July 1, 2013

  • Q&A with @John from @TheXangaTeam

    I had a good hour and a half talk with CEO John about Xanga, the fundraiser, and Xanga 2.0.  For those that missed the live show, you can catch the recorded broadcast by clicking here.  @SaintVI was able to write up a simple transcript during the show and have given me permission to post it up on my page.  Take a look below, and if you want more details you can listen into the show on demand.

    As mentioned on the show, I will be on hiatus for the next week while I'm visiting San Francisco for this 4th of July holiday week.  I will be back with a new show on Monday, July 8th.  For more info on the upcoming shows, click here.  FYI, I will likely schedule at least one more show with John before July 15th, so stay tuned for future updates on that!
    Transcript of the Interview with John, CEO of Xanga

    A: How many are still on the Xanga Team?

    J: Tries to run it friendly, less corporately. John, Justin,Eugenia, Marc, Bob, Dan

    A: Interns?

    J: Yes. That will be a bigger focus in the future.

    A: Why has the communication not been greater communication leading up to the fundraiser?

    J: Overall been overwhelmed with programming.. Big update coming up soon on blog regarding Xanga 2.0, which the team will start communicating and promoting more once that is out.

    A: Why does XT want site to continue?

    J: Not money – not lucrative. Labor of love.  Loves xanga, met many friends through xanga. Strong community and can grow the website around it. Wants to continue to honor and serve the community.

    A: Why do you think we’ll meet the 60k goal?

    J: Response has been amazing. No reason to give beyond $48,but many are giving much more. Shows that people really love the xanga platform. Lots of things we can continue to do to support the fundraiser.Coordinating press and member mailings for next couple of weeks. Expect it to pick up at the end.

    A: Have you reached out to outside groups/sponsors to raise money?

    J: Of course. Many have donated. Others will be contributing in coming weeks. A lot of money will come from lowering expenses.

    A: Why such short notice for the deadline?

    J: Didn’t think of it far in advance. Looked into the feasibility before announcing it. Started site in 2000. Many decisions based on technology they had available at the beginning. This is like starting a new company with technology that will hold up for the future. New cost structure will be more cost effective.

    A: Why no mass messages yet?

    J: We’re going to be sending out messages. Have gotten a lot of questions and working on answering them before sending the message out. More effective to communicate as much as possible in one message. This week. 35-40 million members over the years. Email addresses change. If email everyone,surefire way to get all email blocked by every carrier. Would be last email sent in company history.

    A: Why not mass message on website?

    J: It would be a little tricky due to number of possible replies. Currently shut off private messages on team blog. Maybe send out MM with link to XT blog for replies.

    A: If xanga does not raise money by deadline will it be pushed back?

    J: Deadline is hard coded in software. Can’t ask Kickstarter to give more time. Confident we’re on track to meet goals.

    A: Many Xanga users trying to rally the troops to promote the fundraiser. How do you feel about their efforts?

    J: And RLT’s radio show! This is why we keep doing what we’re doing. It’s been an incredible outpouring of love and support. Very heartwarming and reaffirming.

    A: Are there plans for XT to be more directly involved with communication?

    J: Sure. We can stick modules on the front page to promote it more.

    A: What did you mean by viral marketing on your announcement post?

    J: I’d rather talk more about vision of xanga first and then come back to marketing. Taking WP platform and adapting it for xanga. Xanga is community coming together and reacting in a seamless way. Not been our focus to be highest rated publishing platform. Working on adapting WP platform to be more community friendly. That’s been the main focus of our work. Most platforms focused on publishing and not interaction with readers. On xanga we’re all equals, all participants in site together. Would love to weave this into WP ina seamless way like xanga. Wants to get the best of WP with the small town feel of xanga making it as community friendly as possible. Logistically 60 Emotionally 99.9% of vision. Met my wife through reading her blog. Get to know each other by reading and interacting. Creating software that enables this interaction is important to him.

    A: With Xanga 2.0 being a paid site and many people not wanting to pay, how would you sell it to these people?

    J: Would prefer to keep the platform free. Kept it free fora dozen years, but can’t offer a sustainable model for free. If we can blow these numbers out of the water, we will take another look at the possibility.Grandfathering all Premium sites so still be able to read and comment. A lot of what we want to do is simplify the site. Ex: Difference between Friends and Subscriptions. Subscriptions is one-way. Friendship is two-way. Looking to clarify small differences like that. Focus on ease of use and simplicity. Also supporting many privacy features. Not many platforms left on web that support privacy. Ex: Facebook. Privacy doesn’t have to be either/or. Want to continue with features we offer and add more.

    A: Clarify which accounts are automatically transferred.

    J: Focusing on bringing over all Premium members. Also going to take over all accounts that have been Premium at one time. It will be a lot of work to transfer accounts over. All user accounts will be transferred even if blog doesn’t transfer. Users can still log in, read their subs and comment.

    A: What about the True members?

    J: We can look into whether we can support that. It’s a question of numbers; how many we can transfer over. We want to move over as many as possible.

    A: There may be people who decide they want to continue on xanga after July 15. Will they have lost all their entries or will their old blog still be somewhere?

    J: Have they ever been a Premium member? First we’re going to move over the current Premium members. Then we’ll move over those who have been Premium in the past. Then we’ll get as many transferred as possible.Others can download their archives in the XML format and transfer them.

    A: If xanga reaches the goal, how soon will the new site beup and running?

    J: We’ll see. Technically we’re hard at work and have a lot of stuff ready to go. We’ll know more in a couple of days but we’re hoping within a couple of days after the 15th. We’ll keep the xanga site up and running if there’s a lag.

    A: Can you clarify what will happen to Lifetime members?

    J: I don’t know how much more I can say. If you’re a Lifetime member, you are a Premium member and we’ll transfer your account and transfer your account to the new system and will honor your account at a lower rate.

    A: If someone has a WP username will it interfere with thexanga 2.0 platform?

    J: No. We’ll be using the WP code base but no overlap with screen names.

    A: Xanga HK is still pretty popular. How are they affected?

    J: We’re all in this together. I can’t tell when someone pledges what country they’re from but seeing a huge number of Chinese names.They’re in it with us and have been very supportive.

    A: How many paying members will it take to keep xanga 2.0 operational for a year?

    J: It’s tricky. Fundraisers are different than running youraverage premium model. Need many more Premium members than fundraisingparticipants. Most of the fundraiser is coming from a few people. Still inexperimentation stage at how to support the site.

    A: Would it be possible for some people to pay a fee to keep their content online without paying for Premium?

    J: We could look at adding more reward levels and include that. We want to offer all members a free and easy archive download. We’ll consider this, but don’t want to give out the vibe that we’re holding your data hostage.

    A: How about giving people a 1-2 month free preview of the new site? Or giving other incentives?

    J: We want to move as many blogs over as possible. I don’t see charging to move blogs over as being much in the fundraiser. The best way to ensure is to contribute to the fundraiser. We’re looking to charge people to host their blogs, not everyone who wants to read and comment.

    A: But how do you plan to attract people to the new platform?

    J: Referral programs would be a part of drawing people into the platform.

    A: Is there a way to allow people to access the top featured posts of all time on xanga?

    J: Would we be transferring just one post that was written in 2007 and not the person’s entire blog?

    A: We just want to be able to find the top posts.

    J: If there are specific sites for the sake of xanga posterity that need to be imported, we would look at doing that. One of the tricky things about featured content is that it’s what is popular on that day.If you go back a couple of months later, you might find that those posts have been taken down, made private,  friends locked, blog shut down, etc. It’s not an easy thing. But if you make a list we’ll see what we can do.

    A: What are some of your marketing ideas?

    J: The viral marketing stuff is giving people a chance to look up their account to see if it’s scheduled for transition. It will provide a simple interface to see if your xanga will live or die, if you’re ready for 2.0. People can interact with it and help get the word out. Press is going to be important to complement that, to reach out to former member for whom we don’t have an email address.

    A: Is there anything the community can do to help the XT out further than what they’ve already done?

    J: Yes. We’ve been focused so much on the fundraiser and making sure we can make the goal and do the transition, those have been crushing amount of work. Moving forward we’d like to make it much more participatory. Next big piece is how are we going to manage this website? In past it’s been me and a couple of other people running the site and making decisions. Not open source, only a couple of people understood how the site works. The new architecture of the site will be much more open and adaptable.We’ll be creating a group of “councils” for different areas. Ex: Finding themes, front page design… Series of community driven councils to get vision from users. We want to tap the community’s vision and energy to build the new site.

    A: What are some of your major memories of the xanga site?

    J: I met my wife on xanga. That’s my number one in terms of impact. I’ve met hundreds of xanga members and had all sorts of conversations and taken them out for lunch or drinks, and then the next day you read about it. It takes some of the fun out of being involved in the community because all sorts of drama was flaring up when I hung out with xangans so I’ve been distant in the past couple of years. The idea that people have met and fallen in love on xanga and we’ve brought them together in marriage blows my mind. On the flipside, there’s been a lot of xanga divorces too. Being part of the community and seeing these things go back and forth has been very rewarding and fun. It’s been a really emotional experience for me. So much love and so many friendship shave come out of the site.

    A: Are there any last words you’d like to say before theshow ends?

    J: I’d like to say thank you. Xanga is nothing without community. The fact that you all take care of each other is great and it’s why we want to keep it going. We’re very grateful to have met so many of you over the years that have kept the site going. Thanks guys.

June 27, 2013

  • The Xanga Team's John Coming Soon to My Radio Show!

    Save the Date!  This Sunday, June 30th, at 7pm EST I will finally get a chance to interview @John from @TheXangaTeam, the CEO of Xanga, on my online radio show

    The direct link to the show is http://www.blogtalkradio.com/roadlesstaken/2013/06/30/on-the-road-less-taken--john-from-the-xanga-team.  You can click on that link to tune in live or use that link after the show is over to listen to the recorded broadcast on demand.  You also have the option of downloading the show onto iTunes. 

    For convenience, below is the embedded player for my show to listen to any past episodes:

    Listen to internet radio with Roadlesstaken on BlogTalkRadio

    Do you have any suggestions for questions or topics we should discuss?  If so, you are welcome to submit them in the comment section below.  I can also take suggestions during the show in our live chatroom, located at http://roadlesstakenradio.chatango.com.

    FYI, here are some of the main topics I already have in mind for the show:

    • The Xanga Team background information
    • Fundraiser
    • Xanga 2.0
    • Feedback on the community's reactions
    • Marketing strategies
    • General Xanga-related questions
    • Feedback on member's ideas and suggestions

    For more information about my radio show (including which future guests are coming up) please click here.  Hope you all can tune in and can spread the word!  I expect our discussion to be very informative and interesting.

    P.S. Thanks to everyone who has participated and tuned in to any of my past episodes!  It has been fun and I am enjoying my time hosting this series.

June 3, 2013

  • Information on My Xanga Online Talk Radio Show

    Shortly after my last post, I received bad news that Xanga may shut down come July 15th (now July 31st) unless $60,000 is raised.  Even if the money is raised, the site, as we know it, will change drastically into a pay version.  Of course, this sudden news affected all Xangans and there is no shortage of opinions everywhere.

    I decided that I am going to try something out, while there's time.  Not sure if many of you know, but I am a host of an online talk radio show where I interview and discuss tennis topics with guests.  It is a lot of fun, so I figure why not do something similar for Xanga?

    Allow me to debut my new show:  On the Road Less Taken (www.blogtalkradio.com/roadlesstaken)

    What is the show about?  Fellow Xangans will be featured, where we will talk about their experiences and opinions on Xanga and current state of affairs.

    Where can I listen to the show?  You can go to www.blogtalkradio.com/roadlesstaken for a listing of upcoming episodes and times.  Direct links to episodes will be provided below.

    When are the showtimes?  Episodes will typically be on during the weekday evenings (EST), about 4 times a week, and for 30-60 minutes.  Depending on demand, I may expand to do some shows on the weekends.

    Is there a chat room available to live chat?  Yes, the official chatroom is located at  roadlesstakenradio.chatango.com .  I will monitor the chatroom during the show in case anyone have suggestions for topics to talk about with my guests live.

    Will you take live listener calls?  Yes, this is an option.  However, to keep the flow of the show going I would prefer questions to go in the chatroom.

    What if I am not available to listen to the show during the live broadcast?  No problem!  After the live show is over, it will be available on demand by clicking on that same episode link.  It will also be available via iTunes (link at the episode's page).

    How can I be a featured guest?  Comment in this post or private message me on Xanga with your request and why you want to be a guest.  I will try my best to fit people in the schedule, but space will be limited.  I am looking for a mixture of guests, not just the most well known folks.

    How can I suggest topics or questions to ask on the show?  Comment in this post or private message me on Xanga and I will try my best to include your suggestion into the live broadcast.

    Is @TheXangaTeam involve with the show?  Not officially.  However, I will be requesting for some of the team members to be featured guests in the near future.

    I don't know your guest(s)! Why should I tune in?  Well, in a way didn't we all start off as strangers on this site before we started finding one another?  This may be a way to see what other Xangans are all about.  You may end up finding you all have more similarities than you think.

    How long will you continue this show?  As of right now, I am planning to go until July 15th.  Depending on what happens in the near future, I may continue the show or end it if Xanga ends.

    Upcoming Episodes (Last Updated July 18th 10pm):

    Note: Schedule, guests, and times subject to change

    You can also catch the episodes in the embedded player below:

    Listen to internet radio with Roadlesstaken on BlogTalkRadio

    I hope people enjoy listening to the upcoming shows and getting to know the featured guests!  Should be a lot of fun and I am very excited to test this out with you all.

May 30, 2013

  • Big Changes and Celebrations

    Whew, almost missed writing in May!  It has been a busy past month and a half for me, and here are some of the reasons why:

    I Got a New Job!

    As you can see, I basically transferred from my district position to a section position, where I'm now covering my home state of Maryland.  I really enjoyed working in Virginia, but it was hard for me to say no to this promotion and the fact that I can be closer to my family and girlfriend in MD.  This leads to the next thing that I've been dealing with...

    I Moved, and Will Move Again Soon!

    Here is me working at my new home office.  Catch the easter egg yet?  Wait for it...

    So yes, I currently moved to a new place in Northern Virginia still, but I made sure it was a short lease since I anticipated I may get this new job and will want to move to MD.  I'm currently in the process of finding a place with my girlfriend (assuming it's approved by her parents).  It's a big step, but it makes sense too seeing as...

    It is Now 2 Years with Cindy!

    We officially met for the first time 2 years ago on May 19th, and in celebration I got her this simple but elegant sapphire and gold necklace for her to remember me by.

    In case you're wondering, there is no plans for anything more serious with her just yet.  It was recently a good time for one of my good friends, however...

    Miami Bachelor Party and High School Buddy's Wedding!

    I went to Miami (first time) with 7 other guys late April.  It was very fun, but strangely there has not been any public pictures uploaded by any one of us.  I mean, all we did was go to the beach and eat (and that's my official statement).

    I have some photos and videos from the wedding though! The wedding was an exciting mixture of Catholic, Puerto Rican, and Hindu traditions (husband is Puerto Rican, wife is Indian).  My buddy's entrance was quite a spectacle:

    The first of one of my close friends to get married.  I feel happy, a little pressure, and a little older.  I have a feeling I will be attending many more weddings within the next few years.

    With all that has been going on, I almost forgot...

    May 5th Marks My 10th Year on Xanga!

    That is really crazy and I believe this is the longest running social network I am a part of.  Blogging has always been a fun hobby of mine, and I hope I can remember to keep it up in some capacity for the future.

    Enough about me, I really want to catch up with everyone else I've grown to know on here.  I have been badly behind on keeping up with people's blogs and feel terrible about it.  What's going on with you all?  Any big events recently?  Feel free to send me a link to any blogs you wrote that I should check out.  I really hope you all are doing well!  Time moves too fast, my friends, and I'm not sure I like it.

April 3, 2013

  • Shaking the President's Hand, and More! My White House Experience

    No April Fools joke here!  On April 1st, I was at the White House all day.  Why was I there?  I was fortunate enough to be selected to be among a small group of tennis trainers that ran the tennis area of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.  It was a long day with few breaks, but it was worth it.

    Doh, should have have read that first before opening

    Make way for the talent!

    Over the course of 12 hours, more than 30,000 kids and parents from around the country visited the south lawn of the White House to participate in many type of activities, including tennis.

    Playing a game called "Splat"

    My guilty pleasure boy band was here. The Wanted!

    Gangnam Style, Hula Hoop edition

    Numerous celebrities were roaming around too, with a few stopping by the court to hit.  One of them happened to be Jared from Subway!  He hung out for a couple hours by the court, so I got the chance to talk with his family and him for a while.  What a pleasant guy.

    Other guests that stopped by our court included...

    Victor Cruz from the NY Giants

    Kid President from YouTube

    Later that morning, we saw a couple guys that looked like this walking in.  That meant one thing...the special guest has arrived!

    The POTUS is here! The POTUS is here!


    The real life Obama "Not Bad" face!
    Jared and his son watches as Obama blesses a child (or maybe just giving a high five)

    After going down the line of the large crowd shaking hands with everyone, Mr. President finally made it to me:

    I love my job.

    It was privilege to represent tennis at the White House Easter Egg Roll, and I will never forget this day.  Hopefully, I will get a chance to return next year!

March 5, 2013

  • Twenty Seven

    I thought about writing down life lessons I have learned now that I've turned 27 (guess how many points I was going to make?).  However, I stopped myself after realizing that I'm still a fool in so many ways.  A more seasoned, careful, reflective, informed fool, but still not someone with enlightened wisdom just yet.  I remember writing a while back that the more I grow older, the more I realize how much I really do not know.  Ain't that the truth?  For now, I guess I will have to keep on learning more about myself and the world in this upcoming year.

    Anyways, here are some pictures from my birthday:

    Yummy birthday cake from the girl. My friend kept on joking that
    I was 28 years old, to the point that it made both her and me
    second guess my age.  Gah, signs my memory has started fading...

    Kept my birthday celebrations simple by inviting a small
    group for all you can eat hot pot!  Ate for 3 hours
    so we can be as gluttonous as possible

    @ch10n9 and @stupidsystemus taking in the food. 
    That drink in front of Jose?  Butterbeer.  Yes, the
    place randomly serve a Harry Potter drink that
    comes in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions

    @Timmmmmy and @toadywonders photohogging.  I kinda
    want to steal the smores artwork in the back

    @davidmiya in town for his girlfriend. Fun fact: his girlfriend
    and mine were alumni at the same university in China!  They
    also happened to be living in the same apartment complex in
    VA before we all realized this connection.  Very small world

    @victoriamisu on the cover of Shore.  Soon, I won't be able to
    hang out with her without talking to her agent and bodyguards first

    Will sell my copy for $$$ in the near future. Any takers?

    (See @annieothergirl, I'm keeping my promise to update at least monthly!)

February 8, 2013

January 1, 2013

  • This Was the Trip...

    ...I took my girlfriend to California, her first time in the state.

    ...we missed our connection flight due to delays.

    ...we met up with friends, old and new.

    ...where @FlipGuy31O photobombed a few photos.

    ...where we hit rainier than normal weather.

    ...we rode cable cars together.

    ...I went back to Alcatraz, after my first time back at a Bay Area Xanga Meet in 2009.

    ...we found our favorite stars.

    ...we arrived at Griffith Observatory just a few minutes before sunset.

    ...we made it to the end of Santa Monica pier for sunset, with a marching band following us.

    ...I drove 12 hours down from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway.

    ...I added myself to the Pacific Coast line.

    ...we went to the bathroom together.

    ...we did our versions of figures at a candy shop.

    ... @Sonychak found my misplaced camera and added his own photos for lulz.

    ...Creepy @Sonychak and his girlfriend appeared in my panoramic photos.

    ...I tried and enjoyed delicious spicy hot pot.

    ...I also ate a gigantic torta that could have fed me for at least a day.

    ...where I found out @Sonychak 's girlfriend can lift up my girlfriend.

    ...that reminded me of @sumoneoverthere 's swag.

    ...my girlfriend ate a burger she actually enjoyed.

    ...I bought a fun gift for my brother.

    This was the trip...that made me blog again.  Miss y'all!

June 21, 2012

  • Time Sure Does Fly

    How I felt writing on here, after not writing on here for almost a month:


    What happened?  If you want to know why, my last pulse gave a good clue.

    Actually, I can't put all the blame on that.  Over the past 6 months or so, some changes has happened that have given me a few reasons why I haven't been writing as often as I would like:

    1.  I'm getting busier at work

    Summer is my busiest season since most events I work at take place when it's nice and warm.  Besides prepping and helping out with those events, I've recently started getting some big responsibilities on a couple projects that has wide implications.  Don't want to say too much yet so I don't jinx anything, but let just say that if I succeed I will gain a lot of attention from my national office.  Wish me luck!

    2.  I'm happy and content with life (for now)

    Good job, good home, good work, good family, good friends, good girlfriend, good health...a lot of goodness.  I guess what they say is true:  it's harder to write when you're in a relationship and content with life.

    3.  I'm becoming more private

    Of course, I would be lying to say everything is wonderful all the time.  Just lately, I've been getting less of an urge to tell everyone.  Whenever I have something I need to really talk about, I can usually confide with close friends or the girlfriend.  I have been pondering about starting protected postings again though.  If I do, who wants to be on the list?

    Yep, there you have the reasons why I've been preoccupied.

    Okay fine, I'll admit the last reason...

    4.  Frickin' addictive Diablo 3

    Diablo ain't got nothing on @Cakalusa and me!

    Don't worry, blogging is still a fun hobby of mine and I will keep on writing when I can find the time and motivation.  At least now you know why if I disappear from time to time.  Hope all of you are doing well!

May 29, 2012