Monday, December 15, 2014


Played tennis Sunday against Ken, an advanced player with a flat fast first serve.  Over the last few months, I have been developing a habit of focusing on the return of serve that bring me a refreshing mindset. After I position myself according to the condition of the serve, and

  1. I make sure my grip is a proper forehand grip, that is my less reliable side 
  2. I touch my tip of my racket to the ground slightly to make sure I lower my weight
  3. I decide where I plan to return the ball to
  4. I go thru the split step just when the server start his back swing;
  5. This is most important step, as it leave the servers hand.:  I focus on the fuzzy yellow ball so intensely that I see nothing else
  6. When the ball is coming to me, I don't think much, just let my instinct play the ball (since the ball is coming so fast, there is no time for analysis)

I found out not only I return the ball better, I start to enjoy the return and make it a part of my weaponry. 

The level of clarity feels wonderful.  Now I should apply it to other area of my life, instead of worry and avoidance, if I prepare intensely and stay focus, each of those challenge is an opportunity to shine, to win.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I might be crazy.  I have to believe that there are people thrive on craziness.

Biked in to campus, it is quiet.  Today is the day before Thanksgiving, most people take today off since there is not classes.

Good time to spend 10 min on reflection:

Direct a school with a thousand students and thirty faculty and staff
Sit on four boards of corporations
Fund raising for a 40 million dollar school building
Working on three startups - Zuess, Zeaqua, CalGE and Longtails (did I say three)
Direct the institute for innovation
Teach six courses per year
Launch the largest CS degree program online in California
Working on two books - grow innovators / invincible company
Prepare talks to Global Trade Conference, Hanhai Startup University, Kyushu Institute of Technology
Manage my investment portfolio of real estate and stocks



I work 12-14 hours a day mostly, Sometimes 16.

Income might just reached top 1%, but workload is absolutely top 0.1%.  I am way underpaid.

People call me crazy, I shrug it off.

But when my mom call me crazy, I might have to step back and think about it.

Call me crazy.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My little Kingdom

Start to realize why I have been welling to spend enormous hours in School of ITCD, soon to be know as School of Computing and Design.  It is my little Kingdom. Small, it is just a little building, with 35 employee and 600 students.  I built it, expanded its territory, got rid of the old regime when I was still just young man.  Hired a cadre of strong generals, Dr. N, Dr. S and General C.  I have a set of loyal and capable court support, chief of staff A, weapon chief K.

Although there are often disgruntles, most people benefited from my realm, each general got their growing territory to handle.  Each one has something to be unhappy with me, as any monarch.  I report to no one directly, but like any leaders, I have answer to the nebulous "people". As long as we are growing and the industry is supporting the people "our graduates", everyone respects me and follow my decisions.  Occasionally they speak badly behind my back when I can't provide them more resource, but they at least showing support most of the time in public.

But the old King is now getting frail and older. In a few years, I need to step down and let a new ruler move the kingdom forward and continue to take care of the people :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

East Coast College Tour 2014 - draft


Brought the JJ and DD to a long awaited college tour of the east coast.

We started in the current US capital, DC, trekked back the country's political and educational journey. Going north and back in Time, we visited DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

The university we've toured, Georgetown, Princeton, Yale, MIT an Harvard.
During the last day, we walk the freedom trail, It was a glorious sunny day, the 300 years of history was passing through under our feet in merely 5 hours.

It is not only a trip for the them to know the universities of the east coast and, to inspired them to work hard, to have a passion to be different, and to be a leader.  It is also for me to enjoy the time with the fast growing DD and JJ.

JJ has matured to be an intelligent, hard-working, focused and beautiful young woman.  With her intelligence and passion, she will  go far.  She needs to development a sense of service, not everything is about her own benefits.  It would  be difficult concept for her to learn.

DD is growing up to be more caring.  He is for sure smart, but spending most of his open time on games reduces his exposure to common senses, which worries me tremendous. His lack of interest in almost anything other than video game troubles me tremendous.   Hopefully trips like this will open his mind and inspire him to do more. 


We met Hung Hung's place on Sunday morning, whom I love to see more.   Her lovely family is also growing up, mirroring the age of JJ and DD, we also face the same challenges. 

With a surprisingly nice rental Toyota sienna as our transportation for next 7 days, we started a red eye flight from SFO to BWI.

We tour the Georgetown University and Capital with Hung's family.  All of us were in awe with the grander of the capital.  The country had a big and noble dream, and from the early stage, it worked hard to achieve those dreams. “Out of Many - One” That should the motto of any group.  Even the school of computing and design which I lead.

The Georgetown was no ton the main menu but since it is close to Hung’s place, Hung booked it for us. We were pleasantly surprised how well organized the info session and the tour is.  Georgetown put together a good show, the information session is in it best, well appointed auditorium, with more than 2 hundred participants, it was well organized and presented.  The tour guides, a pair of boy and girl, were passionate and well rehearsed. 

Other than the history and building, the tour guide is the only channel for presenting the university.  Very important, I should make sure our tour guide is well trained.

The status of Sun Yat-Sen in the international building startled me, he is the one that I admire and try to model from and went to the Sun Yat-Sen University to learn how to serve the people and the country of China.  It is still just a dream, fading but not dead yet.

Georgetown is also where Song Chu-Yu, prominent politician in Taiwan and a distance family friend receive his doctorate.  The location is wonderful, across the Potomac river from DC, where many US president gave speech regulars.  Bill Clinton was a undergrads before going to Yale Law.

A strong service and Jesuit tradition is both the strength and weakness of the campus.  Every students are required to take several religious class, even thought the guides downplay it, it is still a requirement.  JJ is very interested in Georgetown, it is a great school, but not sure it worth the efforts and money, compared to the bests of UCs.


Philly played an important yet short role in the country’s history and our trip.  And B Franklin has been a name often mentioned in our book reading so it provide additional meanings. We stay downtown, tried to be close to independent square.  The night we arrive we search for the best Philly cheese steak sandwich.  It is a working men’s town., we drove thru some dark and “sketchy”, accruing to DD and JJ.  The lady run the street side shop was clearly tired and had no desire to serve.  The sandwich is mediocre, a bit over priced.  Not a meal or a trip that we will treasure.

We took the early morning walk to the in dependent square, let DD, Captain “Too Sharp”, lead the way, help us thru the two hours of navigating the downtown Philly street. The museum is fine but not remarkable, maybe we had too little time for a proper tour.  Visiting the east coast and Philly again in a snowy winter might be interesting


Princeton is in a picturistic little town where DD enjoyed a lot, Maybe because the tour guide is an Engineering major.  He did a OK job showing us around campus, but compared to the well trained Georgetown, he is clearly not prepared for the tour guide and for a public speaker.  But the campus and outstanding curriculum make the tour enjoyable. and memorable.  

We met JJ's outstanding English teacher Grumman at the gate of the campus, who brought her daughter to the campus, what a nice surprise!


While I remember and expect there are often tolls on the east coast, we are still surprised how often we have to pay for highways and bridges, $13 for entering NYC, ouch!  The GPS was a wonderful invention, without it, it would be almost impossible to navigate the narrow streets of east coast cities.  But it often can't be trusted, so I turn the GPS and my phone's GPS on at the same time, they behave like a pair of arguing spouse and I had to be the judge every other turn.  It worked but was dizzying.

NYC Experience

Finding the vacation home at Hamilton Heights of Manhattan was a challenge, but we managed it well with the GPS.  Finding parking for two days near was a nightmare.  I drove the big van around the block for over an hour, finally had to double park on a long street and wait for another people to leave.  I was about to give up and drove 3 miles to a garage, pay $50 a day and take a taxi back, someone on the end of 142 street just stroll slowly and drove his SUV away.  Perfect!

I found the vacation home on AirBnB, very useful site.  Compared to the $400 price tag of a typical business hotel in downtown, this vacation home is spacious, with free internet, kitchen and half price.  Even the parking was an issue, I was rather satisfied.

We walked for miles on the

- Les Miserables
- 911 memorial
- Kefi restaurant
- Meeting Mike at "Good to Eat"
- Taxi and subway
- Downtown and uptown 


- JJ's friend
- Pizza and beer
- building
- student housing

BOSTON Experience

- Plain hotel
- Looking for beer
- Freedom trail


- Music minor/concentration
- Hacker


- Extra curricula activities

Reflection on elite colleges

- Financial package and quarter million price-tag
- True value
- Best of the mediocre vs Mediocre of the Best?
- East and West
- Enlightened poor vs uninspired affluent
- The productive nigh at airport

Sunday, September 28, 2014

College Unbound

Finishing a book that Sathya lended me on the future of higher ed.  Most of the chapters discussed the three subject, higher cost, lack of accountabilty, and innovation.   There are some very informative reportings in the book.  The problem, challenge and value of higher-ed is well documented, including this book.  But what a university should about it?

Solutions I propose are simple:  Connected Learning - the learner should be connected to learning material, big data, learning plan, classmates, mentors and professors in a comprehensive yet efficient way to enhance their learning..  Assessment and exercise should be just in time, low risk and plenty. 

The most valuable part of higher-ed might be hardest to enhance with technology: inspiration and serendipity.  That might still have to done in a class-room based experince.  

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Novel, script and movie

I always lamented that so many great stories happened during the 20th century China yet few great literature was written, let alone the level of Le Miserable.

Maybe that is one of the task is for me to write the novels and scripts that tell all the worthy stories.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Learning Objective and True Education

Learning Objective vs. Education

Goal setting is crucial for any endeavor.  Students and faculty need to know clearly what and why they are spending time in the course instead of, for example, spending time playing golf.  During the middle of the learning period, the overall course level objectives might be too general, hence the module level objectives are required to direct the faculty and student on the day-to-day learning activities.

Many online course falls into the trap of "punch list" - make sure all measurable tasks are completed.  But as an educator, we should not lose sight of the essential, but often elusive, goals of education: to inspire students, to free them from their bias, to make them part of intellectual community.  

If measurable learning outcomes are the only scope the faculty put our efforts, we might conclude the students achievements from the best elite universities are the same as an average community college, but the public consensus tell us they are not, why?  If learning objects is the only focus, students achieved those from two different faculty should value the classes exactly the same, they don't.  The persona of the faculty matters.

While all education institutions are required to be more accountable these days, we should not let the measurements of learning objective become the only driving direction of our classroom, in-person or online.

I am hesitant to use the list of learning objectives as “check list”, it might convey the minimum expectation of the module is the only goal of the instruction.  But in a world of “no-college-kids-left-behind” mindset, classes are often reduced to a set of outcomes, and nothing more.  To avoid that trap, I usually start my module with a video describe the loftier vision of the module, before introduce the measurable learning objectives.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Summer drive

An eventful day. Tennis in the morning. Csu class at noon. Get home gym installed in the after noon. At 5, decided to take my cruising bike to Carmel barnyard via Hatton canyon. It is a perfect weather for biking. Touring around the mostly empty shopping center and do window shopping in several interning stores that have not been to for years. It is very pleasant. Just have to learn to enjoy these alone.

Summer started on campus

Campus emptied out within a weekend. Library is eerily quiet. I walked to the lib and pick up a book by tony Wagner titled  creating innovators. The book try to use qr code to enhance the printed page. 15 century technolog-The author lamented.  Bit the first qr code I try to access did not work!  So the printed technology works because it is cheap and reliable. The new tech has to be better on both to replace the old one. This is an example of creativity interfere with usability. Ironic.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Unrelenting Email

Getting thru 100+ email a day troubles me still. Might have to have strict routine to deal with it.  Let's try
At least three times a day, early morning, mid-day and around mid-night , 15-30 min each time.  Goal is to quickly review all emails, answer urgent and import once, move others to "later" bin and clean up the mail box.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

When a democracy is in trouble

I have been watching taiwan's student political movement.  They argue that the legislative branch of the government is no longer function well and no long represent the will of the people - a sentiment no doubt shared by many youth in the last 10 years.

There are many possible solution to this, but boil it down, a simple key that leave a strong impression on me - to solve a democracy problem, is to have more democracy.  How true.  Taiwan might lead the world into a new era, an era of cyber-democracy, that via intelligent and ubiquitous available connected devise, people can vote, easily, after verification of their identify and they have watch the necessary debates, on every issue.

Those vote should be one of three choice - yes, no, postpone.  If there is less than a high number, say 50% of the registered voters vote, if will be back to the legistors.  This way, a controversial issue can be resolved clearly and often quickly.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Design Thinking and online education

Colleague Denise came my office and discussed using portfolio to enhance student learning experience.  We talked for almost an hour and got very excited. So this is our ideas

The CSIT online program, being 12 courses and 2 years.  The learner's experience can be told as a 100 weeks story, each one with a title of learning outcomes, some of hard and some are soft.  But each one is a capability.  Each entry is determined by the teacher and student blog their learning and reflection and shared among their friends.

Week 0 (yes, in computer we start with 0) - orientation

Week 1.1  CST 300, beginning, knowing the curriculum structure, classmate,
Week 1.2...
Week 2 Design their learning plan
Week 3 Know the industry
Week 4 Thinking about their capstone project
Week 8 Final and reflect upon their learning, complete the portfolio

Week 9 CST 205
Week 10 Know the syllabus
Week 11 Know the python language
Week 12 The media type and format

Week 99 Presenting capstone

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Felt af home

Visit Santa Barbara area to review a program. Pleasant people, friendly town.  Nothing special. But the feeling at home surprised random saddened me. 

I talked in English, cursed in English, flirted in English.. when I see the people, I no longer see foreigners.  I am at home. I felt at ease.  But not happy.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

CA SCA5 bill - a racist bill that will hurt everyone in the Golden State

"The Way to Stop Racial Discrimination Is to Stop Racial Discriminating" sounds so self-evident that I believe no one will dispute.  However, the lately passed CA SCA5 bill is trying to discriminated students based on their race.

People come to and admire the U.S. because here an INDIVIDUAL can be successful not matter what race, gender, birth place, all the items beyond individual's choices, are.  CA SCA5 is trying to limit the number of students not because their achievement and aspiration, but because their surname.

Should I change my last name to hispanic sounding one, or dye my skin to black or brown, to avoid being discriminated against when I apply to a university?

Should the professors in public universities are required to give 40% "A" grades to the underserved minority? You will think that is absurd, but SCA 5 is trying to do that.  Should a public bus limit the number of white passengers to 30%? That is preposterous, but SCA 5 is trying to do that.

I am proud to be a resident of California, because its meritocracy, its opportunity for individual.  SCA will be a terrible blow to me, and to each citizen in the state.  Even the students took advantage of the preferential treatment to get into a college, their self-esteem will suffer because many, including themselves, might question their qualification.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Travel to far away places to find the long lost spirit.  Can each trip be a pilgrimage?  Can we cleanse ourselves of all the worries, burdens, scars, and the dark corner of our hearts?  If the source of the ill is deep in our soul, can we forgo it?  

Admin or not Admin

After so many years, I start to realize that most admin are either too busy or too incompetent to be effective.  My worries are that I am becoming one of them. Some admin climb the rank because they don't do anything. Often they don't remember details that they should know.

Some of us take on the admin position simply to prevent someone to do it because they might bring disasters to the organization. 

Outline of my latest Invincible Company through Innovation workshop

Innovation Management
- building an invincible company by sustained innovation

by Eric Y. Tao, Ph.D.  (see bio

Dr. Tao, a professor of technology management and director of Institute for Innovation and Economic Development, leads executives through a journey of innovation that started from a deep appreciation of how individual brains work in innovation, to enabling everyone to become more innovative, to cultivating innovative teams and conclude with how innovation can lead to not just one successful product, but a long lasting, invincible company.  

Many innovation management theories by the top scholars over the last fifty years, Peter Drucker (father of modern management), Clayton Christensen (Harvard Professor, author of Innovator’s Dilemma), Tim Brown (Stanford scholar and CEO of Ideo) will be discussed and practices in the workshop.  Through stories, hands-on exercises, team-projects and brainstorming, Dr. Tao guide the executives completing the workshop with a new mindset, a set of usable strategy and a plan to make their company invincible through sustained innovation.

16-hour lecture and workshop for executives

Hour 1-2 Start the innovation journey

  • What is innovation
  • What is design thinking
  • Innovation stories that we can learn from
  • “Innovate or die” - is it true
  • Discussion the sample and importance of innovation

Hour 3-6   Becoming an innovative individual

  • Know how your brain work
  • 5 good habits to make you more innovative
  • Individual innovation games
  • Innovation now! (in class exercise)

Hour 7-10   Build an innovative team

  • Why some team are more innovative?
  • How to promote innovation in your team
  • How the human resources department can help
  • Team innovation game
  • Reflection on current company policy (in class exercise)

Hour 11-12 Balance between innovation and efficiency

  • Efficiency is crucial for survival
  • Learn from efficiency stories and theories
  • Innovator’s dilemma
  • Essential efficiency strategies
  • Balance innovation and efficiency

Hour 13-18 Build an invincible company via innovation

  • The design thinking and innovation process
  • Analyze the market place and trends
  • What are the competitors doing
  • Change management challenges
  • Design new product/services to the markets (in class exercise)
  • The long term goal - invincible

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Spending time on investment or not

During the last few years, my investment in stock and real estates are doing fine.  I studies, analyzed and braved the turbulence of the market since 2009.  Often I woke at at 6:15AM PST to survey the major news of the world in general, and the companies whose stock I was watching in perticular.  I will spend about an hour on these and I would decide the sell and buy limits, instruct my onlne brokerage on my trades and let the waves of the market determine my actually trade.

I figure out the longer trends of the real estate and stocks and project its growth.  When the price raised shapely, I will sell, when it drop below the price I feel it deserves, I buy.   I usually stay with value stock and the major players pick, such as major banks, insurance companies and volatile (yet has foundamentionals to support the grow) ETF.

I will work on these until 8, when my day job starts.

Lately I start to resent the time I have to spend on these activities purely for money.  Sometime it is just for intellecture challenge to beat the market, most of the time it is just trade my valuable time for money.  I felt distained about the time while my wealth, although limited, is enough to sustain my living for good.

I re-read the auto-biograhpy of Benjamin Franklin, and reflect upon the people I respect, such as Sklansky, Moroh, chairman Jiang.  I felt a little better, these people also put a lot of effort to managing their finance.   I felt it is not just waste of my time, which can be used to help students and faculty on the Monterey and San Jose campuses, but a healthy regiment and I have to do as an succeful, independent, well-rounded person.  When done in an maderate, intelligent way, spending time on my finanical health is as valuable and necessary as spending me on my phyical, spiritual and relational health.

And when I read the Franklin book, I also surprrised a great man as he was, he pained the earninging and loss of every shilling in his early days.  So importatn to him that he can record who, where, how much change hand 40 years after the matter had happened.

As I was brought up in the chinese intellectual way that worriing about oneselves is selfish.   The old Ben's book comforts me.  Thanks!  I passed a note to him when I walked by the public library of Boston with his status and words.


Living the dreams

I used to just nod politely saying "just fine", when people ask me "how are you doing?".  I decided to change that. ...