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Visiting Alibaba and ALOG with Vlerick Business School

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On April 13th we with Asia & Partners (www.asipar.com) helped Vlerick Business School (#1 in Belgium) to organise a day trip to Hangzhou for their EMBA class (about 40 people). We brought the group to headquarters of two China's leading companies: Alibaba Group and ALOG Technologies.

Learning from Alibaba's success For most of the people, Alibaba is being associated with a website www.alibaba.com - an online marketplace for buyers and suppliers to find each other and do business. But it is more than that - it has 19 other affiliated companies as part of Alibaba Group.


Some facts about Alibaba: It is Chinese e-commerce company that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business sales services via web portals. It also provides electronic payment services, a shopping search engine and data-centric cloud computing services. Alibaba has been the most dominant retailer in the world, generating more gross merchandise volume (GMV) than Amazon.com and e…

Translantau: not making it through

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There are mistakes and there are failures. If you can fix the mistake, it's not a failure. But here is a failure and what I learned from it.

I withdrew from Translantau Ultra 100 km after going 93.2 km, at last check point. It is a trail running event on Lantau Island, the biggest outlying island of Hong Kong (https://translantau.com/). We started run at 23:30 on Fri and it took me nearly 24 hours to get to the last check point. Obviously there was no-sleep night on Fri as we were running, plus many participants including myself had full working on the day of the event. So it was a good challenge from the start.
How did it start
A former colleague, Nelson, told me about this trail-running event. He said there is an option of 25 km, 50 km and 100 km. 'Of course, I will go 100K'. So the registration day came (sometime in October 2016) and I was set on the list. Also there was another Ukrainian running as well, but I haven't chance to get to know him in person.
In fact, I…

The idea of reflection

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Only reflected feelings become experiences.  (Y. Hlibovytsky)
When we see yourself in the mirror before going out - to make sure that we look great (or think that look great/ in a way we choose). So the mirror is reflecting ourselves and giving us a feedback. Based on this feedback we can make a decision by evaluating the feedback: to go or not to go yet (fix hair/ change shirt) - and then go.

Wouldn't be nice to have something like this for our brain? I don't mean CT-scans and MRI machines, but actually something about our thoughts and actions. About our experiences. Something which could help us to see ourselves in different situations and evaluate it. And decide whether we would do it again. For example, foodie type of people would love the idea of non-stop eating or eating as much as they want. But people around would give immediate feedback - 'oh you are getting fatter', which is in the most if the societies is not a good thing (the doc may say it's not good f…

The Future of Oil - report from The Economist

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Today, Dec 1st, Thu, 2016 we had a meeting of The Economist Club and discussed the report 'Breaking the Habit' (link) about future of oil. In Total we had six people attending, all from finance field except myself. Here would like to highlight key points of the discussion:

1. Keep it below 2 C. In December of last year during UN summit on climate change it was agreed that governments would make effort to decrease emissions of CO2 and keep climate change average temperature increase below two degrees celsius.

2. Oil's contribution. Oil consumption accounts for more than half of world energy basket. 46% of it goes to vehicles for transportation

3.  Next conditions shall be be met in order to reach the target below 2C:

A. Investment in natural gas (among the 'cleanest' types of energy): it is a longer terms investment with less ROI compare to oil (that's why investment into oil prevails)

B. Alternative tech: batteries and EVS. The cost of batteries still high and…

Experience with The Economist Club

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I believe that it is a human obligation and responsibility to do what you are passionate about. Somehow my brain is designed in such way when I got an idea, it can hardly can leave it unless I would actually implement it into the reality. One of such ideas was The Economist Club - an informal gathering of The Economist magazine readers to discuss issues and articles through intellectual and mutually respected conversations. 
My affair with The Economist magazine goes back to 2012, when I started to follow it and read those 'complicated' articles. Many friends complained about language difficulty: 'I just can't understand that English'. Indeed, it is not easy to understand the content if you are not a native speaker (maybe being a native speaker does not help much too). I remember times, when while forcing myself to read an article, was having thoughts: 'Gods, what is This all about?'. At the beginning, quite often I had very little or no idea about the mea…

On Evolution

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Charles Darwin was one of the founders of evolutionary biology. In his book On the Origin of Species he articulated two major points: descent with modification and natural selection.
Descent with Modification
All the contemporary species arose from the succession of ancestors that differed from them. That shows unity and diversity of the life. The unity is in the fact that species share same ancestor and diversity is in great variety of different species of the same origin.

Natural Selection
Darwin started with the following three observations from the nature. First, individuals in populations vary in their traits, many of which seem to be heritable (passed on from parents to offspring). Second, a population can produce far more offspring than can survive to produce offspring on their own. With more individuals, than the environment is able to support, the competition is inevitable. Third, species generally suit to their environments, which means they are adapted to their environments…

Why on Ramadan

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Time for Ramadan
Being born in Christian Orthodox family and while growing up in the south part of Ukraine, I had no particular religious preferences. However since childhood I like to read, so when was 8 years old read Bible for Kids, then went for the Old Testament and some part of New Testament (which was not as easy to understand and follow). Nevertheless this year I went for Ramadan for the last 12 days of it (starting June 24th and till July 6th).

According to the source (here), Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time of fasting for Muslims all over the world. Fasting shall be kept from sunrise to sunset for the period of one month. It is not allowed to eat or drink anything while sun is up. Ramadan is one of five pillars of Islam, and as it states in Chapter 2, Verse 185, of the Quran: The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran; a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever …