Friday, April 16, 2010

Ash Friday

I'm back.

It's 11PM on Friday evening, Dubai time, and I am at the spotless-eat-off-the floor DXB airport extra early this evening, anticipating a mild panic from the reverberations of Ash Friday that, if you believe the newspapers, has grounded the entire European continent. Though I feel bad for parents and loved ones unable to get home, I for one would welcome being 'stuck' in Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Amsterdam, well, you name it. I'm there. No rush, thank you. These Europeans just don't know how good they have it.

As for my trip, looks like all is well. I didn't expect the trip to be canceled, since the NY-Middle East routes seemed to be running smoothly today. I was expecting, though, a lot of travelers on edge being re-routed through Emirates airlines if they were transfering through London or elsewhere on their way to North America. The last time I left, the British Airways strike was just getting underway, so there were all kinds of confusion at DXB.

Can't wait to touch down at JFK tomorrow; will probably be another of those kiss the ground moments. Have had a very trying and rigorous week on the sports brand launch in the UAE---this trip, the focus has been on finalizing business plans and financial projections, meeting investors, approving design prototypes, and applying for publishing licenses. Never attended so many meetings one on top of another----I am thoroughly drained.

Have launched and re-launched a lot of media brands during my career, and what they say about investors investing more in people than in ideas is generally true here, as in the USA, perhaps even moreso. Investors are loving the idea and the plan and my biz partner is poised yet passionate during his presentations. all good. We are running into a bit of a slow road toward our publishing license, since everything is political here. What could possibly be political about a sports daily newspaper, you say? Well, one of these days I'll take you through that one, but imagine a country where a lot of the media interests are either government-owned or owned by wealthy individuals who are also in the government (sounds like Italy, yes?). Some of them own racetracks and nascent soccer leagues. You get the drift......

We're trying to launch by the World Cup but we may not be able to make that deadline. Yet, so many of my dealings here have been a roller coaster of opportunities materializing overnight that nothing would surprise me. For all I know, I'll be back in 10 days to finalize investor deals, print contracts, and the like.

Jase came for 4 days, at least I think he did..... Went by in a flash, since I was busy most daytimes. We did manage to meet up in the evenings for great dinners, and an afternoon of gallery crawling in Dubai's equivalent of the Chelsea gallery scene. Hope we can meet up again here in May.

Plan to be back in the habit of daily or every other day blog posts. Did ya miss BobOnARoll? Hope so.....stay tuned.

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