unstructured thinking, structured execution
A longer post to come, but this little mantra keeps popping into my head, "unstructured thinking, structured execution" and I want to scribble it down. It's my goal for personal and professional development and maybe a significant issue in thinking about US-China business opportunities and opportunities. Certainly thinking about the different educational systems and talent pools, the unstructured-structured dichotomy or fissure comes to mind.
farm subsidies for everyone
This from the Shanghai Daily today:
Agriculture gets big financial boost by -- CHINA will channel more than 100 billion yuan (US$12.8 billion) from sales of land use rights next year into supporting agriculture, Vice Minister of Land and Resources Li Yuan said yesterday.
Of course China has to manage it's urbanization and development without leaving behind the 900 million rural & agricultural population, but something tells me this won't efficiently reach the people who need it. Instead we may be heading down the path laid out by the developed nations whereby subsidies continue to go to farms even though agriculture has industrialized into huge business.
And despite the relative sizes of their economies, China may be gaining on the US. Last year, the US gave over $21 billion out in similar subsidies (including a Katrina caused a spike) after doling out $12.5 billion in 2004 and projected to give $16.5 billion in 2006. Just to put this in context though, EC agricultural subsidies were nearly €50 billion in 2005.
The conference today was exhausting. We get to the convention center, just get registered, barely cross the threshold of the room when we get absolutely swamped, swamped, swamped. Entrepreneurs come out of the woodwork, up through the carpets and from behind the curtains. They're brandishing their business cards and printed plans. In about 30 minutes, I go through the 100 or so business cards that I brought with me. So then I'm writing my contact info on other people's cards. Mostly they're the extra cards of the people who want my info, but I got a kick out of writing on the other cards people presented me, "Sequoia Capital, er, okay..."
Tomorrow and the next few days will be trying to filter through these opportunities as quickly as possible. Hope to find at least one gem in there.
UPDATE: Hmm, interesting stuff. Everything from inventors with ideas to private equity sized natural resource and heavy industry stuff. No super stars yet, but still taking a closer look. Lots of Internet, some cleantech, some mobile, lots of other stuff.
I'll probably be there. Drop me a line if you will too.
Fed Chief’s Help Enlisted for Trip to Press China - NY Times
How much can China let the RMB appreciate given their nearly $1 trillion in foreign reserves? That in mind, I still think a richer RMB will be a key milestone in China's transition from investment- to consumption-led economic growth. It'll probably also lead to a spree of buying foreign companies and assets and a tidal wave of tourism that will harken back to the 80s resentment of Japan.
local then globalRishi Navani on Online Movie Rental Services and Other Investment Opportunities in India
I like Rishi's comments on focusing on success in your local market before thinking global. While many of the really big China opportunities will be in building global companies and global brands and while the internet allows you to address global markets almost right away, I think you've got to start with local success and build upon it.
This was something I felt in Brazil too.
The BRIC local markets are big enough that you should win at home first and be able to build some scale and core competencies.
Which makes me think of the recent story that Michelle Wie is planning to compete in more men's tournaments. I think the right strategy is like Tiger's, kick ass at every level before moving on.
Ang and I squeezed in time to watch An Inconvenient Truth last night over dinner and while she nursed Spence. Depressing and inspiring. America has abdicated leadership on what is certainly one of the two or three biggest challenges of this century.
Will China pick up the slack? I think it has no choice but to. Breathable air and potable water for one and a half billion people necessitate leadership on these issues.
And so it is that smart scientist-entrepreneurs and investors are really diving into this space here too.
I'm about 23 hours from hopping on a plane due for Sao Paulo, Brazil. It's the next module (and penultimate) for my MBA. I thought I'd be on a plane now, but my travel agent had made a bit of a mix up. The itinerary she set up for me had me laying over in the US for about a full day each way. Ordinarily that'd be fine, maybe I'd set up a meeting or two. Or at least do some US shopping. Breathe some fresh air. But with two people like this waiting for me, I'd prefer to make the trip as short as possible.
So this morning, I double check my tickets. Which of course I should've done sooner. Nevertheless I catch the mix up and call the agent. She's out of town for the holiday. Her co-workers can't find my itinerary, even though I have an invoice number. They can't even find me by name or by flight. Yoiks. And they keep asking if they can call me back. Even though I was only about six hours away from my first flight.
So I hop online. Find a number for the airlines. Call a local number (which seemed to patch me to a HK operator). And get exemplary service. Everything's all worked out, lickety split. I can catch this same flight tomorrow and still make the same connector to Brazil. Dang.
About an hour later, the agent calls. Aha! They've found my itinerary. But I'm set to leave tomorrow! They'd found the updated itinerary that I'd just changed over the phone. Great, just great. Thanks a lot.
Angels from America
Had a few angel investors from the States fly through in recent weeks. Smart people with money to deploy but they don't see enough China deal flow to deeply understand the opportunities.
Got to thinking it would be good to put together little info trips for investors who are interested. If you are or know of anyone who's coming through or would be interested in a little tour, drop me a line.
Could start with all the Chinese-American Internet entrepreneurs who have made it big.
Such is China (under the one-child policy):
Almost out of diapers. Last one on Spence's little bottom. A quick trip out to the nearest convenience store. No diapers to be found. But lots and lots of disposable underwear for adults. Argh.