‘Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning’

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

My new Hong Kong bureau is proving both a boon and a sleep depriver. I’m hugely enjoying this exuberant city, where I now spend around 30% of my time, and already the concept of Moodie Davitt Asia Pacific feels like an idea we should have launched years ago.

The only drawback is that as Asia’s working day draws to a close, Europe’s begins, which means my nights are even busier than my days and the workload never seems to slow. Throw in the launch (in European time) of a major new project (our consumer site PretAirporter.com) and you have the recipe for around-the-clock working.

Never mind, that is the nature of the entrepreneur and his or her lot. A fellow workaholic (there, I admitted it) just sent me a clip of Steve Jobs saying, “About half of what separates the successful entrepreneur from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard, you pour so much of your life into this thing, there are such rough moments in time that most people give up. I don’t blame them. It consumes your life.”

He also sent me the two images below, which I shamelessly reproduce. Brilliant. The iceberg illusion just about sums up the last 15 years of my and our journey.

My regular presence in Hong Kong also offers the considerable benefit of regular visits to Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), one of my favourite gateways in the world. Obviously my attention has been focused recently on the core category duty free business, currently out to tender. But HKIA also has a host of splendid smaller stores and a plethora of dining options that are well worth checking out.

The photo at the top of the page is of a brilliant little beer truck promotion at Pizza Express that I discovered the other night, and while it may be the smallest beer truck you’ve even seen, retail does not have to be big to be beautiful. In fact the operations below show that well-worked small space can be every bit as important to an airport (and its consumers) as the big anchor concessions. The Muji (landside) and Kee Wah Bakery outlets below, for example, generate some of the highest returns per square metre of any HKIA outlets. Judging by the crowds I always see in the less than leviathan Godiva landside boutique, I would say the same thing applies there.

And Moleskine (also landside)? It’s simply a triumph of creativity, a marvellous blend of traditional and digital communication. I was served by an outstanding young sales assistant called Frederick, who explained to me a Moleskine digital initiative that allows the user to transfer hand-written notes and drawings online. He was patient, informed, likable and enthusiastic – almost the perfect salesman.

In the end I didn’t buy that product. But I did buy something – a limited-edition Peter Pan ruled notebook, one of 9,999 produced (and among several other lovely short-run products on offer). The notebook (like the box in which it is presented) is adorned with author J.M. Barrie’s lovely words from the tale’s eponymous hero, “You just think lovely wonderful thoughts and they lift you up in the air.”

For someone who spends as much time up in the air as I do (“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning”  please Captain, to quote from Peter Pan again), it was indeed a wonderful thought, in fact an irresistible purchase.


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