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Well John, if we talk place it is allways to keep in mind that we talk also about people. Nothing has changed since the last few thousand years. People need space and fight for it and some people or "communities" need even more. Today place is only getting dramatically more important because it gets shorter for the mass. Greetings, Niki

Glenn Gow

John, very well-written post.

One of the key reasons why place matters is, as you mention, culture. It’s not enough to be excellent at your craft, you have to be excellent and deliver (or interact, or collaborate) with other people who value the WAY you deliver (or interact, or collaborate).

Place enables the adaptation of behaviors which create a cultural fit. Cultural fit makes personal interactions work better, which means that those who share a culture will work together better and create better results. This is not to say that those outside the culture (or the place) can’t add tremendous value – they can. It’s just that it’s a different type of value they are adding and often one that leverages a perspective brought from being from another culture.

We (as you do) work with many companies, each of which has a unique culture. Part of our job is to know when to fit in to that culture and when to add value coming “from a different place”.

Finally, as it relates to marketing strategy (my passion), we help our clients reach OUTSIDE of their culture to see the perspective of their target market which is almost certainly in a different place. I have posted about that in “We are NOT Our Market”


I hope you find this useful to your thinking.

David Scott Lewis

John, there are no clusters of the type that you are talking about in China, not in zPark (in the northern part of the Haidian District in BJ), in Pudong (Shanghai), Xi'an, Dalian, Wuhan, Chengdu, Shenzhen, ...

They don't exist in China. Different mentality here. Although there are clusters of people, there's not the same type of TechCrunch-type of mentality in China. Yes, many Chinese are into Web 2.0 toys, but it's more about the toys rather than building companies, even if the business models are as meager as Yet Another Facebook Widget.

Can't speak for the other countries you mentioned, but I've been VP, Business Development with the two largest U.S. focused, China-based ITO firms (one is now publicly traded on the NYSE), SVP with Tsinghua's outsourcing operation, the list goes on.

Go to a Chinese party in the Haidian District filled with zPark software engineers (usually male) and admin types (usually female). The topic of discussion: The latest Hong Kong singer or Korean soap opera. It's just not the same here. Work is work; work does not extend into one's broader life. In a sense, maybe the Chinese workers have more balance. My only negative take on this is that the focus is often on the mundane (like actresses and models). So I can't say that their balancing act is necessarily a good thing.

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