Tag Archives: Twitter & Media

Numbers, numbers, numbers…

As part of my effort to learn French, I was reading some passages of “Le Petit Prince” last weekend. There was one that directly struck me:

Les grandes personnes aiment les chiffres. Quand vous leur parlez d’un nouvel ami, elles ne vous questionnent jamais sur l’essentiel. Elles ne vous disent jamais: “Quel est le son de sa voix? Quels sont les jeux qu’il préfère? Est-ce qu’il collectionne les papillons?” Elles vous demandent: “Quel âge a-t-il? Combien a-t-il de frères? Combien pèse-t-il? Combien gagne son père?” Alors seulement elles croient le connaître. Si vous dites aux grandes personnes: “J’ai vu une belle maison en briques roses, avec des géraniums aux fenêtres et des colombes sur le toit…” elles ne parviennent pas à s’imaginer cette maison. Il faut leur dire: “J’ai vu une maison de cent mille francs.” Alors elles s’écrient: “Comme c’est joli!

Some days before I had seen the following tweet by the management guru Tom Peters:

Having said this, I can only confess that I am one of those. One of those old people, grande personne, that loves numbers, crunching numbers, spreadsheets, etc…

If you asked me something about for example my drive to the job every morning, I wouldn’t say “Oh, it’s beautiful, there are lots of trees, you can smell this or that”, no, no…

I would tell you: “it takes door-to-door an average of 31 minutes -which coincidentally is the exact time most repeated-, I depart at 8:35am on average, I have tried 3 different routes and route number 3 seems to be about 4 minutes shorter on average than the other 2 routes, I found out that it is as good to be an early comer to the office than to arrive at about 9:30am, while the worst time to leave home is about 8:15am… Tuesdays are the worst days normally, taking on average about 5 minutes more than Wednesdays, the best day”. Numbers.

And I would have said all these because during the last 7 months I had been taking note of the all the numbers related to those trips, crunching them in a spreadsheet, etc, etc…

Door to door time to reach the office.

Frequency of different trip times.

Certaines grandes personnes aimons les chiffres.

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Filed under Books, France, Twitter & Media

Salesmanship at Airbus

Yesterday I saw John Leahy, Airbus sales chief, in the corridors of the company for the first time since I arrived to Toulouse. At night, I found via Twitter this special report about him by Reuters.

The report is a very interesting piece, and reading in it about Jean Pierson reminded me of a very curious story I heard some years ago and I wanted to recall for you (this is the only reason for this post).

Pierson was the CEO of Airbus from 1985 to 1998. The story I am talking about appears described in the book “Boeing versus Airbus”, by John Newhouse (I haven’t yet read it but is in my wish list). Let me extract the summary that Reuters gave in this other article.

Pierson […] was at US Airways’ headquarters for what he thought would be a short meeting to tie up a 400-plane deal, the anecdote runs.

At the last minute, US Airways’ then-chairman Stephen Wolf started arguing for a 5 percent discount on the selling price.

“Pierson began slowly lowering his trousers and saying ‘I have nothing more to give.’ He then allowed the trousers to fall around his ankles,” says Newhouse in his book.

Wolf replied: “Pull up your pants. I don’t need any more money,” and the deal was signed, according to the book. The author says he got the story from Pierson himself, and it was confirmed by another person present.

Shortly afterward, US Airways announced the purchase of 124 single-aisle Airbus A320 family jets with options for 276 more, a stab into the heart of Boeing’s competing 737 program. It put the European company on track to overtake Boeing in global orders only two years later.

If the situation ever calls for me to drop my trousers I hope there is no one nearby with the intention of reporting it in a book :-).

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Filed under Aerospace & Defence, Books

Start blogging

Today it’s been a year since I started this blog. I wrote the first post on February 9th 2010, and went live a few days later. I had been musing the idea of starting it for some months plus some people close to me encouraged me to do so as well.

In the end I decided to give it a try. Initially, I took it as a learning process: It would force me to learn what that of blogging was, some etiquette about them, etc… Few days after the starting the blog I created my Twitter account and gave it a try with some other tools… still, there are many other tools and applications that I still have to learn and use.

During those days I had the simile in my head of our previous generation: some of them are not even using the internet for as little as 10% of the things we use it for (buying things, social media, reading the papers, watching videos, etc.). It all started because some years ago they did not push themselves to try it, when it was all starting. This was what moved me to start. Who knows how the Internet will evolve from now to 10 years time? But what it is sure is that it won’t go backwards, so we better do as much as we can not to stay behind.

I just finished reading the book “Todo va a cambiar”, by Enrique Dans (in Spanish; I may write about the book soon), in the last chapters you may read the following passage:

“¿Debe […] empezar un blog? La respuesta es clara y concisa: si no lo ha hecho hasta ahora, sí”

Starting the blog is relatively easy; you just need to follow the instructions of any of the free blogging services. Continuing with it is a bit more difficult. You need to be creative, think about more or less valuable ideas that you want to transmit: During this first year I have written 120 posts, about 10 per month or one every 3 days… behind some of them there are hours, of thought, of calculations, of editing. But it has always been fun (as my brother said “you started it because you wanted to preach freely”).

It is fun to think about ideas, that later may or may not be translated into a post, while you are travelling, reading the paper, watching a video, etc. It is fun to see the statistics (over 8,000 visits during this first year), make calculations with them (for an average of 22 visits/day), it is fun to read and reply to comments, and even better to see someone recommending one of your posts.

There are many, yes, many other very good reasons for writing a blog.

Since some months ago I follow in Twitter and read the blog of Connor Neill, a professor at IESE business school. I had the chance to attend a workshop/conference by him at the Toastmasters District 59 Fall conference in Barcelona last November where he spoke about leadership. One of the pieces of advice he gave was to write every day for some time, be it 5 minutes, 500 words…

You may find a very good post in his blog that describes very well that part of his presentation about the importance of writing, where he gives up to 20 “starting questions to use for reflection”.

Should you start a blog? The answer is clear and concise: if you haven’t done it yet, yes.

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Filed under Books, Personal development & HR, Toastmasters, Twitter & Media

New Year’s resolutions vs. goal setting

During the Table Topics session of last week’s Toastmasters Madrid meeting, a friend asked one of the members whether he was the type of person that used to set goals for himself or have New Year’s resolutions.

The member was very determined in his answer: “yes, I am definitely a fan of goal-setting”. He cited a study in Harvard Business School where they found that the 3% of graduates who had written goals, and plans to accomplish them, ten years later were earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together… (it doesn’t say whether within that 3% there was a single individual, the kind of Bill Gates, who made himself just those ten times of the remaining 97%).

Then I saw a Facebook status update by another friend: “85% of my personal goals for this year – achieved.” (Bear in mind that this fellow is an outstanding individual).

Finally, two days ago I found in Twitter  a retweet of another post by Sid Savara about how to undertake a personal year-end review.

… Why not?

I decided that this year I’ll start writing down my goals and attaching a detailed plan to achieve them, instead of just thinking on January 1st of a few well-intentioned resolutions such as “learn languages”, “lose some pounds”, etc., and forgetting them by the 3rd of January. (By the way, thanks to Sergio, Javier, Alex & Conor for their inspiration).

If by 2021 I am making ten times as 97% of the readers of this blog combined, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you well in advance!

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Filed under Education, Toastmasters, Twitter & Media

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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Filed under Personal development & HR

TEDxMadrid 2010

Last Saturday, a friend and I attended TEDxMadrid, an independently organized TED event in which several speakers presented some “ideas worth spreading” as the TED slogan goes.

The event took place in HUB Madrid, a “unique ecosystem designed to enable individuals ranging from corporate executives to community leaders, from policy-makers to entrepreneurs and freelance professionals to thrive. It is an office and events space where you can access social business ideas, innovation, knowledge, market opportunities, inspiration and experience” as they put it.

The event was streamed and the videos so far are available here. It was also funny to see the twitting activity that took place among the people being at the meeting (check #tedxmad, #tedxmadrid…).

A summary of each talk was made in the form of sketch boards by Puño & Gorriti that are available in flicker.

At the end of the event there was a short performance of impromptu theatre by “Impromadrid Teatro”, it was a funny experience. I have a friend who also has an impromptu theatre company in Madrid, “Impronta Compañía de Teatro Espontáneo”, I must go to one of their performances!

I still have to mentally “re-work” many of the things we heard and saw, and look for the many webs, books and ideas that were raised. Nevertheless, in this post I already wanted to share some thoughts that I took with me:

  • Slavery. It was commented by Antonella that in the last TED she learnt about “Free the Slaves”, an organization that liberates slaves around the world… slaves in the XXI century? We hear about women obliged to work as prostitutes or children working in some hidden factories… but when I heard the figure 27 million of them, I was shocked.
  • To be exponential in our thoughts. Alberto Dubois showed in his talk how evolution is exponential (human evolution, computing evolution, genome decoding evolution…) but we are normally linear in our thinking. We may apply the “exponential” way of thinking to many other fields, think of it.
  • BRINKs. We all have heard about the BRICs (the term coined by Goldman Sachs to refer to Brazil, Russia, India and China) or the PIGS (the term coined by Anglo-Saxon economists, used by FT, to refer to Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain – lately Ireland and Great Britain as well), Alexander van de Putte introduced the BRINKs. This term refers to Brazil, Russia, Iraq, Nigeria and Kazakhstan, the countries which increased oil production will defer (once again) the estimates for the peak oil.

Finally, I wanted to thank C. Todd, Javier, Derek and Antonella for the great effort they have put into this event.

For those of you who could not attend this event but would have wished to do so, be aware that a similar event will take place in a month from now in Madrid, TEDxSol, on October 5th.

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Filed under Education, Personal development & HR, Twitter & Media