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Taxis, Hotels In Beta

Shanghai: a hard rain falls
 

Today’s taxi driver from the airport doesn’t like the silence and borrows my headphones for a couple of songs. He pretends to enjoy Public Enemy, and after a couple of track hands the played back to me and lights a post coital cigarette. There’s quite a storm coming in and I’m quite happy for him to concentrate on the road. Shanghai traffic makes the most of the available space and the first rule of the road is to take opportunities when they arise. Just like life then. Hmm, why don’t bicycles have break lights?

Betas are not restricted to software. The hotel I’m staying in is having a soft launch. Whilst waiting for some paperwork to be completed the receptionist on the 46th floor murmurs ‘The hotel has been open for half an hour, no, half a year’. Shes speaks faulting English and a smattering of Japanese. It’s sweet but (unfairly) triggers the broader question of when a (5* commercial) service is not really a (commercial) service? In this context how important is good english? What should guests expect not to work? Or not to work to what extent? Fail often and fail fast is fine when its not you being failed and the consequences are minimal.

Spend 30 minutes in the pool and another hour on the rain soaked streets. It’s warm and friendly in here, but definitely lacking in, well, life. And yet we’re here in part to discuss what life is going to be like by the time the next wave of infrastructure is rolled out.

What is the commercial equivalent of an ivory tower?