Chinese politicians wife charmed and threatened

first_imgHall said Devillers and Gu appeared to be romantically involved. “He used to hold her hand. We used to see them around Bournemouth, they seemed to us to be more than friends, probably lovers, that’s what we thought at the time,” he said.Devillers later settled in Cambodia, but recently was summoned to China to assist with investigations that, though unspecified, are likely related to Gu’s case.Hall said Gu and Heywood often fought over money, primarily because Gu felt that the Briton was overstepping. “He’d say, just leave it to me, Horus, I deal with this, not you, and she’d get agitated because she’d feel like he was making decisions but it was her money.”“We rather got the impression that she wasn’t, if you like, bright enough in terms of financial terms, to understand exactly what was happening, whereas Neil plainly was, I think,” Hall said. “He was much more savvy in that respect.”How exactly Gu and Heywood’s relationship played out in later years remains unclear, but it ended with the discovery late last year of Heywood’s body in a hotel room in Chongqing, where Bo was party secretary. That is, until his police chief made a surprise visit to a U.S. consulate where he apparently divulged suspicions of Gu’s involvement in Heywood’s death, which sparked the current political crisis. ___Gillian Wong can be reached at More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements American attorney Marion Wynne, one of the lawyers who represented the Chinese company in the suit, said Gu was instrumental in the legal team’s communication with company officials. Later, Wynne was among a group that was invited to Dalian to celebrate the victory, and he said Gu was a warm and gracious host who spared no effort to make them feel at home. He said he had been surprised by the news of her implication in a murder case.“I feel concerned for Gu Kailai because I only knew her as a very nice, kind person and I just hope that justice gets done and that she doesn’t get a raw deal over there just because she’s on the wrong end of some political struggle,” Wynne said in a phone interview from his office in Fairhope, Ala.Gu left a similar impression on Robert Schenkein, whose Denver-based PR company advised the legal team in the Alabama case. “I found her to be very polite, very understated, very smart. These allegations that she’s conniving, a Mata Hari type-woman, to me are absolutely 180 degrees different from anything I ever saw,” Schenkein said.Schenkein, who also went to Dalian with the legal team, said Gu confided to him then that she had been disappointed by central Chinese leadership’s lack of acknowledgement of the legal victory _ an indication of Bo’s early friction with Beijing. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home “When paying for the winch, she wanted us to charge her 250,000 pounds for it because she wanted us to pay the school fees to Harrow,” Hall said, explaining that 150,000 pounds would go to the school. “We couldn’t have done that. Our financial people wouldn’t allow it anyhow. She got very upset by that as well.”Other difficulties in the arrangement arose because she wanted the balloon made and delivered to Dalian before an important event in early 2000, a deadline Hall told her was impossible to meet. When the balloon failed to make it to Dalian in time, due to delays in payment from Gu and other reasons, Gu issued an angry threat, Hall said.“She said, `I have very powerful people in government, we can get you thrown in jail, you’ll never see the light of day,’” Hall recounted. “We thought, oh my God, she’s turned very nasty. She has quite a sort of quick temper.”Whether Gu actually had the power to make good on that supposed threat is unclear. But as the youngest daughter of a renowned Communist revolutionary, Gu Jingsheng, Gu was considered, like her husband, to be a “princeling” _ someone whose political pedigree affords them entry into the business world and Communist Party leadership. That status is one of privilege and influence. This was not always the case for Gu. During the tumultuous 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong’s radical experiment in class warfare, Gu’s parents were jailed and her four elder sisters sent to the countryside for “re-education.” Left to fend for herself while still in elementary school, Gu worked at a butcher’s and then as a bricklayer. In later years, she learnt to play the Chinese lute so well that she performed it for the soundtrack of an official documentary on Mao’s death.Like her husband, Gu attended the elite Peking University, though they did not meet until 1984, when Bo was party secretary of a county in Dalian that Gu visited while accompanying a professor on a study tour.Gu has described being impressed by Bo’s character when she made his acquaintance. “He is a lot like my father, an extremely idealistic person,” she told state media. “He lived in a small, dirty house in the county seat that looked like it could never be clean no matter how much one tried. He served Professor Fu and me apples that were stored in a torn paper box that was on the table, and then he began to talk about his ideals.”The couple married and Gu bore their son, Guagua, in 1987. Gu moved her law firm from Beijing to Dalian about a decade later. Then followed one of her legal career’s most prominent victories: winning a 1997 lawsuit in the U.S. state of Alabama for a Dalian-based state-owned company, which resulted in the overturning of a court-imposed $1.4 million fine. New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates “I’d really like one of these for my home city in China,” said Gu, according to Peter Giles Hall, then-director of Vistarama Balloon Systems.That city was Dalian, where Bo was the top Communist Party official at the time, in China’s northeast. Hall said Gu wanted the balloon to look like a red-and-white soccer ball, and that a Dalian chemicals company that sponsored a local football club was buying it. Hall said the always-impeccably dressed woman introduced herself as “Horus” _ presumably after the Egyptian falcon-headed god of goodness and light.Hall said that though she lived in a modest apartment, Gu’s attire and a penchant for diamonds and emeralds showed off her affluence. “She went out to make an impression. Always stilettoes, skirts, stockings, very expensive jewelry,” Hall said. “You’d see her walking down the street and you look at her and you’d know she was extremely wealthy.”She was at first charming and polite. But Gu became less friendly when Hall refused her request to help conceal money meant for tuition fees for Guagua at the prestigious British boarding school Harrow by overcharging her for a balloon part known as the winch, which tethers the balloon to the ground. Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family Four benefits of having a wireless security system Comments   Share   Sponsored Stories Associated PressBEIJING (AP) – Gu Kailai has been many things to many people: devoted wife, ambitious lawyer, gracious host, menacing businesswoman and, now, China’s most famous murder suspect.The wife of ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai could go on trial in the coming days, after being formally charged with the murder of a British businessman who was a close associate of the Bo family. The murder is at the center of a messy political scandal that has highlighted divisions in the Chinese leadership ahead of a once-a-decade political transition later this year. Top Stories “She was worried that people might talk, so she closed her booming law firm early on,” Bo told reporters during the annual legislative session in Beijing that was his last public appearance. “For so many years, she has just been reading books, doing art and housework, and quietly standing by me. For the sacrifices she has made, I feel most touched, and also very guilty.”But in England, Gu gave no appearance of having retired into a life as a homebody and, on the contrary, seemed to be involved with potentially shady ties between businesses and her husband’s administration, according to Hall, the balloon company operator. Hall said his suspicions were aroused when some of the payments for the balloon deal were made in checks from the Dalian Free Trade Zone even though Gu had said a plastics company was paying for it. The company, Dalian Shide Group, is headed by a multimillionaire named Xu Ming, who has dropped from sight since Bo came under investigation.Gu also introduced Hall to other people who later emerged as key figures in the scandal, including the murder victim Heywood, whom Hall said handled Gu’s financial affairs, as well as the French architect Patrick Devillers, another business associate of Gu’s. Parents, stop beating yourself up “The people in Beijing had said this is a complete waste of time, you’re not going to win any kind of legal action in an American court, and it’s not worth pursuing,” Schenkein said. “And her husband and she both thought it was worth pursuing, and they were right in the long run, but nobody in Beijing ever acknowledged the outcome or the positive nature of it because they would have lost face because they had advised against it.”Schenkein said he was also impressed by Bo’s charismatic personality, which was unlike the staid style of most Chinese officials. One night at a banquet, Bo went around the room shaking hands with each guest, he said. “He was behaving more like an American politician working the crowd.”Also unlike most other Chinese politicians who hardly acknowledge their spouses, Bo frequently mentioned his wife’s contribution to his career. Among the last things that Bo expressed publicly this March was an emotive tribute to his wife, who like him had come under intense media scrutiny as the scandal unfolded. Bo said Gu gave up her illustrious legal career to avoid the appearance of benefitting from his political influence. Through interviews with Gu’s former associates and biographical details from official Chinese media, a portrait emerges of a woman who rose out of a trying childhood during nationwide upheaval to become a high-flying politician’s wife skilled at turning on the charm when the going was smooth, yet quick to turn hostile when crossed. One account also indicates that Gu’s relationship with the murder victim, Neil Heywood, was tinged with tension at least a decade ago, and that she and another figure in the scandal, a French architect, might have been lovers.Impressions of Gu varied: Two American guests Gu invited to the Chinese city of Dalian in 1997 described her as a kind and attentive host who put the visitors up at a fancy resort, personally took them around the city and feted them with banquets. But a British businessman who worked for two years with Gu in a venture said she could be vicious when angry, once threatening to throw him in jail if he went to China.Gu was accompanying her son, Guagua, in the English coastal city of Bournemouth where he was attending school in 1999 when she brought a somewhat unusual request to the director of a now-dissolved company that offered rides in helium balloons.last_img

Startups How to Build for and Sell to Enterprise Customers

first_imgSince the acquisition of VendorHawk last year, I have been taking mental notes of things I’m learning working at a large enterprise software company, ServiceNow. I’m writing these couple of posts in an attempt to bridge two worlds of startups and enterprises and show what each one can learn from the other.If you’re running a startup, pay attention to the lessons about product scale, serving enterprise customers and doing things the right way instead of just minimally.In the second post, if you’re working at a large enterprise, you would benefit from peering into the agility and leanness of the startup world to find better ways to serve customers.Part 1: Startups – How To Build For And Sell To Enterprise CustomersDisclaimer: What we’re about to say is most relevant if you plan on selling an enterprise-grade product to enterprise customers (with more than 5,000 employees). If you sell to consumers, startups or SMBs, this will be less relevant for you. I’m assuming your product is sexy, has a beautiful interface and is making customers drool when they see it. If it’s not, focus on delighting customers, and getting the revenue engine up and going first before the things we’re going to share.Enterprises Customers Want Customization, So Allow For ItEvery startup must battle the temptation to productize every request coming from early enterprise customers. The key is to listen for the trends (ruling out the signal from the noise) and optimize for a one-solution meets all. At VendorHawk, our customers often told us about the many custom fields they wanted to add. We could have just built each new field and chase an endless list of use cases. Instead, we responded by creating a “form designer” concept, allowing customers to add several different types of custom fields to track whatever they wanted. It allowed us to always have an answer from enterprises who would ask, “What about a field for X or Y?” Find ways to build flexibility without optimizing for tons of out-of-the-box niche use cases.Enterprises Customers Expect Integration And Automation, So Provide ItSince enterprises operate at such a large scale, many customers have an expectation that your product should easily integrate with their systems and processes. If it doesn’t, you’re going to be in trouble. Start by opening up your API so customers can begin using it to integrate. It’s your job to learn what use cases must be solved first. The more you can enable “out-of-the-box” automation for your enterprise customer, the happier they’ll be.Enterprise Security Teams Need To Check Boxes, So Help Them OutDepending on what data you house in your application, you’ll likely interact with the security group at your enterprise customer (and a questionnaire with hundreds of questions on it).  To get ready for security, and be more on the offensive, there are three things you can do to be prepared: two are free and one costs money: Business case (why & how you can solve the pain) Get third-party validation on your product security, even though it can be expensive. You can start by building up a robust set of automated tests that your code must pass through to show internal audits are in place, but eventually you’ll want to get a penetration test (about $10,000 – $20,000) and maybe even a SOC Type 1 or 2 certifications (about $25,000 – $50,000) depending on your stack. Executive sponsorship (a champion to get the deal done) Available budget (within a reasonable timeline) Agreed upon definitions of success for the PoC If you have your security game together and well documented, your customer and their security team will feel safer doing business with you and extend you their trust.Enterprises Require Scale That Could Be Out Of Your League, So Perf TestDoes your product even work at the size of your larger enterprise prospects? The issue for most LEAN startups is how quickly do you invest in getting your “M” in MVP to the truly viable state for robust enterprise use cases. Do you ever run performance tests to see how much data you can process, or at what speed?At VendorHawk, we evolved our tech with each larger customers that forced us to level-up, but scaling takes an engineering leader who understands compute, cost efficiency and speed to ensure you are achieving the right mix. The reality is, your first couple large proof-of-concept is going to break your technology. The question is, how fast can you respond and adjust to meet their needs of scale. But be wise when you invest, remembering to double down on what’s working (which might be mid-size customers) and don’t get caught up swinging for the fences and “betting the farm” for a few large customers.Enterprises Want “Proof Of Concepts”, So Qualify Them FirstUnlike SMB deals, enterprises expect a chance to kick the tires and build a business case before buying. Proof-of-concepts “PoCs” (sometimes called Proof of Value or “PoV”) certainly help customers see the value in your product or promised ROI that strengthens their case. But before jumping head-long into a potential waste of your precious startup time, make sure you have these five things first: Create and document your internal IT security policy and require your employees to sign it. This should cover policies like, what we do with customer and sensitive data, how we physically secure our devices, password management and complexity requirements, how we buy and use company software (and standards for multi-factor authentication), etc. These all demonstrate how serious you are about running a secure operation. Customer-acknowledged specific pain Filed Under: Advice, Enterprise, Management, Resources, Strategic Startups: How to Build for and Sell to Enterprise CustomersJuly 8, 2019 by Patrick Lowndes 313SHARESFacebookTwitterLinkedin If a PoC is required, propose something that shows the most immediate value for the littlest effort from you and from the customer.At VendorHawk, we even used a sprint to build a feature that helped us PoV more effectively. In a 30-minute call, we could quickly show all the un-used software licenses a customer was paying for and potential savings. We redacted the list of stale users so we didn’t give away all of the valuable insights before customers paid us.Enterprises Expect Heavier Discounts, So Plan AccordinglyEven after you show amazing value, enterprise customers will definitely negotiate. A common mistake for startups is to undervalue their product and be timid about pricing.  Enterprises often pay six figures for a product they perceive is highly valuable. Do your market research so you can be thoughtful about how to position your product in the market. If you’re building a premium product that has a demonstrably higher value, those higher prices are justified. Enterprise customers (especially in procurement) will expect somewhere between at 30 and 60% enterprise discount from “list” price, so avoid getting too optimistic about your pipeline thinking you’ll close massive deals with little to no discount. So set your “list” price to be high enough to take the enterprise discount hit that will likely be negotiated.Enterprises Will Negotiate Legal Docs, So Efficiently Manage RedlinesI’m assuming you’ve standardized your sales process and have a consistent and professional way of proposing deals to new customers (usually an Order Form and a Master Services Agreement) where the Order Form changes per customer specs, products/needs, but the MSA remains unchanged. Expect that enterprises will mark-up or “redline” changes or complete re-writes of your contract. To be prepared, I’d recommend hiring a contracts lawyer who is willing to review redlines on a project-based fee, not hourly. I used and found a great lawyer, paying them far less the cost of what my corporate counsel would have billed to do the same work. Also, the more you work with a commercial contract lawyer the more they can help you adjust your MSA and agreements to avoid continued pushback from customers on the same sections. You’ll have to be willing to give on sections to land a big fish, but your lawyer will help you measure risk so you don’t take on bad contracts with risky terms.In conclusion of part 1, startups often overlook these things when trying to swing “up-market” and sell to enterprise customers. This list is far from comprehensive but provides seven areas that can really help you land more enterprise customers with an enterprise-grade product. For more information on building enterprise products, I really like this site,, which guides you through even more requirements enterprises love.If you’re working in an enterprise, the next post is for you to learn from how startups operate – stay tuned!Reprinted by permission.PREVIOUS POSTNEXT POST Create a nice-looking and robust Application & Data Security overview document to share with customers. Use your network to find a security professional to pre-vet it and provide feedback so it will answer many of the questions you’ll get asked.last_img read more