Having ended my last blog with telling you about things I don’t like I decided to open with a like – podcasts downloaded from the BBC listened to on a Friday while walking the dogs, riding my bike and chilling on Umm Suqeim Beach (one hour max, 8 till 9am) are a treat. One of my favourites is Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young. This weekend I listened to Nick Clegg and Lang Lang (a world-renowned Chinese pianist who was born into the one child per family era).
Great extracts from the two broadcasts:
Kirsty to Nick; “there has been a lot of speculation in the Twittersphere about your song selection with Puppet on a string by Sandie Shaw being mentioned”.
Nick to Kirsty without breaking stride; “my first song is piano concerto no. 1 by Chopin”.
Great exchange with a politician who presents himself as a very sincere, decent person who understands ordinary people. In real life Nick went to one of the top public schools in the UK and as a consequence is right up his own bottom. He then went on to brush aside his broken pledge on student fees, shame on you Nick; pledge means a solemn binding promise, your party is going to be obliterated at the next election.
With Lang Lang it emerged that he has inspired 35 million Chinese kids to immerse themselves in studying piano. What I find amazing about this fact is China has no history of piano playing, in other words they are going to end up giving us a good beating at our own game. People have been predicting that China will be the next super power for some time now but this simple fact brought home to me the reality. The numbers game combined with their determination to succeed will drive China to the top of the charts well before 2020. We Brits need to work hard at forming a new special relationship.
Give a buzz to your presentations
Moving swiftly on I wonder if any of you play that brilliant business meeting enlivening game of inserting words on a pre-arranged theme into presentations. The winner is the one who gets the most buzz words into their presentation. Mr Marek of MMI fame is a known participant (P.S. one of my favourite wines, The Chocolate Block is AED 100 off this month at MMI; I’ve already secured six bottles!). Bizarrely a policeman took this game to a whole new level when giving evidence on why he shot and killed Mark Robinson. His chosen subject was popular song titles.
Yaya will go to the ball
My favourite football story of the week belongs to Yaya Toure, the £200,000 a week Man City player. When substituted at half time for being rubbish rather than have a quick shower and spend the second half cheering on his teammates he walked off the pitch jumped in his car and drove straight home. According to a club spokesman this is normal practise so players can avoid the traffic. Given the way Man City are playing at the moment it won’t be long before the whole crowd heads off at half time and poor Yaya is going to get stuck in the mother of all traffic jams. Still he will have plenty of time to count his money. How Yaya is the highest paid player in the Premier League is a great big mystery, no wonder Man City’s changing room is being torn apart by players jealous of only earning £150,000 a week. It’s easier at Blackpool where their top earning player makes £10,000 a week.
Profits soar instead of morale
Some time ago I expressed jealously that Emirates Airline profits had gone through the stratosphere. Well last week they declared half-year profits up 350%, wow and wow again. This seems at odds with an Emirates pilot I met recently at a charity bash who told me they are cutting back on everything and he could earn more flying for Easy Jet! We’ve all seen what happens when an airline ends up with de-motivated staff, could Emirates be heading for rocky waters in their pursuit of profits to bolster Dubai Inc?
Real estate prices – get real
While Emirates seems to be booming along came the expected news that the Abu Dhabi estate market is fast following Dubai into the trough. “Financial pressure is building on developers in Abu Dhabi after the government aided some by purchasing stakes in projects. Aldar Properties, the emirate’s largest developer, will need $2.7 billion by 2011 to “survive,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch said.
Here is what the sage of Emaar recently said about Dubai. Dubai real estate prices will continue to drop as the UAE’s second biggest sheikhdom absorbs an oversupply of homes and offices, said Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties.
“We need 20 months or so to go over the excess supply,” he said during a panel discussion at the Bloomberg Link Real Estate Briefing today in New York.
He added: “Rates in Dubai about a year and half ago were a little higher than New York, which is abnormal.”
Compare and contrast with what Prince Alwaleed is predicting. Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has warned that Dubai’s property market faces substantial further falls, and will take several years to reach its bottom. “The price has to go down substantially for demand to reach equilibrium with supply. Many land owners are holding their old prices. Someone has to give in. The price has to go down, substantially. It’s supply and demand – it’s a no brainer.”
I’m with Price Alwaleed on this one.
Cool nerd disses advertising
Bit of advertising related stuff to finish. I really enjoyed the film Social Network which followed Mark Zuckerberg’s rise from frat room idea to one million members (Facebook now has 500 million members just six years after its launch). It’s an amazing story and I loved the bit when he resisted having advertising on Facebook on the basis that it isn’t cool.
Lots of people in marketing talk about investing in search engine optimisation which in essence means ensuring your website pops up on websites whenever anyone taps in a word you have identified as being related to your business, e.g. tap in hotels Dubai and Jumeirah want to come up first on Google. Mr Dominic of The Green Foundation fame sent me a very interesting case study on Anne Summers who thought very creatively. They ran a topical paid search campaign, for example during the BA strike they planted ad copy saying ‘The planes may be grounded, but you can still join the mile high club!’ Very smart, paid search is very cheap so I wonder how the ad agency charged for this bit of creative brilliance.
I need you
Went to my top 5s for this week and realised I’m running out, suggestions please?