The second segment is on my upcoming trip to teach overseas and is here.
Ever wonder if the casino machines in Vegas are fair? Mike Dreitzer answers that question daily. He's the Chief Operating Officer of BMM, a gaming products certification lab and was on Radio Entrepreneurs today discussing gaming industry trends. His LinkedIn profile is here and this is the interview link. He is also a past Business Pan course sponsor.
The second segment is on my upcoming trip to teach overseas and is here.
Lawyer, Avocat, Anwalt, Abogado, 弁護士、律师，변호사...
Love 'em or hate 'em, eventually you're going to need a lawyer, especially in business, or in any language where commerce is done.
Emily Taylor, Gene Barton, Chris Robertson and Julio Gomez were on the TV show this morning as we filmed Episode #7 (Legal Plan) on the Language of Business. Their respective backgrounds are below. They were all terrific and this episode should air in about 6 weeks, or so. The Show is now broadcast on over 20 stations in the US, coast-to-coast. It's been extremely helpful, to date, achieving our primary objective to generate project leads for our Boston College Consulting and Business Plan courses.
Emily Taylor is a corporate associate in the Boston office of Latham & Watkins, and has a broad corporate practice with a focus on Emerging Companies, Mergers & Acquisitions and Capital Markets. She has counseled numerous private and public companies on corporate law matters. Her experience advising entrepreneurs and high-growth emerging companies ranges from company formation and capital raising to executing mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings. Ms. Taylor also advises companies on corporate governance, equity and compensation, technology licensing and securities law compliance. Her LinkedIn profile is here.
Gene Barton, Jr.
Gene T. Barton, Jr. is a partner in the Corporate and Securities Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, resident in the Boston office. Mr. Barton’s practice emphasizes merger and acquisitions activity. He specializes in the representation of high growth companies, private equity funds and strategic acquirors. He also provides general corporate, business planning and strategic advice to corporations and their senior executives. Mr. Barton’s publications and presentations include, “Working Capital Adjustments: One Size Doesn’t Fit All,” “Are You Ready for Private Equity?” and “The Bright Side of Nuclear Winter: Opportunities in the New, New Economy." His Super Lawyers entry is here.
Mr. Robertson is Co-Chair of the National Whistleblower Team and a member of the Complex Litigation, Securities and Investment Management practice areas in the Boston Office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. His areas of focus include complex commercial and financial litigation, securities litigation, consumer fraud litigation, regulatory compliance, corporate governance, and internal investigations. He has defended and advised corporations, broker-dealers, investment companies, investment advisers, advertisers and media companies, Internet companies, and their officers and directors in connection with class actions, derivative and private litigation, as well as audits, investigations, arbitrations and litigation commenced by federal and state authorities, self-regulatory organizations, and shareholders. His LinkedIn profile is here.
Internationally recognized for financial services technology, marketing and e-commerce expertise, Julio Gomez is a trusted advisor to business leaders and was ranked in Time Magazine's "Fifty Most Important People Shaping Technology" and Institutional Investor's "Fifty Most Influential People on Wall Street". He is widely known as the founder of Gomez, Inc. (f.k.a. Gomez Advisors), the e-commerce benchmarking and performance monitoring service. He has served in leadership roles as a co-founder of Innovation Councils, global head of research for IDC Financial Insights, and senior analyst with Forrester Research. Here's his LinkedIn write-up.
Are you successfully living the American dream? Are others across the world successfully fulfilling their own life objectives? Helen Wang is an author, consultant and expert on China's middle class and a Forbes contributing columnist. She has recently authored The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World’s Largest Middle Class and What It Means To You. It's reviewed below by management consultant and freelance writer Samir Jaluria, a regular contributor to this site and past participant in both the Boston College IME Asia and ICP Asia programs.
Helen Wang’s The Chinese Dream: The Rise of the World’s Largest Middle Class and What It Means To You is an informative, well-written book about China’s growing middle class. Wang, an independent consultant who assists companies doing business in China, artfully breaks down the book into a series of themes and interweaves them with a succession of personal experiences and fascinating interactions (including one with a PR manager doing “religion shopping” and another with Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba). The Chinese Dream’s principal argument is that the rise of a large Chinese middle class is beneficial for both China as well as the rest of the world. Furthermore, Wang believes that middle class Chinese and Westerners have a similar set of core values and share many of the same aspirations and dreams and can thus learn from each other.
To me, the biggest takeaway is how communism and capitalism can co-exist side-by-side in China. At a high-level, Wang argues that the Chinese are pragmatic people and have accepted the status quo. Chinese people are very scared about what might happen if the Communist government fell. Given how well-versed the Chinese are with their own history, they know that when the Qing Dynasty fell in 1911-12 (depicted in The Last Emperor), there was no real governance and chaos ensued across the country. Thus, the Chinese people have accepted the Communist government and, in return, the government has allowed a booming private sector to flourish. The unique aspect of China’s “private sector”, however, is that the government is still intimately involved with the sector and permeates it (which Wang aptly calls it a “peculiar private sector”).
From Wang’s book, there are six big lessons/takeaways for anyone interested in either doing business in China or learning more about the country’s dynamic middle class. Firstly, in China, collective interest often overrides individuality; an attack on the Chinese government is often seen as an attack on the Chinese people (many Chinese took the protests along the 2008 Olympic torch relay personally). The Chinese see themselves as mostly together (think of the 2008 Beijing Olympics motto: “One World One Dream”). Secondly, there is a huge opportunity to tap into China’s growing middle class. By Wang’s estimates, the mostly urban middle class comprises approximately 300+ million people and they tend to have an annual income between $10K and $60K. Thirdly, many middle class Chinese will save up to buy overpriced luxury goods like Louis Vutton purses because they are seen as status symbols – as opposed to the US, where it is the affluent that primarily indulge in such luxuries. This is a trend that I definitely saw while walking around Nanjing Rd in Shanghai and Wangfujing Rd in Beijing, and is the opposite of what we Americans would consider to be sensible spending habits. Fourthly, many middle class Chinese consumers buy from Western companies because they believe that they have higher safety standards and stronger supply chains (read: they won’t get sick consuming their products). This is why many middle class Chinese see KFC as “healthy” even though it’s a fast food joint that primarily serves unhealthy fried chicken.
Fifthly, China is a land of extreme optimism and anxiety. While countless successful entrepreneurs like Jack Ma have risen from abject poverty, there are still millions of migrant workers barely eking out a living. While they are better off than if they were living off their land, they are still teetering close to the poverty line – which echoes what I saw when I visited two factories in Southern China back in 2010. Sixthly and lastly, the Chinese dream is to study hard and to get ahead and prosper. Most Chinese--especially those in impoverished rural areas—believe that education is their route to escape poverty and secure a better life.
Helen Wang also has some advice for the Chinese government, including that it needs to clean up its environment and enforce many national laws and policies at the local level. To this, Wang writes, “If China is to become a major power in the world, it needs to stop being narcissistic about its past and look into the future instead. The central government may understand the environmental issues well. At the local level, however, there is not much awareness.” This gap between the national and local levels echoes what Shaun Rein wrote about recently in his book The End of Cheap China. Wang further argues that for too long, the government (especially at the local levels) has put growth at the expense of its environment – something I can attest to as I personally think Beijing is most polluted city that I have ever been to. As the government has somewhat woken up to the ramifications of a polluted environment—including several hundred thousand pollution-related deaths every year—Wang states that there is a huge market opportunity for western companies specializing in environmentally friendly technology such as LEED technology.
While Wang’s book is excellent, there are a couple of areas where I respectfully disagree with her. I firstly disagree that many people don’t believe in communism in their hearts. I believe that in China, communism is an entrenched ideology and that while many Chinese believe in a more pragmatic version of it, their belief is more than mere lip service. Also, I think that she is far more optimistic in stating that as China continues to grow economically, opposition parties will rise. While democracy may eventually come to China, I personally feel that it will take much longer than she envisions as the Chinese government has a strong grip on the country.
Overall, this is a great and informative book for anyone interested in doing business in China or simply learning more about major trends occurring in the world’s most populated country.
Getting enough protein? Dr. Brian Chiswell does. Dimensions BioSciences has launched and is now doing business. His Linked In Profile is here, and the company he founded is in the process of securing the initial contracts for his protein engineering service, which will generate customized protein reagents for pharmaceutical and academic research laboratories. The engineering solutions offered by the company are aimed at increasing the solubility and stability of the proteins, saving researchers time and money while enhancing their ability to generate quality data.
Dimension BioSciences was part of the Boston College Business Plan course in the Fall of 2011. The company is operating out of Brooklyn, NY and will be updating its website soon with more information.
Dr. Chiswell is also widely published in this area, as per this link from the National Academy of Sciences Proceedings (www.pnas.org).
Congratulations to Brian and to his team!
How many languages can you speak? Is one of them the Language of Business? Is maintaining a good relationship with customers on par with maximizing profitability? How does doing business in a foreign culture factor itself? On this episode of The Language of Business we'll look at international sales, and interview three entrepreneurs doing business from Tokyo to Boston.
Ms. Kumi Inoue from Here and Now, Inc., Mr. Bob Masland and Mr. Alan Lunder of Black Diamond Footwear are my 3 guests for the Language of Business Episode #5.
Kumi's segment is here, click on this link for Bob's interview and watch Alan's here. The full, 30-minute episode is below.
The Language of Business—continuous business improvement for start-ups and established ventures.
Here's a version of our promo in Japanese, too.
いくつの言語を話すことができますか？ そのうちの1つはビジネスの言語ですか？ 顧客との良好な関係を維持することは、利益を最大化するのと同じくらい重要ですか？ 異文化でビジネスを行うとは、どういうことでしょうか？ 今回のThe Language of Businessでは、海外営業について考えて見ます。東京からボストンまで、3名の起業家からお話を伺います。
Would you invest in India today? How about purchasing an Indian mutual fund, or at the very least, retaining a firm to help you with Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)? Samir Jaluria, freelance writer and of Indian descent, discusses the current economy, his 15 trips there and how he believes the government is handling the economic situation. His LinkedIn profile is here and the interview link is here, too.