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July 28, 2009

Art in Action

IMG_1143We head to Croatia for a couple weeks every summer to, well, do pretty much nothing. It's all about hanging out, going to the beach, eating, and trying like hell stay in the shade dodging the sun as it moves across the sky. Lot's of time to take in what's happening around the small village of Punat.

Earlier this summer the neighbors had to dig up the stone mosaic walkway in front of their house to lay new sewage lines. To replace the mosaic they called in a local mason, zidar in Croatian. The guy is specialized in masonry and it's obvious that he knows what he's doing - he brings only the tools he needs, mixes the right proportion of water to cement mix on the first go, fashions the stones with only a few whacks and slaps down the cement between the stones with amazing accuracy. He doesn't do much without purpose. It's art in action. He's good. In the process you'll get a few good stories about what's happening around the village.

His portfolio is the village. He comes recommended. There's no question that your expectations will be more than met. He's developed a brand for himself and promotes it with his work.

What's your specialty? What's your village? How's your brand? How do you prove that you're an artist and prospective employers will know what they're going to get?

The sun is moving in. Time to move . . .

May 23, 2009

What getting my MBA really gave me . . .

I did it. My Master of Business Administration degree is in the bag after two very long years. It ranks as one of the toughest things I’ve done in my life, if only for the sheer stamina it takes to see the degree through. I gave it everything I had and in the end, it was worth it. In thinking about what the degree really gave to me, I came up with 6 things . . . it gave me,

  1. the confidence to face challenging business situations based on the intense practice I've had over the last two years.

  2. the ability to better understand areas of business that were not as familiar to me - accounting, economics, strategic management.

  3. the understanding that it's almost all about value. The more efficiently you provide loads of value the better you are, the more desired you are and the ore you make.

  4. exposure to a huge pool of really smart and experienced professors. A huge thanks to a few professors that really added to my MBA experience,
  5. the understanding that my wife and kids will do just about anything to help me succeed. I really couldn’t have done it without them. I owe most of my success to them.

  6. a book shelf full of very expensive business and management books.
My aim was to round out my skills as a professional and give me a good base to work from to head into more senior roles. It did the job. If you're looking to get your MBA, do it, so I can sell you my books.

April 30, 2009

東京

japan-flag.gifTokyo. Fantastic city. The amount of people in this city is mind boggling. It's as fast paced as New York City.





The most impressive things we've seen in this city are,

尊重 (RESPECT)

Impressive respect for people and a politeness that outperforms the West ten fold. Seen in simple things like clean streets and subway, never hearing anyone's phone ring or how people seem genuinely interesting in talking to you. I'm sure this is deep in their society.

仕事のハード、ハードプレー (WORK HARD / PLAY HARD)

A work force that works hard and plays hard. They work late and are out dinning and enjoying themselves into the evening along with an amazing consumer environment - vending machines, creative advertising, incredible customer service, great electronics, efficient subway (Tokyo Metro) - obvious reasons why Japan has the second largest economy in the world.

ケータイ文化 (MOBILE CULTURE)

IMG_9661 Mobile phones, mobile phones, mobile phones. EVERYONE has flip phones. Common site to see people, mostly women, with their eyes glued to their phone as their walking.








流行 (FASHION)

Cookie cutter men's fashion - dark suit, brief case in right hand. Women - short skirts and high-heeled shoes that are too big ad no one knows how to walk in.






寿司 (SUSHI)

IMG_0334Great sushi, as expected. The kids might tell you different.








We're off to 高山市 (Takayama) today - renting a car and daring to drive through the Japanese countryside . . .

[ pics ]

April 27, 2009

日本

IMG_9330 After a long hiatus on the blog, I'm back. We're on the road again. This time - Japan (日本). Nensi just had a birthday, the kids have a spring holiday and I'm wrapping up my MBA, so we're celebrating ! We arrived yesterday and cruised around Tokyo a bit.

We'll be in Tokyo for the next 3 days then off to Takayama and Kyoto.

[ pics ]







July 22, 2008

再见

IMG_0089Just arrived back home from our trip to China. We were of course greeted back from China with 12 degrees and rain. Our last couple days in Shanghai were great - some touring, shopping and last minute gift haggling. I wonder if we'll head back to China soon ? More thoughts of China coming . . .
[ pics ]



July 19, 2008

上海

IMG_7575Shanghai - one of the largest urban population centers in the world with about 20 million people. Another huge Chinese city both on size and feel. No matter where you are in the city you feel dwarfed by the buildings and the amount of people. It's a busy city with cool neighborhoods and a hip big city feel, exactly how you feel in New York. This really is the center of growth for China.

The French Concession is one of the nicer areas of Shanghai. Lots of shaded streets with tons of shopping and cool restaurants. Lot's of hip places and hip people. Again, as in Beijing, the prices are mixed. You can find super cheap stores and more expensive trendy designer stores and, of course, the Prada's and Gucci's of the world.

I still am stunned by how Western these cities are. The finance and the money that left for Hong Kong when the communists took over appears to be back. GDP has been growing with double digits since the early 1990s. The cars are modern, the people dress Western, there is money here and it appears to be a healthy modern market focused economy. I'm sure the centrally planned economy is being tested and will continue to be tested and stressed as time moves on. I've read there are lots of conflict between Shanghai local government and Beijing central government. I will definitely be very interested in seeing how the Chinese government will cope with this growth. This trip has given me a newfound respect and interest in the people and economy of China. [ pics ]

July 15, 2008

青岛

IMG_7357Qingdao. The home of Tsingtao beer and the 2008 Olympic Sailing events. I thought we were leaving the huge metropolis of Bejing and heading to a smaller city. Qingdao has 2.7 million people in the urban center with over 7 million if you take into account the outskirts - hardly a small city. The Germans administered this city from 1897 to 1922 and left some very typical European architecture and, of course, beer behind. The city sits on the coast and has been quite foggy since we've been here. All in all it's not as impressive as Beijing. It's much less clean and much less developed. The skyline is amazing. It's full of HUGE skyscrapers, most of which are only shells of the building. You can tell they are investing money in the city, but I think we caught it mid-stream development. No way all of it will be done by the time the olympics are done. [ pics ]

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