Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Thursday, February 23, 2006

GE won two gold medals!

Rest assured, these are not sports medals. They are though in an area that has lots of similarities with sports, the area of business competitions.

While Olympic Games takes place every few years, in the business world, Olympic kind of competitions are non-stop. Leading business publications like Fortune, Financial Times, Forbes, Barrons are publishing each year the results of these competitions.

It so happened that the next day after I've declared GE as the champion of the Olympic technologies, Fortune Magazine released its rankings of the Most Admired Companies. And guess what? General Electric (GE) is the champion with two gold medals! GE was ranked as America's Most Admired Company and World's Most Admired Company from a list of 303 top companies.

If you want know why GE is the business champion click on this link [pdf] and learn about what makes GE great.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Edison and Olympics.

Another puzzle of commonality. You may be wondering what possible could be common between Edison and Olympics. Well, I don't know if Edison ever competed in any Olympic sports but his legacy touches the sports movement for more than a century.

As I said before everyone enjoys the spirit of Olympic competitions and celebrations. How many people are thinking though about the huge effort, technologies and services needed to organize such events? Olympic villages, competition venues, sports facilities, etc. are often built from scratch. They need modern infrastructures, energy, transportation, lighting, security, telecommunications, etc.

Also, the responsibility the organizers take to provide a flawless event is immense. Considering the wide audience and media coverage that such events attract, any insignificant flaw could be noticed right away. For this reason the organizers partner with global businesses that have the needed technologies and can be trusted for high standards of delivering on promises, with integrity. The business that Edison founded General Electric (GE), is such a partner.

I don't know if there is any other business in the world that has the technological diversity, environmental responsibility, innovation and business culture, and operational excellence needed for a flawless organization of the Olympic Games. GE's expertise in power generation and distribution, lighting , plastics, security, water technologies, portable structures, medical equipment, sports medicine, broadcasting, etc. is impressing and unique. As a global citizen and member of The Olympic Partner Programme (TOP) GE supports the Olympics and gives back to the organizing communities.

Check this link for more facts and numbers about GE sponsorship of the Olympic Games.

So next time you enjoy the Olympic Games or the splendor of lights during Olympic celebrations think of those great people that made this dream possible, think of GE, the champion of the Olympic technologies. Think of GE's founder, Thomas Alva Edison and his followers.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Struggle is more important than the triumph!

Since we are in the middle of Winter Olympic Games I did a little research on the subject. The title of this post is my paraphrase to the Olympic Games Creed introduced by Pierre de Coubertin:

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

I must to confess that when I read the creed for the first time I didn't get it. My interpretation was that it is like a consolation for those that didn't win or it takes care of their self-esteem :) Well...after the recent lesson (that perception could be misleading) I said to myself that the creed must have some sort of a higher and noble meaning. Here it is what I found: the creed is about determination, passion, aspiration for higher grounds and surpassing yourself. These are more important than the victory that is short lived. Of course, winning feels good (that's why people are so interested in the number of medals their country won) but the harder the competition, the sweeter the victory.

On the other hand all those that didn’t win the medal won something else, an opportunity to become better. Any winner knows that even though winning wasn't easy it will be harder to stay on top. A competitive experience is good since all participants learn from their mistakes and competitor’s strengths and weakness. They learn that in order to win the next Olympics medal they need to train harder.

Besides providing an inspiration for these high values, Olympic Games are a celebration of world's harmony, team work, fair play, history and culture of the organizing country.

Each opening and closing ceremony competes with previous ones for a better artistic representation of these ideas.

- Canadian Olympic Collection
- Canadian Olympic Committee

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Einstein and Picasso.

If you are wondering what these two giants have in common then don't miss two of the best EinsteinFest lectures that will be presented next Saturday and Sunday by TVOntario.

I've talked before about Clifford Will's lecture but I didn't have time to talk about Arthur Miller's intriguing parallel between Einstein's and Picasso's major creations, life, thinking, character and source of creativity. Arthur Miller's, presentation is a real treat. You'll learn about the similarities between the creation of Relativity Theory and the first cubist painting Les_Demoiselles d'Avignon.

Here are some of the ideas that I learned: don't always trust perception, conception is important both in science and in art; the notion of simultaneity preoccupied both giants (Einstein's simultaneity is temporal while Picasso's is spatial); Einstein started the modern era in science while Picasso started the modern era in art; they both had the same sources of creativity: geometry (for multidimensional representations), technology, science, aesthetics(in science and in art), etc.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Political promises.

After so much laughter on CBC I switched over to CTV where the Canadian news icon Lloyd Robertson gathered an interesting all color political panel. And the results started to pour in. the majority's surprise even though the Conservatives were leading, they were not winning as expected.

Liberals trailed the Conservatives only by 21 seats making the latter to enjoy a bittersweet victory. Some were commenting that the current political configuration makes Canada ungovernable. Canadians are now divided between those that want a change and political integrity and those that want to preserve the Canadian social values and identity. Now it remains to be seen if in the middle of this divide any election promise could be kept. A slightly positive result of this election is the Conservatives gains in Quebec that affected a little the separatists. Unfortunately none of the big cities are represented by the winning party making some to say that the west and rural won over the east and urban.

Even though the voter turnout have rebounded to 65% from the all time low in 2004, people are still suspicious of politicians' integrity. And rightly so... if we think that the new freshly elected winning party makes a wrong step right from the beginning. It is exactly the integrity promise that was trompeted during election that they were unable to keep. The reason that others have done it before, doesn't stick. I'm wondering what example is this for the young electorate. I was just amazed recently (February 5th) by the political maturity of some teens debating on TV and criticizing the status quo of the current Canadian democracy. They were expressing the need to have a more active role in the political life and not be restricted only to the right to vote every 4 years or so.

This proves that even though the current free-world democracy is viable, it is not perfect. It looks like there is not to much innovation in the democracy field. This reminds me of some of my recent readings from Greek Realities. Life and Thought in Ancient Greece by Finley Hooper. It is amazing to learn how efficient and truly participative was the Athenian popular democracy during Pericles. The same way people were given the power to politicians, they could take it back. Moreover, they were not contented just to watch the government, they had means to participate in governing process through the Council of 500. The current technology can provide the means to achieve a participatory democracy. Food for thought for the political parties when they will be concerned of why people do not want to be more involved during political elections. Even though it sounds naive, political power is not about privileges. It is about sincerely representing people that elected you. It is about integrity.