Good Horse Sense goes a long way in the Countryside! Jim Cook,China enthusiast since 1985 Management Strategist On the occasion of : China Rural Reconstruction Seminar on : March 3, 2014 Sponsored by : China Entrepreneur Network and the Detroit Chinese Business Association
Who would have predicted? Clue: Not Gandhi
Meet Your Clients! Rural China 2013
When visiting a foreign land learn their language! Urban SpeakRural Speak
First Principles of Country Side’s Complexity • The countryside will have contradictions (farmers will milk cows every single morning before 8, but would hate punching a clock). • The countryside will have stability up to some unpredictable point that involves many dimensions and/or many standard deviations. • Once a wide fluctuation (like the US Dust Bowl in the 1930s) upsetting a symbiotic balance occurs, the countryside may take decades or never return to its previous stable and robust state. • The experience of the countryside in one place will not necessarily transfer. • Diversity is at the core of the sustainability of the countryside’s existence; destroy it and you will destroy the countryside. • The Countryside is more like a baby than like a machine; it will flourish with love and die with exploitation.
Summary of good Horse Sense • Villages are as diverse as their land and history • Respect villagers’ real abilities, character and values • Be patient, let villagers trust and tell you their needs • It’s vital to be fluent in the villagers’ values and culture • Villages are complex societies (as contrasted to Cities) • Disturb their robust stability and it may take decades to recover • Experience may not be transferrable even from similar places • The countryside is more like a baby than like a machine • Ignoring above has been the major source of set backs!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Sincerely, Jim Cook email@example.com I welcome your email and will try to answer, promptly, and remember: “The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960)
Links for the Interested and Curious • This powerpoint and the accompanying transcript are at: http://cha4mot.com/CEN-CRR.ppt http://cha4mot.com/CEN-CRR.doc • A review of The Rural Way by Sun Jun is at: http://cha4mot.com/theruralway.html • An analysis of Mao as Entrepreneur (1927-1947) is at: http://cha4mot.com/mao in English & Chinese • The DuPont Business Case for executing Step Change is at: http://cha4mot.com/HBS-step-change-case.pdf
Declaration of Beliefs Villagers are: • As resourceful as they can be given their current context. • More anxious to better their lives than ordinary Urbanites. • Not brand followers, rather choose to fill real-life needs. • Driven by different values and behaviors than Urbanites. • Highly dependent on the their location and its history. • Not going to be helped by “one size for all” programs. • Too deferential to local and central government officials. • Going to be helped by creative alliances & flexible support. • Not going to be helped by usual ways of MNCs & SOEs. • THE MOST PROMISING MARKET IN CHINA TODAY!
Declaration of Ignorance I know far too little about the: • Political dynamics of initiating and sustaining village action. • Priorities that Villagers themselves have in any given village. • Behavioral culture of Villagers as contrasted to Urbanites. • Past experiences with outsiders coming into villages to help. • Rhythm of the season’s impact on the Villagers’ daily lives. • Aspirations that Villagers have for their families and lives. • Things taken for granted in the city like security, water, sewage. • Impact of “progress” on existing relationships and social power. • Way that I &/or my initiatives might be accepted and rejected.
Commitment to Action • Investigate the “Base of the Pyramid” opportunity space. • Check out “The Rural Way” by Sun Jun (农道, 孙君著) • Tap Michigan’s special access to China New Countryside Projects. • Intern with a New Countryside NGO or team up with a Project. • After research, try innovating some business models for Villagers.
Jim Cook’s Journeys • President, CEO of NASDAQ Listed Company (Software Tools) and on the board of two publicly held and numerous private companies, all high technology • President, CEO of Exxon-Mobil financed venture (Electronics) • President, CEO of Globatech, Inc. in Beijing (Japanese financial portal) • Vice President (Technology) Computervision, Fortune 500 Company (CAD/CAM) • Taught MBA courses at UCSD (Economics of Mfg.), Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Advanced Mfg.), and U. of Melbourne (Entrepreneuring) • Lectured on management at: Northeastern U., People’s U., and Chinese Academy of Sciences; BS math RPI, graduate math MIT, on CCTV news with Jiang ZeMin • Consulted on management to: DuPont, Motorola, Bell Labs, D & B, Fiat, … • Interviewed 6 times on FNN (now, CNBC Financial) about High Tech investing.