My first slide today in Milan reads:
25 Meters: $1000.
500 Meters: Amex rejected.
I am not a "clothes horse." In fact I am routinely considered a slob. The only part of my wardrobe I obsess on is sweatpants, sweatshirts, hiking boots, and baseball caps. (And I do "obsess" on those Essential Items.) Nonetheless, I went a little berserk in the Fashion Capital of Europe. Europe? Why not "The World"?
By "repatriation" (on the slide) I mean that the Italians, whose balance-of-trade will take a little hit when they finish paying for today's speakers—Giuliani, Welch, Porter, and me, got at least some of it back in the shops. I was down $1,000 by the time I got across the narrow street from my hotel. $1,000 ... all on ties! Another couple of hundred yards, and couple of stops, and my American Express card was being rejected for serial-purchases. (The one that took me over the top was, at least, for Susan!)
Broke but happy, I needed to work on my Soul. Eureka! Piazza Duomo and Il Duomo! What word/s do I use? "Breathtaking" does not do the central Milan Cathedral justice! It sneaks into view from the narrow streets, and one is drawn to it like a Magnet for the Spirit.
135 glorious spires suck the Heavens down to earth! Construction began in 1386 ... just a little before the Pilgrims popped over to Red Sox Nation! While never "finished," the main construction was done in 1774. Yup, 388 years! (And speaking of Red Sox Nation ... that's even longer than the Big Dig construction project in Boston is taking!)
I spent 90 minutes walking slowly around the church—and could easily have spent hours more. Each door is a magnificent masterpiece, for one thing. The interior, even with a raft of tourists (like me), is ... again ... Magnificent!
Alas, the only less-than-satisfactory part of this story is my Canyon Ranch diet, which keeps me from the Full Glory of Italian food.
A day in Milano! What a lucky kid am I!
(Fall is here! Off to my Morning Jog/Speed Walk on the streets ... pitch dark at 7:05 a.m.)
(Hint: What follows could be Suck-up City. I don't think it is. My Mega-conference in Milan today—3,000 delegates—is produced by HSM. The Sao Paulo-based Management Services Conglomerate, founded by my tireless pal Jose Salibi Neto, is simply the best management event producer in the world—and has been for 2 decades. They Wowed the likes of me and Peter Drucker and Alvin Toffler in Brazil years and years ago—and were the subject of a glowing one-to-one marketing case study long before there even was "one-to-one marketing"! HSM then expanded through the Latin world—Argentina, Mexico City, Madrid, etc. This past Spring they took the Great Leap ... and Made It in Manhattan, with a crowd of almost 5,000 management delegates to hear Da Mayor, Jack Welch, Tommy Franks, Bill Clinton, et al. Now I'm part of their next round of expansion: Frankfurt and Milan. As usual: Marketing brilliant! Execution awe-inspiring! How about: the Cirque du Soleil of Management Experiences? I think such outrageous praise is warranted, even if I am prejudiced. Incidentally, next up are Chicago and L.A.)