Young, Bright Minds Driving Change in China
Ele.me – “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”
Ele.me is our client for the SAP social sabbatical project in China. Ele.me (literally translated as “are you hungry”), is an on-line fast-food ordering business that started with an idea from a group of MBA students Shanghai’s Jiaotong University, on a particularly long night of gaming. Finding that they were hungry after many hours of on-line gaming, the group looked for restaurants that would provide delivery to the campus to help them fill the void in their stomachs and let them continue their on-line quest. To their dismay, no restaurant fit the bill, thus spawning an idea for a classroom assignment that ultimately turned into their own business, now 4 years old and with very ambitious growth aspirations.
The students developed an online fast-food ordering platform like an “online food ordering eBay”, which allows online internet users to place orders from local restaurants. The platform provides its restaurant partners with a web-based system that gives them a web presence for online customers, allows them to print online orders, enables them to manage customer relationships, provides them with the ability to review and analyze data, and more. Currently, daily orders total 50,000, and the daily transaction volume is about 1,200,000 RMB per day (4x greater than last year).
An interesting story for sure, but the thing I have become most impressed with is the talent at this company. Employee’s total 200 and the average age is 24. The current sales staff tallies 120, and the plan is to grow to 500 in 6 the next months. Many of the employees, especially the developers, come from Shanghai’s premiere universities. We are working with one of the Jiantong University grads, the development lead, Zhengchuan (Ricky) Zhou. Ricky runs the day-to-day operations and we are really impressed with his broad and deep knowledge across all Ele.me processes. Ricky constantly discusses his desire to make Ele.me processes more efficient and to drive greater profitability. The company mantra is simply – “Get Things Done”. See the wall graffiti below that adorns their office walls, pretty pragmatic and inspiring all the same.
“Done is better than Perfect” “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”
“The Price of Being a Genius? 10,000 Hours”
Our SAP team is helping to evaluate improvement in their modeling capabilities as well as their financial processes. We are also building a business case and roadmap for the near-future. Our experience with these young, bright minds has us all wondering if we were this savvy at that age in our careers. 🙂
Junior Achievement Service Project
Another example of the young talent in China was afforded us through an interaction on an afternoon service project in Shanghai. The 12 members of SAP Team Red Lantern (name means prosperity and good luck) here in Shanghai met with 48 student/campus leaders from 23 universities across Shanghai. These future leaders, representing Junior Achievement (JA) organizations at each campus were an impressive group of young people. JA programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential.
Our focus this afternoon was speaking with the students about leadership and management topics. Like the talent we see at Ele.me each day, these student leaders have a thirst to improve themselves and the presence and effectiveness of JA on each campus. Some of the questions posed to us included:
- How do we attract talented new recruits?
- How do we ensure that everyone is engaged?
- How can I personally eliminate my weaknesses and become a better leader?
Do these questions seem familiar? Don’t we ask ourselves these same questions most days? The SAP team was ble to share our personal and professional experiences as ambassadors of SAP and honestly we all walked away enjoying the opportunity and the wonderful young people that we met.
Young, bright talent is not unique to China, but having the opportunity to interact with the JA students of Shanghai and the employees of Ele.me show me why China continues to move forward.