Feel Like Boarding the Concorde?

Concorde & Tupolev TU-144 at Sinheim Auto & Technik Museum

I’ve been to a few automobile and airplane exhibitions. Pearl Harbor, Taoyuan airport (Taiwan), Museo dell’Automobile (Turin)… fascinating collections. I thought I couldn’t be surprised by another one. Turns out the Germans really do it better.

In the southwestern german state of Baden-Württemberg lies Sinsheim’s Auto & Technik Museum, the largest privately owned museum in Europe. It features cars, motorcycles, airplanes, trains, tanks – you name it.

Concorde & Tupolev TU-144 at Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum
photo by flickr user mroach

The outstanding thing about the Sinsheim collection, besides feeling more like a fun park than a museum, is that it features two supersonic airplanes – which you can board! Both the french Concorde and the soviet Tupolev Tu-144 are accessible through spiraling stairs, and you can walk your way up, through their narrow corridors into their intimidating cockpits, past the tiniest toilet rooms ever.

I didn’t have a camera with me that day, but it didn’t really matter. All those shots on Flickr still can’t make it justice. Boarding these classic supersonic airplanes is an actual experience. I loved their Caddilacs too. If you’re ever around Baden-Württemberg, don’t miss it.

24 Hours of Happy Working

The Despicables in 24 Hours of Happy

Yes: I spent a day with Pharrell Williams’ videoclip; only pausing it for sleep, meals and football. This is what reading Jack Kerouac (On the Road) can do to you. Riding Kerouac’s wave of spontaneity/experimentation, as soon as I got wind of the videoclip, it was promptly decided that I had to challenge myself to 24 hours of happy working.

24 Hours of Happy

Some brave (or depressed) souls might sit through the whole thing, which would mean listening to the song about 360 times. Before you dismiss that as crazy-making, consider that the video’s crew listened to “Happy” probably 500 times and “no one is tired of it yet,” says Steiger. “That says something.”

Challenge accepted! Is Pharrell Williams implicit claim of being able to provide 24h of joy actually true? I tested this on a working day for a real challenge. This is how it went…

First day:

  • 12pm – smiles
  • 2pm – still smiles
  • 15:30 – best idea ever
  • 4pm – a little repetitive maybe
  • 6:30pm – still a great idea
  • 10pm – I actually missed this stuff after dinner and footy time, so much that I’m playing it off work too.
  • 10:30 – wow, this stuff is the best when you’re dimming the lights before sleep

Second day:

  • 8:30 – ha!
  • 10:30 – t’was a good idea
  • 12pm – I made it!
  • 3pm … starting to miss the damn song
fun, fun, fun

Yes, it was worth it and I definitely got the happies. Particularly since I didn’t pull an all-nighter like these guys did. But if you’d like to know a few of the highlights from the videoclip beforehand, their article is a good reference.

More interesting, yet, is the crew’s description of the process:

“The best work comes from people who are motivated by crisis–when something stops the original idea, they respond by coming up with something even better. Existence is all mathematics,” he says. “There’s an equation for success in every obstacle.”

But the coolest thing is finding some of the easter eggs:

Do it! You know you want to. 🙂

Rand Fishkin on Scaling Up Business

Photo by: JD Hancock

This interview from Rand at Mixergy is quite fascinating, particularly when it ventures into one of the main things I’ve been thinking about: how much you should grow your business to a scale where you’re mostly managing a company instead of its product or service:

Rand: Well, for me at least, and I think for a lot of entrepreneurs who love the early stage, we’re the same kinds of people who love artisanal things in the world. Artisanal things in life. And that can be, you know, hey, this shirt was handmade in Scotland in this store that I stopped into, and I met the owner. And that’s the same woman who designed the pattern and sourced the fabric. God, that’s so cool.

Andrew: Yeah.

Rand: Right. Or the craft cocktail movement. It’s like, yeah, this drink was invented in this bar last year when this crazy guy came up with this thing and, by the way, he also won the world beer championship two years in a row. That artisanal style of creation is something that’s really beautiful. And it doesn’t scale tremendously well. Or let me put it this way, it’s really, really hard to make it scale well.

The point is: being a true CEO is not for everyone. For that entails running a large scale business and not just a product or service. And not every product/service is adequate to scale up to the point of even having one, despite so many people calling themselves CEO of this or that.

Still, well done Rand! You might not have enjoyed the CEO role so much, but you built a business to that level, and that’s something to be proud of.


Leadership is the one competency that cannot be learnt in management school. A manager is trained to do things right; a leader does the right things. It is not a matter of training and preparation, but one of instinct and conscience.

The Accidental Apprentice by Vikas Swarup