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May 30, 2009

Good bye China

Leaving China for the US. Great trip. Looking forward to being home in 15 hrs.

May 29, 2009

Last day in China--a great trip

Today is our last day in China. This trip went so fast, and we saw and did so much. This really is the way to experience China. Our guide, Lui Li, made this trip so easy. She did an excellent job making this the best experience possible from selecting activities to ordering us the best food. If you are coming to China for the first time, I'd highly recommend hiring a local guide. We've also had local guides in each city we visited. Kathy Chen, our Beijing guide, really know everything about this city. Each local guide has a college degree in history and the languages they speak. All in all, a great experience.

Driving out to the Great Wall now. It is a perfect day for hiking--25 C and sunny. Below is some history of the wall from Kathy.

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The Great Wall was built in 7th century BC. Built different sections, and in 221 BC, a kingdom defeated the others and unified China. At this point, all the sections were linked up. Additional construction during Quin dynasty. Ming dynasty was the last dynasty to rebuild the wall. Most of what we see is from Ming dynasty (600 yrs ago). Workers were forced to build the wall. Service usually lasted 1 month to 1 year until individual laborer died. Workers who dies were buried near mountain areas. Wall made of stone, bricks, and mixtures of. Wall also has arms towers and beacon towers that communicated signals via torches and gunshots. There will additional beacon towers on the way to Forbidden City to convey messages to the Emperors.

Invaders wanted to enter China because it was a rich country in ancient times. Over 600 km are open to the public today. The section we are climbing

May 27, 2009

Job opportunity?

We had interesting lectures today from the International Network of Bamboo and Rantan. I may have found a potential job opportunity: INBAR needs to increase their government relations activities in Washington DC to achieve their goals.

May 26, 2009

Lecture at Tsinghau University

Attended a great lecture today at Tsinghua University (TU). TU is the best university in all of China--comparable to Harvard in the US. The professor who spoke to us is the dad of one of my good friends at CSOM. I didn't know this until today--small world! Prof. Yang's lecture was insightful. A key take away for me is the need for a better understanding in the US of why China has a Communist government. Prof. Yang provided strong rationale for the need for a Communist government, namely to prevent social unrest that plagued China previously and stunted its growth. The US does not have to support the Chinese political system, but it does need to understand why China support its political system. Prof. Yang also expressed the need for the US to move past the unilateralism it practices for the past 8 years. All in all, a great lecture.

May 25, 2009

In Beijing

Just arrived in Beijing from the overnight train. Good night sleep on the train. Met by our local guide, Kathy. Looking forward to learning the history of Beijing from the capitol city. Beijing is the cultural center of China, whereas Shanghai was the financial center.

May 24, 2009

Train to Beijing

We left Moganshan this afternoon for Beijing. We are riding an overnight train. We are in 4 bunk sleeper cars, and its the softest bed I've had all trip. Sitting here now with Kevin, Aaron, Paige, Mal, Laura, and Roxy looking out the window and discussing our favorite trip aspects so far. My favorite trip aspect: trying new foods!! Best food: Chinese style jap chae (bean-based noodles with beef and cabbage). 2nd favorite: cucumber soup.

Had great time in Shanghai and Moganshan. Looking forward to Beijing. Can't wait to see the northern culture and learn the history of China. Had some awesome food in Shanghai. Looking forward to a good hot pot and Peiking duck in Beijing.

Got to get back to the group. More later from Beijing.

Zaijian! (Good bye!)

May 23, 2009

Suzhou Industrial Park

Ruth (my thesis advisor), I hope you are reading this blog. We visited Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), and I saw the Chinese government implementing many of my 5 themes for biotech economic development. SIP has established biopharmaceuticals as a focus area. SIP has its own education town with 5 universities designed specifically to train employees as needed by the companies in SIP. The companies contribute directly to the curriculums. The administrator I spoke with told me that SIP was having its own knowledge transfer issues getting new research from the universities to commercialization. SIP and the Chinese government are providing numerous different financial incentives aimed at closing the transfer gap. SIP has grown so large that it has developed into its own city of millions of citizens. This was a very enlightening visit. The Chinese are working very aggressively to attract FDI. Based on this, it is clear that China is on a path to pass the US as the largest economy in the world.

May 21, 2009

19 May--Shanghai

Jade Bhudda Temple:
Temple had several different statues and monuments for worshipers to pray to. The courtyard in between buildings was filled with inscents smoke. There was a constant flow of worshipers who came to pray. Also stopped at the temple's tea garden and tasted several different teas. The hostess explained the benefits of each as part of Western medicine.

Fabric Market:
Stopped at 3 story building filled with hundreds of small vendors who owned their own tailor businesses. After finding a shop you like, you pick out fabric from hundreds of patterns. The tailor measures you and asks your preferences for cuffs and collar design. I ordered customed tailored dress shirts and a pair of pants. They were made to my exact measurement and delivered to the hotel in 24 hrs. Would highly recommend the fabric market to anyone who visits. Find a tailor who speaks good English because they do exist. My shirts and pants fit better than ones I've bought in the US. A nice dress shirt in the US costs about $55; I got mine customed tailored here for $15.

Shanghainese dinner:
We had a large, family-style dinner our second night in Shanghai. All great food. The best was bamboo in vinegar and the steamed fish in soy and vinegar. Chinese custom is to not flip the whole fish over on the plate--it will bring bad luck to the fisherman. Instead, you have to eat the side that is facing up, then remove the bones and finish the remaining side.

Went out at night by taxi to a bar/club called Zapatos. It was the hang out for airline crews on layover in Shanghai. We took 4 cabs, and the drivers thought it would be fun to race each other. It was a wild cab ride.

May 19, 2009

Food Day 1

Food:
Breakfast at the hotel: traditional Chinese breakfast, dumplings, noodles, seafoods, poached eggs, sweet pastries. Breakfast with chop sticks.

Lunch:
Lunch at a cafeteria style Chinese food court. Picked out each dish that you want and bring it up to the cash register. Fried dumplings with beef and celery, asparagus shoots in a vinegar and soy sauce, and steamed spring rolls. Lunch with chop sticks.

Dinner:
Dinner at family-style Shanghai restaurant. Too many dishes to count. Highlights: shredded tofu, lima beans, egg drop soup, beef dumplings, steamed fish in vinegar and soy sauce, beef and celery, kung pow chicken. Dinner with chop sticks. Too much to eat!

May 18, 2009

Just landed in China

Our plane just landed in China. It was a long flight, but not unbearable. I was able to get a lot of reading done to pass the time. In both Japan and China, officials from the health department board to plane with temperature scanners to check form H1N1. The Chinese health officials are wearing full biohazard protective gear, covered head to toe. The flight attendents are telling us we are not allowed to take photos of the health officials, but I managed to get one before they made the announcement. From here, we get on a bus and drive to the hotel.

Good to be here. More later ...

Just Arrived in China

Our plane just landed in China. It was a long flight, but not unbearable. I was able to get a lot of reading done to pass the time. In both Japan and China, officials from the health department board to plane with temperature scanners to check form H1N1. The Chinese health officials are wearing full biohazard protective gear, covered head to toe.

From here, we get on a bus and drive to the hotel.

Glad to be here. More later ...

May 12, 2009

BlackBerry test

Test entering text on BlackBerry.

May 4, 2009

MGMT 3010 China Schedule

MGMT 3010 China Schedule

Follow along as we move across China . . .

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MGMT 3010 Course Reflection

The 7 weeks of the MGMT 3010 here in the US flew by. Below is my reflection about what I've learned so far in this course.

Excerpt: Kai, Chris, and Ben emphasized the importance of excitement among the founding team. There is excitement among my micro-venture teammates, and we all worked well together. I’ve made good friends in seven weeks, and I am excited to travel to China with them. I’m looking forward to experiencing the “T.I.C.” (This Is China) moments that Kai mentioned.

MGMT 3010 Reflection

Executive Summary: Prior to starting this class, I thought of entrepreneurship as an easy way to be my own boss. However, in the seven weeks of this course, I’ve realized entrepreneurship is much more than simply developing an idea and starting a business. The process to support an entrepreneurial venture is difficult and takes significant effort. That being said, I can tell that successful entrepreneurship is rewarding based on the presentations of Kai Worrell and Chris Berghoff. Both Kai and Chris revealed their excitement for entrepreneurship and for doing business in China.
I’ve learn about different forms of entrepreneurship, strategies for idea generation, questions to ask myself during the idea screening process, the importance of industry analysis, and the need to prevent “group think.” One of the principal themes from this course is the importance of enthusiasm and excitement. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned thus far to my observations and learning in China. I expect China will make me much more excited about entrepreneurship than I am already.

Entrepreneurship Can Take Many Forms: My first take away from this course dispelled a common misconception that entrepreneurship is simply starting your own manufacturing business or running a software company out of your garage. In reality, entrepreneurship can come in many forms—from home-based to use in large corporations. I am especially drawn to the idea of social/non-profit entrepreneurship. In many ways, each newly created non-profit is an entrepreneurial venture, and the skills I’ve learned from this course will have direct applications to a future non-profit I hope to develop. As Steve explained, this form on entrepreneurship relies on developing a social mission to solve problems. The mission and problem-solving approach are the critical aspects of a non-profit venture.
I had a chance to speak in-depth with a teammate from another course, Ben Murray, who started a private, non-profit middle school to serve the Latino community in Minneapolis. I was surprised about how closely the start up process he described mirrored the concepts we learned in this course. He wrote a detailed business plan to secure funding from donors, foundations and other charities. His enthusiasm for improving educational opportunities for immigrants was a key “selling point” of his nonprofit venture concept.

Idea Generation Requires Effort, an Open-Mind and Time for Creativity: I didn’t realize how many random thoughts I have every day until I recorded them for the activity early on in this class. Idea generation can happen naturally, but good ideas—as opposed to random thoughts—require added effort and synthesis. One of the blocks to good ideas for me is a lack of time and dedicated effort. I know I rely heavily on a routine, and will take Kathleen Allen’s advice to build time for idea generation into my routine (50). Steve’s advice to write down everything will also be very helpful. (I saw Steve’s mass of Post-Its idea during an office visit—he really does write down everything.)
One of the best sources of ideas that I’ve learned from this course is the “pull” strategy we discussed in class. It is easy to identify problems in our daily routines, and I often hear people say “wouldn’t it be nice if . . . .” I saw the “pull” strategy in use during my team’s research of Worrell, Inc. Worrell uses ethnographic assessments to identify problems and inefficiencies that people don’t even know exist and then solve those problems through innovative design. The “push” strategy of idea generation may be most useful to when starting a social/non-profit entrepreneurial venture. My “geeky” passion for Parkinson’s disease education will be a good place to start if/when I start a non-profit venture.
Finally, building my network and on-the-job experience will be helpful for generating ideas in the future. Allen reveals that 73% of new venture ideas come from prior experience and over 50% come from people in your network (53). This is more evidence of the importance of building my network.

Idea Screening is a Critical Check-Point for New Venture Creation: After completing our business plan, I now realize the importance of completing the Venture Capital Screen to narrow down your ideas. In class we discussed two questions to help narrow your ideas: “Do I gotta have it?” and “Is it as easy as fallin’ off a log?” My team didn’t ask these questions early enough in our idea generation phase to screen out poor concept ideas. We struggled to narrow down our ideas, and we may have reached our concept idea sooner had we asked these questions earlier.
The “excitement check” is also a good idea screening method. Ask yourself “is this idea something I’m really excited about?” Kai, Chris, Ben, Allen and Steve all revealed the importance of excitement and passion in entrepreneurship. I had trouble developing a connection with my micro-venture for this course—the excitement wasn’t as high as it should have been. In the future, I will refine my idea or consider moving to a different idea if I’m not truly excited about my next venture concept.

Feasibility Analysis Has to Happen Early: The difficulties we had expressing our venture concept revealed the need for a feasibility analysis early on in the planning process. Porter’s Five Forces cannot be ignored or underestimated (93). In our micro-venture, my team did a good job with an internal analysis, but did not spend enough time completing an external scan and industry analysis like Porter and Allen suggest. I learned a good industry analysis will require extensive outside research using many different sources. Chris was able to learn about Control Product’s industry in China by networking heavily with colleagues and industry counterparts in Minnesota and China. Again, networks are key!
Often, your concept idea may be feasible in one market, but not in a different market. Take Worrell’s concept of innovative design as an example. Based on my study of Worrell and the in-class presentation on USActive, the Chinese market is not as receptive to innovation as the US market. (Paul Stepanek summarized the challenge when he said that R&D in China means “receive and duplicate.”)
The in-class lecture about the Industry Growth Cycle was particularly helpful. I’ve studied the Industry Growth Cycle before, but did not realize how all growth cycles start over to make a continuous cycle. As the cycle enters decline, a new product/trend should already be started. It is usually the right time to enter the market if you can pick up first time buyers and encourage others to adopt your ideas as the trend grows.

Marketing Research Must Examine All Possible Market Segments: The most profitable ventures will capitalize on all possible market segments. We overlooked an important market segment when we developed our venture. It is entirely possible that a venture will have multiple target markets, and each requires its own unique marketing plan as a part of the business plan. In the future, I will use a Customer Grid that lists customer segments, benefits, and strategies to summarize each market segment (105).

Founding Team Must be Excited, Open and Critical
: The biggest trap my team encountered while writing out business plan was “group think.” Steve warned against this in class, but preventing “group think” is easier said than done. In future ventures, I will evaluate myself to determine if I am allowing “group think.” I will make an effort to provide constructive criticism when necessary. It is better to spend the time getting the concept right in the planning phase rather than going back and fix it later.
It isn’t possible to prevent “group think” entirely, and that is why outside advisors are so important to any venture concept. My team did not utilize outside advisors for our micro-venture as we should have; I will actively seek out advice and critiques for my ventures in the future. Bouncing my concept ideas off of neutral third-parties and asking “does this make sense?” will be helpful for my next venture concept.
Kai, Chris, and Ben emphasized the importance of excitement among the founding team. There is excitement among my micro-venture teammates, and we all worked well together. I’ve made good friends in seven weeks, and I am excited to travel to China with them. I’m looking forward to experiencing the “T.I.C.” (This Is China) moments that Kai mentioned.

May 2, 2009

China Countdown . . . 16 days!

16 DAYS UNTIL WE LEAVE FOR CHINA!

Nihao! (Hello!) Thanks for following my blog! I hope to keep it updated frequently with pictures while we are in China. I'm getting excited to go. I started working on some basic Mandarin this weekend; my goal is to know 20 phrases before I leave. We have nearly 15 hours of travel by plane, so I will have plenty of time to learn more in the air. I'm looking for a few good books about Chinese culture, business in China, or Chinese politics. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below! Thanks again for following my blog . . . xie xie! (Thank you!) Zaijian! (Goodbye!)