I am two full weeks out of quarantine in Beijing, China and have been incredibly busy after being away for nine months. I love the pace of China and optimism here, and it seems around every corner is another opportunity. It has been great catching up with many old friends and colleagues. I have also had my fair share of positive experiences and observations that have had a positive impact on my mentality, and I feel are all worthy of a larger audience. I hope you get as much of a lift as I did listening, reading or watching the events below.
Citizen Action Delivering Results
In the league of everyday citizens taking action to change problems that exist in our society, I loved this story a friend shared earlier in the week about Louisiana fathers taking school violence matters into their own hands.
Witnessing everything that took place in Glasgow this past week at COP26, we are definitely going to need a ton of citizen action to make the changes that are necessary.
A Huge Thank You & Walk Down Memory Lane
My long-time close friend and assistant, Toni Zhou, left Ogilvy this past week after 21 years. I couldn’t have been more blessed with such a loyal, smart, and helpful friend to assist me over two decades in China. I learned a lot from Toni in our time working together. She was kind enough to present me with a number of meaningful staff memos from my files dating back to the early 1990’s. One memo was “Holiday Wish List” memo to colleagues during Christmas 1993 which clearly reflected my youth and optimism at the time … something I am trying to preserve as I age :-). Thank you Toni Zhou for a great 2+ decades.
More Random Acts of Kindness by Extraordinary Citizens
On the the APP, Nextdoor, that connects subscribers to everything happening in their neighborhoods, someone in my neighborhood shared this story about an everyday citizen helping a homeless man across the street. This man apparently was confused and holding up traffic, and the young man took an interest in his plight, and, with a soft touch, escorted him to the sidewalk. I have seen a lot of such situations over the past year and was warmed to read about this event. Here is the picture of the young man, once he got the other man to the side of the road.
Fun Animal Photos If You Have A Moment
For the animal lovers out there, Tim Ferris, one of my favorite podcasters, has a newsletter and shared these photos I thought would bring a smile to many of you. Titled “30 Animals That Look Like They’re About to Drop the Hottest Albums of the Year”, the list is pretty ridiculous, but fun to explore if you have a few moments.
Hope Coming From Boston, Massachusetts
Amidst the elections in the US this past week, the win of Michelle Wu, the first woman Mayor of Boston, and also an American Chinese, was most exciting. In a fraught US-China relationship, this news was trending in China this week and a topic of conversation among many. If you have a moment, her acceptance speech is below.
Worldviews Shaped by First-Person Experiences
Finally, I received a thank you note on Friday from a fantastic colleague who came to join Ogilvy in Beijing three years ago from San Francisco. She is American and wrote how much she appreciated the opportunity to broaden her “worldview”. Three years-ago she wanted an international experience, yet she was on the fence as to whether she wanted to be in China. Three years later and she has had a fantastic experience, and according to her note, she is much better informed from her practical experience. The famous British spy author, John LeCarre, once said, “a desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.”
In my youth I also had many views about Asia shaped from television, global news sources and others who had opinions but never visited Asia. Only after being here and travelling the region, was I able to form views and a perspective based on first-person experiences. I know everyone cannot travel the world so freely, and certainly not now, but for those pontificators out there who seem know everything about Asia and China, but have never been, I only hope they have the chance to visit in person so they can form and shape their judgments from actual experience.
Thanks again for being part of this community. I am enjoying exchanging news and views with many of you, while also sharing what is coming into my inbox as it relates to best practices in the art and science of great communications.
Have a great week.