There’s plenty to tell about Monday’s Town Meeting, but I’ve spent most of the week in Boston (2-1/2 hours’ drive from Great Barrington, so no local jaunt). I did a reverse commute Monday afternoon, to attend Town Meeting and go to the office Tuesday and to a W.E.B. Du Bois panel at which David was speaking, then back to Boston.
I spent today at the lovely Boston Athaneum library on Beacon Street (recently renovated at a cost of $30 million), attending a symposium on China–New England Trade, past and present. I had heard about the event from Allan Ryan, Jr, who represents the intellectual property interests of the Harvard Business School in China. He was an engaging and candid speaker, and kindly mentioned our efforts to develop links in China as an example of how even small New England businesses can build a China trade.
Allan’s props included several China-published books he found recently in Shanghai and Beijing bookshops. They had the words “Harvard Business School” and “MBA” blazoned across them, but had no connection with the HBS. Allan said that in a meeting with one of the offending publishers, he was told in explanation, “the name Harvard sells books.”
“But we,” said Allan, “think it should sell our books, not theirs.”
It’ll be some time before we have this kind of problem, of course. But merchants have never waited until things were settled and secure before moving into promising new territories. That’s why even in the midst of establishing ourselves here in the U.S. we continue to think about and cultivate relationships in and with China. In fact, my son Tom, who is our present customer service rep, is off to Shanghai in a few weeks to work in a law office and improve his Chinese language and business skills. Our books will be on display at the Beijing Book Fair this year, and I am trying hard to rationalize a trip to China for myself! (The dim sum at lunch was another reminder of the pleasures of China, I have to admit.) Now, back to the Berkshires in Friday evening traffic.