Driving around Orange County
It was september when I was here last time and now I’m driving again around OC. After a12 hour never-ending flight I landed in Los Angeles yesterday at 1 pm. Even if LA is non my favorite airport when I got out and started driving to Irvine I felt comfortable. I’ve been here several times having the opportunity to visit several places. Enough to have some reference points that make me feel home. I will be here for one week, with several meetings scheduled and an important event on wednesday and thursday. But in the meanwhile I will even have time to look around and live for a while the OC life.
I started today visiting the Mission in San Juan Capistrano (1776). I never had been there before. San Juan Capistrano is a really nice place, that gives you the feeling of the old Mexico, and the Mission is a real historic landmark, one of those that is not so easy to find here around. Maybe it’s because, living in Italy, we are used to history, old palaces and buildings far older that the oldest building in US, but normally when I visit an historical place in US it’s not do easy to consider it much more historical than old. The Mission is different. You feel some ancient feeling walking around the porches, visiting the “industrial” area, entering the old and destroyed stone church and looking that the bells wall. You feel in some way the flavor of a past that is really history.
I couldn’t drive around OC without stopping and spending a couple of hours in Laguna Beach. I don’t now really why, but I love that place. I love the city beach, the art shops and mostly looking at the ocean from the viewpoint close to the “Las Brisas” restaurant. Laguna is no Sardinia, but it’s so lovely too that I never get tired of it.
Where’s sunny California?
First time I have been in US it was 2008 in Carlsbad. It was one sunny but cold week. Today I experienced probably the worst weather I ever had in California. Nothing special to be honest, especially coming from a very cold italian winter, bit for the first time I saw definitely raining. Not the light rain that sometimes happens, but the heavy rain that frequently we have in Italy during springtime. It was nice seeing this area that I really love under a different perspective. And it was even not a big problem since the day was dedicated to shopping and business meetings.
I still get surprised of how easy is to establish a relationship with this people. We, in Italy, are mostly diffident and building a business partnership is something that requires a lot of time and efforts. Sometimes even with people you know from a long time you cannot say if you are a partner or just a customer or a supplier. It’s a matter of trust and of willingness of keeping control of the relationship.
Here things are different, or at least seems to be to a foreign eye. People trust you almost immediately and are ready to give you a chance. At the same time they are ready to break the partnership as soon as they understand that it doesn’t works, it’s not effective or, worst of all, you are not trustable. This means that if your intentions are serious and your behavior is ethical doing business is much more easier.
I’m on the plane, flying back. It’s an 11 hours flight in an uncomfortable seat. Two hours left and I’m surrounded by people with a “zombie” face. I realize it’s time to make a summary of this week.
South California is becoming a kind of second home. Not because I almost have all my reference points and I can move easily between places I really love, but because there are so many people I start to know that it’s really like being at home.
One week in OC, four days of meetings, two days traveling. Not so bad… Meetings have been interesting, mostly not for the information you gather, but for the networking you can do and for the inspiration you bring home. So the important is being there! The american approach to business is very different from ours, more pragmatic and effective. I cannot say it’s necessary better or easier, but for sure more straightforward. For this reason anytime I come here for a while I go back home with a strong commitment to bring part of this approach in my business. It’s not so easy, since you need to face a so different culture and often a strong resistance. But if you can mix the italian creativity and flexibility with the american pragmatism and order you really get a competitive advantage. The problem is that inspiration and commitment ends, consumed by the daily problems, and you need to refill it periodically with a new trip.
Moreover I met some very inspired people. People that have a so clear vision of their business and a so strong motivation, that talking with them is always a lesson. People that you can easily define leaders for the ability to transfer their passion to whom they are talking with and are not feared by the daily problems because they have a a clear mind of their long term goal. That’s the passion I love and that I would like to have any day and to be able to transfer to my colleagues. “Every challenge is an opportunity” was written on an advertise. It’s an easy thought that can be true only if you really believe it. Because the opportunity is not in the challenge itself, it’s in the way you approach it!