Nomadic technologist & writer surviving the innovation economy.
Exploring, learning, creating, contributing.

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After $35 Billion Merger, Uber and Didi Are Set to Take Over the Ridesharing Universe

The $35 billion merger between Uber China and Didi will make the two companies masters of the rideshare universe–and maybe even profitable.

Originally written for Inc.com

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Scan the top Uber headlines this week and you might be convinced the $35 billion Uber China-Didi Chuxing merger was a surrender. But don’t be fooled: Uber hasn’t given up - it has made out not just with riches but with dignity. After just two years, the independently operated Uber China has joined Didi to control 95% of the Chinese rideshare market.

Written off as a loss by Time and Fortune, five key reasons make the merger a major coup for Uber’s global ambitions. That’s not counting the latest $1 billion injection into Uber by Didi at its $68 billion valuation - now worth more than Ford and GM.

Uber China Finally Stops Burning Cash

In the price-conscious Chinese market, both Uber and Didi were spending...

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How to Fly for Free every 3 Months

A Total Beginner’s Guide to Travel Hacking

Last week I booked a little getaway: Shanghai to Hong Kong to Indonesia with a long stopover in Malaysia - and back. In Hong Kong, I’ll be handling visa matters and seeing old friends; I’ll have enough time in Malaysia to see the Petronas Towers & Mindvalley; and Bali, Indonesia promises both incredible environment and people, if the nomad hackers at Eleven Yellow are any indication.


Here’s the kicker: I booked all my flights one week in advance and paid USD 60 for everything. I won’t be alone: a good friend coordinated his Bali trip from San Francisco for pennies on the dollar with this exact strategy. Sound like a dream vacation? I’m going to show you every step I took to make this happen, and in 3 months you can tell me how your trip was even better.

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This process works by accruing as many rewards points as possible, as quickly and...

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Reflections of a Global Graduate

When I returned from a year in Asia, I was asked by a professor and mentor to compose a reflection piece of my time abroad. This is that piece, unedited and in its original form.

How it all Began

I’m a Polish immigrant raised in New Jersey, nurtured in New York, educated in Boston - yet my greatest aha moments came from a year in Asia. Reading a few intellectually dangerous books probably didn’t make me much fonder of expected ways of doing things. I’ve made troublemakers like Richard Branson and Tim Ferris my inspiration. I’m energized by the stories and philosophies of Paul Graham and TS Eliot and FDR. In college, my world was opened to the standards of American young adult development: the classes, social interactions, grades, and faux independence thrust on all college kids should teach us to learn, find jobs, work productively, find a partner, manage our finances to purchase a...

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Dream At the End of the World

“Sorry mom, I’m missing graduation.”


What’s up? If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve one of the amazing people I want to keep in touch over the next three months from the other side of the world. You can subscribe to these posts to hear about building a life and a company in China, and email me with the subject Connect China to get my personal monthly updates. Full story follows & post may be updated occasionally.

China is not the easiest place to love.  Tellings of my first visit at age 19 are usually interrupted by “Things must have been so cheap!” or “No drinking age!” Stuff was weird, man. Lots of cranes, people, bad advertising — and opportunity. Few sitting toilets, English speakers, familiar products — or chances to stray from the structured program. Being immersed in a truly alien environment for 6 weeks left me more curious than actually wanting to go back. 

I left...

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Getting Mentored Effectively

A Chinese manager of mine had a saying, “There are two types of people: introverts, and extroverts.” He watched over sales, hired friendly but aggressive extroverts, and although I can’t give props on ideology, the returns came in solid and steady. But damn, there were a lot of arguments. Mastering the art of networking can be very similar to sales: listen, relate, connect. Your killer network game doesn’t help when you’ve already made the inroads and now want to receive mentorship. So what does effective mentoring look like?

Know your goal!!!

You can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you want to end up! Getting mentored means drawing on their past experience to improve your present. Boil down what you want to know or what you want to leave with. Maybe it’s people – a new connection or reference is a concrete thing you can walk away with. For a startup looking for investment, you...

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Stop Trying to Move the Needle

It’s true I’ve been incredibly lucky and privileged to be able to write this.

Rewind to 6 years old in Krakow, Poland with little Michael jumping into mud puddles under the care of young parents still in graduate school. I thought I was pretty damn slick when, in a fortuitous twist of fate, my family “temporarily” relocated to New Jersey in the Land of Dreams, the United States of America. My dad arranged a limo to pick us up at the airport as we first stepped on American soil. No idea how long he saved up for the glitz.

Soon, we were sending photos back to our Eastern European family of us wearing nice clothes against the backdrop of the Statue of Liberty. An immigrant cliche. The words of English we knew on entry – originally “hungry, thirsty, bathroom, crayons” – soon couldn’t be counted on both hands. “Temporary” turned to a little longer than we expected.

Another jump forward...

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What’s in Your Backpack?


“How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack… with all the stuff that you have in your life. You feel the straps cutting into your shoulders?”

Ryan Bingham, the quote’s author, is an advocate of the empty backpack. He’s a successful business man, a frequent global traveler, speaker – and something of a self-proclaimed shark. He’s also not real: he’s the main character of the powerful movie Up In The Air.

I learned thousands of years of Chinese history and hundreds of simplified Chinese characters before my trip, but the first time I was leaving for the opposite side of the world, I knew very little of light backpacks. I packed two huge suitcases filled with more clothes than I would wear, products I would consume, or books I would read. 6 weeks after arriving I was repacking my bags to leave, and noticing shirts I had never even unrolled.


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