Fei's Website Everything about Fei

March 18, 2009


Filed under: Toast Master — Tags: — Fei @ 2:33 pm

Newspaper Thief
Thanks Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, and honored guests. Today, I’m going to tell you a story. As I tell you the story, think about it. Why I tell you the story.

Richard and Mary are neighbors. Every morning, a newspaper boy delivers newspapers to Mary’s house. Every morning, Mary has to read newspapers. Mary is DYING to read newspapers. She cannot skip reading newspapers.

One day, Mary went out to pick up the newspaper. But the newspaper was not on the ground, the lovely blue bag was NOT on the ground!!! Where is it? Where is it? Mary looked around… huh…. Richard… Richard was sitting on a couch in his yard reading a newspaper. It was exactly the same newspaper Mary was subscribed to. But he NEVER sits on that couch, and he NEVER reads newspapers…. Mary was furious. It must be Richard who took my newspaper. He is a thief!!!! But will Mary go to Richard and ask for the newspaper. No, Richard must deny it. He must say it’s all the newspaper boy’s fault.

But will Mary just stop here. NO. Richard needed to pay the price for being a thief. Because Mary was a real good web designer. She immediately went back to her house, spent 10 bucks to register a domain called www.newspaperthief.com. Spent 10 minutes to set up a website. It has Richard’s name, home address, weight, height…. all kinds of information about him. and he is a NEWSPAPER THIEF!!!! Mary wants everyone in the world to know, Richard is a thief.

But did Richard know that his name was on the internet? Did Richard know he’s a newspaperthief? No, he didn’t do a thing. He just sat in the coach reading newspapers.

Richard’s other neighbor, Scott, was in bad shape, he desperately needed to sell his house. He was a motivated seller. Fortunately, he found a buyer, Alice. They were already in contract stage. Alice had checked the house, it was good. Now just waiting for Alice to sign the contract. On that day, Alice decided to do a check on the neighbors, so she typed in the address on google. Because Mary just put up the website out there, it was one the the top few items returned by google. Alice looked at the address, it was the exactly next door. She clicked the website, and found everything about Richard. And he was a newspaper THIEF! OMG, Alice was going to have a thief neighbor! No way, Alice immediately tore down the contract, and cancelled the purchase. So what happened? Alice lost a great deal, Scott was even more desperate to sell his house, Richard lost a nice neighbor. And he didn’t even know ANY of those!

In the afternoon, Mary went out to the front yard again, and this time she noticed something, She saw a tip of a blue bag in the garden. oops, that’s a newspaper. Richard was not a thief. Mary was wrong. But Mary thought, I just spent 10 bucks on the website, let’s just put it up for a while. It doesn’t hurt… So the website still lives on.

After a couple of days, Richard was doing a multi-million dollar business deal with his first time partner, Bob. Because a lot of money was involved, Bob decided to do a background check. So he put Richard’s name in google. What did he get? It’s newspaperthief.com. Bob was stunned. He never expected Richard to be a thief. But Bob will never do a deal with anyone without integrity. Bob backed out from the deal, and Richard lost millions.

All those things happened behind the scene. Did Richard know any of these? No, he didn’t know. he didn’t do anything. He just sat in his coach reading newspapers.

Do you get anything from this story? Do you get why I tell you this story? Think about it. There are always different kinds people spreading different kinds of information in the internet. You can’t believe them all. Use your due diligence. Remember, whatever you are looking for, you will find it. It is very true both on internet, and in the real world.

Time: 06’07”

October 6, 2008

Franchise, a safer business

Filed under: Business,Toast Master — Tags: — Fei @ 10:38 pm

Thanks Mr. Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters, and honored guests.

Before I come to my topic today. Let’s have a recap of what I talked in my last speech.

In my last speech, I talked about the purpose of business: “to make money”. The purpose of work is not to work. You don’t want to work “in” your business, but to work “on” your business. Business is building a system, and once it’s ready, you can be eliminated. The key of business is leveraging. Leverage other people’s money, other people’s time.

I also talked why most small businesses fail. Because building a system is so damn hard. It’s too complicated. And the founders may not possess the credentials to build a business.


Building a system that nobody has ever done it before is hard. There’s no question about it. And I ask myself, do I want to build a system? Yah.. Do I have the capability to build one now? I look at myself… no… I have not experienced any real business myself. I don’t have the credentials. So, do I still try to build a new system that I don’t know how, and I have 99% of the chance to fail and end up with nothing. Or, do I put building a new business a side, for a moment, and try to improve my credentials, and increase my odds to be successful in the future. And I think it for a moment, and say, I want the latter.

Since building a brand new system is hard, how about building an existing system? The system is out there, you just need to implement it. In start-up world, idea is not important. What’s important is the team, the execution. If I can go through the system building process once, even though it’s not a new system. It is a good practice. But the problem is, where do I find an existing system to implement?

And I guess you all have figured out the answer. Franchise.

Franchise is a business model that the franchisor licenses proven methods of doing business to the franchisees in exchange for a recurring payment, fees, and a percentage of the sales or profits.

You see there are two parties here? The franchisor, and the franchisee. The franchisor, is a “real” business that I mentioned in my last speech. The franchisor creates systems. Once the system is successful, the franchisor just sits there, and collects fees. That money, is called passive income, because no active work is involved. On the other hand, the franchisees, implement a system. All the risks involving building a system are removed. The only remaining risk is execution. How well you execute the system, assuming the system works, decides how successful you are.

The key in a franchise business is duplication. The franchisor creates a successful system. How to duplicate the system in new areas? Conqure new land, spread throughout the country, throughout the world. Duplication is tedious. It does not contain any new ideas. You just do the exact same thing again and again. However the inside routine boredom of duplication hides the ultimate success. McDonalds is arguably the most successful franchise business in the world. You can find more McDonalds than any other restaurants in the world. That’s the success of duplication. Duplication is also critical outside the realm of franchise. One of the aspects Google emphasizes most is scalability. Everything has to scale. And scale is duplication. That makes google so successful.

What’s the unique benefit of franchise to a franchisee?

Well, as I said again and again. It provides a successful, duplicatable system. It provides a quick start. As a franchisee, you don’t need to learn how to run a business. It’s already there. You have the brand; you have sophisticated training systems; you have cookbooks for everything. You just execute the plan. Do you know how hard it is just to build a brand? When I say McDonalds hambegers, you all know what to expect, right? But when I say Fei’s hambegers, what do you think? Franshising saves you a lot of trouble, and removes a large portion of the risk.

However, as a franchisee, you don’t have total control on your business. You are stuck with the rules. This is actually a double edge sword. On the one hand, if you have a super bright idea, you cannot implement it. On the other hand, you can’t implement stupid ideas either. So it’s hard to say whether it’s good or not. But as a starter, maybe it’s better to play it safe.

As you can see, franchising a business is significantly safer than starting a new business. As a result… remember the fundamental financial principle? The higher the risk, the higher the return? The franchising business will not provide you the same financial reward as a successful start-up business. Not to mention, you need to pay a lot of money to the franchisor.

Franchising can be expensive. It may includes hundreds of thousands of dollors at start-up, and recurring annual license fees. Or, depending on the exact business, you may need to pay a portion of your sales or profit to the franchisor….. Plus, the company training, which you have to attend, may be expensive…

For me, how do I franchise? I don’t have that much money. What can I do? If you want to know more, come and listen to my next speech. “Personal franchise”.

Mr. Toastmaster.

Time: 7 minutes 24 seconds

September 18, 2008

What is Business?

Filed under: Business,Toast Master — Tags: — Fei @ 4:43 pm

Thanks, Mr. Toastmaster. Fellow toastmasters, and honored guests.

What is business? If you ask this question to a hundred people, you will get a hundred different answers. To me, business means three words, “to. make. money”. Business is providing a service or product “for a fee”. Business is not non-profit. It is for profit. If you think making money is evil, business is not for you. In business, money is essential; cash is the king. So if you want to do a business, you need to do everything around money.

Let me ask you another question. What’s the purpose of working? To get paid? To get paid to support you and your family? If you think that way, you are in an “employee mindset”. You want someone else to give you money in exchange for the time you spend working for them. But even that is not entirely true. Do you want to work in your 80s? Do you want to work till the day you die? No, right? You work today, because you want to retire in a future date. You want to retire after age of 65, so you can enjoy the rest of your life, without working. The purpose of working is not to work.

Yeah…. you can do that if you are an employee. But what if you want to retire in your 50s? in your 40s? or even in your 30s? Can you still do that by simply being an employee? hmm….. probably not. Because you cannot earn enough money to support you. But you can do that in one way. Be on a business, be the owner of the business.

But how to be the owner of the business? You can do that in two ways. You can either work “in” your business, or you can work “on” your business. And that makes a lot of difference. Say you own a dry cleaner, or a restaurant. But you work “in” your business, you work there 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Is that the purpose? Do you enjoy it? Probably no. What you want to do is to work “on” your business. You hire somebody to work in your dry cleaner, or restaurant. You check their performance a few times a week, and release you from the 9 to 5 routine work. The purpose of business is to create a system, and once it’s ready and can be self running, you can be eliminated from the system. Does it make sense?

How can you do that? You may ask. You achieve that through leveraging. You leverage other people’s money, leverage other people’s time. When you start a company, you don’t have any money… you borrow money from your family, your friends, angel investors, venture capitalists. You leverage their money to achieve your goal. When you start a company, nobody works for you. You are the CEO, you are the sales person, you are the developer, you are the janitor. You are everybody. But as the company matures, you may hire a janitor, you may hire a developer, you may hire a sales person, and eventually, you may hire a CEO. Now, you eliminate yourself from the loop, but all those people work for you. You leverage their time to achieve your goal.

However, I have to admit, it is not easy to create a system. It is very hard. In fact, 4 out of 5 small businesses fail during their first 5 years. And 4 out of the 5 surviving businesses fail in the next 5 years. Creating a system is hard. It is partly because the system is complicated. It includes, operation, product development, sales, marketing, customer service. etc. etc. etc. They are totally different areas. More importantly, the system is brand new. Nobody has ever done it before. You have to try and error to see whether your assumptions are right. You just pray that your mistakes will not be too serious to correct.

Why most small businesses fail? Another important reason, I think, is the founders credentials. Do they know sales? Do they know marketing? Do they know product development? Do they know what they are doing? Many people are experts in one area. But they are often too idealistic for other areas. Among all the skills I mentioned, the most important skills are sales, and marketing. Of course that’s my personal opinion. I believe, no matter what you do, if you do that to a certain level, it is always people skill. It is especially important to the founders, the CEO, because CEO is first a sales person. You have to sell. You have to sell your ideas, you have to sell your products, you have to sell your vision, you have to sell your company, and you have to sell yourself. Marketing is also important, because it tells you what to sell, how to sell it, and sell to whom. So people skill is the most desired skill for entrepreneurs.

On the flip side, however. If you are the lucky one, you will earn millions, or even billions of dollars. Think about Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Youtube… it goes back to the fundamental financial axiom: The higher the risk, the higher the return.

After my talk, I’d like to hear what you think business is; how you think to make business successful. If you want to hear my opinion, we can either talk offline, or come and listen to my next speech: “Franchise, a safer business”.

Mr. Toastmaster.

Time: 7 minutes 8 seconds

August 29, 2007

Princeton University in the Independence War

Filed under: Toast Master — Tags: — Fei @ 8:04 pm

Disclaimer: This speech is solely for the fun of toast master international speech. The stories may not be historically accurate, nor is impartial. Please listen with discretion.

Thanks Mr. Toast Master…

Fellow Toast Masters, and honored guests. Today, I want to talk about Princeton University in the independence war.

When we talk about a war, what do we talk about? We talk about the start of the war, the turning point of the war, and the success of the war. And I tell you, Princeton University played a significant role in all three historical events.

The war formally started after the declaration of independence was signed, which was 1776.  A total of 56 people signed the declaration, and three of them were the alumni of the College of New Jersey, which only later changed its name to Princeton University. But a fourth person also signed the declaration. He was even more famous at that time, and among the Princetonians today. He is, John Witherspoon, sixth president of the College of New Jersey. He is the only clergyman, and college president that signed the declaration, not Harvard, not Yale, but Princeton.

After the war broke out, general George Washington really had a hard time. The continental army was defeated repeatedly. General Washington was in great need of a victory to boost the morale of the troops; to show his leadership; to prove that the independence was the right way to go. So the time came to the Christmas eve of the year 1776. In that evening, when it was supposedly a time for family reunification and peace, general Washington crossed the Delaware river, and attacked British troops the day after Christmas. We call it, the battle of Trenton, which was only 13 miles south of Princeton. On January 3rd, 1777, Washington’s army marched to a place only 3 miles south of Princeton, a place we now call it, the battlefield. As you can see from the name, it is where the battle of Princeton took place.

When we talk about the battle of Princeton, we have to talk about the story of the three canon balls. During the battle, Nassau hall, which was the only building for the College of New Jersey at that time, was exchanged hands three times by the British troops and the continental army. At one time when the British troop was in position of the Nassau hall, the continental army had to fire three rounds towards their own building. They fired three canon balls. The first canon ball, obviously, missed its target. The second canon ball.. hit the south wing of the building and bounced back, left a permanent scar on the wall, which can still be seen today… What’s interesting is the third canon ball. It went through a window of the prayer hall, which is now called the faculty room, and decapitated a portrait of King George II, the king of Britain at that time. The canon ball, however, left the frame and other parts of the portrait intact, only the King’s head was gone. The British troops must have thought it as an omen, since they promptly withdrew from the building shortly after the attack. And the continental army re-occupied their own building.

It was at Princeton and Trenton that Washington made his first major victory. After that, the British crown lost most of the cities of New Jersey; and the continental army recruits tens of thousands of new solders. It changed the course of the independence war. So… battle of Princeton was the turning point of the war.

After the battle, the continental army achieved more and more victories, fewer and fewer defeats… and the time soon became 1783. In that year, the Continental Congress met at Princeton’s Nassau hall from July to October. This, made Princeton the capital of the United States for four… whole… months… It was during that time at Princeton, the Continental Congress learned of the signing of the treaty of Paris, which basically ended the war. And welcomed the first foreign minister from Netherlands. It was during that time, general George Washington attended the commencement of the College of New Jersey, donated 50 guineas as a testimony of his respect to the College, and had a portrait taken in front of the Nassau hall. If you know about general Washington, you should know that he did not want to have portraits taken. It is said that in his lifetime, only three portraits were taken, and one of them was at Princeton. The portrait depicted his definite success at Princeton that changed history. After the painting was finished a year later, it was framed using the same frame for the portrait of King George II. Today, you can still see this portrait in the faculty room of the Nassau hall. To show the Princetonians all-encompassing culture, on one side of the window hangs the portrait of general Washington, on the other side is a portrait of King George II. When you go to Princeton, don’t forget to see those portraits.

Princeton University is the only university that played such an important role in the independence war. It participated the start of the war; it was the turning point of the war; and it signaled the success of the war. Without Princeton, we may still be ruled under the British Queen today. In every year’s July 4th, the independence day, we should not only think about the founding fathers: Washington, Jefferson; we should think about, Princeton.

Mr. Toast Master

Time: 6 minutes 45 seconds
Date: 08/29/2007

July 25, 2007

Princeton Art Museum and its Collection “Ritual to Pray for Good Harvest”

Filed under: Toast Master — Tags: — Fei @ 8:32 pm

Disclaimer: This speech is solely for the fun of toast master international speech. The stories may not be historically accurate, nor is impartial. Please listen with discretion.

Thanks Mr. Toast Master. Fellow Toast Masters, and honored guests. Do you know if you have a bank of America card, you could go to any museum for free last May? Heh? Sorry, it’s too late now… I, actually took advantage of that and went to San Francisco MOMA and de Young…Want to know how I felt? Disappointment. Don’t make me wrong. It has nothing to do with the museums. Those museums are fine museums. They have fairly good art works. The problem is, of course, always me. I visited museums in the wrong order. You know I came from greater New York City area and they have the finest museums in the world: Metropolitan, natural history, NY MOMA. Basically I need to reverse the sequence of museums to visit. I should visit San Francisco museums first, and NY museums later.
But today I’m not going to talk about NY museums. I want to talk about Princeton art museum. It is a nice little museum, even in the middle of all NY museums. Of course its collections cannot be compared with Metropolitan, but to me, they are at least at the same level as de Young. Princeton art museum resides in the middle of Princeton campus. It has no admission fee, very important. The museum is free to the students, to the faculty, and to the public… it is much better than the small museum in Cambridge, where you have to pay like five dollars to get in… and I don’t even know what’s inside…

Because I’m Chinese, I’m especially interested in Chinese collections. Today, I want to describe to you my favourite collection. It is the calligraphy from Wang Xizhi. Wang lived in Dong Jin dynasty, which is about 300 AD, 1700 years ago. Wang is considered the greatest calligrapher of all times in China. He transformed writing from merely a means of recording words to a piece of art. From the way he wrote the characters, you can feel his emotions, feel his personality. The specific collection, as you can see at your hand, is the first half of a personal letter, only fifteen characters. It is called “Ritual to Pray for Good Harvest”. What do you feel from the characters? exciting? happy? sorrow? or bitter? well, if you are like me, an ordinary person… you don’t really know… I don’t know a thing about calligraphy… I don’t even know whether it’s good or not… hmm… that’s not exactly true, I can tell if it’s really really bad… but I cannot tell better from good… However, if everyone else says it’s good, it’s got to be good. That is actually how Wang Xizhi became the greatest calligrapher.

Ritual in Goog Harvest

Ritual to Pray for Good Harvest

I… have to confess, I actually just lied to you. Have you noticed that? The Princeton collection is not a real letter by Wang Xizhi. It’s a fake one, but it’s a very early fake one. It was faked in the 7th century, only three hundred years after Wang’s era. The way they fake it, is to put a piece of paper on the supposedly authentic Wang’s letter, and trace the exact way Wang wrote the characters. We call it, a tracing copy. I assure you, even though it is fake, it is very precious. That is only because no authentic Wang’s calligraphy exists in the world today. And there’s a story behind it. Remember I told you that Wang is the greatest calligrapher because everyone else says so? right? From 4th century to 7th century, lots of people did see Wang’s authentic calligraphy, and they highly value that. They would spend a lot of money just to get a real piece of Wang’s handwriting. At the end of 7th century, the emperor of China became so interested in Wang’s calligraphy, that he ordered everyone in the country to hand in Wang’s work, otherwise he would be beheaded. So, he became the only person that had the entire collection. When he died, he did one step further. He put every single piece in his tomb, so he could enjoy it in the underworld. After that… nobody … has ever seen a real piece of Wang’s calligraphy. But everybody heard from their predecessors that Wang was the greatest calligrapher, so he is… As a side effect, the fake ones became precious.

So, you see.. when you see a museum collection, if you don’t know the history, don’t know the stories behind it.. it is just an ordinary collection. You will get a lot more, if you spend a little bit of time, do some research. And your museum visiting experience will be much more exciting.

My first Princeton art museum visit was in an activity hosted by the art museum. Its central theme was this letter by Wang Xizhi. A guide described all the background information about this letter, pretty much like what I just told you. After that, we had a reception INSIDE the museum. A small Chinese musical group played some ancient Chinese instruments inside the main room. Think about it, you can listen to the beautiful music, enjoy the wonderful collections around you, and taste the high quality finger food. And remember, everything… is… absolutely… FREE…. Can you find any other museum in the world do the same thing?

Trust me, Princeton art museum is very unique. If you go to Princeton, don’t forget to go to the art museum. And don’t forget to see this calligraphy: “Ritual to Pray for Good Harvest”.

Mr. Toast Master…

Time: 6 minutes 27 seconds
Date: 07/25/2007

June 12, 2007

What do you need to know to know me?

Filed under: Toast Master — Tags: — Fei @ 11:11 pm

Thanks Mr. Toast Master. Hello everyone. Today my speech’s topic is "What do you need to know to know me?" So, what should I tell you so that you can know more of me? My past experience? Can my past experience tell you what I’m going to do in the future? No, right? I’ve been to elementary school, high school, collage, but I’m not going there again. However, I do agree that deep under the surface, there are some connections between the things I did in the past and the things I might do in the future. As far as I can tell, it is called, personality. There is a Chinese saying that it’s easier to conquer a land than changing a person. That’s literal translation. It means it’s very very hard to change a person’s personality. So, if you want to know me, you’d better know my personality.

And actually, it is very easy to know my personality. You only need to know one thing from me. What is it? That is the date I was born. Don’t you know that a person’s personality is determined on the date he’s born? Okay, now I tell you my birthday and you should know all about me. I was born in the middle of May. So, now… if you haven’t skipped your elementary school… you should know exactly what to do… You only need to, go back home, open an astrology book, and turn to page… what sign is it if I’m born in the middle of May? Yes, it’s Taurus. And read from the first line. It’s not extremely accurate, but it’s a pretty good approximation.

The first thing for a Taurus is… it thinks really slow, really really slow… that’s is actually why I can’t think of anything in table topics… Let me show you how slow my thinking is… one, plus one, is…. is two… are you all Tauruses? you think slower than I do… (see, you all know the answer, this is my usual thinking speed)…

The second thing for a Taurus is… it is very stubborn, very inflexible. Once I make up my mind, nothing can change me, and I don’t consider any other options. Because I’m stubborn, and I always do things super slow.. I usually refuse to accept new things. I always prefer things as it is… And I always do things half a step slower than others. I’d like to go extremes, from one extreme, to the other.

I remember, when I was in elementary school, an animated TV series was very popular, and I bet you are very familiar it.It’s going to be shown in movie on July 4th. It’s called, the transformers. At that time, every kid in the school talked about it, was excited about it… except me. I did not watch a single episode for at least an entire year. Some little shops outside the school sell some little cards about transformers. On one side of the card is a picture of a transformer, on the other side is some description of that transformer… Everyone liked it, bought the cards, played games with the cards… except me… I did not show any interest in it for a long long time.. Then suddenly.. I changed… That is still a mystery to me. I still don’t know how and why I changed, but I just changed. I suddenly showed extreme enthusiasm for transformer cards. I bought all the cards I could find in the shops. I remembered the pictures and I read the descriptions… Soon I became a transformer expert. I knew all the stories about transformers, solely from the cards… because at that time, it was no longer shown in TV. I talked to my friends about the stories, and they really admired my knowledge… but they didn’t really care either. Since it was not shown in TV, they were chasing something else… So, I was always, always half a step slower. Actually the same thing happened again in my junior high… it was a Japanese animated TV series called "Saint Seiya".

I don’t like my personality. I don’t want to be stubborn, I don’t want to be slow… I want to be flexible, I want to be super duper fast… I always want to change it… My first try was when I was at age 10, when I first knew from astrology that it was born in my blood… and now ten twenty years later, I’ve already lost count how many times I tried it… it’s just like people want to quit smoking… and obviously, as you can see, I was not quite successful…

btw, do you know stubborn has a synonym. it is called loyal.. did I just tell you that I wanted to be less loyal?

Mr. Toast Master…

Time: 5 minutes 37 seconds
Date: 06/06/2007

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