The Olympics are Coming…to London

The London 2012 Olympics are fast approaching and so is the stress of the covering cost and dealing with the influx of people.  I started thinking of this today due to an article I saw on Wired.com about how some London Data center employees are going to be sleeping at the job to ensure that the work shifts are covered.  Yet again another great idea that someone thought of to fill a need.

Years ago when New York (my home town) was in the running to get these games I worked on the New York 2012 advertising campaign account.  All I kept thinking was “If we win I’m taking those week off of work.”   I grew up watching and adoring the Summer Games.  I remember being heartbroken watching Greg Louganis in Seoul in 1988 hit his head during his dive only to be uplifted when he went on to win the Gold.  I will never forget Barcelona in 1992 when my favorite female gymnast Kim Zmeskal battled Shannon Miller.  Who in the US could forget the Reebok ad campaign for Dan & Dave that was a mess when the entire campaign was based on both men competing in Track & Field at the Olympic Games then Dan didn’t make it?  I do remember a few commercials trying to make light of the situation. 

I was and still am a fan but I would be remise to ignore the financial and infrastructure strains it puts on a city. When people talk about Greece and their financial woes the Olympic Games they hosted comes up as a financial burden they were just unable to accommodate.  To be honest I would be hard pressed to think of any city that wouldn’t find it to be a burden.  I’ve seen a few articles stating that the original estimate of the cost of the London Games was way off.  We won’t get the full picture until they are long since over.  I’m curious to see what other types of businesses or ideas come out as we get closer and closer to opening ceremonies.

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Self-Made Millionaire Mom

Yahoo had this great article  “Millionaire Mom Creates .COM Sensation in Dorm Room” featuring Genevieve Thiers who after seeing a need developed a company and website to fill it.  This is a great uplifting story for not only women or Moms but anyone who is thinking of starting a business. She saw a pregnant woman on her college campus trekking around posting signs looking for a babysitter and decided there has to be a better way to connect those who need babysitters to those who are babysitters.    From there www.sittercity.com was born.

I also was just reading an article about Shelly Lazarus former Chairman/CEO of Ogilvy & Mather,who I have had the pleasure to work with, about her thoughts on woman and moms in the workplace.  She felt the playing field was fairly even and only faced once in her 31 year career issues with someone discounting her because she was a woman.

Both articles were very inspiring.  Both of these women are driven individuals coming from different places to both reach high levels of success in the workplace.  Both articles are must reads.

Optimism at WPP

The Wall Street Journal today did a piece “WPP Lifts Forecast” highlighting that WPP raised their annual revenue guidance based on strong performance in Latin America and Asia.  Being a former WPP employee (formerly of Ogilvy & Mather).  I think this is a strong indicator of a turning of the economic tides.  One of the key points that stood out to me of the article is that one of WPP’s competitors Aegis Group also did well.  Leads me to believe this is driven by more than just one companies efforts and more of an economic change.

When I was about to join Ogilvy as a young kid out of college my father warned me of the trials of the Ad world.  “If you lose the account you lose your job.”  Tough words to hear but I was fortunate enough to never be on an account that was lost and I parted ways when I made a career change to the world of finance.  I tell this story as with many businesses an economic downturn can cost accounts and often times when budgets have to be cut things like advertising/marketing spend are one of the first to go.  To me this is a positive view of good things coming.

Honoring Betsey with my Pink Leopard Shoes

After talking about Apple and their huge profits I then read about my girl Betsey Johnson getting ready to file for bankruptcy.  Apparently her licensing company has been having financial issues for a while however they have reached the point of no return.  Sadly most of the stores will be closed.

On the bright side we (I) will still be able to purchase her fabulous creations at retail department stores. I’ve been trying to figure out the best time to break out my pink leapard peep toes.  Tomorrow maybe. In her honor of course.

Tim Cook is a Rock Star

Apple, Inc. (AAPL) closed at $610 yesterday (Wed Apr 25).  That’s huge when you take into account one year ago (Apr 26, 2011) it closed at $350.42.  With the loss of Mr. Jobs in October people feared the company could loose direction at the helm.  It appears Mr. Cook is doing right by the late-great Mr. Jobs, the Apple employees and especially the stockholders.  With an impressive career in his own right, Tim Cook may not have the over-the-top personality of his predicessor but he does have the brains to take Apple even farther. 

On a side note to pat myself on the back.  One year ago in my MBA Accounting class my project was based on doing a full analysis of Apple, Inc. and making a buy, sell, hold recommendation.  I decided to be bold and say buy which is not an easy call with a pricey stock.  Verizon was coming to the iPhone table and I just knew that was going to be a driver.  Of course the caveat was being able to afford to buy stock that was trading in the low $300. 

My only mistake….not taking my own advice.  The stock is trading at nearly twice what it was when I recommended BUY.  Now only if I can find a small IPO that I can get the same feeling on.  I could be writing this from my beach chair overlooking (insert any tropical location).

FCBK Maybe?

Nasdaq has won the Facebook listing and it will sit among the “likes” of Apple and Google.  Not bad company to have.  In May when they do their IPO I say list it as FCBK.   Will they be granted a rare exception to the 4 letter coding so it can be FB?  We’ll see.

Either way Nasdaq OMX Group, Inc (NDAQ) shares when up 1.9% today.  Due to the winning listing?  Couldn’t hurt.

Did Volvo fall to linsanity too soon?

Volvo signed a deal with The New York Knicks in-house “linsanity” producer Jeremy Lin.  The problem now is he’s out for the regular season with knee surgery.  If I was Volvo right now I’d be panicking along with getting my lawyers to review the contract.  Although he is very popular in the NY area and China (with the US and China being the marketing focus) in a world where 15 minutes of fame feels like 15 seconds will his popularity fade before they can capitalize on it?  Only time will tell.

I find the case of Jeremy Lin to be very intriguing.  It is rather unfortunate that he succumbed to an injury but he does (did) have curb appeal.  Definitely was capable of keeping the sports writers going. From a multitude of angles.  Only Harvard Grad in the NBA (playing), of Asian decent, and most importantly seems like a really humble, well-spoken, overall nice kid.

Hopefully he’ll get another contract for next year.