Posted in design, random

The Facebook World Map with Countries Overlaid

By now, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the awesome map that Facebook intern Paul Butler made. Here’s a snapshot & link to the original post (definitely worth the read):

Friendships visualization

What was amazing to me was how connections (“friendships”) are location-dependant, or more specifically country-dependant.

What I really wanted to see were the actual outlines of countries on the map.

After an hour or so, here is what i had. (Click the map for the larger version, so you can actually see the countries in 1920 × 1200)
Facebook World Map with Countries Overlayed

Things I noticed:

    us canada border
  • The line between US & Canada is very visible east of Vancouver and West of the Great Lakes. It seems like there are not many connections there
  • The mexico/US border is not as distinct as the CAD/US border.. that could be pure population though
  • russia & china
  • Russia & China are almost non-existent. Mark has talked about this a lot, how they are the final two countries Facebook has failed to assimilate. Russia has their own Facebook clone that has taken off.
  • CUBA!! actually seems to have a small resistance using FB in the north west, but the rest is virtually non-exsistent
  • The immediate drop off of facebook users (& connections) after Eastern Europe is crazy…
  • The distinction between North & South Korea is amazing
  • I was surprised to find it looks that more people are “connected” in Edmonton (north) rather than Calgary (South) in Alberta. Since I am from Calgary, and it’s a bigger city, that was interesting to me. My friends that went to Edmonton for University did say they loved the friendships they had there better. Where as University of Calgary is much more of a commuting university.
  • Most non-saturated countries begin like Vitenam – with major cities really getting on board, and slowly making connections to their local friends.
  • Conversely, the christmas Islands are unlike most other islands where only major cities have connections. These islands seem to have already started to get saturated!
  • Europe really does have a lot of people really close to each other… its crazy
  • You can really see the cities/countries in Africa that are using facebook: Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, a bit in Ghana…
  • Thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments below. I’m working on a follow-up post (or I may just update this one) explaining how I did it.

    There’s also a great conversation going on Hacker News

    – I did not make this map so please don’t sue me. Paul Butler, a facebook intern did, and the links are noted in the first paragraph. I also did not make the Google Maps – google did. You can get the google maps here and the Facebook Map is here:

Posted in export to .org, random

Parveen Kaler on doing what you love…

One of the best things about this role I’ve carved for myself is that I get to meet really cool, motivated, & driven people. Parveen is no exception.



After graduating & working in the games industry for a few years, Parveen finally decided to start his own gaming consulting & contracting company to focus on the iPhone platform, working on projects he “actually liked & really believed in”. Smartful Studios was born from his first iPhone contract. Two years later & 40 pounds leaner, Parveen feels great and has transitioned his successful consulting company into an iPhone App Development Studio.

What we love about Parveen is his awesome attitude about his work. “It’s not about the money” was used more than once in the multiple conversations we’ve had with him (that’s how much we like him!) and we can tell that he really means it.

Smartful is looking for full time iPhone Developers so give Parveen a shout if you’re interested!

Parveen’s Personal Website –
Parveen’s Company –
Parveen’s LinkedIn –


Unfortunately, the video interview was so poor we couldn’t include most of it. But here’s his #1 advice for student & young startups:


Why are you considered the “iPhone Developer Guy” in Vancouver?
People say that?  I don’t consider myself the iPhone developer guy in Vancouver. I’ve been doing it for two years. I would say it’s all about longevity. It’s early days in mobile & i’ve been focusing on that.

What does your company do?
Consulting & contracting – so if you have development that needs to be done. Mobile Strategy as well: setting up the sales pipeline, customer acquisition, marketing.

It is hard work?
I don’t consider it work. I love doing it.

How do you get to this place? Getting paid for doing what you love.
It’s not about the pay, right? I was doing fairly well for myself in the video game industry but that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to go out & work on my own, projects I believed in, on my own time.

“It’s about waking up every morning and believing in what you’re doing & having the freedom to do what you want to do”

How did you start?
CS degree @ SFU 2002. Computer graphics, then games industry Relic Entertainment, spent a couple years at Slide Six Games, did ps3, sony ps2, xbox 360, pc development. But when W was working on the sony psp & saw the iphone i was like “this is the futre, this is the past”. Jumped on it pretty quick.

#1 advice for students, in doing what you love & still making a living?
Make it simple. It’s simple. Stop complicating the issue. Just wake up every day and do that one thing that you have to do that day to get to the next step. It’s alwasy about the next step. “What do i have to do right now?” Get that done, re-evaluate. What do i have to do?

You make it sound so simple, Parveen.
You know what, if you make it complicated you just lose your mind.

What’s your 4 step process to making an iPhone app?
1. take your big idea, and bring it down to one sentence: your mom should be able to understand it.
2. figure out how you’re going to make your first dollar.
3. figure out how you’re going to scale from 1 dollar to more.
4. figure out how your’e going to get your first prototype

It’s the momentum. Focus on the execution & everything will work out.

Comments, suggestions? Stay tuned for the next interview with Lyal Avery!

Posted in export to .org, random

Choose Your Own Interview: Vancouver Entrepreneurs!

Remember those “Choose your own adventure” books when you were kids?

What could be better?

But seriously, I’ve been interviewing so many entrepreneurs &  I’d like to know which interviews people would like to hear! If you really want to see a specific interview (or if you are that person, *cough Parveen cough cough*), feel free to vote as many times as possible. It should send me the message! 😉

Some information about the entrepreneurs…

Jason Bailey Founder of Super Rewards. Top 4 tips on how he started his company with $0 in his East Van House and sold if for a rumoured $50 million
David Helliwell Co-Founder of Pulse Energy. How losing his job was the best thing that happened to him
Parveen Kaler Founder of Smartful Studios. How Parveen went from “working for the games industry man” to being recognized as the “iPhone dev guy” in Vancouver
Lyal Avery – Founder of Outcome3 Media. Doesn’t believe in secret formulas for successful entrepreneurs. At the end of the day it boils down to one thing…
James Sherrett – Founder of AdHack. The secret to finding a successful market/startup idea & how to practically implement it

Posted in Canadian, entrepreneurial, export to .org, personal, random, Vancouver

What’s the value of Community? (inspired by David Crow….)

I’ve been thinking a lot more about Vancouver’s startup community recently.

In the last week, I’ve met with a few genuine & hard-working entrepreneurs here in Vancouver. Two that come to mind  are Ashish Gurung (@AshishGurung), CEO of NuXD, and Ryan Holmes (@invoker), CEO of Inoke Media’s Hootsuite. Great people. If you haven’t met them yet, you should. Looking at them from the outside, there seems to be little connection between the two: One is relatively unknown in Vancouver and the other created an app used by large organizations like the White House & Disney.

But in my meetings with them I found one similar trait: they both genuinely cared. And not just about my questions on startups, but they really exuded a genuine desire to help without much in return for themselves. And this was in the midst of their rushed, busy schedules.

I often forget that in addition to just writing about it, building community takes people who actually care about other people. This has definitely challenged me to rethink the way I interact with people I network with.

However, many people I talk to don’t see the need in building community here in Vancouver. It’s not a direct statement (hey, we’re Canadians), but more of a subtle undertone in many of my conversations. For a while, I was quite discouraged. So you can imagine my catharsis at reading David Crow’s recent post where he addresses the very question & quotes Paul Graham’s What Startups Are Really Like. In particular, 17. The Value of Community:

“One of the most surprising things I saw was the willingness of people to help us. Even people who had nothing to gain went out of their way to help our startup succeed…The surprise for me was how accessible important and interesting people are. It’s amazing how easily you can reach out to people and get immediate feedback.” – comments on What Startups Are Really Like

David goes on to say:

I want a vibrant, connected, accessible community of founders, investors, advisors and others in Canada. And I’m not alone. There are great communities across the country in Ottawa, Montreal, Waterloo, Guelph, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver (and be sure to check out StartupDrinks).”

I had heard lots about David Crow’s community, but never knew if he was the real deal. I wish David was here in Vancouver. I would love to meet him.

Posted in export to .org, random

What Vancouver’s Startup Scene Needs (part 1): Real Community. Better PR

If you’re lazy like me, this pretty much sums it up….

“What I’m advocating is more stronger, open community between startup companies, tech associations & universities. Start to promote & get encouraged by what others are doing well & don’t be afraid to talk about your own successes or ideas! Attend each other’s events & get to know what others are doing in your technology space as well as out of it! Great companies like Bootup Entrepreneurial Society & TechVibes have already begun. Let’s join them and build a stronger Vancouver tech community!” – Jon Chui

Practical ways to get involved

But on to the original post:

Continue reading “What Vancouver’s Startup Scene Needs (part 1): Real Community. Better PR”

Posted in random

Help me “help the needy get nerdy” this Christmas Eve with Free Geek Vancouver…

Update: Dec 25, 2009

Thanks to those who donated their computers, specifically to my friends at Microsoft & HEABC, as well as Vicki for helping me lug all these computers in the back of our car. That 22 inch CRT monitor must be the heaviest monitor I’ve ever carried in my entire life.

We were able to donate 3 monitors, 3 computers, a fax machine & some other electronic odds & ends.

A shout out also to Mack Flavelle, Brian Yan Muk, & VanCityBuzz for retweeting on twitter!  Please contact me if you have more computers to donate after the boxing day – if we have enough interest we can rent a van and go around Vancouver to pickup everyone’s computers!

Here’s the deal:

I’m donating a carload of old computers, monitors, & fax machines to Free Geek Vancouver this afternoon Dec 24, Christmas Eve, at around 1:30 pm. (that’s in about 1 hour – let’s see how “real-time” twitter really is! ;P )

Since I’m going anyways, I’m more than willing to pick up any donations on the way! 🙂

Why are you doing this?

  1. I love what the non-profit, community-powered Free Geek Vancouver is doing: “Ethical computer recycling” & “Helping the needy get nerdy”!
  2. It’s a great way to do good this Christmas, & much better than throwing them in a dumpster, landfill, or closet
  3. Because we all have extra, old computers & accessories lying around. Think of this like a free pickup service!

What Can I Donate?

  • Here’s a list of what computer parts they accept, but in general any working/non-working computer, monitor, fax machine, etc works!
  • If you want to support this great community-powered non-profit by non-perishable snacks or monetary donations, I can come pickup donations or you can donate online

Here’s a map of my route. If you’re a geek, you can add your location with the “edit” function. Otherwise, just call me @ (778)241-CHUI, leave a comment on this entry, or tweet me @jonchui

I’ve chatted with Free Geek and they’re open to doing this again later, but with their big van. So if you still have donations, but can’t get them by today @ 1:30 pm, just leave a comment so we know for next time!

Merry Christmas Vancouver! – Jon