#25 Joe Fish Clark – Tenacity, guts and the drive to succeed in China
Joe, affectionately nicknamed ‘Fish’, has been in Shanghai for 8 years. Originally from New Zealand, and having spent 6 years in the UK, he’s now in Shanghai and quite like myself, a bit of a serial entrepreneur. Over the past 8 years in China, Fish has moved from the commercial real estate industry, to media and now into corporate strategy and business development. Tune in to hear Fish discuss major challenges he’s faced and why tenacity and guts top his list of must-have personal attributes to succeed in China.
If you’re not a networker, either become one or consider doing something else.
How he got to China
His first trip in 1995 left him thinking that China wasn’t for him, but years later, chatting with some friends in London he changed his mind. By November of 2006, he and his family had arrived in Shanghai with his wife, Jodie, and two daughters.
His current project
The launch of Zimocity.com came from a need that arose out of his first project in China. At that time it was really hard to find data for commercial real estate such as average rental prices of a particular area or even availability of office space. Zimocity.com was built to collate this sort of data and make it available for those looking for new office space or even for, say, an investment bank who is looking to make crucial investment decisions.
While setting up his first venture, one major element they missed in the process was signing a commercial lease. This put them back 8 or 9 months and coincidentally, the day they actually signed the lease was the day that China made a major policy switch regarding how serviced office companies could operate in China. Eight months later they were sorted.
Lessons learned along the way
- It was tough to get capital from the UK to China.
- Make friends with your commercial real estate agent – that’s your key to networking!
- Connect with the people others tell you to. Listen to your network and connect, connect, connect.
- Join all of the business organization functions and events, join committees to meet people.
- Find good local support for legal and policy advice. They’ll be crucial to your business endeavor.
- Good companies make an effort to connect with their internal people – especially ‘laowai’ bosses being teased at company parties.
- Being ‘too’ professional can feel a bit cold to local employees.
Tips for staying motivated
Grounding himself in his family is huge for Fish to stay motivated. He works hard to remember that work isn’t everything. He also keeps his eye open for new opportunities and if he’s locked on the same project for a while, he works on something else to keep other parts of his brain firing on all cylindars.
What has Joe jazzed
Light at the end of the tunnel is always super exciting. For Joe, it’s amassing all the little wins that keeps Joe motivated. Also, seeing China rise over the last 8 years has been like ‘watching 300 years of Industrial Revolution.’ It’s been incredible to see the little legislative changes that are happening in China and they definitely keep Joe excited about being here.
- The Lean Startup
- Bryan Houston, Hillsong Church
- Joseph Prince, New Creation Church
- Joel Osteen