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16 - Managing a company while being an introverted CEO with Ronan Berder of Wiredcraft

“Managing people is still an enigma for me”

Ronan is founder and CEO of a successful app-development agency in Shanghai called Wiredcraft, which has offices in Asia & Europe.

They eventually found themselves working on projects in the international development space, such as building apps for the South Sudan referendum and other projects for both the UN & the world bank. Now they’ve focused more on larger corporate clients like Starbucks.

He was born in the south of France and moved to Tahiti when he was young, moving around a lot as his family was working in the army. He has spent many years in the US as well.

He considers himself a massive nerd, all the way from childhood through to studying math & physics later in life. He leads his company as a very intelligent but fairly introverted CEO who has to balance how to manage others & constantly be in social situations.

 

In this episode:
+ How he started his company as freelancing that snowballed into a proper company
+ Differences between building an agency vs building a product
+ Underestimating what it takes to build a product
+ Differences between design & engineering
+ How to sell the methodology by almost making an agency itself into a product
+ How he used drinking as a crutch to handle introversion
+ How he designed experiments to figure out how to interact with people better when he was young
+ Challenges of managing people as an introvert
+ How a lack of sugar coating leads to misperceptions of arrogance
+ The effects of alcohol on introverts networking

Links:

Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ronanberder/

Wiredcraft:
https://wiredcraft.com/

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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14 - How cooking pumps up WikiCookJoyce for a VP corporate strategy job at Publicis with Joyce Ling

“When something is happening top down, you think about their reactions from bottom up. And then you’re able to find the right strategy right in between.”

Joyce Ling is WikiCookJoyce, a food & cooking WeChat KOL influencer, when she’s not managing a large team at Publicis.Sapient as VP of Strategy. Joyce lived in Taiwan before her family moved to the Bay Area. She attended the University of California Santa Barbara with a dual major in fine arts & Chinese literature.

Around that time, Joyce started working in the makeup industry and eventually found herself moving to China to help Sephora launch there. After that she spent ~4 years in Dior where she split her time between training and Product Marketing. An interest in digital marketing led her then pursue agency life at Razorish & Digitas before roles at Michael Kors & ToryBurch brought her back to the fashion & brand side.

She’s now back on the agency side at Publicis.Sapient overseeing consumer insights and digital strategy development while on the side becoming a WeChat KOL for cooking. Joyce runs a popular account called WikiCookJoyce posting food and personal recipes. She even met her current boyfriend who was a fan of her blog and so we discuss how this just might be one of the smartest dating strategies around.

In this episode:
+ Her journey between Taiwan, US & China
+ How art is connected to the makeup industry
+ The importance of employee retail training
+ Meeting her first boyfriend in an AOL chat room
+ Why she became a food blogger on WeChat
+ The fear & drive of going on your own into the unknown
+ How she met her boyfriend through her WeChat blog
+ The “work” personality vs the real “Joyce” personality
+ The rituals she tells herself to get ready for a very social workplace
+ 10-minute problem breakdown strategy
+ How she uses food rituals to break out of her introvert shell
+ How management is seeing the best in people & knowing how to get it out of them as individuals
+ How to manage your own reactions
+ Using you early life interests to find the meaning in your work
+ How cooking can help you organize your thoughts

Joyce’s book (Amazon China):
https://www.amazon.cn/从厨房到餐桌-Joyce-Ling/dp/B01HRF23YQ/

Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joyceling/

Instagram: (don’t click if you’re hungry)
https://www.instagram.com/wikicookjoyce/

WeChat Official Account: (see above, same warning)
WikiCookJoyce

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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10 - WeChat marketing expert Matthew Brennan discusses latest trends in China

“WeChat is like the operating system for your life in China”

Matthew Brennan has been in China for 13 years, working in many different cities and eventually finding his way to research and becoming a WeChat expert.

Matt cofounded China Channel, which organizes China’s largest WeChat marketing conference series for international companies. They also produce a massive amount of content in the form of blog posts about WeChat & China tech.

Matthew spends his time working as a consultant, trainer, writer and public speaker. He’s also in the process of writing a book called ‘Building your Business through WeChat’ and his opinions regarding WeChat and the China digital ecosystem have been featured in global media:
– The Economist
– BBC
– The Financial Times
– Forbes and more.

In this episode:
– how to operate official account as foreign company
– the challenges of writing a book
– some of the ad products coming from Tencent
– how Tencent is driving search & AI forward for WeChat
– the decline & transition of the newsfeed, pushing people out of WeChat
– the challenges of social networks when they become a hybrid of colleagues & life mixing together
– how Tencent thinks about getting people out of WeChat & to talk more
– how people can make a job just selling in WeChat groups, like buying luxury bags in Paris & selling through WeChat groups
– live streaming & other unique China business models
– the state of micropayments in China

Matthew on WeChat
https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthew-brennan/

Amazon FBA in Guangzhou – sourcing from China selling on Amazon
http://www.chineseimporting.com/how-to-get-your-shipments-from-china-to-amazon-fba/

Fenda:
http://chinachannel.co/fenda-answering-questions-wechat/

Xiaomiquan:
https://www.xiaomiquan.com/

Dedao: subscription content for audio
Download on itunes link

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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8 - Florian Bohnert - Mobike Bike Sharing in China - The Beertelligence Podcast

“Working in a Chinese startup is another way to read the culture.”

Florian (富天宇) is Head of International Expansion at Mobike and Co-Director at Startup Grind Shanghai.

He has been in China for more than 7 years and started out doing factory inspections in Shenzhen.

He then moved to Changchun for a year and ended up in Shanghai, where he cofounded (and exited) from a startup called WeSmart in the SAAS space that helped corporate offices save money on their energy bills.

The focus of this episode is around his experiences in China & startups over the years, with heavy focus on early stage startups since he was the first foreigner hired by Mobike, a booming bike-sharing company in Shanghai that uses QR codes to unlock & rent bikes, picking up & dropping them anywhere around the city.

In this episode we discuss:
+ Interest in Asia early on
+ The value of foreign accents
+ How Shenzhen went from incomplete to ‘finished’ in 7 years
+ Visiting factories in China
+ Speed of tech adaption in China, especially WeChat pay
+ How founding team is more important than any industry in China
+ How he became the first foreigner in Mobike
+ How different bike sharing is in China vs previous bike sharing with fixed locations
+ Why Mobike is going international now
+ Comparing working for a French-owned company vs Chinese-owned company
+ How going to the museum & the zoo contributed to his environmentalism
+ Redesigning products to be cheaper, lightweight and more ecofriendly “Ecodesign”
+ Why China was so well set up for bike sharing at this time and going to massive scale
+ How bike sharing companies are dealing with the regulation challenges
+ What some ideal features to add to Mobike
+ Cultural differences showing up in how peoples interact with bikes as urban population’s social commitment
+ Why he wants to do stand up comedy

Article about mobike trips to the moon in terms of distance:
http://en.people.cn/n3/2017/0421/c90000-9206051.html

Documentaries by Morgan Spurlock
Super Size Me
http://amzn.to/2sNwIrk

The greatest movie ever sold
http://amzn.to/2rZE6Ue

Ted: The greatest ted talk ever sold

Habits book – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business Paperback – by Charles Duhigg
http://amzn.to/2r1x9Nl

Linkedin:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/florianbohnert/

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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5 - Marius Ionita - F&B Photography - The Beertelligence Podcast

“We wrestle bears, that’s what we do in our country.”

Marius is a 20-year veteran of the Shanghai Food & Beverage (F&B) industry having worked in clubs, bars and even opened his own restaurant.

Marius was born in Romania and moved to South London when he was 18, finding work early on in restaurants. From there he moved to China in 1999 and became a part-time DJ for 15+ years.

Now, with 18 years in China under his belt, he’s the CEO of Kollektiv, a group of design & photography freelancers . His company also dabbles in Event Management from time to time.

What is the “jpeg horse”?
As a bit of background, the “jpeg horse” refers to a picture in Brandon’s apartment provided by his landlord that is a picture printed of a horse that is such low quality that you can see the pixels clearly when you are up close. And luckily this is glued to the wall.

 

In this episode:
+ Differences between Shanghai 1999 & Shanghai 2017
+ Russian jokes in the office
+ Menu & food photography
+ The “Shanghai slide”, how great restaurants quality drops dramatically after 6 months
+ How being crazy helps in the restaurant business
+ Lack of music growing up in communist country
+ How ‘drunk talk’ can lead to good business ideas
+ How in 1999 all the foreigners knew each other & they partied with the Marines
+ Tips for eating street food & avoiding skewers outside nightclubs at all costs
+ Project management, communication & how to manage last-minute client deadlines
+ The importance of full debriefing of clients to ensure smooth projects
+ How entrepreneurs should invest more story, time, energy & soul into their brand
+ A school for F&B owners
+ How music controls flow in restaurants
+ How running a restaurant dominates your life & why so many people quit
+ Staff turnover in China issues
+ Partying & waking up an another town

Mentioned in this episode:
Tai An Table
http://www.smartshanghai.com/venue/13949/taian_table

El Willy F&B group & Tomatito:
http://www.elwillygroup.com/venues/tomatito/

Find Marius online
LinkedIn:
https://cn.linkedin.com/in/mariusionita

Web:
www.kollektiv.co

Wechat ID:
Kollektiv_Hub

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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4 - Ben Whitter - HR Employee Experience - The Beertelligence Podcast

“Fuck this podcast, order me McDonalds, I’m on my way to meet with HR.”

Ben Whitter aka Mr Employee Experience™, is CEO/Founder of the World Employee Experience Institute. He started out working in hotel customer service in Spain before transitioning into employee training & development roles.

After working across many sectors in the UK, he landed a large organization in the UK where he then started focusing in specifically on the role that HR plays, or doesn’t play, in organizations. He set out to motivate companies to focus in on the overall employee experience and streamlining the HR parts of the organization to focus on that.

FYI – This episode was recorded early Saturday morning instead of our normal afternoon sessions. Hence how slow & rusty we are starting out.

 

 

In this episode:
+ Momo’s hungover podcast idea
+ Spain customer service on a small island
+ How to deal with angry customers
+ How “being seen” is so important for the service business
+ Why isn’t HR a business leader
+ How “people are our greatest asset” are usually full of crap
+ Designing companies from ‘pre-hire to retire’
+ Airbnb stepping up on employee experience
+ Does HR need a re-branding?
+ How Airbnb is doing well with designing the office environment & spaces makes a big difference in trust & belonging
+ Adidas setting up a think tank about the future of work
+ Google setting up an area for staff to create new business & investments from internal funding
+ Use of employee engagement surveys vs continuous feedback loop
+ The importance of trust & transparency
+ Unique changes in the Chinese workplace
+ How staff decided to cut pay instead of firing people, which becomes a trust building exercise
+ Challenges at building company transparency in Chinese companies
+ The other executives who should move into HR / Employee Experience
+ Tesla’s progress on employee experience in China
+ Is Holocracy part of the solution?
+ Is unlimited vacation a good idea?

Mentioned in this episode:
AirBnB Chief Employee Experience Officer
https://www.airbnb.com/careers/departments/employee-experience

Google’s Area 120 startup incubator
http://fortune.com/2016/04/25/google-area-120-startup-incubator/

Life at SAS
https://www.sas.com/en_us/careers/life-at-sas.html

Netflix’s culture of Freedom & Responsibility:
https://www.slideshare.net/reed2001/culture-1798664

Employee Experience Seminar in Europe:
http://www.icongroupltd.com/agenda-employee-experience-seminar/

Find Ben online –
LinkedIn:
https://cn.linkedin.com/in/benwhitter

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/TsunamiLeader

Personal website:
http://www.benwhitter.com

Company website:
http://www.worldeeinstitute.com

Music:
http://www.bensound.com

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