Author Archive - minliu

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loopt launches with Sprint

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

A couple months ago, iinnovate, a Stanford-based podcast on innovation and entrepreneurship, had the opportunity to interview Sam Altman ’07, co-founder and CEO of loopt. loopt is a mobile “social mapping”, or friend-finding, service which allows you to connect to your friends in real time over your cell phone.
This week, loopt launched its service with Sprint, its first major US carrier. This gives loopt a 56-million user base, and equally important, the ability to change the way individuals interact with their phones. It certainly isn’t about talking anymore! The loopt team understands that there is a lot be done in the social and mobile space and is working hard to get its service onto other tier-1 carriers.
“The most common mobile question in the world is ‘Where are you?’ and we’re excited that loopt will be able to answer that question for Sprint customers who choose to participate,” said Sam. “The way we communicate on the mobile phone is about to change forever, as loopt on Sprint puts an end to missed connections and facilitates real-world interactions.”
Sam and the other three co-founders started loopt after spending three months in 2005 at the Summer Founders Program by Y Combinator, a startup incubator.
For more, see loopt’s blog and the press release.

Tom Arnold of Terrapass

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

Tom Arnold is the Chief Environmental Officer of Terrapass, an environmental company that provides carbon offsetting solutions for individuals.

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“Terrapass is the $50 bumper sticker,” says Tom. In a period when climate change could not be more critical, Terrapass provides a way for individuals to offset their car, flight, or home carbon emissions — and to show it on a decal and bumper sticker.
In this interview, Tom provides some interesting insight into the company, the carbon credit business, and the climate change milieu.
This past March, Terrapass became the official gift to the Academy Awards’ performers and presenters, all 100,000 lbs of CO2 reductions for every Hollywood star. In addition to some Hollywood glitter, this is a sign that doing environmental good — and showing it — is the new chic.
Many thanks to Himanshu Agarwal and Ashish Chordia for coordinating the interview and Min Li Chan and Galen Panger for the contributions.
Stay tuned for more interesting interviews, including a whirlwind tour of Napa, California (featuring Thomas Keller of French Laundry), John Morgridge, and Vinod Khosla.
– Min Liu

Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Arrington started TechCrunch in 2005 to profile the latest and greatest in internet technology and startup companies.

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Nir and Owen talked to Michael Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch, when he visited the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Today his blog is the place on the web where you’re you’ll likely get the early news on major company shakeups, product announcements, and emerging ideas.
Since 2005 the TechCrunch network of content sites has expanded dramatically. Arrington’s empire covers 9 different sites, including a podcast called TalkCrunch, a product review site titled CrunchGear as well as several foreign sites.
Arrington was selected as one of the 50 most important people on the web by PC magazine. TechCrunch recently held it’s annual party “TechCrunch 7”, but the TechCrunch 20 is still open for fans. The conference, which is discussed during the podcast will take place during September 17-18 in San Francisco.
– Owen Tripp and Nir Eyal

Max Levchin, Founder of Slide and Co-Founder of Paypal

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Max Levchin was co-founder and CTO of Paypal and is currently founder and CEO of Slide and Chairman of Yelp.

We caught up with Max Levchin at the Red Herring Spring conference in Monterey, California.
In this interview Max shares some stories from the early days at PayPal, and provides his views on entrepreneurship. Definitely note his thoughts on Paypal alums.


Stanford students find innovative solutions for Global Giving

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

A few weeks back, I wrote about two students, Madalina Seghete and Tyler G. Hicks-Wright, two members of a team involved in creating an eBay Firefox toolbar. Well guess what, they landed themselves on Slashdot and got eBay’s COO talking (see article).
While they’re still iterating and improving their Firefox project, the class, CIA-KGB has kicked into high gear with a final project for Global Giving.
Global Giving is a non-profit organization that allows individuals or companies to pick and fundraise for “high-impact, grassroots social and economic projects around the world.”
Why is CIA-KGB involved? Because they can make Global Giving better. For example, once an individual donates, there is no feedback loop to see who else has donated and which part of the world people are donating from.
“We’re helping Global Giving increase their donations and the number of people who donate by giving passonate people tools to spread the word about the projects they care about,” says Tyler.
Mada and Tyler’s team has created a wonderful website, Global Giving CHAMPIONS, that’s oriented around the idea of Global Giving leadership. They realize that in order to gain momentum for raising money for these projects, there has to be leaders who can get others excited. Tyler says, “It gives people a place for their project where they can inform others about their project, show progress towards their goals, and give recognition to the people who have helped them.”
Well, I’m convinced. Since I started my championing (less than 24 hours ago), I’ve gotten mobility from others (it shows up on my page), and I am aware of the people who are impacting this project already. It’s a motivating experience because it allows leaders to see that their influence has impact. And it allows leaders to form a tight group of individuals who are aligned behind a project. The feedback is instant, the community is tight, and mobility is gained. What a wonderful aspect for Global Giving.
Well, why wait? Start now by becoming a champion. Or if you like mine, on helping 20 highland off-grid Peruvian communities get cool community-based electricity systems, help me out! Your name will appear 15 minutes after you donate. :)

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Carly Fiorina is the former CEO of HP and former executive at AT&T and Lucent Technologies. No stranger to controversy, Carly discusses some of the key decisions and learnings in her career and personal life, trends in technology and innovation, and her plans for the future.

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Min Li Chan ’06 and Min Liu ’06 catch up with the resilient Carly Fiorina at her alma mater, Stanford University, as she shares her thoughts on what matters to her and why in the technology sector, her high-profile time at HP, and her autobiography, Tough Choices.

Carly studied medieval history and philosophy at Stanford, spent almost 20 years in AT&T and Lucent Technologies, and assumed CEO and Chairman of the Board for Hewlett-Packard from 1999-2005. She was named one of the most powerful people in business by Fortune and Forbes.

After a meteoric and controversial career, Carly reflects on what was done right, what technology promises, the importance of innovation, people, and a customer-driven focus, as well as making mistakes and correcting course in this day and age.

Special thanks to our videographer Sarah Bennett, and to Robert Scoble and John Furrier for their input.
– Min Li Chan and Min Liu


Sam Altman – Founder of Loopt

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Sam Altman ’07 is the 22-year old co-founder of Loopt, a location-based social networking mobile application that allows users to see where their friends are. Sam gives us a peek into the fascinating and incubative world of a Silicon Valley startup that’s gaining a lot of momentum.

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“Oh yea, it’s enlightening” said Sam when reflecting on the process of creating Loopt. Loopt arose from a need to find where your friends are over the cellphone. The most common question asked in a conversation is, “Where are you?” Loopt addresses this and seeks to develop a cool mobile and online service that helps you connect with your friends.
In this interview, we talked to Sam in the Loopt Palo Alto office about how he and the Loopt co-founders developed the service, what’s ticking in the mobile industry, how to not get a case of vitamin deficiency, and why working for a startup might be one of the most exciting propositions out there. He was recently named one of the Best Young Entrepreneurs in Technology by Businessweek.
– Min and JULIO.


Take Back the Web: the Stanford and Firefox Join Forces

Friday, April 27th, 2007

Firefox is a clear choice for many students and tech aficionados thanks to personalized browsers, security, and the overall notion of fighting against the Man!
When the Stanford and Firefox joined forces to spread Firefox for the Spring 2006 class, CIA: Creating Infectious Action, the synergy and results were incredible. Rockstar students, guided by rockstar teaching coaches, created some of the best Firefox extensions and marketing campaigns to date (check out this sex and religion combo: Firefoxies and Faith Browser).
Thanks in part to this success, the launched CIA 2.0: CIA-KGB (ARRR!). And guess what, Firefox is back, and better than ever!
Students this quarter are once again doing some really cool stuff. For example, Madalina Seghete and Tyler Griffin Hicks-Wright’s project, My Friendly Fox, seeks to improve the eBay shopping experience by customizing the browser with an eBay toolbar and an ad blocking feature. Moreover, they added oomph to the little fox that could… by adding another fox! Say hello to foxkeh.
sexy foxkeh
At the, the design process is highly looked upon. These students are working long and hard, and smart, to help users understand the benefits of a better browser.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Craig Newmark is the founder of Craigslist, the much-admired poster child for possibilities within a culture of trust and fairness on the Internet. Craigslist connects people with things that they need, as well as people with people.

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iinnovate’s Owen Tripp sits with Craigslist’s Craig Newmark to chat about Craigslist’s humble beginnings as a “hobby” that eventually turned into a company–and how it continues to stay true to its original mission as a community service. Craig is named as one of 26 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs by, crediting him for “putting the free in free markets.”

In an interview with Wired Magazine, Craig notes that Craigslist’s corporate mantra, if any, is to “give people a break.” In a recent discussion, points out that, “Craigslist still has the power to confound old line-media moguls and possibly change the face of ‘glo-calism’–local reach spread globally.”
Craig affirms these notions in his conversation with iinnovate about Craigslist, the Craigslist Foundation, as well as incremental steps and funny anecdotes along the way, while observing that “people are overwhelmingly good and trustworthy. People are okay, and that’s true wherever you’re from.”
– OT, MLC & MW
From the iinnovate blog

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, talks about Google’s industry and competitors, about leading innovation, and gives career advice. [video also available].

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“All of the things that happen in your 20’s are just the beginning of a professional career. With every ending is a new set of beginnings. It’s important to understand that you want to be positioned for the very best ones. Now is the time, especially as a young person, to get those learnings. Not just about business but about life. All of the of things that you have to have to have a personal business compass.”
More from the iinnovate blog.


Andy Grove, former CEO and Chairman of Intel

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Julio Vasconcellos and Matt Wyndowe, second year Stanford Graduate School of Business students, recently had the privilege of interviewing Silicon Valley legend, Andy Grove. From the iinnovate blog:
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Andy Grove is an iconic figure in technology and management worldwide. A Silicon Valley legend, he joined as one of the first employees at Intel and led the company to where it is today.
Andy Grove has lived the American dream, escaping his native Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution and arriving penniless in America. Andy became the 4th employee at Intel and eventually its CEO in 1987, a position he occupied until 1997, remaining in the Chairman post until 2004. Andy’s leadership earned him honors including Time Magazine’s Man of the Year (1997).
In this interview Andy talks about key strategic decisions at Intel, about Microsoft’s ability to change, his managerial style, and career advice. There’s also video of a key moment where Andy discusses his opinion of Microsoft.


Chris Larsen,

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

Chris Larsen is the co-founder and CEO of, an online person-to-person lending marketplace that has excited quite a few in the world of finance, business, and technology, notably the New York Times, SF Chronicle, and Businessweek.

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Chris Larsen is the co-founder and CEO of, an online person-to-person lending marketplace that brings together traditionally inspired dynamics of lending between friends, family, and individuals, with the benefits and rigors of modern-day credit systems.
Prior to Prosper, Chris co-founded and served as Chairman and CEO of E-LOAN, which closed over $27 billion in consumer loans, and was consistently ranked as one of the nation’s most trusted consumer brands. E-LOAN took radically pro-consumer actions such as being the first company to provide consumers with access to their credit scores, and played a critical role in the passage of the consumer financial privacy protection laws. Chris led E-LOAN through a successful IPO in 1999, and oversaw the company’s acquisition by Puerto Rican bank Popular, Inc. in 2005.
In this podcast, Chris chats with Julio and Min Li about Prosper’s innovative vision, its unique challenges as an eBay platform for money (check out Prosper’s cool tools for academics and researchers for performing case studies on its model), and the fine balance between the countervailing forces of transparency and privacy in the world of Web 2.0.
Chris holds an M.B.A. degree from Stanford University and a B.S. degree from San Francisco State University, where he was named the 2004 Alumnus of the Year.
– Min Li

Note from Min Liu*:
For more interesting interviews by Stanford business school students and recent grads, check out iinnovate.
*yes, there’s a Min Li and a Min Liu 😉

Blogger Profile: Min Liu

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Name: Min Liu
Class: 2006
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: San Jose, CA
E-mail: min [at] cs [dot] stanford [dot] edu
Life aspirations:
Find the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship, design, and photography. Be with friends. And bake and cook and dine out. And travel. And read the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Economist compulsively. And all the blogs I love. Discover the best hot chocolate on this side of the U.S. (it’s no easy task!!). Go swimming and hiking, and play vball on the Oval!
Favorite websites: My flickr, and Google Maps in general.
Watch these youtube videos:

Favorite picture you found online:
I have too many (i heart flickr), but here’s my current fav, of a father and his son, Wilson:
Something wild and crazy about myself: I’ve gone to more grad student parties after graduation than I have partied in my undergrad career. The benefits of living in the Bay Area as an alum :)
With “The Peel” at the Cantor Arts Center on campus.