#19: China Calling

Ryan_NameTraveling is becoming my new center of calm.

Ever since I started the road trip to attract new investors to Merge I’ve come to understand business traveling as something that shouldn’t be fretted with, but accepted. You can either fight the traveling, congestion, and hostility from other travelers. Or, you can sit in your seat, avoid reclining backward to disturb your fellow passengers, and meditate the flight away.

I don’t think Jasper is feeling the same way.

Jasper and I have headed off to China to talk with manufacturers to begin working on our first run of Merge devices, while Alison stays back to expand the software offering and put the finishing touches on the pre-order campaign. Jasper’s the only person who can properly pass on the technical details to the manufacturers and verify their ability to deliver. He’s just not the greatest travel companion.

Jasper’s wife told me to be on guard for a nervous Jasper while we traveled together. She warned me that Jasper is fidgety, high strung, and always worried about being late. She was right on the money. Before we even finished booking the damn flight he was sending me hourly updates on what to bring in my carry-on baggage in order to get through security faster.

Thanks Jasper, but I’ve traveled before.

Two of the issues we are headed into is time and security. We’re also meeting with Chinese lawyers that have been recommended to us by our law firm in town. Given our size and the high risk of our intellectual property being ripped off by a Chinese firm, we need to protect ourselves from losing what sets us apart from the pack.

We looked at producing the devices in North America, but the economies of scale just weren’t there for us for a short manufacturing run of high-end smartphones. If we were starting a mass market production run we could probably justify having our devices produced in Canada, but we’re still only a startup with a lot of cash and no revenue.

China was really the only option right now. In a factory outside of Shenzhen. Chinese factories will assemble the devices from parts sources all over the world from Japan to Germany. It’s an insanely complex process to build a mobile device without an internal infrastructure established or experienced manufacturing professionals on staff. Sure, I’ve been CEO of a successful tech company, but Shippd was software based. We didn’t create anything tangible. Merge does and it’s difficult business. Not impossible, just difficult.

That’s where meditation has helped. For fifteen minutes a day I meditate. I clear my mind and when I finish I make my lists. Then I execute. Meditating calms my heartbeat immediately and allows my brain to realign to think in a linear manner. I know what you’re thinking, Ryan’s gone crazy. I’m aware that sounds a little flaky for a CEO, but it works. Seriously take fifteen minutes a day to meditate, not yoga or exercise. Just meditation. You’ll be surprised what it’ll do for your ability to produce better results.

After only two days in China I know it’s going to be a good trip. Now, all I need to do is some how get Jasper to calm the fuck down every time we leave the hotel room.


Next Post – #20: Adult Supervision Comes to Merge

Previous Post – #18: Hackathons Bring All the Boys (and Girls) to the Yard

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