Thanks to Xnode for having me on the podcast to discuss two of my favorite topics! In just 30 minutes, we covered the secret to business success in China, how to leverage local tech ecosystems to our advantage, and ways to harmonize personal and work life.The podcast name is spot on! This was all about bridging cultures & building brands.

1. What’s the secret to business success in China?

So many answers came to mind, but the keys to me reside in curiosity and humility.Things are changing so quickly in China. Frankly, no one can afford to sit back and act like we’ve got it all figured out. And in fact, if we’re honest, no one does. We simply learn as we go.

So, those who are most agile, who are willing to ask questions and who learn to flex are the ones who leapfrog the others.

Bridging Cultures - Curiosity and humility - John Gorhman

2. How should we leverage Chinese tech ecosystems to our advantage?

Two thoughts. 1) Start by understanding what every company does best. Tencent is grounded in social engagement, Baidu in search, and Alibaba in commerce. There’s a ton of overlap, but those are pretty foundational.

Bridging Cultures - Statista BAT chart

2) Understand what’s currently hot for each company. For instance, I shared how at Starbucks, we quickly built an integrated digital gift card experience called 用星说 or “Say it with Starbucks” by collaborating with Tencent. Mini-programs had just become a thing and they were interested in creating a use case. What a perfect opportunity to leverage the tech expertise of a massive powerhouse to accelerate our brand ambitions!

Building brands - Starbucks Say it with Starbucks

3. How do you harmonize work and life?

In a word: Authenticity. I truly believe that we give the world the best of ourselves when we’re willing to be ourselves. It’s when we boldly step out and declare who we are and what we stand for, that we give permission to others to do the same. What an empowering and amplifying energy!

And that’s bridging cultures and building brands in 30 minutes!

For more on the topic of authenticity and living into your true and best self, check out:

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Image credit in order of appearance:,, Credit Liliane Kamikazi