The Wisdom of Paul Denlinger

29 01 2013

I’ve been very negligent in my blogging as of late, and intend to pick up the pace again. I’ve been working an internship with Z.H. Studio, a PR consulting firm that primarily works to promote industrial parks and investment opportunities to VC firms, named have the founder, Yan Zhihua (“Z.H.”). Between this and my classes at Hult- Global Economics and Financial Management, I’ve been staying pretty busy.

While I’ll have a longer post up later this week (promise!), and perhaps a new book review (fingers crossed), for now here are a few quotes from digital renaissance man Paul Denlinger that I found in a text file when I was cleaning out my hard drive. Few foreign nationals know the ins and outs of China’s IT industry better than Paul, who has been working with – and for- Chinese internet firms since the 1990s. While there are times when we wouldn’t agree on the color of the sky – and he can certainly be a wet blanket at times – I deeply respect his knowledge and experience. He has some advice to younger professionals just starting out:

“Think that a good way is to make an argument, back it up with data, and make the data fun for not smart people (like CEOs) easy to manipulate using data visualization techniques. Then they can walk away saying “Ingenious! We need to hire this guy!””

“The trick is to get hired by CEOs and show them some tricks, which they use to impress their staff how brilliant they are. And staying very quiet and floating around in the background so that you don’t steal their thunder.”

“You can think big problems and ask big questions when you are in your 50s and have proven yourself and written a few books. Now, you need to think about where your contribution can make a tangible difference. Think small. Say no to things which distract you.”

“Early in your career, focus is your single most important friend, before time becomes your enemy. Anything which takes away from focus is your enemy.”

“Start with small simple goals. Things you can do in one day, one week. Don’t aim too high in the beginning, because you will fail and fall back to the old ways (which is not good). Build up your confidence that you can change.”

Wise words from a guy who knows what he’s talking about.