Home > Working Life > All the 1’s and 0’s lead to Erding, Germany

All the 1’s and 0’s lead to Erding, Germany

If you have ever stepped foot into an airport to fly somewhere, I bet you that your personal 1’s and 0’s were sent to Germany. I’m talking about your personal data either to complete a travel transaction or for the plane to be cleared to leave.  All data in this digital world gets reduced to a series of 1’s and 0’s in order for any type of communication to occur between computers.  So how does that fact relate to my life in France?  Well the digital heart of Amadeus resides in Germany, not France.  Let me back up a minute to explain.

Friday Night at the Acropolis

Friday Night at the Acropolis

Once upon a time there was a database named Sabre . . . Yes, Sabre was the first database within the airline industry built to handle all reservations and transactions.  Based in the States, it was the only player in the industry during the 1980’s.  The European travel market was just taking off and becoming more affordable for the average European.  Yet Sabre wasn’t known to play well with the growing European fleets of Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia Airlines and SAS.  When a travel agent made a request for flight availability on given route, Sabre would always should American based airlines first in the list.  You would have to scroll down to find the European airlines in order to make a purchase.  As you can imagine, Europe wasn’t happy with this bias.  So the four airlines I mentioned above got together to come up with a business plan to create a competitive database with the mission statement that it would be neutral, not showing bias to anyoneAmadeus was born.  SAS withdraw from the negotiations but the remaining three airlines invested in the new independent IT start-up, Amadeus.  Consequently the decision was made to spread out the three main offices of Amadeus in France, Germany and Spain respectively.  Madrid, Spain holds the actual headquarters including the CEO, Finance departments and Marketing.  Sophia-Antipolis, France holds all key product development and support.  Finally Erding, Germany holds all operations including our mega-data center.  Amadeus has grown so successful we are the dominate player in the global market for not just airlines but the entire travel industry including hotel, car and cruises.  Amadeus literally handles 500,000,000 database transactions every day.  We own the largest civilian data center on the European continent.  Our marketing team put together this web page with a short video that really puts our data center on the map.  If all this techy stuff lights up your transistors, I encourage you to take a peek this one journalist’s blog who was invited on a tour.  This feat in technology is quite impressive, including our annual electricity bill of €4 million.

Pyramid of Chocolate

Pyramid of Chocolate

So why all this marketing jargon to explain a good Friday’s night fun? This past Friday was our big Christmas party for the Sophia-Antipolis office.  The party was held at the local convention center here in Nice called the Acropolis.  Don’t forget that this party had to accommodate nearly 2,000 employees.  We had a huge hall to ourselves with a formal sit down dinner.  Everyone was expected to dress up for the evening.  We were served chapon, a castrated rooster raised for the high quality of meat.  A dish that is a Holiday treat in France.   Unfortunately each table was restricted to one bottle of red wine and one bottle of white.  Once we finished them, the servers told us they had strict orders to not offer any more (honestly I think it was just to control consumption since most people had to drive home).  The meal concluded with a huge pyramid of chocolate seen in the photos.  As there was nice music in the background throughout the meal, suddenly Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind with Alicia Keys dominated the scene (a little surreal and shows the dominance of the American music scene).  Our CEO from Madrid, our Executive Director in France and our HR director formally made a presentation to acknowledge employees that have been with Amadeus for either 10 years or 20 years.  One of the reasons I was attracted to Amadeus through my interviews was the longevity of its employees and it showed this evening.  We had 80 employees receive the 20 year status mark.  Going back to the short history I gave up above shows these guys were here from the beginning.

Rotating Dance Floor

Rotating Dance Floor

After the presentation, the dance floor opened up and rotated . . . yea, rotated. In the middle of the dance floor there was a raise circle that literally began to rotate clockwise.  Everyone got on board and started to dance to the music and have a good time.   Those that weren’t dancing made it back to the open bar for more beverages.  It really was a pleasant evening.  I got a free ride from one of my colleagues and left the party around 3:00 in the morning.  It seemed everyone was most appreciative for such an event as they didn’t have a Christmas party last year (due to the economy) and the strikes we had earlier this year due to going public on the stock market.  Of course we will see what next year will bring.  The guard is changing as our new CEO takes reign come January 1.  These past two CEO’s (from what I have heard) have been very people orientated and approachable.  They lived by the philosophy of work hard, play hard.  Amadeus is known in the industry for its past employee parties being on a large scale.  Yet we will see if the new CEO will continue this trend; he comes from a finance background and maybe more worried about the bill at the end then the party itself.

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