Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January: Writing, Walking, and Detroit

Once things settled down from the holidays I was able to get into a regular routine of daily "tweets" and blog entries on my research. Though Twitter seems to attract more attention than the blog, it's rather hard to tell for sure: Twitter sends weekly reports on how many people have read my tweets, and I get notices on people who have re-tweeted or 'favorited' them. It's a little harder to accurately evaluate page views on the blog. However, I do know people read it since I receive emails from people regarding it. One such contact last fall has resulted in my research being extensively quoted in a recently published book on corporate culture, titled "Corporate Cure: How To Build A High-Engagement, High-Performance Company That Will Last" by John Owens. I'm not quite sure what the author's chapter on Building Endurance would have looked like without my research since each page has about five quotes from my most recent paper. I'm a little peeved that he didn't cite the paper in his bibliography, just noted the source at the beginning of the chapter (and then proceeded to use multiple quotes from the paper without re-referencing the source). Guess this is just another prod to get me started on my own book.

Early in the month I had a meeting with my research partner, Makoto Kanda, and we scoped out our work for the coming year. I will write and submit for publication our paper comparing strategies of 100-year-old companies in Japan and the U.S.; he will analyze the data he has obtained on the innovation approach used by old companies and get that to me for writing another paper. We will aim for the July GBATA conference in Portugal for presenting the findings. In April Mako will host a BBC reporter (she had interviewed the two of us for an article in 2013) who wants to conduct case studies on old Japanese companies (shinise) and write a book. Though he'd like me to be there to help out, I will likely pass since I don't want to chance being gone when Alison goes into labor (she is due early May).

Trying to stay healthy by walking in January in Michigan is not easy. Fortunately in Holland we have snowmelt downtown so I am able to avoid the icy sidewalks and still get in 3-4 miles each day. A much more interesting walk than doing the treadmill route.

January ended with a trip to Detroit to visit Nick. We spent the day at the Detroit Institute of Arts, enjoyed a fun evening at the Whitney's "Ghost Bar," and stayed at the historic Inn on Ferry Street - an interesting group of large old houses that have been transformed into a hotel/bed & breakfast spot in Midtown. All our activities were within walking distance of each other (and close to New Center, where Nick lives).
Nick in front of the DIA (or a thinker in front of The Thinker)
Detroit may still have a ways to go to become a tourist destination, but one can put together a very nice visit. We left earlier than planned for the trip home because of a winter storm that descended over all of Michigan. January definitely went out in a fury - the drive home was not a nice way to end the weekend or the month.

Some of the houses forming the Inn on Ferry Street

A fun evening at The Whitney - another old house re-purposed.