What a day! I absolutely love to be here. And I’m pretty sure you’ll love too – welcome to China! The gate is open, you’re warmly welcome!
If you still hesitate, let me introduce you a small-size independent entrepreneur’s normal day here. After reading this, I bet you wanna come too! The amount of pace, learning and finding yourself is just staggering. I feel not just this place is full of awesome, unique opportunities, but also that I’m becoming more who I am and what I’m supposed to be. China can be the place that finally helps you to become what you always wanted to be.
Whether you’re entrepreneur, student, office worker, housewife, artist, or working in a government, there’s no place like China – I guarantee. How does it work? Let me introduce you. Life is like a box of chocolates, and it can be for you too.
Let me recap a little.
I decided to have a productive day today and get my ongoing projects as much forward as possible. Living in Hangzhou, just next to fancy Asian games stadium and G20 venue, the surroundings are surprisingly fresh, clean and tranquil. It is a lovely place to take your morning jogging at 6:30am and run around half an hour. Not any rush, not too many people, not too warm, sun starts rising up, making beautiful rays to the Hangzhou river and lightening up the ”Golden ball” and your neighbourhood water areas. Witnessing the park workers, from Henan and elsewhere China smiling and watering the green grass for each of us, jogging in the G20 riverside course and gazing to the lovely river.
Up to shower, take your mango drink, kiss your girl for goodbye for ahile, scan the qr code of the yellow Ofo, and cycle through Transfar and Tianren tower next to your office. High-five your co-collegues at a new energetic, international co-working space in Baosheng tower, one of the Fortune top 500 companies from local district, whose CEO comes once inawhile hanging around looking like my neighbour’s cleaning lady’s father. You’d never know he’s almost a billionaire.
Listening on your own desk to some Finnish music, Nightwish through QQ or Netease music, thinking about your own country, your roots, having an hour of moment to remind you why you do what you do. God’s mission, building heaven on earth is at the core of everything I do. God’s brought me to China, introduced me this amazing woman that I so much love, a secret deal between me and God to take care of her, thinking about those entrepreneurs, individuals, who might have a dream to come here, to find a better life, a new start, to make a breakthrough, find themselves. And all those Chinese that area struggling with making international contacts.
You think for a second and remember. This is why it’s important to make an impact, to influence, through politics, entrepreneurship, culture. If you don’t do it, who will do?
You highlight your goals of the day, a few most important ones. Today I’ll take the plan of one of our this month key projects, sister city support for Hangzhou and Oulu to the next level. New educational opportunities are arising. You can make a lot of good – and help to gain your own possession and means to influence. John D. Rockefeller said it, gain as much as you can, save as much as you can, give as much as you can. I believe in it.
Sunday’s very refreshing church discussions in my mind on the relationship between god and mammoth. I love that theme. “If you put God as number one, you cannot go wrong. The difficulty comes of doing that when you’re fortunes grow. Corruption enters the pictures and aims to corrode your heart.”
Where your treasure is, there is your heart too.
I got invited to a top-class education meeting in China’s top university Zhejiang University. Vice-minister of education in China also present, such as top educators from the whole country. And equally in the middle of all those superstars, you have a Finnish educator, Mr. Mika Tirronen. He’s THE guy. The one who was invited as the guy from Europe, the only one from Europe to one of the most important annual Chinese education gatherings. Another American was also there, but that was it. And first row Chinese influencers.
“I got the invitation and thought this is a seminar I really want to go. It didn’t have any normal ‘spectacular’ official speeches, where we foreigners are places as outside position, nor did it have any jargon or useless talk”, Mika talks and continues: “We had direct views and even harsh opinions on the state of China’s education. I loved every minute of it.”
Mika Tirronen is one of those guys that make China shake. One of those who truly understand what’s going on in China and is able to move around the sometimes challenging guanxi-network.
I asked him, how to get things done in China. He said it’s easier, if you have understanding of your own brand, such as Mika got through working in the Finnish Academy, and research, grant and other institutions helping him to know different education industries and government processes.
To make it in China you need three things:
You need to like China. You need to like people. And you need to be flexible and curious – you need to be able to change your opinion if necessary. Today’s lecture he could prepare only 60-70%, the topics and talks vary and you need to be able to alter things on the go. You need to like China in order to be here and like to get things forward. You need to understand the culture and the background, language helps too. You also need to be curious about the people and even if you’re busy, you still have the chance to listen to that guy who comes knocking your door for a second – he might be the crucial one in the end. And you need to be flexible. China changes so fast and also you need to be able to change your thinking and patterns you’ve got used to. They might not work here. It’s another world. How much you can get along here and learn and understand if you spend some more time here and genuinely connect with the culture and the people?
Mika obviously gave a million of other tips and analysis on the current projects, such as on Hangzhou and Oulu, on how to best proceed with city level co-operation, and how to connect with the Chinese. Minister is also coming very soon. How can you arrange all that? “Well the diplomatic pass helps. But when Chinese realize that, ah, that’s the guy who can get me people, that’s when they start respected you for real. And that’s a nice position to be.”
Looking fwd to that…
Great to talk with Mika, he should write a book on his China experiences and experience he’s gathered in the past year’s.
From Mika I went back to office. I introed a new dutch talent, Julien, who works on data analytics and consulting for Dutch and other companies. Really inspiring discussion. Nice person. “I really got impacted on your talk Lauri here 2 weeks ago. That was one of the reasons I decided to come here and check this out.” I held an introduction and inspirational speech on entrepreneurship in Hangzhou and here. I hope we could take those stuff more forward. Clever guy anyway, while I was away, Chloe shared some of here Korean food with him at the office.
And while coming back Chloe worked really quick on making a computer file on all essential Hanghzou-Oulu preparatory papers that I had introduced. Chloe is very good on those. Nice excel sheet, all in the nice folders on desktop, good communication, great. Chloe also has showed to have a very good eye on people and recruitment. She often sees through people, many times better than I do. She knows especially if person is trustable and genuine. Every person should find their place in the setting. I’m happy to have Chloe as assistant, she knows a lot, and she’s learning, and I don’t feel bad to stay too long at the company – as I’m not “away” from home but working together. It has challenges of course too, to ‘mix’ family and work, but in present modern life we live internationally someone may need to find solutions that suit you, but might not suit as a theory.
I also had a surprise visit by Jani and Antti, partners from Radii, that I’ve cooperated with the spring time. We agreed to focus more on the bigger picture of Sino-Finnish entreprneursial co-operation. Consultation model might not work perfectly, need more reasobale and meaningful model. We agreed we’d need to build a board of advisor on China, and a larger “China ministry” type of institutaion that can connect people and funds and bring differnet insittuions under one umbrella. If we all cooperate, we have so much bigger cake to share. If we don’t… well you know.
After that took a didi to metro station and had promising call there with Oulu education sector folks, Johanna and Eija. We held a 45 min wechat call on the train station. Very good talks and concrete followup – and a meeting scheduled between some core custoemrs and parnters. I can connect government too.
A new meeting for next WEndesfday with a principal. Then helping to kickstart and bridge relations.
And to Shanghai by train. Tomorrow meeting 1h on a breakfast with Nokia and F-secure chief, Risto Siilasmaa.
“Lauri how did you managed to get a contact on him and persuade to come to meet you!? My god do you know who he is, he’s maybe the most influential person in Finland! He’s super successful. How did you do it?”
The answer is, I didn’t need to do it, I was invited to meet him and share more on China and what’s happening here. He is also on a personal level very charming, charismatic and super trustable person. From modest and humble background, with a sincerely loving family, I believe he gets the priorities and ethics absolutely correctly right. Another great Finnish shaker in China.
It’s late night, at 23.45 and time to go to bed, early wake up tomorrow. Let your mind take care of the rest…
A few illustration on a China entrepreneurs day. And by the way, yes I did eat in the middle, I did buy by some phone credit, a few tickets, book the hotel, recruit 2 to interview a.s. on.
Imagine how your day could be in China? How would it start? What kind of stuff you might encounter?
Sometimes nothing works, but everything is part of a bigger plan.
That’s my day! What’s yours?
How to connect your dots?