Friday, July 22, 2005

How the Rest of the World Knows Us. Yesterday I met a most interesting gentleman, a man whose business is inside Russia and that he runs from his home in Miami two days a week. About four times a year he flies to the site of the business for a few days. The site is in the far east of Russia, 10 miles north of the Chinese border and closer to Tokyo than to Moscow. It takes him 24 hours to travel there, one way.

He told me that the business practices in Russia are so different from those of the US that they are incomprehensible to most Americans. He also told me this story.

On one visit, early in the development of this business, he and his Russian counterparts were having a long dinner in a restaurant and enjoying their vodkas, of which there were many. One of his Russian dinner partners said that he, the Russian, knows all about business, and my client asked how he came to that knowledge. The reply, "Why, watching US television shows!"

"US television shows? What shows?"

"Dallas, my friend, and Santa Barbara".

"That's not how Americans do business, Ivan!"

"It isn't?"

This leads me to a consideration of Scott's post, just below. How does the world see us? Through the broken prism of Hollywood, whether in movies or TV shows, and through the internet. What a picture they must have. What stumbling blocks, we in our liberality and license, have placed in the way of the sound development of the rest of the world.

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