China’s Growth Depends on the Service Sector

Very real opportunities exist for investment in China;

China continues to struggle fueling it’s economic growth; partly because it’s been paying for all of the infrastructure through borrowing, which as of right now is at about 250% of it’s GDP, adding to the fire is the forecasted economic growth not expected to hit 7.0% in 2015.

The amount of building that’s going on here is crazy… roads, high rise office towers, everything.

China recognizes the need to improve the lives of the citizenry rests in producing sustainable growth and participate globally.

In order to do that, China is going to have to shift from low end manufacturing to high end production.

Such a move requires that China reduce all of the heavy government spending and borrowing to fuel its growth, and move toward a consumer market with a focus on increasing the services sector. The services sector has risen 46% over the last 10 years, and will need to continue to grow and outpace the low end manufacturing.

We combine the rise in services with the strong dollar gives China a chance to increase exports to the US.

Now here are the clinchers, president Xi Jinping has eased up on visa restrictions to enter and stay in the country, I literally received a 10 year visa this year after having to renew my visa yearly for the last 10 years; the easing up on visa restrictions will allow more talent to enter the country more frquently from foreign companies.

Next while the Shanghai stock exchange has suffered some eratic performance recently, the fact that the Chinese equity markets have been opened to foreign investment is huge. In fact several mainstay Chinese companies are actively seeking foreign investment capital.

If You Want to Know How to Engage in the Social Conversation… Then Converse!

I just finished a meeting where we were discussing the topic of how best to use Facebook to reach the constituency of an organization. I immediately went in to a spiel about needing to do a presentation on how non-profits use social media to extend their reach, blah, blah, blah… I hate it when I do that. I sound like those corporate marketing hacks.

Anyway, someone at the table said something really profound (thanks Matt), resulting in me having one of those V8 moments. He said "we don't need more information, we need people. The problem isn't going to be solved just because we understand the tool. SOMEONE must use the tool."

It hit me right while I was prattling on about the subject when what I should say, and eventually did say is "it's not about the tools or having a 'person' to use the tool, it's about the conversation and always has been."

I was so wrapped up in the use of the technology that I neglected to mention the most important part of social media is THE SOCIAL CONVERSATION. I posted a comment a couple of days ago on the topic of not 'reading yourself in to social media, you just have to dive in and use it (

My point here is about gaining trust through joining the conversation and being in the middle of it. If we want to extend our reach, touch the lives of people and have them want to read what we're saying, we first have to say it. Contribute to the conversation, and natural selection will determine if others read it.

And even if they don't want to read what you have to say, then at least you've said it. Come on in, the water's warm, and there are plenty of people out there that share similar thoughts and feelings as you, but you'll never know it unless you just get out there, be authentic, transparent, don't sell, and simply say what you have to say. You'd be surprised. I know I was.

Many people want to be a writer.

I would say don't try to be a writer.


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The Five Macro Trends Driving Business (and Life) in the 21st Century

I'm at a global conference for ERP applications and Ray Wang, technology futurist, is speaking about five macro trends that will be the primary technology driver for business in the 21st century.

1. Mobility (Band on the Run)
We are changing the way we work. Forrester estimates that 283 million smart devices will be shipped this year. Where we are working has changed and we're not tied to the office any longer. I am working today from the conference floor of Perspectives the Epicor global conference (of which I'm presenting on Wednesday); I'm writing this blog post on my iPhone.

Location independence is critical to keeping people working and leveraging the best skills not from any one geographic region, but from anywhere. ANYWHERE.

2. Social (Butterfly) Media
How many of you are connected on LinkedIn or Facebook. Social media is neither a fad nor a passing fancy. Facebook added 100 million users last 9 months. People are by nature social animals; we want to connect as a community. Extending social media to business and extends information across business and consumers.

What does social media mean to business? Consider this, how do we either connect to our customers, or if you are a non-profit your constituency? I'll bet you either connect to your 'peeps' via email blasts or email or phone calls or face to face.

How about connecting to people by like interests? You connect to your friends on Facebook because they're you friends and you have common interests. Why not connect to your customers or constituents the same way.

3. Get Your Head IN the Cloud (Computing)
Part of mobility and location independence is the ability to work anywhere. As I write this article, I did so originally on my iPhone while at the presentation on the floor, I saved the draft to my Evernote account, then as I had time today, sat down to edit the article in the hotel atrium on my MacBook. What does this mean, well software is quickly becoming a service and moving all of our applications to the web. I never required any software ‘loaded’ on my notebook per se.

I could have just as easily sat at the Internet café in the hotel and edited this article from Evernote and a web browser. This idea of location independence no longer ties me to any one particular notebook, workstation, or machine, as long as I have access to the Internet and a web browser, I can continue to work. It is an ongoing experiment for me, and it occasionally works better sometimes than others.

I still prefer Word as my ‘power’ text editor, especially for particularly long papers and articles, but as a rule, I tweet, post on my blog, and write on Facebook using mobile devices, and web services exclusively.

4. Business Intelligence and Enterprise Dark Matter (Not the Dark Side)
Informatics and data visualization is at the center of translating data to information to knowledge and wisdom. How do we better understand the Internet of Things?

It’s not about the numbers, in as much as it is about understanding the patterns in the numbers, we are increasingly faced with a deluge of data, Ray noted that we estimate the amount of data in the universe is on the order of 1.3 Exabytes (That’s a 1.3 with 18 zeros behind it or a REALLY big number).

Understanding the patterns of all that data is the world of analytics. It’s about connecting the patterns in the data in the context of the real world, for example what does the increased number of tweets Twitter receives on President Obama’s vacation mean in the context of the world economy? Does it mean that he’s simply foolish to take a vacation during the mid-term elections, or that people care about what Michelle is doing with the girls at Disneyland?

5. Unified Communications and Video (Come Together)
Looking at the jet blue model of how they communicate to their customers for reservations have nothing to do with call centers. When you call jet blue to make a reservation you aren't calling a call center you're calling Donna at home in Kansas City. Unified communications are about communicating in real time from anywhere. Do you use Skype or SMS or instant messaging? Think about it.

I completely agree with Ray’s assessment, these trends will have a significant impact on our society for the next several years.

So, have you tweeted recently?


Financial Stewardship and the Church

Ok, so I sent a Twitter post last Sunday while my wife and I were sitting in the final class of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and he was talking about the notion of "stewardship" campaigns in the church. He points out, and as I’m sure you’re familiar with as am I, that the term "stewardship" usually equates to "fund raising" drive.

Now, I’m all about fund raising, and certainly giving money to worthy causes and tithing to your church should be, and FPU teaches, the very first lines in your budget, before anything else.

That said, as Dave was talking about "the great misunderstanding" about charitable donating, he mentioned something that I found interesting. Dave said, what if more churches taught stewardship, not in the form of donating and asking for money from the body, but stewardship as it was really meant, teaching lessons in managing the abundance given to us.

This has nothing to do with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists. It has nothing to do with Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, or Temples. This has to do with teaching humanity to be good managers of the gifts that have been placed in to our lives.

Now, before I come across as sounding too self-righteous, I’ll be the first one to stand up and say I haven’t been a good steward of the abundance in my life. But I do work on it daily, and get a little bit better every day. But I digress.

The whole point of the lesson is that if the Church (or whatever) began teaching their respective bodies on HOW to be good stewards, there is a VERY GOOD possibility, that the body will respond by GIVING more abundance to the Church.

Monday Morning

We, that is my wife and I, spent the weekend in Marble Falls, Texas, about 50 miles outside of Austin. Nice place, and we really needed the time away. I’m not really crazy about driving, and it’s about a four hour drive from Dallas.

We stayed at a rennovated Bed and Breakfast called the Wallace Guest House on Third Street. It’s a really great B&B, rooms run in the $165 USD range per night. Five total rooms, all suites, living area and kitchen downstairs, and sleeping and bath quarters upstairs. Though the place doesn’t serve breakfast, they do provide gift certificates to one of the local cafes called the Bluebonnet.

If you’re going through Marble Falls, I highly recommend the Wallace Guest House, here’s their contact information:

Wallace Guest House

910 3rd St
Marble Falls, TX 78654
(830) 798-9808

Let me start from the beginning…

Well… Here’s the thing, we all need a place to express ourselves, and for me this is it. I read an article recently that states "blogs are quickly fading in to obscurity." That may be, but at least for me, this will be the place where you’ll get a brief glimpse in to my life and world.

Wayne Dyer observes "Don’t let your life go by with your music still in you."

Maybe this will be the place where you’ll see (and hear) a bit of my jazz.

Thanks for stopping by.