What Do You Want to Tell the World in 5 Minutes?

Gone is the time when you had an idea and simply wrote it down in a notebook. In a time of modern communication, when everything is in ‘the cloud’ and everyone is communicating through digital channels, you take that idea online. But sometimes it’s still best for people who have an idea to bring it forward to the public — get onstage and initiate sparkles of innovation and interaction.

The idea of sharing one’s thoughts isn’t new. People have gathered to share their ideas for thousands of years. And nowadays many associations, profit or non-profit, host similar collaborative events where people share ideas and bounce them back and forth to create something spectacular. I’m sure most of you are familiar with TEDx (http://www.ted.com/tedx), 140 Characters Conference (http://140conf.com/), and Ignite (http://ignite.oreilly.com/).

Speaking of Ignite: If you were given a stage for five minutes and behind you were 20 slides, each automatically advancing every 15 seconds … what would you say? Do you have something passionate, brilliant, or crazy to share with the audience?

My first Ignite experience was back in the beginning of this year in Ann Arbor. To my surprise, there were all sorts of topics from “Asian Carp Invasion – Michigan at War” to “Hives at Home – the Joys of Urban Beekeeping.” And believe me, most of presentations are actually entertaining (especially Dave Murr’s “The Official End of the World Survival Guide: 2012 Edition”). Does such an event sound tempting to you? Well, it definitely inspired me. And I don’t just want to attend the next event, I want to be part of the excitement.

The majority of my tweets include digital marketing stuff: search marketing, organic ranking, leadership, business strategies, etc. But if you read my blogs or happen to notice some of my conversations on LinkedIn, you know I am passionate about cross-cultural business. (Especially business conducted between the States and China) Having a weird accent and living in the States can sometimes be a problem, but I like to use my bilingual ability and background to look at both sides of every story.

Just a month ago I was having a conversation with groups of marketers about how well-known brands & advertisers make mistakes by translating their campaign literally from its original language without considering the cultural differences and consumer behavior in the target market. (http://www.chinesetranslationpro.com/brand-translation.php) For example, Pepsi’s campaign read by Chinese consumers as “Bring your dead ancestor back to life” (whereas its original message was “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation”). Other hilarious campaigns like Chevy “No Va” story are surprisingly common. With the rise of Chinese consumers’ purchase power, more and more American companies like Google, Sony, even Walmart plan on stepping into the huge market. However, we rarely see success stories even when those companies have huge market share in the States. Why? I think the cause involves cultural adaptation and the amount of time invested.

And that is my pitch for Ignite Detroit 2, happening on April 14th: “China’s No Panda Express” (http://ignitedetroit.uservoice.com/forums/104161-ignite-detroit-2/suggestions/1602283-china-s-no-panda-express?ref=title) Will I be able to get onto the stage and talk with my funny accent? I don’t know. If I do, it’s probably going to be an amazingly unforgettable and pee-my-pants experience. But I won’t be able to make it without enough votes. So, dear friends, if you are interested in (1) how to adapt to a different culture from a business standpoint; or (2) watching me making fun of myself in public, please do take two minutes and contribute your votes (Each site user starts with six votes and can award up to three votes per topic) to my “China’s No Panda Express” topic before next Thursday, April 1st.

Thanks, and see you at Ignite Detroit!


  1. How to Spark the Most Thrilling 5 Minutes of Your Life: My Ignite Detroit Experience | Evyfindstheway - 2011/04/18

    […] In my earlier post I explained why I wanted to be part of Ignite Detroit, and the event really touched my heart. Whether it was the inspirational talks like “Doing the Impossible,” “The Creation of Hostel Detroit,” and “Bringing Game models to the Workplace,” or the Detroit spirit coming from the crowd of more than 1,100 people, I know this is the right city and these are the right people to make something happen. Something phenomenal. […]

Leave a Reply