About life in the last third

Japan and me, then and now

I am in Japan showing my wife Deborah this wonderful country for the first time.  I have not been back to Japan since 2000 when I visited with Richard Li (I was on the board of his company PPCW at the time).  It was just before the bubble burst and Richard and Massa (Son) were both boasting that they were the highest valued internet stocks.  At lot has changed since then.  The promise of PCCW which was to be both a new form of broadband distribution and content never really materialized.  Fortunately, he had acquired the HK telephone company from Cable and Wireless.  Son, continued in business but through some good time and not such good times and is now focused on building a cellular business in Japan.  When ever I am in Japan, I have to think back on my first visit here.  It was 1962 and I was eighteen years old.  I was merchant seaman on the American President Line.  I was not really a sailor but a steward for the officers.  The ship, the President Cleveland, was kind of like the “love boat”.  Japan was a developing country then and I was a developing person.  It would have been hard to imagine what either of us would have become.

One thought on “Japan and me, then and now

  1. Avram,
    I stumbled onto your blog last night & it brought back good memories about that Internet Bubble period.

    I remember Andy or Craig stating that PCCW was one of the best ROI deals for Intel at 1 of the worldwide sales meeting.

    I got 2 personal benefits as a result of the PCCW deal.
    1. Joining the celebration dinner that Les hosted in the Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong……my 1st time dining in the Peninsula. When the bill came, Claude asked Les if he should take it & Les replied, “It’s beyond your budget.” Cadol even joked that the bottles of wine that Les bought cost more than the “per-head cost” of the meal…..also my 1st time drinking wine that cost more than US$25/bottle.

    2. I was assigned as frontman for HPG in APAC to work with PCCW (& also ChinaCast & InCable) on the digital set-top box project. It was a great learning experience & shaped my interest in deal-making.

    If I remember correctly, Les shared at that dinner that
    1. He was employee #3 and Andy was employee #5. Employee #4 was the admin assistant to Gordon & Bob.
    2. When they started, he asked for more options while Andy asked for more cash (different family circumstances) & how, for a while, Les was worth more than Andy thanks to the options……another good lesson on why taking risk-capital is worth it once you find the right company to bet on.

    Thanks again for the memories.


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