Sunday October 23, 2022 – La Minute Monocle

The fastest way / Tyler Brule

Notes from the road

This Sunday, we’re kicking things off with a few key deadlines to catch up, get things straightened out, and then look at some issues and incidents. We start in West Africa.

Dakar, Senegal. The last time I was in West Africa was in the summer of 1990, when I was on assignment for Channel 9 Australia in Abidjan. Two weeks ago I landed in the Senegalese capital on a slightly different mission (not covering a civil war this time) and was struck by how disconnected the EU/US narrative is from what is happening in the less developed corners of the world. As governments and corporations hit many of us over the head with endless tales of sustainability, charging stations and batteries, I sat in Dakar traffic wondering if the big corporations in the world had abandoned nations dependent on diesel and decided to pursue closed economies. that focus their messages on people who can drive battery-powered Volkswagens, live on wind power, and even find a bit of winter adventure with a reduced power supply. Does it really make sense to force Europe, North America and parts of APAC into high-speed transformation mode when most of the most populous corners of the world are still half a century away? a stable electricity supply, not to mention a properly functioning infrastructure for traffic management? Boards of directors and government cabinets must leave liberal-populist territory and focus on concrete facts that go far beyond the borders of everyday life in Berlin and Basel, and stick to the roundabouts of the Kingdom -United. If we really want to be inclusive, then let’s start applying the same rigor outside the comforts of semi-functional liberal democracies.

Gate 73, Zurich Airport. It’s Friday night and everyone is so excited for a sunny weekend in Athens that all the passengers have lined up for the flight very early. At the start of the queue is a restless gentleman and his long-suffering family. He is upset that one of the band members has to be demoted and causes a huge commotion. He’s from the masker-sanner tribe and wants everyone on board to wear masks — and he’s got enough booze dangling from his specially-equipped shoulder strap dispenser to get the airliner off the skies. Before sitting down he yelled at the entire crew and before long delayed the flight for a good 30 minutes. As it’s Friday in Europe, we miss our take-off slot and are now an hour late. The poor crew do their best to master the antics, but their options are limited because the iPad doesn’t have a chapter for high-strung abusive assholes. As many of the world’s senior cabin crew (over 55) have been paid off and sent into early retirement in recent times, we are now left with junior personnel with little life experience to deal with. such situations. Digitization can go a long way for efficiency, but any COO, CFO, or CTO who thinks a screen and a few off-the-shelf solutions can replace years of frontline experience should be fired. Had this carrier had seasoned adults at the door and on board, everything would have been handled with elegance and discretion. Instead, the two-hour flight was tense and – unsurprisingly – everyone had to wait while the disturbed passenger was greeted by flashing blue lights. Title: Retiring experienced staff is a fatal false economy. Moreover, it is not very inclusive!

Voula, Greece. It’s official. I’ve spent the past two summers probing the best food concepts across the Mediterranean and Greeks are winning hands down in understanding how to deliver modern wine, food and coffee. France and Italy are doing a solid job in terms of traction but it stops there. Spain is good at big scale concepts but fails when it comes to modern and specialist. Portugal has brilliant ideas but it is not on the Mediterranean. If you’re looking for a property that offers inspiring retail close by, look to Athens South. Top marks at Oak, Ipirotissa and Faidon’s.

Dallas, Texas. In just over two weeks, the Monocle team and a host of great speakers will descend on Dallas for our very first conference in the United States. If you want to know where you should open your new retail business, why you should invest in an apprenticeship program, how Mexicans are mastering hospitality, what the future of luxury retail will look like, and how to get a great time in the US Southwest, then saddle up and join us in downtown Dallas for great conversation, inspiring ideas, stiff cocktails, and great entertainment! Learn more here.

We will end with a question. Hasn’t the QR code taken its course as an essential part of everyday life? Isn’t it time to go back to printed menus? Do I really want my room-service menu as a QR? Will in-flight entertainment really be this dazzling by scanning the code? And does wifi even work on this flight? Let’s stop saying that QR codes are good for the environment because they save paper and have a low impact on the environment. By my calculations, my mobile device needs to be charged and running on one network, the QR code is powered by another network and requires power, as do the countless other networks involved in delivering a coffee in my room. With a potentially cold winter ahead, I would run the presses. Now!

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