It's a raw, gray day in Stuttgart, Germany and I’ve stopped in to a Starbucks for a slap of grande caffeine.
Stuttgart is hosting the World Manufacturing Forum this week and I’m one of an international (US, Brazil, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Belgium) cadre of journalists invited to cover the event and tour some local factories.
The conference starts tomorrow with a session titled, “Manufacturing – A Solution to the Economic Crisis?” I’ll report in this blog what the speakers have to say.
But today, I’m content to try to fight through the jet lag that comes with three hours sleep on an eight-hour flight and people watch in the Starbucks (yes, it’s a quarter mile from the McDonalds). Two men in jeans and hoodies are busily tapping away at their Macbooks. A steady stream of young women with shopping bags stop in for coffee, all making sure to monitor their smartphones. A little girl waits in line with her mother, her shoes sparkling with an LED light show. All so familiar, yet 4,000 miles from home.
Just a block away, it’s fitting in this cradle of automotive manufacturing that the street is busy with Mercedes taxis, Fiat delivery wagons, BMWs and VWs and a host of other familiar global brands.
Tomorrow, I’ll key in to the “economic mega-trends and the role of manufacturing” explored at the conference. But today, I’m happy to have found a somewhat familiar sign – “Wellkommen bie Starbucks.”