How to Collaborate Around the Fourth

I recall that, when I was a university student in Munich (for the curious, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität) and the Fourth of July came around, I would occasionally get asked by American visitors whether Germany had a Fourth of July.  No, I would patiently explain, we skipped from the Third right over to the Fifth.

Having a major U.S. holiday in the middle of the week makes it interesting to get work done, collaborate with colleagues, set up external meetings, and such.  One would assume it’s a good week to go away, nothing much will happen.  Some people were off at the beginning of the week prior to the holiday; some worked Monday and Tuesday and started their weekend on Wednesday.  Naturally I needed to meet with a group of people from both sides and this just wasn’t going to happen.

Despite all appearances, it wasn’t a quiet week.  For one thing, the Apple iPhone had just been introduced at the start of the weekend.  The press was full of articles about people standing in line outside Apple and AT&T stores, and then continued with articles about long wait times to resolve phone activation problems, rogue store managers who were requiring iPhone buyers to make accessory purchases in order to get an iPhone, and on Monday, a fairly significant network outage (AT&T’s EDGE network apparently couldn’t handle the increased traffic).

Research in Motion had a happy Fourth up in Canada.  After eight years of trying to obtain permission to sell BlackBerry devices in China, the company announced it had finally won approval.

Blackstone announced a $20 billion deal for Hilton, one of the world’s most storied names in the industry and a Japanese clothing company made an unsolicited $900 million bid for Barneys (now owned by Jones Apparel).  Samsonite announced it will go private in a $1.1 billion deal.

You’ll see some other interesting news below.  All in all, it wasn’t that quiet a week.  Oh, and if anyone needs to meet with me, my 10:30 meeting on Friday just cancelled, something about going fishing.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

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