I figure getting started over the weekend may be best.
Where to begin... Well, apparently it has been 4 years since the first AMA but, as we all know, been a crazy 4 years.
I graduated in 1999. Have lived in Mexico (briefly), Australia and China (now for 23 years). Have traveled all over the world. I used to managed global design firms, as well as operated my own firm for a time, and have estimated 500+ built projects worldwide that i would say i had at least a direct hand in, including some of the world's biggest projects to tiny rooftop landscapes. Though I don't work formally in design any longer I am still involved in a lot of work.
Currently I am the CEO of Topgolf China. I am an investor/owner in a number of businesses including a luxury senior living development company, medical clinic company and a trading company.
so... ask away and I'll try to answer.
I read all that and all I can think is why?
Hey Fernleyhokie, I'm Brian.
While I'm not a VT alumni, I was fortunate enough to grow up in Blacksburg and I'm nothing if not a Hokie. Been living overseas myself in Okinawa for going on 8 years now. I always thought Top Golf would do great here due to several factors: golf is already very popular on this small island with numerous beautiful courses. There are tens of thousands of US military and support personnel here that should be familiar with Top Golf from back home. And given its reputation as a premier travel destination in SE Asia, Okinawa has no shortage of people looking to go out and have fun with friends (tourists and military personnel alike).
So my question is how can we get a Top Golf facility out here??
Hey Brian! Japan is an incredible market for Topgolf for sure. I don't have a good answer for you though.
My side is only responsible for China and Southeast Asia. I will say that land in Japan is very costly and limited so it makes it quite difficult. I wish I had that market under me though because I love working in Japan.
If you ever make it over here let me know and I'll hook you up.
What originally brought you to China and why have you stayed for 2.5 decades?
I'm going to link my first answer to this which is the long explanation
short answer was for work and I stayed for the same reason for the most part. Never really had a plan per se. Just took the opportunities that came to me and it's worked out pretty well. Living here has it's challenges for sure but there are plenty of upsides that make it easy to live.
My answer 4 years ago was at a time where I was generally free to work and travel wherever I wanted. My role now is primarily China based so I will focus my time here for the most part.
China's imminent real estate collapse: actually a thing or blown out of proportion by the media?
It's a really interesting topic. Officially there are about 500 million residential units in China, though likely much more when counting informal units, for about 1.4 Billion people. So already that is a lot considering people live with family traditionally, so there could be 6 people in one unit. Lots of people hold multiple apartments for investment and even summer homes as well though.
And, as the experts say China's population is inverting, meaning there is about to be a shitload more old people than young people. However the tipping point isn't until about 2050. You can track it here: https://www.populationpyramid.net/china/2023/
So, if you consider those two factors, then yes it would seem like there is a massive bubble about to be burst.
BUT, a lot of that 500 Million units of housing is pretty shit. Anything built before 2008 is pretty shit to be honest, but especially anything built before year 2000 and even more so when you get down to Teir 3, 4 and 5 level cities. China land ownership works on timelines. Residential use is typically granted for 30, 50 or 70 years, and while they are able to get extensions it really is up to government to decide when that use ends and they can do at any time. So anything built from 1970s, 80s, 90s are all pretty much up for redevelopment at any time per the whim of the Government and for whatever they deem is appropriate replacement.
So the government could quite literally redevelop as much old residential use they want and keep the total amount of housing in the range of what is comfortable for the market. And it's been doing this for as long as I have been here. If they are smart, and generally these days Central Government is pretty damn smart about land, they will continue to wipe these older shit residential off the board and at greater volumes.
Add to the fact that China is still urbanizing the population of USA into its existing cities and things get a lot less doomsday than what you may be led to believe in the media. That being said, it could very well see a bubble burst but seeing how rapidly China responds to economic threats I would be fairly confident in their response. Also having first hand seen literal millions of people forced to move for development projects I've been a part of, it's fairly easy for me to believe that.
What's the dumbest thing you have ever done?
Whats the nicest thing you have ever done?
What's your favorite sound?
Whats your least favorite sound?
If you could remove one thing from existence in the world, what would be? It could be a person past or present, a thing, an emotion, .....anything.
dumbest: getting into debt when I opened my own firm. I managed to get out of it but it took some doing.
nicest: this one actually had me stuck... I think it's really up to others to define how nice someone is or isn't, but I try to help people in need, especially friends and family, whenever I can. hmm.... one time I helped a family I don't know connect with a research doctor specializing in their child's illness. They had been trying to get connected to him for over a year without luck and I was confident I could get his contact. So I did and then contacted the family to put them in touch. Their child passed sadly..... but, something like that I guess.
Favorite sound: I have fond memories of being out in the desert at night growing up. Everything about it from the amazing clear night skies to the sounds made an unforgettable core memory on me.
Least favorite sound: kids crying in real distress or pain. really gets to me.
Remove one thing: Ignorance. I'm hoping this would have a knock on effect that vastly reduces hate, social polarity and increases empathy.
(edit: fixed some grammar and spelling)
Children crying is the correct answer.
If you could funnel millions to VT athletics, how would you do it? Scholarship fund? NIL? Shady under the table deals with coaches? Some other way?
I think in today's NCAA only two things matter anymore:
So I would either find a way totally legit ways to put money into deals for coaches or into NIL.
Anything else would be less value for my money. Although if I got my name on a building that would be cool.
Will China invade Taiwan, and does the average Chinese citizen support a hostile takeover? Where do you stand?
My honest answer and even though it sounds like a diplomatic one is that I am just against having a war over Taiwan. Most Chinese are given media that is approved and are very proud of their country so they feel Taiwan is definitely part of China. I couldn't say if that means they support a hostile takeover though.
Had a friend in grad school from Taiwan that was part of the pro-independence party. She wanted Taiwan to publicly declare independence and sever the idea of ever rejoining. At the time you had full independence, rejoin with China (even if largely on China's terms) and just keep the status quo going and not push hard groups.
Another grad student from China that I only vaguely knew got into an "argument" with her at a party over the status of Taiwan and China. But they were both the stereotypical ultra-polite types and it was just so funny listening to them argue without trying to say anything impolite.
Do you have any interest in adding a niche Hokies website to your business portfolio?
hahaha, regrettably I have to pass. I am curious in the valuation you have though!
It wouldn't be anything outside of the current marketplace's multiple.
I hadn't really considered selling it before, but in January I got an unserious offer, but it made me think about it some for the first time.
I may have asked this before, but what about licensing or franchising the platform or program you've designed for other teams fans to create their own fan sites? (Sorry if the terminology is off- this stuff is not in my wheelhouse! )
There's not a huge market for it.
IDK....there's 120ish D1 teams.....just saying.....
There are a lot of teams, just not a lot of independent publications that would need TKP's tech stack and platform. It's a rare thing.
I don't even know what that would be to be honest. I am genuinely interested in the business but I don't have the time or technical know-how. So I would be hiring someone to do it which I think you personally subsidize yourself, if I'm not mistaken.
correct. you know it or is that internet sleuthing?
Navy family? Didn't seem to be much in Fernley other than the houses of everyone who worked in Fallon.
Nope. My step father was based in Hawthorne NV for a while but moved to Reno afterwards. He met my mom when we lived in California and he was working as a long haul trucker. They got married and we moved to Reno, then to Fernley to afford a single family home.
Most people in Fernly definitely don't work in Fallon though. Most work locally or in Reno/Sparks. I'm sure there are some but not many. But you are correct, there is not much in Fernley itself.
I believe you once told me that your avatar photo was your grandfather. Care to tell us a little about the man and why you chose him as your Avatar?
That is my grandpa! sure, would love to.
I use him as my avatar because I loved going to VT and it's a connection I have to him that nobody else in my family has. One day I will get the real picture from my mom as well.
Ha, I grew up in the woods between Scottsville and Palmyra. Not a town name I see referenced very often, if ever.
me either! spent a lot of time there growing up. a great small town.
So on my way to the Nebraska I was on the most obnoxious flight for non hokies ever from Ohare to Lincoln, I only recall 1 passenger not in orange an maroon, which led to cheers randomly the entire time. The guy I sat beside had just come from China, was going to see the game then to NY for corporate meetings and then to our next game and back to China where he worked. I asked him what he liked best about China and he said he had a maid come everyday and it was like $6 a day or something ridiculously low. He could live a life that he couldn't afford in the US. So what is the thing you like most about China that you couldn't do living in the US?
#1: Sending my daughter to school without fear of her getting shot (not trying to be political, just my legit #1)
Other than that, the thing that always really stood out to me is the unprecedented access to opportunity living outside USA gets you. For example, by my third year here I had met and befriended 3 ambassadors, multiple CEOs of famous companies and Mayors of major cities. I was like 25 or 26 at the time. crazy. I was managing a global design firm at age of 29 leading projects across multiple countries. That just doesn't happen in the States.
and btw, wasn't sure if your first post was a real question or just asking why anyone is doing an AMA, so I skipped it.
No I completely understand why people would do an AMA and you do a lot so I see why people want you to do one, it just seems like a lot of stuff to do/manage. Honestly I don't understand why any one would want to be a CEO, much less own multiple businesses.
P.S. It would be really interesting to delve into your 2nd answer more but I don't think the key play is the place for that conversation.
ah, yeah makes sense.
well, for me, I have two motivations. 1) Can I do it better than others? 2) Does it add anything positive?
It's a lot of work but I love the product and I love the team we built.
my 2nd answer? you mean, delve into the access part? if you have questions go for it. This is the only time on TKP to do it I suppose.
So growing up I knew tons of people like the ones you mentioned. I've known Joe Manchin as long as I can remember. I'd met Robert C Byrd a number of times. I had access to David Hardesty Jr if I wanted it. I grew up with people on the board of WVU, one was the chairman for a bit. I can go walk down the most expensive donation tailgating area of WVU in VT gear and be invited to tailgates by tons of people I know. Some of the best doctors and lawyers in the state. After my dad had his first surgery for cancer he started going to Duke for treatment because well its Duke and my sister lives close. The doctors at Duke were amazed at the work his surgeon in WV did. He was a scout master for me growing up.
I come to Virginia, albeit in a different time, and I dont know anyone like that. I don't know people who know people like that. The best I can do is that the PM I work with used to work with the CEO of the company 20 years ago and she definitely knows people like that. Buy I've never met her. The guy that owns my wife's company is also well connected but I've met him once, he does know who my wife is though. I've been in a box of a major major football program with many members of the university. I don't know a single person that has been in box seats at VT.
I dont know if WV and some of the smaller states are just more close knit, but Virginia feels like there is a big divide like you eluded too. I am curious to your thoughts one why there is a difference, are they culture, economical?
yeah, that is interesting. I definitely didn't have that type of exposure growing up but I think perhaps smaller communities afford greater opportunities for access. China is definitely big but the foreign community is not that large, especially when you just take professionals into consideration. Maybe that's it?
yeah it's interesting that I knew people like that as a kid but then you go to people my age I know very few that should be starting to get in those situations. I didn't know if publis figures are just more accessible in China due to a number of reasons, such as less cars? Or just that's the culture.
Not more accessible really but more readily available within the business community. I think by virtue of being part of a relatively small community of business and political leaders you make connections here pretty easily. That small community is what I was thinking may be the similarity to what you experienced in WV.
I think here especially because China can be a difficult business landscape most everyone is really open to meeting others and building on there networks. It helps to know people who can help you when you need it so you offer your help more readily as well.
Re #1: One of my close friends from VT lives in Hong Kong and he said the same thing. He got so desensitized to it in the states, and living in HK has made it clear to him how wild it is that those things are daily news in the states.
Fernley, NV- I have a few thousand shares in a startup based in Fernley. If it ever hits $20 a share we will have more NIL money than Texas A&M.
would that happen to be a battery company?
Indeed. An American battery company ;) Been holding and accumulating for a couple years now.
What American food do you miss most? Do you get episodes of Bluey before we do in the US? What American shows are not available to watch in China? Any issues with accesses internet sites?
Food: hmm... hard to say really. I do love biscuits and gravy, or at least I used to. I miss good USA style pizza. Oddly, USA style Chinese food. TexMex.
Bluey: I know what it is, but never seen it. My daughter has aged out but the Australian Cattle Dog is my favorite breed so I'm hoping its amazing.
Shows and Internet: I have several methods but they all demand I have a VPN. I have a box, think apple tv, that has television and movies on it from all over the world. And the VPN also gives me access to any streaming site I need so I can watch on phone or laptop as well. So I keep fairly up to date on shows, but not so much on live tv.
Soundtrack to the life of Fernley?
All I do is win?
man I wish! made me laugh though.
Yeah....I wanna know this too!
fun fact, for whatever reason I am shockingly bad at remembering anything about music. that includes lyrics, which singer/band and song titles. So this is a particularly difficult question for me.
I'm gonna go with:
Labrinth- Something's Got to Give
no matter what. push forward. "when the going gets tough, give a little more"
If you had it to do over, would you have gone for the architecture degree, knowing the path you followed?
I've thought about this a lot. And yeah I would. If I'm blessed with full disclosure then I would avoid certain mistakes and grabbed other opportunities I may have passed on. But genuinely it is what got me to where I am. I have worked on amazing projects, worked with the best developers, biggest governments, famous designers and world institutions. It also led me to being an expert in development pretty much anywhere in the world. I traveled the world and developed some key life skills.
And now, I use those skills in my work all the time. I'm a great salesman having had to sell my work literally everyday both to win projects and to convince clients I am right. I have developed a calm stress free approach to business management which ironically design taught me. I learned just how fast things can get done and how fast things should get done in. And how to manage execution of many things at the same time.
design afforded me the opportunity for all that. And I use my design background on my current development work both in Topgolf and the senior living company to produce superior products. We just launched the first large scale Topgolf in China two months ago. Largest venue in the world and I would say the best looking and most adaptive one as well. Knowing what I know gives me a shortcut to do that better and more successfully in my opinion.
Besides I am was always the idea guy not the drawing guy in arch and design world. I learned early in, that you either are the inspiration for what everyone does or you are the executor for the inspiration. I choose the former. So leading has been where I positioned myself from the get.
What's your least favorite work of the devil?
hahaha, well thankfully I never had to do additions to homes. well, I guess I did those in high school but in my post education career, never.
For me the least favorite were the things like government administration buildings in China. They can only look a certain way which is boring as shit. Paid well but look terrible.
outside of that, doing massive residential design where there are 20 to upwards of 100 towers all pretty much the same design and you have to make it exciting enough for the developer to sell is soul crushing. But paid the bills. I would always try to get the landscape design for residential as well so we could have some design freedom.
I guess architecture is the devil, who knew
I guess i misunderstood the question....?
Some Civil Engineers, particularly structural ones, agree with this.
I shudder to think of sheer volume of the engineering work that goes into making a frank gehry napkin drawing into a reality.
it's not as complex as you may think. all of his free form facades are usually attaching to a relatively simple steel structure underneath. It's just some of it is curved steel instead of straight. Where it runs into trouble is on the gap detailing where free form walls attached to steel meet ceilings and walls not built with steel.
Zaha's designs were much more complex engineering wise because she used formed concrete in such elegant shapes. I had the pleasure of being in several meetings where the local engineers were all shaking their heads in disbelief.
Like Fernley said, some are way more simple than they appear. It's the ones that want a complete 3 story glass face on the northern/eastern face at the beach that cause issues. Or 30' spans with a flush ceiling (no beam bump.) Ugh.
Sounds like you've been working on the structure for our designs haha
Ha, no, but our lead structural guy and I play a lot of golf together. We talk. Ha.
I dont think you guys have done any of ours (yet) but I know we drive our consultants crazy. but we're appreciative and pay the day we get an invoice so you gotta take the good with the bad
Love to watch the "How Did They Build That?" show on BBC channel- about how many of the unique/iconic structures were designed and built (The description of the show is "Across the globe, radical architects, ingenious engineers, and skilled builders are creating structures so outrageous, they defy logic...and often even gravity. From a Manhattan skyscraper that looks like a Jenga tower to a Singapore glass dome big enough to house a mountain to a high rise in Italy with a built-in forest, we examine the world's most extraordinary buildings, bridges, and lifts, reveal their design secrets, and discover the incredible stories of their construction as we try to answer the question: How Did They Build That?"
As someone "in the business"-do you ever watch that show? If so, what do you think of it? To me it is fascinating...
yeah definitely. I do watch it and it's a cool show, but it's kind of like knowing how the sausage is made. It isn't as glamorous in reality. Definitely cool to see amazing structures being built and the sense of accomplishment is through the roof, but no real drama. well unless you're working with a really dick architect that thinks they have a right to treat everyone poorly, which there are plenty of.
One time I was doing a project with a particularly douchey architect. My firm was doing the landscape. It was an important project for a major developer from NYC and we would have weekly coordination meetings. he would monopolize the whole meeting and then at the end make some snide comments about how we just need to follow what he is doing. But I would only show the progress on my original design. He would make a big fuss every week about how we need to serve the client better and options show the value of our work, etc. Anyway, I let it go until the big boss of the development company flew in and we had an approval meeting. This guy was showing how they did loads of concepts options and how they were inspired to explore blah, blah, blah.... a lot of pretentious bullshitting. And by this time I had still only ever shown the development of my original concept.
At the end of his bullshitting when he is handing it over to me, he made a comment about how he really hoped that today's meeting would help me to understand the need to develop more concepts that worked with his architecture. So I stood up, and thanked him and then said "I don't go to a steakhouse to ask the chef to cook it a 100 times. I prefer that it's done right the first time." And presented my side of the project.
In the end, my side was approved and they had a shitload of work to do. This guy was so pissed. The awkward tension in the room was amazing. hahaha.... especially since I was 30 at the time and this guy was a well known 60+ year old head of a global architecture practice. This was also just before the global financial crisis, and that firm went bankrupt due to his shit management. I ended up taking over the architecture of the project as well.
So, there is that level of drama.
Parenting philosophy, please 🙏
My parents sat me down early on and told me that if I did well in school and kept myself out of trouble they would pretty much let me be free to control what I wanted to do. Add in having respect for others and being a help to others and that was pretty much it. And they honored it. By HS I was pretty much given full freedom so long as I called in every now and then.
So I follow that pretty much. I let my daughter decide what her interests are and support her. Find her the opportunities that will help her and push her to take advantage of those. But as long as she is respectful to others, stays out of trouble and is responsible in her schooling and makes good grades then I give her freedom to do what she likes. And just like my parents I will let her have more and more freedom as she gets older. I will likely not let her disappear as much as I used to do but with smart phones and messenger apps its not hard to stay in contact.
What other sports/leagues/teams do you follow/support?
If you drink bourbon, what are your top three favorites?
What are you reading at the moment?
If you could erase one other school from existence, which one and why?
I didn't grow up with a local sports team. Closest were all in the Bay area and I didn't like any of them so I decided to choose ones from wherever.
NFL: Saints/Browns (At the time, I went for the two worst teams in both divisions.)
MLB: I've been to games but never been an interest of mine
NBA: same. I prefer college basketball
NHL: Red Wings
Rugbee League: Rabittohs
Rugbee Union: All Blacks
Boubon isn't big for me. I don't mind it but not my first choice. I just opened a whiskey bar and have access to pretty much any whiskey you could ever want to try. And I enjoy a great whiskey. Macallen 25, Dalmore, a Karuizawa, even a Bowmore .... all amazing. Always neat, no ice. But my favorite is actually premium rum which I got into when I visited my friends distillery in the Carribean. Changed my view on rum completely and I like that it's different than what most people like. Flor de Cana 25 or 30 please. the Generaciones is incredible.
Reading: Currently I am reading Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife
I've always had a fascination about the concept of Zero and it has an incredible history. The book is really quite good at given a thorough account of it's impact throughout history. It doesn't necessarily go as deep into the subject matter as I wanted but it is very well written.
Erase one school: tough call. selfishly, FSU because I think we had a pretty damn good chance at beating anyone else that year.... but I'm gonna go with ECU because F those guys and their disrespect.
Oooh a fellow Browns fan. Kinda nice not having expectations, but have to learn to live with disappointment anyway
long term investment. Saints paid off, now just need Browns and I look like a genius! or someone who proves that if you wait long enough every possible outcome can happen 🤣
i am same as you, not a huge bourbon fan, but i can go through some rum. what are your recommendations? i have been sticking with havana club lately, and a neighbor gave me bottle of bumbu recently, which is very good.
Zacapa Centenerio 23 is pretty solid.
I'm the opposite! But want to get into run. How do you typically drink yours? Rocks, neat, or in a cocktail?
typically, in a cocktail. but always try it neat first whenever i get something new
Good rum is like good whiskey. You should drink it neat or on the rocks. I prefer neat myself.
Not a rum fan, but tried some papa's pillar blond, neat, while in the keys, and could drink a lot of that.
Havana is a decent budget rum. Don't get me wrong I like it, have a few bottles of it at home, but if you like rum then you need to get into the premiums. Bumbu, depending on the year, can be quite good.
My favorite is Flor de Cana. Any age. Really good.
But here is a good list of some to try both in the premium and mid tier.
Flor de Cana
Ron Anejo Carupano
Ron del Barrilto
White rum is not my favorite but I had some Copalli Single Estate which was very good. Typically I mix white rum though.
Living mostly outside the US I don't get to try a lot of USA Rums but I hear some great things about a few:
I just got into African rum and there are some real stand outs there as well, mostly from South Africa:
25 Degrees South
and I haven't tried but I am trying to get to them: Tapanga, Still33, Brickmakers, Mora Mora, Mhoba, Rasta and Agua Zulu Cachaca
I also here Fiji has great rum but I haven't tried any.
Got hooked on Bacardi Anejo aged rum ( 4 yr aged and they have 8 year also) amber color; Smooth by itself but also mixes well with coke. Hard to find at times in some states.
I went to a wedding in Mexico and gained 12 lbs in 4 days drinking anejo Pina coladas
Wow thanks for this list Fernley! Hopefully the crooks at ABC don't make these impossible to find
Here is probably the best online marketplace. There's a lot here you can buy but sometimes they can't ship to specific locations. Some of the smaller distilleries have their own e-commerce platform as well if you check their own websites.
First off, I got into it pretty late. I didn't have the money to do anything like that for a long time. And I prefer to be in more control of my money then just burying it into stocks and bonds. Loads of financial advisers will probably tell you differently. But I will take less money with less risk than more money with high risk.
So I started by investing in things that I personally had interest in being a part in. That led to bigger opportunities that came up with getting to know other investors in the same projects.
If you are looking to invest as an angel it really comes down to the person you are investing in more than anything else. Companies evolve and there is no guarantee the person that started it will actually be the person running it down the line. But if you invest in the type of person that gives you confidence in their management, their understanding of the costs and how to make money plus who you personally like in terms of personality... then you have a great chance at getting your money back. Also if you can add value beyond money in terms of contacts, potential connections, sales etc it makes a big difference than where all you bring to the table is money.
What is your Favorite Hokie football game/moment of all time?
BTW I was supposed to graduate in 1999, ended up graduating in 2000
Favorite live moment was the national championship. Just being at the dance was magical.
Favorite moment of all time... hard to say. I really love Lee Corso's rental getting struck by lightning. Danny Coale's game winning catch against Michigan. Tyrod's comeback against ... everyone. Darren Evans trucking Maryland beast mode.
My favorite live moment was "the kick" when Chris Kinzer's FG was good, to win the 1986 Peach Bowl in Atlanta in Dooley's last game. The entire stadium was quiet, but erupted when the referees' arms went up.
Televised moment was ironically on another kick - Shayne Graham to beat WVU in 1999 to keep the unbeaten streak alive. The TV camera was all over those mountaineers' smug faces when they thought they had it sewn up, but then when the kick went thru and all of those 'Neer Tears (which were also on TV) were sweeter than high fructose corn syrup.
Kinzer's kick was a fantastic moment! I was there, too!
I was there too! Great moment and the Hokes first ever bowl win!
Also liked when they n(the NC State fans )were trying to do the wave (which I despise especially when done DURING the game action not timeouts or halftime) and it would get too thedividing line between Wolfpack and Hokie seating and stop dead!
Also remember after the kick, my roommate and I were high fiving everyone around us; he told me later that he was saying "hey why don't we head down to the field" but as he turned around in the middle of saying that, I was already 20 rows down and about to hit the turf! That was an amazing moment and celebration!
Lastly, being in Atlanta on NYE to celebrate your school's first ever bowl win? Priceless! (Only wish I'd been at the '99 season Sugar Bowl and been able to celebrate a Natty in New Orleans! (wouldn't matter that it was January 4th rather than NYE))
Awesome! I remember being absolutely hammered and going (stumbling) on the field after that kick. Somewhere there is a picture me holding a bottle of peach schnapps (it being the Peach Bowl & all) and a sign that I bought with the final score. I also still have that sign somewhere in a box...
I have (hazy, vague) memory of being at a bar, then going outside and climbing inti the back of a pickup truck with a camper shell on it; turns out it WAS the right one thank God or who knows where I'd have ended up. Also remember lifting the window and getting sick out the back on the road- didn't have any tailgaters that day lol !
I was present at the Lee Corso car incident. Rained SO HARD. Great VT moment
The Darren Evans' murder happened right in front of our seats that night. Looked like a freight train plowing over a light pole. Poor fella never stood a chance.
What everyone wants to know is who the international man of mystery wants to nominate to go next!
I'd hate to be the guy who has to follow The Guy
Kinda like Fuente?
There is only one way to do it.
Whadda ya think Fernley? Got a nominee to go next?
Has anyone been nominated in the other thread too? That thread is locked for TKPC only.
No one has been nominated...the idea was for the person doing the AMA to nominate the next person, so waiting to see who fernley nominates. If he doesn't respond in say, 24 hrs...I guess we could open up nominations. I didn't realize that dcwilsons AMA was in the TKPC forum (he created the topic thread). I feel like we should try to keep them public moving forward.
Right. I remember you saying that the person doing the AMA should nominate, I just wasn't sure if dcwilson did.
Just a suggestion to keep the AMA train from continuing to stall would be to have the AMAer nominate the next person in their intro and then the nominee can agree in the comments and start their AMA the next day.
Hopefully this saves you some time too.
This is a pretty good idea.
OK - with Fernley MIA - I'm going to nominate Senjohnblutarsky to go next.....
guess we shouldn't have asked so many China questions...
Not sure why I'm interesting, but I'll fire up a thread this evening.
Hey - there's something interesting about everybody!
Ok - so you are TKP userts AMA #4 - as maxANDcheese has suggested, how 'bout in addition to your background info, you include a nomination to go next so we have someone ready to go-
Oh- and make sure is in a public thread - I don't think these should be only for TKPC memners
Apologies everyone! One it got to Monday I had a crush of travel and government meetings. I'm good with Tophers nomination 😀
I was wondering your on-hand insight to stealing of intellectual property, algorithms, business methods, etc. by Chinese government/companies. Do you have to take extra efforts to prevent such theft? Is it as real/perceived as it is made out to be within the media?
Really curious to hear this answer as well. Mostly in the context of how often service-style business models are copied/stolen vs physical product designs and manufacturing specs.
So the straight answer is that it's extremely mercurial. There are actually very robust IP protections in China and especially these days government can be helpful to solve those issues for foreign entities. However, if your IP crosses into the knowledge base that is officially of interest and you want to continue business domestically then you have to make a choice. Either accept that you're going to run into problems here without those protections being applied, for whatever reason, or you partner and jv with local company and accept that you need to share.
Both ways have varying levels of success.
Even for something like my current business we have direct copycats in the market. or attempts of it. At the moment it's not worth it to close them down though especially since those attempts are terrible. But I expect it to happen and continue to happen.
The other thing that is perhaps surprising is that China has extremely strict controls on sharing personal data. You can get massive fines or even kicked out if you violate those. And it applies universally to everyone.
So you have to approach it eyes wide open and know what you are willing to expose and what you aren't.
It used to be much more prevalent and a huge barrier for investment coming in.
Thanks. Super interesting. It does seem like it is an issue and if you want in the market, you do have to play the game to a degree.
I'm an IP attorney and I have client that is a major medical device company. I was involved in doing some due diligence on an issue in which 3 former employees essentially took years of R&D data and protocols and all their knowhow, and sold it for millions to a Chinese company that was able to develop a knock-off device (of requisite quality) in about 18 months that took the company over 8 years to develop. I dont know the resolution or what the FBI can actually do in this situation, but it was definitely an eye-opening experience of real IP theft.
I work for a major medical device company! Small world! Or is it?
there are a few. this one is based in SoCal.
Not mine, then. Ours is based in Kalamazoo, MI
was this recently? aren't there policies in place now from Trump Era when he banned Huawei and listed tonnes of new companies on banned/watch list that specifically call for criminal charges for industrial espionage to China? I'm fairly certain Biden has expanded that as well.
yes, this was recent. I was only involved early on building a case from a technical standpoint (ensuring what they were doing was derived from my client's protocols, establishing what was known via patent publication, establish what would be considered a trade secret, etc). They were in active communication with the FBI, but I don't know if they were able to build the case enough to go after the defectors or to do something about the Chinese company. Probably could criminally prosecute the defectors if they could pin the actual stealing of secrets. The last person to leave the company was apparently accessing protocols that were not related to his actual work (and probably should have never been granted access), which might have been the smoking gun they needed. But it is hard to establish, let alone prove without a shadow of a doubt, the removal of such secrets and the sharing of such secrets with intent. The line between trade secret and knowhow is a blurred grey.
grey is the English spelling of the colour
the American spelling is gray
....i'm just poking fun...sheesh. Of all my comments, how did THIS ONE garner downvotes?