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Archive for August, 2012

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After Summer

Back with my beloved planes and my horses. Summer was and is exciting, long, hot, boring, partying, thinking and much more. Inviting friends and finding out who you are and finally who they are. Celebrating your birthday and not being ashamed of how old you are and meeting people and not judging what they do and what not. Just being surprised by the wonderful time you spend with them. Summer and in particular this summer is and was  realizing that there is much more to do than I thought and much less to do that I thought I should do. It was  thinking about love and friendship and mostly about what are the main values in ones life, my main values in life.

Which values do count? – For me one of the most important is honesty, no doubt. Without it there is no progress, nowhere and never. The luxury is to admit how important it is and the strengthis to step back if it is not existing between two people who would make a great combination. Honesty is the key and it brings all the good and bad things with it. Sometimes you simply cannot make friends when you are attacking the person opposite of you with a comment that is fired straight to his/her heart. But at the end it makes you predictable and yourself, saying the truth does make life so much easier. Immagine the many different storries you have to keep in mind. And then you mess it up and the whole story backfires while you search for other lies to not be entirely looking like a fool.

There is so much to see and to experience and so less time to do it. The secret is to make time for it and to delete all that unnecessary crab from your life. Well if this would be so easy, I know but at least we have to try. And I tried to do so much this summer and I really got back to enjoying the cup of coffee and the fresh bread in the morning and the smile from my sons and the honest talks to the people I love, nothing else counts.

Summer is honest feelings of being happy and returning to my beloved planes. That is it for me. 

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The importance of the mysterious UHNWIs

When was the last time you went to a fashion show after-party and the models or designers paid for: drinks, apparel, accessories or jewelry? Many would think these kinds of personalities are the best example to frame a picture of the Ultra-High-Net-Worth individual.

UHNWIs can be the people who probably just nailed a juicy contract to be in the new Louis Vuitton or Hermes Campaign. Others would define the UHNWI simply as a wealthy person with more than 30 million USD ready to invest or spend, and according to some estimates there are almost hundred thousand of them worldwide.

It seems to me, based on my experience from various industry related shows and conferences, that the prevailing sentiment in our industry is to target the UHNWIs. We seem to assume that every person with more than 30 million USD of disposable capital needs an airplane.  And so we focus on them. Common sense after all says that hedonists, whether they are rich businessmen or models with new contracts, make good luxury buyers. But is it the right decision to define our industry by the number of UHNWI we fly per year?

Epicurus the philosopher was a hedonist, but not in the popular modern sense. In these days we tend to associate hedonism with excessive pleasure-seeking or with refined selective experiences. What Epicurus meant, though, was something more subtle; he certainly didn’t think the road to happiness was paved with luxury or material wealth. What he emphasized was the idea of being ‘untroubled’. Epicurus also saw the absence of pain as a pleasure in itself.

Many of us focus on those who can afford a plane, but the real question is do they really need it? Or even better put – do they really want it? If Epicurus would have lived nowadays he probably would ignore all the celebrity endorsed fractional ads he gets in the Wall Street Journal, the luxury fantasy of an in-flight Jacuzzi he just saw on Fashion TV and he probably wouldn’t even consult a huge pile of Luxury magazines to pick the best Golf resort in Cabo San Lucas.

“That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and, hence, is just encouragement to industry and enterprise”

Abraham Lincoln


Epicurus would, like other celebrities, secretaries, UHNWI, athletes and agents, just click on the top two results (maybe even the third), the search engine would yield. He would probably check online reputation of the provider, maybe he would ask around about the brand just to double check that the offer is solid. The point is that all of this would be at the reach of his hand, simple and, above all, ‘untroubled’.

The clash between the modern and the Epicurean definition of the word hedonist illustrates the different approaches of the industry representatives in the Eastern and Western markets.  I was not therefore surprised, when this graphic, comparing the east and west industries, showed up at the EBACE conference. The reason why the curve in Russia goes that ‘seasonal’ is because they are taught to market private aviation as a luxury, while in the west it is mostly promoted as a business-saving-time-tool-with-a-style.

There are many UHNWI in Central Europe but the market is simply not ready yet. We need to work on the infrastructure of the market and we must keep explaining the pros and cons. We also have to allow people to choose at their own, sweet time. Only then can our market start growing again and those clients, who will need an airplane, will follow. With growing business, more UHNWI will develop and then we are here, ready to help and provide professional service.

We should help the market to develop in recession times by building alliances and investing in the future. We should focus on helping banks and insurance houses to understand the constantly changing, specific conditions of our industry. Instead, we wait till the market takes its own dynamic and then act accordingly.  We wait until it is safe to make the next step… However, waiting too long for the next step might give the competition a head start.

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Winner

Why is it always the first one to be celebrated? All the others surely had to put forth the same effort. Is it all just about the feeling of being elevated from the others? How are you coping with this feeling of being first? Often we wait a long time and work very hard for winning something. And then we win. We stand alone with a beating heart, waiting for the reward, and we somehow end up feeling lonely. Why is there always a goodbye after a hello? And why we just can not say, quite simply, that the things we did till now were just a prologue for what will follow? Because, because because… Because nothing will happen if it is not dreamed first.

The world is just like this and it will not change in any generation. The winner takes it all, the loser is standing small. We love the winner, we love the power of success, the fact that this person did something extraordinary and is thus someone special. Studies proved that if someone posts a success story on his or her facebook page, the number of friendship requests jumps up tremendously. We want to be associated with those in the light, not those in the shadow. After all, we all know that when darkness comes into our life even our shadow will leave us. Do you know where you are heading and, before you start your journey, do you know who you are?

Recently during a very serious business meeting one manager of a huge company told me that because of his Chinese cards, he does not always know who he is. My response was clear and fast, of the serve – volley kind: I many times also do not know who I am. The good news, however, is that I am able to remember quite quickly who I am and I manage to beam myself back to reality after the wonderful journey to the dreamworld, where everything can end exactly the way we want it to.

Sometimes you win but in reality the victory feels more like defeat. The price you have to pay is high. If you are successful you have only few friends, because you are not sure for which reasons they stick with you. So you keep your distance in an attempt to avoid hurt feelings and disappointment, which could hinder your efforts to climb the highest mountain.

And then – you win. You think everyone is happy for you, but just in that moment the biggest enemy of mankind shows its dark face – enviousness.

The real victory in life is to be yourself. To wake up and go to bed with the feeling that you did the best you could, that you regret what you did wrong, and you are able to recognize both.

Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.

Voltaire

So seriously, the wining should not be an issue. You win when you are able to make fun of yourself – that is already a huge achievement.

Couple weeks ago I had a very important meeting in London. In fact, it was extremely important since the result of this meeting would have a real impact on our ongoing project. So I sat at the restaurant, ordered water (big bottle like always) and lemon (like always). And while I was talking away, I caught a glimpse of something yellow out of the right corner of my eyes. So, I grabbed the “lemon”, put it in my water and kept talking. Just then, the waiter passed by and with a little smile on his face he told me, that the food is already on its way and that the orchid in my glass might not be very healthy.

So, imagine you are eating the orchid, believing it is lemon, and at the same time you want to convince your business partner that you are actually a very reasonable person. “I did it on purpose” I said, but at least in Italian language.

Winning means losing. ;-)))

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ANOTHER YEAR

Today I am 51 years old, but i think i am 15. This is because I am curious and crazy and i do believe in love and life. I have the luxury to be surrounded by people I want to be surrounded with and the strength to say no to those who do not deserve it. I am thankful to my life, my wonderful children and the fact that I could have moments that most probably many people would dream about.
I am grateful to the people who love me the way i am and that I can have many more moments to come. Thanks to all my patient friends advising me in areas I am lost (womangames, as I am a man in my thinking ;-))) and I am glad to lighten up sometimes my friends and beloved ones lives by messing it up with black humour and crazyness.
May all of us celebrate many more of these wonderful days and have a healthy (especially my children and parents) and happy long life.
Dagmar
Happy Birthday on behalf of your team at GJS.