Sunday, 8 March 2009

Wiesbaden - How things are...

OK – it's about midnight on Saturday. I've just come back from the JP conference party, theme “1001 Nights”. My own attempt at fancy dress was minimal but quite effective (scarf made into turban. low cut evening top and sunglasses). But what was totally hilarious was being with three and a half thousand Germans in disguise as Arabs. They were mgnificent. I took some video footage which I will attempt to post up for you, but not yet as I;m not sure about the protocols.
Earlier we joined some of the few from Kent for supper (sushi and Chinese) which was pretty good especially as we were joined by one of my heroes, Birgit, who is very senior and successful. She gave us an impromptu training session over dinner – very illuminating and inspiring – and then paid for the whole thing. How very nice of her to do that. She combines elegance, beauty,brains, kindness, wit and success.
Andrew had spent the day travelling about by bus and reached Mainz, across the Rhine,( a town of great charm and with a lovely medieval centre) before coming back to Wiesbaden, where he managed to find one of the hot springs – I would like to go back there with him to see that. He said they have taps of the salty hot water there for you to drink and it is really hot.
I took my lunchbreak in the art gallery across the road from the conference and will try to go back there tomorrow (today now). Had an excellent bowl of soup there and a sandwich, with no queueing and no hassle. Things inside the conference hall do get pretty full, but Birgit said that although we have each paid our 100 euros to be there it actually costs more like 800 euros a head to put on so it is heavily subsidised by some of the top team members and the company, hence the spectacular nature of the whole affair. I don't know how accurate that figure is but she is certainly in a position to know.
On my way to the hall this morning I spotted a few more of the dotty older women wandering about, and of course I identify with them so much. They wear terrific things. I am not sure why theycluster here, maybe it's throughout Germany but I can't answer that yet.
My son David texted to say he is enjoying reading the blog again, and I'd love to know who else is reading it.
I did a little deal this morning with some of the company management...they produce loads of documents which have originated in various languages but have to be published in English. The team in Italy are pretty good (brilliant, in fact) at translating it all into something intelligible but to my eye it often reads a bit cranky so I have pestered them into letting me proof-read it for style and smoothness. I have been doing this since last autumn and we finally agreed my fees today, hoorah! They are very pleased with my work so far, and I enjoy doing it. I saw some of my work up on the screen today when they announced the launch of a new website – and of course I instantly wanted to change bits here and there. I can see it is a job which is never really complete.
In many ways this is an example of how much work goes on behind the scenes, which most people don't even know about but I must say my respect for them all continues to go up. They deliver what they say, and they try to do their best. I do sometimes shiver at the rah-rah style they adopt but they are after all an American company. What's so unusual about them is that they are (astonshingly) recession proof and growing year on year regardless of the economic conditions affecting so many other sectors. Who would have thought the likes of Lehmann Bros would have evaporated, or Goldmann Sachs and Merrill Lynch etc etc.? Like Pres Obama said.... “.......CHANGE...........”
This is what change looks like. Computers, the internet, and now a new form of company structure. Very interesting and very exciting. I WISH we could have a meeting like this one but in Britian. It will come.

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