Thursday, October 29, 2009

The missing office floor - floor 13

I am very probably one of the least superstitious people you will ever meet, this is a fact I am rather proud of, I walk under ladders and regularly laugh in the face of black cats.

I would like to think that most people that most semi-intelligent people also lend superstition very little time and attention, however I increasingly think that perhaps I could be wrong about this.

The last place you would expect to find a fear of absurd superstitions is the business world, however as a little experiment, if you happen to find yourself in an office building in the United States go into the lift and ask to go to level 13... I think you will find there is no level 13.

Check out the picture below, floors in this Chicago office building go from 12 straight to 14(a). You may insist that this is surely just a mistake on the part of the lift manufacturer... unfortunately not. It seems that all over the US businesses are very reluctant to rent out floor space on floor 13's around the country, so in an attempt to shift this "unlucky" floor number many offices are now just calling it the 14th floor... this sort of logic worries me.

(Plus if you are on the "14th floor" and ARE a superstitious indidivual, surely you know exactly what floor you are on - the horrific, deadly, unlucky, haunted one.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Images from the road 9

The Bean, Millenium Park, Chicago
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 19, 2009

2 Facts about trains

While listening to "The Bottom Line" a BBC business podcast I heard some information that both shocked and appalled me regarding trains. They may just shock and appall you also.

The UK Chief Executive of Bombardier, the Canadian based airplane and train manufacturer, was being quizzed on the ins and outs of the train manufacturing arm of the company and was asked to estimate in rough terms how much a train costs the buyer.

The answer? 1 MILLION POUNDS! and that's PER carriage! It is therefore little wonder that train operators are doing so abysmally in these rough times. Let's imagine that you want to buy a brand new 8 carriage train for a busy route, that's an instant £8 million you have to recoup to break even... absurd.

The second fact, which quite amused me, was that because of the lack of foresight on the part of the nice folk who built England's (and presumably Ireland's) train infrastructure, we can only have trains of a certain height (too low) and width (not wide enough). Anything in excess of what they thought we would need in the 1800's would simply scrape off the sides of tunnels etc. resulting in what we can only presume would be a rough journey. That is why everyone trains often feel far too cramped...

So there you are, 2 interesting train related facts.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Images from the road 8

Washington DC, Obama in his limo leaving the back of the Whitehouse. It was followed by about 30 blacked out SUV's (oddly enough I'm not exaggerating).
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Rants

In the last short while I have been hearing a few stories about Ryanair and Aerlingus in various newspapers and radio programs and the like and unfortunately for you I can hold my silence no longer!

Unfortunately these issues drive me so up the wall that I don’t think I can put them together in a coherent flowing manner, so in place of a well written article, I present to your a series of points that have been grinding my gears for the last while.

1. People saying have to support Aer Lingus “because they are Irish”
This one is particularly stupid as it tends to be used most often in conversations that also make reference to the Ryanair vs Aer Lingus debate. To WHAT extent could Aer Lingus be considered any more Irish than Ryanair? Is it because the planes have a green colour scheme? Because the tail fin has a shamrock on it? Because they were a (but are now a failed) airline set up by the state? I really don't know...

Now correct me if I’m wrong but Ryanair is Irish too, and rather than being a dismal financial failure like other (unnamed...) Irish airlines Ryanair is turning a profit in a time when all around them are doing poorly.
Also Ryanair is Europe’s biggest airline in terms of passengers, so why aren’t people supporting a Irish company that has become the leading force in European aviation, a globally impressive example of how Ireland can take on the big players and win. This make my little brain angry.

A quick scan around the board room of the two airlines would also be advisable to those who are emotionally attached to the “Irish element” of Aer Lingus. CEO of Ryanair = Michael O Leary, a successful Irish businessman – CEO of Aer Lingus = Cristoph Mueller, a successful German businessman.

2. People thinking Ryanair owe them anything
Watchdog, the BBC consumer issues programme contained a piece on how Ryanair were to double the cost of checking in baggage on planes, and do away with manned check in desks starting in the near future.

Members of the audience were asked what they thought about it and as per usual the usual assortment of anti-Ryanair folk chipped in their 2 cents about how awful it was, that Mr. O’Leary could do such things. They then had a satellite conversation with O’Leary who told the audience, and viewers of the programme, that he basically couldn’t care less if they didn’t want to fly with his airline, there would be 67million people willing to take their seat.

Why do people feel that Micheal O’Leary and Ryanair owe them anything? They don’t owe you cheap flights, cheap added extras, cheap anything. They are a business, and a successful one, not a charity.

More to come on this later in part 2... I must go calm down somewhere nice and quiet.

Friday, October 9, 2009

They weren't going to miss out on this one

More thoughts about Ryanair on the way soon.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Images from the road 7

Ireland Park, Toronto
Posted by Picasa