Monday, August 31, 2009

Business is People Connecting to Each Other

Business is about people. Reading the Women’s Wear Daily ( article title “Tough Financial Times Call for Ingenuity” I was stopped by a quote from Doug Jaeger, innovation director for the creative agency Taxi Inc. ( His statement read “There is a real need for social interaction as people become more about computers and less about people.”

This struck me as yet another reminder, from a different perspective, that our connections with people are critically important today. Especially as we extend work around the world, linking with people whose approach to doing business differs from our own, the direct connections is essential. How can we do that? Sometimes it’s as simple as calling instead of sending an e-mail, reducing the opportunities for misunderstandings and allowing time for a real conversation instead of a curt message. Sometimes its taking time to share a meal or visit in person rather than by e-mail or phone. No matter how you do it, remember Linked In messages can be useful but aren’t as powerful as a direct connection one person to another.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that Sri Lanka is the sapphire capital of the world? The largest manufacturer of solid rubber tires? I didn’t and if I’d checked the basic sources
Wikipedia ( or read through the CIA World Factbook ( I wouldn’t have discovered this information. I learned these facts and more at a presentation by A.M.C. Kulasekera the Deputy Director General of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Even though this information isn’t critical to a current project it was a great reminder that when researching a country it is important not to stop with the easy sources, on line or in print. Look around and expand the search. Set a Google Alert and read current news. Send a Tweet, check for Linked In groups and ask for information. Make some phone calls and find someone who has been there. Remember to reach out to people who know the place. It’s easy to feel we can find all the answers on a nice neat web page but sometimes its only through a personal connection off line that we can find the information that’s truly important for our needs, our project.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Traveling a Scandal?

The headline on page A5 of the August 11, 2009 Wall Street Journal ( reads “Lawmakers on Recess Take Wing for Distant Shores”. Under the headline are photos of 5 Senators and Representatives along with maps showing their destinations. After listing the travelers and destinations the writers (Brody Mullins and T.W. Farnam) ( point out that these are “among more than a dozen taxpayer-funded trips” being taken during Congress’s summer recess. The implication is clear. These are holidays funded by taxpayer dollars at a time when many of us, the taxpayers, can’t afford to vacation. Another scandal. Or is it? I don't think so.

If you take the time to read through the article you learn that the destinations relate to the work these lawmakers do - on behalf of us, the taxpayers. To me it seems we should be relieved that the people who vote on our behalf about matters relating to places far away do go visit them. It's their job to be informed. I am glad they wish to learn something about the places where we invest money, send troops, expand trade, do research and try to sell our products and services.

As I read this article it seems to send a message implying that international engagement (travel) is wasteful, unnecessary. Further suggesting that our lawmakers can get all the information they need in their home district, off the internet, from U-Tube and CNN. Do you really think so?

The only way to understand the world is to be connected, to see, feel, touch the reality of another place. If we, the people of the US, want legislators who can serve us well let us be sure they are educated about the world we live in. Let’s celebrate and encourage their travel. The time is now to explore the world and report back - for us, for our lawmakers. Remember, years ago Marco Polo explored the world and look what happened. New ideas, new products, new possibilities. Let’s make that happen again.