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The ten golden rules of wéiqí applied to business strategy - 围棋十诀

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In this essay, I applied the 10 ancient go (wéiqí in Chinese) proverbs to business strategy, illustrated by Asian business cases.

This writing was part of my MBA course Chinese Classics: Applications to Business and Marketing Practices, based on some of these well-known Chinese classics such as the Art of War, the 36 Stratagems and the Principles of Tao Zhu-gong.

In this essay, I applied the 10 ancient go (wéiqí in Chinese) proverbs to business strategy, illustrated by Asian business cases.

This writing was part of my MBA course Chinese Classics: Applications to Business and Marketing Practices, based on some of these well-known Chinese classics such as the Art of War, the 36 Stratagems and the Principles of Tao Zhu-gong.

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The ten golden rules of wéiqí applied to business strategy - 围棋十诀

  1. 1. The Ten Golden Rules of WéiQí Applied to Business Strategy 围棋十诀 - Wéi Qí Shí Jué Mathieu FRANCOIS-BARSEGHIAN B6090 – Chinese Classic (2011) 1
  2. 2. Table of Contents Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................ 2 Preface ........................................................................................................................................ 5 Wéiqí and business strategy........................................................................................................ 6 The most ancient strategy game… .......................................................................................... 6 From the origins to the classical period ................................................................................ 6 The modern era .................................................................................................................... 6 … But a very modern intellectual challenge ............................................................................. 7 Wéiqí and Asian strategy ......................................................................................................... 7 The Ten golden rules of wéiqí applied to business strategy ..................................................... 9 The proverb about attitude ........................................................................................................ 10 On attitude ............................................................................................................................. 10 Greediness is not victorious [贪不得胜 - Tān bùdé shèng] .................................................... 10 Explanation for wéiqí: Winning is not killing ........................................................................ 10 Application in business: Growing concerns about ethics..................................................... 11 Case: The failed acquisitions of Proton .............................................................................. 12 The proverbs about preparation ................................................................................................ 14 On preparation ....................................................................................................................... 14 Take care of oneself when attacking others [攻彼顾我 - Gōng bǐ gù wǒ] ................................ 15 Explanation for wéiqí: The best fights are those not played ................................................ 15 Application in business: Don’t overexpose yourself while competing .................................. 16 Case: Toyota entry in the US market .................................................................................. 16 Make thick shape, avoid hasty moves [慎勿轻速 - Shèn wù qīng sù] ..................................... 17 Explanation for wéiqí: Don’t keep the initiative at all cost .................................................... 17 Application in business: Operations excellence .................................................................. 17 Case: Geely’s delayed debut in America ............................................................................ 18 The proverbs about space and time .......................................................................................... 19 2
  3. 3. On space and time ................................................................................................................. 19 Be unhurried to enter opponent´s territory [入界宜缓 - Rù jiè yí huǎn] .................................. 20 Explanation for wéiqí: Erode big territories rather than invade them ................................... 20 Application in business: Enter into a new market ................................................................ 20 Case: BYD cautious entry into electric car market .............................................................. 21 A move must respond to the opponent´s [动须相应 - Dòng xū xiāng yìng] ............................ 22 Explanation for wéiqí: Always keep in mind the global position........................................... 22 Application in business: The big picture.............................................................................. 22 Case: The stakes of US automotive industry in 2009 ......................................................... 23 The proverbs about power balance ........................................................................................... 25 On power balance .................................................................................................................. 25 Against strong positions, play safely [彼强自保 - Bǐ qiáng zì bǎo] ........................................... 26 Explanation for wéiqí: One does not play alone .................................................................. 26 Application in business: Prudence ...................................................................................... 26 Case: AirAsia expansion to long-distance flights ............................................................... 27 Look for peace, avoid fighting in an isolated or weak situation [势孤取和 - Shì gū qǔ hé] ...... 28 Explanation for wéiqí: One must tolerate the intolerable ..................................................... 28 Application in business: When to keep a low profile ........................................................... 28 Case: The end of a 1,400-year-old business ...................................................................... 28 The proverbs about sacrifice ..................................................................................................... 30 On sacrifice ............................................................................................................................ 30 Discard stones to gain initiative [弃子争先 - Qì zǐ zhēng xiān] ................................................ 30 Explanation for wéiqí: Stones are not important ................................................................. 30 Application in business: The Blue Ocean framework .......................................................... 31 Case: The Yellow Tail wine ................................................................................................ 32 Abandon small to save big [舍小就大 - Shě xiǎo jiù dà].......................................................... 33 3
  4. 4. Explanation for wéiqí: Look after the big fish ...................................................................... 33 Application in business: Focus ........................................................................................... 33 Case: Panasonic bicycles................................................................................................... 34 When in danger, sacrifice [逢危须弃 - Féng wēi xū qì] ........................................................... 34 Explanation for wéiqí: You can lose a battle and still win the war (but don’t forget to trade) 34 Application in business: Painful cuts ................................................................................... 35 Case: Nokia conversion to Telecom ................................................................................... 35 Bibliography .............................................................................................................................. 37 Books .................................................................................................................................... 37 Online resources.................................................................................................................... 38 4
  5. 5. Preface “While the Baroque rules of chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play go” Edward Lasker, Chess Master This essay assumes the reader possesses the minimum knowledge of the game of wéiqí [围棋] to understand its concepts and applications to business strategy. If this is not the case, the corresponding Wikipedia page is a good first introduction. However, reading will never equals the actual experience from the game: numerous Internet servers are free and available in a few clicks. Among them, the KGS Go Server [http://www.gokgs.com/] is reputed for its international and beginner-friendly community. Wéiqí game is also often referenced by its names in Japan and Korea, the two other major playing countries beside China: respectively go [囲碁] and baduk [바둑]. Because this essay is based on a Chinese classic study, the Chinese name will be consistently used. Nevertheless for historical reasons, the game has been brought overseas by Japan. Thus, the technical and conceptual terminology used by non-Asian players is the Japanese one. Consequently, this paper will basically use the Japanese words and add the corresponding Chinese characters and their pīnyīn transcription. For example: tesuji [手筋 - shǒu jīn] are skilful tactical moves and a crucial component of one’s technique. It may seem paradoxical that an essay about a visual game like wéiqí uses no diagram at all. The reason is the focus on the business applications, not on the game itself. Finally, I would like to dedicate this paper to the two people who converted me to the most fascinating of games, and led indirectly to my personal Asian experience: the French writer Georges Pérec, author of Le Petit Traité invitant à la découverte de l’art subtil du go [Small treatise inviting to discover the subtle art of go], and Master Lim (Lim Yoo Joong), from Korea, inimitable character and teacher of the first generation of players in France in the late 1960s. 5
  6. 6. Wéiqí and business strategy The most ancient strategy game… From the origins to the classical period According to the Encyclopedia [博物志 - Bówù zhì] written by Zhāng huá [張華] in the IIIrd Century, wéiqí has been invented by the mythical emperors Yáo [堯] and Shùn [舜], in order to educate their stupid sons. The game has been created in China, and is mentioned for the first time in the Vth Century BC. Originally, the dimension of the board was 11x11 lines then it evolved to 17x17 and eventually reached its 19x19 modern dimensions. Wéiqí has been introduced in Japan in the VIIth Century, in the same time than the other imperial court arts. At that epoch, the game was only played by nobles, courtesans and monks. The classical period starts then in the XVIth Century with the beginning of the professional system, sponsored by the Japanese shoguns Toyotomi Hideyoshi [豊臣秀吉] and Tokugawa Ieyasu [徳川家康]. It generated the improvement of the theory of the game, in particular for the fuseki [布局 - bù jú], or opening phase, as well as the democratization of the game. This, added to the decline of the Qing Dynasty after the Opium Wars, moved the center of gravity of wéiqí to Japan for a few centuries. The modern era Since the 1980s, the Japanese preeminence has been challenged by the Chinese and Korean players on international tournaments. In China, the game had been long banned by communists. But the incredible performance of Niè Wèipíng [聂卫平] at the ChinaJapan supermatches in 1985 brought back the interest of the game to the Chinese public. Since, China has become again a top country with a young generation of talented professionals. Including the amazing Korean players, the international competition has entered in a very active and exciting phase. 6
  7. 7. In Europe, wéiqí has comparatively a very recent history, less than one century old. This, as well as the concurrency of the local equivalent (Western Chess), explains the inferior number and level of the players. Nevertheless, the game has developed well since the last decades of globalization. The pioneer epoch is definitely over, and it has been boosted by the development of Internet. Notably, a few Western players have already reached a professional level. I took 25 centuries to Asia to reach its current level: it is fair to let some more time to the West. … But a very modern intellectual challenge Wéiqí is the most ancient board game, and combines in a unique way tactics and strategy, that is micro and macro-thinking. Its rules are very natural and quick to learn, but more than an entire life is required to grasp all the subtleties… It is captivating to observe that the complexity of the game originates from simple basic rules. This scheme of emerging properties is similar to those studied in many scientific or artistic fields. Interestingly, it is the last game to offer a significant resistance to computerization. Although important progress have been made since 2006 by the MoGo software, the computer performances are still far away from those in Chess, where human grandmasters are regularly beaten. Wéiqí and Asian strategy Undoubtedly, wéiqí has strong connections with Asian history and culture, at least in the three dominant playing countries, China, Japan and Korea. Thus the game is a relevant starting point to analyze and understand the Asian way of thinking, and then apply it to different disciplines. In these countries, it is often amusing to watch the numerous advertisements using wéiqí as a picturesque support. They clearly illustrate that the Asian mindset associates the game to business and intelligence. 7
  8. 8. Because of the fighting and strategic features of the game, its first application context has naturally been war. It is noteworthy to compare the Chinese characters for strategy [战略 – zhànlüè], tactic [战术 – zhànshù] and combat [战斗 – zhàndòu]: these three words, the main characteristics of wéiqí, all include the root character of war [战争 – zhànzhēng]. Furthermore, in ancient China, and notably during the Three Kingdoms [三 国时代 - Sānguó shídài], there were mentions of wéiqí used by generals. More recently, Scott Boorman in The protracted game: a wei-ch'i interpretation of maoist revolutionary strategy proposed an interesting, but unfortunately too simplistic, analysis of Mao Zedong’s revolution strategy in terms of wéiqí. The author makes an analogy between the communist rural mass fighting the urban nationalists and the borders versus center territories in wéiqí. Classical wéiqí theory teaches that the border-based strategy is superior to the center-based one. Therefore, according to Boorman, it logically explains the communist victory. Ironically, wéiqí is condemned by the philosopher Confucius because its futility and addictiveness are against the social order. Nevertheless, many consider wéiqí as an appealing intellectual model and have tried to apply its concepts to other activities, including business strategy. For instance, the number of liberties of a group of stones is fundamental: in strategy terms, it can be translated as the number of opportunities a company maintains, a measure of its flexibility. But first, a few words about the limits of the analogy between war and business strategy. In war, the conquests of the winner are offset by the destructions endured by the loser. Hence, war is a zero-sum game … if we except some externalities, like the scientific progress that can occur during these extreme periods. In contrast, the capitalist assumption is that business is not a zero-sum game (if ethics or rules are respected). Goods and services produced and traded add value and contribute to the society’s welfare (as a whole if we neglect the redistribution issues). In that sense, wéiqí is a better model for business rather than war. True, both players fight (compete) to dominate the board. But, in the same time they also build territories (value). 8
  9. 9. Although the winning/losing issue is important in tournaments, most players agree that the most exciting games are the closest one. Winning or losing by one point, what a supreme refinement! And this leads to less frustration or humiliation for the players than games with binary results. The Ten golden rules of wéiqí applied to business strategy The essay will be based on the Chinese Classic The Ten Golden Rules of Weiqi [围棋十 诀 - Wéi qí shí jué]. It contains 10 proverbs, written by Wáng Jīxīn [王积薪], a famous player of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Up to now, these proverbs have been well-known and applied by generations of Chinese wéiqí players. This essay proposes to apply their wise advises to modern business strategy and cases. Apparently, there is no strict order of the 10 proverbs. Hence, they have been grouped here by common themes: attitude, preparation, space and time, power balance and sacrifice. Some comparisons will be made with the two major Chinese strategy classics, The Military philosophy of Sūn Zǐ known in the West as The art of war [孙子兵法 – Sūn Zǐ bīngfǎ] from Sun Tzu, and The thirty-six stratagems [三十六計 - Sānshíliù jì]. A notable difference is that the 36 stratagems provide many deceiving techniques: the battle is perceived as a competition. In contrast, wéiqí is a total-information game, so the proverbs do not promote any trick: the fight is perceived as a construction. Many books, more or less convincing, have already been written on the business applications of wéiqí. For example in Go, an Asian paradigm for business strategy, Miura Yasuyuki, a former international manager of Japan Airlines, reinterprets his past strategies by using wéiqí concepts. Notably, he compares the market shares with the territories built by both players. He argues that, like in a wéiqí game, it is not desirable to try to crush competitors at all cost, and that coexistence is a better option. The goal of this essay is to provoke the interest of the reader for further research and practice. Reading about the wéiqí concepts brings some knowledge, but it will never replace the experience gained through actual playing. 9
  10. 10. The proverb about attitude On attitude The Asian culture puts a great emphasis on the mental attitude, from the martial arts folklore to Buddhist proverbs such as “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” [弟子若準備好時,老師自會出現的 - Dìzǐ ruò zhǔnbèi hǎo shí, lǎoshī zì huì chūxiàn de]. Strategy games like wéiqí are no exception: games can be won or lost because of a wrong mindset. In particular during professional tournaments, when the stakes (and money prizes) are high, the fighting spirit is considered as a crucial component. Nevertheless, this determination must not be blind and has to be carefully balanced with the context of the game. Hence, it would be more appropriate to use the expression right attitude. As we will see, similar concerns about the attitude can be applied to the business world. Greediness is not victorious [贪不得胜 - Tān bùdé shèng] Explanation for wéiqí: Winning is not killing This proverb is the first to learn when starting wéiqí and trying to understand the depth of the game. Indeed, the beginners are often surprised to be taught that it is not necessary, or even desirable, to kill the opponent’s stones at all cost. Such a peaceful statement sounds paradoxical for a fighting game, where after all the goal is to beat the other player. In fact, the balance of the game is such that, except when one player has made obvious mistakes, it is not so common to capture groups of stones. Actually, it can be easily demonstrated on the board that is much easier to build territories rather than killing enemy stones. Therefore, the subtlety of the game is to threat to capture stones in order to gain advantages; the ultimate refinement being to let the opponent live small while building huge territories. 10
  11. 11. The other aspect of this proverb is more practical and teaches about how to deal with a leading position. During the flow of the game, players often evaluate global situation: when one is clearly ahead, his attitude will be the key for the rest of the game. On one hand, this player should not take unnecessary risks… but on the other hand if he plays too conservatively, the opponent will play more aggressively (he has nothing to lose) and reduce dangerously the gap between their positions. Hence, the leading player should carefully balance greed and safety, which is not that easy: it is frequent to watch amateur won games… eventually lost because of this mental confusion! This is linked with the other proverbs “Seek small gains but incur big losses” [贪小失大 - Tān xiǎo shī dà]. The proverb leads also to an interesting comparison between the Asian cultures. It is said that Japanese players have a less aggressive style. They look for a beauty concept in the game, and sometimes prefer aesthetic moves to crude but more explicitly efficient ones. Conversely, Chinese and Korean players play in a much more competitive and violent manner, strengthened by amazing computing and technique skills. This style difference is illustrated by the iconic professional stars from these countries: for instance, the Japanese Fujisawa Hideyuki versus Niè Wèipíng. It is tempting to link these difference in styles with some stereotyped culture features: the Japanese emphasis on harmony and details versus the Chinese gambling habit. Application in business: Growing concerns about ethics If the lack of incentives was the main drawback of communism, the excess of greed is the danger from capitalism. The last financial crisis and the recent corporate scandals were provoked by the overgreediness of some companies. From the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers during the burst of the subprime loans bubble to the Deepwater Horizon explosion of British Petroleum (BP), all these disasters have one common root cause: the search for profit over every other consideration. According to Adam’s Smith Wealth of Nations, greed is the motor that powers capitalism… until a certain limit where it destroys the society’s welfare, we could add with the feedback from the recent crisis. 11
  12. 12. There are two categories of arguments in favour of channelizing the search for profit: ethical and practical. First, there are now growing concerns and debates about ethics in business. For instance, the business schools have been accused of being responsible of the poor ethical education of the current executives. In reaction they have introduced ethics lectures in their MBA programmes. The inventor of the competitive strategy himself, Michael Porter, is reconsidering the definition of capitalism through notions like shared value. Second, some of the most innovative and successful companies are not driven by maximizing the short-term profit for shareholders. Conversely, they emphasize a vision and mission that lead to profit thanks to the commitment of the employees. Google’s corporate motto “Don’t be evil” or TDK’s “Contribute to culture and industry through creativity” sound naïve, but the successes of these major firms show the strength of the concept. To sum up, the quote from Thomas McCabe, a famous American CEO in the middle of the XXth Century still applies: “If you serve the other four groups of stakeholders [clients, employees, community, nation] well and truly, then you will also serve the long-term interests of your shareholders. Emphasis on Long-Term!” Case: The failed acquisitions of Proton This case details a less dramatic example than the previously mentioned corporate disasters, but it shows how overgreediness can ruin the strategy of a company. Proton is a Malaysian automobile manufacturer founded in 1983. As the dominant carmaker in its home country, it has long been looking to an international expansion. On two occasions, the company made the tentative of expanding through acquisition. 12
  13. 13. First, the Malaysian company became well-known by taking over the prestigious Lotus Cars in 1997, after the bankruptcy of the former owner Bugatti. The goal was to benefit from the quality and expertise of the British manufacturer and integrate them into its production lines. The GEN-2, launched in UK, was the most notable result of this joint conception. But the poor sales clearly didn’t meet the expectations. The failed second acquisition was MV Augusta, an obscure Italian motorcycles manufacturer, in December 2005. It appeared quickly that the purchase was poorly managed, as unreported debts of MV Augusta had not been taken into account. As a result, Proton ceded the subsidiary to Harley-Davidson Inc. two years later for 1 euro. These two failures show that Proton was too in a hurry (greedy) to expand overseas (victory). Either it was not ready to manage the acquired company, or it didn’t prepare the purchase carefully enough. But both cases can be seen as a lesson about the drawbacks of greediness. Hopefully, these bad outcomes have not been fatal to the Malaysian carmaker. 13
  14. 14. The proverbs about preparation On preparation Every computing during a wéiqí game can be seen as a preparation. Actually, the moves in a game are only the tip of the iceberg of the computations and counter-computations performed by the two players. If one compares a wéiqí game with a book, then most of the story has not been written explicitly on the paper. Likewise, appreciating implicit or concise beauty is a common Asian feature. Back to the strategy field, the similarities with Sūn Zǐ bīngfǎ chapter IV: Disposition of the army [形 - xíng] are striking, both for attack and defense: - “Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory” [是故勝兵先勝,而後求戰;敗兵先戰,而後求勝 - Shì gù shèng bīng xiānshèng, érhòu qiúzhàn; Bàibīng xiān zhàn, érhòu qiú shèng]. - “The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy” [昔之善戰者,先為不可勝, 以待敵之可勝 - Xí zhī shànzhàn zhě, xiān wéi bùkě shèng, yǐ dài dí zhī kě shèng]. In the same manner, the importance of thinking and planning is recognized at all the levels of a company, from marketing to operations. No serious business is now conducted without evaluating the situation, the different alternatives as well as the competitors’ moves. The number of strategic frameworks that have been developed for many purposes proves how preparation is now emphasized in the business world. The well-known case of Royal Dutch/Shell that anticipated the 1973 oil crisis with a scenario planning analysis years before, shows how deep and powerful such preparation can be. 14
  15. 15. Take care of oneself when attacking others [攻彼顾我 - Gōng bǐ gù wǒ] Explanation for wéiqí: The best fights are those not played Professional players always take the time to correct weaknesses in their groups before any attack. By doing so, they eliminate the risk of aji [味道 - wèi dào], or bad potential. Such moves seem slow at first sight, but it enables then to launch quicker and more severe attacks, without any risk of counter. Generally, amateur games are more crudely violent than professional ones, and this is not because professionals lack fighting spirit, far from it. In fact, the depth of analysis of pros make them aware of all the threats, so they care to neutralize them. On the opposite, amateurs think less deep and play more explicitly. The ancient legends provide the same advice: Zhong-Pu Liu (Song Dynasty, 960 – 1279, actually North Song, around 1078) in Chapter 2 of his classical Qí jué [棋诀], wrote “Never be too sure about your plan, and always in doubt about killing your opponent's stones” [侵凌夫棋路无必成,子无必杀,乘机智变,不可预图 - Qīnlíng fu qí lù wú bì chéng, zǐ wú bì shā, chéngjī zhì biàn, bùkě yù tú]. In consequence of this, “Fighting must not be the key of wéiqí. It should be reserved as a player's last resource, and when carried out, one should be extremely careful” [用战之 法,非棋要道也。不得已而用之,则务在廉慎 - Yòng zhàn zhī fǎ, fēi qí yào dào yě. Bùdéyǐ ér yòng zhī, zé wu zài lián shèn] (Zhong-Pu Liu again). That some of the strongest players advise not to fight seems surprising at a first reading. In reality, the morality is that peace is established by mutually neutralizing the strengths of the opponents. Accordingly, fights happen when the balance of power between the two parties is broken. Similar concepts are developed at the individual level by Asian martial arts, most notably aikido [合気道]. 15
  16. 16. Application in business: Don’t overexpose yourself while competing This proverb has many business applications, and teaches how to temperate the competitive moves. True, one of the primary concerns of a company is to handle the competition, by differentiating or attacking prices. But these actions must be planned carefully and must not endanger the company, or at least below an accepted risk threshold. For example, the company must not be too in debt, or any cash flow uncertainty could be fatal. Likewise, a public company with too high cash assets could be a very profitable take-over target. Information leakage is another form of overexposition and can have very negative impacts. Last but not least, this proverb applies to any entry in a new market: the incumbents must not feel threatened by the new player as long as possible. Otherwise, the entering company could suffer retaliation from the incumbents, such as a pricing war, that could make fail the whole project. Case: Toyota entry in the US market The Japanese car manufacturer Toyota entry in the United States (US) market is one of the best example of the application of this proverb. Toyota, like all the other post-World War II Japanese industries first grew on the domestic market. During decades, the Japanese developed and refined the now classical Toyota Production System (TPS), permanently improving their procedures (kaizen) and cutting all the costs through their no waste (muda) and Just In Time (JIT) methodologies. The Japanese considered entering in the US market only when the quality of their cars and their prices attained the desirable level. At that time, instead of competing directly on the same market segments than the US manufacturers, they chose the niche segment of small cars. By doing so, they got the time to gain reputation and lower the resistance of the US consumers. Eventually, when the market conditions changed in favour of smaller less fuelconsuming cars, Toyota became a terrible competitor for the American Big Three, and conquered big market shares. 16
  17. 17. Clearly, Toyota applied a patient long-term strategy against powerful competitors (attacking others) and a difficult market. It has applied the proverb by always taking care of not expose itself at each step. Make thick shape, avoid hasty moves [慎勿轻速 - Shèn wù qīng sù] Explanation for wéiqí: Don’t keep the initiative at all cost Playing while keeping the sente [先手 - xiān shǒu], or initiative is a key concept in wéiqí. If a player never takes the initiative, he will passively follow the strategy of the opponent and will likely lose the game. The fight for the initiative rhythms the game and is the occasion for many exciting trades between the players. However, there are some situations where it is all right to lose the global sente and play an important local gote [后手 - hòu shǒu] (reverse of sente) move. It is typical for beginners to run blindly after sente and let unfinished shapes. These unhealthy positions are soon perfect targets for the opponent, who will use them to drive attacks all around the board…. And eventually ruin the small advantage gained by keeping the initiative earlier. Consequently, abandoning the sente to make a good local shape is a calm powerful move, preparing further offensives. A good shape is not necessarily a thick one, but can also be light or flexible. Obviously, the application of this proverb must no lead to the other extreme. In particular with modern fast-paced and high komi [ 贴 目 - tiē mù] (compensation points to White for playing second) games, too slow conservative moves are a losing strategy. Application in business: Operations excellence This proverb teaches how to take the time to build and prepare business operations, in order to leverage them later. In the modern business environment, the always shorter product life cycles put a great pressure on the development and production phases. Which operations officer has never endured the rush from the marketing and sales department? Such situations are the burden of modern competition, but if the pre-sales 17
  18. 18. steps are too poorly prepared, the company can suffer dramatic failures at the new offer launch. These mistakes can disappoint the clients to the point of unrecoverable loss of reputation or market shares. Therefore, the company focusing on a go to market as soon as possible to gain the first mover advantage must carefully balance the risks of doing so. Conversely, the company can focus on improving its product or service, but then the quality must be a decisive blow against the first comers. Case: Geely’s delayed debut in America Geely is one of the biggest Chinese car manufacturers, and not a state-owned enterprise. Notably, it performed the biggest acquisition of an international carmaker by a Chinese company, by purchasing Volvo from Ford in 2010. The company originally planned to begin selling cars for the North American market in 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics. By offering cars cheaper than $10,000, it intended to become “VW Bug” of the XXIst Century. But after several vehicles miserably failed US crash and emissions tests, Geely’s debut in America has been delayed until 2010. Typically, Geely managers should have carefully meditated the proverb. By neglecting the quality (thick shape) of their cars and preferring to rush into the US market (hasty moves), the company has made a costly mistake and failed. Since, Gelly has learned from its mistakes and is now ready to enter into the US. 18
  19. 19. The proverbs about space and time On space and time The space and time concepts reveal some of the biggest differences between the Western and the Chinese philosophies. The Westerners see these two concepts as two distinct ones (two separate dimensions in a Cartesian system), while the Chinese see them as interrelated. Interestingly, the wéiqí board is a good representation of the mixed space and time. Indeed, the square representation of Earth by the wéiqí board is cosmologically correct for the Chinese, with the centre as the main point. Despite the stones do not move on the board after being played, their relations and status evolve very dynamically all along the game. Typically, every player commenting a game will speak of groups chasing another one, or quick moves, and so on… all these words clearly do not refer to static positions. Furthermore, the Western linear thinking, detailed in the Business Journey to the East: An East-West Perspective of Global-is-Asian, sees the time as a straight line moving in one direction only… even if the XXth Century discoveries in astrophysics have somehow confused that visualization. Conversely, the Chinese vision of time is cyclical, and is combined with space. For instance, each of the four seasons is associated to a specific cardinal point. As we will see, this intrinsic combination of space and time is the key to understand the reasoning of Asian businessmen. They do not think in the Cartesian way, and their apparent lack of structure can be mystifying or annoying for a Western partner. But they are more comfortable in reasoning globally, integrating some elements a Western mind could have missed. This global thinking allows a greater flexibility when conditions change. In contrast, when faced to such changes, a Westerner has to reinitialize all its analysis with the new assumptions, which is a longer process. 19
  20. 20. Be unhurried to enter opponent´s territory [入界宜缓 - Rù jiè yí huǎn] Explanation for wéiqí: Erode big territories rather than invade them When facing a huge moyō [地域 - dì yù], or enemy potential territory, the best approach is usually to erode it. The attacker will use sabaki [ 腾 挪 - téng nuó] techniques, emphasizing light shapes and speed. Usually, complementary kikashi [先手利 - xiān shǒu lì], probing or forcing moves, will support the erosion. The purpose is to slightly reduce the territory while not providing the opponent the opportunity to attack the eroding stones. If the erosion is too deep, or if it is a frank invasion, the stones will suffer a strong counter-attack, giving the global initiative to the adversary. It is noteworthy that the opponent can build a threatening big moyō only if the player has gained an advantage elsewhere, by building another territory or influence. If this not the case, it means that the balance of the game has been broken by some earlier mistakes, and that desperate moves, like an all-out invasion, are needed to win. Therefore, we see through these erosion issues that the space and timing notions are closely interrelated in a wéiqí game. Application in business: Enter into a new market This proverb applies best to the companies looking to enter into a new market. Indeed, the right market segment (space) and timing (time) are crucial to succeed. A careful marketing analysis, supported by market surveys must be performed before any decision. Moreover, the proper Time To Market (TTM) is all the difference between an invention launched too early with no clear market and a successful innovation. Likewise, the too early entry on a market can be costly as the company has to operate while waiting the consumers to mature. But on the other hand, a too late entry can fail as the competitors have gained the first mover advantage and have already built entry barriers. 20
  21. 21. Case: BYD cautious entry into electric car market The Electric Vehicles (EV) have been announced since a long time without great outcome… but the turning point could happen soon. BYD Auto has been created in 2003 and is a major player in the EV industry. The firm is part of the Chinese group BYD Co. Ltd., created in 1995 by Wang Chuan-Fu [王传福] , wealthiest man in China (2009). This charismatic CEO, originally a chemist, has turned the company into a world leader in rechargeable battery manufacturing. The reverse engineering capabilities of the R&D team, added to optimized and low-cost labour-based production process ensured the success of the diversification. As a result, BYD became the 1st economy-car manufacturer and 3rd overall in China (2009). As a proof of the outstanding potential of the company, it is the only Asian company with investment from Warren Buffet ($230 million in 2008). BYD took the time (be unhurried) to build a strong position before entering into the international EV market (opponent’s territory) with models like the all-electric BYD e6. Its development relies on a huge domestic market potential and on synergies between the battery technologies and markets: mobile IT, EV and energy storage… the battery performance being the key component of the EV. Of course, the company is facing many challenges, such as the poor reputation of Chinese brands until now, protectionist barriers or the appreciation of the Yuan currency, but the business story is promising. 21
  22. 22. A move must respond to the opponent´s [动须相应 - Dòng xū xiāng yìng] Explanation for wéiqí: Always keep in mind the global position The most unique and subtle feature of wéiqí is the overall balance between local and global positions. One of the first basic techniques acquired by beginners, the shichō [扭 羊头 - niǔ yáng tóu], or ladder, illustrates in a spectacular way how stones on the opposite side of the board have a decisive influence on what looks like a local fight. The more skilled player is later delighted to discover the numerous complex masterworks, still based on this technique [http://denisfeldmann.fr/bestiaire3.htm#p6]. Similarly, wéiqí games involve many typical sequences called jōseki [定式 - dìng shì]. Knowing many jōseki is part of the theory knowledge of good players. Nevertheless these are different from the chess openings in the sense they are sequences with an outcome considered as locally even for both players. Thus, the art of well playing jōseki is to choose the most adapted one in the global context. Conversely, a poorly chosen jōseki can lead to an acceptable local result, but to a global disaster. In consequence, at every move, and in addition to the local computations, the global situation is evaluated and taken into account by the wéiqí players. This powerful game mindset is a very good school to the Asian global thinking and its business implementation. Application in business: The big picture This proverb entails to think business globally, but also many moves ahead. It is similar to the Stratagem 35: A series of interconnected ploys [連環計 - Liánhuán jì] in the way that it emphasizes the combination of different tactics, with the final objective in mind. It requires a mental flexibility, ready to analyze any information about changes in market, competition, technology or political change. It also requires the time to perform such analysis… that is often the problem for many managers, overwhelmed by the daily tasks. 22
  23. 23. The glocalization concept is another good application of this proverb. Gurucharan Das, ex-CEO of Procter & Gamble India, believes that big companies will mainly indulge with small decentralized units to focus on particular markets and customers. His “Think global, act local” motto applied to the Vicks Vaporub product has been the perfect example of how global corporate brands can be customized to meet the specific needs of local customers. Case: The stakes of US automotive industry in 2009 In 2009, the Detroits’s Big Three, General Motors, Chrysler LLC and Ford Motor were very close to bankruptcy. After a first refusal by the Senate, an intense lobbying was performed to let these companies receive a federal aid of hundreds of billions dollars. Surprisingly, the overseas competitors, most notably Toyota and Honda Motor, endorsed these measures. Indeed, they estimated that the failure of any Big Three would create severe collateral damages to the whole industry. The first firms to suffer would be the automaker’s suppliers. Since the manufacturers often get their parts from the same suppliers, the other carmakers would experience disruption in their production as well. A similar cascade of events could affect the networks of car dealers because they sell both US and foreign brands. Finally, the collapse of one of the Big Three would probably cause an economic shockwave in the country, that would reduce the demand for the whole industry. All these reasons explain the unexpected solidarity of the Japanese carmakers with their US counterparts, whom they usually fiercely compete with. But the Japanese companies didn’t stop their analysis to these points and actually had anticipated even further the consequences of a Big Three failure. In reality, their biggest concern was that the weak state of the industry would open the door to the low-cost competitors from India and China, like Tata and Geely. Undeniably, these automakers succeeded in the developing world and are now very interested in expanding into Western markets like the US. They wouldn’t miss an opportunity to enter earlier into the market, and would be ready to 23
  24. 24. acquire the assets of the distressed companies. On the contrary, the Japanese rarely rely in this method of growing, so they couldn’t benefit in the same way from the situation. In this case, the depth of analysis of Toyota and Honda is outstanding. Following the wéiqí proverb, they thought many moves ahead and embrace the global position in order to decide their long-term strategy. 24
  25. 25. The proverbs about power balance On power balance The balance of power is a key concept in wéiqí, and can be considered as the morality of the game. A game well played by two players of similar strength remains close a very long time, and can be won by only one point. For instance, if a player is opting for immediate territory points, it will be offset by the influence gained by the other, and viceversa. If the player is strong in an area of the board, he’s weak in another, and so on. The Chinese instinctively care significantly about the power balance when dealing politics or business. A good illustration is the way how China has dealt the rise of its economic and political influence since the Dèng Xiǎopíng’s economic reforms. Thus, China has long been cautious about not appearing too threatening to its most powerful rivals, despite obvious international ambitions. Besides, it diversifies its partnerships by establishing many bilateral relations with foreign countries, from Asia to Africa. To illustrate, although Europe is its biggest economic partner, China managed perfectly in its favour the balance of trade with the region. By exploiting the lack of unity and consistency among the European countries, China was able to neutralize the bargaining power of the European Union. Currently, the most critical application of the principle of power balance in the world is the mutual interdependency between US and China. US are the biggest importer of Chinese goods, and their trade deficit is mainly funded by China itself, that bought for hundreds of billions of dollars of US Treasury bonds. The economies of both countries are currently so interrelated that it is not clear whether the situation favours one side or another: US depend on China to borrow money, and China’s foreign reserves value depends on the exchange rate of the US dollar. In brief, everyone agrees that this cyclical relation went too far and is not healthy for the global situation, but the way to attenuate it is not a consensus yet. 25
  26. 26. At the business level, many Asian companies are vigilant about the balance of power, and they generally expand with few publicity. Nowadays, industry after industry, the world realizes that Chinese firms became international players: from Lenovo in computers to Huawei in Telecom... the next major changes will probably happen in the automotive industry. The two next proverbs will show how the principle of power balance is applied in wéiqí and business, for both attack and defence. Against strong positions, play safely [彼强自保 - Bǐ qiáng zì bǎo] Explanation for wéiqí: One does not play alone This proverb is not contradictory with the aforementioned fighting spirit, but is rather a complement for the right attitude from the first proverb. Wéiqí is a total information game: the only unknown element is the psychology of the other player. But as all the information needed for a rational decision is displayed on the board, the psychology factor is undeniably less important than in other games, like poker. That is to say, most of the deception techniques, like those described in the 36 stratagems do not apply here. Consequently, the player must assume the opponent is as clever as himself, and must not be underestimated. For this reason, it is a wrong style to play sequences expecting opponent’s mistakes… even if such traps can work in practice during amateur games. Because of this balance of strength, the victory can be achieved only by a long-term multi-steps strategy, creating progressively opportunities. Winning is clearly not about an all-out fight with all energy committed in a unique attempt. Application in business: Prudence This proverb teaches that patience and prudence are important when initiating competitive actions. When the incumbents are strong, the company must take the time to build its position in the target market. Following this, neither frontal attack nor provocation must be launched, or the incumbents could over-react aggressively and neutralize the attempt. 26
  27. 27. Case: AirAsia expansion to long-distance flights AirAsia is a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. The airline is based in Malaysia and has started its operations in 1996. It shares a story very similar to the one of RyanAir, as it has succeeded the transformation from a money-losing regional operator to a profitable budget airline. The strategy of the company is based on the low-cost airline model, taking the opposite path of the prestigious Asian brands like Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific. It has achieved the lowest possible prices by saving aggressively on services and operations, without of course compromising the flight safety standards. AirAsia has rapidly expanded to become the major carrier in the region, taking advantage of the rising Asian middle-class population. The huge success of the company was possible because of its different positioning. Ironically, the traditional airlines have reacted by launching their own low-cost subsidiaries, like Tiger Airways from Singapore Airlines in 2003. AirAsia clearly has applied the wéiqí proverb, as it took the time to establish a strong regional position (play safely). Only then, the company has started to compete on the long-haul flights with the other airlines (against strong positions). Notably, Sir Richard Branson took a 20 per cent stake in AirAsia X, to help kick-start the new destinations to Europe. The company is continuing its provocative and humoristic marketing tradition, as Richard Bronson himself, maybe disguised as a stewardess, will serve passengers on the flight between Kuala Lumpur and London on 21 st February 2011. 27
  28. 28. Look for peace, avoid fighting in an isolated or weak situation [势孤取和 Shì gū qǔ hé] Explanation for wéiqí: One must tolerate the intolerable This proverb provides a similar prudential advise, but from the defence perspective. It emphasizes a pragmatic and realistic approach when a player is in a weak position. According to the power balance principle, the player must not expect any miracle from opponent’s mistakes and must play very safe moves. Otherwise, the game is over because the risky moves will be irremediably sanctioned. In short, this proverb teaches patience and humility: one has to restrain his pride while waiting for future gains. Once again, the flow of the game implies that such local submissive moves must have been balanced elsewhere on the board, so this low profile attitude is opportunistic and temporary. It is tempting to connect this proverb with the Stratagem 27: Pretending to be insane but remaining smart [假痴不癲 - Jiǎ chī bù diān] and to the exceedingly humble Asian behaviour, often confusing the Western partner. Application in business: When to keep a low profile In the current very competitive and global environment, it seems paradoxical to advise rather conservative and calm moves. But how many companies have disappeared because of an over-exposition, or too ambitious plans? The changes and crisis of the last decades have never occurred with such an intensity before in history. True, flexibility is now one of the keys for the companies to evolve as the business conditions require. But the financial stability must not be sacrificed for temporary enthusiasms about what looks like opportunities. Case: The end of a 1,400-year-old business The Japanese temple builder Kongō Gumi was the world’s oldest family business. It had run continuously under the founder’s descendants since 578, but it collapsed in the poor business environment in 2006. 28
  29. 29. The longevity of Kongō Gumi can be explained by the stability of its industry. After all, the Buddhist religion is thousand years old, followed by millions of believers. But the company also survived difficult eras, notably the Meiji Restoration in the XIXth Century, when it lost government subsidies. At that time, the firm started constructing commercial buildings in addition to its core activity. Furthermore, it had developed over the ages some best practices in management. Thus, at each succession, the most capable leader was selected rather than the eldest son of the family. Despite such traditions, this extraordinary company collapsed for shockingly ordinary reasons. First, it borrowed important amounts to invest in real estate during the 80s bubble in Japan. As a result, the value of the assets declined strongly after the bubble burst in the early 90s. Then, the company suffered a drop in the market demand, as the temples receive less and less contributions because of the social changes in Japan. Consequently, Kongō Gumi never recovered from its debt situation, and was finally acquired by a large construction company in 2006. The proverb applies perfectly to this case. The firm stayed consistent with its core business, while adapting to the conditions change. But at a critical time, it didn’t estimate correctly the weakness of its situation and overexposed itself (didn’t avoid fighting)… and ended in sad circumstances. 29
  30. 30. The proverbs about sacrifice On sacrifice Sacrifice is very common in Chinese mindset. For instance, many of the 36 stratagems involve some kind of sacrifice, such as Stratagem 14: Borrowing a corpse to resurrect a soul [借屍還魂 - Jièshīhuánhún] or Stratagem 34: Self-injury scheme [苦肉計 - Kǔròujì]. Maybe the roots of this practice lie in the Confucianism philosophy combined to the dimension and population of the country. There are many examples in the Chinese literature of sacrifices of expandable resources, generally the subjects themselves, for the cause of the Emperor. Beyond its ethical issues, sacrifice also requires a certain mental flexibility. Indeed, one has to be able to accept a loss for a further benefit. Thus, the sacrifice can be seen as a way of dealing with changing conditions, without losing sight of the primary objective. Conversely, the Western linear thinking can be less reactive to such changes, as paths of analysis have to be computed again. In addition, the Judeo-Christian values make generally more reluctant, consciously or not, to use such tricks. The following last proverbs will explain the three levels of sacrifice: tactical, strategic and emergency measures. Discard stones to gain initiative [弃子争先 - Qì zǐ zhēng xiān] Explanation for wéiqí: Stones are not important In wéiqí, the stones have a low intrinsic value: one point per stone captured. Their real value is based on their relations with the other stones. For example, a single stone cutting two adversary groups serves a strategic purpose, and will be much more important than a small group of stones accomplishing nothing. Obviously, the value of the stones can change very quickly depending on the circumstances. Therefore, the stones are expandable resources and can be sacrificed if it is profitable to do so. 30
  31. 31. Remember that one stone, or light groups are more flexible than heavy shapes. Thus, the effectiveness of the group shapes is the key to let the maximum number of options open, including sacrifice. In contrast, a heavy group corresponds to an investment in one direction only, and it will be generally more painful to sacrifice it. There are numerous techniques based on sacrifices of unimportant stones, achieving different tactical goals: shichō to capture a group of stones, cut through the keima [飞fēi] (knight’s shape) to keep the initiative at the end of the sequence, shibori [滚打包收 - gǔn dǎ bāo shōu] to squeeze the opponent’s shape to make it heavy and easy to attack, and many others. Application in business: The Blue Ocean framework The acclaimed Blue Ocean framework from Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne is a powerful application of the sacrifice proverb. Their core idea is to avoid the existing markets enduring a fierce competition, the Red Oceans, and rather to create new markets with no competition, the Blue Oceans. They propose a simple and powerful tool, the Strategy Canvas, to visualize how different is the company’s value offer compared to the competitor’s. Interestingly, the four actions framework (Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create) they use to adjust the company’s differentiation is heavily based on sacrifices. To create a Blue Ocean, the company must eliminate the factors that its industry takes for granted, and reduce some factors well below the industry’s standards. It seems paradoxical that improvements are not necessarily creative, but many business successes have applied this destructive innovation paradigm. Low-cost airlines are probably the most representative example of this approach. 31
  32. 32. Case: The Yellow Tail wine Yellow Tail is an Australian brand wine, made by the family winery Casella Wines. Since its introduction in 2000, it has greatly succeeded its positioning between the budget and premium wines in saturated market. For instance, it became the most imported wine to USA in 2003, and the volume of sales has now reached 300 million of litres. This booming globalization of the wine product has been based on following the consumer desires of change: why not buy wines by variety and brand names, like any other product? Yellow Tail took the opposite path of Old World wines, where the terroir and history knowledge are part of the appreciation experience. The busy modern customers are less inclined to accept the uncertainties of the traditional way. Not everyone can spend time enough to become a connoisseur and choose the right French Bordeaux, according to the vineyard, the year of production and many other confusing factors. Last but not least, the pretentious behaviour of some dealers make the client feel uncomfortable during shopping. Therefore, Casella Wines applied the proverb and differentiated Yellow Tail by sacrificing conventional wine feature (discarding stones). First, it has eliminated the oenological terminology and distinctions. Then, it has reduced the complexity and range of the product, as well as the vineyard prestige. In order to avoid customer confusion, Casella Wines has limited the offer to just one white wine and one red wine. By doing so, the company has created (gained initiative) a new customer experience for wine drinking: “easy drinking, ease of selection, and a sense of fun and adventure”. 32
  33. 33. Abandon small to save big [舍小就大 - Shě xiǎo jiù dà] Explanation for wéiqí: Look after the big fish This proverb sounds obvious, but the challenge is to distinguish the big from the small. The key is to think beyond short-term and narrow-minded captures or gains. For example, it is a poor idea to try to capture some stones that the opponent could nonpainfully sacrifice (cf. the previous proverb). It is much more subtle and profitable to make the target group bigger and heavier and then attack it severely. Nevertheless, the assailant must not forget the proverb “Big dragons never die” [大龙永远不会死 - Dà lóng yǒngyuǎn bù huì sǐ]. Hence, the offensive will be profitable not by trying to capture the big group, which is risky when the prey is desperate, but by threatening it while gaining indirect benefits (building influence, or another territory). In short, the small is the immediate value, and the big is the potential value. Another application of the proverb is the tenuki [脱先 - tuò xiān] concept. It is sometimes bigger to ignore opponent’s last move to play elsewhere and gain the initiative or gain other points. Application in business: Focus This proverb highlights the importance of focus in business. Nowadays, outsourcing is a common practice for a company to focus on its core competencies. The company prefers to delegate (sacrifice) the standard activities with small value, in favour of the core business activities with big value. Another example is the focus on the key products or markets segments. Many frameworks, starting with the venerable BCG Growth-Share Matrix, promote a differentiation strategy by simplifying the portfolio. In the BCG case, the company must disinvest from the dogs, the business units with low (small) market share and growth rate. On the opposite, it must invest in the stars, with high (big) market share and growth rate. 33
  34. 34. Case: Panasonic bicycles Panasonic is a renowned multinational corporation founded 1918. It is now the largest Japanese manufacturer of consumer electronics in many industries and under many brands. Nevertheless, few know that after World War II, the production of bicycles was a substantial part of its revenue. The founder Konosuke Matsushita was so passionate about cycling that he even enforced high quality production policies, no matter the profits of the bike division. In the 1970s, the quality reputation added to modern production lines led to international exports, including a partnership with the US Schwinn manufacturer. But in 1985, the increase of yen plus the low-cost production from emerging countries cut Panasonic’s competitiveness. The removal (sacrifice) of the bicycles from the products portfolio was ineluctable. Indeed, the business unit became the least profitable (small) of the company, and its activities were distant from the core business (big). But because of the involved emotional decision factors, the division was sold only in 1989, just after Konosuke Matsushita’s death. When in danger, sacrifice [逢危须弃 - Féng wēi xū qì] Explanation for wéiqí: You can lose a battle and still win the war (but don’t forget to trade) This proverb applies when emergency measures are needed. When in a desperate situation, it is preferable to accept a temporary defeat, if there remains the hope to counterbalance in the long-term. However, the opponent must not get easy free points, so the loss must be pugnaciously compensated, typically by trading points for influence. Some of the most known spectacular sequences involve such sacrifices in desperate situations. This is a pragmatic attitude, still in phase with the fighting spirit of the game, and similar to the Stratagem 36: Escape, the best scheme [走為上策 - Zǒu wéi shàng]. In the same way, notions like honour, pride or ego are irrelevant: only final victory matters. 34
  35. 35. Application in business: Painful cuts Likewise, this proverb applies to business in very difficult situations. It is a sad and sensitive, but very current topic: facing the globalized competition, many companies have to reorganize, abandon products and cut jobs. Most of the time, the firms have few other choices to survive, but there are also cases of abuses and bad practices. The sacrifice principle must be applied in a thought and fair manner An example of poor application of the proverb is the shutdown of the Continental manufacture in Clairoix, the biggest one in France since the recession. In 2009, a thousand of workers learned the closing of the German pneumatics production site from the media, and not from the management. This decision was very brutal and surprising. Indeed important amounts had been recently invested in equipments and the workers had previously accepted reduction of salaries in order to sustain the company. On top of that, the only alternatives proposed by the firm were humiliating and unrealistic positions in developing countries. The demonstrations that followed the announcement led to one the major social event of the year in France. But business history records provide also more positive and creative usages of sacrifice for strategic purposes. Intel switching from memory chips to microprocessors market in the 1980s, because of the increased competition of Japanese manufactures, is one of those successes. But even more extreme and perilous sacrifices have also proven successful. Case: Nokia conversion to Telecom Nowadays, few people know what were the activities of Nokia before being a world leader in the mobile and Internet converging devices and services. The history of this major Finnish company started in the XIXth Century. Over time it became a huge industrial conglomerate of very diverse business units: from paper, bicycle tires, cable, military, chemicals to consumer electronics. But the firm endured serious financial problems in the late 1980s and early 1990s, endangered by the severe economic 35
  36. 36. depression in the country. The situation was so dramatic that the CEO at that time, Kari Kairamo, took his life. Therefore the management made drastic decisions and concentrated the company of Telecom only. Therefore, during the 1990s, the other divisions were gradually sold. Eventually, the vision, courage and skills of the management turned these sacrifices into a tremendous success in the mobile and Internet communications era. 36
  37. 37. Bibliography Books L’art de la guerre from Sun Tzu [The art of war] Les trente-six stratagèmes [The thirty-six stratagems] The wealth of nations (1776) from Adam Smith Gô et Mao (1972) from Scott Boorman [The protracted game: a wei-ch'i interpretation of maoist revolutionary strategy] Petit traité invitant à la découverte de l’art subtil du go (1969) from Pierre Lusson, Georges Perec and Jacques Roubaud [Small treatise inviting to discover the subtle art of go] Le go aux sources de l’avenir (1992) from Pascal Reysset [The go to the sources of future] Go, an Asian paradigm for business strategy (1998) from Miura Yasuyuki 36 Strategies of the Chinese, the adapting ancient Chinese wisdom to the business world (1999) from Wee Chow Hou and Lan Luh Luh Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant (2005) from Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne Iconographie du jeu de go dans la peinture japonaise (2006) from Motoki Noguchi [Iconography of the game of go in Japanese paintings] Business Journey to the East: An East-West Perspective on Global-is-Asian (2008) from Wee Chow Hou and Fred Combe 37
  38. 38. Online resources http://lorl.free.fr/gomyst.htm From Youyi Chen, translated and adapted by Laurent Lamôle Game explanations of the Ten Golden Rules of wéiqí http://senseis.xmp.net/ wiki dedicated on wéiqí http://denisfeldmann.fr/bestiaire3.htm#p6 from Denis Feldman Historical and exotic game positions http://bibliographie.jeudego.org from Didier Kropp Comprehensive bibliography of wéiqí books and resources (French) http://timnovate.wordpress.com/ from Prof. Shlomo Maital Blog about business and innovation 38

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