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UW CSE startup Decide.com in UW Daily

UW alums and Decide.com co-founders Brian Ma, Hsu Han Ooi, Ian Ma and Hsu Ken Ooi spell out “UW” in their West Mercer Street headquarters. Photo by Joshua Bessex.

A wonderful profile of the four students who worked with UW CSE professor Oren Etzioni to create Decide.com:

“Brian and Ian Ma, along with Han Hsu and Ken Hsu, all UW alumni, started Decide.com after dreaming up an idea several years ago in between their day jobs at Google, Zillow, Microsoft, and Zaaz, respectively.

“‘I noticed my girlfriend went back dozens of times a day to check prices on websites,’ Brian Ma said. ‘I thought that was such a waste, so why not build something that could help the consumer out?’

“With that kernel of an idea, the four went to Oren Etzioni, professor of computer science at the UW and noted Internet entrepreneur … Etzioni’s enthusiasm and the shaping of a plan for a startup resulted in all four quitting their jobs.

“‘I called up my parents and told them I had good news,’ Ken Hsu said. ‘And when we met, I told them I had quit my job; my parents were like, ‘Well your brother still has a good job.’ And I told them, ‘Well, he has some good news too.’ …

“Both Brian Ma and Ken Hsu cited the computer science department at the UW as a major factor in their success. Decide has more than 10 UW alumni on its staff.

“‘The CS department is simply amazing,’ Brian Ma said. ‘Oren [Etzioni] is the smartest, most intelligent guy.'”

Read more here.  Try Decide.com here.

August 15, 2012