The last time I was in Shanghai was in 1981 as part of a Nishimachi International School field trip. So... things have changed in 25 years. ;-)
The architecture and the restaurants reminded me of stuff in Japan during the bubble. Everything was experimental, well designed and executed. Although it reminded me of some of the "bubble era" architecture of Japan, much of it had more class.
I visited Augmentum, Leonard Liu's software company. (I wrote about Leonard before.) The company is only just over 2 years old, but it's booming and was in the Red Herring Asia's Top 100 this year. He has hundreds of people working at Augmentum, most of them fresh out of college. Leonard has been recruiting the best and brightest from Chinese universities and it shows. Since most of their customers are currently in the US, everyone speaks English in the office. It was great seeing how motivated, proud and focused everyone was. Considering the difficulty we have finding great people in the US for the various companies I work with, seeing all of these bright people ready to go made me quite envious. Leonard is an amazing and natural leader and his guru-like presence together with these eager minds made me feel like I was watching the beginning of something really big. Anyway, you can tell I was impressed. ;-)
I also met up with a bunch of old friends as well as CEOs of some very cool startups, the food was excellent and overall I now see how people kept telling me to go to Shanghai. I'm sure I'll be back there soon. Thanks to everyone for all of the hospitality!
One of the guys I met at Augmentum took me to the airport on the Maglev. I takes 7 min to go 30 km and hits a top speed of 431 km. Japan has a Maglev, but it's still running as a trial. This one in Shanghai is the first production one I think. Many people say that the reason the Chinese chose not to buy the technology from Japan was because of the political tension between Japan and China. I could imagine that being true. Having said that, I don't really care. It worked and it was great. I took some video. (m4v / avi).