Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Nokia's $92 Million "Bill"

Back in January.....Nokia came up and announced they were closing their one and only cellphone factory in Germany....and moving to Romania.

Several million Germans got real upset about this. First....the two thousand jobs created by this plant.....went down the drain, with the other three thousand in the local community which were created by this ripple effect. Then folks realized that Nokia used up millions in aid....from the government.....to make this plant successful.

The German politicians have sat down and figured out....that Nokia were short-changing the job quota that they agreed on.....from two hundred to three hundred employees per year. No one is quiet sure about the "real" number or if this was a absolute guarantee.

What Nokia does say....is that manufacturing cellphones in Germany simply doesn't work. Between the cost of living, union wages, and the various little taxes that add up....simply makes it foolish to continue.....so they built up a plant real quietly in Romania last year, and will be moving by the end of this year.

The Germans are now hinting.....they want $92 million returned....because of promises broken. Nokia was kinda surprised about this angle announced this past week. Business analysts are fairly divided over this issue. Some think that promises written like this....are never enforced. Some are thinking that once Germany gave the money over.....it was a done deal. The amusing thing to me....is that Nokia who strongly hinted of the huge costs of running a business in Germany.....is going to discover that even quitting a business in Germany.....cost a vast sum.
Lesson learned? Yep....if you are going to start a business in Germany....don't. Skip right over and find a less taxing place.

Dexter, Puff the Magic Dragon, Elvis, Jed Clampett, Socrates & Dick Cheney Rolled Up in One

So today....around 9AM at my magnificent modular desk (a vaulted view included).....the fire came. When crap has hit the fan and you really got a fair sized fire....you come to my desk.

So....this contractor who shall remain nameless....was a member on a four-man team....driving from Ramstein Air Base, Germany....to Aviano Air Base, Italy. Remember....crossing borders here....Germany, Austria, and Italy.....and the contractor discovered that she'd forgotten her passport. For some reason....like you'd expect....they didn't even check at the two borders involved. Thats how free Europe is today. But then....reality hits....because she has to fly back on Friday night....and the airlines will ask for a passport.

So we got tossed this "fire" and so began my efforts. We got her kids to hand over the passport at the house....and began. Our little office began to discover that overnight delivery....doesn't really exist in Germany. The best that FEDEX could say....maybe Friday....but probably Saturday. DHL.....same story. But then I came to UPS....they would take the passport, and deliver on Friday morning....but then the amusing thing....they won't take VISA. Yep.....gotta do a bank transfer and this takes a day to be accepted.

I sat there laughing at the idiot....telling no VISA cards accepted....third world country status here. Even in Florence, Alabama....they'd take VISA. Thats the kind of country that Germany is.

So then I continued on....looking for this way to get a damn passport down to Italy within 36 hours. I pulled out every possible clue.

Then....I went to the pilot routine. Ramstein has planes flying down.....could I find one pilot who would take this and dump it at Aviano? The odds? To find the pilot who was willing? Pretty difficult....so I pull out the favor's book....and find the one guy that might help....and within 30 minutes....he'd found that pilot and got the guy to agree. I delivered the passport by noon....and by 9AM tomorrow....it'll be in Aviano....for our contractor to pick up.

Honestly....I live for these situations. I refuse to give in or surrunder.....and I honestly think you could cook up just about any emergency.....even to the 9-11 scale, and hand it to me.....and I'd just invent the solution right there on the spot.

Years ago....in my youth....my dad laid out the "create a answer out of thin air" situation....and there on the farm....you'd come up with various solutions that weren't textbook written or fitting into anything you could imagine. I accepted this mentality....and have used it my entire life. When there is a "fire" brewing.....folks tend to come near my desk and just lay out the situation....and I'll get on the phone and invent something that works. It ain't pretty.....as in my "Ripley-mentality".....life ain't simple or pretty or multi-colored. What I invent....won't be sold at some store or repeated on CNN....nor would you want to write books on my solutions because some of them are a bit far fetched. But I'm the guy you want when the smoke appears.