I’d have to be deaf and blind to not hear about the toilets, the corruption, the cost overruns, the horrible conditions during the communist era, the anti-gay policies etc. of this year’s Olympic host country. Enough already.
I’d give my right arm to cover the Olympics (I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be an athlete at the games - unless I become a billionaire and some country lets me represent them on my own dime). Toilets, double toilets, no toilets, pictures of Putin half naked in my room, cold food, stray dogs - bring it. The Olympics are bigger than creature comforts. If you’re unhappy there, I’m delighted to take your spot.
As far as cost overruns and graft; Brazil’s stadiums are being built in lieu of hospitals, schools and public transportation - people are already rioting in the streets of Sao Paulo and Rio. Lula Da Silva and his handpicked successor, Dilma Roussoff, are two of the most corrupt presidents to ever run a country. In Beijing ‘08, the disenfranchised and needy got screwed. A CEO of Halliburton was our Vice President, and the company did really well during his term (better than 50 billion good). To imply graft is somehow uniquely Russian is naive, or hypocritical.
Hosting the Olympics have been, with a few notable exceptions, boondoggles rife with cost overruns and unnecessary infrastructure that afterwards sit fallow and useless. Most countries could have used that money far better. I’m not saying Russia’s offenses are justified; they are abhorrent (except for the toilets, seriously people, get over it).
A suggestion for IOC memo to prospective host countries; “Enough with over-the-top displays of technological fuckery. This isn’t your coming-out party, an opportunity to legitimize lousy leadership or a circus of awesomeness. Humility and cognizance of context will suit you far better than those things. Hosting is your chance to make the world a better place.”
Also, the sanctimony in coverage and social media the last few weeks has been unbearable. I can’t tell if this Russia-bashing is a cold war holdover or what. Part of me pictures network strategy meetings where discussions on how not to say anything too nice about Russia take place, for fear of alienating older, more conservative viewers.
(update: Ok, they’re jerks. They do want to invade other countries, I was wrong)
The snarky NBC commentators made me sick at times. So an Olympic ring didn’t open up, try to contain your schadenfreude (Costas and Apollo Ohno are STILL yapping about it). Yes, the communist era was a travesty of human rights violations and oppression, but passive-aggressively alluding to it multiple times, rather than focusing on what the Olympics mean, is that really what you want to do? It pained commentators to say anything positive, alluding to ‘notes they were given’ before speaking, so as to distance themselves from it (implying - “I’m not saying anything nice here, just reading what was given to me, which is probably propaganda”). Next time the US hosts the games, should we have an interpretive dance to slavery, Japanese internment and the displacement of native peoples? (Actually, yes) And wondering aloud if Israeli and Iranian athletes are having backstage tensions with each other… really? Is that the best you can do? Both those countries’ athletes have a history of comporting themselves admirably. While we’re on commentary, acknowledge the names of some of the greatest ballet dancers in the world, something Russians can take pride in being unequivocal leaders of, in the performance.
But I have come to praise Caesar, not to bury him. I LOVE the Olympics. All my life it’s represented something greater than sports and greater than countries. The games are where all countries come together to find common ground in the universality of sport. Where we recognize competition as something inherently human, binding us all together. That bond is the opportunity in time and place to recognize each other as equals, ratcheting DOWN the nationalism, war and strife that fills our heads between games. The Olympics mirror us to ourselves, and are thus the most like art of all sporting events. And it’s the best. The BEST athletes from the entire world are coming together to compete against one another. How awesome is that? Yes, Putin is a twat, but lets get off our high horse and focus on what the Olympics are about. Seize the opportunity and deal with broader issues, or we don’t deserve to have games.
But I digress (btw, how shitty and narrow-minded was that Cadillac ELR commercial?). It should be our job as viewers to cheer the athletes AND the games AND what they stand for. They have their goals, and ours should be to be more appreciative of other countries two weeks from now at the conclusion of these Olympics. Go USA Skiing!
Fantastic #mts13 with @shellypalmer yesterday. Thanks again Shelly. @outbrain, Boku, @Qualcomm and @Expion stood out among a rich field of participants.
Outbrain enables what GOOD content marketing could be. I have been working to merge meaningful and valuable content with sponsor and marketing efforts for a while – and I applaud a system that amplifies valuable sponsored content for a consumer to discover. And @yarongalai is remarkable.
Boku, because their payment systems are clearly thought out around consumer experience - making purchasing seamless and intuitive for whatever context you’re using your phone in. One of my passions is bike commuter systems, so giving connected millenials (or anyone) a seamless way to take advantage of outbound marketing offers generated by GPS or other data with their mobile devices is key.
Qualcomm, because their next generation of mobile chips will enable some AMAZING features. Always-on, NFC, location awareness, health monitoring, better gps enabling, etc.
And Expion because they unify and monetize social media for companies most effectively. I had a nice talk with Kevin Magee connecting my U_bike system with retailers that lead in the social space.
Very impressive were Maryam Banikarim CMO of Gannett and Lisa Donahue, CEO of Starcom USA. So clearly spoken, visionary and with fantastic analytical skills at their immediate disposal.
And, of course Dikembe Motombo.