Friday, November 25, 2011


This technology advance will soon outdate the philosophy of a relative of mine, who travelled widely to many countries on business and in the era of some 80-years ago had no computer or language software needed to close some pretty impressive deals.

Calculators were mechanical sets of cog wheels that operated with a handle you turned in both directions to physically to achieve results. This man, with six different engineering degrees, had trained his mind to use mathematical shortcuts to reduce, but not do away, with the need for those clunkers.

When I asked him about languages - he spoke half a dozen - though with a heavy accent, how he handled the need to communicate, he replied "I always take a sleeping dictionary along with me". It took many years of being "too young" for an explanation from him, he finally said he hired pretty bilingual secretaries for the country to which he was going, sometimes locally, who shared the work load and his bed. These would be "mission specific" and not full time employees.

He added that he paid them very well and they enjoyed countries to which they would not otherwise be able to travel and the high level of those with whom they interacted at meetings and related receptions. They were much more than just eye candy and usually had very good business acumen.

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