Proof that economic development has out-performed waterbed development.


Solid business relationships last forever. Waterbeds? Not so much.

Just how dramatically has our way of doing business changed over four decades? PM&P CEO Michael Hass knows, because that's how long he's been at it.

The fact is, compared to today's complex analytics, strategies, processes and resources we take for granted, the way business was conducted in 1982 seems remarkably simple...even downright quaint.

For example, one of Michael's first clients was the small French town of Epinal. He approached 300 midsize companies around Stuttgart and southern Germany, proposing that their CEOs take a four-hour bus ride to check out Epinal. He managed to convince no less than 55 executives to take the jaunt.

After the long bus ride, a good night's sleep was in order to be refreshed and alert for the following day's business at hand: touring Epinal and discussing its assets and business potential.

This being the early 80s, the hotel rooms had water beds. (For those under age 35, this fact probably falls somewhere between comical and astounding.)

On a rating scale of five stars, this hotel had the same amount of stars as our solar system, plus one. It turned out that the heating function of one of the beds wasn't working properly. The CEO in that room said it was like sleeping on a giant hot water bottle; he ended up sleeping on the floor.

At trip's end, three of the 55 CEO's invested in Epinal (including the gentleman who hadn't exactly slept like a log.)

Of course, this little story could never happen today – long before advancing to the stage where they'd actually visit a location, prospective executives would simply check it out online.

While there are no more long bus rides full of conversation, and it's not as easy as it once was to forge relationships within the confines of business, they're every bit as important as they ever were.

How can you discern between a true relationship and one held together solely by opportunism? Well, Michael is still in touch with several folks from that long ago trip. Enough said.