to it

2. Curl up in front of the TV, turn to TVtropolis or channel 48 and watch reruns of old sitcoms – instead of a blast of cold breeze to your face get a blast from the past

3. Dust off those old board games – Yahtzee, Scrabble, Monopoly, or whatever you have stored away in the basement or in your attic because before the iPhone apps and web version, there were these with real board and real game pieces

4. If you can find a toque, pair of gloves and a nice warm jacket, stroll down to your neighborhood shops, restaurants or pubs. Revisit the old neighborhood haunts you have forgotten and on a cold day like today, I’m sure they would appreciate your business

5. Brew a cup of tea and plant yourself in front of a window to appreciate the winter wonderland. Admire the snow covered streets and trees, it’s a beautiful thing

Bonus: 6. Pull up your website and blog about things to do on a snowy day icon biggrin Things to do in Vancouver: When you are snowed in…

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Friend Friday: The Future of Social Gaming

thinkingape 300x221 Friend Friday: The Future of Social Gaming

I first met the cofounders of A Thinking Ape – Kenshi, Eric and Wilkins when they first moved into The Network Hub, literally within weeks after they moved Vancouver from Silicon Valley.   Unfortunately their explosive growth meant their time with us was short, they quickly outgrew our space within months of being here.  Their first game “Kingdoms at War” is consistently in the Top 10 grossing games in US.  Their latest releases Future Combat and Party in my Dorm are receiving the same reception as Kingdoms at War.

Meeting the cofounders, you can tell they are different from a lot of other people you meet – they live and breathe the company.   Their ambition is palpable, their vision is laser-focused and their drive is the same you find in people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.  I was around for their first round of hiring, the people they brought on the team are incredibly intelligent young people and they let everyone on the team have amazing creative freedom.

Within a short year, they have built an impressive team of 18 people and 3 hyper-growth iPhone games.  They are far from done, in fact they are just getting started… the future of social gaming is in Vancouver.

It is amazing to have A Thinking Ape in Vancouver, they hire local talent and ensure we keep these brains in B.C., inspiring local entrepreneurs but also putting the spotlight in Vancouver as a viable place for hyper-growth startups.  For these reasons and more, you need to follow @athinkingape and if you haven’t tried their game, check it out right now, they’re free to download!

Did I mention they are hiring?  Did you know all new members of ATA engineering are equipped with a new Macbook Pro, an iPhone, and a high quality design notebook?  They are looking to add to their team – if you are an engineer looking to join an awesome startup or a new grad looking for a cool fun place to grow in, check out their job postings.

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Events in Vancouver: Lean Startup Conference

As some of you know, my cofounders and I all come from a technical background.  We use lean startup processes in our development work and we also apply it to  The Network Hub.  Lean startup is powered by three drivers –  use of platforms enabled by open source and free software, application of agile development, customer-centric rapid iteration.  A lot of people think it is for high tech only, I beg to differ.   We apply the same process to The Network Hub, lean startup is available to all entrepreneurs who is planning to start their business.

I highly encourage startup entrepreneurs checking out the conference, especially entrepreneurs in high tech.   You will learn why a startup successful and why another is unsuccessful.

This video will provide very compelling reasons why you should check out Lean Startup Conference 

If you are currently working for a startup or want to work for one and you haven’t heard of or understand lean startup – you definitely want to check out this conference.  Lean Startup Conference will be taking place in Richmond on May 5-6th at Hilton Vancouver Airport.

Who should attend? Anyone who is:

  • either working for or planning to work for a start-up
  • losing sleep because of having a brilliant idea and wanting to see it implemented
  • tasked with designing new features and wants to know how to validate ideas and business assumptions with customers
  • wanting to reduce waste and amplify learning
  • curious to know what all the excitement is about

There are some amazing speakers lined up for the event such as Ash Maurya, Rishi Dean, Rob Walling, Owen Rogers and Steven Jones

For more information, check out

This was the video that began our obsession with lean startup so I hope it gets you excited and wanting to check out Lean Startup Conference: 

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Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

Can I please gush about this place?

Let me set the stage, it is a Sunday night and as usual there is always people working at the office. By the time 8′clock came around, we realized well we are pretty hungry from working hard all day. We were split between Chambar and Bao Bei but after a bit of negotiation, we decided on Bao Bei. John (yes the REAL John Chow), Jaeny and Kevin (a friend from Winnipeg) left first to Bao Bei before we catch up to them. Well within a good 10 minutes, got 2 tweets that says the place is closed so we are heading to Campagnolo. Campagnolo?!? Where the heck is that and what kind of food do they serve? I somehow confused Campagnolo with some sort of social club so I had second thoughts about going but it wouldn’t be very nice to leave friends waiting so what the heck.

I drive by Main Street by Terminal more than 10 times a week to get from Commercial Drive to The Network Hub but I have never noticed Campagnolo, either that or I get incredibly distracted by its more flamboyant neighbors – Balmoral Hotel and Ivanhoe Hotel. The exterior of the restaurant is very subtle, the signage is downright polite compared to the ginormous red Ivanhoe Hotel signage I like to call a billboard.  Once I opened the door, I was floored how open but yet warm and inviting the Campagnolo is. IMG 20110220 00048 Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

IMG 20110220 00049 Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

While we were getting settled in, I took a quick look at their take-home menu instead of in-restaurant menu and my mouth dropped to the floor.  Conde Nast Traveller Magazine named  Campagnolo as one of the 50 Hottest New Restaurants in the World, Vancouver Magazine Award in 2010 named Campagnolo gold in Best New Restaurant, Silver in Best New Design and Silver in Casual Italian.  Now I am excited but I’m trying to not expect too much.  I’ve been to a few “award-winning” restaurants that definitely let me down.

John was selling to us the Polderside Chicken because Polderside Farms raise their poultry in low density, stress-free environment and they are fed a natural diet of grains and vegetables.   John stood behind the Polderside Chicken so strongly that half of our party ordered chicken, I ordered Linguine, Kevin ordered Slopping Hill Pork and Jaeny ordered a vegetarian pizza.  I figured since half of the table got chicken, I might as well try something else and take a nib from others.

The appetizers came out first, the highlight of the appetizers was the Seared Octopus which was AMAZING!!! I couldn’t control my fork, it kept visiting my neighbor’s plate and they were nice enough to let me keep picking at the Seared Octopus I wish I had more adjectives in my food vocabulary to describe the experience but goodness, it was soooooooo good!  My appetizer was a Peasant Chicken Soup and it was such a comforting and hearty soup.

IMG 20110220 00052 Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

IMG 20110220 00051 Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

I am so excited for my main course because the appetizers definitely set the tone of what is to come – oodles of deliciousness!!! And I wasn’t disappointed, the Polderside Chicken was sooo tender and so juicy at the same time.  My Linguini was simple but oh my goodness probably the best Linguini I have ever had so far!

IMG 20110220 00055 Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

IMG 20110220 00056 Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

I wanted more and was very curious about how amazing this place is.  A lot of restaurants shine for their food and fall flat when it comes to dessert or vice versa.  Of course when the waitress said they have a dessert sampler – I was sold.   The appetizers were amazing, the main courses were divine but the desserts really put it over the top.   In the sampler is a salted caramel dessert wrapped in waxy parchment like an old school taffy candy and let me just tell you, I had to reordered for a couple more.

IMG 20110220 00059 Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

IMG 20110220 00060 Places to eat in Vancouver: Campagnolo

Here is the kicker my bill after ordering:  a cranberry juice, one large hearty chunky and rustic Peasant Chicken Soup, one Linguini and a generous dessert sample with a reordering of the salted caramel dessert was well under $40!!!!  Seriously! I’ve paid more eating at regular chain restaurants without the same quality of service or food.

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