How did you get started in operations?
I was working with a West German media company, running its Greater China music division. I loved the work, but I had a young family, and the late nights were a problem. So I took a job overseeing operations with a major retail group. I got a close-up view of what it takes to run successful operations in multiple retail formats: supermarkets, convenience stores, drugstores, and furniture stores in different regions and territories.
After working with big companies, what drew you to startups?
I was an early advisor to the founder of Meicai, an online food services company in China, and an investor. The company was developing innovative technology solutions geared for the food and hospitality industry. What it was doing got me really excited about startups’ potential to transform people’s lives. Until this company got going, small restaurant owners in China needed to get up at 2 a.m. to go to the wholesale market to buy their produce and supplies—and then try to catch a bit more sleep before getting up for the day a little after dawn. That's a brutal way to run a business, and this tech platform has since transformed the old business model. In five years the company has already built a customer base of several million restaurants.
Most recently, I spent over a year as a venture partner for Gaorong Capital—a top-performing early-stage venture capital firm in China that’s investing in disruptive new technologies and business models in the technology, media, and telecom sector.
When your operations are running well, you make smarter business decisions. It’s the foundation for everything else.
What's the secret to successful operations?
It looks different in every business, but the principles are the same. First, you have to build a good team with a strong culture. Then you have to be honest about what’s working and what isn't. That can be hard, because people get invested in making something work, even when it’s smarter to move on. Finally, you need to know how to get organized around opportunities. When your operations are running well, you make smarter business decisions. It’s the foundation for everything else.
How do you navigate growth?
The first thing I look at is the growth profile: What part of your offering is totally new for your market? When you're clear on exactly what you're planning to disrupt and why, you can build your operations around that. Next, I look at where you're finding early success, and invest in those wins. And then I look at scale. Assuming you've done your homework and understand the need you're tapping into, it's smart to get big fast, because then suppliers will work with you on your terms, and the competition won't have time to copy your disruptive idea. I am a big believer in network and scale effect, having learned and executed it several times for both on- and offline businesses.
What should founders expect when they work with you?
First, I’ll spend time listening and getting to know the team. These are businesses that have grown very quickly. They’ve been successful. But as they scale, the needs of the job change pretty dramatically. We can bring fresh eyes and ears to help founders see where their team needs support and where changes make sense. I’ve built large-scale businesses in China over a short periods of time, and I’m able to leverage my learnings. Second, we can help make the right connections across our ecosystem. It’s powerful to be able to learn from other companies that are dealing with the same challenges.
Your search did not match any results.
Try a different search term or click a popular term below: