Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cultural Divide Israel-Germany

There's an agency in Germany that on paper is a perfect candidate for what LeverEdge knows to offer. Magnificent. So we're in the initial stages of feelers and probes, prior to the stage of dancing around one another, prior to the stage of negotiations, prior to the stage of collaborating on a big and interesting and mutually beneficial project. The whole process will take a year if we're lucky, and we may well not be (lucky). Still, it's worth trying.

Also, there's a commercial firm in Germany that is closer than we are to the agency, and is better positioned than we are to getting in. So we've been scratching our heads, stroking our chins, and generally sort of deliberating how best to move forward. We have an idea they don't have, they're locals with some connections - standard stuff.

This afternoon I called one of the fellows at the firm, and told him that one of my colleagues has just this moment told me he'll be in Germany, in the right town, 9 days from now, and we feel he should do a spot of scouting at the agency. Nothing official, mind you, we're not anywhere near that stage yet, but lots of good things can come of unofficial reconnaissance missions, no?

The German colleague hemmed and hawed. I didn't back off. He said it wouldn't be easy to arrange. I said that wouldn't be easy is the story of life, and it's best to live life at its fullest. He mumbled that merely in order to get into the premises of the agency you need to make an appointment three months in advance. I said that we had 9 days, not three months, but we didn't need an official appointment. We're touristing around, not trying to buy the place. He said You know Yaacov, I'm not certain; I said You know Quincy (that's not his real name), you're not certain that not, either, are you.

He was actually being very clear: "I don't think it will work" in such a context means No. Anybody can understand that code. And I was pretending to hear the words, not the code.

Later, I told the colleague who's about to go traveling about the conversation. He commented that in such a situation, had it been an Israeli who was being called to create access, he first would have assured the potential visitor that it was done already, 100% certain, don't worry about it, the cab will take you from your hotel at 9:15 that morning and I'll meet you at the entrance. Then, after the phone call and the reckless promise, he's spend the next 8 hours doing nothing else but making certain that he could deliver, even if when he'd made the commitment he don't have the faintest idea how even to start. He'd probably find someone with an uncle who's brother-in-law does reserve duty with the ex-boyfriend of the accountant in the department across the street from the agency, or some such obvious connection.

(Lest you think I'm making this up, some years ago when Yad Vashem was preparing to embark upon a large technology project, someone organized a meeting for the two of us at a potentially relevant English firm two hours north of London, and off we went. Only after we'd been sitting in the meeting for two hours did it dawn on me that the fellow who had set it all up had no more connection with the locals than I had.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You know? There's good news, here. Where germany sinks under the weight of hitler's lunacy. And, recovery? It's nowhere in sight.

The growing area? IRELAND! And, this is strictly a technology-turn-around MIRACLE! Because? Ireland had a brain drain (back in the late 1800's) from which she didn't recover.

Jimmy Rogers, a wonderful professor of economics, took a trip "around the world" ... on a motorcycle, no less. Just to see what business was up to, back in the late 1980's. His first stop was IRELAND. And, he pointed to the damage of the 'brain-drain.' Beautiful landscapes, said he. But they didn't recover the loss of those who left for America.

And, then? Along came technology. Coupled to the lunacy of England, France, and Germany's socialism rules. People went to IRELAND, because IRELAND set up technology ... so from off-Island, you can see success grow.

My dad was born in 1898. This gives me an unusual vantage point. Pre-telephone. Pre-electric lights. Heck, even pre-movies ... I know, first hand, people who came and went, through them.

My dad was born in Krakow. So early on I learned there were "differences" ... from Jews who came from Germany. And, who fancied adopting Christianity. Just to belong to "social clubs." And, also the Jews who spoke Yiddish. Who were not part of the fancy-schmansy model.

Today? Germany can forget about all her intellectual gains. They're gone, now.

And, recovery? You want recovery? I wouldn't spit on their shoes.

Sorry you couldn't connect. But the broken connection is there for the germans to lose. Let them wallow in it.