Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fellow Blog Series: The Sun Never Sets on the Driptech Fellow (Part One)

As featured in a recent Wall Street Journal article, not all multinational companies are big; they can be small like Driptech, too. While there are always pluses and minuses to having a global operation, one thing is for sure: someone is always on the job and in this case it’s the Driptech fellow. Currently, Driptech has three fellows based in all of its locations around the world so literally speaking the sun never truly sets on the Driptech fellow. In the following blog post we composed a chronicle of Driptech fellow activities over one full rotation of the earth.

Beijing, China 08:30 CST
Frank Lee


There are precisely two lessons for a foreigner to learn in Beijing to better adapt as a “Beijinger.” The first lesson is the ability to read the hidden messages behind traffic lights for pedestrians. Contrary to the other city traffic systems, Green Light in Beijing actually means proceed with caution. Red Light actually means GO! GO! GO! The second lesson is to avoid riding the subway at all cost during peak traffic hours. This morning, I am making the 40-minute trek on foot from my apartment near the Shuangjing subway station to the Beijing Driptech office near the Jianguomen subway station. Along the way, I see high-rise building after high-rise building. If one wants to witness the economic boom of China, one only needs to walk around the nation's capitol.

The main agenda item for today is our interview with a local media outfit. Global Times is the most read English publication in China. I initially met the reporter Cong Mu during a clean energy networking event. Driptech has been very fortunate with our coverage in the press. Through international media outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Businessweek, we have been able to share our social mission with the world, connecting with business partners in the process. One of our main goals in China is to connect with the local press to help expand our business partnerships with the Chinese government, private ventures, and NGOs.

Around 10 a.m., Cong Mu arrives at our Driptech Beijing office, a space converted from a 4-person conference room. I like to think that our humble office space showcases the scrappiness of Driptech and our resourceful approach. Cong Mu first explains that he is interested in writing about the tremendous water shortage in China, and the $600 billion investment that the government is planning to make over the next 10 years on water conservation projects. He thinks that Driptech is the perfect lead in for this story. Over the next hour and a half, Cong Mu interviews my China colleague Xiaoli and me, on various topics. I detail Driptech's history and manufacturing technology advantage over traditional drip irrigation manufacturers. Xiaoli shares her field experiences working with farmers when we sold systems to greenhouse farmers in Shanxi province. Cong Mu concludes the interview by asking our motivations to join a social venture like Driptech. I explain that understanding how to market a product to small-scale farmers is intellectually stimulating. At P&G, I worked to improve established brands. At Driptech, our team has to build our brand in the hearts and minds of small farmers. How do you sell a product to low-income farmers, who need the product to improve their own standard of living? This is a question that our team strives to chip away and answer everday. At the end of the interview, he explains that the article will be published in the next two days, marking Driptech's official entry into the Chinese press!

You can read the Global Times article here!

2 comments:

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