Tag Archives: EOI

Encuentro Anual Antiguos Alumnos EOI (2013)

El pasado martes 17 de septiembre tuvo lugar el Encuentro Anual Antiguos Alumnos EOI (la escuela de negocios Escuela de Organización Industrial), con el lema “El Éxito es la Cooperación”. Dado que esa tarde estaba en Madrid, acudí al evento con un amigo y mi hermano, todos antiguos alumnos de la escuela.

La velada estuvo animada y presentada por el mago Luis Boyano quien hizo las delicias del público y sobretodo ayudó a animar el ambiente al principio.

Seguidamente, hubo tiempo para un par de discursos institucionales por parte del director de la escuela y del presidente del Club EOI (la asociación de antiguos alumnos), Fernado Moroy. Fernando destacó algunos puntos interesantes que hacen fuerte a una escuela: la formación continua, fomentar la empleabilidad de sus (ex-)alumnos, crear comunidad y la excelencia de sus (ex-)alumnos; además de la simbiosis Escuela – Asociación de Antiguos Alumnos. En todos esos aspectos teníamos la impresión de que la Escuela trabaja bien, y, sin embargo, queda la sensación de que falta algo (¿qué? y ¿cómo conseguirlo?). Por otro lado, tras la conferencia nos confirmó que el club cuenta en la actualidad con más de 4.000 socios, de entre los aproximadamente 50.000 alumnos que han pasado por sus clases desde su fundación en 1955.

Antes de la conferencia se dieron también premios a dos antiguos alumnos por su trayectoria y a una empresa por su compromiso con la formación. De entre los alumnos destacaré a Elena Mayoral (ingeniero aeronáutico por la ETSI Aeronáuticos de Madrid) por ser la primera mujer directora del aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas en su historia (desde el pasado 1 de abril de 2013). No tiene una papeleta fácil (como tuiteé pocos días antes y sin conocer que se iba otorgar este premio):

Y finalmente, la velada llegó al momento más esperado: la conferencia de Emilio Duró, economista que últimamente se ha venido especializando como consultor, conferenciante sobre motivación, felicidad, etc. Existen multitud de vídeos suyos en internet (más abajo enlazo uno). El mensaje de Emilio viene a decir que no desaprovechemos el tiempo, que somos dueños de nuestros estados de ánimo, que busquemos razones y situaciones que nos permitan ser más felices. Para ello comienza con un repaso sobre su vida (riéndose de sí mismo), se apoya en algunas estadísticas de estudios (que no termina de citar), comenta anécdotas y relatos de terceras personas (como la historia relatada por el prisionero en un campo de concentración, durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, Victor Frankl, descrita en su libro “Man’s Search for Meaning” o la vivida por Ric Elias durante los minutos previos al amerizaje de su avión en el río Hudson – vídeo enlazado debajo), usa una gran variación vocal y utiliza todo el espacio a su alrededor, además de interactuar con la audiencia. La conferencia se extiende entre 40 minutos y más de una hora, pero se hace muy amena, además de dejar varias perlas para recordar:

  • “En ningún funeral se ha visto un camión de la mudanza tras el coche fúnebre.”
  • “La vida cambia en un instante y no nos damos cuenta. Los planes no sirven. Nunca pospongas nada porque puede no llegar.”
  • “La primera causa de la infelicidad es la memoria. Borradlo todo.”
  • “Y resulta que con todo lo grande que es el universo, Dios o quien sea se dedica a recoger marrones por el mismo para soltártelos a ti… no será que el marrón eres tú.”

Y termina su charla dando los siguiente consejos para ser más felices: hacer deporte (para mejorar el estado físico), tener contacto físico con otras personas (especialmente cuando son menores de 3 años), compartir (ser altruista), seguir aprendiendo (no dejar de estudiar cosas nuevas) y ponerle pasión a la vida.

Vídeo resumen del encuentro (1h49’18”):

Vídeo con la charla TED de Ric Elias, “3 cosas que aprendí mientras mi avión se estrellaba” (5’03”):

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Woodstock for Capitalists

Right now, while this is being published and if everything is going as planned, Luca and I are in Omaha, Nebraska. By now we should be already registered to attend tomorrow the annual shareholders meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, company famous for its CEO and Chairman, Warren Buffett.

While studying an MBA at EOI business school in Seville some 5 years ago, I developed a special interest in investing. I started reading some books and this led me to the bible of them all, Benjamin Graham’s “Intelligent Investor”, which I have referred to in this blog a number of times.

Warren Buffett, of World fame, was one of Graham’s disciples. He started very early setting up small businesses and investing in stocks. Decades later, he is known as the “oracle of Omaha” and considered to be on of the best investors ever.

About 2 years ago, Luca and I decided to invest in Berkshire Hathaway, mainly to acquire the right to attend this weekend’s party (you may call us freaks, right). Sure, we have arranged a nice holiday trip around it passing by Montreal, DC, Chicago and even Des Moines (!). But the end of this trip, was attending the shareholders’ meeting (others travel to attend a concert of U2!).

If you want to grasp what the experience may feel like, start by reading one of his letters to the shareholders of BRK, e.g. this year’s letter [PDF]. It’s 26 pages, ok, but it won’t take you more than 1 or 2 hours, and who knows, it may change your view of saving, investing, managing businesses, doing you a great favour. Apart from that, you’ll have a great fun reading it, as it is a very entertaining and humorous piece.

Finally, a positive note from an extract of the letter to reflect on, in today’s times:

“Don’t let that reality spook you. Throughout my lifetime, politicians and pundits have constantly moaned about terrifying problems facing America. Yet our citizens now live an astonishing six times better than when I was born. The prophets of doom have overlooked the all-important factor that is certain: Human potential is far from exhausted, and the American system for unleashing that potential – a system that has worked wonders for over two centuries despite frequent interruptions for recessions and even a Civil War – remains alive and effective.”

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Summary of 2010

Let me share with you a brief recap of my 2010.

This was a heavy learning year, to name a few learning experiences:

  • I continued to study French,
  • Toastmasters: I delivered some speeches at Toastmasters, received the CL and ALB awards, and attended 2 District 59 conferences and 1 Division H conference.
  • I went to several EOI conferences and others, including one with the economist Robert E. Lucas who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1995 and the TEDx Madrid event.
  • I read over a dozen books, many of which I commented here (being the 3 ones I liked the most these ones: first, second and third). At the end of the year I was given an eBook so I expect this trend to continue.
  • I continued to enjoy the subscription to The Economist (frankly, one of the best decisions I’ve taken in recent years) and subscribed to Scientific American for a dime.

I also had lots of fun reading and learning things related to aerospace & defence, to investments, and enjoyed supporting some charities and especially seeing some friends starting to support them as well.

Travelling. Either we together or I visited for the first time Porto, Morocco, Tunisia, Poland and Egypt. We also spent some time in Luxembourg, Brazil, Netherlands, Sevilla and France. Travelling well over 65,000 km last year (equivalent to 1.6 rounds to the Earth). Of all the places we visited, the view that I liked the most was the falls of Iguaçu, no doubt.

Javi 2.0 Encouraged by Luca and some friends I started this blog in February 2010 and a twitter account shortly afterwards. I reckon that my twitter account has become one of my biggest hobbies and sources of information apart from a communication channel with friends. I even saw some friends (here and here) and my sister starting their own blogs!

In the sports side… even though this has been a great year for Spanish sportsmen, it hasn’t been so for Real Madrid: not for the football or basketball section (being the last year I attended with the season ticket). On the personal side I competed in two championships of Minifutbol but won neither one, the same applies to paddle tournaments… the best sports moment was completing once again the San Silvestre race.

Other reasons for joy have been:

  • our friends Amalia & Paco, María & Alberto, Janine & Rients, Leyre & German got married,
  • we saw the newborns Paula and Javier, while two of our friends are pregnant today (that we know),
  • my sister finished her bachelor and continued studying a master; my brother finished his MBA and joined my company; my mother continued to take several courses.

To close the year, I got a new position within the same company in another country, where I moved a month ago. This will allow me to continue learning and experiencing new things!

I use to tell my friends and family that since long ago I feel that I enjoy more and more each coming year and am happier with time; this year, with a few bad moments included (including some sad losses), has been no exception to the trend. Thanks to all of you who contributed to it. As I say, if it continues like this, I may explode one of these years :-).

Now it’s time to make some few resolutions for 2011 as well… I have thought of 5, that if I manage to fulfill, next year’s account will be even shinier. I wish you the same: keep learning and enjoying your time.

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Master in common sense

What is the main thing you learn from studying an MBA? When I have been asked this question I always answer that the learning process is different: Most of the subjects present you with situations / cases that once solved you said to yourself “well, it was applied common sense, wasn’t it?” Yes, applied common sense to some situations you never encountered or reflected on before. This is one way you learn, the other is hearing from first hand hundreds of real stories experienced by your teachers.

It is not like learning to solve fluid dynamics or differential equations exercises… it is not that before you didn’t how to solve a problem and then you know it, at least this is how I felt at EOI. The learning process during the MBA is more like encouraging you to apply common sense to many issues, making you reflect on new topics from those that entertained you at university.

I tell this because after reading “How to win friends & influence people”, by Dale Carnegie, I felt the same.

I found that Dale Carnegie is a great story-teller and nothing is better to learn or reflect on different issues than seeing the application of solutions, skills or techniques in stories, real stories. Some of the ones in the book came from Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Roosevelt, Rockefeller, several American generals… and many others were stories from lay people like you and me.

I remember that one of my teachers in the MBA used to say “70% of your work within a company is just human relationships; and precisely that is not taught anywhere”.

The skill to deal with other humans effectively is so important that, as Dale Carnegie tells in the book, Charles Schwab was the first person to earn a million dollars a year (when 2.500$ a year was considered a good salary), when he was picked by Andrew Carnegie (no relation) to become the first president of United States Steel company in 1921… Why? As Charles put it: “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement”. (We may argue whether he indeed deserved a salary hundreds of times higher than the average… I already discussed this when I commented other book in this blog).

Now, I leave you the different principles that Carnegie offers to improve your effectiveness when dealing with people (a rare animal indeed!), reflect on them:

Fundamental techniques in handling people:

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six ways to make people like you:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Win people to your way of thinking:

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re wrong”.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a leader:

  1. Begin with praise and hones appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

“Obvious…” This is one thought that may come to our mind when reading some of these statements. However, we’re not acting in that way every day, being as obvious as they may be – thus getting the results we get…

I encourage you to read the book (~260 pgs.) and see in those stories many examples applicable to yourself; daily situations in which to apply those principles.

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Fomentar la Mentalidad Analítica vs. Fomentar la Creatividad

Ayer acudí a una jornada de Formación Continua dentro del ciclo “Management para Emprendedores” de la Escuela de Organización Industrial (EOI). La sesión trataba el asunto “Fomentar la Mentalidad Analítica vs. Fomentar la Creatividad”.

De esta jornada quería destacar el barrido funcional de una empresa que hizo el invitado Carlos Espinosa desde esta perspectiva. Intento aquí recuperar la tabla que expuso él:

 

Barrido funcional: Creativo vs. Analítico.

 

Por último, el profesor, Andrés Fernández Romero, terminó la clase explicando la “parálisis ante una respuesta esperada” de una forma apoteósica; usando el ejemplo de cómo medir la altura de un edificio con un barómetro…

Sir Ernest Rutherford, presidente de la Sociedad Real Británica y Premio Nobel de Química en 1908, contaba la siguiente anécdota: Hace algún tiempo, recibí la llamada de un colega. Estaba a punto de poner un cero a un estudiante por la respuesta que había dado en un problema de física, pese a que éste afirmaba con rotundidad que su respuesta era absolutamente acertada.

Profesores y estudiantes acordaron pedir arbitraje de alguien imparcial y fui elegido yo. Leo la pregunta del examen y decía: “Demuestre cómo es posible determinar la altura de un edificio con la ayuda de un barómetro”.

El estudiante había respondido: “Lleva el barómetro a la azotea del edificio y átale una cuerda muy larga. Descuélgalo hasta la base del edificio, marca y mide. La longitud de la cuerda es igual a la longitud del edificio”.

Realmente, el estudiante había planteado un serio problema con la resolución del ejercicio, porque había respondido a la pregunta correcta y completamente. Por otro lado, si se le concedía la máxima puntuación, podría alterar el promedio de sus de estudios, obtener una nota más alta y así certificar su alto nivel en física; pero la respuesta no confirmaba que el estudiante tuviera ese nivel.

Sugerí que se le diera al alumno otra oportunidad. Le concedí seis minutos para que me respondiera la misma pregunta pero esta vez con la advertencia de que en la respuesta debía demostrar sus conocimientos de física. Habían pasado cinco minutos y el estudiante no había escrito nada. Le pregunté si deseaba marcharse, pero me contesto que tenia muchas respuestas al problema. Su dificultad era elegir la mejor de todas. Me excuse por interrumpirle y le rogué que continuara.

En el minuto que le quedaba escribió la siguiente respuesta: “Coge el barometro y déjalo caer al suelo desde la azotea del edificio, calcula el tiempo de caída con un cronómetro. Después se aplica la formula altura = 0,5 por g por T al cuadrado. Y así obtenemos la altura del edificio”. En este punto le pregunté a mi colega si el estudiante se podía retirar. Le dió la nota más alta.

Tras abandonar el despacho, me reencontré con el estudiante y le pedí que me contara sus otras respuestas a la pregunta. Bueno, respondió, hay muchas maneras, por ejemplo, coges el barómetro en un día soleado y mides la altura del barómetro y la longitud de su sombra. Si medimos a continuación la longitud de la sombra del edificio y aplicamos una simple proporción, obtendremos también la altura del edificio.

Perfecto, le dije, ¿y de otra manera? Sí, contestó; éste es un procedimiento muy básico para medir un edificio, pero también sirve. En este método, coges el barómetro y te sitúas en las escaleras del edificio en la planta baja. Según subes las escaleras, vas marcando en la pared la altura del barómetro y cuentas el número de marcas hasta la azotea. Multiplicas al final la altura del barómetro por el número de marcas que has hecho y ya tienes la altura. Éste es un método muy directo. Por supuesto, si lo que quieres es un procedimiento más sofisticado, puedes atar el barómetro a una cuerda y moverlo como si fuera un péndulo. Dado que cuando el barómetro está a la altura de la azotea la velocidad es cero y si tenemos en cuenta la medida de la aceleración de la gravedad, al descender el barómetro en trayectoria circular al pasar por la perpendicular del edificio, de la diferencia de estos valores, y aplicando una sencilla formula trigonométrica, podríamos calcular, sin duda, la altura del edificio.

En este mismo estilo de sistema, atas el barómetro a una cuerda y lo descuelgas desde la azotea a la calle. Usándolo como un péndulo puedes calcular la altura midiendo su período de precesión. En fin, concluyó, existen otras muchas maneras. Probablemente, siguió, la mejor sea coger el barómetro y golpear con él la puerta de la casa del conserje. Cuando abra, decirle: señor conserje, aquí tengo un bonito barómetro. Si usted me dice la altura de este edificio, se lo regalo.

En este momento de la conversación, le pregunté si no conocía la respuesta convencional al problema (la diferencia de presión marcada por un barómetro en dos lugares diferentes nos proporciona la diferencia de altura entre ambos lugares). Evidentemente, dijo que la conocía, pero que durante sus estudios sus profesores habían intentado enseñarle a pensar. El estudiante se llamaba Niels Bohr, físico danés, premio Nobel de Física en 1922, más conocido por ser el primero en proponer el modelo de átomo con protones y neutrones y los electrones que lo rodeaban. Fue fundamentalmente un innovador de la teoría cuántica. Al margen del personaje, lo divertido y curioso de la anécdota, lo esencial de esta historia, es que LE HABÍAN ENSEÑADO A PENSAR.”

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The Best Advice I Ever Received…

Although probably the best pieces of advice I have ever received came from my parents and they were many, I am going to quote two others:

The one that changed viewpoint the most: “Within the work in a company, 70% of it is human relationships” (given by a teacher of an MBA I took at EOI in Seville).

The one I like to quote often: “The pats on the back, rather in cash” (given by a colleague, former teacher in the same MBA).

Side note: “Plinky” is a service I found one day proposed by WordPress. They suggest daily topics to write about in your blog, in case you lack ideas. I find some of the suggestions interesting and this is why you will see this kind of posts from time to time.

Powered by Plinky

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Ethical Banking

I attended yesterday a conference by Joan Melé at EOI Business School. It caught my interest by its title Dinero y conciencia: ¿A quién sirve mi dinero? (Money and conscience, who benefits from my money?), even though I didn’t know the presenter nor the bank he works for.

I want to make some reflections of yesterday’s experience:

  • The first one as a Toastmasters member: I applaud the decision of the speaker to stand up, not using notes or a power point presentation and managing to get the focus of the audience on him and his message for over an hour and half… we witness many conferences in which the experience is not so enjoyable.
  • The next reflection is to praise the move by EOI Business School towards web 2.0 made some months ago. As an alumnus of the school I must say that it’s very motivating to see the number of activities organized, the topics covered and it’s very convenient the way they are publicized in the different channels: EOI web and blogs, Facebook, streaming TV channel, Twitter… and because of that, because you can actually watch the whole of the conference or catch a glimpse of the main messages, I will just add very few ideas that I took for reflection and some sources the presenter cited.

Regarding money itself, the speaker structured his speech in the three main uses of money: to buy, to save and to donate.

  • When buying: he proposed the exercise of thinking “what”, “why” and “where” to see how our purchasing decisions affect others (low wages, pollution, exploitation…). He made the case for an economy based not so much in consumption of material things but cultural and intellectual ones: e.g. we happily pay 30 euro for a dinner, would be pay the same to be read poetry?
  • Regarding saving he noted the positive side of it: planning for future expenses. The other side of the coin being “fear of the day of tomorrow”: what will happen that we won’t be able to face? Nothing: Whatever comes, we will be able to face it. This reminds me to Charlie Munger comment on Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting when he said that he became comfortable […] after he realized he could survive hardship, “Maybe you should get your feet wet with a little more failure”. We lack some entrepreneurship…
  • The speaker did not want to go in deep about donating, except pointing that handing large inheritances to offspring can be more harmful than positive to them and society.

Some ideas to take away:

  • There are no leaders to solve our problems; it’s the turn of civil society to take action. It’s the time for the Globalisation of conscience.
  • The responsibility for what happens around us is ours, we need to first change ourselves.
  • We are the crisis of 3 billion people since dozens of years ago.
  • Need to bring back the role of banks as agents that relate people: savers with entrepreneurs in order to create wealth with profits as a by-product not as the one and only end.
  • Need to start and epidemic of courage and enthusiasm.

Finally, some reports, articles and documentaries he cited:

One final quote from Charlie Munger to end this post: “The secret to happiness is to lower your expectations.”

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Filed under Books, Helping others, Investing, Movies, Toastmasters, Twitter & Media

An aircraft worth its weight in gold?

Airbus announced last January that it had raised the list prices of its commercial aircraft by an average of 5.8%. It had not updated its prices since 2008. You may see the current prices here: Airbus list prices

Boeing also discloses in its website the range of list prices of its aircraft. Those prices haven’t been increased in the last two years.  

Few years ago, I saw for the first time a comparison of prices of aircraft per kilogram. It was prepared by a teacher I had at EOI Business School in Seville, Felipe Moran, who later has become a co-worker. With this post I will start a series of comparisons, the first one being precisely that one: an update on price per kilogram of aircraft. 

We already saw where to get the prices from. The other input we are going to use is the weight of the aircraft, what is called: Operating Empty Weight (OEW). You may find this information in various places, I recommend you to pay a visit to Boeing’s “Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning”, where you will find very detailed data of all its commercial aircraft.  (While gathering this info I also came across the following section dedicated to fun facts of the legendary Jumbo 747).  

Combining these inputs we can build the following table. 

Price per kg of commercial aircraft.

Some facts may counter intuition: 

  • There doesn’t seem to be a clear discrimination between older and newer aircraft (A380 and some 787 models rank among cheapest, while A350-900 and 787-9 are among the most expensive).
  • Smaller Airbuses rank among the most expensive aircraft in a per kg basis despite the suggested price war that was reported by the specialized press in the recent years.

With the exceptions of A350-900 and 787-9 there seems to be a very slight trend in bigger aircraft being cheaper in this per kg basis. One may argue that once the frame of a certain size is built, building a bigger one might not cost that much

Now, let’s talk about the Military Transport business. Do we think those aircraft are more or less expensive? On one hand, those aircraft are not carrying systems such as the in-flight entertainment and, on the other, the scale of the market is smaller (with few exceptions such as the C-130) and they do carry diverse military systems, protections, etc. What is the trend weighting more in the balance? 

Military transport aircraft price per kg.

As you can see, military transport aircraft are on average 25% more expensive on a per kg basis. There is much more technology in them than people tends to think… they are clearly not just flying trucks. 

As you may have noted I have not included any sources for the prices of these aircraft, since they are rarely disclosed. I have used prices reported by the press and US budgets. 

Let’s stretch the argument a bit more… What is the trend for fighter aircraft? This time scales are bigger than in military transport. Does this make them cheaper? See the table. 

Fighter aircraft price per kg.

Not even close. Fighters are around 3.2 and 4 times more expensive than military transport and commercial aircraft, respectively, on a per kg basis.  

We can see in the following graphic all these aircraft together and maybe spot those trends. 

Aircraft prices per kg.

Now that we have an idea of how much aircraft cost per kg (1,700$ commercial aircraft, 2,100$ military transport aircraft and 6,700$ fighter aircraft)… is this expensive? Expensive compare to what? 

Let’s relate these prices to something closer to us. 

Cars: 

  • The best-selling car in Spain in 2009, was the Renault Megane (with 52,156 cars sold). It costs about 17,700 € (or 24 k$) and weighs 1,150 kg, this yields: 21 $/kg, clearly cheaper, about 80 times cheaper than commercial aircraft on a per kg basis. 
  • More up-scale cars such as the Mercedes Class E 350 CDI (56,000€ and 1,825 kg) or the Audi Q7 4.2 TDI (85,000€ and 2,605 kg) are more expensive per kg, 41$/kg and 44 $/kg, respectively. This is 40 times cheaper than commercial aircraft.

It may be worthy to note that in the cars we see the completely opposite trend than that we saw in airplanes: the bigger the car the more expensive on a per kg basis. 

Let’s compare this yet again with some other unrelated luxury item: Jamón Ibérico Puro de Bellota de Jabugo 5J. Today it was on offer in El Corte Ingles website for only 449€, a piece of about 7 kg, yielding: 87 $/kg. This is twice more expensive than buying a Mercedes (this may be the reason why it was an offer from Sanchez Romero supermarkets) but still 20 times cheaper than a commercial airliner. 

To end this post, let’s answer the question posed in the title of the post: 

The kilogram of gold is in the order of 35,400$, clearly more expensive than any aircraft. 

After all, nowadays, we may find no aircraft worth its weight in gold.

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