Sunday, May 2, 2010

Launch report

It was 39 Celsius today in Dubai. I'll let you do the math. Hot ! Luckily, the oppressive humidity that the locals have warned me about has not yet kicked in. This time, I came prepared with lightweight suits, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Our newspaper and media launch planning surges ahead. Vendors, staff, prototype, practically all in place now, waiting for the green lights from the government licensing authorities (is glacial an appropriate word to use in reference to a city at the border of the desert??) and investors. Michael and I are juggling a dozen major activities and decisions on a daily basis. Exhilarating, exhausting, expectant.

Part of the fun of a launch is team building and the opportunity to meet smart, energetic media folk in sales, editorial, digital, and so forth. Though the talent pool here is much thinner than a New York or London, I have still been reasonably impressed. This week, it's the women in the region who are impressing me, especially the salespeople. Since I've always been drawn to strong successful businesswomen, I am having a blast this week on the interview circuit.

Here in Dubai, there are basically two 'mafias' in the media community: Lebanese expats and Indians. They, and the Brits, are the driving forces behind media decision-making and editorial content. Since everything in the UAE is political, a nationally-correct team is essential to success. But, of course, we are balancing those on the ground realities with many other factors.

Going to Abu Dhabi tomorrow for my first visit to that emirate. Am told it's a much more traditional Arab culture. We may be situating our corporate offices there, so I need to head down for some meetings and kick the tires---or squeeze the hooves, whatever.....

Stay tuned.

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