7Mar

Speed reading app

There is a great application called “Spritz” that increases your reading speed exponentially.

I have always struggled to read anything quickly.  I average about 10 pages per hour or 83 hours per minute.  I find I have to say the word out loud in my head before I can process it.

Using the app I was able to read at 500 words per minute.  Over 5 times increase in speed.

Often when I tired other speed reading techniques or programs, I don’t actually retain anything I have read.  But with Spritz, I find I can actually recall the content.

You can try the app out on their website.  I went to the science page and was able to read the entire thing in under a minute, and could spew the facts of the page to a co-worker.

Eventually they will have this app running on wrist watches, eye wear like google glass, or even rings like the smarty ring.

Though I question how comfortable it is to read text with only one eye.

18Jan

The magic pill of E-commerce, and the myth

You may have heard that it’s possible to supercharge or even bypass many of the organic growth issues mentioned above. For example, in the case of Bean Pet, they want to create a pet-bone-focused e-commerce site, focusing on a specific segment—in this case, giant organic bones such as cow bones that dogs love. People have the impression that the Internet is a “busy street” where floods of people walk by your website.  This is a false impression.  Creating an e-commerce website without promoting it is no different from opening a shop in the middle of the desert.  No one will know about it; hence, it will not make money.  In addition, added to all the other issues concerning organic growth mentioned above, you now have the problem of making an e-commerce website.

17Jan

Challenges of building a green business

There are some major problems with making ReFoodAble economically viable in Hong Kong.  One of the first major problems is that Hong Kong is not equipped to sell electricity back to the grid.  This eliminates many potential ways to make money from power generation, to which food waste would be well suited.  Food waste can be used in bioreactors to generate electricity.  Food waste can also be converted back into bio diesel, but ReFoodAble lacked funding and expertise to make this happen. The final barrier ReFoodAble would have is the culture in Hong Kong.  There is virtually no recycling done anywhere.  Getting support from the public would be difficult as I’ll demonstrate later with Noble Earth LTD.

 

The whole goal of ReFoodAble is to convert all organic waste into usable materials. During the presentation, they went over all their entire company, how it was formed, how they have a working facility located at Ma On Shan.  The also went over some possible ways the funders could help them; they needed about 7 million RMB to do the engineering and get it approved for bio diesel. At this time they are converting the food into pig feed, which is somewhat viable as it works out to be about 2,000HK per ton. It takes seven days to heat and dry the product, and the costs per production are about $800.00 per hour. The government was blocking the initiative to transfer the energy back to the grid. The people at ReFoodAble were pitching to an incubator or a seed fund called Sow Asia.

 

Sow Asia believes in impact investment and their financial investment company only invests in ventures that have social impact. They have competition such as the CUHA and they already take part in many initiatives.  The CEO of Sow Asia was is a friend of Mr Princeton’s and was there personally during the pitch. The takeaway from this pitch and meeting was that CEOs are very good at painting pictures.  The second lesson was that everybody in Hong Kong wants a cut.  If you want to get anything done in Hong Kong, you have to make it very clear what the incentives are for each person’s participation.

16Jan

Organic growth

Organic growth relies on gradual customer acquisition, word of mouth and strategic advertisement.  Gradually building the brand and the image of the company. The decision of building a personalized brand or simply using products from other companies is also a tricky matter.  If you promote someone else’s brands, as in a supermarket model, you may end up doing a lot of brand building for free for the manufacturing company, whereas if you build your own products and brand them yourselves, you must have access to this type of skill, which is both expensive and time-consuming.

14Jan

The VCC System

A mentor of mine, wrote a book a while ago, and developed a method called VCC: Voice-Inflection Conviction Close.  He taught it to use before the prospects came pouring into the show.

Voice inflection, the tone of your voice as well as the volume, greatly impacts your message. One technique is to control your pitch up and down and really animate the way you speak.  This makes what you are saying easier to understand and more enjoyable to hear.  I have been criticized for speaking in monotone a few times. This is a common tendency of people who are deep thinkers. This rule makes sense, as I would rather hear someone who is animated than speaking in a monotone if they are trying to sell me something.

Conviction, the emotion you put behind your words, is more important than your message.  He told me that once, he deliberately renamed the topic of his speech to Elmer Fudd, when he was trying to sell a charity—something along the lines of The Elmer Fudd Charity, which was originally supposed to be the XYZ Charity.  He talked on and on for about an hour about this charity with the funny name. No one laughed; because of the conviction behind his words, he was able to convince them to donate a record amount.

Remember to close the deal by asking for the sale.

14Jan

Parallel Export, AKA Smuggling

These are just some of the issues that surround getting into China to sell.  So most products, even well-known ones such as Starbucks frappuccinos and Kirkland nuts, are smuggled into the country. The smuggling happens at various ports; the one I’ll discuss is Hong Kong.  There are many ways items are smuggled into China via Hong Kong, driven across the border from the sea port, but my favourite is through old grannies.  Hong Kong is unique in that it is connected to mainland China via a their subway system.

In Hong Kong, Sung Shui, a subway station is one stop away from either Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau which are the entry points into Shenzhen, China. On any given day at Sung Shui, you can see hundreds of of people lining up to get into the MTR. All of them are carrying large suitcases or large boxes on wheels, just full of goods to smuggle into China. These are things like Starbucks coffee, cookies, milk powder, baby formula; anything you can think of that you would want to consume, but are too afraid to locally in China, so you buy these illegally smuggled products.

9Jan

51% is all you need to destroy bitcoin

Some of you may have heard of the currency Bitcoin, a digital currency that is created by a network of computers.  These computers act as verifiers to ensure that the coin is mined correctly and that transactions are valid.

Because the task of mining a Bitcoin is computationally large, there are organizations called pools that group a team of miners together.  These miners of Bitcoins work together to generate new Bitcoins. Whe a coin is successfunlly generated by the pool, it is split amongst the miners, usually based on their computational efforts.

Recently one such pool, ghash.io is getting very close to collecting a majority of the miners.  This can be a problem because if a pool or a miner makes up 51% or more of the total computational power for mining and reviewing the transactions, they are able to do many things that normally would not be possible.

Bitcoin relays on trust. When you make a transaction, or mine a coin, it is verified by the network. If the majority of the network says that the transaction or coins are good, then it is accepted into the ledger.  If an agent has 51% of the network, they are always the majority, as a result, they can, at least in theory, accept and reject transactions as they please.  This means they can reject coins that are mined outside of the network, effectively mining all coins.  They could even rewrite history: if a transaction has happened, they can reverse the transaction at a later date.

If anyone reaches 51% they gain a lot of power, and there is no regulatory body to enforce that they will play nice.  This means that the Bitcoin can lose it’s value overnight, as people will not be able to trust doing transactions anymore.

Just food for thought for those people looking to do their own mining or dumping cash on investing.

 

Further reading:

The Block chain

51% attack

9Jan

The First Step

When one take a journey that is a thousand steps, how does one begin?

Every journey that is worth taking begins with the first step.  Welcome to Swimming With Asian Sharks, a community of entrepreneurs that want to learn the tricks of dealing with executive level business in Asia.

I am your humble guide to the process.  I’ve worked on over 9 business in Asia, and have been to countless executive level business interactions as an executive assistant, director, even as a partner.  In my journey I have witnessed many people get bitten, been bitten and have learnt to bite back.

In this blog we will discuss the psychology and cultural aspects of playing business at the highest level to give you an edge.

We will cover business topics and technology, as those are core to the changing business landscape.

Welcome once again, and remember to practice that front crawl, because you need to know how to swim before you learn to hunt.

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