I arrive in Paris in the middle of a train strike and I am expecting the worst but as I step off the Eurostar train from London (not on strike – different company) and jump on the Metro (not on strike – different company), I notice nothing unusual. I was told by a close friend who lives in France that strikes have become a way of life there since they are so numerous and people have learned to adapt. In fact, I end up arriving at my appointment early and so I have time to go to lunch with the people I am meeting at SAP.
Eating in France is not so much a necessity as it is a religion. It is not to be rushed and the social aspect is as important as the eating itself. Needless to say, the discussion over lunch was really interesting and stimulating as we exchanged ideas on the future of various Business Intelligence solutions.
During the meeting and demonstrations after lunch, I was able to see the SAP Explorer solution running on an iPhone which I know the Londoner’s will love (see my BLOG from Day 1). I was also able to share the latest features of InfoBurst 2009 with the people from SAP.
At my next meeting that day with another partner, I started with the demonstrations and update on InfoBurst 2009. This was quite interesting since one of the people in the room did not speak English but he seemed to catch on due to the visual and intuitive nature of the solution. It also helped that I was very animated when I presented and when he looked really bemused, I threw in a sentence in French. This always seemed to make him laugh and I was not sure if this was because my poor French or due to my “Inspector Clouseau” accent.
After this meeting I went to dinner with the partner and, again, had a great conversation about strategy which was so much easier over a meal than in a board room.
My “take away” for the day was that the best way to do business in France is while eating and that if ever the restaurants went on strike in France, it would bring business to a standstill!