Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Opposite of Bored

I feel like I'm on a scavenger hunt.  Since I arrived here, I've been reaching out to people throughout Hong Kong that are involved in the entrepreneurial scene in one or way or another.  One of the reasons why I am slowly falling in love with this city is that all of these people have e-mailed me back.  What is that?!  In New York, maybe I'm just particularly annoying but I have found that cold e-mails get <50% response rate, even if they are flattering to the recipient.

Once I'm over the shock of actually receiving a response, I arrange to meet with them, whether it be for a quick coffee, lunch, or just plain old conversation.  When this process begins, I glance at my empty calendar to suggest a time and carefully concoct a way of not sounding too pathetic with my lack of plans.  Then, before I know it, someone else e-mails back.  I arrange a meeting, spending less time on not sounding pathetic since now I actually have something else on my calendar.  Rinse, repeat until calendar is completely full.  Since I am a) not making money and b) still learning the map of Hong Kong, this has several implications:
  1.  I do not know what I am getting myself into when I eagerly respond, "I can meet you wherever is convenient for you!"
  2. # meetings per day * 15 minutes = minimum amount of time I am lost per day
  3. The MTR (Hong Kong's take on the subway) and I have gotten to be good friends.  The trains are frequent, punctual, and clean.  HK > NY in this equation.
  4. # of meetings per day * 25 minutes = minimum amount of time I spend walking within the MTR train stations.  They are sprawling and go unimaginably deep underground, often involving multiple, extremely long and steep flights of stairs.  NY definitely > HK in this equation.  Small subway stations have their advantages.
In spite of the above, it has been great because every morning I wake up and my iCal is like a treasure map.  I don't know where I will find treasure, but I know where to look (kind of).  Yesterday, I headed down the escalator to Central to meet a local enterpreneur.  Then back up to Soho for coffee with a woman running an association for digital marketing.  Then back down to the MTR to take me to Quarry Bay for lunch with a financial professional interested in startups and angel investing.  Then over to Jordan to see a friend of a friend who is a reporter for a local newspaper and runs a photography business.  Then to Wan Chai to stop by our partner space for classes.  Then over to Sheung Wan to pick something up at the new apartment.... you get the picture.

Before I know it, it's dinner time and I am finally back home to examine the gems I've picked up over the course of the day.  No, I don't mean business cards.  I mean the pearls of wisdom, new friends, sometimes painful learning experiences, great coffee spots, and exciting tidbits of potential for building something great here.  I've realized if there is one way to really bring out people's true colors, it is by talking to them about ideas and by asking their opinion.  Conveniently, this is also the best way to learn things.  These things may or may not be true, but such is life.

Clearly you're catching me on an up day :)