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Happy 2012!

Early morning swim with Scott at the Chatrium Bangkok

I want to wish all my readers a very happy and healthy 2012! I was on holiday in Thailand with the family during Christmas and New Year and decided to spend not much time behind my laptop, meaning no blogging for the past couple of days. Therefore I didn’t write any posts with the highs and lows of 2011 yet, so here just a couple of thoughts when looking back.

I guess the most important event was Tudou’s IPO in August, but also Spil Games new round in November has quite some impact. In terms of sport the New York Marathon in November was an important event, but I also did other runs this year (a.o. the Yangzhou half marathon in April and the Shanghai one in December). And of course relaunching unitedstyles (we changed the spelling from UnitedStyles to unitedstyles)¬†and being a finalist at TechCrunch Disrupt with the start-up were highlights this year. 2011 was an eventful year that I won’t easily forget, that’s for sure.

On the negative side I traveled way too much (I started flying KLM a lot less after some issues with them, but still managed to reach Platinum level this year, and I became a 1K member at United in about 6 months after joining them), but I learned over the years that the only way to network and make deals is by being physically in the same location. And most of the trips were related to speaking engagements and you can’t do those without being at a conference in person. I always try to combine a business trip over more than 6 time zones with at least one or two days of private time, normally on the weekend. Especially the trips to California were fantastic, I love that state more and more and hope that one day I will be able to move there for a longer time.

Being away from home so often and working very long hours when in Shanghai was not easy for my family. I realize that I need to spend more time with my young kids, they grow up so quickly. That was one reason why during the past week on Koh Samui I mainly spent time with Scott and Elaine. My laptop was on for max. 2-3 hours per day, and in that time I mainly went through my RSS feeds and read my emails (and hardly answered them – if you’re waiting for a reply you’ll likely get one over the next 2-3 days).

Scott enjoying the last sunset on Samui

Not sure what 2012 will bring, but that’s what I like. I can’t imagine having a life in which I know what I will be doing 12 months from now. Likely I’ll still be in Shanghai, but chances are that I will eventually be leaving China. I have been here for 12 years already and am still having a great time, but I also realize there may be better places to live and work with kids. Especially pollution is an issue for me, as you can see if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Shanghai is not as bad as Beijing, but things are not improving here.

I still like to update my blog regularly next to other social media, and I enjoy the discussions that sometimes start. It’s a pity that I have to moderate the comments. I get some very strange comments sometimes (not spam, but real people trying to convince me of their world views that sometimes even consist of denying the Holocaust…) and also insulting comments cursing me are more common than before. Do people realize that it’s not so difficult for me to find out where they are posting from? Anyway, I plan to continue this blog like before with a few blog posts per week and with more regular updates on other social networks. Feel free to comment and if you see me in real life please say ‘hi’!

Happy New Year!

Scott, Marc & Elaine

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  1. Happy new year! I’m a big fan of your blog… I’ll definitely keep on reading it in 2012!

  2. I love the last photo! Interesting how much can be divined of individual personalities from such an obscured photo…

  3. Helaas je niet op Samui tegengekomen. Ook niet in Bangkok waar ik ook in het Chatrium verbleef. (hoe toevallig) Heb je niet op het oud en nieuw feestje van het hotel gezien, anders hadden we nog dansje kunnen doen :-))
    Anyway Happy New Year en ik blijf je blogs/tweets met veel plezier volgen……

  4. Jij zat ook in het Chatrium? Da’s echt toevallig. Feestje heb ik na middernacht vanaf onze balkons meegemaakt, leuk dat het hotel ook nog een boot met vuurwerk geregeld had.

  5. Vanuit Duitsland: Gelukkig Nieuw Jaar voor jou en je gezin en…. blijf schrijven ! We love it !

  6. M, such an exquisite and expressive shot, that final one…

    I was going to ask you about the pollution issue again and it seems as though my intuitions are spot on. My fantasy here is that you’re going to shift the entire family to Cali in the middle part of 2014.

    I’ve already began taking odds on this in Reno…(the neighboring state, ps).

    I feel very fortunate to have your friendship.

    Thank you for it and your wise counsel and experiences. When I’m not traveling as much as I’ve been doing in the recent past, it’s ab-fab to be traveling alongside you.

    Rise higher this 2012 and always obey the entrepreneurial dictum of:

    “If you’re awake, work.”

  7. Hi, This is Suya.

    I totally agree with you about the pollution issue in China. That is the main reason why my husband and me decided to move back to Germany after we had our first son.

    Before we left, it was overwhelming for me that we needed to buy anything our son ate organic. – I did not care a lot about this until we had Dennis. We bought imported dairy products and never fed our son any local products. It was so ridiculous expensive. Take yoghurt for example, the price were 6 times more expensive than the one in Europe. Plenty said I was crazy, but I felt something was wrong with the Chinese product just by tasting it. When the formula scandal broke out, I was really not so sure I should be happy that I made the right choice or be sad for the baby victims.

    Plus the ultimate trouble we cannot avoid is air. The place we live is very close to Expo Puxi side. There was construction site every where. I myself got bronchitis and was coughing always for months in winter. The symptom simply disappeared after I arrived in Germany. I could not imagine what kind of impact this kind of air will have on very young kids.

    I am a native Shagginess and I love Shanghai. But the pollution issue is really a big problem and we need to keep away from it with our kids.