Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dinner and Diplomacy

Last summer the New York Times ran an article “Diplomacy Travels on Its Stomach” describing the U.S. Department of State’s use of dinner as an essential element of their diplomatic efforts.

In January The Wall St. Journal included an article titled “Diplomacy and Turtle Soup”.  It was a review of a new book titled “Dinner and Churchill” tells us that for Winston Churchill meals were not only social occasions but time that he used to “cement alliances and sway opponents.”


Dinner and diplomacy, clearly a long standing pairing at the highest levels of government can be an excellent pairing for business too.  The next time you think you’re too busy to share a meal with a client, partner, supplier or associate, ask yourself:  Would Churchill miss the opportunity?  Would Secretary Clinton decline an invitation that will allow her to learn more about the people she must negotiate with? 

Be a diplomat.  Say “yes” to dinner.  See what happens. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Home - Always Special

We think of culture influencing what we eat, the art we like and in a business sense, the pace of negotiations and how we define being on time.  But  culture is about every aspect of our lives. What we think its appropriate to wear, what to eat and the houses we live in.

It is that last item that was the subject of a recent Wall Street Journal article, Romancing the Overseas Buyer (

Candace Jackson’s article details how American developers are shaping their products, houses and condos, to appeal to buyers from around the world.  Brighter colors, different finishes.  Special wok kitchens.  Large balconies with outdoor kitchens, popular with Brazilians who “love to spend their afternoons hanging out and making a little barbeque”.   Details created to attract a new global purchaser more than the local buyer.

Steelcase's WorkSpace Futures ( the office furniture and interior experts,  wrote Office Code: Building Connections Between Cultures and Workplace Design about how culture shapes workspace.  This Wall Street Journal  article reminds us that all our spaces, for all aspects of our lives,, reflect our culture.  Office or home.  Similar and different.  Something else to observe and think about as we travel.   What will the spaces we visit tell us about the people we meet?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Google Glass: When You Wear Them

As the hot new tech item is appearing on the streets, questions about it are also emerging.   Not necessarily about functionality but rather on the human personal scale.  Beginning with whose been given access to them first? 
Why aren’t more women seen using them?  Why haven’t the test models for very earl adopters been made available to more women, to a more diverse population?  See Sarah Buhr’s May 10 article in USA Today.
But of even more interest to me is the question raised by Kevin Sintumuang in his recent Wall Street Journal article  Google Glass:  An Etiquette Guide.
Seldom do we see a headline that includes the word Etiquette and discover dozens of posts around the topic.  Yet with this new device how to be polite, respectful of other people and their privacy is top on the list of questions.  The  convenience  and possibilities for people who wear them (whether they look great or  geeky) are exciting.  But for those around them the reaction tends to words like sneaky, annoying, invasive come to mind.
Etiquette tips are already emergency:  Check out the 5 tips from Natalie Nichols at Payscale.
What will the rules be?  How will wearing them be accepted?  Who will be wearing them and will they be worn at work or only  in the privacy of ones home?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Flying Away

“I tracked your flight to make sure you got home.” my friend said.  Really?  I thought.  How?
Simple it turns out.  The website Flight Aware  ( lets you watch a flight's progress from point to point.   Her comment piqued my curiosity.  So I checked out the site and found more than just a map to watch the progress of a flight.

In one simple display I could see what terminal  my LA to Paris flight leaves from – important in LA because Air Frances flies  in and out of two different terminals.  And learned that over the last seven days my flight averaged an eleven minute delay on departure  but arrived four minutes early.  Plus  the type of aircraft is listed allowing me to check on Seat Guru  ( to check the placement of my seat on that aircraft.  Helpful.

As I struggle to decide what to pack for 19 days in 4 very different places I discovered  a new (to me) weather site:  World Weather (  Their long term (14 day) weather forecast appears automatically.  Now I know I need a coat for Paris but not Madrid and in both places – having an umbrella is must. 

Next I’ll download WhatsApp ( so I can keep in touch.  

Pack. Fly. Text.   Travel today.