Archive for the 'General Musings' Category

Update

It has been a long time. I have done a lot of thinking and had some other priorities. 

In the meantime I have changed jobs and decided to leave Microsoft. My vision about the events business setup was and is not necessarily matching with the way Microsoft is heading in this particular area. Each approach has its merits, pros and cons and each approach needs to have the right people for the job.

On July 1st I am officially joining Cisco and will be responsible and accountable for Cisco Live Europe Program and Strategy. “Cisco Live” consists of several components including the company’s flagship European event. The very well known “Cisco Networkers” is a part of this event, actually the main one. And further we are bringing together a few other target audiences and event programs under the overall “Cisco Live” umbrella brand. And not to forget all the virtual event components that are part of Cisco Live. Interesting and amazing times ahead of us as I expect a ton of innovation coming our way in the offline and online communication aspects of our lives.

In order to focus on my new role, I will be silent on this blog. One thing is sure, I will continue to be part of the events industry on the client side as well as pushing innovation in this area. Admit, it is a wonderful place to be acting in.

 So long,

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Back Online

It is now almost 3 months since I posted something. I have been on holidays and enjoyed my family over the end of year season and since January I have been extremely busy with Microsoft Tech Ed Middle East. But now, I am back.

I will do a series about doing business in the Middle East and share my experiences. It has been an interesting though very different experience.

And I will catch up on virtual events. I find it really a pity that I have missed the Virtual Edge conference. A shame.

Internet bubble, now a Dubai bubble?

I am doing an event in Dubai in March, www.teched.ae. Today, exactly the day of Eid holiday in Dubai and Thanksgiving in the US, the European stock exchanges colored deep red on the announcement that the state-owned holding Dubai World has asked for a six-month delay to the creditors.

I have visited Dubai two times the last couple of months and still going 4 times between now and March. And I must admit it is an “interesting” region and society. More than once my eyes opened widely. Everything needs to be the biggest, the most expensive, the coolest, the best, the most luxurious and you wonder where all the money is coming from. It is amazing that they built almost an entirely new and modern city in a couple of decennia. Truly amazing.

Also society has very interesting aspects; no taxes but you have service charges. Can’t we consider this the same? About 90% of the inhabitants of Dubai are foreigners. You rarely see people that are retired. The demographic constitution is one of mostly people that are working. People without a job or income can’t really afford to stay. Drug policy, alcohol, traffic rules. Never seen a country where so many people make U-turns.

Doing business is another culture. One tip, the concept of “We” is a pitfall. You and me works better! And I was introduced to the concept of “Insalah” (manana in Spanish :-)).

Fascinating area. Let’s hope everything comes fine and the situation is not as bad as the press is writing.

Go with the Flow

In the grand scheme of things, more people than normal are looking out for a new job, a new challenge while less jobs are available. So, if an interesting job becomes open, tons of people are interested. But before you apply always answer the following simple questions. This is relevant in any situation or state of mind.

Impact of Economy on Corporations

What I have seen over the last 12 months is that corporations are adapting to the economic climate. This typically means downsizing and reducing budgets.

The other things that I noticed and that people not always get is that employees still are expected to do at least the same amount of work with less resources and less budgets. Less resources would mean corporations would outsource more, but there is no money for that. Because of less resources and less budgets, employees are faster asking for manager approval and escalate easier. This adds to the workload as people are creating more work wihile there are less resources and less budgets. Which lead to the fact that the irritation level of employees get reached more easily. Bottom line, not an ideal position to be in.

Companies should think aout this and create again a positive environment but focussing on the right things, quality over quantity. Pick your battles and be creative. And allow people to take risks!

Event in Dubai

Last week I was in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to collaborate with the Microsoft Gulf subsidiary in order to setup a key event in 2010. A few general musings about my first experience in the Middle East.

  • As any country there are local flavours and ways of doing business. Hmm
  • The city looks brand new to me. Waw, although sometimes I had the impression I was in Las Vegas
  • The Dubai World Trade Centre is a very nice venue. The one thing that caught my attention right away is that the simple watches on the walls are “Rolex”. Is that an indication?
  • Big (royal) weddings are done in the WTC. They were setting up one (2 weeks needed!!) An eye opener.
  • Do they treat email the same way we do?
  • Ramadan has an impact in every day life. Respect is the key as a foreigner.
  • Dubai seems a city which combines tourism with business. Many nationalities represented.
  • The impact of the local government and the sjeiks circle of influence

Really looking forward to make this event a success and learn a lot.

All comments about doing business in Dubai very welcome. As well as tips and tricks.

European Summer Holidays

Today July 17th is my last day before the European summer holidays. It is the first year ever I take 4 weeks off. I know many people in the US will be jealous :-). I need it! I would like to have my ducks in a row to be ready for the upcoming challenges in order to be able to make a difference. I’ll be back mid August.

 And in the meantime don’t forget “Everything is amazing, nobody is happy”.

Don’t forget to appreciate the small things in life.


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