Negotiating Strategy; Selling on the Silk Road

PUSHING BAZAAR The largest market in Central Asia is the Pushing Bazaar in Ashkabad.  Why ”pushing”?  Because it’s packed with potential customers and onlookers, and you have to push your way through the crowd to get anywhere. And once you’re there bargaining for something, if the action is interesting, people will push their way into the situation, offering their own assessment of the item’s value, and arguing with each other about it (in the Turkmen language – you haven’t a clue what they’re saying).  It’s a pastime for them. The place is huge, full of color, texture and sound, and is roughly … Continue reading

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Strategy in the News: Drones, a New Resource

DRONING THE FARM  Robert Blair’s neighbors have grown accustomed to seeing him launch a small aircraft over his fields in Idaho.  It’s a nice-looking little plane about 4 ft. long, with a wingspan of around 8 feet, that systematically flies back and forth over sections of his land. What’s Blair doing with this thing?  He runs a good-sized operation – 1,500 acres.  It’s hard to know where and how much to be tending the crops on a spread this size.  And the cost of tending them has risen dramatically as the costs of fertilizer, fuel and water have increased. So targeting … Continue reading

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Pirate Strategy – Hey, it’s a business

DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS After a couple of voyages as a youth, a certain young man took to the sea to seek his fortune in 1674.  He shipped out of London, bound for the Caribbean and Jamaica.  He ended up making 3 voyages around the world, and in the process became a superstar. His written observations and drawings of Galapagos Islands flora & fauna were reference works that Darwin took with him on the voyage of the Beagle some 150 years later (his materials were used by both Darwin and von Humboldt in the formulation of their theories). … Continue reading

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The Great Wall; Defensive Strategy

The Great Wall – Standing on the Great Wall with friend & colleague Guy after finishing up business in Beijing …   You can get a sense for the unending and imposing character of the wall from the picture.  The photo was taken just moments before the Great International Cigar Incident occurred. Our private tour guide, Grace, had let us loose at the entrance to the wall stairs at the Mutianyu garrison.  She knew what we were in for.  We‘d targeted a specific guard tower high up on a hill as our goal.  It was a really tough climb up the … Continue reading

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Resources in Strategy; Lye Brook Wilderness

BOURN POND Its nice sitting in this  tree.  The sun has broken through intermittent clouds, switching on the brilliant leaves of my red maple.  This is no ordinary tree.  It’s a cage.  The main trunk is normal for the first two or three feet.  Then it splits into 5 sub-trunks that start horizontally for a couple of feet, then go straight up, creating a cage.  Once inside it, your visual field is saturated red leaves.  Gorgeous.  The tree is on the shore of Bourn Pond in the Lye Brook Wilderness in southern Vermont; it’s the only place I’ve seen trees … Continue reading

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Negotiating Strategy; Buying on the Silk Road

SITTING here with family and friends on a large wooden divan in a Samarkand chaikhana, sipping that good tea, and eating some local snacks …  we were about to take in some of the city’s magnificent architecture.  Tomorrow we would be going to the Registan, a great market where I could take a shot at doing some negotiating with Silk Road merchants renowned for their sophisticated bargaining. The Silk Road Built on even much earlier trade routes, the Silk Road was a well-established overland route by 200 BC, that primarily connected the Mediterranean and China.  No surprise, a principal commodity of trade … Continue reading

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