community building


Introduction (and why the Chinese?) 
This post is a translated Interview with Yan- a professional journalist and editor, amateur fashion blogger in China.
With Marlena and Krzysztof Achinger we have launched a blog about European fashion for Chinese speakers.  Our main blog is here 

Marlena and Krzysztof are also the founders of  Bohan  Bohan Online is a free Chinese-Polish and Polish-Chinese dictionary.

Special thanks  to Yan for giving the interview  and Marlena for doing the translation – (Chinese into English) how many people do you know who can do that?) 

Interview with Yan- professional journalist and editor, amateur fashion blogger ( 

Please, introduce yourself in a few words.

My name is Yan and I come from Guangzhou in China. I am a journalist and an editor. I am also an amateur fashion blogger.

How did you start your adventure with blogging?

In September, 2008 I set up my fashion blog. Earlier I followed some foreign fashion bloggers and thought that I would like to find some way to show my own style and inspirations as well. Some place where I could express myself.

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What do your family and friends think about your blogging?

My family is very supportive, especially my mum who likes my mix of style. Very often she shares her opinion and suggestions with me. My friends also encourage me.  They are very happy to help me with taking pictures and creating new dressups.


What has been your biggest achievement so far?


I have never been very diligent student, but I was lucky enough to become a journalist and editor just after I graduated. Some people think that I am not professional journalist and I got my job in the fashion industry only because I was very lucky. But I think that I have been working very hard to seize the opportunity to express myself.


What was your biggest failure? And what have you learnt?


When I was still in the high school, my whole class failed an exam. Then my mother attended parents meeting only to find out about my failed exam. It was the first time my mom was very disappointed. That evening she called my dad to tell him about it. Then I felt like I made them very upset.  Since then I have decided not to disappoint my parents anymore.


What was the most surprising thing in your life?

14 years ago, my husband had a crush on me, 3 years ago we fell in love and now we have been married for over a year.  I think that the fate brings people around us.  I haven’t kept in touch with my husband for over 10 years, but then we fell in love with each other.  I think this is the most surprising thing in my entire life.


What are your biggest challenges?


My biggest challenges is lack of time. During the week I work as an editor and in the weekends the most time consuming things are related to my blog and fashion: I participate in fashion shows, take pictures for my blog, create new dressups, etc.  Every night I go to sleep thinking that this day was definitely too short.


In what way are your ambitions similar to people of your age,  and in what way different?

In fact, my ambitions are not that different from the ambitions of people in my age. Since I got married, I have appreciated stability. Earlier only two things were important to me: working and writing my blog. Now my life is divided into three parts: work, blog and my husband. Maybe I am not so worried about the money matter compared to people in my age. I think there’s always some way to earn money. If I do it in a right way, I will never have to worry about work and money.


Where do you find inspirations for your dressups?


I don’t have any particular source of my inspiration. But the most inspiration for my dressups I find in microblogs, magazines, people met on the street and even my friends.


Where do you think we can find the most interesting style?

Definitely in Sweden. In the past few years, I paid particular attention to the Scandinavian design, especially Stockholm.  Many of my favorite brands are from Scandinavia. Moreover, on the streets of Stockholm you can spot many Swedish girls with great ideas for their dressups.


Is fashion meant only for wealthy people?

Fashion is the way to express yourself. In China, there was a girl called Wang Shouying. Her family was rather poor and she couldn’t afford to buy branded clothes. That’s why she started using stuff found at home to create her own dressups, clothes, hats etc. Many people were laughing at her because of that, but I think this kind of imagination gives people the power which can’t be ignored.


In which direction does the Chinese fashion follow?

I very rarely follow fashion. I think people should create fashion, not follow it.


Who are your role models on Chinese internet? And why?

When it comes to China, I particularly like Zhou Xun. She is also rather short and her dressups are very feminine and stylish.


Which foreign blogs do you follow?

Too many to mention all of them. I don’t have favorite group of blogs I follow. I follow blogs which present great ideas and nice pictures.


Over 2 billion people have watched Psy’s Gangnam Style which is a backlash against popular culture in Korea. Will there be a Chinese Psy?

Haha, I think it will be difficult to find a Chinese Psy. Psy comes from a very wealthy family and he had opportunity to study in Berklee College of Music in the United States. His “Gangnam style” is very nuanced and using auto-irony he shows how it is necessary to have a great knowledge to express life’s reflections in the funny way.


What do you think about American and European fashion?  Do you have your favorite western designers?

American fashion follows the needs of the market, therefore designs are rather useful. Whereas, European designers have artistic souls and their designs are very ornamental. I particularly like European designers like Ann Demeulemeester, Raf Simons and Christophe Lemaire.


What do you think about Baltic amber and style based on it?

I don’t know much about this style but I would love to find out more.


In that case, what polish designers should do to succeed in the Chinese fashion market?

In order to succeed in China, you have to understand and use marketing tools. In fact, Western countries can easily  reach Chinese clients. The best way is to co-operate with fashion bloggers. Moreover, organizing fashion shows can help to promote the brand and style.


Where will you be in a few years time if things go well?

I will be on the stage of my life where both me and my husband can succeed.



Marlena: 请简单介绍一下你自己。

Yan: 我是Yan,来自中国广州,职业是记者和编辑,业余是时尚博主。
































他们正是创造潮流的人,美国设计师很会考虑市场需求,因此他们的设计都很实穿;欧洲设计师大多带点艺术感,还有建筑感,观赏性更强。我比较喜欢的欧洲设计师有Ann Demeulemeester、Raf Simons、Christophe Lemaire等。










community building

Krakow’s startup community – role of the government

There is a lively and sometimes angry debate going on in Krakow about how far the city government has been and wants to help us. I’ve written quite long posts about this on some Facebook pages. and thought I’d share them here

A consultation meeting is being held today (9th August) in Krakow has generated a lot of comment,

My comments was here

Thanks for the invitation to attend. I’m not in Krakow.

The questionnaire not the right way to start. We don’t need a new slogan.
We need clear information about what the city is doing and trying to do, we need the opportunity to give feedback about what is useful and should be developed what should be stopped. and what is missing and should be piloted..

The city should start by presenting what is the current situation. What they are doing now, and have a discussion about gaps and challenges taking account of the track record experience and interest of those contributing.
A strategy review starts with three questions
where are we now
where do we want to be
how are we going to get there
Where are we now?
The local government should publish a summary of what they have contributed to the entrepreneurship scene with their zl 15,653,752,43 zł programme.
what have they done to encourage schools to promote enterprise ?
what have they done to encourage banks and financial institutions to promote startups and enterprise?
what have they done to encourage students and academic depts to support enterprise
what have they done to encourage existing businesses to develop and grow
What have they done to encourage government agencies to put support of enterprise higher up their list of priorities.
what have they done to promote their projects and programmes among the thriving start up community in Krakow?
how are are they working with the regional authorities excellent programmes as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week

Local government officials should add details and contact points to community resources like this 

There should be a person/point of contact who regularly posts details of their ideas, events and projects and attends startup community events, makes announcements gives talks, and gets feedback about our needs.

Is there a person whose job it is to collect examples of good practice and celebrate these examples locally and internationally ?

It would be great to know who is responsible for enterprise support on the government side and what we can expect from them,

We need to make sure that the Civil Servants who show up have authority and commitment to change the way Krakow supports and leads economic development.

A successful outcome of the meeting would be

1. publishing of a report of past activities to support enterprise

2. publishing current plans, and targets

3. Establishing an agreed and planned feedback process to take account of the views of important stake holders in the local community, not just the people who happen to be available at short notice for this meeting.

On 9th August an article here  – in Polish – praising Krakow’s startup community by Dominika Baranowska- is provoking a debate about how far the government is supporting  – or not – the startup community in Krakow and prompted my comment below 

“A lot of other people were involved in making this happen – here are only a selected few.

Rafał Styczeń was an early adopter with

Ramon set up this page,
and gave this TEDxKrakow talk Krakow: Europe’s Silicon Valley?

Ela and Piotr set up Hive which led to Open Coffee Krakow

GfE have been fabulous

So is Hub.raum

Krakow Tech Park has been surprisingly good for a government owned agency

the regional authority has done a lot with Global Entrepreneurship Week

This project still has global potential, but has yet to spread – first with Paul, and for the last four years Ewa thereafter has been a powerful force for spreading many great ideas both from Krakow – big like Agata Wilam’s Childrens University and small like the Pan Cogito hotel and bringing new ideas to Krakow and Poland.

To keep up with the community developed check out

for more ideas worth worth spreading and projects worth promoting

and if you want your organisation to be involved get listed here

Innovation Nest – responsible for Startup Stage and Proidea for Bitspiration are already and deservedly mentioned


Four years ago I proposed this

my proposed sketch up of enterprise support eco system
my proposed sketch up of enterprise support eco system

as a way for the government to map out our eco system. it still hasn’t happened 


An interview with $200K/month podcaster John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire

by Richard Lucas August 2014

listen to the interview here 

john studio 563x563

I often listen to John’s daily interview with entrepreneurs here  and wanted to interview him. He is as interesting as the guys he interviews, and we can learn from his success. Thanks to him for the time

He responded with an audio interview,which I have put on Soundcloud here 

I’ll try to add questions in my own voice later but for now we have him asking the questions you can see below and here

Please give key facts about your company, how many people you employ, your yearly turnover, and other striking facts. many of the people reading this will not have been on your web site etc. They’ll be glad to know what you are doing, how much has been invested, the basic numbers.

Where did you get your entrepreneurial spirit from, who inspired you, or were your role models when you were young?

Different leaders have different styles – what are the most important goals of your job, and what might people find surprising about you if they worked in your team

Entrepreneurs on Fire obviously doing well. What of your achievements are you most proud of and regard as unique and special

Obviously there are plenty of other podcasters with talent in the “promotion of entrepreneurs” space and many of them are going to be good at ”self promotion” I heard you say in one of your interviews that you lacked a place where there was a new podcast every day  – which is one differentiator. How else do you aim to be better different and to keep ahead of any competition?

You talked about “firing people up” . Is that what gets you out of bed in the morning ? is that it or are there other things that really make you glad to go to work

Why did choose this as a career choice, what else might you have been, and what might you later in life? ?

What interesting or surprising jobs or other things have you done apart from leading companies

What do you think about Europe in general as a place to work, rest and live. You were in Barcelona last week. what do you say to American colleagues who are not so internationally aware about going into business internationally ?

Way back I interviewed ex fighting forces – Airforce and Navy – about leadership. what can you tell people about the impact the military life has on your business skills

Where do your source your entrepreneurs. How do you decide who to interview for EoF.

If a person reading this wants to make contact/give feedback what should he or she do?

What else would you like to tell readers that we haven’t covered?

Thanks again, make sure you you visit his website and listen to his replies