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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You can understand without approval

The internet was supposed to unite everyone in the world, but algorithms and nuance-free formats have made us more divided than ever. The U.S. election is a perfect example, with people on both sides appalled by the way people vote. Any nuance is gone from the debate: You want poor people not to go hungry? […]

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If you can’t tell the difference between your strategy and tactics, you have no strategy

People rarely mistake strategy for tactics, but one of the most common mistakes in marketing strategy (or any kind of strategy) is confusing tactics for strategy. When prompted, most people can’t really tell the difference — but knowing the distinct difference between the two makes your strategy (and following tactics) infinitely better. Creativity without strategy is […]

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Carving a bowl

David is partly a tour guide, partly a comedian, partly a philosopher. Confucianism, he sums up, is “Respect the elders, take care of the young”. Another important rule is that you do not impose on others what you do not want yourself. The story he tells is about a family — father, mother, a son […]

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A city on its own terms again

Thank you Wuhan. No longer are you the city of fear and hazmat suits. You’re historic artifacts, eating food together on the street. You’re live music in the park, you’re part of the Yangtze and the Yangtze is part of you. You’re a beautiful university and far grasslands. Of ponds and pagodas. You’re hot dry […]

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