I’ve been spending a lot of time writing on my blog about the practical applications of business optimization theories. I wanted a place where I could write about how I was putting the theories I was reading into action.
I’m now spending the next 6 weeks on the road – the first week in Paris saying hi to some friends and the following 5 in South Africa to go to the World Cup! I’m very excited by the opportunity to travel to Africa, see World Cup mania, and work remotely with Datacap.
During my week in Paris I got to experience first hand the wonder of the Velib, the affordable and convenient public bike network Paris has installed. Through a public-private partnership, Paris has installed a series of bike parking stations throughout the city. It is possible to find one within five blocks of wherever you happen to be and frequently much closer. The stations each have a large amount of bikes for rent. Using a Velib card, you can check a bike out of any station and return it to any other station. And the price is right – the first half hour free, followed by 1 euro for each extra half hour.
The system is incredibly useful. You can grab a bike on your way out the door, tool around until you get to your destination, park the bike, have some lunch, take the train to a different spot and then get another bike back to the house. When it works, the Velib system is wonderful. And when it doesn’t… that’s how I got this idea for a series of traveling blog posts. Rather than write about applying theory to real-life business applications, I’m going to take real-life business and do some theorizing of my own. I have no doubt that I’m going to find a different way of doing things in South Africa. By looking at how different businesses are run there, I hope to be able to learn something I can bring home with me.
In my first post, I will write about the Velib, what it is doing well, and where it can stand for some improvement.