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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Learning new phrases all the time

Scenario:  A friend/colleague is explaining the need to protect one's business interests when multiple companies are involved in a potential business deal with one of my clients.  He explains in rapid-fire Hebrew how each company will present their own products and services to my client in as positive light as possible, and will usually also try to position themselves as the prime point of contact... even at the cost of making the other 'partners' in the deal (including me) look incompetent.

At the end of this helpful little business lesson he stresses the importance of always being physically present for any and all discussions with my client... even if the topics being discussed aren't directly related to my part of the deal. 

When I asked why, he looked bewildered at the stupidity of my question and practically shouted: "Acheret hashutafim shelcha ya'asoo l'cha peepee b'cafay!" (translation: 'Otherwise your partners will pee in your coffee!').

After I stopped laughing and got up off the floor, I realized that while you probably won't hear that particular phrase in a typical American MBA curriculum, and an accredited online MBA school might worry about losing their accreditation if they tried teaching it to students, here in Israel’s no-holds-barred business environment, it might be wise to include it.

[Update:  I've been thinking about this funny phrase all day, and it occurs to me that the equivalent English expression to having someone 'pee in your coffee' is having someone 'stab you in the back'. Upon reflection, I think I prefer the non-lethal, Hebrew idiom for betrayal.]

Posted by David Bogner on February 17, 2009 | Permalink

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There is the phrase "who pi**ed in your coffee?" but it means something totally different (more akin to "having a bad day"). I like the Hebrew version.

Posted by: dfb1968 | Feb 17, 2009 3:11:02 PM

Now that the French press is out, it probably doesn't make so much difference.

Posted by: Jehoshaphat | Feb 17, 2009 3:18:41 PM

I would say that today's post explains why Starbucks couldn't do business in Israel.

Posted by: Barzilai | Feb 17, 2009 4:05:37 PM

I would say that today's post explains why Starbucks couldn't do business with their Israeli partners.

Posted by: Barzilai | Feb 17, 2009 4:07:36 PM

Ha! Thanks for the first laugh of the day.

Posted by: Jacob da Jew | Feb 17, 2009 4:21:54 PM

"Pissed in your beer" is sometimes used in English.

Posted by: Nachum | Feb 17, 2009 7:24:41 PM

i like the comments...of course, "fockim" is also a hebrew word used in polite company...just means a screw up of some kind.

Posted by: noa | Feb 18, 2009 9:55:12 AM

hahahahaha! Methinks it also points to the maleness of the participants(not so easy for women to pee in anyone's coffee.....)

re. Shahar Peer, and Andy Ram, this may be of interest:
http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/17022009/58/wta-tour-fan-boycott-feared-dubai.html

Posted by: claire | Feb 18, 2009 12:38:51 PM

hahahahaha! Methinks it also points to the maleness of the participants(not so easy for women to pee in anyone's coffee.....)

I shall not share that comment with my significant other, as she likes challenges.

And she often makes me my morning cup of coffee while I am still deep in the arms of Morpheus.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Feb 18, 2009 11:18:24 PM

I think I prefer the American version. It might be more violent, but it is less crude.

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Feb 19, 2009 7:58:42 AM

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