Fritz Demopoulos, who co-founded Chinese travel portal Qunar and now induces early-stage startup investments through Queens Road Capital, said that if he had a single piece of advice for founders looking to pursue their China dreaming, it boils down to one word: Commitment.
Demopoulos was interviewed on-stage at TechCrunch Shenzhen, which we organized with TechNode. He noted that while some entrepreneurs want to focus on a project for one or two years, or want to focus on the Chinese opportunity for one or two years, the average company that goes public is a decade old.
To take that same analogy, you need to commit at least 10 years to the Chinese market, Demopoulos said.
After all, he described China as ruthlessly competitive and a highly dynamic market, with factors like mass immigration from the countryside to big cities and rapid growth in consumer spending and borrowing.
The market presents challenges for investors, too. For one thing, while venture capitalists love to claim that they invest in squads rather than products, Demopoulos said its harder to do this in China, where theres a Jack Ma effect while the Alibaba founder is one of the greatest founders in the last 200 years anywhere, hed previously struggled to find work and was even rejected from a job at KFC.
Traditional filters to assess highly capable people dont work in China, Demopoulos said. At Queens Road, he tries to deal with this by spending more day truly to know entrepreneurs the hours required by this approach can add up speedily( especially when multiplied across all the startups he gratifies with repeatedly before deciding not to invest ), but he said, We think thats likely the most wonderful way to understand someones capabilities.
While Demopoulos is based in Hong Kong, he invests across Southeast Asia. Outside of China, he said hes interested in countries like Vietnam and the Philippines, but he described Indonesia is first among equals. Thats because it has a young population in the early stages of consumerism and an Internet economy he said it resembles China 7 to 10 years ago.
Some models that worked in China 7 to 10 years ago might work today, he said. Its like taking a hour machine.
Since the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida, parents across the nation have been in a tough posture — discussing handgun safety with their children.
The threat of gun violence in schools has become a painful reality for millions of parents, whether they’re directly affected by recent school shootings or merely facing the possibility that their children could be in danger simply by showing up to class.
Tanai Benard, an lecturer from Texas, decided it was time to have an honest conversation with her fifth-grade son to find out what he knew, and didn’t know, about school shooting drills designed to keep students safe.
Dez shocked and upset his Mom with what he already knew about handgun violence.
To her astonish, Dez said he and his fellow students had already practiced school shooting drills, going into painfully specific details about how they worked together to make a classroom safe during an active shooter incident.
“Yes, we practiced it, ” Dez told Tanai when she asked if they had practiced a lockdown drill in class.
“The teacher is supposed to to shut and lock the door, set the black paper over the window on the door. Then myself and three other boys are suppose to push the table against the door. After that all the class is going to stand behind us on the back wall.”
His willingness to put himself at risk to protect others initially upset her.
Tanai was frightened that her son, one of only two black children in his class, was being used as a potential human shield. However, before she lashed out, she decided to ask Dez why he was put in such a compromising stance and his answer was even more shocking.
“I internally went from 0 to 100 real quick, ” she wrote. “Why did you get picked to stand in front of everyone else if a shooter came in your school?
“I didn’t get picked, ” Dez answered. “I volunteered to push the table and protect my friends.”
“Dez why would you volunteer to do that? ” she asked.
“If it came down to it, I would rather be the one that died protecting my friends then have an entire class succumb and I be the only one that lived, ” he said .
Our children are paying attention. It’s up to us where that attention goes.
While the adults debate what to do about gun violence in our nation’s schools, young children are watching and waiting. It’s not a coincidence that the response of students from Parkland, Florida, has become a major national tale. Benard’s story showcases the best and worst of what we’re dealing with right now: the undeniable horror of gun violence and how it’s affecting millions of children across America. They will respond with invention and intelligence — kids almost always do. Now, it’s up to the adults to change the narrative of what these kids are responding to.
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