During my recent trip to visit the Sole Technology family in Europe and my dear mom, I came across some great finds. There is something magical about Europe, the sights, the sounds, and the people...the beauty that is Europe. Here are the highlights, I hope you will enjoy.
First stop: The Netherlands, Amsterdam
Sole Technology Inc. has offices worldwide. Here I am visiting my team in Amsterdam.
Caption: In Amsterdam, lunch is a family affair. Every day at noon, the entire staff comes together to cook, eat, laugh and share stories. This is a common Dutch practice, work groups coming together to take a break and refuel for the day. Typically the newbie of the group is required to show off their cooking skills and cook for everyone. It is a real community.
Caption: My COO Paul Migaki and I cycling the streets of Amsterdam. Nearly half of all traffic movements in Amsterdam are by bike.
The bicycle movement is gaining momentum. On July 15, 2007, the city of Paris launched a new self-service "bicycle transit system" called Vélib’. (This is one of many sites, but this one is in English). The program works by paying to ride, so Parisians and visitors can pick up and drop off bicycles throughout the city at 754 locations, with a total of 10,648 bikes. By the end of the year, there will be a Vélib’ station approximately every 900 feet for a total of 1,451 locations and 20,600 bikes. It will play an important part in reducing pollution, making cycling an efficient and environmentally friendly way to get around. With so much sunshine year round…Orange County should be the next.
Second stop: Paris, France
I had the supreme pleasure of hearing some incredible music from Justice. Justice is a French electronic music duo consisting of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay. Take a listen here.
Caption: The sounds were incredible-it felt like my ear tubes would explode-perfect youth music!
Exhibition of Richard Serra at the Grand Palais
Caption: I was lucky enough to see the inauguration of Promenade, a new work for the MONUMENTA series, at the Grand Palais in Paris by Richard Serra. Promenade is a multiple piece installation that creates a landscape of steel. As a design junkie, I was amazed by these structures, five steel pieces that measured 14m x 4m, a thickness of 13 cm and 75 tons each. The fact that these massive structures were holding upright by themselves, was art in and of itself. Richard Serra, who I am a huge fan of, is an American minimalist sculptor and video artist known for working with large scale assemblies of sheet metal. More information on Richard Serra.
The rest of my trip was spent enjoying the beautiful City of Lights with family and friends. Check out the Eiffel Tower at night.
Coming Home: Back to California
As any skateboarder can attest too, they have been stopped by security on one or more occasions. Twenty years later, it still happens to me. In my transit back to California I was stopped by customs police at the airport who were set off by my appearance (beanie, jeans, backpack, and skateboard in hand). They had numerous questions for me including what I did for a living. When I told them I was a CEO they did not believe me, it was not until they went through all my bags and saw my paperwork and files did they take me to be a real businessman. It makes me laugh knowing this will not be the last time this happens.
After this ordeal, this is one of my favorite shots below. I saw the light, the beautiful fluorescent lights shining on the escalator, the escalator that lead me home.
Next week I discuss my latest project, recreating popular furniture of the Case Study House through the vision of a skateboarder to develop the Skate Study House.