Thoughts from Chen Wang


Jul 31

Hacking (Engineering) Hiring

Since offering my free advice session, engineering hiring has been the No. 1 topic people ask about. It inspired this article. One question I always ask myself when hiring is what can we do beyond covering common hygiene factors, knowing that it only keeps you afloat but not winning the talent war. These are actionable items for tech or tech-enabled startups and scale-ups going through rapid …



Feb 1

Lessons Learned in 10 years of Volcube

I vividly remember the early summer of 2010, when I started writing code for a stealth-mode startup. There was no name but we used a code name “project volt”. Fast forward 10 years, Volcube, as it later became known, was sold to our joint venture partner of 5 years. Looking back, I count myself lucky as 90% of the startups fail; We managed to build a leading product in the field from scratch, with …


Jan 30

Lessons Learned in 10 years of Volcube | Part III: AOB (any other business)

Co-Founders: trust and complementary skills I am grateful to have Simon as the co-founder and CEO of the business. He did everything: coming up with the idea, making big or small product decisions, even writing some code in questionable quality and most importantly, making sales. I had the easy part: building it. Having complementary skills is clearly helpful from the start. We did not know each …


Jan 20

Lessons Learned in 10 years of Volcube | Part II: Engineering & Design

Engineering: take on technical debt options and make lucky guesses Volcube is all about trading options and I think it is a closer metaphor than debt in making engineering trade-offs. Debt will have to be repaid; options can be taken up but there is no obligation. It could be useful taking a step back to imagine a product 1/3/5 years down the line, and what would be required engineering-wise that …


Jan 10

Lessons Learned in 10 years of Volcube | Part I: Product & Growth

Product: (the small) addressable market size Volcube was the best product in the space it occupies, which was a market-making trading simulation and education for financial options. This may sound like a boast but let me point out the fact that it is in such a niche market, which is combined with another fact that we did well in bringing a good idea into reality. Here comes the biggest learning …



Mar 10

Opinionated Patterns/Practices in Java Development and Deployment, 2017 Edition

Caveat Java and JVM have changed a lot since this article was written. Read with a nostalgic lens. Development In general Use Java 8 and use it well Use an IDE and use it well Prefer Enum over defined constant/variable Prefer standard/built-in exceptions over custom/user-defined ones Almost always use java.util.concurrent and its subpackages instead of Thread/Runnable Use Interface only when it is …



Sep 20

JSR-223 Java Scripting API - a Real World Use Case: Success and Pitfalls

Despite the fact that Java 6 is fast approaching EOL, certain newly added features seem to still remain relatively unknown or unused; JSR-223, the Java Scripting API is probably one of those least mentioned in “What’s New in Java 6” type articles. In this article, we will touch on a real-world use case of the new API and its programming model. Hopefully towards the end, the readers can have a …


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