Trump’s Rise, Explained by a Former Campaign Advisor

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In 2016, Donald Trump announced his entry into the presidential race at Trump Tower. Source: NBC

Since 40+ years of economic statistics and elected representatives couldn’t “Make America Great Again,” Trump’s pitch in 2016 and 2020 was that he’s America’s best bet.

Introduction

I was a congressional campaign advisor, speech writer, and consultant to Democrats and Republicans before turning my career trajectory away from communications. In 2016, I moved to Taiwan. I was surprised to discover local and European support for Trump.

  • This is Part I of IV, noting some long-term, under-appreciated trends in the United States that led to Donald Trump’s fame and presidency.
  • In Part II and III, we’ll discuss how Trump lost. Character, domestic and global Nationalism in Part II, then in Part III, some considerations his Policy agenda missed. …


Congratulations on Getting the Job Interview. What Now?

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Lobby of Taipei 101’s office tower

Your C.V. is a picture of yourself, and how you approach the interview is like putting a frame around that photo. That frame changes the way people look at you.

There are some things that all of us can do to be in the right frame that puts our best self forward. Putting some structure around interview preparation puts people at ease, one step at a time.

What I’ve learned is meditating on what you need to do now, what happens next, and how you are already prepared for what’s going to happen is a very powerful habit.


Clear communication is more important than clear feedback

When we give feedback, usually it’s about delivering the bad news. Most of the time people try to be tactful. “Here are some areas for improvement.” “It’s not quite there.” “I think this is off-the-mark.” It’s hard doing this without being vague, isn’t it? If we spend too much energy negotiating words, sometimes people aren’t sure what we’re really trying to say.

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Clear communication between volunteers at Taiwan’s largerst international job fair being delivered here. Source: All Hands Taiwan

Trust me. “Telling it how it is” isn’t good advice, either. Most professionals I come across say they prefer “clear” and “direct” communication. But how clear and how direct? No one likes being hit by a blunt object, either. In other words, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. …


How to Efficiently and Effectively Review Case Studies

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5 Steps to Reading Case Studies

If you don’t have time to read the entire case study, at least read the abstract — the first few paragraphs — so you have a general idea of what’s being discussed. The abstract is a summary of the study that has a logical flow, and lets you know what the main issues are.

You should probably know more about what a case study is talking about, though. If you want to make the most of your time, then you’ll want to know a method I learned from the past winner of a global case study competition. It’s not as speedy as just reading the abstract, but it’s a quick, structured, and thorough way to understand the main ideas. …


Videoconferencing is how we get to see each other now that remote work is not a benefit anymore. Source: Silicon Valley, HBO

Especially at a time when there’s a shortage of webcams, knowing how to make the most of the technology you have is more important than trying to piece together some nice, but not essential upgrades. Getting some fundamentals right doesn’t cost much money. In fact, you might already have everything you need.

For business meetings, I think audio is more important than video, so let’s start there.

You don’t have to be loud, you just need to be heard

Something with a microphone in the cable. They’re called “lav mics,” short for lavalier microphone. In fact, the earbuds that came with your phone are usually clearer than whichever bluetooth headset or earbuds that caught your eye. You probably have an extra set of Apple EarPods, and they work as well as anything else out there. …


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Spend enough time in the Greater China region and you’ll learn about “cha bu duo” (差不多), yet the Internet still gets this wrong by suggesting bad solutions. Cha bu duo translates to“difference not much,” but it means, “close enough.” At personal levels, cha bu duo is positive, and a way for saying, “This is practical.” In a professional setting, it usually means something negative.

In your personal life, cha bu duo can help you be kinder towards situations you don’t understand, and more tolerant. Not everything has to be a big deal. Short a few renminbi or New Taiwan dollars? No big deal. …


Taiwan really wants foreigners to come get a Taiwan college degree.

“The world’s universities are competing fiercely to attract the best students. [We are] aiming to attract 150,000 students by 2020, that will account for 10% of the total college and university student population.” — past president Ma Jing-Yeou

First, the good news. Internationalizing Taiwan universities is an initiative led by the very top, and there’s already 110,000 international students in Taiwan.

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Courtesy: Flickr

The education system is strong by most standards, especially on primary and secondary levels. The literacy rate is 98.7%. For college, Taiwan is the 5th most affordable country to study (the United States is the most expensive). Schools look a little more like modern institutions now. …


Have I mentioned Chinese is hard to learn? Tens of thousands of words made up from thousands of characters. Once you know how to say the characters, now form complete thoughts with them. Otherwise, Chinese sounds like this:

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Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.

I’ve come to realize a few things about how people learn Chinese. To varying degrees, I have personal experience with all of the below.

1. Many foreign guys studying Chinese in Taiwan develop a quasi-feminine accent. A) Taiwan Chinese is softer and lighter on tones than mainland Chinese, and B) Most teachers are women, so you pick up feminine speech patterns — just another reason learning Chinese is hard. …


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roll the hard six

Martingale gamblers believe if you wager enough times, statistics say you’ll eventually win. But what if you’re placing wagers on people?

Of course endless betting is financially impractical, so when it comes to friendship in our personal lives, it gives us a ledger for the cost of taking chances on strangers.

Let me bring you up to speed.

I met Stacey in the squalor of a Chicago bar cornering Armitage and Lincoln. Bump-ing iPhones is a lesson in fail, although because an area code and seven digits is all that separates us, technology still wins. …

About

Philip Chang

Doing business from West to East, and now the other way around as an American high-tech researcher in Taiwan // philipchang.org

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