This is the year of the rabbit – and the Chinese of version of Xmas is here.   Last two weeks we where pretty much shutdown – as most of China shutdowns – including banks, companies.  Interestingly shopping malls stay open all the way throughout.

During this time, I had Alex for the holidays – so on a last minute jaunt – we hopped out to Singapore to visit Universal Studios Singapore.

Being in Singapore over Chine New Year was quite different – where as in Beijing – fireworks exploded all over the city like an air raid – in Singapore it was quite like a mouse (or could I say rabbit).

In this way – I missed the joy that the Chinese feel for the new year – and their spontaneous celebration of something that is very special.   In Singapore, it was nice and safe – with no risk of anything burning or injuries – but it felt dead.   Hmmm… ultimate order vs spontaneous celebration of something new coming. I do have to say I prefer the Chinese way – more life to it.

However, having said all this – I’m glad that CNY is over – this time of year is the least productive part of the year – and it takes few weeks to pickup momentum again – but this time – I’m eager to pickup the pace faster. 

Feb I have a lot to look forward too – we are expanding our office on 5th floor – and I’m going to make some very much needed and strong moves to change the company around.    Last year I spent quarter million on R&D – with only marginal returns.  In fact, looking back – I think my total R&D spend (fully loaded) – has been over 1 million dollars over the life time of the company.  This year, I plan to drop another quarter in, but in 2012, I am expecting to see dividends pay back from the R&D.   Lets remember that this is all self funded.

My mentorship with Pecce last month has been quite profound, and some of his small but powerful words ring in my head.   I had breakfast with Mirko last week and his family and Mirko wisely said that at this stage the business is all us.    Combining this with words from Pecce, I cannot help but agree.    How well we do, as a company, mainly depends on me.  

Let me elaborate on this – I use the word me – however by this – I mean that it is my leadership (or lack off), my vision (or lack of) and my drive (or lack of) that will push this company to the next level.   Pecce has recommended that I take a break for ME, to really get myself balanced and recharged.  So, I am going off to 6 week ‘balancing’ retreat in April in US.  You would think that given what I would like to get done this year, 6 weeks out would be insane – but in Mirko’s words – the ‘the 6 weeks’ will give you 6 years of drive.

And so, much as I have done with R&D, with a good vision to the future – I’m going to invest into me – and give myself permission to take 6 weeks off (and when I say off – I mean – its really off – no cell coverage) – and recharge.

In this way, I am changing many of my previous established patterns – hands on control, always engaged (7/24/365).   As the saying goes ‘do the same thing, get same results’.  By changing ‘the same things I know I will get different results.

So, as you can see, 2011 is going to be an interesting year – I’m going to do things with me and company that I haven’t done before.   I’m going at length on this here – as I want to document the pivotal steps and look on in later years and see the results.

And now onto a bit more daily stuff.  Our sales for January had done quite well.  Year on year, I didn’t see any ‘growth’ over previous year – but our previous Jan was exceptional – so I was very happy to see that we hit the  same numbers.

My cash flow is stabilized – and it is is becoming with each day more and more predictable.    This is interesting, since in my theoretical models for RedStores – I can see there is a point at which the existing customer base takes over the ‘new customers’ and I can see that it is this base now that is keeping us very stable during unstable times.

And now – to organize my Monday – and the week – and hit this year running like a Rabit.