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East Asia

Lawyers and Good Books for the Middle Kingdom

July 26, 2006 | By | No Comments

When Charmaine attended the National Religous Broadcasters (NRB) tradeshow, she decided to help make a difference by making trouble with a book.

Books make a difference.

Especially the Good One. Look for the effect of those printed pages, especially with interesting developments in China. And it’s not just the utilitarian totalitarians preparing for the Beijing Olympics. On my visit to China, I learned how the legal profession was building a framework to speed international transactions. Growth is coming from the young.

And coming from the young new lawyers in East Asia. Yes lawyers. Heaven Forbid. It seems that the legal minds have been studying legal foundations in other cultures and traditions. End up studying Judeo-Christian concepts, then studying Jesus.

And come away with a new look on life.

Would that our lawyers here in the USA were so diligent.

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With Bob Fu and Peggy Dau

Mailing a Bible to China! Following is a cross post from Reasoned Audacity and Bibles for China: Voice of the Martyrs.

One of the best parts of being at NRB is meeting some of the wonderful people in ministries represented here. The Voice of the Martyrs has a large booth here and they are offering NRB attendees the opportunity to mail a Bible to China.

I did one for each of my children — so I now have names of five people in China for our family to pray for.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Stop by Voice of the Martyrs and learn more about the persecuted Church. . .and the Bibles Unbound program.

Bribery as a Cost of Doing Business In Washington, DC

May 30, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Your Business Blogger

with back office hardware

Bangalore, India In India it’s called “Speed Money.” In Mexico it’s call “Facilitation.” In China it’s called a “Relationship.”

In the US of A, it’s called a “Bribe.”

Except in Washington, DC, where it’s called “Love.”

Frank Robinson, an Inspector for the Washington, DC Department of Transportation was caught on tape asking for love; asking for a bribe. According to The Washington Times, May 25, 2006:

Mr. Robinson: You want your permit right away, right?

Contractor: D*mn right I want my permit.

Mr. Robinson: You need to love me, baby, you need to love me. I did my part; you didn’t get no fines or anything.

Contractor: Give me a price. I got to talk to my people about money. Tell me how much.

Mr. Robinson: What you think man? If you had somebody …watch something so you didn’t get a $2,500 ticket?

Contractor: Frank, I need a price.

Mr. Robinson: Give me $500.

Sounds much like doing business in a Third World Nation. Or maybe it is. As Washington, DC has often been compared.

Your Business Blogger once had a boss in the medical device business working the Washington, DC hospitals. He advised me on how to deliver “the gratuity” which was usually in a brown paper bag, to the key influencers and decision makers. My boss was a pro. He directed me to give the goods only after the contract was signed as a “reward.” Rather than before the signed order.

The “thank you” was a box of donuts.

A difference of degree from $100K Congressman Jefferson received as a “gratuity” I suppose.

As Your Business Blogger consults with international clients, particular attention is paid to the difference between a gratuity and a gratuity.

And I would lecture smugly on the superiority of God-fearing English-speaking Capitalists (that’d be us) ruling the world.

(Test: Find something in your house made in China Syria.)

People always ask, “What is the main difference in business between USA and [country X]?

The short answer is that North America has trust as then central tenet of business. The Puritan Work Ethic. I would advise, discreetly, that Americans expect an honest deal. The rest of the world expects to get screwed.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman spoke to this. He said that a cultural prerequisite of making money is the holding of truthfulness as a common virtue.

When you can trust a merchant’s word, says Friedman, “it cut[s] down transaction costs.”

The North American flavor of capitalism makes the most money and leaves the best taste. Even with an occasional rotten apple in Your Nation’s Capital.

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Karl Rove at the Salem Communcations Annual Meeting in Washington, DC

May 6, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Hugh Hewilt, 3-Time Emmy Award Winner;

Charmaine Yoest

photo credit: Jack Yoest Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo. The fifth of May is our wedding anniversary. Chuck deFeo, Director of Online Strategy for Town Hall, Beyond the News.com, with the Salem Web Network, asked us to join him with 300 of our closest friends in Your Nation’s Capital. Karl Rove would say a few words.

Which is odd since he didn’t know it was our anniversary. And no one mentioned it. The dinner was off the record, but I think I can report that Karl Rove was silent about Your Business Blogger and the Little Woman.

Other than forgetting our anniversay, Rove was quite engaging.

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Charmaine, Mark Steyn making a point,

Michael Medved backgroundThere was a panel with Dennis Prager, Mark Steyn, Bill Bennett.

In the audience, asking questions, was Hugh Hewitt, James Dobson, Frank Gaffney, Mike Gallagher.

We picked up a copy of Hewitt’s new book, Paint the Map Red. The Entertainment Industry has the best SWAG.

Janet Parshall; Elaine Bennett of Best Friends; Michael Medved. Some of the brightest stars and thinkers in the business.

Ken Blackwell, the next president Governor, of Ohio spoke.

There were some very, very smart people in that room. I wasn’t one of them. I felt like a, well, journalist.

David Aikman moderated the panel. He spent two decades with Time magazine. He’s the former Beijing bureau chief. He is such an unTimely kind of guy. (David and Dennis Prager greeted each other speaking fluent Russian.) Anyway, he wrote Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power. David says that China is changing. They are beginning to understand the rule of law. Lex Rex. He says most of the young lawyers–lawyers! there are Christians. Go figure.

I read Aikman’s book. He starts his book with a lecture from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing in 2002. Aikman quotes a Chinese academic speaking to a group from the USA visiting China:

One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world…We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.

The Chinese don’t doubt the source of our cultural heritage. Sadly, American liberals do.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

The National Day of Prayer was Thursday, May 4th. George Bush spoke.

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Ed Atsinger

Salem President

and CEOSalem Communications Corporation, NASDAQ SALM,

… is the leading provider of radio programming, online resources and magazines targeted to the Christian and family themes audience. …Salem Communications currently owns and operates 95 radio stations nation-wide, with 60 stations located in the top 25 most populated U.S. markets. …Religious formats constitute the third largest radio format in the United States. Currently, over 2,000 radio stations are identified as having primarily a religious format. Approximately 52% of Americans been identified as listeners to religious formatted radio.

Read more on Salem’s Editorial Board: Hugh Hewitt, Terry Eastland, Janet Parshall, Albert Mohler, Jr., Michael Medved, Phillip Johnson and David Aikman.

Basil’s Blog has a Picnic.

Mudville has Open Post.

Read More

The Carnival of Business is Up for 1 May

May 1, 2006 | By | No Comments

and open for business at Mighty Bargain Hunter.

And while there click through to Sports Biz as he takes a swing a golf in business: And an insight on why India and China do not yet play golf. And why that may be good.

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Mighty Bargain Hunter is run by John who,

is a new father in his mid thirties and a scientist by trade. He loves talking about financial and money topics including frugal living, financial current events, personal finance, bargain hunting, garage sales, online and offline auctions, and business.

Pandas in Washington, DC, Pandas in China

April 27, 2006 | By | One Comment

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DC Metro subway

farecard One of the most popular web cams in Your Nation’s Capital is not with the C-SPANing of lawmakers. Not Congress.

Nope. The other Zoo. The National Zoo.

With Panda-ring in both venues.

See the Panda Cam. Scroll down. Live shots of Tai Shan, the bear. National Zoo.

America, the world, has a thing for bears.

The Pandas are so popular that the Washington DC Metro System uses them as a branding image on the fare cards.

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USA’s Smokey Bear

Your Business Blogger was not content with watching. I wanted to see a Panda Bear IRL. And I wanted to study China’s marketing equivalent of the USA’s Smokey Bear.

Tourism for China. Forest fire prevention for America. Marketing to make money. Marketing to prevent loss. Using approachable bear images.

I was crazy, Charmaine says. I went over the top…

…of the world, chugging to Chengdu. Home of the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center.

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My Bamboo eating Buddy So I ask if I could cuddle a big critter.

Not the big one, the Panda Keepers suggested, but a smaller version. In red. Looks like a raccoon.

Not in the traditional black and white.

So I play with a live panda. For 100 Yuan. Twelve and a half bucks.

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Panda in Black & WhiteA marketing adventure.

But I am a bit disappointed. My expectations were not managed. I was expecting a bit more, I guess.

A little danger, perhaps. Exotic Orient Express adrenaline rush. I got safely Shanghaied instead.

The Panda feels like a rat with coarse hair. Loved by kids and congressmen.

Not my cup of chai.

Sometimes a branding experience should not be handled too near at hand. Distance makes consultants more valuable; makes Pandas more valuable.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

April is Panda Month.

Basil’s Blog has a Picnic.

21 Apr

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Selling the Great Wall of China

April 21, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

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Elmer Wheeler selling

through the senses “Sell the sizzle, not the steak,” said master salesman Elmer Wheeler. His book SIZZLEMANSHIP: New Tested Selling Sentences and his others are among sales lore classics.

His original research was built around 105,000 word order combinations and tested on some 19,000,000 people, as the legend goes. Elmer then took the “Wheeler Word Laboratory” on the road consulting with major retailers. Teaching salesmen to sell more.

His research from the 1930’s still holds and sells today. Even half way around the world.

Your Business Blogger was touring the country side north of Beijing. Seeking out local thrills.

The buzz from my hosts was about a terrific luge-like ride. Nothing like Disney World. A real experience.

A ride faster and more dangerous. Not OSHA compliant with all those pesky safety restrictions.

It sounded great. All my senses were a-tingle. I jumped at the chance for danger.

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Ski lift to the top of the runOur guides mentioned some history and scenery and artifacts, along the way. With an edge. So I ride with my buddy David Wayne up to the top. And sped down to the bottom.

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A Chinese thrill rideEveryone was right! Cheap, exciting thrills! When you come to Beijing, be sure to look into the luge ride!

It sizzles.

By the way, there was another attraction in between the ski lift ride up, and the tremendous luge ride down.

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The Great Wall of China

Here’s Your Business Blogger modeling genuine Chinese Communist Red Army head wear. At the Great Wall of China.

The structure was breathtaking. A meaty experience sold with sizzle. Anticipation rewarded with a concrete experience through each of the senses.

Marketing at its best.

Elmer Wheeler lives.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

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Off-vertical brick laying Your Business Blogger worked in college as a carpenter’s helper and was intrigued by the brickwork of the Great Wall. The bricks followed the terrain contours. The Wall in the Middle Kingdom doesn’t follow the vertical to earth’s center. If a mason could plumb this out for me and comment, I’ll send a blog t-shirt.

From Emperor Heaven,

The Great Wall of China is one of the great man-made landmarks on earth, an incredible feat of engineering begun some 2000 years ago. It stretches for about 6,500 km from the Korean mountains to the Gobi desert. The average height is 10 metres (originally the height of 5 men) & the width is 5 metres (originally 6 horses wide at the top, 8 horses wide at the bottom).

It was started during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty as small bits of defensive wall for three of the individual states to keep the northern nomadic barbarians away. Under the Qin Dynasty the independent bits of wall began to be joined making it the ‘great’ wall to protect the whole country from northern invasions. Over a million people eventually were sent to work on the wall during the Qin Dynasty (local people, soldiers, scholars and prisoners) and it was worked on for ten years continuously day and night using, for the most part, local construction materials. If anyone died while working, they were buried in the wall. Workers who complained or tried to run away were buried alive. During the Qin and Han Dynasties the construction was of wooden frames which were filled with earth which was then tamped tightly. The frames were removed leaving a tightly packed earthen wall. Many years later the earth was enclosed by brick and stone.

It consisted of wall interspersed with watchtowers. The soldiers lived and stored their supplies in the towers and each tower was within sight of the next. The soldiers looked out for invasions when a flag or torch was used for signaling and occasionally took part in skirmishes with the invaders. Many of the garrisons had nearby farming plots so were self-sufficient as getting supplies to the remote areas was hard.

From the Han Dynasty (200 BC) to the Ming Dynasty (17th century), it was continually extended, reconstructed and restored. It’s the remnants of the Ming wall that are mainly visible today when the brick and stone work was extended and sophisticated designs added.

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

Russell Davies has a better picture of Wheeler. Bet on the Brits. And a better article. Blog roll him.

18 Apr

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What Does China Admire Most About America?

April 18, 2006 | By | 3 Comments

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It is good to have health

and strength

…number one…

a strong country

It is good to support

your country… Your Business Blogger was touring a large Chinese university. (Goodness, every Chinese university is large.)

Anyway, I was interested to see China’s interest in American marketing. American ideals. American riches. The American source of riches:

Wal*Mart

Narnia

Corvettes

The United States of America Internal Revenue Service.

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…Strength through taxes

IRS Form 1040 signs

at a university

in the Middle KingdomThe IRS. China uses the IRS Form 1040 as …inspiration.

For Heaven’s sake.

China’s leadership looks to the American model of tax collection as the enlightened path to good government funding.

China looks in amazement at the American population compliance to the tax code. Population control. Clean compliance.

Without revolution.

But this is depressing. I wish Americans were more revolting.

On taxes.

Happy Tax Day.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

China doesn’t need to look half around the world for a taxing template. Hong Kong would be a terrific start: a 15% flat tax. And no capital gains tax. Steve Forbes would be pleased if the USofA were more like this part of China. Compliance is easy when the cost of tax payment is less than the opportunity costs of tax evasion.

See AllFinancialMatters.

Visit Simon World for reasons to move to China.

Few have traveled to China as much as Director Mitch at The Window Manager.

Blogroll Virtual Handshake for references.

More at the jump.

Jeff Cornwall has a great graphic. Go visit.

Visit the Tax Carnival at Don’t Mess Wtih Taxes.

Read More

Corvettes in China

April 11, 2006 | By | One Comment

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1958 ‘Vette with standard accessories Years ago Your Business Blogger tooled around town in a vintage ‘Vette. Pictured with factory options. The blond came (and went) with the machine.

It didn’t have 12 cylinders. But it was a product of marketing perfection that got better over the decades.

The late 50’s Corvette profile has become the car-guy subliminal imprint. A peculiar American case of brain damage. Suffered by gnarly-car guys who bend wrenches and needles. American Men. Marlboro Men.

I thought.

Except I now have proof that all males the world over have this marketing image in the manliness DNA. Even to the other side of the world.

China manufactures cars. And makes a very good Chevy product. Chinese auto manufacturers wanted to sell the new models a recent car show.

And used a late 1950’s ‘Vette to advertise the show. The old girl attracts. And seduces men the world over.

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Car Show in China

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A Vette

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So I sold the ‘Vette to buy a Ph.D.. I took the Corvette off the pedestal. Charmaine has been there since. Not a bad trade.

But I did buy more Corvettes. And I did put girls in them not my wife.

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The Dreamer in her ‘Vette and driving instructor, 1997

Mudville Gazette has Open Post.

Argghhh! has open backtracks.

Read what Peter Thinks on more manufacturing moving to China.

See the GM FastLane Blog. World Keeps Getting Bigger for Chevorlet. Corporate and good.

Starbucks Coupon from China, Redeemed in Maryland

April 5, 2006 | By | One Comment

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Starbucks in China A well meaning friend gives me a gift certificate from Starbucks. While we were in Shanghai.

So I pack it home, thinking I would attempt to redeem in the US of A, then blog bad when Starbucks shirks.

[sigh]… lots of bad things to say about the liberal Starbucks. But not this time.

So. So me and my older boy barge into our local Starbucks, it was close — they built one in my front yard — and bark to see the manager.

A pleasant young lady, the smiling shift leader, the liberal-chirpie-communist looks at my certificate.

The traditional Chinese calligraphy is difficult to understand; the only thing legible (to us) is the Starbucks logo.

“I demand redemption,” I’m a-smirking.

She doesn’t stop smiling. Looking at the certificate, although confused, she says, “Yes.”

I’m crushed.

I give her the Full Disclosure about Your Business Blogger bashing Starbucks. I ask her a few questions.

Meagan, from Texas, was transferred with her Navy husband to Maryland.

(This is the only way Maryland gets any jobs. The only way Texas loses any employees.)

Anyway, I ask her why she took my scrip from Shanghai. “It’s our ‘Just Say Yes’ program. We want to make our customers happy.”

A simple procedure, a simple policy. The bigger the company, the broader the audience, the simpler the sound bite.

Not unlike Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No!” Meagan’s “Just Say Yes!”

Revealing a positive attitude and an effective training program. Starbucks will never need Your Business Blogger consultant. Not that they’d ever ask anyhoo.

I don’t think Meagan is a communist. Or even a liberal, married to a Navy guy from Texas and all.

We redeem the coupon for a creme based yummie frozen chocolate chip 12 oz for The Dude to celebrate his home run.

We leave happy. Darn it.

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So why boycott Starbucks? Following is a cross post from Charmaine from last April.

Color-coded Shopping: Starbucks, Out! Dunkin’ Donuts In!

As reported by Brenda Goodman in one of my favorite lefty business mags, Fast Company, there’s a new source for color-coding your shopping and coordinating your voting and your spending habits.

Check out www.choosetheblue.com and www.buyblue.org: they’ve compiled the data on how corporate PAC’s and corporate leadership contributed in the last election cycle.

There’s bad news for conservative coffee drinkers: Starbucks, 100% Dem!! And what’s this betrayal from Bed, Bath and Beyond??

Sorry buyblue guys, you heard it here first: this cuts both ways.

No more Starbucks for this girl!

Is this what’s behind the left-wing war on Wal-Mart? Hey, two sides can play this game. If Wal-Mart or Sam’s don’t got it, we don’t need it — (with apologies to Garrison Keillor).

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(For more on political color, see here: conservatives are the new progressives. . .)

Update 18 June 2005: Patterico’s Pontifications reviews the high cost of coffee: See-Dub: A Little Lattetudinarianism, Please

Update: Sean at The American Mind reminds us that coffee cost is de minimus. See Coffee is a Drop in the Bucket.

Update: Daniel W. Drezner questions assumptions in coffee cost in Which editor at the Washington Post owes Blaine Harden money?

Update July 13: AttaBoy points to a lefty humorous site where Starbucks is loved and WalMart hated.

see Basil’s Blog for a picnic.

Aslan's On The Move

March 29, 2006 | By | No Comments

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Chinese Snacks in Chengdu Your Business Blogger was looking for a bit to eat. Maybe some local flavor. In Chengdu, in the middle of China.

A traditional snack. I dropped into a small grocer and loaded up. Pringles, Oreos, washed down with a Coke. And Cheetos chaser.

Then I noticed something. As I looked down into my feed bag, I saw international brand names.

(Nothing escapes Your Business Blogger.)

Peter Drucker said that innovation and marketing were the only competitive advantages the USA needed.

The raw ingredients in Coke and Cheetos are commodities. Available anywhere. Cheap.

The real added value is in the marketing. From America.

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Pepsi ad at The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

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Wyeth formula ad in the Beijing subway

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Starbucks at Beijing Airport

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Coke bench ad in Chengdu, China

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Narnia sidewalk poster, Chengdu Narnia? In the Middle Kingdom?

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Narnia at a theater near you, Chongqing, China American marketing on the move.

Aslan’s on the move.

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Thank you (foot)notes:

Interested in Narnia? If you are near Glen Burnie, Maryland, be sure to come to the C S Lewis lecture Thursday nite.

More pics at The Travel Bug

See Snacking Across China.

Visit Basil’s Blog for his pick of good posts.