“Sustainabell” Value

Over a cup of coffee on Sunday morning, I will occasionally watch the show, Sunday Morning on CBS.  The show has been on forever and is often filled with very interesting topics, opinions and perspectives. You can learn more about the show at http://www.cbsnews.com/sunday-morning/

Yesterdays show was focused on architecture, focusing on new designs that look old among other topics.  The story that captured my attention however was about bells.  Yes, church bells.  Talk about sustainabell value (see what I did there) 🙂

The Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli (or Marinelli Pontifical Foundry, Marinelli Bell Foundry) was founded in 1339 in the Apennine hills of Italy. The village of Agnone, where the foundry is located, “has a tradition of foundries that dates back 10 centuries.”  The current leaders of the family business are the brothers Armando and Pasquale Marinelli.  They are the 26th generation of Marinelli’s to lead the family business.

The foundry typically produces up to 50 bells a year and currently employs around 12 people.  The firm’s managers still apply the same lost wax casting technique that the firm’s founders used nearly a thousand years ago. The artisans use wax to transfer the bell’s designs onto a brick “core” slathered with clay, slightly smaller than the bell to be forged. Another layer of clay is applied to form a “false bell”. After this hardens, the wax inside is melted, leaving the imprint of the design on the inside of the false bell. Molten bronze, at a temperature of 1,200 degrees Celsius (2,200 degrees Fahrenheit), is poured into the space to form the bell.

Amazing, just amazing.  Everyday we read about businesses trying to build sustainable companies.  Looks like the Marinelli family has figured that out.  For more information about the foundry and the family, please visit their website at http://www.campanemarinelli.com/inglese/index2.php

Enjoy the day.


What, No Chocolate?

The Webman has done a lot of traveling over the years for business and for pleasure.  About 90% of that has been domestic travel so I am hoping to inverse that to 90% international travel in the years ahead.  Time to see the world!

Most of the places that I have stayed have been your very typical hotel chains such as the Marriott, Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt and all the others where we could get points and hopefully cash them in for an upgraded family vacation at a later date.  For those that have done extensive business travel, you know what I am talking about.  Not much join in this but accumulating a few million points – priceless.  Unfortunately even these small benefits are now being taken away by companies.  The last company I worked for actually had their own account for the airline miles that I traveled so that they could benefit with lower fares.  I get it but geez, let the employees get some benefit on this.

I was a very naive traveler when I first took to the airways.  The definition of a family vacation growing up was driving to Orchard Beach in the Bronx.  Out in the morning and back in the late afternoon.  Not that I am complaining as I really enjoyed my times there, but I had no experience with planes, trains or beds that were not my own.  I took my first business trip when I was 22 years old to Chicago.  At the time I was working for  a first class, industry leading beverage company and all travel, even for a peon like me was first class.  So I was picked up in a limo, flew first class to Chicago, was picked up by a limo there and was given the Presidential Suite at the hotel where I was staying.  I had never seen a bathroom with a phone in it before 🙂

Well those days have passed but as a consumer our choices for finding incredible places to stay has improved immeasurably.  AIRNB has created a website whereby you can rent just about any room almost anywhere in the world.  Yes of course there is some risk to this, but why not live a little.  www.airnb.com

AIRNB connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. Guests can build real connections with their hosts, gain access to distinctive spaces, and immerse themselves in the culture of their destinations. Whether it’s an urban apartment or countryside castle, AIRNB makes it effortless to showcase your space to an audience of millions, and to find the right space at any price point, anywhere.

And they are growing like a weed.  It booked 4 million nights of accommodation in users’ homes in 2011 — that’s four times the amount of business it had done in the previous four years.  Most of this growth (75% of it) came from outside the U.S. — from Europe, for the most part. London, Paris and Berlin are three of Airbnb’s five biggest hotbeds of listing activity.

Here is a link to a really cool infographic from our friends at Mashable about AIRNB – http://mashable.com/2012/01/26/airbnb-infographic/

I have not used AIRNB myself yet but will when I can.  Let me know what your experience has been by commenting below.

All the best.