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Starting Side Hustles – First Sprint!

Starting side hustles has been a dream of ours for years. We tried multiple times but have been successful. Vincent and I are giving it another shot. 2020 big project, here we come!

We’ve always had an itch for creating side projects. A few years ago, and from Hong Kong, we worked on Anekdote. Anekdote was a platform to help our community find products that were beautifully conceived and crafted. We got a small crowd of followers and appreciated the design edge of our site. But it never took off.

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Challenges in writing with a baby!

writing with a baby

Vincent and I started carnet.cc a little over a year ago. The ride is fun and challenging. Fun because we learn as much from the process of writing than the writing we create. And challenging, because we both are not great writers. It takes a lot of energy to get something out of our brain.

November this year, my wife delivered our baby daughter. It is the most exciting event that we have experienced. Every single day, we are grateful for the chance to be parents. We aren’t experts, but we do our best to help her grow healthily.

For our most observant readers, there has been a gap of almost 5 weeks on this blog. No articles were published during this period. It is due to my early steps into fatherhood.

My partner’s day to day has been most impacted. She needs to feed the baby and rest on a 24/7 basis, on short ~2-3 hours cycles. Intense.

Having a baby and trying to maintain a blog is a challenge. The lack of sleep, irregular but frequent interruptions, and holding a moving mini-cute-monster, are making the act of writing all the more complex.

Traditionally, I have optimized my process of writing: I think of blog post ideas on the metro ride back home. I start an Evernote post (but switching to paperus.co from my good friend Jeriel) and jot down some initial thoughts. Back home, I take a deep breath and focus for 30 to 60 minutes to write the first draft. A couple of days later, I review the post and correct it with Hemingway and Grammarly (but soon, all that process will be done on paperus.co). The final step is straightforward but time-consuming: I format the post nicely and publish it on our WordPress site, right here.

Writing with a baby, I don’t get 30 to 60 minutes of focus. And I can’t find the time to format the blog post.

There aren’t many solutions that I can think of at this stage. But I will ask fellow bloggers and find my ways.
In the meantime, I expect shorter blog posts. Ideally, I would post them more frequently. And probably more podcasts and interviews – but without the transcription (that I always correct manually).

Fatherhood is a wonderful gift. But writing with a baby is a challenge. I am still experimenting to find the flow and the routine. That’s what I need to deliver blog posts on a more regular basis.

[Updated] Start working on your mornings with an evening routine

This post is part of a larger interest, called self-structure, where I look into ways to support personal growth by organizing how I live. While I stay away from going to extremes, it has always been important for me to explore how I can improve, scale my impact, and structure my days. In this post, we look at setting up the evening routine.

Your morning routine starts with the way you sleep. Waking up in a consistent manner won’t happen unless you structure your nights. There is no way we can function on a daily basis, in a hyper-performance environment, without taking care of our sleep. I wanted to believe otherwise — but nop, it is impossible. 
Some people promise the wonders of 4 hours a night. I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and find a few months later that it was their worst experience ever. I need a complete 8 hours night of sleep to make sure that I keep my energy high, be a nice person, and make sane decisions.

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Slush Shanghai 2019

Slush Shanghai 2019

Slush Shanghai 2019 was a grand celebration of global tech and startups. It got me thinking about standing out as a tech conference.

I have a conflicting opinion of such events.
They allow thousands of people to hear cool topics directly from thought leaders. And at the same time, they create the hope for dozens of startups that they’ll get noticed by media and investors.
As a community builder and somebody generally in touch with the latest ideas and robust network, tech conferences don’t create something unique.

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Recording China Business Cast

Discover the podcast China Business Cast with Matthieu Bodin

Who hasn’t heard about the podcasting trend yet?
We can say that Podcasting is a lot more than a trend, considering that there are 700K free podcasts available. The average weekly consumption for Americans adult is 6 hours and 37 minutes as per this article on a16z. While I doubt that Chinese listeners are as passionate (short videos are the thing in China), I can see how many community leaders and KOL have started interviewing people and recording their opinions.

We also tried something with Upstart, and I’m looking into ways to get it off the ground once again. Over the coming months, there will be more interviews from local entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders.

From time to time, I have a chance to get interviewed and share some of my thoughts and stories. A recent one got published on En Eclaireur (in French) and the latest one has been with ChinaBusinessCast.

China Business Cast’s goal “is to help entrepreneurs who want to learn how to do business in China. The podcast features conversations with experienced entrepreneurs and business people who’ve built their businesses in China.”
I met Jons a few years ago at a Startup Weekend in Chengdu and got to see him again at TECOM earlier this year. That was an excellent opportunity to join his show and talk about “Entrepreneurship, Accelerators, and Unicorns in China.


That episode was recorded when I was still with Techstars (since then, I transitioned to XNode) but the content is still very much relevant. Beside some observations, it got me thinking about the way we perceive innovation in China. And how, as a global ecosystem player, we used to share it.

A big thank to China Business Cast team for making this happen!

China Business Cast with Matthieu Bodin

Experience with Chinese service industry

There is something fascinating for anyone that shipped parcels from Greater China, it’s to watch the development of the homegrown carrier SF Express over the last decade. Unlike its competitors (DHL, UPS, Fedex) SF didn’t develop a powerful back end to handles the parcels, but relied a lot on manual labour, a lot of parcels are still sorted manually by the last mile delivery men. 

This reliance on manual work is pretty common for Chinese company. They also often pay employees on a commission basis (Uber before Uber), while it’s far from being ideal on the side of the employees the unexpected side effect has been an incredible service. The delivery man has to be efficient and has to know internal processes, if he wants to be well paid. In return the customer gets a very good service, especially compared with traditional career where one has to deal with multiple layers of admin to get things done. This pretty unique mix of manual labour reliance and commission-based income put the Chinese service industry on steroids. 

Unfortunately, this time is coming to an ends quickly with the development of the recent Hey Tea and Luckin Coffee, where WeChat mini programs replace the efficiency and warmth of the faces of those companies.