Renvoyer l’ascenseur

Hong Kong 16th August 2013

Not to deny my French roots, here is a bit of French today. Renvoyer l’ascenseur (or sending the lift back) is an acronym for scratching some one’s back…you scratch mine, I scratch yours. In our business, and I assume in practically all other businesses you tend to help each other out. In our design business this relates to referring each other to potential new clients or projects. The French use the lift as the comparison; so if you showed someone the lift to get to the “top” (read client/ project), be so kind to send the lift back so you can get to the “top” as well. I like the French saying as in my opinion it is more expressive and descriptive of the situation rather than helping each other’s scratching one’s back…

I guess it is sort of an unwritten rule in business…you help me, I help you, and in my long career that has certainly happened many times. I owe many people my gratitude for having referred me and my company to new potential project clients with many resulting in actual work. Likewise I have provided others with successful referrals for new work. Some are more successful than others; some are “one hit” wonders but occasionally some turn out a gold mine. The truth is you never know till much, sometimes years, later. In our business referrals are priceless as recommendations and introduction by someone trusted by the client jump the “who are you?” question. Referrals infer that the parties know each other, have successfully done business together and hence the referral has an inbuilt trust level that you must be good and must have earned your stripes…This generally circumvents tedious introduction and qualification processes and puts you right in the mix on par with others. For those involved in business development I don’t have to explain how valuable that is…so please “renvoyer moi l’ascenseur (sent me the elevator back)!” Have a great weekend!

Light Watch 4-134: As we are talking about elevators here is a very special one…a car elevator. Just before I sold my old company and started KLD I had designed the lighting for a luxury condo in Singapore, Hamilton Scotts near Orchard Road, one of the first in the world with a car elevator. The idea is that you leave your car at the “car lobby” on the ground floor and a fully automated elevator system, complete with a colour changing car pallet, then lifts your car up to your apartment floor where it is then parked just outside your living room. You enjoy the high-rise view of the city as well as your car at the same time.


17. August 2013 by Martin Klaasen
Categories: light watch, lighting and the economy, lighting applications, lighting design practice | Leave a comment

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