China #throughglass: What Chêng Ho teaches us

Friday

19

Jun

Looking at the world #throughglass, it is known that the search of objects such as The Ark of the Covenant, Merlin’s Wand, Excalibur or of mythical places like El Dorado, Shambhalla or Atlantis, has long encouraged all sorts of sincere entrepreneurial truth-seekers and neo-gurus. There is nothing new about this; ever since “Man” – and of course, “Wo-Man” – were able to say “I Am”, there has been a search for meaning, for answers. In the world of today’s turmoil, there is only a different language to express all this.

Let us read an example. In the year 1433 AD, Chêng Ho (Zheng He), born of a Muslim family from southern China and a top-notch Imperial Court’s eunuch, had returned home due to the new Emperor’s strict policy forbidding the Chinese from traveling abroad. His birthplace, Kunyang, is a 900-km (550-mile) drive to Droiders’ office in Shenzhen along the South to the East China Sea.

Admiral Ho established diplomatic and/or tributary relations with peoples ranging from Nanjing (northern China) to Kochin (southern India) to Mecca and down to Mogadishu (actual Somalia). The Indians, Persians and Arabs could not envisage how the most powerful naval force known to that day, a 27.000-man crew with mastodonic nine-mast four-deck ships, was used primarily for exploration and seafaring. Now, that was truly a search for the Grail of trade and meaning!

Back at home, the same story: an old battle between Confucian bureaucrats and Court eunuchs.

What should we learn, not from Admiral Ho himself but from the new Emperor’s attitude? This is to say, how upper management  in companies across the market board must find means and meaning by being ready and up for the challenge; this is one of the issues we address at Droiders, every day: our product, Streye, is the means as those ships and firmness of purpose were for our protagonist. How reinvestment, effort, the search for technical perfectibility and the Herculean challenge of human reason produce the best results. These are the questions people like Chêng Ho have to master: a sense of enterprise by looking at China and the world #throughglass. If you are a Google Glass explorer just go ahead and feel free to do it!

Let a thousand flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend“, said Chairman Mao Tse-T’ung. After him, he Chinese started in quite a different way where Chêng Ho had been compelled to leave off.

Here is the moral (and the morale) of this piece of history: Admiral Ho and his vast fleet could have “discovered” the European continent, had they been able to carry on. Then, sixty years later the Treaty of Tordesillas and Vasco Da Gama opened the way for Europeans to “discover” China in 1513 AD…

… the new Emperor should not have listened to mere bureaucrats.

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