Decades are convenient units of measurement for historians, but they're a bit long for the business world, where we prefer quarters or years.



But it's good to step back once in a while and remind ourselves that there is such a thing as "the long view," because it might enhance our appreciation of current events.

Do you remember what was happening a decade ago? We don't, so we looked it up, and here are some of the things we found. Hang on to your fast forward button.

Carnival Corp., exactly 10 years ago, posted a quarterly net profit of $1 billion for the first time in its history. This was on total revenue of $3.2 billion, which means the profit margin was fantastic by any standard.

Fast forward to this week's news and we find Carnival CEO Arnold Donald describing a "fantastic" quarter, with earnings of $1.2 billion -- on revenue of $4.9 billion.

Analysts are taking this as a sign that Carnival has turned the corner, but the long view suggests that there are more corners to come.

Ten years ago the airlines that founded Orbitz cut a deal to sell it to Cendant, then the owner of several travel enterprises, including what is now Travelport. One of the promises of the sale was that it would put an end to the controversy surrounding airline ownership of a major OTA.

We said in this space at the time that "the real test of this deal ... will come in a few years when we and other armchair strategists look back and try to remember what all the fuss was about."

It must have been a success, because when Travelport recently divested most of its stake in Orbitz, we had to remind ourselves what the fuss had been about.
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