Archive for the ‘China’ Category

Business in China

February 15, 2011
Pleasure doing business!

Pleasure doing business!

Doing business in China is peculiar at the best of times. Lunches and dinners top the list. Here is a recent impression of a business **lunch** in China:

After a three hour afternoon meeting in a cafe with espresso and latte, fruit platters, waffles topped w/mysterious shredded brown and whipped cream, french fries, warm water with lemon and chain-smoking friends topped off with snifter of Remy XO we retired to a nice restaurant to further stuff ourselves.  The cold hallway leading into the private eating rooms was lined with down  and/or fur coat clad waitresses.  In the bathroom I could see my breath and my tallywacker was in hiding.  Ironically the private dining room was heated to 80 degrees.

Gourmet served today included mini mini shrimp in shell; put it in your mouth with a smile and delicately try to eat the tiny meat out of the shell before spitting the bits on your plate.  Next on the menu were tiny wild birds, glazed in Sichuan sauce w/large pig haunch to eat with hands.  Roasted cashews followed by “fat head fish”. Delicious river fish with flaky white thick meat – but tons of small bones.  I told them I couldn’t drink baijiu (like jet fuel) because of the medication I was taking for my broken collar bone. ‘Hah!’ they said, ‘baijiu is perfect for broken bones’, and poured me and the leader a fat glass.  We toasted throughout dinner, talked business and management and finally got the conversation lightened up by crossing into art.  It turns out Mr. Shen taught middle school art in his previous life.


Pres. Brent


Mad Bomber® Wins Consumer Goods Technology’s Outstanding Achievement Award

October 22, 2010
onsumer Goods Business & Technology Leadership Conference

Consumer Goods Business & Technology Leadership Conference

The Consumer Goods Technology’s Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes the Mad Bomber as one of three small to mid-sized consumer goods companies that is best utilizing innovation, technology, business processes and/or sales & marketing to grow in size and revenue.  Award results are determined by members of esteemed companies like Heinz, Alberto-Culver, Energizer, Sara Lee and Johnson & Johnson.

This is how Brent the The Mad Bomber® himself recaps the news:

After the disaster  of 2008/9 we changed management internationally, our systems, processes, and our entire way of thinking. It’s a particular pleasure to receive this award recognizing our new team’s many efforts to implement dramatic change across all of Mad Bomber’s systems. While staying in $35/night flea bag hotels and traveling internationally in the back of the bus for over two years our crew managed to cover China, Europe, and the USA while implementing dramatic systems changes and creating a new system which leveraged improvements in IT, New Media, communications, web technology, and virtual design. I think it’s fair to call us “New Media and Tech Evangelists” now. Thanks to our great crew in the US, China and Europe for making it all possible.

It will certainly be a pleasure to personally accept this award Oct 26 at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. Having spent the last two years engaged in a company-wide “Extreme Makeover” using an “Extreme Budget” process you can bet we’ll revel in the luxury of the Ritz for the day. Then we’ll get back to China visiting factories and enjoying sauteed scorpions while standing on three hour trains for lack of seat reservations….

Click [HERE] for the event’s web site for more information.

NZVCA 2010 Annual Private Equity & Venture Capital Conference

October 15, 2010
New Zealand - land of the long cloud...

New Zealand - land of the long cloud...

Recently I was invited to speak on Growth in Asia at a Private Equity Conference in New Zealand. The NZ government was even kind enough to offer to pay me as well as cover my travel expenses for the privilege. I want to thank Mad Bomber which has a 26 year footprint in China and its’ efforts to establish western safety standards, support local schools and villages, and continued efforts to quietly but consistently encourage entrepreneurship, private enterprise, and forward movement under Chinese law. Mad Bomber supported efforts have contributed to our understanding of China and Asia. I hope I’ll have the chance to enjoy the South Island, the nice folks, good beer and wine, and find an excellent sheepskin bomber hat.  Read all about the conference [here].

WorldFair Burgers in China

September 24, 2010

Whilst in Shanghai for the World Fair Nik and I went out for a walk near Nanjing Road. Got tired and decided to splurge on a good hamburger and went into the hotel next to Le Meridien: One bio-dynamic burger cost $25 so we decided to split a burger and small bottle of water for $10, half glass each.

Our Chinese waiter Jim noticed we were cheap and brought us an extra basket of delicious bread then at end of meal offered Nik free access to the ice cream bar. What a nice guy. Sometimes it’s okay to be on a tight budget. We thought the prices inside the World Fair complex (see photo with Niki) were high…

Etiquette Reminder

September 24, 2010

Good signs at the 2010 Shanghai World Fair advising the public of the rules and regulations. I like that “no challenging” and meanwhile can I share your drink and food? Polite language shouldn’t be a problem but “no noising”. If you’re in China forget it. It’s loud everywhere and if not someone’s cell phone will ring and they’ll be yelling into it soon enough.

Give work the finger

August 13, 2010
ZD2F20 Fingerprint Access Control & Time attendance

ZD2F20 Fingerprint Access Control & Time attendance!

Check out this cool fingerprint check-in device. I just finished meeting with Beijing animation wizard Lifeng Wang and his company Xing Xing. These guys are the Pixar/Disney of China. They’re producing very cool animation and special effects.

Anyway the employees come to work and check-in by sticking their finger into this scanner.   I like it because it saves everyone time and no more filling our time sheets and processing them.

Miscellaneous notes from China

August 8, 2010

Running around in the rain in China I noticed folks wrap plastic bags on their shoes, keeping their feet dry, while my ColeHaans, and my feet, get soaked. For dinner ate mini fried crabs, fish, shrimp, and other seafood delights in the good company of the inventor of the jPad – competition for the iPad.

Traffic is snarled today, so I flagged a motor pedicab which happened to be driven by a driver with MS. Clearly he did not have the best motor skills. I tipped him big for surviving Beijing traffic.

Rain today, but yesterday was hot. Noticed some guy running around with a camera case on his head for shade. Un-ashamed Chinese, gotta love it! But then I ran into one of the coolest buildings in the world (see picture above). I want an office in there!!

Why Shaming Has Lost Power in China

August 3, 2010

Why has it taken so long for China to ban public shaming of criminal suspects?

Hall of Shame

Interesting set of articles and contributions today in the International Herald Tribune on public shaming of criminals in China. Having spent the last 30 years engaged deeply with Chinese on all levels of society I wanted to comment briefly before I start my day early (so I don’t feel shame at letting my company and employees down by not working 16 hour days).

It is clear from the articles and for anyone who has spent time in China on the streets, in the factories, and engaged with the government that shame, family, and “face” influence many daily decisions and activities. It is also very clear China is changing rapidly. With 80,000+ legal street protests each year the Chinese are taking their issues to the street and to the internet.

What’s interesting is the apparent contradiction of Chinese sensitivity to foreigners criticizing it and the same Chinese ability to publicly shame alleged Chinese criminals. Gordon Chang and Jerome Cohen make excellent points on this matter.

Mr. Cohen asks: “What about their patrons and pimps and the corrupt police who will let them work again as soon as the “strike hard” campaign is over?” Yea what about those guys? They’re going to get away with it because money buys some form of varying protection in all societies. We might just as well ask how did Bernie Madoff get away with it? Money, political contacts, and a facade of decency. Don’t get me wrong I completely agree with Mr. Cohen’s question and implication that China as well as other countries need to treat the “have’s” the same as the “have nots”.  But also remember China is a country where they quickly try and execute high level economic criminals (Bernie Madoff would have been gone in 90 days) and the same for high level corruption. Just remember the tainted milk scandal and the lead paint in the toys scandal. You wouldn’t want to be one of those guys in China. Better to steal $100 million in America.

It’s easy to sit in the comfort of our suburban American homes (at least before the foreclosure) and critique China or any other country. But remember most citizens and folks want the same thing worldwide: home, family, food, medical care, schooling, and a good job (I might add a glass of good wine and a little love to that). The 2000 members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (like our Congress) are certainly starting to debate these and other important issues more openly and working diligently to move their country foward. Watch for more direction from Beijing on these type matters as China continues to steamroll it’s way to world power next to the USA.

China will continue to improve but in fits and starts making some steps backwards then forwards. I believe the ultimate change will come when farmers ally with students over a regional issue and use mobile and internet technology to rise in protest. Meanwhile keep glued to the news and watch China and the world continue to change in drastic and sometimes better ways.

Brent Reynolds

Money makes the world go Round

May 11, 2010
Depression 1.0

Depression 1.0

If lil’ old Greece ripples the global market what precipice are we teetering on and how deep is the abyss? The US needs cash in the small business market NOW but nothing’s happening. Where is Congress and Obama?

If Greece can affect the worldwide markets imagine what happens when 10 million American’s unemployment benefits run out, 2 million plus Americans lose their houses which then sit on a dead market, and the commercial real estate crash begins as a large volume of commercial real estate loans come up for re-financing while those deals are underwater. Hey mister can you spare a straw? Gotta breathe somehow…

Are we realistically looking at 2-4 more years of Depression 2.0? Will it get worse? I don’t see how it’s going to get “talked” back up. Better start buying Chinese reminbi

Life in the Mad Bomber lane

May 7, 2010
Brent just returned from China checking on production and shipping.  Nice trip with good food and brought the kids home “spicy duck tongues” for appetizers. Yum!
Brent back at Work

Brent back at Work

Last year was a disaster of collapsing production, strikes, embargo, finance, quality issues, late late late.  Growth of 40% but if your loyal retailers are unhappy and half your production is late who wins?
We’re up in sales 50% from same time last year and working to finalize remaining financing in a dreary banking environment.  We have very cool suitcases, bags, gloves, tees, sweats, and other products we’re designing and testing for our loyal tough outdoor customers.  But will we find the funding needed to roll it all out?  Exciting times folks.

 Meanwhile our Controller quit Tuesday night and walked out.  And I thought I was going to spend all May focused on design and financing.  Never a dull moment in the entrepreneurial world.

 I’m also looking at prototype insulated lunch bags (have any little bombers going to school), knit gloves, ear muffs, and new hats on my desk.  Should we barge full steam ahead or pull way back and re-group?

Mad Bomber