Sky Europe could set example for small businesses
All power to Christian Mandl's elbow in his low-cost SkyEurope venture ("Christian Mandl: State has unique chance with SkyEurope", by Peter Barecz, Vol 7 No 3, January 22-28). A lot of factors are on his side, as he's no doubt realised: Austrians travelling into Bratislava for their outbound flights will have an easier passage at the frontier than those travelling from here to Schwechat - which will also surely be put at a disadvantage for duty-free shopping? And from my own anecdotal experience, the Western competition won't be difficult to beat; after committing myself recently to a 6:30 return flight to Vienna from London on a British low-cost airline, their website directed me to a car hire firm that was to surcharge me some $75 for the privilege of dropping my keys into their out-of-hours box!
More generally, one hopes that other Slovak entrepreneurs will wake up to the competitive edge their low-wage economy offers, especially in service industries. If it's cheaper to maintain airplanes here, then why not cars, and why aren't Westerners pouring over the border with theirs? and while they're waiting, getting their bodies serviced at a Fitness Centre and their souls uplifted at the Opera? It is through such invisible, relatively low-tech, exports that businesses in Hong Kong - especially the small ones - hauled their country up the prosperity ladder, despite their lack of rich neighbours. What is needed is for other Slovak businesses - especially the small ones - to follow their and Mr Mandl's example.
Sládkovič deserves mention on top-10 list
On your list of 10 most important Slovaks ("The millennium's 10 most important Slovaks", by Rick Zednik, Spectatcular Slovakia Travel Guide 2000) you have omitted, unjustly, Andrej Sládkovič.
Andrej Sládkovič, a poet, a revolutionary, one of Štúr's closest supporters, and the author of one of the most famous Slovak-language poems "Marína", definitely deserves to be included among the greatest Slovaks.
If you desire to keep the number of persons on that list at 10, I strongly suggest that you remove Gustáv Husák, who in my opinion made very minimal contributions to Slovakia, and was not generally admired by the Slovak people, in favour of Andrej Sládkovič.
The Slovak Spectator design in need of upgrades
First of all, my heartiest congratulations for the work you have done since the beginnings of The Slovak Spectator. I am an occasional reader of your newspaper but, in any case, have been reading nearly since its foundation.
Here are some comments on your paper. Regarding content of various articles on various contents, I have been in most cases satisfied, sometimes even very satisfied.
Regarding the design and graphical form of the paper, I still have some problems.
The changed titles of the articles in their continuations often cause me troubles when I go from the first part of the article to its continuation. It often takes me some time to find it even though there is a header at the bottom, i.e., "see 'Race Hate, page 3'". I often have the original title in my mind (Politicos still abusing tired race card) and so it distracts me from reading. To be sincere, I would prefer the same title above both parts of the same article.
For similar reasons, I would prefer less fonts on pages like 'Experts 2000'. You have 'Info technology' in one font, 'Making the most of HR software' in a second one, 'Changing the way you do business' in a third font, 'by Michal Klemen' in a fourth font, and the text itself in a fifth font (Experts 2000, Vol 6 No 29, July 31 - August 13]. It distracts my attention paid to the content to some extent.
The same holds true for the front page. For example, in the July 31 - August 13 issue, you have four titles, but use two fonts. Why two fonts for 4 titles?
That's all I wanted to tell you. Best of luck and continued success.
29. Jan 2001 at 0:00