I passed my 30th year mark somewhere over China en route to Taiwan. Actually, our KLM flight stopped in Amsterdam and Bangkok before arriving in Taipei but, unfortunately, there was no time to get out and explore either of those locations.
Our time it Taiwan was really excellent, albeit very rushed as we were only there for 48 hours. We arrived in the evening and launched immediately into meetings. First up was a group of women looking to bring Poken to the Taiwanese market. They have good ideas and I wish them the best success. Next we met with our manufacturing partners, who took us out for karaoke.
Karaoke was an amazing experience in and of itself. We were in a private room, waited on hand and foot, and singing slightly modified versions of late 80s soft rock–at least at first. With some help from the girl next to me (name pronounced like “Go-Go”), we managed to find the song lists for Michael Jackson and George Michaels–then it was on! Stephane and I belted out tunes (Fortunately the girls knew how to turn the background music up to drown out our singing!) until the music selection turned to the Backstreet Boys.
At one point in the evening a cake arrived and Happy Birthday was sung. Considering that I was far away from family and friends on my birthday, this was a great way to ring in the new year. I am also very, very, very appreciative of all the calls, cards, emails, and facebook messages people sent. Thank you very much for reaching out even from far away!
Our next day was filled with meetings, discussing new product versions and our ability to scale up production to address Poken’s worldwide stock-out. We have far outpaced our original growth projections so modifications must be made to increase our manufacturing capacity. The meetings went well and I am very impressed with the professionalism of our Taiwanese partner.
Tuesday night we went out for Japanese food and then walked around local night markets. We also wandered around the outside of Taipei 101 but it was already closed so we couldn’t go up. Stephane and I “turned in” relatively early (before 1 AM) but then stayed up for hours answering email backlogs. Our body clocks hadn’t adjusted yet and we were energized. We shared a room (Yay, startup life!) but this time we had come prepared enough not to have to wear our underwear inside out!
Wednesday’s meetings were more of the same (Korean BBQ for lunch!) and, again, went very well. Then it was back to the airport, through Bangkok and Amsterdam, and finally back in Switzerland. It was a real whirlwind but a great experience for my birthday and first time in Asia. Now I can’t wait to go back, learn the local languages better, and spend more time soaking up the culture.