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Cross Culture

What Is The Power of American Television?

March 15, 2006 | By | No Comments

Yesterday, Your Business Blogger was on a major university campus in East Asia watching students play basketball outdoors. Acres of concrete courts. A football-sized outside arena with dozens and dozens of hoops.

The play is not quite like the intramural competition in USA. On this side of the world the students don’t play defense. Just shooting.

So I ask my host about this — offense only, no defense.

I’m expecting a deep relevelation of cultural differences. A difference in innovation or strategies or team play or ego or losing face. Maybe something about DNA differences?

Nope.

The answer?

American TV.

These students watch ESPN. They learned to play basketball watching America’s NBA.

Where you will never see any defensive play.

The basketball style of play will probably change when college ball is broadcast into East Asia.

So. The world is watching the USA. And picking up some bad habits, in addition to watching Spong Bob Square Pants.

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Sponge Bob Square Pants and the US Army…

March 12, 2006 | By | No Comments

…in the same sentence? Your Business Blogger is a-travelling in East Asia.

So I’m on a subway and studying local people.

And notice a two year-old little boy held safely by his mum and dad. I smile: The little guy has a US Army patch on his shoulder. As a brand name decoration.

And back in my hotel room, Spong Bob is on. In English.

It’s just like being home.

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Jack's Trip to East Asia

March 11, 2006 | By | One Comment

Jack left Friday morning for East Asia — I just heard from him that he was safe. . . . and could I please put a post up for him? Um. Hm. Such is the life of a blogger-wife.

For security reasons he was not able to take any electronic devices, but he has managed to locate a way to send email, so we should soon be able to get more reports from him.

Tonight he’ll be giving a speech to a group of physicians on health care management.

Do check back in! I’ll keep you posted.

Jack is in East Asia: Comments and Questions Welcome

March 11, 2006 | By | No Comments

Questions or Comments? Please click on comments and leave your questions. Jack will answer and publish as soon as possible.

10 Feb

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2 Comments

Capitalism, Culture and Google

February 10, 2006 | By | 2 Comments

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GoogleIn Chinese there is no word for “privacy.”

Google’s business practices in China are under question. In having a different product for different counties. I am not so sure Google is departing from a sound business theory. I think Google’s strategy deserves a case study. On doing business in different cultures.

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Yoest, Faisal Alam in

New Delhi, IndiaYour Business Blogger was in India working with North American and Indian managers. Having thrown off our British rulers, we still shared a common English language.

But cultural communication was another matter.

American managers were frustrated that Indian executives and staff were not always truthful.

Or so it seemed.

If a supervisor (of any nationality) would ask an Indian subordinate a closed question such as “Does the report include the budget from Bangalore?” The Indian subordinate reply always would be ‘yes.’ Even if the answer was ‘no.’ Accompanied by a side-to-side movement of the head — which corresponds to the up and down affirmative head nod in America.

Was the Indian employee lying to his superior?

It depends on cultural perspective.

(Yes, yes I know — Alert Readers know well that Your Business Blogger subscribes to Timeless Truth: Truth is not relative.)

But the Indian culture is one of deference and respect for authority. It is not within the languages or culture to say “no” to the boss. Immediate compliance — obedience — is something every boss, in every culture really wants — but American’s seldom openly admit.

The culture is different. Where change to USA standards should not be forced.

Supervisors working with Indian subordinates should only ask open ended questions. A question allowing something other than ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ “Show me the line item for employee taxi expenses for Bangalore.”

The USA manager should understand also that the Indian manager will seldom say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to a subordinate.

Additional questions are time consuming. But necessary to do business across cultures. And to respect differences in culture and tradition.

I think we should ask more questions. And take the first step.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” says China’s Confucius.

A single step from a single person. Countries don’t do business. People do business.

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President Nixon meets with

China’s Community Party Leader,

Mao Tse-Tung on

February 29, 1972

Nixon went to China. Google went to China.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

In Chinese, in The Common Language (Mandarin) there are no words for “private” or “privacy” as we understand in English.

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Nixon at the 2,000 year old Great Wall of China, 24 February 1972

Mark at Mark My Words has commentary.

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Uncertainty in France, A Prediction

November 4, 2005 | By | 4 Comments

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Paris suburb burns

(Christophe Ena – AP)Update: Earlier Your Business Blogger suggested that France was a poor venue for business. Paris is now terrible even for tourists.

France will be slow to deal with the Muslim Jihadists.

Markets hate uncertainty. France has a future which is most uncertain — which is another (real) reason not to do business there.

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France is beginning to pay citizens to have children because their birthrate is far below replacement. But this may matter little — Islam is quickly encroaching on French culture.

In early summer in the God-fearing USofA George Weigel gave a talk about the decline of European civilization and his new book, The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God. He uses the post-modern architecture of the monstrous “cube” that is the Great Arch of La Defence in Paris and the ageless cathedral of Notre-Dame as metaphor.

I bought the book. Read it. Saw the future.

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The Cube

Weigel writes about a possible outcome for Europe:

Then there is the nightmare scenario…Europe fails to reverse its demographic decline; its finances … perilous, its native populations … demoralized, and recent arrivals …assertively Islamic.

…it has happened before. The once flourishing Greco-Roman-Christian civilization of North Africa… within eight decades…disappeared into the sands… destroyed by advancing Islam.

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Notre Dame

In significant parts of Europe, the drama of atheistic humanism would have played itself out in the triumph of a thoroughly nonhumanistic theism.

The crisis of civilizational morals that Europe is experiencing today would have reached its bitter end in a Europe in which the muezzin summons the faithful to prayer form the central loggia of St. Peter’s in Rome, while Notre-Dame has been transformed into Hagia Sophia on the Seine

– a great Christian church become an Islamic museum.

Weigel’s prophesy is coming too soon, and so close.

Here’s the business angle. As in any relationship trust is necessary between individuals to bind contracts. And business can be done with trusted individuals of Muslim faith. But seldom Muslim countries.

Under current French leadership it is easy to predict instability for France. A poor venue for strategic investment except for tourism.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

QandO has fire in France.

Mark in Mexico predicts French surrender.

PeakTalk has French basket case.

Captain Ed reports on the French Cancer.

Dean’s World has irony.

Outside the Beltway has analysis.

Drezner questions press accuracy.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post and a terrific shot of the Tower.

Update: 15 November; Below the Beltway has analysis of bi-culture.

Not All Muslims Wear Suicide Vests

September 14, 2005 | By | No Comments

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Faisal and Alfia

Nikah Day

Some wear wedding garments.

Pictured is my business partner Faisal Alam and his new bride. He was always interested in making money. The only world domination he’d like would be of a large market segment. Like Microsoft.

He loves business. He loves his wife. My kind of guy.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

The Happy Husband with the tag line, “Celebrating Marriage in a Hostile World.”

Trey Jackson has fighting the real enemy.