Regional Business News
regarding the 2010 Olympics
in British Columbia, Canada
OlyBLOG is for businesses across Canada,
especially in Vancouver / Whistler and throughout B.C. We also
hope companies in Alberta and United States (i.e. Washington, Oregon,
Idaho, Montana and California) will find OlyBLOG interesting and informative.
to purchase the book
3 YEAR COUNTDOWN to 2010 Vancouver
YOUR TIME TO LEVERAGE OLYMPIC MOMENTUM IS RUNNING
BLOWN DOME - SECRET TO 2010 SUCCESS
BAD OMEN? OR A BLESSING IN DISGUISE?
3 YEAR COUNTDOWN TO THE 2010 OLYMPICS
What we know so far and for sure
about Canada's 2010 Olympics
OlyBLOG is Pro-Olympic.
We feel that overall, the Olympics are "good" for youth, however,
we feel that the current Olympic business model is hurtful to the community,
and we want the rules changed so it benefits all business owners, taxpayers,
and citizens, and not just elite companies. We no longer think it is as
"cool" as it used to be to be an Olympic sponsor, which is unfortunate,
because the Olympics cannot survive without outside support.
Here's what we know so far ...
We know that local news media like; The Vancouver Sun, Global Television,
CTV, CBC, The Courier, The Westender, The Georgia Straight, The Globe
and Mail, and all others, are already making a fortune off of 2010 by
running Olympic related articles and collectively selling millions of
dollars of advertising generated by 2010 interest.
We know that some of news media companies are more community conscious
We know that local mainstream news media make a killing off the
backs of the community, and that so far none of them have gone too far
out of their way to help us make the system better. Every time the Olympic
countdown clock ticks off another second, they become richer at the community's
We know that news media does not responsibly connect the dots,
and make it clear to their customers and the general public that many
of the problems we are currently experiencing, like homelessness, artificially
inflated house prices, increased rents and taxes, increased parking rates,
traffic congestion (which causes increased pollution), and many more issues,
are directly connected to 2010.
We know that next to construction companies and developers, local
newspapers have the most to gain, and so far The Vancouver Sun is primarily
an Olympic booster that accepts hundreds of thousands of dollars from
real estate marketers, like Olympic-frenzy opportunists Bob Rennie, and
developers Concert Properties, but the Sun does not offer equal
time to organizations that represent the homeless and mentally
ill on Vancouver's East Side. Instead, they use community
conscious people like David
Eby from the Pivot Legal Society as pawns in an effort to
convince the public that local mainstream news media are concerned about
our community. We know they only give David Eby and his organization enough
space to make it look good, but not enough to make a difference over the
We know that newspapers like the Vancouver Sun pretend they are
surprised about protesters at Olympic events, but the truth is, we have
been sending them media releases for over two years warning them this
will happen. News media historically ignore this information because to
act proactively to ease protest tension would negatively impact their
We know that newspapers like the Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail,
The Courier, and The Westender realize that controversy helps them sell
newspapers, and that protesters create scenes that will generate headlines.
We know that there is an affordable, easy way through YouTube,
Google and Yahoo video, to reach out around the world and show everyone
what is happening to the homeless and mentally ill in our Olympic region.
We know that politicians often use current hot spot issues to grandstand
and elevate their careers. And official Olympic political opposition Carole
James and Harry Bains are no exception. No one faults them any more than
we do all the others, it's the political way. Like all politicians, they
know that if they simply keep a controversy alive the public will be fooled
into thinking they care. Unfortunately, 2010 is approaching fast, and
all that counts in the very short-lived Olympic timeline are results.
So far they have attained little in the way of measurable worthy results.
If they really want results regarding 2010 related issues they have to
add tools like YouTube to their arsenal. Carole James characterizes herself
on her website as a fighter, but if so, she has to start landing
solid body and head punches, instead of simply dancing around and fanning
issues with glancing blows. She's not dealing with hippies here. The IOC
is a very dangerous heavyweight that has been in the ring many times,
and they know all the media and political moves. Granted, James and Bains
have standard-issue politico-party websites, but for the most part they
are way too polite, and they are not publicized enough so people know
they exist. For example, Tony Blair, UK Prime Minister launched a petition
website last year that citizens by the hundreds of thousands use to
publicize critical issues. The entire operation only cost $59K US, and
it has already had incredible results. Also, US presidential elections
use websites to reach voters, and they too have had phenomenal success,
in fact Americans feel it is the best and most cost effective way to get
information to and from voters. So I ask Carole And Harry, what are you
doing - other then managing a couple of very
anemic websites that hardly anyone knows exist? If you can't act as
forward thinking leaders how do you expect your constituents to help make
a difference? You have a large public army at your beck and call, but
you have to do a much better job of organizing them. It's great that you
put a long
list of media contacts on your party website so average people can
email newspapers and television stations, but again, if people don't know
about it, they can't use it. It's a new era, please catch up.
We know that the worst thing for the
IOC is for people in prospective host regions to be aware
of what is happening in Vancouver / Whistler. The IOC cannot afford to
have bad publicity while they are negotiating to drag another region into
the economic and public relations nightmare Vancouver is currently experiencing.
2010 is a local problem, but it is a global issue. Think local. Act global.
We know that small and midsize business owners and every taxpayer
will pay for the Olympics, but unless they think differently they will
We know that Olympic sponsors like NBC, HBC, RBC, Visa GM, Rona,
and all the rest will make a fortune off of 2010 and off of the backs
of local taxpayers, the homeless and the mentally ill in Vancouver.
We know that whenever Olympic organization like the IOC or VANOC
experience public relations challenges they parade frightened naïve amateur
athletes in front of unruly crowds and television cameras in an effort
to diffuse the situation.
We know that athletes hate being placed in this position, but they
feel they have no choice.
We know that most amateur Olympic athletes do not have enough money
to train properly, eat properly, or take care of their sports related
health issues properly, and that sponsors like RBC, HBC and Rona use a
select few athletes as pawns to convince the public that all athletes
are treated with respect.
We know that Olympic organizations like VANOC are bullies, as evidenced
by how they treat small business owners in Vancouver - the little Olympia
restaurant on Denman street being the most glaring example of Olympic
We know that the Vancouver public can now use modern communication
technology like the internet, specifically YouTube, to organize themselves
and make it virtually impossible for VANOC to conscript enough volunteers.
We know that if VANOC cannot conscript enough volunteers, they
cannot possibly run a successful 2010. We know that sooner or later violent
protesters will figure this out too, and when they do they will turn the
public around, which would be a shame, because when Olympic-haters do
it, they will exploit the public in the same way the IOC exploits the
We know that the number one, self-professed Olympic hater in Vancouver
is Chris Shaw from 2010 Olympic Watch. We know that The Vancouver Sun
gives him just enough rope to hang himself. We know that Chris Shaw is
a professor at UBC. We know that UBC is an Olympic partner and booster,
and that eventually these two opposing factions will collide. When they
do, VANOC and the IOC will likely put incredible pressure on UBC to rein
Shaw in They could even go as far as to terminate his position. When this
happens Shaw will either concede defeat, or he will resign and launch
an all-out war. We know that Shaw is an incredibly brilliant and persuasive
man, and that he has surrounded himself with some very serious professional
We know that UBC will eventually create a very difficult housing
and academic situation for students when they choose 2010 over their student
body. Don't be fooled by the little tussle in Whistler in April. That
was just a sideshow compared to the housing challenges students will face
in the main campus in Vancouver. We know that youth are the most tech
savvy gunslingers on the planet, and if anyone knows how to rally the
troops through YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook, they do. We know that when
this happens violent confrontation in Vancouver will escalate overnight
to Olympic proportion. Vancouver residents should then run for cover like
citizens did in Athens in 2004 during their Summer Olympics.
We know that just before the 2004 Summer Olympics, Athens rounded
up thousands, and (killed
hundreds of stray dogs) roaming their streets, and we hope that Vancouver
does not have a secret plan to euthanize the addicted and mentally ill
at East Hastings and Main.
We know that VANOC wants to use public schools to
house volunteers during the Games. I wrote about this very costly solution
almost a year ago in my book, Leverage
Olympic Momentum, and on February 22, 2007, Vancouver Sun reporter,
Jeff Lee, has finally gotten around to reporting about it. Not
only is he a year late, but once again he tells only half the story -
the Olympic booster half. Lee failed to mention that this is a very expensive
hidden cost proposition for taxpayers. He failed to mention
that taxpayers will be billed for all the administration costs associated
with managing the process. He also failed to mention that teachers and
school administrators, and possibly even students would be conscripted,
whether they like it or not, to help manage and execute the operational
process. VANOC wants to shut down the schools to house volunteers, but
Lee also forgot to mention (maybe he doesn't know) that the schools won't
be shut down for just the three week Olympic run. The reality is that
school property has to be prepared well in advance, and then cleaned up
after the Games leave town. The entire process could easily take six weeks
or more, especially when you take into account training of hospitality
staff, and also repairs, which are inevitable. In some past Olympic regions
schools were closed for almost two months. Who will pay for day care?
Another hidden expense!! Thanks for the insightful reporting Mr. Lee.
Maybe you should read my book before you get our community into more trouble.
I'm not suggesting that using public schools is a bad idea, but it is
not as easy or as inexpensive as VANOC and local news media would have
We know that security costs will increase from the current projected
$175 million, to a billion by the time the last spectator and suspected
terrorist leaves Vancouver in 2010.
We know that if VANOC makes a concerted effort to make serious
changes, they can make 2010 work for everyone in our region, and not just
make the wealthy richer.
We know that the ball is in now VANOC's court, but they do not
control the game.
We know that in some months, this blog gets almost 3 million hits.
How do we know all this information? ... we wrote the book.
It's called Leverage
We also know through extensive, long-term and costly research that in
the "last three" Olympic regions (Salt Lake City, Athens &
Turin), local communities suffered, and in some cases will suffer severe
economic hardship for two generations. Without question we know that using
the current flawed Olympic business model, Olympic sponsors like NBC,
CTV, RBC, HBC, Rona, and GM, and many others, will make a fortune off
the Olympics on the back of, and at the expense of local taxpayers and
small business owners.
John Furlong is making a lot of noise about plans for 2010 being on time
and budget, but it was only a few months ago that the BC auditor general
report warned us that costs have tripled. Either John Furlong or the BC
auditor general is lying. Both can't be right.
It's Furlong's job to paint a rosy picture. Because if the community gets
spooked, volunteers will stay away in droves. Don't get lulled into complacency
by his smooth and calm misdirection. He has no choice but to stay positive,
even in the face of the ticking countdown dragon. Anything else is suicide
for his career.
In all Olympic regions issues become more serious as the big day approaches,
and so far it has not been a very good start. Homeless issues aside, not
only are budgets out of control, but we are way behind regarding construction
schedules for the big projects. VANOC might have control
of some of the lesser construction projects on the hills, but they are
sinking fast where it really counts. For example, they only resolved the
labour trade agreement issue six months ago. Experts from past Olympic
regions warned us we should have had this agreement locked down in early
2004, but Furlong and construction associations could not agree on any
of the major issues. It's a bad omen when you can't even agree to disagree
and end up stalling what should have been a slam dunk over two years ago.
In one respect, the more that VANOC falls behind schedule, the easier
it will be for small and midsize subcontractors and suppliers to swoop
in at the last minute and bail out harried primary contractors, but as
an SMB, you also know that you need lead time to prepare. I'm not just
referring to construction here either. When construction slows down it
creates a ripple effect that impacts every single supplier down the line,
from companies that supply transportation to those that supply food and
toilet paper and security badges. Everyone in the chain feels pressure
when plans don't roll out on time.
A quick look around the Vancouver internet landscape indicates that most
of you have still not made your websites Olympic promotion friendly, which
means you too will have to scramble at the last minute to get your house
in order. Web developers love nothing better than to hear, "Can
you put a rush on it for me?" Rush = added expense, sometimes
double, and in an Olympic region easily triple.
Is your web presence Olympic-ready? When a stressed out primary
supply or contract company is behind the 2010 8 BALL and looking for someone
to bail them out, their quickest way to check you out is online, but if
they see a company that looks unprepared, they will simply move on to
the next prospect. Remember, in an Olympic frenzy, everyone shoots from
the hip and bases decisions on first impressions.
Here's what we know so far about 2010 preparations . . .
Contrary to what local mainstream news media promote,
we think economic gain for 2010 should occur in the following order;
1./ Local community - Vancouver / Whistler and immediate surrounding
regions should be at the top of the list. After all, it is these communities
that will pay the highest taxes, suffer through artificially inflated
house prices, and the dirty, noisy long term expensive inconvenience of
construction and detours. Ultimately, we also have to face overwhelming
spikes in foreign Olympic visitors, who, contrary to what local mainstream
news media lead you to believe - are not common tourists, which means
we have to manage the security risk that comes with them. If we have to
pay for it, we should benefit too.
2./ The province of British Columbia should benefit next,
considering that they/we are investing such a large sum to host the Games.
3./ Next in line is Canada. At the end of the day, this
is Canada's Games, and the federal government will contribute
billions of dollars when you take into account all the federal workers
who will log time planning the Games, plus the upfront monetary investment,
and the other always unspoken expense, the exorbitant and constantly growing
"hidden cost" to protect Vancouver and Whistler against terrorist
attack in the ramp up to and during the 2010 Olympics.
4./ Finally, when the last Olympic athlete and spectator goes home,
and if there is anything left, Olympic sponsors, the IOC, and VANOC
can share in the whatever is left, if anything.
Unfortunately, in almost every single past Olympic region, and definitely
in the last three Olympic regions, our list above plays out in an almost
exact opposite order, and once again, as we have said from the very beginning
over the last three years ... it is immoral. Unfortunately, local mainstream
news media seems to disagree with us, because up until now, not one of
them has ever seriously addressed this issue - ever, and I'll explain
If the local community has to pay the highest price, we should reap the
Here's what else we know about the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Local mainstream news media, after construction companies
and developers, will make incredible profit covering the Olympics. Whether
they outright promote, secretly promote, or oppose the Games, they will
make a killing talking and writing about the good stuff as well as the
controversies that surround the Games. In fact, in some cases they already
make news in an effort to sell newspapers and television
advertising. As we all know, local mainstream news media companies are
experts at blowing news out of proportion, and the Olympics presents a
perfect opportunity for them to blow this baby right into the stratosphere
alongside global warming.
Already local newspapers are chiding Olympic protesters for being unorganized.
News media like nothing better than to see a fight, and if they have to
throw a bit of fuel on the fire to get things going they don't hold back.
Don't fall for it. It is hurtful to the community when the Vancouver
Sun's Cam Cole uses sticks and stones mentality to take a wimpy
shot at protesters from a distance. Does it really help the situation
to goad protesters to be more organized and aggressive? Hardly Cam. Grow
up. Rod Mickleburgh from the Globe and Mail
is also misinformed when he wrote "what little Olympic opposition
there is remains weak and scattered." He doesn't have a clue
that Vancouver is still in the embryonic stages, but his editor, who is
better informed, lets him run with it because knows it will raise the
hackles of protesters and eventually give G&M a sensational headline
to publish after the next 2010 protest marred event.
When newspapers do this "make work" type of stuff all it does
is enrage protesters who now feel they have to prove themselves at the
next go round. How does this support our community? Newspapers do it because
they know it will spark a reaction. The responsible and civic minded thing
to do would be to give protesters equal time, but they don't. Instead
they prime protesters to become increasingly violent. Plus, they sell
full color double page spreads in the same issues to developers like Bob
Rennie who exacerbate the problem by perpetuating Olympic feeding frenzy.
Cam Cole, like a Bertuzzi is selling out our community in an effort to
support his newspaper's real estate department. He's an antagonist and
opportunist, and even though you might dismiss him as a simple sports
reporter, his editor is using him as a pawn to manage a well-known, and
in this case, a dangerous strategy.
It is part of a strategy Noam Chomsky coined and describes as necessary
illusion. It is a process by which news media appear to be telling
you one thing, but through very sophisticated and complex psychological
message placement and manipulation, often referred to as spirit in Olympic
regions, they actually promote a hidden agenda. For example, a newspaper
or television broadcaster promotes a telethon, but they fail to tell you
that they make a fortune selling tertiary advertising. It looks good on
the surface, but what the average person doesn't realize is that production
costs are paid for through the donations generated through the telethon,
and sometimes, quite often in fact, the production values are inflated.
Almost everyone in the entertainment industry does it , including performers,
radio, television and newspaper companies. You don't think performers
pay their own transportation, hotel and production costs do you? All they
contribute is their time, which for the most part is the cheapest expense
in the equation. They even invoice for the salaries of personal handlers
and support teams, which is a really easy sum to inflate. Plus, most of
the hard and soft costs can be written off as a tax expense - double whammy!
If I had a million dollars - I could double it by getting the promoter
(Olympic organizations) to pick up the tab, and make it seem like I'm
volunteering my time freely. It's sneaky, but legal. The hidden agenda
is designed to create indirect profit for all parties concerned by raising
their visibility, and for a performer, that is their stock in trade. This
system can also be modified to benefit local newspapers in Olympic regions.
By their own admission, local mainstream news media are not in business
to serve our community. When 2010 is said and done, it matters not how
many other public service events newspapers manage or promote, or how
hard they try to convince us they are good corporate citizens, their only
reason for being is to make a profit. Never forget that.
We know that in almost every single Olympic region in the free world Olympic
organization bring at least one newspaper on as an official Olympic sponsor.
This is wrong, and it is hurtful to the community, because what most taxpayers
do not know is that Olympic organizations also force local mainstream
newspapers to sign agreements that unequivocally state that "official
sponsor newspapers cannot do or say anything that would besmirch the reputation
of the Olympic organization - even if it is to the detriment of the community."
Once a newspaper signs this agreement it is the law. It means that even
if Olympic organizations do something that negatively impacts the local
community, the official Olympic newspaper cannot legally report it. If
they do, they will be in contravention of the law, and they can then be
sued by the Olympic organization for breach of contract. We think this
arraignment is wrong, and that it is clear conflict of interest.
We do not have a problem with Olympic organizations "hiring"
a local newspaper, or newspapers to boost the Games as they did in Sydney
Australia regarding the 2000 Summer Games, but we do have a problem when
they do it surreptitiously and when they do not fairly warn the local
community well in advance (like in 2003) that the newspaper works for
or unconditionally boosts the Olympics, and consequently is by default
in competition with the local community.
For decades Olympic organizations have negotiated agreements to make television
broadcasters like NBC official television spokespersons. We see nothing
wrong with this because it is now common knowledge that NBC is on
the Olympic payroll, and everyone knows and accepts that anything
NBC says about the Olympics is biased. Canadians felt the same way about
the CBC when they were official Olympic national sponsors. No one in their
right mind believed any Olympic news that that was not directly related
to sports or athletes that emanated from the CBC during this era, just
like they will soon grow to understand the same thing about Canada's
newest Olympic booster, the CTV. These companies are paid, and
also pay to boost the Olympics, and if they do not act accordingly, they
are in breach of contract. The difference between television and newspapers,
is that we know about the television companies, and we accept it. We accept
that they are willing to suspend their news reporting credibility in order
to promote the Olympics. They feel it is well worth the immediate economic
gain, and most people are fine with it - me included.
We are however not fine when an oligopoly becomes entrenched in an Olympic
region, and when taxpayers and small and midsize business owners are not
made aware of the very secret and unspoken relationships between key players;
for example, Olympic organizations, three levels of government, real estate
developers, sponsors, and local mainstream news media.
An oligopoly is a market structure with only a few sellers
who control a high percentage of sales. In an Olympic model these controlling
factions do not speak directly to each other in an effort to manipulate
the market, because if they did, that would breach the ant-trust laws
of most countries. These separate factions do however know that if they
behave in a certain way it will benefit their unrecognized "silent"
partners, and in effect shut all small players out of the market.
What makes this system even more dangerous is that Olympic organizations
for the most part are managed like a monopoly. If you are a regular reader
of this blog and you have read my book, Leverage Olympic Momentum, you
know that VANOC is planning to place an Olympic Supercentre somewhere
in Vancouver that will suck $22.6 million of Olympic merchandising retail
out of the local market, and effectively shut out most local retailers.
Essentially, it is a big box system very similar to Wal-Mart.
However, thanks to Olympic Spirit, local retailers so far
seem to be fine with it, even though it means that Olympic spectators
will have even less reason to walk our streets and patronize our restaurants
and shops. SMBs are fine with it mostly because they all erroneously believe
that somehow they will benefit from the hordes of Olympic spectators that
are expected to take over our streets. The problem is that no one wants
to criticize the Olympic business model, and they "never do"
until it is too late - until now. That is where OlyBLOG.com steps up.
We do, and we've been doing it constructively and responsibly for the
last three years. Our story has never changed. Olympic organization
count on misplaced patriotism and Olympic Spirit to keep local business
owners quiet and in their place. In the past, Olympic communities did
not have a means to voice their complaints, but now that YouTube has hit
mainstream, those halcyon days are over for Olympic organizations like
VANOC and the IOC.
When you combine an oligopoly with a monopoly it creates
a very potent cocktail that creates a drunken stupor in the community,
which as we now know is referred to as "Olympic Spirit." Homeowners
in our Olympic region have actually been convinced by newspapers like
the Vancouver Sun that artificially inflated house prices are good for
them, when in fact in almost every other Olympic city a similar spike
in real estate has been incredibly destructive to the long term economic
health of the region.
YouTube, Google and Yahoo video are Olympic busters, and
there is nothing the IOC or VANOC can do about it except recognize that
small and midsize business owners and local taxpayer now have an affordable
international voice, and they no longer have to lay down like sacrificial
virgins for the slaughter.
In a very short time OlyBLOG, and I suspect many others will soon
follow us, will move to a primarily video format. In a very short
time we will have similar access to the world Olympic market that up until
now Olympic organizations have exclusively provided only to companies
like NBC, CTV, and CBC. Even more importantly, websites like OlyBLOG.com,
and TheTyee.ca will lure even more people away from local newspapers.
We already have direct, affordable access to international unaccredited
media, a news group that can make or break an Olympic event. Websites
like OlyBLOG speak and feed information regularly to newspaper and television
companies in countries around the world that are interested in hosting
future Olympic events. We have also established relationships with
international news media companies that are responsible for enticing Olympic
spectators to our Games in 2010. We have the ear of the world,
ironically though, local news media, for the most part, ignore us. And
they do so because we represent the small business community and undermine
their monopoly and revenue stream. Can you blame them?
Here's what else we know about 2010;
There are three books on the market that you must read if you want to
understand the complex structure I've just described.
The first is written by Helen Jefferson Lenskyj, and is entitled
"The Best Olympics Ever?" The question mark says it all. This
book is highly complex, and a very tough read. It was written by an Australian
research academic who is currently a professor at the University of Toronto.
Her book dissects the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney Australia. Some
parts of it will have you standing on your chair in disbelief. If
you only read one book, this is it, but be prepared to do a lot of independent
research to understand what she is getting at and how it applies to you.
Her work is so complex that it even confused Olympic writer Jeff Lee at
the Vancouver Sun.
The second book is written by Tony Webb, and it is entitled "The
Collaborative Games." This book, unlike Lenskyj's, is pro-Olympic,
but oddly, Webb supports much of what Lenskyj claims. Interestingly, these
two writers, who are at extreme ends of the spectrum, say almost exactly
the same thing and agree with each other regarding the politics and business
model of the IOC and lesser Olympic organizations like VANOC. You will
be pacing in front of your chair when you read what Webb reports regarding
how small and midsize businesses are shut out of the spectacle, and how
Olympic organizations work in collusion with media and sponsors to control
the market. This is also a very complex book and a difficult read,
and it delves deeply into the construction of facilities and union interaction.
And BTW, according to Webb, and every Australian Olympic dignitary that
has ever presented on Canadian soil about where we should be regarding
2010 construction, we are two years behind schedule. John Furlong, CEO
VANOC should start paying more attention to what happened in past recent
Olympic regions, and then maybe he wouldn't be making such irresponsible
statements about 2010 being on time and budget. You are never on time
or budget until the last Olympic spectator leaves after Closing Ceremonies
- and that is the benchmark professional promoters live by.
The third book on the list is written by Canadian, Richard Pound.
It is entitled "Inside the Olympics," and it is a no holds barred
examination of what it means to be a member of the IOC. Pound actually
put his hat in the ring to become president of the IOC, but lost out to
current president, Jacques Rogge. Pound is a past Olympic athlete and
a current executive of the IOC, and has been for over two decades. He
knows the IOC inside and backwards. He was not happy about losing to
Rogge and wrote a scathing book that will have you hiding under your chair.
Pound, by the way, is currently president of WADA, the international Olympic
anti-doing agency. Of the three books listed here, Pound's book is the
easiest to understand. It is written for the layperson, and although it
is also the most graphic, it does not explore in great depth the why,
but mainly the what, and who.
The downside to all of these books is that they do not even remotely paint
a local picture of 2010. When you read them you will have to extrapolate
for yourself how all of what they write applies to our situation here
in Vancouver / Whistler, and this is why my book, Leverage Olympic Momentum
is so valuable.
Leverage Olympic Momentum compares what all these writers cover,
and addresses in explicit detail what is happening here, right down to
details of construction costs, newspaper and television coverage. Basically,
I fill in the holes and make it very easy for small and midsize business
owners and taxpayers in Vancouver / Whistler to understand what has already
happened, is happening, and is about to happen regarding the ramp up,
and post 2010 Olympics.
My book is also much easier to read.
Think of Leverage Olympic Momentum as 2010 for Dummies.
You can find the other three books at Amazon, or on their respective publishers'
sites and you can read more about Leverage
Olympic Momentum here. Leverage Olympic Momentum is the first, and
its respective revisions and post 2010 edition will be the last word on
the Vancouver / Whistler Olympics. You can bank on it.
Leverage Olympic Momentum - the book,
can now be purchased online
for $34.95 CDN,
or at Duthie
Books in Vancouver for only $29.95
2010 SECRET TO SUCCESS
Hint: Look to the blown out roof at BC Place
for the answer
I occasionally receive email from OlyBLOG.com viewers who ask, "What's
the secret." They want a one-sentence explanation of how to effectively
leverage Olympic momentum. Some even want a one-word explanation.
It's hard to condense "the secret" into one word and still have it make
sense, but I can do it in one sentence, and explain more through
a series of articles previously published in this blog.
A complete answer though can be found in my book, Leverage Olympic
Momentum. I sometimes hesitate sending people to my book because some
interpret it as a hustle to turn a quick buck. Unfortunately, no one makes
a profit selling business books in Canada, and especially in Vancouver,
not even Peter Legge. The market is too small. And in this particular
case, the 2010 Olympic market, it is even smaller. It was never our intention
to make a profit selling books to business people regarding the Olympics.
In fact, when you consider "all" the time involved, it is a
loss leader. And even though we move a considerable number of books, profit
from sales is not a motivating factor.
So why write a book?
as Marshall McLuhan said, "The medium is the message."
I wrote the book because we wanted to document in printers ink
what we predicted would happen in Vancouver/Whistler. Words on the internet
are too easy to change so it wasn't an appropriate medium when we realized
how long it would take to inspire people to think differently. Granted,
you might think this explanation is a bit ironic after you see the micro-news
solution we describe later in this article, but a book effectively locks
our words into a time capsule, and that is exactly what we need to prove
to you that our views are worth your serious consideration.
Except for BC
Business magazine, Business
Edge, and The
Globe and Mail, other mainstream news media companies panned us,
but only after they realized our ideas negatively impacted their Olympic-based
revenue. Our perspective intrigues many journalists, and every major news
company in BC interviewed me, but they either couldn't get their story
past their bosses, or they wouldn't when they eventually realized our
ideas are critical of how many of them do their jobs. Some were simply
not worldly enough to easily understand our point of view, so they didn't
even try. We never claimed it would be easy to think differently.
Through extensive research, we knew early on that it would also be very
hard for average business owners to accept what we were claiming, especially
considering all the misinformation that was flooding into the market from
mainstream news media. So we decided to write a script (the book), and
then sit back and watch VANOC, politicians, and local media act out the
movie in real time. In essence, they became reluctant co-stars, some more
reluctant than others. Granted, it was a bit of a gamble because there
was a possibility that VANOC CEO John Furlong might eventually assemble
a creative and innovative team and make us look foolish, but as you've
seen, for the most part it turns out our script and predictions are right
on the money. So far VANOC is sticking to the IOC plan like clockwork.
We write it, and they do it. We wanted to demonstrate that what you see
happening in Vancouver/Whistler happens in all Olympic regions and that
there is no reason for this insanity to keep repeating itself. The Olympic
business model is flawed and you're paying for it while big business makes
a killing off your back.
Our revenue is generated independently through the development of online
marketing strategies for companies interested in leveraging Olympic momentum.
Basically, through my media communications company, Area46.com, we design
internet sites, although that is a very simplistic explanation. A book
and blog certainly help us get our message out, but we don't make a profit
from either, at least not directly. We also run seminars and workshops
customized for businesses interested in leveraging the excitement of 2010.
We make our money selling expertise, and what better way to demonstrate
that you know what you're talking about than to write history before
it happens? We are the first, and so far the only company in the
world that specializes in developing profitable strategies for
small and midsize businesses in Olympic regions. It is the reason we receive
messages from our competitors who write to say, "Good work!
Keep it up. It's about time somebody did what you're doing." (Notice
I wrote competitors, not customers, although they too like what
we do for them.)
The first time I received a message like this I was taken aback. One of
our direct competitors encouraged us to continue educating the local business
world. They too recognized that the biggest challenge local business owners
have is finding correct and realistic information. Our competitors
are so anxious for this to happen that they encourage us to get better
at what we do. It's a good indication that many local businesses are trying
to make sense of Vancouver's collective situation in this 2010 Olympic
region. Think of it like GM emailing Ford and saying, "We really
like how you put a window defroster in your car. Good work. Keep developing
in this area because it helps everyone drive more safely and it improves
the value of all our products."
For those of you looking for a quick, one word answer regarding
the secret to leveraging Olympic momentum, here it is.
For those looking for a one-sentence answer, it is this;
Use the internet to create your own "micro-news service."
For those not satisfied with one word, or a
single sentence, keep reading and I'll explain.
Communication means to share information. Creating your own news service
means that you have to develop a system whereby you can easily and efficiently
disseminate Olympic-related news information. Creating a micro-news service
gives you the same tools and protections that the big mainstream news
media companies leverage every day. There are laws and conventions in
place that you can leverage too.
What many business owners don't realize is that if you create a "news-style"
service, you can talk freely about and use Olympic icons and logos just
like television and newspaper companies do. Google will also love you.
One of the major challenges regarding the Olympics is that organizations
like the IOC and VANOC are extremely protective about their brand, and
well they should be. They know that the last three Olympic events created
economic hardship for the "host" regions. Consequently, Olympic organizations
want to do everything in their power to keep that dirty little secret
hidden. They're like gamblers in that they only tell you what they won,
but never how much they lost. Somehow you have to bust that nasty secret
wide open and tell your friends and neighbors that the creepy uncle who
makes everyone feel uncomfortable is, well in fact, a creepy person who
should not be trusted. You have to do it however without undermining Olympic
Spirit, which can be very difficult. You don't want put all uncles in
jail, just the creepy ones.
Using the internet to create a micro-news service is affordable for every
single business big or small. The secret is to go online and talk to your
colleagues and competitors about what you see happening around you. Compare
notes in the wide-open online public spaces of your company's internet
site, and use other platforms like YouTube, or local sites like TheTyee.ca,
or PublicEyeOnline.com to "out" that weird uncle. If you don't talk about
it, nothing will change.
This process is so effective that it has caused one of Vancouver's biggest
newspapers to rethink how they regard our community. Before I get into
telling you who and how, let me tell you why.
Local mainstream news media is the linchpin in the Olympic charade. If
you read this blog regularly, or my book, you know I am obsessively pro-Olympic.
I love the Games, and when I was a kid I dreamed, probably like many of
you, of becoming an Olympic champion. It didn't take long however to realize
it was a fanciful dream, and I quickly grew up. As you also might know,
I am obsessive about making the 2010 Games good for everyone in BC, and
not just the corporate BCs like "H"BC, "R"BC, and "N"BC. My philosophy
is that if we have to pay for it, we should all benefit, big, and small.
Salt Lake City, according to reports on the CBC, experienced a 1.2 billion
dollar deficit after their Olympic spectacle in 2002. Athens, according
to the Globe and Mail, got sucked into a 12 billion dollar economic black
hole after their Games in 2004. And as you know, Turin is still trying
to identify their deficit after last year's 2006 debacle. The only thing
we know for sure about Turin is that they threatened to cancel the Games
and declare bankruptcy only two months before their big event unless their
government bailed them out. Their local Olympic organizing committee literally
demanded ransom from taxpayers. We also know that that these first two
regions never experienced an increase in tourism as was promised - in
fact not even close to what Bid committees projected. In Athens for example,
tourism fell way below previous rates, and in Turin so far, there has
been very little boost, if any, to tourism. The only new people in the
world who know where Turin is are those in BC who have a vested interested
because we are next in line for the slaughter - and I'm betting that even
most of you couldn't point to it on a map.
Fortunately, it does not have to be this way, but I can guarantee that
we will suffer the same consequences if we do not do something differently
than our predecessors. The Olympic business plan is flawed and it has
to change. Don't believe the IOC when they claim that oppressive Olympic
debt is solely the fault of the host region. That is pure bunk. The IOC
has to start taking more responsibility for the carnage.
Which brings us back to the "secret" and the spontaneously deflated BC
Here's a question for business owners in Vancouver. How eager will visitors
and dignitaries to Vancouver be to shell out $2,000 each for 2010 Opening
Ceremony tickets in our BC Place stadium, when, in 2010, in the middle
of our rainy winter season, the chances of another "spontaneous deflation"
could easily occur in a roof that will be three years older than it is
today? No one is getting any younger, roofs included.
The argument that the roof blew out because of human error is a half-truth
distraction, and for the most part irrelevant, not to mention ludicrous.
If anyone thinks that blaming it even partially on human error will make
Olympic spectators feel more comfortable to go into BC Place during a
winter storm they are mistaken. City officials are trying to make the
General Manager of BC Place, Howard Crosley, a scapegoat. If human error
was a substantial contributing factor then fire him, and the team leaders
who were on duty during the shift. If not, don't make such a big issue
of human error.
Using human error as an excuse is like saying we are going to put a rubber
patch on the rear tire of our Formula 1 racing car, and then send Paul
Tracy onto the track to compete with the best in the world. We can patch
the roof or the tire all we want, but the reality is that they are old
and their safety cannot be trusted. The driver can do everything in his
or her power to finish the race, but one small mistake, or overcompensation,
will blow it out again, and this time maybe with catastrophic consequences.
I'm not suggesting that a blown out roof in a stadium full of people will
cause direct physical harm to spectators, but the rush to the door will
certainly put thousands of lives at serious risk. All you have to do is
look to soccer mobs to envision the outcome.
The blown out dome is a warning from the Gods on Mount Olympus
that the roof has to be replaced, not patched. The issue is one of safety,
and also of public perception. Consumers need to feel safe in order
to buy tickets and enjoy themselves. Rabid local sports fans might be
willing to put their lives at risk to watch the Lions bash helmets, but
Olympic dignitaries from around the world will think twice about bringing
their families into the now infamous stadium.
Unaccredited media from around the world will have a field day speculating
when the roof will blow out again. The collapse was replayed on YouTube
over 6,000 times in less than two weeks. Just imagine the reaction if
we experience another winter storm during Opening or Closing Ceremonies.
Don't be surprised if Vegas makes book on it. It's going to be a clincher
right up until the last Olympic spectator leaves the building after Closing
Ceremonies. Apparently, VANOC CEO, John Furlong, and Vancouver mayor,
Sam Sullivan are willing to take this risk, but are we, as a business
community, willing to be so reckless with our economic future? At the
very least, shouldn't the Vancouver Board of Trade or the local Chambers
of Commerce be concerned, because if the roof does blow out again between
now and 2010, all businesses in the province, big and small, will take
a big hit to their credibility.
A very LARGE part of the responsibility of hosting the Games is to deal
with unforeseen circumstances, but we won't be able to hide behind
the unforeseen excuse if it happens again. Even a small tear at
in inopportune time will send international media buzzing, and spectators
scurrying. Here's a bit of déjà vu. If you've read my book you know that
I was highly critical of the patched roof almost a year ago. If "I," a
non engineer, suspected that something like this could happen, don't you
think civic leaders and local mainstream news media should have been sounding
warning bells as well? Why did they ignore it? Was it naiveté?
Here's what I wrote in my book, well over a year before the infamous "January
2007 blow out."
Excerpt from "Leverage Olympic Momentum" - page 180, last paragraph;
"No Fun Vancouver is planning to do it [Olympic Opening & Closing Ceremonies]
indoors at BC Place, a stadium that is in dire need of a new roof to replace
the sorry looking quilt of faded yellow repair patches. Do you think the
cost of fixing the patchwork ceiling at BC Place has been figured into
the overrun budget announced in February of 2006, or is it another cost
to be tacked on later? Due to the wet winter conditions in Vancouver,
producing the Opening and Closing Ceremonies indoors is obviously the
safest course of action, but . . . " (end of excerpt)
This is what I wrote in this blog on July 27, 2006;
"Here are a couple of questions local investigative journalists have to
ask of, and demand appropriate answers from, VANOC CEO, John Furlong.
"Mr. Furlong, when you were asked by local media if your budget was sufficient
you stated that we are in a different position than Turin, and that our
budget cannot be compared because we already have many Olympic facilities
built, i.e., GM or BC Places. You inferred it was an apples-to-oranges
Fair answer Mr. Furlong, and a nice political-style dodge, however, our
community wants to know if we will be on the hook to upgrade any of the
sport facilities we already have in our community. For example, when the
seats were replaced in 2005 at the Coliseum, was it "entirely" an Olympic
expense, and will further upgrades to the Coliseum be covered by Olympic
or taxpayer money? Or, what will happen to the rag-tag roof at BC Place?
It might hold water, but from the inside it looks like a country quilt.
At the eleventh hour, will VANOC decide that something has to be done
about the patchwork mess they call a ceiling, and in an effort to present
ourselves in shining glory to the world, will the community have to foot
the bill to make it look respectable? After all, if one of the reasons
we are holding the Games is to attract foreign capital investment, wouldn't
it be hard to convince movers and shakers from around the world that we
are capable of world class standards if, during an Olympic medal presentation
spectators happen to look up, maybe as a result of the indoor fireworks?
Every time I go to BC Place I cannot help but look up at the ceiling and
wonder if it is going to cave in. Even though it may be structurally sound,
it looks horrible. Is this any way to introduce the world to the most
livable city on the planet? Perception is nine tenths of the law in the
Olympic promotion business." (end of excerpt)
Even if local and foreign spectators allay their fears of the roof caving
in again, what do you think visitors to our fair city will think when
they look up during 2010 Opening and Closing Ceremonies and see a ragtag
faded, yellow splotchy roof? Do you think it will inspire them to invest
in our city or province? One of the major reasons to host 2010 is to inspire
capital investment from outside the region. Who in their right mind would
invest in a city that can't maintain one of its self-described "crown
jewels?" Maybe we should call Red Green, and ask him to bring all the
"duct tape" he can find.
If the roof leaked in your house, and destroyed your ceiling six months
before it was your turn to host the family winter holiday celebration,
would you simply patch it up and hope your mother-in-law would not notice
the bright white new section contrasted against the bumpy faded yellowing
old part? Or would you either replace the entire ceiling, or take the
family out to a posh little restaurant for Christmas dinner? Essentially,
our city isn't planning to do either. Instead, they want to play "patch
Patch and pray - you have no idea how much I want to use the "F" word
here, but I'm not going to for fear of scaring the children. Aw what the
hell. I'm going to say it anyway, because in the Olympic Spirit of communications
and news dissemination, it has to be said.
FFFForget it. Patching and praying is not an option.
I appreciate that it will be very expensive to replace the roof on our
old weary stadium, but isn't our first responsibility to HOST a great
Own the Podium? How about Own the roof?
How can Vancouver live up to, and be regaled as the most livable city
if everyone during Opening and Closing Ceremonies is distracted by the
possibility of the roof collapsing - again? Never forget that we constantly
boast to the world that Vancouver is the greatest place in the world to
live. When you brag like that you better be able to back it up. I suppose
the joke will now become; Vancouver is still the most livable place,
just not at BC Place."
When you bluff about it being so great here it is imperative that you
don't tip your hand, or as they say in poker parlance, don't reveal
your tell, or something like that. I'm not much of a gambler, which
is even more apparent considering my new apprehension of sitting
at BC Place during a winter storm. Sorry to sound like a sissy, but maybe
someone out there can tell me where the safest place to sit will be. Is
it on the floor, mid level, or way up top, which by the way could give
a new meaning to the term nosebleed section?
When a commercial jet aircraft has a hole blown in its fuselage at 40,000
feet everything and everyone in the immediate vicinity gets sucked out
into the clear blue yonder. Will the same thing happen to your beer and
hotdog if the roof pops open while your sitting up top at BC Place? Maybe
we should install seatbelts in the upper echelon and make it mandatory
for children to remain strapped in at all times. So much for the wave.
Maybe we could give these seats to the homeless and kill tw ... hmm, forget
that idea - the homeless will have to be long gone well before Opening
As you can see, just because you refuse to acknowledge that weird uncle
John is molesting the kids it doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist.
Regardless of the tap dance our civic leaders are performing, I still
find it impossible to see their logic. Patching and praying is not an
option. The roof has to be replaced or we have to move Olympic events
to another venue. Period. End of discussion. Anything less simply reinforces
the message that we are desperate, not to mention fools, which of late
has been our theme song as evidenced through how we have so far managed
the homeless and drug addiction situation on East Hastings. The only reason
we are concerned about the homeless now is because the 2010 Olympics is
coming. In this era of spontaneously combustible news communication,
everyone in the free world knows that cities only clean up their messes
when they are placed under the Olympic microscope. Cleaning up Vancouver
has nothing to do with being the most livable city, nor is it for
humanitarian reasons. It's all about the perception of image. It's not
a coincidence that Vancouver has both the most millionaires and the most
homeless per capita, but do we have to be so fucking obvious about it?
Replace the roof, stop the speculation before it even starts regarding
what could happen, and let's move on.
Let's get back to the "secret."
If you want to leverage Olympic momentum, do what we did. Start your own
micro-news service using the internet. It's easy, affordable, and effective,
and if you can't do it on your own, contract a company like mine, or the
dozens of other internet development and communications companies in this
region who will soon offer this same service. I will warn you though,
make sure you pick a company that does not have any affiliation with Olympic
organizations, because they will be prevented from saying or doing anything
that is even remotely critical of the Games. Companies with Olympic affiliations
are forced to sign an agreement saying they will defend the Olympics,
even if it is harmful to the community or their clients. If you get caught
in this trap you can kiss ideas for a micro-news service good-bye. This
is one of the reasons it is ethically wrong for a mainstream newspaper
to become an Olympic sponsor. It divides their loyalty and compromises
their relationship with the community.
Part of the secret is that if you don't like how weird uncle John makes
you keep secrets, tell someone. Sooner or later a responsible adult will
listen and put an end to the abuse.
Olympic organizations are abusing you, and they count on local mainstream
news media to keep it a secret. Just because you speak out against the
Olympics does not mean you are anti-Olympic. It also does not mean that
it will undermine our Olympic event. It means you are responsible and
that weird uncle John has to be stopped.
As promised above, I said I would tell you not only why and how, but also
who. Well here's the who part and evidence to show you that
this strategy works. Before I started my micro-news site (OlyBLOG.com),
local mainstream news media, like the Vancouver Sun for example, reported
about the Olympics, but quite often, as evidenced from the articles I've
written over the last couple of years, they all-too-often primarily told
only one side of the story, the Olympic side. I didn't think this was
healthy for our community so I complained directly to them, and as you
can see here, I still write about it regularly. In the beginning I did
not see much change even though I wrote letters and often sent releases
to local, national, and international news media. My argument has always
been that if local mainstream news media are going to a make a fortune
off the 2010 Games, then they also have a responsibility to the community.
To my surprise however, they readily admitted (anonymously of course)
that news agencies have zero responsibility to the community. I wasn't
surprised that they feel no responsibility to the community, but I was
surprised to hear them admit it so readily.
They pointed out that a responsibility to the community is not
part of the journalistic oath, to which I stated that if this is the case
then quit reporting about the Olympics in any shape or form. Noam Chomsky
coined a phrase and news reporting process called "necessary illusion."
It is well documented and happens when news agencies pretend to support
one cause, but actually have ulterior economic motives that secretly benefit
Unless you are a regular reader here you probably don't know that local
newspapers like the Vancouver Sun, The Courier, and yes, even The Georgia
Straight, will all derive huge profit from the Games regardless of a biased
or nonpartisan perspective. The Olympics generate news that citizens want
to follow. The reason you don't know about this is because media does
not want you to know. If the general public knew that local mainstream
news media makes a killing off the Games at the expense of the community,
it would, among other things, serve to undermine what little trust consumers
already have of mainstream news media, but more importantly, it would
make it hard for Olympic organizations like VANOC to manage and drive
volunteer momentum. In order to conscript volunteers, local newspapers
and Olympic organizations must work together, and they must have the trust
of the community. When volunteers feel betrayed they shun the Games, which
makes it incredibly difficult for organizations like VANOC. Consequently,
every time volunteers feel squeezed economically, they rebel. If VANOC
came forward today and demanded that the city replace the roof on BC Place
it would give taxpayers too much time to think about it, and by the time
the big event arrives in 2010 the cost of the roof would have already
impacted tax rates. Instead, VANOC's best option is to spring this on
an unsuspecting public later in the ramp up when taxpayers are nervous
about looking foolish on the world stage. At the eleventh hour, when taxpayers
are the most vulnerable, they will agree to anything. Timing is everything.
It is common knowledge within the news industry that newspapers are in
the fight of their lives, and it is one of the reasons they feel it is
necessary to grow larger and monopolize the market. For example, CanWest
Global, which owns the Vancouver Sun and many other newspapers and television
companies like Global TV, recently boasted that they just purchased Alliance
Atlantis, and that this purchase will make them even more powerful. The
announcement landed on the front page of the Vancouver Sun instead of
being placed in the business section where it is more appropriate. The
front page should be reserved for real news, not puff pieces or vanity
journalism. The Alliance takeover might be good for the Sun, but it is
certainly not good for the public, because as CanWest becomes even more
omnipotent, the public will not have as much variety in news reporting,
which means that critical debate will literally become nonexistent. In
other words, there will not be another similarly sized mainstream news
media company to challenge them when they report misinformation, and as
you know, one of the reasons consumers lost trust in daily newspapers
is because dailies are biased. This is exactly why micro-news websites
managed by small companies are so important. Someone has to tell the other
side of the story, and if it is no longer going to be mainstream news
media, then it has to be you.
The good news is that a few journalists are finally starting to come forward
and rebel against their bosses. Actually, in the case I cite here, the
journalist in question isn't as brave as she is opportunistic. She just
wrote a book and now her loyalty has shifted from her old newspaper bosses
to that of promoting her book. Basically she is selling out her old employers
for the prospect of generating a new revenue stream. Regardless of her
motivation, for our purposes here, the results are the same. In the January
1, 2007 issue of Macleans Magazine, journalist Celia Rivenbark, when asked
why newspapers don't report information that would benefit the community
she said, "Maybe that's because they're afraid of offending advertisers.
I hate to think it, because I've been in newspapers since I was 19 years
old and I love newspaper work, but to be honest with you, the department
stores I'm talking about are the ones that advertise in nine, 10 papers.
So how angry do we want to get?" [we being journalists]
To put this quote in context, Rivenbark's book criticizes media for turning
nine-year old girls into "skanks" (her word). She feels, and
I agree, that newspapers accept advertising from clothing companies that
encourage young girls to dress like prepubescent hookers, but newspapers
do not run parallel articles explaining that dressing like a slut is dangerous,
not to mention damaging to a young person's mental health. Do you think
newspapers care? Of course not. It's the same way they don't care that
the Olympics comes into a community and rapes and pillages its members.
My argument has always been that if the Vancouver Sun can run full color
double page spreads paid for by Bob Rennie in an effort to whip consumers
into a froth to pay ridiculous amounts of money driven by Olympic frenzy,
then each time it happens newspapers should also run a similarly sized
article explaining why this is hurtful to the community. But as you know
it doesn't happen. When you want the truth, you have to go to micro-news
sites like this. Don't trust newspapers.
Regardless of their boasting, it seems that The Vancouver Sun has finally
come to the realization that internet sites like OlyBLOG.com, TheTyee.ca,
PublicEyeOnline.com, and a growing list of others are challenging their
planned monopoly and wresting loose mainstream news media's vice-like
grip on the community. You might not realize it, but big companies have
managed micro-news sites for many years. They brazenly refer to it as,
of all things, "News" on their websites. Who'd a thunk it? It
is where you go when you want the story without it being skewed by mainstream
news media. Smaller companies are also finally starting to get in on the
action too. I'm not even remotely suggesting that information from company
sources is accurate or unbiased, but at least you get a version of the
story straight from the source. For example, consider what mainstream
news media reports about the collapsed roof at BC Place, and then go to
the BC Place website for their version. It might be a bit harder during
this transition stage for the public to collect news, but at least you'll
have access to a variety of explanations. Larger companies for years have
hired communications companies like mine to monitor what the world is
saying about them. If they don't like what is being said, they take action
by publishing online the story they want disseminated. Sometimes they
do it directly from their company websites, and at other times they slyly
distribute the information through alliances or sister sites.
If you don't like what your local newspaper or BC Place reports, don't
call or email them. It's a waste of time. Instead, train them to tell
the truth by posting your views on your micro-news site and let newspapers
and BC Place know where to find it. If enough companies do it, it won't
be long before they either change or remove their stories. Hint: If they
remove a story, or fail to report on their website something as big as
the recent roof blow out, you can assume they are hiding information,
and this too is worth reporting on your micro-news site. Silence speaks
volumes. Not keeping the news section of a company's website up to date
also indicates they might not be keeping other more critical things, like
roofs for example, up to date. The bottom line is, if it hurts your company
or community, and it would improve your position by talking about it in
a public forum, do so without hesitation. The system is self-leveling.
There is great incentive for companies to report accurately, because once
it gets out there on the internet, it is often difficult, if not impossible
to remove. It's not like a newspaper where you throw it away at the end
of the day, or a television broadcast where you forget about it when the
Tonight Show starts. The internet has a radioactive shelf life, which
means it can impact share prices indefinitely. That, my friends, is the
greatest fear of all for public companies.
It's very fast and easy through Google to research a variety of versions
of a story. If 60 is the new 40, Google is the new Vancouver Sun/CTV/NBC
all wrapped up into one, neat, easy-to-disperse digital package. Go ahead.
Give it a shot. Go to BCPlace.ca,
mouseover Press Box, then click News Releases,
and then link to "Media Statement regarding roof."
You'll be surprised to find that two weeks later they still do not
have an official release regarding the 2007 blow out, but they do have
a media release from June of 2006 defending the stability and condition
of the roof. If you don't like what you read there, tell them, but
don't do it directly. Put it on your micro-news site and then let them
know it's there. It's amazing how this will keep everyone honest. The
only thing you have to be careful of is slander or libel. Don't accuse
anyone of anything or report anything you can't prove. Just let them know
that you know what's going on and that you're not pleased.
I had a heated conversation many months ago with a reporter from a mainstream
news media company (he demanded to remain anonymous) after he became incensed
that I challenged him in this blog. He could not believe that I didn't
see it his way. He vowed that there was nothing I could ever say or do
to make him change how he reported Olympic issues. He vowed to remain
closed-minded. Well I am happy to report that OlyBLOG.com has had an impact
regarding how this experienced news professional and his mainstream news
media company now report Olympic stories. He still primarily skews towards
the Olympic side of the Olympic story, but I can see in his reporting
that he now chooses his words very carefully. Without doubt, the quality
of his work has improved, and there is strong evidence that micro-news
sites like this do make a difference. Unfortunately though, the quality
of his "content" is still questionable, but now that he knows
I won't give him free rein to disseminate blather he at least makes an
effort, although still too feeble for my liking, to be less biased. I'm
sure he also entertains the thought that yes, there is another side to
the story that the average person in an Olympic community would welcome
and find valuable. Unfortunately, he, and his company still have a long
way to go before I or our community can feel comfortable. You might argue
that all he has done is become sneakier, but at least it is a start.
Some local mainstream news media goliaths are now so worried about being
perceived as Olympic boosters that they now go out of their
way to boast of all the other good things they are doing to support
the community. Somehow they feel it will tip the balance. However, it's
like robbing Peter to pay Paul, and in one sense it is laughable and reminds
me of Chomsky's "necessary illusion" process.
The Vancouver Sun calls their "Letters to the Editor" section
"Voice of the People" even though it is still buried at the
back of the paper and only includes snippets of readers' complaints. Nice
try, but smart consumers don't buy it. Instead, why doesn't the Vancouver
Sun put an open forum on their website where we can make "uncensored"
comments in real time? The forum would still have to moderated, and readers'
comments would have to be appropriate and civil, like many forums are,
but an online forum would go a long way to help win back the trust we
lost regarding newspapers. The reason the Vancouver Sun does not do this
is because some progressive newspapers tried it long ago and their readers
criticized advertisers and newspapers so much that they were forced to
remove the feature. When you manipulate the public, the last thing you
want to do is give them a platform to "out" you.
The fact that mainstream news media doesn't even attempt to challenge
my accusation of them of selling out the community indicates how accurate
my allegations are. Realistically though, I am still very cognizant of
a term called "libel chill," which is a process whereby large
companies launch frivolous lawsuits unfounded in fact with the sole intent
of intimidation. All I can say is, "Bring it on." When mainstream
news media doesn't have a legal leg to stand they make up for it by overcompensating
and creating confusion through misdirection. Voice of the People?
Give me a break. Micro-news sites responsibly managed by small companies
are now the "Voice of the Real People." If you want to hear
a "real" Vancouver voice go to 998Denman.com
for a look at a grassroots strategy that was launched when aggressive
Olympic bullying forced this small company's hand. This voice reaches
all the way around the world and highlights a 2010 Olympic challenge that
affects every small business in the GVRD.
I wrote long ago that I want the Vancouver Sun to publish an apology to
our community for reporting half-truths about the Olympics, but they ignored
me. I also asked them if they had plans to become an Official Olympic
sponsor, and again they ignored me. Now it seems they are trying to win
back public favor and bolster their reputation through the back door.
Unfortunately I can't explain all the details today, but the reality is
that local mainstream news media does not want to address the issues I
raise because it would inevitably prove I am right, and the last thing
they need is to give me a wider audience. So far I only reach the business
community, but if my observations also eventually resonate with the general
public then local mainstream news media will lose any last shred of public
trust they have left. The risk to attack me directly is too great so instead
they create confusion regarding their loyalty to the community and hope
I will either make a mistake, or go away. I wrote about this common news
media tactic in my book. It happens in many Olympic regions.
News media can make all the noise they want about saving trees or running
marathons, but the 2010 economic devastation they hide from the public,
and the Olympic profit they will make on the backs of small businesses
and taxpayers will always far outweigh any perceived benefit they bring
to our community.
In reference to the "secret" we've been addressing (micro-news
sites), you of course do not have to go to such an extreme length, partially
because blogs like this are doing it for you, but mostly because it would
not serve your needs. What you can do however is launch a micro-news internet
site and share upbeat accurate information about the 2010 Olympics that
you feel is beneficial to the community and to your clients and customers.
Talk up the Games. The IOC demands that VANOC not start promoting 2010
until 2008, but you certainly don't have to wait, because the longer you
do, the further outside the circle you will be pushed.
If it also serves your purpose show the world that you get it, and that
you feel as I do about 2010, that our community should come first, then
BC, then Canada. And if there is anything left, the IOC, VANOC, and their
sponsors can fight over it. At the very least, do what mainstream news
media should be doing. When people realize you are genuinely defending
your community you will win new customers and clients. They will see that
you think differently and that you are not hamstrung by myth. Steal the
thunder from local news media and take back your community. Talk up our
region and 2010 in a positive way and leverage the momentum through search
engines like Google. Give people around the world a reason to find you
online. It's a no-brainer. Change how you used to think and learn to think
We used to think in 1955 that Rosa Parks
had to sit at the back of the bus.
We used to think that "One for the Road"
gave us permission to drink and drive.
We used to think smoking cigarettes was fashionable.
We used to think tanning was good for our health.
We used to think all Chinese people were good at math.
We used to think 'Made in Japan" reflected an inferior product.
We used to think the "Berlin Wall" was there forever.
We used to think Russia would always be a communist country.
We used to think that animals like the buffalo were expendable.
We used to think "someone else" got cancer.
We used to think politicians and media felt compelled to report information
that was good for the community.
We used to think that the homeless would not be kicked from the street
to the gutter when the Olympics came to "our" town.
We used to think that "gentrification" was a good thing.
We used to think that "Owning the Podium" was the most important aspect
We used to think the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver/Whistler would cost only
$580 million, not $2.5 billion as predicted as of August 2006, and rising
We used to think the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics was a success even though
it incurred a 1.2 billion dollar debt and it did little, if anything to
We used to think that VANOC CEO, John Furlong, was trustworthy until he
misled us in 2004 by stating that the Olympics in Athens was a success,
even though it incurred a whopping twelve billion dollar debt that will
take Greek taxpayers two generations to pay off. The 2004 Summer Olympic
Games in Athens actually had a negative effect on tourism, plus, as a
result of reports from Standard & Poors, it devastated Greece's international
We used to think the 2006 Turin Olympics was a success even though their
debt is so high that one year later we still don't know what it really
cost. We do know however that only two months before their Games they
threatened bankruptcy, which meant they would have had to cancel the 2006
Olympics at the eleventh hour if taxpayers wouldn't have given in to the
We used to think local mainstream news media were relatively trustworthy
and a valued ally until they repeatedly reported information about the
Olympics in a manner that is harmful to our community.
We used to think the 2010 Olympics would be good for everyone in the Vancouver/Whistler
We used to think Vancouverites were too smart to be raked over the coals
like businesses and taxpayers in Salt Lake City, Athens and Turin.
We used to think that "only" big Olympic sponsors like HBC,
RBC and NBC could make profits from the 2010 Games.
We used to think that Olympic boosterism, and being an official corporate
sponsor, was cool.
We used to think that there was nothing that could be done to make the
Olympics an economic success for small businesses and the community too.
We used to think there was nothing
we could do about "anything" above.
We used to think like bigots.
Thankfully most don't think like that any more.
Dark skinned people can now sit wherever they like on the bus.
me to learn how you too can
think differently regarding the Olympics.
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Own the Podium?
The official creed (guiding principle) of the Olympics is a quote by the
founding father of the modern day Games Baron de Coubertin. He said, "The
most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part,
just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.
The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
The Olympic motto consists of three Latin words Citius, Altius, Fortius,
which means, "Swifter, Higher, Stronger." The 1924 motto is meant to encourage
athletes to embrace the Olympic spirit and perform to the best of their
No where does it imply that winning the most gold medals for your country
is part of the agenda. In fact it implies exactly the opposite.
The IOC maintains that it doesn't actively encourage countries to collectively
win the most gold medals, but on the other hand they also don't institute
anything to ensure that the Games are not turned into corporate money
In fact, IOC sponsorship and partnership business models encourage a win-at-all-costs
mentality. It is the reason they have doping, fraud and bribery scandals.
The IOC invites young people to compete in the Olympics using the original
Creed & Motto. But when it comes to delivering on the promise they
fall incredibly short.
The Olympics today isn't as much about sport as it is about money and
Priorities changed over the years and so too should their Creed &
If athletes go for the gold, and the IOC goes for the gold, and corporate
sponsors go for the gold, and governments go for the gold, and considering
that you will have to foot the bill for their gold, why should
you be edged out of the race?
Move to the starting line.
Own the Podium?
Own Your Home?
Real journalism consists of
what someone doesn't want published,
all the rest is public relations."