On idioms

I never realized how important idioms, proverbs, and expressions are to language. I never had to. Not only did I always live in a Western culture, also English and Dutch are pretty close to each other. So close in fact, that we often just translate idioms (Rubbing salt in a wound / Zout in wond […]

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The Plot Against America review

There’s so much in this book. First, it feels so incredibly real because it’s reworked on existing history. I want to look up the events on Wikipedia, even though many never happened. Roth weaves his own coming of age into the story, and the characters feel so incredibly real. Each character unique — brought alive […]

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Is posting memes on Facebook marketing?

Marketing theory comes down to how you think marketing works. Imagine 全家FamilyMart would open up a 5-star restaurant in downtown Shanghai. Candles on the table, waiters suited up, silver cutlery. And FamilyMart would serve their microwave meals, touting their high-quality taste. It’d be fun, they’d invite 网红wanghong to magazines, and they’d get some serious PR. […]

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One year later

A year ago, Shanghai was on lockdown. Everything closed except a few supermarkets with empty shelves. The humid cold seeped into our bones, along with the fear of the unknown virus. All the stories are surfacing now. A friend who lived in the Yangpu district had the first corona case in Yangpu reported in their […]

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Ajax

“14:00 this Sunday?” someone asks in the WeChat group. Our chat is named ‘五人小场群Wǔ rén xiǎo chǎng qún’ (Five people small field group) and holds 36 guys from the neighborhood, including me. We play football without a schedule, usually weekly. Someone mentions a time, and critical mass (ten or more) either does or doesn’t form. […]

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Garden of the mind

My New Year’s Resolution is to look for the good in people — as daft as it sounds. Because you see and feel what you look for. You can focus on bad shit and be totally right. But it’ll grow and grow until it becomes all of who you are. You can only be happy […]

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who hiring

‘Who: The A Method for Hiring’ review & summary

‘Who: The A Method for Hiring’ by by Geoff Smart and Randy Street is a fantastic book on hiring with practical advice that saves you time, and prevents you from hiring the wrong people. Who summary Here’s a summary of the tips for my own reference (and perhaps, yours): The goal is to hire ‘A-players’, […]

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Visiting a tier-4 city near Shanghai: A day in Danyang

When I search for tier-3 or tier-4 cities on Google or Baidu, I’m always looking at the same kind of photos: grey skies above a wide river, a park with leafless trees, and maybe an aerial photo of a harbor or monotone residential area. And other hits on Google would be a blog from a […]

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Solar panels versus coal mines

An asset or resource is something you dig up (like coal), or someone you hire like a great CEO (yes, that’s why they call it ‘human resources’). When you’re a car company, you use resources like steel and rubber and leather to make engines and wheels and seats, and in the end; cars. You can […]

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Returning pants, tracking your kid, and scheduling dinner or a football field: 4 functions of Chinese apps

Lots has been written on apps like WeChat or Tmall, but rarely articles zoom in on details. I’ll pick four functions here showing how well everything works together. These apps are not thrilling, but extremely functional. Mind you, these functions are used daily — not just by people handy with phones but most people between […]

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