Weekly review (2019–09–29): India→Japan→India

Taejun
4 min readSep 29, 2019

… and will go back to India again in 3 days. I need to think about business trip planning.

Review

Moved from Karuizawa to Tokyo and met a friend who is a genius programmer. Then moved to Narita and took the flight for Delhi. Read a book about Fintech and philosophy. Arrived in the Delhi airport at around 23:00, i.e., 2:30 AM Japan time. The ANA flight is useful in that I can use the time until 14:00 in Tokyo, but not suitable for sleep-time stabilization (on top of that, it always takes around 30 minutes to pass the immigration).

I spent one entire day for thinking about technology application of our business. Many fintech players in developing nations do tech just for the tech itself — no clients’ perspective. The reality is that (1) only 10% of typical MF customers use smartphones, (2) 20% are illiterate, and (3) 20–40% are not connected to the internet. The tech application should be practical and impactful. However, a rapid shift from feature phone to smartphone may happen within a few years. The increasing number of shops don’t sell feature phones anymore.

We had a Gojo team meeting in Delhi. I always love to have this team meeting. We work separately and don’t meet up that often. Once we meet up in a place, I feel that I am surrounded by the best colleagues. So happy to work with every single one of them. We discussed quite intensively and came up with around a dozen of actions. Some are a bit radical. Let’s see.

Then moved to Ahmedabad to attend the board meeting of Ananya. Ananya’s board is the most organized among all the board meetings I have attended. If there’s one thing that we may be able to improve, that would be time management. The board is too vocal to agree on each agenda within the scheduled time. Some transition was also announced. I wish it turns out to be a good change in the end.

Came back to Delhi, and then Tokyo to greet young professionals from Taiwan. My friend is running this organization, and they come to Japan from time to time. It’s nice to see that some foreign professionals still see value in visiting the country. I sometimes wonder what kind of things in Japan can really inspire professionals, except for food and some wacky things.

Today marks the second anniversary of my grandmother’s death — time flies. I need to complete the autobiography of her. Though she couldn’t even speak in the last several years, she was the center of our entire family. Now we’ll have to re-build this family tie.

New Year Resolution Progress

Colleagues told me that I have to reduce the time to visit the field and spend more time on fundraising, because that is what only I can do. That partially makes sense, but I can make a compelling presentation only because I visit the field. So I can’t but visiting the branches and the clients, but I think I now need to think about the time allocation. We’ll shortly start the tech initiatives, so it’s a good time to think about time reallocation.

Started to learn Hindhi by using an app. However, this app begins with memorizing texts (which is, to be honest, boring). I’m thinking of a new app which starts with colloquial Hindi. One good way is to master a few nice songs, maybe.

Also, I think I need to spend more time on tech initiatives, i.e., reading more and meeting more people.

Books review

大学・中庸(Great Learning and The Doctrine of the Mean)
I googled how to write the books’ name in English. Because Mencius was impressive, I thought of finishing two of the four major Confucianism books (Confucianism, Mencius, and these two). To be honest, they were not as impressive as Confucianism/Mencius. They were a bit too theoretical.

Fintech in a Flash
A good summary of Fintech landscape. The list of major fintech startups is helpful. Some of them (the book was published 2 years ago) are already facing trouble, and that tells me that impressing investors is one thing and making the business sustainable is completely another.

Other thought

Keigo (敬語) a mode of Japanese language used for the senior/higher-position people may be one impediment for smooth and efficient communication. That is what I have suspected for long. Language defines our way of thinking unconsciously. Though there are only several Japanese speakers at Gojo, I’m thinking of abolishing Keigo from our communication. It is a big thing, indeed. No huge backlash like abolishing Caste system is expected, but the modus operandi is deeply rooted in the culture, so it entails a big difficulty. Let’s see.

After spending a few more days, will fly back to India to attend a WEF event in the country. I am looking forward to meeting fellow YGLs and some interesting people from around the world.

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