Sunday, 19 September 2010


Buzzed. Passing by a bookstore last night, I was attracted to the window display which contained among others a book authored by Jefffrey Pfeffer, a former professor who brought this guy named Keith Ferrazzi to  a class session on "social connections." Keith himself wrote 'Never Eat Alone' earning him the invitation to talk about it in class. His book was written with the obvious intention of building and nurturing business connections thereby creating wealth. At home, I dug up his book which I have not read since that time he's given us autographed copies and then skimmed through some valuable insights which are shared in this post.

He says that in order to become 'interesting', one should always learn. .  .  .in order to earn more. And that content-creators (this includes bloggers) are readers, questioners, or conversationalists. He recommends quite expensive pursuits -- books and magazines, three to five conferences a year, a course or two, and developing relationships with leaders (in the field of blogging?).

Staying healthy, says Keith, makes someone interesting. Sensible. His workout regimen is five times a week (overkill?), takes a five-day vacation every other month (you wish!), and goes on a spirituality retreat once a month (yeah - in Burma).

"Creativity is worthless if it can't be applied", he emphasizes then says that the end-all should be that "this will make us more money".

There's this part of the book on personalities to watch and avoid from turning into one in social gatherings: the wallflower (you know who that is); the ankle-hugger who shadows his/her BFF; the celebrity hound who chases the most important person at the event; the swarmy eye darter who gives you a 30-second bad sound bite and moves quickly to another person; the card dispenser/amasser who passes his card out to everyone.  

In person, Keith is a highly-engaged conversationalist like a living proof of his book. He is in his early 30s, has written another book titled "Who Watches Your Back". Yes, he is gay and I think he still resides in America.

Light-hearted thoughts for the 'networker' on a lazy Sunday.

Sunday, 12 September 2010


Globalization Part Two. Our friend Benjie lives in New York City and works for one of the City's finest service agencies. His apartment overlooks Central Park which gives him enough incentive to hike over at any time especially on late evenings. He tells us that nocturnal citizens of the Park would carry with them flashlights all the time for various reasons but importantly for viewing faces of their co-habitues. Out-of-the-blue. Startling. I suppose one gets used to it in time but isn't that quite a courageous posture to cruising. Only in the City that Never Sleeps.

That experience I thought runs contrary to my belief about the American culture which thrives on impersonal relationships. A Disneyland experience will confirm my observation, where the characters are hidden away in fancy costumes and buried deep somewhere when their performance duties aren't called for. Even the Disney Park's utility workers are clad in clothing and costumes intending to depersonalize (or even dehumanize) their existence [Ever asked why one had to dress like a rat?]

From where did the world learn to accept the senseless greeting of "Welcome to McDonald's" while the greeter is attending to another customer at the till. Did anyone feel like responding to the greeting? 

I initially thought that the greeting of 'Bonjour' in Paris was something similar -- senseless, impersonal, idiotic -- until I bravely talked up some of those who dished out the greeting in hotels, in restaurants, even at the Buddha Bar. If they failed to greet, it meant that they may not have noticed you or (!) they didn't like you at all. Unlike the Americans who are slaves to consumerism, I think that the French are inclined to view themselves as experts in whatever they do regardless of their profession and therefore take their actions (or their opinions) seriously.

One time in NYC, I did not have enough loose currency for restaurant tipping that I left only U$10 on the table. The waiter had the temerity to run after me and give back the money because as he said it is less than what was expected. At Paris' Le Tropic bar which is mostly frequented by the young adult gay population, we are never bothered with tips and do not see any apparent interest on the part of the gorgeous waiters to push drinks past your face from time to time. They are nevertheless quick to respond to requests for another glass of kir with the most seductive of smiles.

Last year in Hongkong, a pretty senior Anglo-Saxon guy loudly greeted me with "Hi, hi, hi" meeting me through a hallway. Nothing's wrong with that except that we were surely not acquainted with each other. Again, nothing's wrong with a desire to 'pick up' someone in an airport but that was as bold as holding a lit flashlight to a stranger's face. In contrast, I received once from a waiter at the Banana Cafe in Paris a card sent by one customer seated inside [I was at the exterior area] asking if he could join me for drinks. Nothing's wrong with that. Different strokes with different cultures. Tolerable differences which could bring us to World Peace -- if only all differences were tolerable.