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Part 8: Buy and Sell(1999/06)

Time sequence is a useful information in knowing the difference between some actions or the priority. One of the classical examples of design of experiments is in the British tea party, the host and the guests are wondering whether to put cream or the tea into tea cup first. By the same token, a good cook's recipes needed to be followed strictly in its prescribed time order.

One fable from ancient China goes the moneys are very upset with the banana-service alternatives: changing from '4 bananas in the morning and 5 in the evening' scheme to '5 in the morning and 4 in the evening' scheme. Indeed, we need to study the psychological difference of all the possible of combinations of schemes with a fixed total supply.

In ancient China, people used one character to represent one thing or one concept, perhaps for economical writing space benefits. Now, most nouns are represented by two consecutive characters together. Japanese borrowed Chinese characters but with their expression rules. For example, in Chinese, the 'business' can be represented with 'buy and
sell" characters but in Japanese, using the same characters with reverse order, that is "sell and buy'.

I remember one Japanese president of an MNC told me that Chinese people are more wise than Japanese. I was quite amazed with this flattery since in most Japanese people's eyes, only the westerns and Japanese are advanced and developed people. Japanese companies act globally but think locally. The president is my indirect boss and I was the new hired manager to learn the interconnection technology and business from our Japanese colleagues. He told me that in business, you need to buy something from your customers first, then you can have a good and long-term relationship with them, and the business will be guaranteed. That is, in doing business and making friends, we must make customers first priority (that is, buy-in something from them), don't try to hard sell only.

My Japanese teacher teaches me a good introduction in 'servant-leadership', marketing the value and relationship management. In his words, 'Buy and sell' is the right approach and mind-set, not 'sell and buy'.

Recently I learned the difference between 'forget and forgive' and 'forgive and forget'. Sometimes the sequence or the order of our thinking is important. But the meaning in the context is more important than others. For example, in the high-trust society, a word might be equivalent with a contract, so give your word first and unless necessary, draw a contract letter. It might all depend on your counter-party's thinking and situational constraints.

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