The 300 year plan

It’s been a while since I contributed to a Dose, and at the outset I feel that I need to first acknowledge our fearless founder, Angel Xie, who began this little newsletter-that-could well over a year ago and poured herself into them week after week. From fascination with smart homes to why Asian restaurants can still thrive with poor service, we’ve all come to look forward to these Doses of Asianess. Though we will miss her consistent contributions (but she may still provide guest Doses from time to time from her new home in Portland!), the good news is that there is a team that was working with her before she gave her farewell – and we are committed to keeping the vision and purpose of these alive here at Gallegos United!

Which takes me to our topic for this week’s Dose. Over the past few weeks we’ve begun working on a plan, not just for our content for the next few weeks, but longer term. Which got me thinking, what does “longer term” planning mean and how might it differ here in the US from Asia?

In the US where businesses feel constant pressure for growth, we’re often forced into short term cycles that range from quarter to quarter and “long term” may actually simply be the next annual plan. Beyond that, we typically struggle to put together a five-year or even three-year plan. And anything outside of that gets into a realm we’d rather leave for science fiction writers. And we’re admittedly not much better in our personal lives – other than putting $ away for college or retirement, planning for the next summer break vacation is about as far out as we get.

Contrast that with Asia, where on a personal level you have the grandmas as in Angel’s last Dose who are passing on their life experiences to the younger generation as a means of helping set them up for a lifetime of success. Like a tree trimmer pruning a tree, helping it to grow straight, full and tall through life.

Taking that further, we can see how this extends to planning in the public sector as in China, the government is set upon bringing China back to prominence on the world stage and has been taking measured steps over the past few decades towards that path. One important initiative to achieving this goal is called “one belt, one road”, which is at the core of China’s long term strategy to become an economic superpower that rivals the US. It is an expansive effort to connect new and old projects across the country and beyond – inclusive of efforts to strengthen both hard and soft infrastructure along with cultural ties. The effort currently extends to 65 countries (with ultimate goal including 152 countries) and 4.4 billion people. China is looking to be at the center of the commerce universe, and by helping these countries build roads and ports, all roads will lead to or through China. This vision is planned to be completed in 2049 – to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

Another great example of this type of long term vision is in the world of business via the Japanese company Softbank. SoftBank was founded in 1981 by Masayoshi Son and has grown this business into one of the largest 100 companies on the planet, having recently raised eyebrows in Silicon valley with his $100 Billion investment “vision” fund. This company is in the news now having invested in WeWork with that vision fund and now is looking to take it over given WeWork’s recent struggles.

This is a company with a mission that extends far beyond it’s rather humble beginnings as a computer parts store and software magazine publisher in Japan. In fact, what first caught my eye about Softbank was their 300 year vision. That’s right… 300 years!  And to bring this into perspective, in countries with thousands of years of history, this may not seem like such a stretch. I really encourage you to take a look at it here (don’t worry, it’s a highly visual presentation that actually doesn’t take that long to flip through). Even though the title is a vision for the next 30 years, you’ll soon see that it’s much broader than that as it states “This vision is designed with the time span of 300 years. The next 3 decades is merely the first step”.

And what does this plan focus on? What’s at the heart of it? Perhaps surprisingly, the focus of this plan for Softbank is bringing happiness to all humans. Through this presentation, Masayoshi examines the main sources of unhappiness and focuses on the death of loved ones, loneliness, despair and sorrow, and considers how to combat them. “The Information Revolution – Happiness for everyone.”

And at the end of this 300 year plan by a billionaire visionary is a photo of his grandma… who influenced him deeply when he was a poor, young Korean immigrant growing up in Japan and helped shape him and guide him when he was young.

Plan ahead for the next year, look ahead to the next 5 years, and imagine ahead for the next 30 or 300 years – and mark a path to get there. And in doing so, think on those who have helped you get there. Angel, and yes, through her part in making her who she is, Angel’s grandma, have helped us to bring Dose to where it is today.

Now we are getting set for the future of Dose of Asianess, and there are some exciting things coming! We’re excited to have you all along for the ride with us – and if you have any thoughts on where these Doses should go over the next 3 months, 3 years, 30 or even 300 years, we’d love to hear from you.

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