Thumbs-up for Emma Watson

I am doing case study on the commercial success of Harry Potter, and the actress of Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) caught my attention for a while.

Miss Watson is a good actress. She is pretty and smart. What differentiate her from most of the other young actresses is her personality, intelligence and maturity.

She maintained very impressive academic performance ("in the A category") while shooting all the films. She is now a first year at Brown University.

She showed great maturity, balance and self-control as a young, rich, world-famous, successful actress. She is not wasting her gift.

I think she has got almost everything a girl could ever dream of, though I am not professional on girls' dream. Emma Watson has earned money and fame and very unique experience at such a young age. She is beautiful and smart and interesting.

We are glad that she is using her "endowment" very well and is having a "sustainable development". Too often is the case that young stars lose control in front of the crazy world and get drowned their own success.

One interview indicated that Watson said she is "a bit of feminist". Outstanding girls are always a bit of feminist.

I believe feminism should never exist. There is feminism because there are too many arrogant and ignorant men. It's actually a pity, and men should do some self reflections.


China & Intellectual Property Rights

China has a bad record on intellectual property rights (IPRs) protection. I have to confess that I am still "benefiting" from the free download of some teenager Hollywood films, but there is a deeper history in the intellectual property stuff.

The lack of protection for IPRs in China has a historic reason. The notion of property rights is a very new thing for Chinese society. In the past, for at least five thousand years, the emperor owns everything under the heaven. The emperor even owns the life of his people.

So the concept of property rights began to take root in people's mind in recent decades, and IPRs are even newer.

The four great inventions in ancient China has made huge contribution to the world civilizations. They are the compass, black powder, paper making and type printing. China didn't not ask for money for the usage of any of these invention, which is quite a big commercial loss from the capitalist perspective.

In the past, Chinese intellects produce all intellectual products to make social changes and express themselves. Poets encourage everyone to copy their poems and writings so that his work will be passed on through generations. In Chinese culture, money is always considered inferior and less important to spiritual and intellectual activities. This is no more true today, of course.

In comparison, western society is based on capital and money. The purpose of production is to make profit. When the guideline is different, policies and attitudes are also different.

Now the western rules are dominating, so China need to find out a middle way and proper strategy to join the big global game.


Hamshire College Faculty/Student ratio is 8/1

I went to a "Academic Check-In" organized by Cultural Center for multicultural student, and it turned out that I was the only student there. On the other side, there are eight teachers.

This is the advantage of Hampshire. You get a lot of personal attention, which is evident in the faculty/student ratio: 8/1.


Fashion and consumerism

I remembered from the book “Gone with the Wind” that during the blockade, Rhett Butler was the source of fashion information from the outside world for the girls and women in Atlanta. People believe in what Captain Butler described, and they dressed up according to it.

So I thought at that time that fashion is really a result of the psychology of group perception. Rhett Butler could have told something wrong to make the Atlanta women look ridiculous. But the thing is, even if the information is wrong, when the majority of people believe that certain clothes is fashionable, everyone in that society has to follow that code if they don’t want to look stupid. And some of the fashions do look stupid!

And fashion keeps changing all the time. Therefore, we are forced to invest money to buy new clothes before our old clothes are worn out.

I look upon this phenomenon as a shrewd marketing strategy. Here’s why. The demand for clothes is not limitless. If people buy clothes only to keep warm and not to be naked, the fashion industry won’t be able to make a lot of money. Therefore, the industry needs new means to generate demand. So all kinds of fashion magazines and big fashion shows around the world start to send out a message to the public: “See, you are out of date again! Go and buy this new style.” When the new fashion is being accepted by the public, it would be really hard for us human not to follow the trend and make ourselves feel safer in the crowd.

By unceasingly creating new fashion, the whole industry is making much tons of profit. But we often notice that the fashion is turning around in a cycle. The out-of-date products from thirty years ago are taking the lead again in this year’s fashion show. That is because the industry is running out of new ideas. Creating new fashion is adding new cost to the fashion industry, therefore the most economic way is to pick out some old clothes from the garage and make it fashionable again.

It is important to notice that the distribution of profit in fashion industry is quite similar to all cultural production. Those who make the most money are designers, models and their agents, event organizer, publications (fashion magazine), big brands that creates fashion and so on. Factories that really make the product are at the bottom of the industry chain. Most of them are in China. They are not making a lot of money. They are making pollutions.

There seems to be no problem in this system. Normal people have fun, people in the fashion industry get rich and famous. In the end, we love beautiful things, and we enjoy shopping. But one negative effect is that this way of consumption is creating huge waste and unhealthy values like extravagance, flamboyance and materialism. Some of the values are even totally sick. For example, a few years ago, some models starved themselves to death because they want to be skinny, which was the “fashion” at that time.


NBA - Hollywood

NBA is like a successful Hollywood story. They produce super stars. They make script and uses media to arouse the expectation. They take every chance to make stories, make products and make money, which is great.

David Stern made NBA international and generated billions of revenue from his global strategy. Just look at Yao Ming, he has opened a 1.3 billion people market. But David Stern has invested in Chinese market for more than 1o years before NBA starts to make any money. He send free copies of NBA shows to China, and broadcast NBA in China for free since last century. And all these NBA expansions are based on Win-Win situations, which created a new market out of nothing, making several millionaires per year. Nobody would rejects such ideas. No one is being harmed. Everyone just has got either a lot of fun or a lot of money.

Stories like NBA and Harry Potter are so inspiring. They are making miracles. There will definitely be more and more stories like this, and most of them will happen in emerging economies. Material and physical demand won't expand forever and fast enough. But there will be no limit for cultural and media industry because new demand are constantly being created.

One possible negative influence is that all these commercial success don't have a deep culture and humanity core. And humanity and the right values are what we urgently need to establish. Maybe we can use the same business strategy to promote worldwide cultural exchange and build branches of Confucius Institutes.

Why I only buy Lenovo

I didn't spend a long time choosing a laptop, a machine that is going to be my close companion for at least my four years in US college, because I know that I will buy a Lenovo.

Lenovo is one of the most well-known, successful and reliable Made-in-China product on the international market. I am happy and confident to carry this Chinese product with me to the rest of the world.

Lenovo was established in 1984 in Beijing, China. Now a multinational PC maker, Lenovo has acquired the Personal Computer Division from IBM in 2005. Lenovo pays great attention to innovation and social responsibilities, which is also setting a role model for many other Chinese companies. Lenovo is the pride, and it is definitely not the only one. There will definitely be more and more Chinese companies and brands emerging in the global market, creating value for the whole world.


I love writing diary everyday

I write diary everyday. My parents helped me establish this good habit, and I have been benefiting from it for twelve years. This is a part of my life, and I have found it especially important when things are happening at such a rapid rate these days.

As soon as we wake up in the morning, there are all kinds of tasks that we have to deal with. We spend time on school, extracurricular, social life, money and so on, and we give so little attention to our soul and mind and real learning experience.

I need at least twenty minutes at the end of everyday to calm down and think about my day. What have I done? What have I learned? What is wrong and what is cool? How can I do it better tomorrow?

I found that when I start to write things down, my understanding will go into a deeper level. If I just experience without thinking and writing, I am wasting this precious chance of real learning.

What's more, writing diary also helps me to not to forget my Chinese =)

Blog is a very different thing. Blog is more like a show, a marketing strategy, a good way to publicize yourself and make your voice heard. Blog is too connected with the rest of the world. In comparison, diary is personal and intimate. So I can be very honest, though it can be painful sometimes =)


I love my life at Hampshire College

Yes, Saga food is not that good, but the people there are fabulous! You know Roberta. And the people at Post office and House Office and XX office, they are so lovely and helpful.

The professors are really our friends. I really treasure this quality.

And I love to go to Ficom. It is just so entertaining and I learn a lot of things.

Almost everything is free. There's money running around, all you need to do is dig it out.

OPRA is amazing! Just talk to the people there, and you will love them.

I'm working for Spiritual Life Office. I almost think that I should pay them instead of being paid because I enjoy working there.

My hall in Dakin is cool and quite (not always, honestly, Ha!) and very friendly, which is great. And we have single rooms. What else can I ask for?

The Chinese students here are like a big family. I am very grateful.


Thank you all, my friends!


Harry Potter: an industrial and marketing legend

Harry Potter might be forgotten as a children fantasy literature in several years, but the industrial success of Harry Potter will always be remembered and revisited.

I just watched the Chinese Program "Dao of Business (Shang Dao)". They made a brilliant series examine the success and imagination of Harry Potter success, looking at marketing, publishing, film making, star making, franchise operations, toys, theme parks... This list can go on forever. The whole industrial chain is creating a value of more than $200 billion! And more than 70% profit is made outside the film and books.

This is just so amazing. I can't help admiring the creativity and energy. Capitalism is not all bad.

The whole story is full of contingency. But when we look at the industrial chain behind the Harry Potter books, it is very clear that there will must be a legend like this happening, whether or not it is Harry Potter or Peter Henry or something else.

The success of Harry Potter is a wonderful case study for almost all industries.

Culture: To please the American readers, the publisher changed the name of "HP and Philosopher's stone" into "Sorcerer's stone", and made the author's name appear as JK Rowling in order not to let people know the book is from a female writer (but this become unnecessary when JK Rowling becomes a legend herself and added to the popularity of the book).

Marketing: the publisher spent millions of dollar to promote the book even before the book is in the book store. They repackaged JK Rowling according to her personality and fully used Rowling's Cinderella story. The publisher hired writer all over the nation to write reviews on Harry Potter, making the book appear not just as a children's book, but has all the quality to become popular before it reaches the market. The publisher went on to lead the New York Times and Boston Globe to highly recommend the book.

Time Warner: Time Warner is the biggest winner as well as the ultimate designer behind the show, profiting from Harry Potter more than $6billion. They are just impossible. They formed a 3D, worldwide alliance to promote the book. Coca Cola, Lego, Disney, Universal Studio, famous people... They used all means to create expectation and all kinds of headline. Each position in the film can be a new headline. They not only succeed in keeping the topic hot; they made it hotter and hotter every time they appear in the news. They changed director for the film frequently, made the content of new books more confidential than national secrets, they choose actors for Harry Potter as 60,000 children applied. They just made it an phenomenon! Then they cooperated with all industries and corporation, made toys, paper games and build theme park!

What's more, they are not harming anyone's interests. Unlike those financial institutions who screw everyone else up, Harry Potter legend just created a huge market and wealth out of nothing, creating tens of world level stars, new jobs, endless market. And this is benefiting almost anybody. This is real magic!

Now, China is going to learn from it.


Your TV: Killer or Teacher?

Today’s New York Times has a small article on the Business section, saying that kids from 2-5 year old watch on average 25 hours of TV per week, plus 7 extra hours of DVDs, computer games and so on.

Last year when I was in Germany, my host family told me that a German adult watch on average 3 hours of TV per day. I just can’t understand how a human could spend a third of his day time in from of a TV set. I am always shocked when I hear these figures. And I feel very worried.

The influence is very profound. We are what we see and hear. Our behavior is heavily influenced by our surrounding. Most TV programs are full of violence and sex. Therefore it is not hard to understand the high violence rate and more and more frequent serious crime. When crime and sex become the psychological and biological pattern in our mind and body, our world becomes passive and dirty. And this pattern is strengthened every day and night by media.

Someone said: maybe next time when we take a family picture, we should put our TV set in the picture, too. Many people spend more time with their TV than with their family. They don’t smile to their friends, but laugh wildly with TV shows.

Each TV is a teacher in the household. There are millions of TV teachers around the nation, but they don’t teach good things. Sometimes I really hope that all TV channels will broadcast one hour of Buddhist master’s teaching per day to purify people soul.

There’s a famous experience conducted by a Japanese scientist. He proved that water is influenced by human thoughts. When we give the water a blessing of love and hope and then put the water into a fridge, the water crystal is extremely beautiful. But when we think about killing and hate, the crystal will be very ugly.

If this is what thought can do to water, imagine what thoughts can do to us, considering that human body are 80% water.

Media can be the most powerful tool to change this sad situation. But most media is driven by profit, not happiness or quality of life. If this equation can not be broken, human will suffer longer in the trap he himself made. Maybe my career will eventually focus on combining economic incentive with doing good things, creating a good mechanism that real virtues are rewarded, building a moral media while maintaining good income. Let’s wait and see.