Just learned David Wolf at Silicon Hutong “tagged” China Law Blog as one of five “Thinking Bloggers.”  In turn, we are supposed to tag five more thinking blogs.  Silicon Hutong begs to be re-tagged so he can name five more.  I have analyzed the rules, checked the precedent, and found countless loopholes, so here goes.

I am going to start off by noting and commenting (in italics) on Silicon Hutong’s picks, thereby further leveraging my own:

  1. China Law Blog and Dan Harris – Dan understands that the law is supposed to serve business, which already makes him a rarity. The fact that he practices from Seattle and exhibits a deep understanding of China defies my normal characterization that a China hand must live in China.  First off, thanks.  Second, if what David says about me is true, I have to give a huge amount of credit to my co-blogger, Steve Dickinson, who lives and works in Shanghai and who has spent 30+ years involved with China.  I am constantly running ideas by Steve before going live with them.  Also, I have been involved with Turkey, Korea and Russia for well on 20 years and I am constantly analyzing China using those countries as reference.  I do not see China or its growth as unique. 
  2. Asia Logistics Wrap [renamed the Cross Border Journal] by Shawn Bielfuss – Shawn is brilliant – should be teaching at Harvard or Wharton – and you benefit from his brilliance without paying the tuition.  I agree.  Shawn’s blog has taught me huge amounts about logistics and I raved about it nearly a year ago, here
  3. Imagethief by Will Moss – Incisive social commentary in China delivered by one of the funniest guys I know.  Again, I agree.  Will is a China blogging icon for good reason.  I am jealous of his writing abilities and his sense of humor and I never miss a post.  Will is moving to Shanghai and I am looking forward to getting his comments on Shanghai. 
  4. Maneuver Marketing Communique by Mike Smock – Mike Smock makes marketing asymmetric: he enables smaller challengers to upend bigger competition. If business is war, Maneuver Marketing is unconventional war.   This blog is too far afield for me to review, but if Wolf swears by it, it must be good. 
  5. DiligenceChina [link no longer exists] by Andrew Hupert – It never ceases to amaze me how many companies leave their common sense and their reasonable care behind when it comes to entering China. Andrew is there to remind us, and he does it brilliantly.  Andrew understands China business as well as anyone and he consistently does an excellent job explaining things. Anyone who does business in China should be reading Andrew’s blog.  Confession:  Usually when I am too busy to search out and compile an original post, I just “steal” one from Andrew.

Silicon Hutong was nominated by the Weifang Radish blog, with the following comment:

David Wolfe keeps a great China PR, business and tech related blog in Silicon Hutong. I only wish he would post a little more frequently. I just want you to know how much I enjoy your blog, David.

Not wanting to use one of my “five” picks on an already nominated blog, I will simply note my prior comments on the Silicon Hutong blog:

Silicon Hutong.  Not strictly China technology, but all you have to do is read this post on the I-Phone in China to know David Wolf knows exactly whereof he speaks when it comes to China tech.

According to the Silicon Hutong (which, by the way, is an excellent blog on technology and media in China) post, entitled, “Of Berries Black, Berries Red, and the Little Pen That Could,” the media’s coverage of the Blackberry/Redberry issue is just “yet another example of how the media are getting China wrong.”

I have built a number of my posts around Silicon Hutong posts because Wolf has the best understanding of media law and policy of any blog out there.

Okay, now for my “five,” in no particular order:

  1. Jottings from the Granite Studio.  I love this blog.  My lack of knowledge of pre-1910 Chinese history is exceeded only by my fascination with it.  But since I have neither the time nor the attention span to read a books on it, I get a daily does of it from the Granite Studio instead. The Granite Studio is written by Jeremiah, now living in Beijing and working on a Ph.d in Chinese history.  Fortunately, Jeremiah writes like a real human being, not an academic.
  2. The Useless Tree. Take what I said about Jottings from the Granite Studio, change “pre-1920 history” to “Chinese philosophy,” and apply it to The Useless Tree.
  3. Eyes East.  I generally hate observational blogs on China (was I the one who first called them noodle blogs or was it Al Gore?).  I just don’t need to see the inside of one more grungy apartment in China and hear about where someone regularly goes for their noodles.  Eyes East is so much the best of this breed (along with the Humanaught,[now Ryan McLaughlin.com] Weifang Radish, and the quickly rising Shenzhen Undercover), I am not even sure it is of the breed.  It is extremely well written and thoughtful and I just flat out enjoy it.
  4. Ich Bin Ein Beijinger.  Kaiser Kuo’s new blog.  I feel guilty listing such a new blog, but this blog has so quickly filled the hole of China’s art (broadly defined) and culture scene that I cannot resist.  It is thoughtful and original.
  5. Sinocidal. [link no longer exists]  Yes, Sinocidal.  I like this blog because the views of the posters and the commenters are so raw.  Yes, I know they are sometimes too raw and I am certainly not a fan of “woe is me ex-pats” (my view is that if you don’t like it, go home!).  At the same, time, however, this site is meant to be raw and it is meant to shock sometimes and it certainly goes well beyond just complaining.  Is it great literature?  Of course not.  Great philosophy?  No. But what it does is reveal the unadulterated views many ex-pats have about China and I find it thought provoking.
  6. Peking Duck.  Six you say.  No five.  This one does not count because Jeremiah writes for both Peking Duck and his own so together they count only as one.  No way can I leave this one off.  On my blogroll, I describe this as “a classic, for good reason.”  It is.  Richard bears his soul on this blog and he comes across as likable and human.  This is the Steve Largent of blogs.  Before Largent became an Okie politician, he was a Seattle Seahawks wide receiver (US football).  When I first moved to Seattle, everyone raved about Largent and I wasn’t buying it.  No way could a small, not very fast white guy be a great wide receiver.  No way.  On top of that, his yards per catch were too low to make him great.  After a few Seahawks games, I began noticing Largent and after a few games I too became convinced of his greatness.  He just catches passes.  Every time.  Day in day out.  Reliability and consistency become greatness.  Billy Williams of the Chicago Cubs is the baseball equivalent and I will leave it to Jeremiah to come up with the basketball one.  After reading it for a few months and stopping to think about it I realized this blog consistently churns out really good, often unique stuff.  It’s not a political blog.  It’s not a rant blog.  It’s not a culture blog. It’s the only really good everything China blog out there and it is a great forum for lively discussion.  Just by way of example, here’s a recent post, entitled, “God-fu*cking dammit:

The motherfu*kers have blocked blogspot sites again. May the censors die a slow and painful death.

All five/six of these blogs (and Asia Logistics Wrap, Imagethief, DiligenceChina and Silicon Hutong all have the following in common:

  • They are all written by people who care about accuracy.
  • They are all written by people who love the topics of which they are writing.
  • They are all written by people who want to share (yes, I meant to use that word) their knowledge.
  • They are all written by people not afraid to express their opinions.
  • They are all written by people who treat other reasonable viewpoints respectfully.

The Thinking Blog rules are silent about plugging other thoughtful blogs in the same post, so here are three more:

Going Global Blog.  Written by Craig Maginness, a lawyer and businessperson out of Denver who definitely understands international business.  His greatest expertise seems to be Latin America, but his China posts are always interesting because he  sees it from a different perspective than those of us who immerse ourselves in it every day.  You want clearly written insight on international business, go here.

Thomas Barnett Blog.  Barnett understands international politics and his views on China usually track mine.  He sees China as a young country (I am not an idiot, I know it is really an old country, but you all know what I mean here), not really very much different in its growth path than the countries that preceded it, like the United States in the 1800s, Japan in the 1950s and Korea in the 1970s.  You want clearly written insight on international politics, go here.

Businomics Blog.  Written by Bill Conerly out of Portland, Oregon, this blog accurately bills itself as “Better Decisions Through A Better Understanding of the Economy.” It takes economic news and relates it to business in a way that makes sense.  You want clearly written insight on how the economy impacts your business?  Go here.

Seth Godin’s Blog.  Godin just gets it.  Years ago, I fell in love with his article, “Small is the New Big,” so I e-mailed him to ask if I could post it on my firm’s website.  His immediate response was yes, and he could not have been more gracious.  Read Godin’s blog for one week and if you can claim you learned nothing from it that can help your business, I will either buy you a drink or call you a liar.

Guy Kawasaki’s How to Change the World Blog.  Same deal as for Godin’s blog applies here.  You will learn something helpful.  Guaranteed.

I fully recognize I have left out some terrific China blogs and I welcome any comments.

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  • LaoLao

    Obviously CLB is under the influence of something. But I think I speak for all of the sinocidal ones when I express gratitude for the recognition.
    In fact, CLB, along with the other 5 blogs in that portion of the article, have been kind enough to link to our site on many occasions.
    I hope we can continue to share our sinocidal stories in the future.
    Highest Thanks,
    P.S. Dan, we wired the bribe to you this morning.

  • LaoLao —
    I know. Do you really think I would have posted BEFORE it arrived?

  • TaiTai

    “woe is me ex-pats”??
    I, for one, am insulted. If I want to complain about the state of China’s hospitals’ toilets, that is my GOD-GIVEN RIGHT.
    Oh, and thanks for the compliment!
    Stick around for more fun. After the demise of Flopsy, I am starting my next campaign: the “Find TaiTai a Job” campaign. Your support will be appreciated!

  • Dan:
    Thanks for the kind words — they mean a great deal coming from such an insightful blogger as yourself.
    I’m not sure whether a mention in your appended list rather than your list of 5 tags me to mention 5 more thinking blogs in a post on Going Global. I may need your advice and counsel on that.
    You certainly have mentioned some great ones. I particularly second your discussion of Seth Godin’s blog. Indeed reading his blog is not sufficient. Anyone seeking real insight on the state of modern business and marketing should also have several of his books on their shelves for coninuing reference and inspiration. I will be the first to say that I am not worthy to be mentioned in the same list as Seth, but I appreciate the honor.
    Keep up the great work, and thanks again.

  • Cheers Dan. I thought mine was awfully noodly, and as for “culture,” except for rock music there’s not much I can write on with anything like expertise: I’m no Joel Martinsen. But thanks all the same, and I’ll try to keep posting frequently to Ich Bin even after I assume editorial responsibilities for the forthcoming bilingual blog digital media blog, now under construction under the working title, “Ogilvy China Digital Watch.”

  • PiPi

    I’m touched, we’re touched and touched is such a nice word. Ta very muckle neebs.

  • Alex

    I’m watching china-economics-blog.blogspot.com very closely. It’s new, it’s blocked, it’s what I was thinking of doing, but they’ve made a great start with a huge amount of potential there. Perhaps it will be the hot new China blog of 2007?

  • So does his demise make my “Save Flopsy” t-shirt an instant collectors item? E-bay here I come…
    All great picks Dan and it seems a little strange to see my blog mixed in with so many great sites. Thanks for the compliments. Now if I could just get the bastards to unblock me…
    Finally—the basketball Steve Largent. Not flashy, solid numbers but not the gaudiest stats, just always there and CLUTCH…Okay, I know some will call me a homer here, but I’ll go with Kevin McHale. The ugliest white boy in basketball but damn…as the 6th man off the bench in the Celtic’s 80s dynasty, he was the ignitor. Maybe didn’t put up the numbers of Bird, but just as vital to that team.

  • that’s a great list. It’s basically what i read the most often.
    Dan, can you suggest a platform for where I should be writing instead of blogspot? Just as I’m finally getting settled, China has to block it again.
    Also, you can always suggest to people that they use “http://anonymouse.org/” as a routing service to access blogspot. They wont be able to post on it, but they’ll see it.

  • TaiTai —
    I have completely re-written the section on Sinocidal. I wrote much more on it yesterday and then reduced it. When I just read it, it did not convey what I wanted it to do and it hardly even made sense. Sorry. Check out the new version. Flopsy will be sorely missed.

  • Craig —
    You are very welcome. I mentioned you just so you would come back and describe us as “insightful.”
    That is actually a very tough legal question and since we do not give free individualized legal advise on this site, it is going to be entirely up to you. But, I guess if it were me, I would just go ahead and do up my own list, figuring that by the time anyone has tried to stop me with a TRO, the damage will have already been done.

  • Kaiser Kuo —
    Okay, I will pull you from the list.

  • PiPi —
    I am quite familiar with that usage of the word touched as both of my kids often use it to describe people: “He’s just a little bit touched.”

  • Alex —
    I completely agree. It shows every sign of doing a great job in filling an important space: China economics.

  • Jeremiah —
    Do you really have such a shirt?
    McHale. Ummm. Was it true of him that the more you watched him the more you realized how good he was? Nothing wrong with picking Celtics. In fact, Havlicek and Cowen might also fit.

  • Mike (Shezhen Undercover) —
    Seeing as how I spend most of my time stateside, I am certainly not the expert on this stuff, but I do know that we use typepad and we have never been blocked and typepad has really gotten good.

  • Thanks as always for the kind words and the handy links. I guess I should use this as impetus for a minor announcement:
    I’ve officially moved. The new site (www.chrisamico.com/blog) is up and blogging, although it’s a bit sparse for the moment. I’ll post my nods for thinking blogs in both places, though.
    OK, lots of reading, writing and coding to do now.

  • TaiTai

    What what what? Flopsy T-shirt you say? Someone is stepping on our IPR here! This is a job for the CLB!!

  • Um, that wasn’t what I was asking for, but of course that’s entirely up to you! Naturally I’m grateful for the honor–please be clear on that. And I’ll consider myself “tagged” and do the same exercise, though among the people I’ve already listed it could get incestuous fast.

  • Chris —
    You are very welcome.

  • TaiTai —

  • Kaiser Kuo —
    1. I was joking. You knew that, right?
    2. Incest is illegal. You know that, right?

  • Hi Dan,
    Thanks for the additional plug! I had taken a hiatus to focus on my new job with Manhattan Associates, but now I am back with some new energy. I look forward to more cross-blogging down the road.
    In the meantime, I have repaid flattery with more flattery annoucing my own awards at my site.

  • Shawn —
    Well “flattery with more flattery” is certainly nice when CLB is part of the more flattery. Thanks.

  • Thanks Dan. This is a great list. I’m proud to be on it — but find it even more useful as a reference source. The number of great online China resources has been on the rise, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. You do a great job of updating our “must read” list.
    BTW — I always appreciate it when you borrow from a post of mine, because I know you’ll take it further and explore some interesting ideas that I didn’t consider. I also respect the fact that you give proper references and links — which sometimes doesn’t happen with other folks. I am going to start a series on doing biz in China’s second cities after a weekend trip to ChangZhou, and plan on borrowing some of your comments (with proper attribution, of course). Please feel free to comment on my site or take it further on yours.

  • Andrew —
    Thanks, I always feel pride when a blog uses one of my posts and gives proper attribution. When I fist started blogging, I would go absolutely ballastic when someone would use one of our posts without attribution, but after a while, it became clear to me that those blogs are not on anyone’s lists and I no longer even notice. Without exception, all of the good blogs fully attribute — indeed, I do not think one can be a good blog if one does not fully attribute. The blogosphere is far too smart to waste its time on blogs that merely copy. Now, I don’t even sweat it.
    I am looking forward to your Changzhou posts and of course I have no worries about attribution.

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