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  • Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Sheikh Mohammed: it's not a recession - it is a recession

    Is it a recession or a challenge? Can't wait for the interview.




    Here is the full CNN interview:

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    Monday, June 14, 2010

    The Consultant in Dubai

    The age old joke about management consultants is that they steal your watch to tell you the time. There's a degree of truth of that depending on which coal face you are sitting at. But have you heard the story of the consultant in Dubai, the guy who worked at MIT, took a job a Boston Consulting Group, a year before Dubai crashed - and then told his story? Well here it is - in 4 parts linked to the MIT website where it is hosted.



    There's an air of bitterness - he really didn't like Dubai - but, it is a great recollection of what he doesn't like:

    Ultimately, my most enduring impression of Dubai is not what it has accomplished, but what it failed to accomplish. Caught offguard by the global recession, Dubai’s haphazard expansion has been frozen in mid-stride for all the world to gawk at, like rubberneckers at a traffic accident. Its unfinished metro system, a patch-work solution to an awkward, poorly planned network of roads, connects partially built apartments to idle construction sites. What had been a miraculous boom story now looks like a particularly ugly form of “hurry up and wait.”

    But while there is some negativity, the 4 piece article sometimes provides an eye opener - or gives some exposure as to how thing work:

    I came to Dubai expecting some degree of culture shock. But there is a distinction between struggling to adapt because something is different and struggling to adapt because something is abhorrent. Dubai is a dictatorship, perhaps benevolent, but still a dictatorship. The press is free only so long as it does not criticize. The economy is hewn more closely to familial ties than capitalist pressures. Beneath the glamour of Dubai lies a society built upon precepts borrowed from the antebellum south. If I, a carpetbagging northerner, came away from the land of plantation owners and slaves without any feelings of attachment to the country I had lived for seven months in, I do not think I have myself to blame.

    But the story is not just about Dubai. The story is about being a consultant - and how this consultant was offered to be paid off when things didn't quite go right:

    I was not surprised the day I lost my job. The writing was on the wall. BCG’s management might have been releasing reports claiming countries like Dubai would be islands of stability in the world’s rough financial seas, but to the ground troops, it was obvious the economy was not doing well. From the very beginning of my employment, I hadn’t met a single employee who planned on staying with the company — all of them were scrambling for lifeboats, trying to land cushy jobs with cash-stuffed clients or find their way back to their home countries.What did surprise me was the offer BCG made to me as I was on the way out the door. In exchange for me signing an agreement, BCG would give me the rough equivalent of $16,000 in UAE dirhams. Much of it looked boilerplate, like any common compromise agreement used in Europe — in return for some money, I would stipulate that I hadn’t been discriminated against on the basis of race or gender, etc.

    And finally:

    Nonetheless, whatever disadvantages Dubai’s natives may suffer from, my judgment is that their failures were entirely avoidable. I am not convinced that they were well-intentioned or trying their best. My impression of the average Emirati businessman varies between apathetic and self-important. They are running businesses much in the same way a teenager would buy clothes with a swoosh on them — they aren’t trying to generate profits so much as they are adopting a lifestyle brand. Their empires are not built for power, they are built for image. When you are born with everything, the one thing that you cannot buy is the sense that you earned your status. But it is counter-productive to try and scrub off the image that you lucked your way into wealth — trying to overstep one’s limitations only highlights them.

    It's all a little smug, but it's worth a read. Enjoy.


    Opinion: The city of tomorrow

    Opinion: Welcome to your caste

    Opinion: The story BCG offered me $16,000 not to tell

    Opinion: Dispatches from the collapse

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    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    The Grapeshisha Guide to the World Cup

    Ahead of the World Cup, this year, we provide you with all you need to know:



    The Offside Rule - with an analogy to shopping.

    An interactive guide to all the games - just so you know.

    The winners will be from this list: Spain 4/1, Brazil 9/2, Argentina 13/2, England 8/1, Holland 9/1, Germany 14/1, Italy 16/1, France 20/1, Portugal 25/1. As you can't bet in the UAE, this list represents current odds on how people are betting, skewed towards the English.

    If you are out and about in the desert heat, follow the World Cup on Twitter

    Debate which are the best World Cup goals of all time

    Find out Why England Lose

    And what the best strategies are through A History of Football Tactics

    Reminisce about the Zidane incident at the last World Cup Final and continue to speculate at what caused it

    If you are in Dubai, decide where to watch the World Cup with Dubai Moves great list. If you are in Abu Dhabi, check out Time Out's list.

    Most people think Spain will win. So do we. In 2014, Brazil will win the World Cup on their home soil. Can't wait.

    Enjoy, whether you are watching at shisha bar, a pub, or as a couch potato. And remember, the Dubai World Cup is something different.

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    Friday, June 04, 2010

    After Carrie left Abu Dhabi

    Hilarious peace by Muslima Media Watch, entitled "The Lobby for Abu Dhabi — An Essay by Carrie Bradshaw"

    The biggest secret in the Middle East? Sex. The one thing those people could not deal with was sex. They obviously don’t have much of it, since they wouldn’t talk about it. Showing a bit more skin might do them some good. The dry air was hot and heavy with sexual frustration, and our temples weren’t the only things that were throbbing. These people obviously only see sex as something you do for reproduction. What is life without romance, or talking about men? Even though I’d like to think of myself as a strong and independent woman, most of my thoughts and choices have involved Big, and I believe every woman has the right to a Big in her life. If they talked about sex more, maybe women could have more of it.



    Read the whole thing: The Lobby for Abu Dhabi — An Essay by Carrie Bradshaw

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