Sunday, August 31, 2014

When Can I Eat?

Last night I had dinner guests from Senegal, Benin, and Gabon.  All three were in Los Angeles as part of a US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership program.
They are participating in this program to learn about the US approach to transparency and good governance, looking for ideas that might be useful for their countries.

When dinner was served there was a momentary pause, when no one lifted a fork to begin.  Then the youngest member of the group (somewhere in his late twenties or early thirties) said to the oldest (maybe in his middle forties) – “Please, you must begin first.”  For him it wasn’t the host or hostess who started the meal, rather the oldest man had that honor.  Our “older” gentlemen graciously accepted this request and so our meal began.

As I reflected on the moment I thought:  Oh this would not work in the US, not in LA.  Where everyone is concerned about looking, feeling, being young.  Where there is endless advice for people start new careers after they retire, where endless ads promote products to make one look, feel young and energetic.  Suggest that someone begin dinner because they are oldest?  Do that and risk being seen as unbelievably rude rather than thoughtful and respectful.

Who eats when?  Worth checking before you travel to someplace new.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Which Country is For You?

Earlier this year Rachel Gillott of Fast Company wrote an article “What is the Best Country in the World to Work”

Drawing from statistics from the OECD she tells us that Israel ranks high for being home to Innovative Companies. That Scandinavian countries “top the charts in categories like life satisfaction and work-life balance, and they fare pretty well in the health category as well”.

Wondering where your dream country might be?  Take a look at the OECD Better Life Index.  It covers 36 countries including Australia, Chile, Japan, Turkey, Israel, Sweden, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.

Not only can you see the results of their analysis of data collected but also you can create your own index.  Log on and rank eleven topics including jobs, income, health, education and work-life balance and then run the numbers.
What country may be the perfect place for you? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Food from Home: Local and Global

When I saw an article about Domino’s new spicy banana pizza I thought - now here's a new version of  from food from home.

As they expand in India Domino's is expanding and revising their menu with, among other items, Spicy Banana pizza.  A new American version of an Italian dish –with flavors (green bananas, chilis) selected to reflect the preferences of a client in Indian.  

Suddenly we have a dish that is global and local.  Is this a new food category:  Glocal?

Adapting menus to local tastes isn’t new for Dominos nor is it the only restaurant group that has revised its menu as it expanded.  McDonald’s has the McVeggie burger in India and Teriyaki burgers in Japan. Dunkin Donuts in India opened with the Mango Donut and a jerk cottage cheese ciabatta sandwich.

Next time you’re in a new place, in addition to trying iconic food of the locale, search out the local interpretation of food from your home.  Discover what flavors, textures, colors or shapes make your home town food appeal to the local population.   Discover Glocal food.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Which country is the most productive?

Work less and get more done? Can it be true that countries with laws limiting hours worked and when employees can receive email be ranked as more productive than US with a 24/7 on line all the time business culture?  

According to an article written by Jessica Stillman for Inc. magazine it’s true. 

PGi, a tech collaboration company ( worked with the OECD (, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to present data ranking countries based on the relationship between GDP and hours worked.  To see the infographic of their report click on the link:  /

You’ll quickly see that employees in South Korea, Mexico and Greece work the most hours in a year – clocking in at close to 2500 hours per year.  Germany and France with their 35 hour work week put in 1500 hours.  The US?  It’s  average at about 1800 hours per person, per year.  Notwithstanding so many fewer hours worked, Germany and France rank as the most productive with Mexico and South Korea the least.  

Good to know.  Work less.  Be more productive.  Something to consider.