hyounpark: (Default)
hello world!

April was just a miserable month for me. At work, we lost two people at the end of March and I had to cover for both of their jobs in addition to my own. At school, i was going through finals, which ended on April 30th. At home, I had hired contractors who were coming in for, yes, the last week of April. And with the love of my life, [personal profile] ursamajor, I'm planning to get married in Korea on the 24th. This is exciting, but also means that it's super busy. But that's not all!

Lynne and I are also looking for a new place to live, since neither of us like each other's residences and we figure that we should probably live together at some point after getting married. So, this means we've got to sell our places and buy a new place. And this means that I've had to put off other things. For instance, my friend Sam Yoon is running for the mayor of Boston and even though he's the smartest and most progressive of the candidates out there, I have no time to actually help him out. There are a couple of business ideas that I've been charting out in my head, but have had no time to convert them into actual businesses. And I vaguely remember being a musician at some point in time, but singing and cello are definitely farther down on my list of to-dos.

I think that if I had to rank things to do at this point, they go something like:
1) marriage
2) work
3) home issues
4) school
5) daily life issues (food, paying bills)
6) personal fitness
7) business ideas
8) politics
9) music

As you can guess, it's a struggle to get to #5, much less #7 or #8. And when I have spare time at this point, I'm paralyzed with indecision. I actually got home one night this week before 7 PM for the first time since January and didn't know what to do! By the time I figured out what I could do, it was 9:30 and I might as well have been stuck in class or work or something.

I sure hope that [personal profile] ursamajor is a bit saner and has figured what the heck is going on, because at this point, I'm just showing up at places and hoping that everything has been figured out for me. ;) This is pretty much true for every aspect of my life. I'm sure that things will slow down next year when house and wedding issues are out of the way and school is finished or on the way (I have three classes left to finish this damn MBA). Then I can focus more on actually being more human and well-rounded!
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[livejournal.com profile] ursamajor just alerted me to the fact that LJ no longer provides basic free accounts to new users. Not only does this suck from a general freeloader aspect, but this actually is an extremely poor business decision for LJ.

Currently, my understanding is that less than 2% of LJ users are paid users, meaning that the vast majority of LJ users are free users or Plus users who accept ads on their LJ. It's obvious how Plus users are being monetized, since this is basically like the Google business model where clickthroughs are the key to making a profit. It's obvious how paid users are monetized, since they pay actual money. But the monetization of Basic users may not have been obvious to LJ's business team, which is why they've made this stupid decision. I'd argue that there are several reasons that the LJ Basic account should stay:

1) I'm assuming that LJ basic accounts have traditionally been the most active form of customer acquisition. Any time you mess with your most successful customer acquisition method, you're gambling. If the LJ basic accounts with no ads are seen as a significant value addition and differentiator in 2008, then LJ is melting into the crowd of commercialized social aggregators. It's not good to take away your biggest differentiator. To see if this is actually true, I'd have to know how many Basic vs. how many Plus users were out there and the current attitude of new adopters towards ads in blogging. [personal profile] ursamajor and I disagree on this last point. She thinks it's a distinct value-add for content differentiation whereas I'm more skeptical and would have to see how the content differentiation created by old users was socially mapped. But I honestly don't know what the answer is. The correct action here would really depend on accurate market research of the current LJ community. Dollars to donuts says that LJ doesn't have a qualified marketer on staff (meaning a quantitative analyzer with significant B2B and B2C experience who understands online communities).

2) The inherent communicative and commercial value of social networks is generally held to be n*(n-1) based on Reed's Law. This means that the network value increases or decreases exponentially as the number of people increase or decrease. For instance, if you add 10% to your existing social network, you'll actually get a value of maybe 20%. If you remove 10%, you'll lose about 20% of value from your network. Small changes in numbers create big changes in network value. Any hinderances that LJ places on customer acquisition will reduce the future value of LJ both for free customers and for paid/monetized customers. Assuming that SUP bought LJ to make money, SUP needs to start understanding the economics of social networks and understand the foremost necessity of technology adoption for new customers. Basic users are still part of the social networking value that LJ brings to the table and help keep Plus and paying customers at LJ. Valuations of companies are usually based on future growth potential. To the extent that getting rid of the basic option stunts growth, this is a bad idea.

3) LJ is trying to monetize customers in the wrong way. I agree that some form of "Plus" account is ultimately LJ's future. Free with some sort of advertisement is definitely the way to go. However, there are subtler ways to advertise than to provide click-through ads that may also be useful. The keywords library is an incredibly powerful tool that marketers would have a field day in using. Simply making this data and demographic/geographic available from Plus users would provide a fair amount of revenue from market analysis departments and groups. The accuracy of this data could be encouraged through demographic and geographic communities that provide some incentive to join, such as free LJ gifts or some sort of "elite" status. One could even sell the right to send messages to the LJ Inbox. LJ should also push its custom communities harder to push, say, Harry Potter communities to the fan base. (Yes, they should encourage fandom. Crazy talk, I know. Why would you want to encourage fanatical loyalty towards your product?) Doing all these things would probably make Plus users more profitable than paying customers. But you also need to bring these customers in to start with. Opting in to deluxe features of Livejournal makes more sense than providing a deluxe version of LJ with ads to a beginner user who may not even know which links to click on in the first place, much less understand which links are commercials. New users have to be babied to retain them and providing a more complex product is a step in the wrong direction. But once a basic user is broken in, maybe LJ could send hints and tips for "optimal" LJ usage and push LJ products that can only be optimized as a Plus user. But the key is that you have to drive loyalty and fluency in the LJ product to keep them in the first place.

4) The nature of this decision was completely antithetical to the original concept of Livejournal. I'm jaded enough to believe that LJ has jumped the shark and has no idea how to work as a business except to try to pursue traditional business strategies that do not work in a Web 2.0/Social Networking business model that are trying to grow. But LJ was originally supposed to be a collaborative community and the LJ Advisory Board, which apparently had no knowledge of this account change, is starting to look like a paper tiger when it comes to weighing in on significant LJ decisions. Simply getting rid of a major account option without polling the end user community is dumb from a marketing perspective both because more data is always better than less and because goodwill is a significant asset that can be easily depleted through stupid moves like this. In accounting-land, the concept of "Goodwill" is actually accounted for as an asset in determining the value of a company. Ironically, even though LJ is valued much higher now than it was pre-Six Apart, I'm betting that the books have shown a massive write-off for devaluation of goodwill. If it doesn't, their books don't reflect reality.

Honestly, I feel like LJ has been run by idiots who fundamentally don't understand what they're supporting or selling. It makes me feel like I should go to Silicon Valley right now because I could take these chumps running a closed network like Facebook or a poorly managed Livejournal. Really, the only things stopping me are that I want to finish my MBA and I just got a job where I'm learning a lot and have an incredibly dynamic boss. Oh, and the love of a good woman! But if chumps like these people are still running real companies in 2010 and haven't been replaced by competent executives, I'm totally coming into their yard to kick ass, take some names, and take their lunch money while pushing our use of technology forward.
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When I went in to vote today, I got a Democratic primary ballot and checked off Barack Obama for my presidential choice. Then I moved to the Democratic State committee choices and voted for a guy who I've maybe met twice and my friend Dorothea Jones. And then I moved down to the Ward Democratic committee. At this point, I was thinking "these ballot choices are so obscure. Who ever votes on these, anyways?"

So, I started looking down the list of names. I recognized a few of the names as people that I've run into over my past couple of years in the political realm. And then I ran into "Hyoun Park." Being the idiot that I am, my first response was "There are two Hyoun Parks in Roxbury?"

The answer is "No, dumbass. That's YOUR name on the ballot."

And then I remembered conversation that I had with the ward Democratic committee chair, Victoria Williams, a couple of months ago. She asked if I was interested in being on the Ward committee and I figured that would be fine. At the ward level, the politics is mostly confined to getting out the vote and scheduling debates, which I'm actually a big fan of. (And there's some petty intra-city squabbling, which I ignore so completely that I couldn't tell you who's ticked off at who.) I'm all about bringing political candidates into Roxbury to talk about the issues of our community, so I said that I was interested. Victoria mentioned something at the time about running for the committee, but I didn't even think about it at the time.

It was only when I saw my name on the ballot that I realized that she had meant that I was actually running for this position on a ballot. The actual vote was just a formality, since there were only 12 names listed and the top 21 vote-getters are in the committee. So, in the end, it really wasn't anything more than signing up for a committee with the side effect that every voter in my neighborhood now has seen my name.

But for this primary, I can claim to have been on the same ballot as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and John Edwards, albeit for a different office and only in my section of Boston. When Lynne first heard about this, her first reaction was, "YOU ARE NOT HAVING A POLITICAL CAREER. I AM NOT GOING TO BE A POLITICAL SPOUSE." And I totally agree. As an atheist who isn't all that loquacious and loathes the idea of campaigning or fundraising, I would be an awful politician. Which is great! But I got the best of both worlds: I didn't have to campaign or put in any effort, but still had my name on a ballot with this year's presidential candidates, which is kinda cool, no?
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So, SUP bought LiveJournal (or Zhivoi Zhurnal as our Russian friends call it). And Livejournal seems to think that it's a good thing. And, to be honest, there are both good aspects and bad aspects to this sale. Being the perky and sunny ray of sunshine that I am, let's start with:

The Good Things )
The Bad Things )
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So, which one impresses me more:

Selling Livejournal to one of Russia's oligarchs with strong ties to Putin?

or

Banning interests like "animal crackers" and "spice girls" because they contain the racial epithets "cracker" and "spic" ?

And who feels comfortable with their private information being held to the Kremlin's current standards of privacy (tempered by the standards of the oh-so-customer friendly Delaware corporation)? And who thinks that LJ's "advisory board" will have any greater say in LJ's operations than the current LJ abuse and support team? (To my abuse and support friends, I love y'all, but you know that you're not part of senior management and that you get some pretty ridiculous policies handed down to you from above.)

I have a more serious response to this fuckmuppetry, but that'll take more time to finish up tonight.

help

Nov. 26th, 2007 03:35 pm
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Our flight from Knoxville to Cincinnati ran late STOP

Because of this, we missed our 1:20 connecting flight to Boston STOP

Were just denied on standby on 3:30 flight to Boston STOP

Are now trapped in Cincinnati forever because of Delta STOP

Delta doesn't want to help us :( STOP
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"I always think about Williams. I love it." - George Steinbrenner, Williams College Class of 1952

No wonder the Yankees are so evil!

Sincerely,
Hyoun Park
Amherst College Class of 2000

AWESOME

Oct. 29th, 2007 10:59 pm
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Lynne and I are watching the Wonderpets. (I know you all are jealous.) And the best moment just occurred.

Linny the Guinea Pig was just explaining what Coney Island was and started busting into rap while laying down a beat, chanting "Go Brooklyn!" in a manner that would make the Beastie Boys proud. Now, THAT'S quality children's television.
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Rejoice, we conquer!

*HONK*HONK*HONK*HONK*HONK*

(Just trying to give all of you in Livejournal land some idea of what the greater Boston area sounds like right now.)


WHOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

*HONK*HONK*HONK*HONK*HONK*
hyounpark: (Default)
Dice-K's stuff was definitely dying in the 4th inning. I thought you'd have someone else out to start the 5th, and the only reason Cleveland hasn't scored this inning is because of umpire error. Take the guy out already!

Love,
Me
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I don't really have much to post about right now, but I just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to post on lj while waiting for tori to come on stage. Ah, technology! Where were you when I was scribbling set lists 11 years ago?
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A letter from Sam Yoon:

I hope you had the opportunity to read the cover story in the Boston Herald about security in Boston public housing developments. Click here to read the story. Click here to read the Boston Globe's editorial on the subject.

I am contacting you today to ask for your help. )

Sincerely,

Sam Yoon

Boston City Councilor At Large
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Lynne just bought her book. I just lost a girlfriend. ;)
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The costumes are awesome, the lines are crazy, and all of the theme music has been surprisingly good. This is the consensus of [livejournal.com profile] ursamajor and [livejournal.com profile] jennifer.

Meanwhile, we are all sitting in line next to curious George while someone plays "autumn leaves" on the accordion. How bizarre.
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I'm going to semi-bring out my professsional geek hat, such as it is. In my day job, part of my work involves dealing with enterprise cell phone accounts and figuring out mobile device strategies that will add value. Sometimes this means adding things that are cool and sometimes it means advocating really boring and seemingly obsolete things. But the upside is that I do get to spend a lot of my time reading and thinking about the usability of technology and the value that these technologies bring to various business units. Given that, I've been intrigued about the iPhone and have to admit that I was initially tempted to get one before I started thinking about it.

There are a lot of things to like about the iPhone. It's a nice looking iPod to start with, complete with the cool Cover Flow view that will let you see cover art. It's nicer than any of the other music phones out there. (Although if you can't get the best, the Samsung Upstage is a cheap alternative for Sprint customers and the Verizon Chocolate is still pretty cute even if the memory tops off at 2 GBs if you get an additional micro SD card.)

The touch sensor screen really is revolutionary, since multi-touch usability on a phone is really unprecedented. The HTC Touch has a single-touch interface that isn't bad as cell phones go, but it's nowhere near as intuitive or flexible as the iPhone's touch interface. The LG Prada is a Korean phone that has a similar look and a one-finger touch screen interface, but it's only offered overseas at this point.

The Safari browser should be a whole lot nicer than the crap that passes for web browsers on most phones. I'm going to assume that OS X is going to be more stable than Windows Mobile 6 and Symbian, although the Blackberry OS is pretty stable as well. The media player is also going to be great since it'll be supported by iTunes. Don't worry, [livejournal.com profile] phamos818, iTunes 7.3 will get fixed. I know it will. It has to, right?

The battery life is supposedly spectacular according to everyone who's pre-tested it. It will pull from Wi-Fi internet connections, which will provide blazing fast internet connections. And the big screen will definitely allow you see more than you would see with a typical phone.

So, what's not to like?

well... )

I'm older!

Jun. 21st, 2007 11:16 pm
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Thank you to everybody for the birthday wishes! I have to admit that, while I didn't make a big deal out of turning 30, that turning 31 is a little odd. I do feel older, like I'm actually entering my 30s. Somehow, I thought that I would actually feel older as a 31 year old when I was in high school or college, but I realize that I'm really not very far off from those feelings of adolescent angst and young adult insecurity. OK, maybe I still live those feelings on a regular basis.

But being 31 means that I can also claim a modicum of maturity even if I don't really feel it. After all, I'm a telecom professional with seven years of experience. I'm working on my MBA. I work for a political campaign. Surely I must be an adult!

*smirk*

And yet, I could literally spend all day long playing video games and fantasy baseball given the chance. Or I could actually catch up on LJ. I do miss not being able to make entries more often on LJ. I could do entries on my Blackberry, but I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of the Blackberry LJ interface.

But now I must go and eat the cake that [livejournal.com profile] ursamajor has made me! *glee* Yay! I hope you all enjoyed the longest day of sunshine of the year. I made that. ;)
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My 2 cents on the LJ kerfuffle about proactively banning livejournals and communities based on their interests: It's a completely moronic and un-Internet type of thing to do.

I'm not sure what's worse: that Six Apart and Barak Berkowitz are so out-of-touch with the Livejournal community or that their executive team completely threw their Abuse and Support teams under the bus and are taking no personal responsibility for their executive policy decision. If Barak were actually taking a personal role in enforcing and answering questions about HIS policy, I might feel better about it. However, we're talking about a CEO who doesn't even use his own Livejournal ([livejournal.com profile] barakb25) and obviously is trying to drive people away from Livejournal.

In other news, I'm still balancing work, school, and politics and trying to be social and exercise, which is why I'm never on LJ any more. I read everyone's posts, but don't have much time to reply. I'm a bad LJ'er. :( I have these posts in my head on the Democratic capitulation to George W. Bush on the Iraq War and how local politics is incredibly petty and how Lynne made the best sandwich EVAR, but don't have time to post now because it's already past midnight, so it's way past my super-responsible bedtime.

travelling!

May. 9th, 2007 11:16 pm
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I've finished up for the semester and I HAVE to leave town this weekend. Where should lynne and I go? We were thinking Baltimore, but that's looking less likely due to lack of incentive. (no baseball game, people out of town). So, whee should I go? New jersey? New york? Philly? Maine? Six flags? Any and all suggestions are welcome!

RIP, Slava

Apr. 27th, 2007 08:02 pm
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Mstislav Rostropovich has passed away and I'm finding myself practically dumbstruck. Slava was a hell of a cellist and I remember seeing him in Boston just a few years ago and being awed that he could play with such energy and ferocity in his mid-70s. His Shostakovich and Dvorak concerto recordings are an absolute joy to listen to and I always wanted to play with that kind of unabashed and unmitigated passion.



But even more than that, he was also a strong anti-Soviet and pro-freedom voice at a time when it was dangerous to do so. He took a stand for displaying the most beautiful, most wonderful, and most exciting art in the face of Soviet repression. He helped hide Alexandr Solzhenitsyn. This was at the peak of his artistic talent, when he had nothing to gain and everything to lose by making such a stand. The guy had heart and talent and an unrelenting sense of how to do something right, whether it was mastering a musical masterpiece or taking on a totalitarian regime.

At least he was able to die back in his Mother Russia at his homeland as a hero, as he completely deserved. But the world is a poorer place for his loss.
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Right now, i'm waiting in the intermission of [livejournal.com profile] ursamajor's chorus performance of St John's passion.

And there's a 9 string viol in the orchestra. So, of course, that reminds me of the best viol player in the world (or at least the world of Livejournal), [livejournal.com profile] rhiannon76. And there's some 13 pegged viola sized viol there, too. It makes me regret that I've forgotten everything I knew about viols when I was in college. *sigh*
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