Monthly Archives: Jun 2015

EIA 012 Hardware Hacking with Brilliant Strangers

Emily & Jeremy 0

Emily Zheng and Jeremy Ann both took part in TechYiZu’s HackYiZu 2015. Emily is from London and has a financial investment background. However she has recently switched to working for a tech startup property platform that serves the worldwide Chinese community. She is new to Hackathons and uses them to learn about the tech startup world, and meet experienced makers and hackers as she makes her way in the tech startup world. Jeremy has a background in IT consultancy. He currently works in the area of solar technology and. He is an experienced hacker as he has attended many events organised by TechYiZu. He uses these events to improve his skills in electronics, team work and team coordination. Both participants had never worked with the other team members before, which is common for these types of events and allows for ideas to flow between those with open minds.

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Shownotes EP14


Emily Zheng is visiting Shanghai from London and attends the TechYiZu Hackathon in between attending her company’s annual conference. She has attended events promoted by in her search to find new and interesting things to do, and it was through that she found HackYiZu 2015. The Previous two Hackathons that she participated in, Wix Hackathon 2014 and Women Who Code Hackathon 2014, were both held in London and software.

HackYiZu is the first hardware based event that she has attended and she finds it both amazing and enjoyable. Towards the end of the second day she is exhausted but feels excited that she has and is learning some thing new every minute. The best things for her are that joining a team and learning from the team even though she has no hardware knowledge. Team members include a professor from an engineering university, two academics, experienced coders that can help improve the coding abilities that she learned earlier in the year.

When Emily describes her day job she starts by describing her background with a hedge fund. This leads to her 3C’s in life “Choice, Chance and Change”, you must make a choice when you get the chance otherwise you can never change. Many people have asked her why did you move from a hedge fund to a tech startup based in Shanghai. This reminds me of a previous interviewee, Karen Farzam, who went through a similar process from financial investment to tech startups.

Emily is fascinated and enjoys hanging out with people that possess solid knowledge and are down to earth. As a result she has stopped partying and drinking and uses her time to learn.

The detailed story of how she went from a hedge fund to a startup begins with her desire for a change in her life when 6th Jan, 2014 she attended the Google campus in London and interviewed 10 entrepreneurs asking them the following questions. “What are you doing? Why are your doing it? Why have you joined Google campus? Why did you quit your job? She found out that the one thing they had in common was they were all passionate about what they were doing. This led her to question her lack of passion during the years with her current career in finance for which she was well qualified. Soon the urge to try new things developed in her leading to her attending conferences. It was a chance encounter with her current employer as she attempted to sell them a business idea. The company she now works for is, which is a property portal for Chinese people finding properties overseas.

The decision to leave the finance had a moral base and she has chose a tech startup because she wants to follow the trends and is committed to doing something that she really believes in as well as the desire to work with smart people.

The coincidence that I had recently spoken with the co-CEO of, Simon Henry in the head office just before Christmas and that I felt it was good. Emily explained that I was very lucky to get the interview as Simon was very busy. Her desire to work for was expressed by the fact that she basically chased the company that included knocking on the door and saying I want to work for you and also stalking saying “I want to work for you”. I myself had met Simon at an event and asked him if he would speak to me for AsiaBizStories.

Emily can be contacted on GitHub and Twitter @Emily_RRZ

Jeremy 2

Jeremy Ann is an experience participant of TechYiZu’s HackYiZu and has attended every hackathon, which go back to 2012. He is thirty years old and has lived in China for five years. He currently works in the solar panels industry.

The team he is working with formed one week before at the registration and he had not worked with any of them before. They came together like the other teams based on common interest of a product or idea. He is personally interested in home automation and wants to develop and produce in the technology area. The idea they came up with for HackYiZu is a smart door with a gun. This is a merger of two ideas and is not to be taken seriously. The idea is that knocking on the door and not having your credentials validated with result in being shot. You do get four chances before being shot by a plastic pellet.

Through attending TechYiZu events he gets the opportunity to work with brilliant people, is able to discover what is happening in China, witness people building companies, also learn and exchange ideas. His day job has no relation to the hacker space and he has the opportunity in his spare time to start a company. Currently he has several ideas but he cannot go into them at the moment.

On the current HackYiZu 2015 project he is learning more about electronics, team work with a team of 8 with some members working remotely, which requires coordination.

Jeremy can be contacted by given email

EIA 011 TechYiZu’s Inspiring Makers


Lionello Lunesu, Kent Zaitlik and Noah Solnick are three Techyizu volunteers and organisers of Hackyizu 2015. Each briefly tells their own story of their journey in technology, their experience as entrepreneurs in China, the enjoyment they get from helping others develop and improve in the world of technology through their work with Techyizu and the events it organises that encourage beginners and entrepreneurs to get involved in the Maker movement for pleasure or in order to solve business needs.

Shownotes EP 13

Lionello Linkedin

Lionello Lunesu is a staff member at XinCheJian and a TechYiZu Volunteer. XinCheJian is currently China’s biggest hacker space and is located in the JingAn district in the heart of Shanghai.

Lionello joined XinCheJian 4 years ago. He is originally from the Netherlands and has an Italian father, which complicates this questions.

Throughout his working life Lionello has been mostly involved with startups and has just recently started a new one. This project came out of an side project he and other members of XinCheJian developed. His background is in software but the current start up is developing a hardware solution.

His first start up came after he dropped out of Technical university at the age of twenty-one 18 years ago for his first start up which was to create a virtual reality computer training. At the time it was very difficult to generate interest and used headsets and other technology that is currently in vogue with Oculurs Rift. Five years spent on working on this technology which simulated escaping from burning oil rigs the company was sold to a CAD company that used the software to create a 3D simulation for building construction that enable project managers to visulise the problems to be real time. He stayed on with the company to continue development of the system for eight years. In the meantime he moved to Romania after five years. After a brief business trip to China he asked for a permanent transfer he witnessed the level of advancement there. Two years later he quit to work for Microsoft on components for Windows 8, at the time the world’s biggest software project, that would be integrated into the product in the USA. After two years he and two other managers left to create a new startup on which he worked for a year. He is now working on his own startup which has laid dormant for a number of years is a combination of software and hardware.

One of the ways the hacker space keeps running is to organise workshops. Lionello has been taking the Arduino workshop for a number of years every few months. With the TechYiZu Hackyizu he ran the beginners Arduino workshop. After the workshop he remained to help participants overcome and solve difficulties that they encountered.

In his view the words software and hardware create in the mind a contradiction that places like the

He works at overcoming the division that the words software and hardware create in peoples minds. He gets pleasure from seeing beginners and people with no programming and/or electronics experience being able to complete projects. He also enjoys the magic that is produced when software and hardware are combined to create solutions. He now prefers to create hardware solutions combined with software to real world problems and not apps as he believes that this will create better solutions.

The word “Hacker Space” should be replaced by the term “Maker Space”. At the XinCheJian Maker Space he helps to give the opportunity for example to office workers the chance to gain the ability to make and create in it’s workshops. Activities such as Making Apps, Painting and Urban farming, Electronics are able to release the creativity that people have inside them. The Spaghetti bridge, which is know internationally and has regularly workshops held at XinCheJian. People love to construct bridges using spaghetti and hot glue. Exposing people from a finance background the opportunity to forget about typing and think of spaghetti as steel wires and then to burn themselves as they construct bridges.

To become a member of the XincheJian Hacker Space is very simple. All you have to do is place the fee in an envelope and put it in the box. This will enable you to have access to all the physical resources and tools, and also meet and exchange ideas with people.


Kent Zeitlic is a Techyizu volunteer based in XinCheJian. He is originally from Florida, USA and has lived and worked in China for three years. Currently he is a manager for a sustainable engineering firm help grow the . Before that he worked for a private equity firm that invested in with early stage high technology startups as well as open innovation consultancy work for large multinationals in China. Previous to that he worked on getting sustainable engineering projects implemented in China and was involved ing getting one of the first being an commercial aquaponics project.

He was involved with the organisation of the TechYiZu HackYiZu and during the beginners Arduino course teaching, explaining the basics and helping participants to over come technical difficulties as they moved on to more advanced projects. He explains that TechYiZu organises another event Design Shanghai, which gets participants to offer ideas on redesigning cities to solve problems. He likes design and science and to bring art into science with a preference for hardware. He describes the details of the aquaponics project that he was involved with as a combination of hydroponics (growing vegetables in nutrient rich water) and aquaculture (raising fish). A feedback loop is created so that food is produced. The project led to innovations such as in the automation of the system and breakdown detection. This project was a large-scale commercial project with an approximate 1,000,000RMB investment. Small scale projects are interesting and can be conducted in the home or office.The final goal however is large scale food production.

Kent explains that TechYiZu’s desired outcomes for HackYiZu are:

To show that they can do it on their own,
To create something
To solve real problems
To supply the tools and frame of mind to do it.
To give people the power and the mindset.
To have fun
To encourage people to be entrepreneurs
To gain practical skills
To learn teamwork
How do you think about this problem
How do you approach this problem.
To learn persistence

All in a 48 hour period.

Kent can be contacted through LinkIn and his email.

Noah Solnick is a TechYiZu volunteer based in XinCheJian. He is originally from San Francisco, California. He first came to Dalian and moved to Shanghai one year ago. He came across by chance the Barcamp Tech Conference organised by TechYiZu, described as an “unconference”. Where he met 100’s of like minded technology geeks and the conference. He ask to join and was readily accepted by the voluntary organisation as a volunteer. Now he helps run events such as Barcamp, which is run twice a year and where anyone can speak with the agenda set on the day. Other events include Designing Shanghai, Startup competions and other small events including happy hours for the technology design community. Noah’s role like all members is fairly low key and flexible. For the TechYiZu HackYiZu he was a “Sheriff” responsible for getting the word out, organising snacks. The event generally runs itself and in the past the the two goals of introducing beginners to basic to make your own hardware as well as allowing teams to together advanced projects. This year the“Introduction to Laser Cutting” was added and was run by Noah. This was in partnership with XinFab the Fablab also located in XinCheJian. The first step was to download the free open source software “Inkscape” an alternative to Adobe. He expressed his gratitude and thanks to those that have worked on it all around the world.

Finally Noah pointed out that the maker spaces in San Francisco are generally out of the way in places like Silicon Valley. While XinCheJian is centrally located in the heart of Shanghai giving the maker community the opportunity to take part easily.

Noah can be contacted through his LinkedIn page.

TechYiZu can be contacted at: and also on WeChat.

EIA 010 The Maker at the Xinfab Fablab


Lucio Pentagna explains how after a career as a company director he left his native Brazil and sailed around the Caribbean and to Europe. He then moved to Shanghai where he discovered his passion for making things and proceeded to set up XinFab, which enables the Shanghai community of makers, inventors, startups and entrepreneurs access to cutting-edge fabrication tools and technologies, which includes 3D printers and laser cutters, at the lowest cost possible, so that every man, woman and child with a project idea and the will power to see it through can make their ideas and prototypes into reality.


EIA 009 Hack a TechYiZu Solution

Kevin Chen

Kevin Chen reveals how his lead in the recent HackYiZu 2015, which is a Techyizu-style Hackathon held in Shanghai held over two days for people with a passion for technology, entrepreneurship, and social innovation. Where the teams of men and women, experienced and non-experienced created hardware solutions to fun problems. He explained how full-training was given to the non-experienced on the Ardrino, the electronic brain of the projects, and laser cutting, for the creation of physical objects, which allows entrepreneurs to create minimal viable products.