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Showing posts from 2016

Superficial impressions of business in China

I’m walking down a residential street in Tianjin. Food vendors hustle their wares for dirt cheap prices. A whole Peking duck for $3.80 USD? Sign me up for that! As I bring my spoils back to my girlfriend’s apartment, I can’t help but feel like I’m caught back in time while the rest of the country is moving in fast forward. 
I’m on my computer looking at valuations of companies in the healthcare/pharmaceutical space. $500M here, $300M there. Whatever your conceptions of speed or size are in the Valley, I assure you, they have nothing on China. The game being played in China is big and aggressive. And Clay Christensen’s “Innovator’s Dilemma”? Nowhere to be found. Alibaba does everything from B2B sales to B2C pharmaceuticals. Big companies just aren’t slow here. What about the startups? Even more fast and furious. 
As a foreigner, China is a daunting place. Almost every perception of what you think you know about doing business basically doesn’t really apply here. In the Valley, the prev…

China, the new America

(Hong Kong)
I’m sitting in Chicago’s physical connection to the world, O’Hare International Airport. Named after the famed lawyer who stood up against the gangster Al Capone (and his son, a fighter ace), O’Hare is something of a metaphor for America. The smell of big bold flavours, the giant steel beams painted white juxtaposed against polished glass, crowds of incredibly well-fed white people. I’m drinking a distinctly crisp Sam Adams and eating a burger in excess of 1500 calories. The man beside me is reading a magazine titled “Money”. I can’t help but feel a sense of freedom. Nobody can tell me I can’t eat this ridiculously delicious burger. This burger is MINE.
At the end of WWII, more than half of the world’s manufacturing capacity belonged to the USA. Coupled with the hard American work ethic, America has been the world’s police, largest economy, cultural powerhouse, technological leader and entertainment heavyweight. America stands alone, in the last 50 years, of being the singl…