Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer Slowdown

Office Lobby, Tokyo

One of the challenges of running a business with a sizeable European component is that, come July & August, people vanish for anything up to 5 or 6 weeks at a stretch on vacation. Sure, I understand the need to support local customs in other places, and I of all people know that the attitude to holidays in much of Europe is completely different to what had become the norm in the U.K., let alone the U.S.. And lest you think otherwise, I am not anti holiday - far from it, I think taking a break is crucial to keeping up the pace we need throughout the rest of the year - but trying to manage your way through the long summer break when around the rest of the world things continue unabated can be really tough.

Back when the economy in any given country was largely domestic, these kinds of issues really didn't matter. Everyone had the same view of things and because everyone largely took off at the same time it just made the whole thing part of the normal fabric of business. However, as soon as you debut onto the world business stage, all of a sudden these kinds of issues become real inhibitors to inernational growth.

No great conclusions here, just wondering how long places like France, Scandinavia and others will be able to protect their privileges in the face of a tough and highly competitive global market?

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