Monthly Archives: August 2012

Well, hello HTML, CSS, and JavaScript! (My long journey to literacy.)

I started learning PHP as I mentioned in my blog entry a few weeks ago. And by started, I really mean spent a few hours one Saturday afternoon writing a few lines of code. I saw some similarities between PHP and Python, but also noticed that the syntax was noticeably different. As a novice, I would liken it to an illiterate trying to learn Spanish after only having built an elementary knowledge of English.

Again, I consulted my friends who actually code for a living. Given my goal of wanting to put out a prototype of what I eventually want a more skilled programmer to build for me, they encouraged me to brush up on HTML and learn a bit of CSS. To do that, I went to Codecademy which I test drove when it first came out last year. I got through HTML and CSS pretty quickly. I spent a combined total of 30 hours over two weekends at a local Starbucks. It was fun. I am by no means an expert and whatever I can build looks rather unprofessional. Maybe even ugly, but I can say that I know how to build and design– and I use those words loosely at this point– a website from scratch.

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(Image from: Get a Member Site)

So you might be thinking that I am now back to studying PHP. Not true. I am actually going to be focusing on JavaScript. This is mostly because Codecademy has more lessons for JavaScript than it does for anything else. It actually doesn’t have anything for PHP. I am OK with this change actually. As someone who is a novice and is concerned mostly about front-end development, I think a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript is fine for now. I will pick up PHP and Python soon. What matters to me right now is that I am enjoying learning new languages and building things using what I have learned.

I found this discussion thread on Stack Overflow, which helped me make up my mind to concentrate on HTML/CSS/JavaScript. I’m not looking to switch jobs and become a programmer, but it appears that there are similarities between the Eddie’s friend and me.

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(Image from: Wikipedia)

This is going to be a long journey, but I’m enjoying it so far. I don’t mind sacrificing my weekends.. for now. Learning to code is a fun, inexpensive hobby. Back to coding with a tall ice coffee in my hand.

By: Jonathan Lee
Twitter: @hi5at5

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Why I am still bullish on Facebook (FB).


(Image from: Yahoo! Finance)

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) yesterday closed at $19.87 a share-  its lowest closing price to date. That is far below its IPO price of $38 a share, which valued Zuckerburg’s empire at an eye-popping $104 billion. At one point during trading hours today, FB was as low as $19.69. Shareholders are losing confidence in Facebook and experts are predicting the share prices to fall even further as employees and early institutional investors start selling their shares. Is this going to be a death spiral? Was this all just a bubble?


(Image from: Tech in Asia)

Naysayers cite Facebook’s slowing growth and uncertainty of the Company’s mobile strategy as reasons to be bearish on FB, but I disagree. Facebook is till a very young company and it is far from its peak. The share price may decline a bit more (although theoretically this should be priced into the stock already) as lockups expire allowing insiders to sell, but FB will make a strong comeback in the next 24 months. There are numerous reasons why I believe this, but I will go over just a few:


(Image from: Farai Today)

1. Facebook will soon have more than a billion users. If information is power, Facebook is more powerful than most companies out there. Arguably, Facebook may have more personal data than any other company. While it hasn’t yet perfected targeted advertising, Facebook could still do a lot with this data. Plus, it’s not just about display advertising. For example, Facebook could personalize the user experience to provide a more engaging experience. When that leads users to spend even more time on Facebook, more commercial (i.e. monetization) opportunities will open up.


(Image from: BBC)

2. It’s true that Facebook hasn’t figure out mobile yet. As more people access Facebook from their mobile device (nearly 55% of its 900 million users), Facebook will need to run more mobile ads. Some worry that they may not be able to do this well without disrupting user experience. I disagree. In fact, click-through rate on Facebook’s mobile app is significantly higher than on desktop. Mobile ads can be even more targeted because Facebook can geo-target ads in real-time. If I am on my Facebook app walking near 2nd and Mission, it can send me a coupon to Peet’s. Now, you may be thinking, “Any mobile app can do that.” That’s true, but what’s unique about Facebook is that it knows so much about its users. It knows where they work, where they go to school, where they check in, and even where their friends check in. With some triangulation, Facebook could come up with a super accurate way to predict what ads its users would find interesting. It just needs to try different methods before getting it right. The potential here is enormous because mobile consumption is growing by the day. Just because Facebook hasn’t cracked the code yet doesn’t mean they won’t ever. They will. Soon.


(Image from: Facebook)

3. According to Seeking Alpha, Facebook generates less than $5 in revenue per user per year. By comparison, Google makes $30 in revenue per user per year. As Facebook becomes better at attracting advertiser dollars through better advertising and with a bigger sales team, the large gap between Google and Facebook will narrow. I have no trouble believing that Zuckerburg and his army of engineers will eventually unlock the value of all the personal data its users have volunteered to the social network. Facebook’s shares should skyrocket even if Facebook can make $15 per user per year.


(Image from: Netflix)

4. Netflix CEO and Chairman Reed Hastings recently bought a $1 million worth of Facebook shares at about $21 a share. Does he know something we don’t know? He does have a seat on Facebook’s board. When he sells massive amounts of shares of Neflix and buys nearly 48,000 shares in a company he doesn’t directly control, that is a sign of confidence. Check out his trades. Hastings may not be a hedge fund manager, but he does understand consumers. Perhaps he sees a future in Facebook that many Wall Street investors fail to see.


(Image from: TicketPlatform)

5. Facebook as a platform is just too enormous to fail. While social games’ dependence on Facebook is starting to decrease, the world’s largest social network is still the go-to place on which countless apps are built.  Facebook will soon become a huge ecosystem where consumers and merchants transact  and users go to for new and entertainment. As I wrote back in September 2010, Facebook will continue to morph into something much greater than what it is today. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

Come back to this blog post 24 months from now. Let’s see if I was right to be bullish on Facebook.

By: Jonathan Lee
Twitter: @hi5at5