Saturday, October 29, 2005

Tom Peters-2005.10.28

Tom Peters-2005.10.28
Tom Peters-2005.10.28, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

I attended a seminar by the author of In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters.

While on stage Tom Peters definitely takes advantage of the extra room, moving back and forth at a quick kenetic pace.

The range in which way he delivers his message varied from a soft-spoken, inquisitive tone "why do I do this? I know I'm going to get myself into trouble" to a screaming rant "DON'T EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER MAKE A CFO A CEO".

For a guy with 4 "hard" degrees (two civil engineering degrees from Cornell and two business degrees from Stanford), he used a lot of "soft" language. But as he writes in his book hard is "soft" and soft is "hard". 1+1 =2 vs. 1+1 = 109. Now I understand what he meant.

The slides can be downloaded from his web site (

He's got quite a sharp, biting sense of humor and thankfully I wasn't the interpreter.

Things he mentioned during his speech that I've read/heard elsewhere:

  • Necessity of discontinous innovation (get different vs. get better)
  • Crucial role design will play to differentiate products.
  • Importance of Ascending the value ladder (products > solutions > experiences...).

Other things that stuck (in no particular order):

  • If I was the president the first executive decision I would make is close down all business schools (mind you he has an MBA from Stanford)
  • If Taiwan wants to focus on branding need to do something about the Taiwan airport (first impressions do count)
  • Branding is a "state of mind"
  • Can't beat Wal-Mart on price or China on cost.
  • 3 billion capitalists
  • Price or quality- middle is untenable
  • If competing with a giant do it on your terms, not on theirs
  • Make big changes to big things
  • Delivery of message is as important as substance of the message
  • Marketing remains primarily targeted at 18-44 year old males, but baby-boomers and women "have all the money"
  • Believe in soul, value comes from something else (excellent example from Harley Davidson how not selling motorcycles but selling ability for 43-year old accountant to dress in leather, ride through town, and scare people).
  • Every business is a small business (quoting Jack Welch)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Son's art-2005.10.22

Son's art-2005.10.22

Son's art-2005.10.22, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

Griffon's work from his art class.

He attends the class once a week and I've been told among his go, music, and art classes, his favorite is art.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Meeting one of Taiwan's greatest writers- Kenneth Pai

It's not everyday you get to meet a great writer, but that's what happened to me this week. On Wednesday I met with Kenneth Pai (白先勇) at his home to discuss some articles I had been working on (long story).

Reading about him, his past, and his accomplishments for the articles made meeting him all that more rewarding.

For someone who has been called "arguably the greatest living Chinese writer", professor Pai was modest, sociable, and only provided limited feedback on the articles. Always smiling he quickly makes you feel comfortable in his prescence as he effortlessly switches between Chinese and English (he taught Chinese Literature at the University of Santa Barbara).

His first love is writing and he has written a number of famous novels many of which have been turned into drama series or movies. Professor Pai's second love is Kunqu Opera and he has been busy promoting a "Modern Version" of the classic The Peony Pavilion. To try and revitalize this dying art form for a modern audience, professor Pai edited the original story from 55 to 27 acts allowing it to be performed in 9 hours as opposed to 20. He also hand picked young, beautiful performers to play the leads instead of going with more experienced, famous performers.

A remarkable man who has experienced huge success embracing his first love, now seeks to do the same with his second.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Happy birthday to me...

already 32 (10/09). Nice thing about having a birthday on October 9th in Taiwan is that you're guaranteed to have a day off the next day (Double Ten day) to recover. Not that I've needed to recover for some years now.

Got me to thinking about birthdays, and for us growing up in B.C., probably the big ones are 16 (old enough to drive) and 19 (old enough to legally drink alcohol), of course never mixing the two together.

Go rush

Go rush
Go rush, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

Among the more exciting things I did on my 32nd birthday, play go with Griffon.

I just have very basic skills so I'm taking the victories where I can. Won't be long before he catches up and surpasses his old man.

Wanted to put him in go classes for awhile, but felt he was too young. He's turning 5 next month so we felt he's "old" enough now to start learning the basics.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Jill's Big Day-2005.10.01

Jill's Big Day-2005.10.01, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

Held at Taipei Story House on Chong Shan Rd. I liked how it was not your usual Taiwanese wedding. Tables were outside and even though a typhoon was approaching it still worked out well. Also food was buffet style.

I took Griffon while Kate's parents took care of Anna (Kate's in Hokkaido taking a much needed personal trip). Figured carrying Anna and dealing with diapers would probably be more trouble than constantly badgering Griffon to stay in his chair and eat his food. Jury's still out on that one.

Jill is among those people I've known longest at Trend. We've been in a couple of performances together for company parties. The first one we had to learn a "palla palla" dance a few years ago.

Congratulations Jill! Umee's a lucky guy.