A Bite of China

 

7279425392_912c9be191_o
Picture by 帅 邵 (Shuai Shao)

 

 

On May 14, 2012, the China Central Tele Vision (CCTV) established a series documentary name “A Bite of China (舌尖上的中国)” and primarily introduced Eco-Gastronomy in various China’s regions.Every province has its representative dish. Through the angle China’s food, as a TV show, not only did CCTV focused on different styles, tastes, and cooking methods from different areas, but it also was willing to show what ceremony, ethics, thinking modes and lifestyles as a unique culture could be brought to Chinese in their daily life. According to the TV show, audiences around the world would understand China’s special food ingredients and other relative elements; understand its food culture and history.

CCTV spent 13 months for only seven parts of the documentary, and it was released in China, Taiwan, Singapore and other Asian countries. At the same time, other country audiences beyond Asia also can watch it in English, French, and Spanish version via China Network Television (CNTV) official website. Therefore, the TV show utilizes China’s food as a window to spread the traditional and modern culture.

The director Chen Xiaoqing said “We are not focusing on famous chefs or dishes, but we would like to introduce the ordinaries’ home cooking in China.” Based on her perspective and scene, it’s effective to show the story and relation between people, food, and society. In other words, we can see through food to perceive society and humanity. The director and her team created a milestone on China’s documentary because they elaborate people’s relations through food.

There is an old Chinese saying that “Do not talk while eating and sleeping.” Food for Chinese people is not mere things that sustain life, but it seems more like a ceremony. With the development of society and technology, industrialization can destroy a family’s reunion, or even reduce people’s perception of family values. However, it cannot deprive Chinese people’s passion and belief on handmade food.

Eating, is always our belief. If American say “In God we trust,” then we would like to say “in food we trust.” Even though Chinese food always slows our pace of life while the pace is increasing with technological advancements; less Chinese refuse it because of the long-standing culture and history.

 

Advertisements

Why Do You Hardly Find Asian Snacks?

2684721192_1791a147f1_o
KitKat: flowers?? by Quasimime

In most grocery stores and supermarkets like Safeway, Walmart, 7-eleven, or even any small store beside gas station, you can find one or more flavors of Ferrero chocolate products. However, can you find Tokuno milk candy or Morinaga chocolate in those stores? Probably not. Even though there are numbers of Asian food markets located in various cities in the U.S., I bet you definitely don’t know what those Japanese brands are because you never heard them.

It’s hard to find Asian snacks or desserts in the U.S.

Obsoletely, we can’t export all of Asian food merchandises into the American market, but they’re too little, aren’t they? So far, I know that most people around me eating Asian snacks or candy are still Asians, American-born Asian or some American natives having relationship with Asians. On the contrast, in China, we eat KitKat, Kindt Lindor, Nutella and other common American snacks. Those products can be found easily as in the U.S., and the price is affordable. Why are Asian snacks hardly found in the U.S.?

Before thinking about the question, let’s see a few successful examples. Recently, I just realized that an Asian product quietly appear in both Walmart and Safeway with a lower price than the local Asian markets. It is Shin Ramyun (신라면), which is a brand of instant noodle produced by a South Korea brand named Nong Shim Ltd. According to the report of Business Korea[1], Shine Ramyun has reached about 80 countries with different cultures and from different parts of the world. Thus, Americans might not know what Master Kong noodle is but you probably have seen Shine Ramyun in different markets. In addition, there are a lot of recipes of cooking the instant noodles in YouTube and you can see a lot of American natives leave comments under the videos. It’s confident to say that Shine Ramyun has already entered the U.S. market for a long time.

If Shine Ramyun reaches its success is because instant noodles derive from Asia, there is another example – Hello Kitty candies. My ex-roommate was a young Chinese girl. One day, after travelling back from Seattle, she gave me a bag of Hello Kitty marshmallow as a gift. When I said, “you really don’t have to buy the marshmallow from an Asian supermarket at Seattle because you can totally find the same thing in Safeway here,” she was surprised as when I found it in Safeway. Compared with Shine Ramyun, Hello Kitty marshmallow’s successful export is based on its world-known image – Hello Kitty, rather than the marshmallow itself.

I think one of the obstruction of exporting Asian snacks is language, or culture. Unlike Italian, Spanish, or French, it’s hard to memorize and pronounce names of Asian brands. Not every Ascian product can be addressed simply like “Pocky.” By the way, when searching Pocky, you can easily find its U.S. official website and Twitter, I think it’s a great transaction from a Japanese snack brand to a global snack industry chain. However, like my favorite snack called Shirayukitei(白雪亭) cookie, a 5-layer sandwich cookie with white chocolate, milk, and light cheese, it’s hard to pronounce and write so it’s hardly created its awareness in other western countries.

Another aspect would be the purchasing power and market in different cultures. For example, the official report of China’s population is 1.357 billion since 2013. However, the U.S. possesses 318.9 million since 2014. For some Asian snack companies, before they have time to think about exporting their products to the U.S., they have to maintain their business in Asia especially in China, because that earning Chinese people’s money is much easier than Americans for those Asian companies.

Anyway, I’m glad that Chinese buyers are located around the world, so I still could buy my favorite snacks though in American. I’m still looking forward to seeing more Asian snacks in American stores; at least in 7-eleven, it is somehow a Japanese brand, isn’t it?

 

Freedom vs. Security: A War between Apple and FBI

 

25240835466_d238b33e6c_o
This journo got hacked while covering the FBI vs Apple iPhone hack story by Security newspaper

On Dec. 2, 2015, there was a massively bloody shooting incident in San Bernardino County, California. It directly caused the death of 14 people and injury of 17 people, which was the most serious shooting incident in recent years.  President Obama also said, it was “an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people.”

The whole affair involves in the human rights, law, technology and other aspects. At the first sight, the shooting incident doesn’t have direct relation with Apple. So, why does the shocked strike relate to the war between Apple and FBI? The answer is on an iPhone 5C, which belonged to Syed Rizwan Farook, the arch criminal who got shot and dead while fighting against policemen. After capturing the cellphone, police wanted to acquire more Farook’s information from it in order to solve the case, but they had a trouble because they couldn’t crack the encryption technique of iPhone. Therefore, on Feb. 16, 2016, a California magistrate judge ordered Apple to develop and install software to help the FBI break Farook’s phone. However, the Apple CEO, Tim Cook’s decision was out of blue that he officially rejected the FBI and magistrate’s request. In his “A Message to Our Customers”Cook insists that “The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers.” Throughout the open letter, he demonstrated and emphasizes the significance of information encryption. At the same time, he expresses his sympathy and compassion to the victim; also, the promise is help the FBI solve the case as far as possible, but the encryption is the bottom line.

Then, what does the FBI require Apple for information encryption of iPhone? In short, the FBI expects Apple to develop a new version of iOS operating system that can successfully bypass some important safety functions and can be installed in any iPhone that they want to investigate. Too confused? In short again, the FBI wants Apple to create a “back door.”

Why does the FBI not break it by itself? Apple load an encryption chip on every single iPhone, and Apple uses a complex algorithm named AES, which let each iPhone has its unparalleled “secret key.” The length of the key is 256 bits, which implies that consists of 256 codes with the number “1” and “0.” In other words, if FBI forcibly breaks the code, the secret key might not be broken in next several decades.

It might be the most crisis Apple has to face – confrontation between an enterprise and the public authority. It seems like a mantis trying to stop a chariot, but, here is the United State.

After Cook released his letter, the public opinions were divided between those who supported the administration and Apple. The interesting thing is that most IT companies like Google and Microsoft tend to support Apple, and most governors especially in high level support the FBI. The event initiates escalating at the time.

Through the PRISM crisis, the reputation of U.S. government has plummeted on surveillance and personal privacy. Hence, multinational IT companies like Apple and Google feel restless and try to redeem their credibility. Those companies have to pressure the Congress because the European Union abolished the Safe Harbor in Oct. 2015. However, not only did it merely involve in personal privacy but it also implies a conflict between freedom and centralization of power, or – the public power and private right. From a foreigner’s insight, freedom and the centralized power are Americans’ sensitive sites, because they hardly won their freedom and democracy and they absolutely will worry about the centralized power or its maximum – totalitarianism.

Of course, the moderate majority opposite Apple’s decision. In short, their opinions are the public security is NO. 1. Donald Trump, the presidential candidate (and a punster) posts couple tweet for boycotting Apple.  As he said, “Who do they (Apple) think they are?”

In fact, whether standing in the victims’ angle or the judicial process, Apple should help the government. Why is Apple’s response so uncompromising, and so fast? The answer is that the IT companies have to win back customers’ trust after the PRISM crisis, and the San Bernardino shooting case might be a moment. Apple is proud of its advanced information security and encryption techniques, and they are Apple’s token to win back their credibility. Thus, Cook’s drastic response is like a well-prepared PR tactic for maintain Apple’s strong power on protecting personal privacy. Unlike Steve Jobs, Cook is a businessman, so the pursuit of the interests is understandable. In the shooting event, gaming with the government is not the most difficult for Apple, but succumbing to the government is the worst consequence because it will bring Apple into a much worse situation.

Such an easy choice question, obviously, Apple gives its answer already.

 

Food Safety: Chinese are Second-class Citizens

8972652982_c24f6362ef_o
China Industrial Meat trip by Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

I have to say, Chinese people’s deficient awareness on food safety is an accelerant to raise the problem. When look at the New York Times, I’m surprised that there is a single forum about China’s food safety. I actually shouldn’t be surprised. Our food is beyond unhealthy – it’s not safe.

Recently, more and more news appear about Chinese overseas purchasing agents being “sweeping” global market, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Germany, Canada, England, and the U.S. It’s funny that bottled Canadian’s fresh air has market in China. Guess how much are they? It’s $14 to $20 per bottle; now we know that air can be merchandise – and the word “ridiculousness,” probably.

Therefore, I have to say, we’re second-class citizens when we eat. In 2013, a Chinese specialist insisted that China’s food related departments needed to establish a concept to citizens that “toxin from detection of food safety doesn’t representative violation and harm.” In other words, if toxin in food doesn’t exceed a certain amount. Compared with the U.S., FDA usually recall food that possesses “potential” hidden danger for health. For example, also in 2013, ANNIE voluntarily recalled its pizza products because they have “possible” presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh, and there was no consumer complaints. Based on China’s concept, if no one get problem from food products or no one dead caused by the food products, it means that the products are “safe,” so the government and food companies don’t have to take management measures. It’s just like Canadian air merchandise; again, let me really understand the word “ridiculousness.”

It’s like a logical game. No report, no potential problem. I admire that our experts who could relate between food incident report and food safety, forcibly; it looks like a logical formulas: because A=0, B=1. In my mind, their opinions are intentional deceivableness or try to freedom from responsibility. If problems occur, they will exert huge influence. Now, more and more Chinese family would prefer foreign milk powder than homemade, because of the influences and pain of Sanlu milk scandal have not dropped away. To be honest, it brings an opportunity for we overseas students because we can buy milk power from other countries, and some of my Chinese friends are really good “milk powder sellers.” Hence, it’s not surprised that many countries like UK now is limiting sales of baby milk in order to stop surge buying from Chinese. The difference on food safety regulatory system and concept behind diversity of values between China and the U.S. is a warning to China that we really do need to improve our consciousness and attitudes on food safety.

Moreover, in the U.S., news media will primarily interview victims, people in charge, and competent department when an incident occurs, and then will focus on public opinions. As for experts and scientists, they just need to provide an academic background. So, why do our experts want to interference public’s opinions and preference? In the final analysis, food safety problem is a matter of market action, business and management, and other related departments, but not of scientific community. Indeed, conclusion should be concluded by citizens’ common sense rather than experts’ academic points. In China, a labelling with “science” equals a spokesman of “truth,” so the person is able to judge everything. In other words, some Chinese “experts” of the competent department keep on saying how scientific community is great, but it exactly reflects the negligence of human rights. Therefore, I would have to say on the aspect of food safety, we’re backward.

It’s like nothing is safe in my home country. Air is polluted; water is polluted, and food is not safe. I can see citizens’ complaint through China’s social media platforms. But we’re still alive, with our expectation and endeavor. I believe that food will not be a problem in the future as long as our food regulation is based on civil benefits instead of experts’ theory.

Will Hillary Clinton Win the Cash-burning War?

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell endorses Senator Hillary Clinton
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell endorses Senator Hillary Clinton

The American 2016 Presidential Election has officially begun on February 1st, and candidates of democratic and republican party have already fall over themselves for electorates. All we can see is growing competition and “burning” cash. According to the statistics from the Federal Election Commission, two parties has spent over a hundred million dollar so far; as a result, the 2016 election definitely will become the most expensive election through history. Hence, the election is always big businesses and super-rich level’s game.

On April 12, 2015, Hillary Clinton officially announced she would ran in election and launched a 2-minute-and-18-second video via social media. In the video, after she reported interracial ordinaries’ personal story at different ages, with wearing a black suit and red blouse, Hillary with a small smile confidently announced, “Every day Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion.” As long as every American family becomes prosperous, the U.S. will become more prosperous. To be honest, it’s an inspiring speech. Public opinions widely believe that she might easily win the primary election, and she did.

However, rich people provide funds, but poor people give ballots. Balancing poor and rich is candidates’ responsibility and obligation, especially for black citizens. As Michelle Alexander[2], a human rights advocate wrote in her article, “As president, Bill Clinton mastered the art of sending mixed cultural messages.” It is true, but guess what Mrs. Clinton said to black children? She said, “They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.” No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.” In other words, she treats black children as animals, and the statement obsoletely caused black people’s indignation.

Thus, we can see Hillary is trying to solicit black people’s support and seek their forgiveness. For example, she criticized Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder’s negligence on the Flint water crisis because most citizens were black and poor people. It seems as a way to both strength black people’s confidence for the Democratic and give the Republican a great hit. Fortunately, Hillary won the Congressional Black Caucus’s endorsement, which will become an accelerant to help her reverse adverse situation.

Let’s look back her video “Getting Started.” The logo for the election appeared at the end is a capital “H” with blue and red color; it refers to Hillary her first name rather than her husband’s last name “Clinton.” It’s rational and reasonable because if she wins to election I believe that all of social media will adapt “President Hillary” rather than “President Clinton.” We already have a world-famous president Clinton – Hillary’s husband.

Can you imagine? Two presidents govern one country, at the same time.

The problem, however, is that “two presidents.” Based on Clinton is active in the Clinton Foundation, no one would believe he will fade away from the White House. Moreover, the “First Lady” has her conventionally political responsibility, so it can be seems at two presidents govern the U.S. through history. Indeed, it is one of the biggest obstacles in her “journey” that her opponents hate her because they hate her husband; they cannot accept two “Clintons” govern the country. On the contrast, supporters would believe it will lead to positive and powerful changes to the American administration. In Hillary’s video, she mentioned the word “champion,” it might implied Clinton who not only survived from the Lewinsky scandal in 1998 but also consistently obtained a huge reputation. Therefore, we can say Clinton is a champion of political championship. Through Clinton’s 8-year presidential career and Hillary’s 12-year senate and the Secretary of State, I have to say that it’s really fair to judge Hillary for the policies her husband championed years ago.

Hillary’s competitor, Bernie Sanders now have to face two Clintons. According to Alexander’s article, she differentiates between Bernie and Hillary through couple aspects. Bernie voted for the 1994 crime bill, but Hillary didn’t. They had adverse stance on bank deregulation and the Iraq War. The biggest problem is his “impractical.” We could say that the U.S. is a conservative country, so Bernie’s radical policies actually are hardly accepted. Political revolution is his core concept, but he has to really come out in revolution like the civil rights revolution in order to force the Congress to pass his schemes. Finally, in my personal opinion, he is an honest and adorable Jew old great grandfather, like a professor having an ideal, but he is not a politician. When the Republican candidates debated for Syria, LGBT, global warming, China’s Internet attack, Bernie aimed at practical problems, such as paid women parental leave, universal health care, college tuition, and so forth. He is a unique candidate ever, as a democratic socialist, as an independent.

 

What Do We Eat for Chinese Valentine’s Day

9504273343_9a1bbe77be_o
Qixi Festival Chilseok. By Alesandra Rocha De Sousa

It’s time to feel love. Ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your lover or friends? Having a sweet and romantic dinner at a steakhouse sounds a good idea. However, do you want to try to make a different Valentine’s Day for your special person? In Japan, Japanese have their special culture for the day that Japanese girls always buy or make chocolate for their loved boys, and boys will return gifts for girls on March 14th if they want to have a further relationship; the day boys return gifts is called White Valentine’s Day. The reason why Japanese girls and boys like doing that is based on its implicit culture. Boys usually focus on studying, part-time working, and club activities during their student life, but they’re too shy to express their love to girls, so girls need to be brave and explicit.

Compared with Japanese culture, Chinese also have a unique culture on Valentine’s Day. Chinese Valentine’s Day, also called Qixi Festival, falls on the 7th day of 7th month on the Chinese lunar calendar. It sometimes called Double Seventh Festival, the Night of Sevens, or the Magpie Festival. During the day, nothing is related to chocolate of course. The day originated from the romantic legend of two lovers who were the weaver maid and the cowherd respectively. In a clear estivo-autumnal night, the arc of the southern Milky Way shone brightly on the starry sky. When the stars Vega and Altair, who are in love but separated by the Milky Way, are reunited for the night.  Hence, it implies reunions, reconciliations and the bliss of lovers long parted, and that’s the story of Chinese Valentine’s Day.  

Different people from different regions have different customs. The difference also shows China’s long history and inter-cultural diversity. In some Eastern provinces, women would like to put some melon and fruit on a dining table, and hope a spider could spin a web on the food, because they treat the spider cobweb as a connection between men and women so men whom they love will know their feelings. In the central area, it is more interesting that seven good friends would make dumplings together and put a copper coin and a red date into the dumplings. They believe that the person who eats the “lucky” dumplings will get a blessing from deities. In some southwestern rural areas, there is a parable that fairy maidens would like to descend to the earth and get a shower in lakes in the day, and people believe that drinking the “bath water” is beneficial to their health. Then people will take water from lakes around them.

If you want to experience a different and unique for Valentine’s Day, welcome to China and we can eat and celebrate together!  

Long Air Trip. A Nightmare or An Opportunity?

1
Singapore Airlines A330 from Brisbane_01. By John

Do you know that an airline may let passages select their food and change in 24 hours before hopping off? Do you know that French couturier Pierre Balmain has designed the colorful “sarong kebaya” for the airline since 1972, and created its unique modern aviation culture called the “Singapore Girl?”

2
Singapore Airlines CabinCrew. By John Wah

That airline is Singapore Airlines.

In 2008, Singapore Airlines introduced its Suites Class, the most luxurious class of flying for the flagship Airbus A380, a long non-stop flight from Singapore to New York. The deluxe air trip was worth $23,000. Holy Crap! I think the most people don’t want to pay that such money for only 16 hours. However, let’s see what people say about the Suites Class. “I have to say, after being served Dom Perignon in a double-suite bedroom at 36,000 feet, I’m not sure flying experiences get any better than this,” Derek Low who is an adventure traveler and entrepreneur said. Even though the Airbus A350 is not the longest airline route in the world anymore, but it will once again become in 2018. In my personal experience, since I traveled several times between my home country China and the U.S., I prefer cheaper price and short time than their scenic value when reserving flights. Seating on a seat over 10 hours don’t make me feel good, unless I have enough money.

Indeed, through Derek’s eyes, I think our air travel modes are changing, like the development of the cruise industry in 20th century. Before 1970s, who could believe the cruise industry would become the tourist industry in the future? It needs to create much awareness to travelers that they actually could have fun on a vessel. Costa Crociere did that; thus so we all know about luxurious cruise tours of Carnival Cruise Lines today. As the first flight containing luxuriously double-bed service, Singapore Airlines has an advanced perspective toward travelers’ expectations for their flight trip beyond basic demands such as security and price – pleasant and comfortable sensation. Also, we can see the company provides high quality services not only in the air but also before departure and after arrival, and that’s another what travelers expect.

Furthermore, as a service industry, airline companies definitely need to communicate with their hundreds and thousands audiences and customers for high reputation. In my mind, social media messages would be the most important tactics to transmit information and communicate with target people. When looking at Singapore Airlines’ Twitter account, we can see that the company tweets in every festival. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube are other platforms for interaction with audiences. Insufficient communication via multimedia might cause a range of issues, especially for crisis. For example, because of lack of communication with people and transparency of its press release, Malaysia Airlines lost its reputation after MH370’s disappearance. At the same time, they didn’t use the hashtags like #MalaysiaAirlines and #MH370 constantly, target audiences hardly find relevant information through social media. Hence, using hashtags is also another effective way, isn’t it?

Most innovations are expensive at the beginning, like cellular phones, like smart phones, like cars, or like a luxury cruise vacations. However, they gradually become affordable and viable for more people. For now, a long flight trip is still a nightmare to most travelers. In the future, I guess airline companies will make the revolutionary development for the air transportation.

 

Happy Chinese New Year!

23769022450_5827ed05e6_o
Happy New Year of Monkey in 2016, by Ken SJ

We rely on food every day. The notion of “Food is the first thing for people,” is the most significant and essential idea in Chinese civilization life. According to the lunar calendar of 2016, we are celebrating the Year of the Monkey today.

We are delighted to join our families and friends both old and new, on the evening for the celebration of discarding old and brining in new, and celebrating coming of new things. It’s a great time and probably the only time to families for reuniting together and eating feast. Hence, you can know why the biggest human migration on earth called “Chunyun” or “spring rush” happens each year in China. Perhaps most Americans cannot image the scene how 2.9 billion trips are made in 40-day period between provinces and cities, but it happens in my country. Anyway, family means home. It’s time to come home.

However, I hasn’t come home for the celebration since 5 years ago, and the worst is that the enthusiasm, feelings and memory about the reunion with family has gradually gone from my body. Only one thing, a clear memory, is my grandmother’s cooking. In my childhood and adolescence, the only thing I expected in every Eve is her cooking, and she always cooked a full table of delicious dishes to welcome us. Now, she has passed away couple years. I miss her cooking and of course I miss my whole family very much. Hence I tried many times to cook alone or with friends in the U.S., but the memory, taste and feelings cannot be duplicated, totally and forever.

This is a video named “Chopsticks” in translation produced by CCTV, is a public service advertising that shows how food and dishes play their important role to getting Chinese families’ relationship closer.

The New Year’s Eve dinner, also called “Happiness of the Reunion,” is considered as the important family banquet. Before the midnight, we need to make dumplings with different fillings, such as chive with eggs and pork with cabbage, we eat dumplings at the midnight in the New Year’s Eve, and it symbolizes start of the Spring Festival. When look at dumplings, you will find the shape of the dumpling looks like gold ingot from ancient China, which is another implied meaning – brining in wealth and treasure.

For the southerners, instead of making and eating dumplings, they would love to have Nian Gao in the Eve. Its implied meaning is to wish every family member and friend’s life to be better than the last year.

Our enthusiasm on cooking Chinese New Year Eve food is just same as yours on watching the Super Bowl right now. I’m glad that it happens in the same time, so I probably can invite my American friends to watch the Super Bowl together and, enjoy the feast tonight!

Lego, Beyond the Toy

10801109074_9385aab295_k
Lego US Navy SEALS, by Brick Police.

During my childhood in Beijing, China, I expected my birthday each year, because my mother could buy a Lego toy for me only at that time. Once I got the toy, without hesitation, I flaunt in the class and enjoyed my friends’ envy even before assembling pieces. Why? Lego is so expensive due to the complex retailing structure, so not most families are willing to up the ante buying a toy for their child.

Thus, Lego is most Chinese children’s dream.

To continue the dream and through the development of my knowledge, I also would like to work for the world’s most powerful brand no matter in China or in the U.S. if I have any chance.

The brand was only a “Toy Factory” to me when I was a child. Now, I know that Lego is a corporation reforming the definition of the word “innovation.” Beyond the toy, creation is always its core value. For example, not only does it provide bricks for kids and adults but it creates “platform” called “intelligent brick” that a Lego robot being able to do customized programming. Lego has opened its development ideas, which let consumers make their decisions whether following the blueprint to assemble or customizing their own toys. Of course, you also can find Lego films and video games associated with Marvel, Star wars, Harry Porter, and so forth. Lego seeks for diversity. Now, we can say Lego has established its own empire.

In addition, indeed, creation is not only to develop technology itself but also based on people. Lego also shows its humanitarianism. As we knows, Lego’s figures are various, from Harry Porter to the War of Warcraft, from policemen to nurses, and from fiction to reality. Recently, to respond a query and requirement toward the disabled, Lego announced that it will push out a wheelchair figure. It obsoletely causes positive effect to public.  Also, it reminds me that Lego has ended its partnership with Shell for Greenpeace, and created a video that made me cry.

In some business books, we always can see great example of successful companies that possess dauntless and original regulations. Because creation brings success to the companies, we always praise those supervisor modes and management styles. For example, Google engineers can put their 20 percent working time to any project; W.L. Gore Associates, Inc. creates a non-hierarchical environment without a title or a boss, and Semco also executes the management mode that employees can totally manage themselves. However, Lego, doesn’t give employees 20 percent time for any project; employees have their titles and hierarchy, and closed the strategy about releasing originality. On the contrast, it establishes a clear framework in the company, and guides every type of creative actions. Therefore, from improving current products to exploiting future markets, Lego always has its relative frame as guideline.

Creation. Humanity. Sharp-sighted management mode. Fun. Is there any reason to not work for this company?

Diversity, is another important aspect. Except Lego, there are many companies and organizations paying attention to diversity. For example, Samsung involves in various realms in about 70 countries such as electronic, financial, machinery, chemical and even military industry. Recently, there is some talk that Apple is building a car. Google is not only a search engine anymore, but it is changing our life style like Google Earth, Google Map, and it created a project for contact lens. Thus, we have a reason to believe that diversity has become a new trend for major companies.

In order to navigate the new terrain, communication is a key. For those major companies, to make a new project they must rely on all types of communication such as internal, external, formal and interpersonal between their stakeholders, consumers, and employees. Lego has already achieved its benefit from communicating with children and their parents. They know that Children want to play more and more new toys and they also want to challenges. Their parents always want the company to provide a safe and engaging toys and toys for their children. Therefore, communication is like a comprehensive and evolving approach to understand different level consumers and inspires companies to think about creation.

Chipotle – Snack Well, Healthy Fast Food, And Some Troubles

78954681_fbc7ffb3da_o (1)
Photo produced by John Nunemaker

When we mention the U.S. cultural transmission around the world, two aspects will be involved – Hollywood film industry and American fast food. Hollywood films transmit a visual sensation; at the same time, they also intangibly import American values inside of the movies. In my mind, most of Hollywood films contain political and cultural purpose to the world. Compared with the film industry, American fast food is relatively simple, because it merely affects the world through gustation. However, in recent years, there are some denouncements such as high calories and uneven nutrition.

Today, I want to talk about Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., a low-calories Mexican fast food brand. Chipotle means a type of Mexican dried chili, which is also the logo image. Mexican love chilies, so the image of brand is an obvious symbolization of the culture. In 1993, Steve Ells founded the first restaurant in Denver, Colo. Like other Mexican restaurants, it mainly serves Mexican food such as Tacos and Burrito, but the promotion point is high-quality raw ingredients including beef, chicken, pork, rice, beans, and vegetables. Thus, customers deem Chipotle as a healthier fast food brand than other competitive corporations like McDonald’s. With the development tendency, the ibrand is loved by vegetarian and people who advocate healthy diets. Another superiority is low prices. Lower prices equal to attracting more customers because it catches millennials who possess a huge consuming ability. For examples, there is a new Chipotle opening at the central of University of Oregon at which I am studying. I pass by there every day and always can see more than 10 students lining up at the time. Hence, I believe that it happens all the time at all of universities in the U.S.

menu

Chipotle believes in the brand power. If Abercrombie & Fit sells its character and Hearley-Davidson sells its rebellion, Chipotle sells its idealism. The corporation has established a special lifestyle that appeals consumers about a consumption concept of sustainable development. Moreover, based on its unique marketing philosophy, Chipotle doesn’t invest much capital on traditional media for advertising. Instead, its marketing methods are spending much money on creating festivity, brewing beer, rising star chiefs and donating food. According to its Twitter account, of its published tweets usually are very short, and most of them are about guacamole which is another representative of Mexican food. Also, the tweets touch audiences in humorous way. Therefore, it depends on the value of word of mouth to expand the brand.

If you think Chipotle only serves healthy food, you probably forget its essence – fast food. Corresponding to healthy menu, it also has an “unhealthy” menu. After all, Chipotle still is a fast food chain enterprise. You can find its “junk food” that is roughly an equal amount of healthy food. This strategy gives consumers a guilty but pleasant feeling, because they can customize their combos through their moods and preferences.

However, recently, the corporation has to face two major problems – food safety and a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination. It responded and made measures to food safety through its official Twitter account and released a press. Because of the investment on the food safety and other relevant measures, its profit margin will be lower than expected. On the other hand, Chipotle is silent to the sex discrimination issue so far. Discrimination is always a serious problem to any corporation at any realm. You know that Denny’s paid a terrible price for saving its reputation from its race bias suits in 1994. Therefore, I believe that nobody wants to see that history repeats itself except Chipotle’s competitors.