The startup journal XI: Integrate and upgrade


Nothing can grow by itself. A startup starting from scratch needs partners to help it out. We are no exception.

Going forward on our six-month journey and beyond, we are building partnerships around us and growing together.

We are collaborating with the quarterly event Tech Hive, which is a workshop for entrepreneurs, a cross between a hackathon and a business planning competition.

Its founder Andy Mok, originally from New York, aims to help early stage startups get what they need the most: people, money, and attention. I attended one of Tech Hive’s events last summer when they planned a hot co-founder speed dating session.

At a cozy bar renovated from an ancient warehouse in a hidden courtyard called 1949 The Hidden City in downtown Beijing, 50 or so men and women, mostly in their 30s, gathered around with beers or margaritas in their hands. Men in polo T-shirts and women in skirts, as intelligent and passionate as they were, longed for business partners to kick off their bold startup ideas.

No small talk involved, going straight to what they needed and what they can offer, it was casual, just like talking to someone in a bar. It was efficient, because people would move on if they didn’t find a match. With the indie rock music from the bar mixing with the heat of the summer, it was funky and spontaneous.JingA

As an observer, this was like a scene from a movie about entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, except that no one wore thick-framed glasses or talked like a robot. It was a wonderful moment depicting the hot startup scene in Beijing or revealing the truth about entrepreneurs anywhere in the world. They are risk-taking, open-minded, desperate to test their ideas. They share the same DNA, yet they need each other.

That’s what partnership is about, combining your strongest traits and integrating resources from both sides. Then you can upgrade, developing faster by borrowing each other’s strengths. I’m quite excited that my colleagues will soon observe many more interesting tech events, such as the GMIC Beijing 2016 in April, the largest local tech conference, just like I once did. They’ll learn new things and share insights with our readers from all over the world.

Our other partners include co-working space DayDayUp, with whom we co-organized our monthly signature event Tech Junction. Last Thursday we had our second one when we invited an industry expert to offer advice on how to do marketing via WeChat, China’s largest social network with about 650 million monthly active users.

Our mission is to establish a tech community to connect with thinkers and dealmakers around the world. Despite the fact that we are in Beijing, the world is flat. Tech enthusiasts who are in and out of the city and who want to learn about the startup scene on the ground, to meet other people and to get tips to help their businesses can always join the event.

Tech Junction
Tech Junction (Photo by Catherine Lai)

After all, we are a tech media platform. We provide news online. When we need to physically meet and interact with our readers we need our partner DayDayUp, who has a cozy space and a similar mission to connect businesses in China and elsewhere.

We all want a win-win outcome. It involves benefitting both parties in a respectful and balanced way. When a common goal is set, negotiation is necessary to make sure things are going on the right track. It should be a balanced and respectful process, not a painful bargaining process or an attempt to rip off the other party. If that happens, a partnership may fail.

Partnership is not just between companies, it’s between individuals – employers to employees, friends and couples. Knowing the other party always takes time, understanding, and adjustment. Don’t take things personally, avoid conflict, and think about the greater good. Then it will be easier to get what you both want. Until it’s time to toast the outcome with a glass of champagne.

Read The startup journal series here.

Wu Nan

Nan is the Founder and Editor in Chief of AllTechAsia. She is an award-winning journalist with honors from Foreign Press Association in New York and Hong Kong Journalists Association. For years she worked for top-notch media outlets including South China Morning Post and the Wall Street Journal. She co-founded the NetEase Annual Economist Conference (NAEC), a leading economic forum in China. She holds a master's degree in Journalism at U.C. Berkeley and is a 2012 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Write to her: nan[at]

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