Sunday, October 28, 2012

Time for Ghosts, Goblins, Pumpkins and Candy

It’s Halloween time.  Time to worry about what funny costume to wear on October 31 the day of the holiday.   (I prefer all black with a witches hat covered with silvery spider webs) - to share lots of silly pumpkin shaped candies and decorate with images of ghosts, goblins and witches flying through the air.  This year the celebration comes as a welcome respite from sad and worrisome news, ads for political candidates and terrible weather reports. 

Best known in the US and Canada, Halloween is a holiday with roots dating back to pagan times.  Celebrated around the world, in most countries it is a holiday to honor ancestors, friends and relatives who are no longer living.   However, here in the US the focus is on fun, a time for children to collect candy as they ask:  Trick or treat? expecting a sweet treat in return.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cities of the World

The AT Kearney 2012 Global Cities Index is a survey
 done every two year.  The current report tells us  that the top global cities:  New York, London, Paris, Tokyo are the same cities that topped the list in 2010.  However, Brussels and Washington have replaced Sydney and Singapore in the top ten group. (

The index ranks 66 countries across five dimensions:  business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement.  While this is interesting, I was more intrigued by the work of Sadkia Sassen of Columbia University that was included in the survey.  She identified “urban vectors”, linkages between cities that will be important in the coming decade.

It’s easy to image that Washington, New York and Chicago or that Istanbul and Ankara, Berlin and Frankfurt will be significant for the European Union.  But would we think of Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi as “making a global commons” in the years to come - a linkage that she predicts will be influential. 

It makes me think that today's question isn’t where does your city rank but rather what cities does your home place link to?  And what differences will those connections make for the world in the years to come?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tips for Travel


All of us who travel frequently have special ways of doing things that make our experience easier, better we hope.  Things that take some of the stress and aggravation out of each trip.   At the same time we’re always wondering:  Is there a better way?  Something new? 

Sign up for The SmartBrief for Business Travelers  ( and you’ll find some new things, reminders of smart practices and insight to changes in travel.  Check it out.  You may find your next best idea.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Where's the Fastest Place?

In the book A Geography of Time, Robert Levine ( includes a ranking of the speed of life in thirty-one countries.  Which countries have the fastest tempo of life?  The measures used to answer the questions: Walking speeds (how long it took a pedestrian to walk 60 feet in a metropolitan area), how long it took to buy a stamp at a post office and the accuracy of public clocks.

Fastest country in the group?  Switzerland.  Slowest?  Mexico.  The US ranked at 16, behind Hong Kong (10), France (11) and Singapore (15).  Ahead of Canada (17), South Korea (18) and China (23).  The survey was done fifteen years ago which may mean today the rankings may have shifted, its unlikely current rankings would be completely different.

No matter how interesting a survey can’t tell us what feels like the fastest place we navigate. 
How you would you construct the ranking of the places you visit and work?