Milano, prego.

I was on the 7.20am flight from Frankfurt to Milano Malpensa this morning.  I have several meetings at SAP Italy, so I won’t get the chance to do any siteseeing, but even so it is great to be in the land of espresso. I’m writing this in the cab on the way to SAP Italy.

The plane ride was very cheerful, lots of tired but smiling Italians dressed in the black and red of  AC Milan. They had been in Athens at the game.  I sat next to a father with his 10 year old son. The smile on both their faces was enough to cheer up the grumpiest business traveller. I’m glad I wasn’t flying to the UK today.

Doing business in different European countries is one of the joys of my job. It makes me realise that Europe is just a very thin crust on top of a deep pie of national cultures.  I’ve never yet met a European, yet I’ve lived in Europe for a decade.This is something that many US-based software companies don’t get. Long may their ignorance continue. Keep trying to build European payrolls and sell to Europeans.

Just to illustrate this, a photo from Sapphire Vienna.



I asked the SAP account manager of one of Italy’s largest companies why they had their own coffee machine, instead of using the one 5 metres to the left like everyone else. Viennese coffee is pretty good I figured. why lug an Italian machine (in this case a Saeco) and coffee halfway across Europe?

She looked at me as if I was a small boy who had just asked a really dumb question, and she said, “We cannot do business without making an Italian espresso first.” 

After an hour in the Milan traffic, I’ll be needing that espresso.


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2 thoughts on “Milano, prego.”

  1. I can attest – they make damn fine espresso in Italy. I’d bring my machine too. And my grinder.

  2. You’re so right, Thomas. The idea of European cultural homogeneity is just a marketing illusion – certainly it isn’t an ideal that anyone here aspires too.

    Last night I was at a dinner in London with British, Dutch and Belgian participants. They reluctantly conceded that English food was now much improved, but wouldn’t shift on their low opinion of our coffee.

    I didn’t tell them that (fine as Dutch coffee is) the Italians definitely make the best.

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