Positioning Correctly During Changing Economic Times

In china business by Michael Michelini6 Comments

I’m in a bus on the way back from lunch heading to a government office to grab my passport with renewed work permit, then to hong kong….whipping out my laptop writing this entry. This is how I’ve been living my life….writing up blogs, proposals, emails from my mobile phone, from my laptop in transit – in a car, train, bus, subway, plane. On the beach, in a city, next to a farm. It just doesn’t matter…the internet is all over the place, and I “thrive in chaos” as some have said.
Speaking of chaos, I feel the current economy, the transition going on in the world between East and West…..international business, import export, ecommerce…and just business in general is one sloppy crazy shitshow. Sure you can say its management, but when 1 country deals with another country, how organized and managed is that?

Thinking of that wikileaks.com release of so many blunt conversations of world leaders and politicians….that just shows how “calm and orderly” this world is. And if you think things work smoothly in life, then you are WRONG, or just sheltered.
And hey, many people are sheltered….maybe there isn’t anything wrong with that. Not to pick on them, but us Americans do live pretty much in a bubble. It’s taken me a few years living outside to have my eyes opened truly to the global economy and the way things work.

Life isn’t fair. Life doesn’t always go as planned. And that is the way it is, so we have to adapt to it, or just shut up and deal with it.
Maybe this is just because I’m overtired today, had too many coffees and sodas and my mind is wandering….

…but really, THE WORLD IS NOT AN ORDERLY PLACE! Maybe if you deal within 1 domestic country, well, maybe 1 developed 1st world country like America, your life can be orderly. What you order will be what you get. The contracts you sign will be honored and upheld. The phone conversations on the phone will be the same dialogue as in email and on purchase orders and not manipulated.
But for so many people out there, (outside of America , maybe outside of Europe too), that is not how daily life works. Sure, China is developing and getting more mature…but still, orders are double checked before paid, contracts are long and each part is thoroughly read…..only to know that if it goes to the point where it needs to go to court, it’s not worth it unless its big money. Chinese people have dealt with this for generations, and it’s built into their culture, not to trust things for face value, to scrutinize and bargain for everything. Same goes for many parts of the world.

And I’m still no damn expert…it’s almost like the more I learn, the less I know. The world is so big, every economy, every culture is so diverse and independent. And I believe in today’s difficult economic times, in order to survive we have to be “light on our toes” and stay nimble.
I think of the “Lord of War” movie, where Nicolas Cage is so happy that the Cold War is over and the “evil Fing Empire is over”, and he meets his competitor, another “gunrunner” who was making tons of cash during the cold war, doing business between politicians. But with the cold war over, the chaos begins, Russia is being split up, no one knows who is the new leader (as Nicolas Cage put it – because all the politicians will be too busy squabbling who gets the guest resort on the Black Sea) , what the new rules will be. And this is when the next generation of “gunrunner”, Nicolas Cage, takes advantage to dominate the market. He is a “scrapper” who will sell to anyone, do business anywhere, and not be afraid to go where others haven’t gone. And he does just that, he wins during the changes in political and economic times.

Is that is what we need to do in today’s world? The world is changing rather fast in my opinion….and I credit that due to the increased flow of information, technology, communication – lower barriers to entry, less physical presence needed, virtual competitors. This is a time when you have to be a scrapper, do things others think is crazy, and try to get ahead.

This is just life, and this is just business. But to still focus on the right thing, and not just “think generally” like a macroeconomics professor. A couple months ago I was considering NYC as my center, as that was the market I knew, and thought I could boost my sales there…..only to realize I just get pulled back into the China market…even those in New York kept talking to me about China all the time, and it made me realize this is where the action is.
Just keep on truckin.

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  1. welcome back to china!^^
    and wish you the best!!加油

    1. Author

      awww, thanks Jane we can hopefully meet up again before Chinese New Years – sometime in Jan? Will you be in SZ during CNY? (Chinese new year)?

  2. hey dude, hope all is well. Sometimes you write that Americans live “in a bubble”, they think the world is orderly, and they are sheltered and ignorant. And sure there are probably many American citizens like that but I know plenty of Americans, myself included, that know that there are chaos, risk, and uncertainty that exists beyond these borders. Things aren’t always what they seem and you can’t just take a strangers word. We are lucky to know how fortunate we are to be able to live and make a living here. It seems like maybe you believed all of these things about order in the world and maybe went out to china thinking it was going to be easier, and many may believe the same but not all. But there are many Americans that know these things and they chose to stay in the USA because of them. Because life is easier here. Sure it costs more to live and to do business here, but you get what you pay for. You pay for the infrastructure, the certainty, the ease of mind… right. Its not perfect by any means but its certainly more comfortable. Going overseas those are just the risks you take, you get a cheaper workforce overseas, but a lot more, risk uncertainty and chaos. We know you love chaos. Thsi is why ebay, paypal, and banks throw flags automatically when things start going international. It is a lot harder to get the consumer and business to business rights we are used to across international borders. All I’m trying to say is that not all Americans are sheltered and live “in a bubble”.

    1. Author

      yea….I am a bit hard on my own kind ….us Americans….

      but….I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but you are not the typical American citizen….you are a 2nd generation to USA….you see more immigrants…and have experienced a lot more exposure to the difficulties in friends immigrating into America….and seen hardships outside of the country.

      I don’t think the majority of Americans see that…the grandparents, parents, and newest generation of children were probably born in USA. Maybe there has been the European vacation during high school or exchange program in college…but other then that their vacations are cruises in the caribbean, spring break in Miami, and gambling weekends in Vegas.

      Do you agree with me or not?

      And I am gonna admit…..yes I am hard on Americans because I was feeling sheltered there, and I do understand and see why the rest of the world sees americans as “ignorant”…..kinda attitude that Americans dont need to really take into account other countries, that America is the greatest country ,and everyone else in the world will bend for America’s wants and desires in order to do business with Americans.

      I really, and fundamentally believe the world is becoming more “flat” and Americans still have not really woken up and smelled the coffee.

      1. Hey man, i agree there is most likely a very large amount of Americans that do not know much about life outside of the country. They may not know much about life outside of their city or state sometimes too. I remember in high school we had to do a group study of illegal immigration and some of my group partners did not understand why people don’t just immigrate legally. they thought it was easy just some paperwork and you are in. Many Americans may not truly realize how lucky they are to be born in the US and how much more difficult life is in other places on the planet. I was not born in the US I traveled abroad some too and I have an idea of what people in other countries deal with. So yes these people do exist, and they probably exist in numbers.

        This world is “flat” theory, what exactly is it. Last time I checked its still a sphere just kidding. Communication and travel between foreign countries is getting easier and more common – YES. But what do you mean by wake up and smell the coffee. Are you telling americans to get up and travel more, view the world differently, appreciate the things they take for granted more, what exactly is the point you are trying to drive here

        1. Author

          my point is….I was back in USA and it seemed still that people are just waiting for the economy to get better, for jobs to come back. Sure, I only got a limited sampling…

          I was in florida, and talking to an experienced businessman over drinks and dinner…he blamed the US government for allowing imports to come in so easily….thus creating a system and allowance to have cheap knockoff products and american entrepreneur’s ideas to be ripped off and stolen. he had a point

          I am working on a new blog post that will talk about an awesome youtube video i saw, here is the link, ill write more details later (asking my friend for the link, can’t find it on youtube)

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