Why a modern Greek should feel like Achilles at sea

While everyone gets used to what most of us saw (and wrote) all along and the Greek debt sooner or later gets restructured, the road ahead is pretty clear: we have to actually produce something!   While the media and most of the population rolls over slowly, fat and lazy from so many years of a bloated public sector, someone has to go to Troy to fight.   Much like the Greeks back then though:

1. We are naturally skeptical. When I first saw the press release about a Greek company in the Innovation Parc I automatically assumed it is yet another scam.   So many years of seeing pseudo-business ventures makes a genuinely world standard effort hard to believe.

2. Most just don’t want to fight, quite happy in their own villages.    Trying to talk a Greek brand name like Loumidis to turn himself into something with a proven success record like is a task for …Ulysses’ cunning!

3. We get emotional and miss the point.   Helen was probably not very happy in Sparta anyway.   Who cares if Paris loved her?    Business is business.   I see this now while monitoring worldwide media regarding ouzo, one of those products that is considered so Greek it hurts.  Like feta cheese, some people get too caught up in history to face the real enemy; anyone selling our history better than us!

Much like Achilles, modern Greeks have a decision to make:   They can stay home and die poor and unknown, or they can venture forth to try and conquer the world like their ship faring ancestors have always done in the past.   It is written that Achilles beat the main force and landed with his handful of faithful warriors to take on the entire Trojan defenses before anyone else.   They could hardly keep him in the ship as it approached the well defended shore.   His enthusiasm for battle and immortality was impossible to hold back.

Hand me that spear.


How GrecoGerman family businesses will rule the world

It is fashionable (and easy) to target family run businesses as the source of a country’s problems.  Whether it is the Economist’s view of a region or the complaints of a middle manager who “just couldn’t get a promotion in there”.   I have studied family businesses as clients, as numbers and statistics.   I have lived and breathed one for most of my life.   And after enough years away from it now I can finally see the upside more clearly.

The term “family business” is completely useless.   The realization came crashing down on me as I got more comfortable with “Hidden Champions” (Simon Kucher) .    Even the Economist will take note.   After admiring the mid sized companies that are driving Germany’s worldwide export leadership, it takes some getting used to.    66% of these dynamic world leaders are family run.   Sure that is down 10% from what it was ten years ago.  Which is my point.  Not even a German family remains unchanged.

Not all families are the same.   So family businesses will also be pretty different. Kucher identifies factors unique to these winners like the drive to be No1, heavy investment in R&D, hard competition with neighbors and closeness to customers.   The fact that more people in these companies talk to customers has important implications for the use of social media too.   Nepotism may be rife in the Mediterranean but is not a given.

Pdf summary of the presentation on Hidden Champions is here –  FamilyBusinessPotentialInGreece.   Read it and then try to picture a German family business like those described in it next to a Greek one…maybe after enough Germans have bought land and moved to sunny Greece a new type of GrecoGermanic mid sized company will conquer the world!