Tag Archives: 2012

Merry Christmas friends!

Merry Christmas everybody…! I’m in Las Vegas for Christmas this year so I thought it might be appropriate to share a little seasonal cheer from the King himself – Elvis!

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How do you see the United Kingdom?

I wrote something recently on Huffington Post about how British people need to consider that the eyes of the world are on them for the Olympics. Nobody likes wall-to-wall brands, road closures, and all the other inconveniences of the Olympic games, but if the British want to behave so negatively that the world wonders why we ever bothered bidding for the games then it will affect investment into the UK for at least the next 30 years.

I’m not kidding. Wall-to-wall images of the UK week after week all over the world can influence where people go on holiday and where companies invest. If the London Olympics is a roaring success then the money spent on it – even though more than expected – will seem like peanuts as holiday-makers flock to the UK and businesses invest cash.

As an example, national TV here in Brazil was showing interviews with Londoners today who almost all said they hated the games, did not want them in London, and the comment from the Brazilian broadcaster was that the British are very miserable people. Is that how the rest of the world now sees the UK?

So I want to hear from you, so I can do a follow-up to the Olympic article that led to so many people posting negative comments. Send me your opinion on what you immediately think of when someone asks you what you think of the United Kingdom:

  1. As a place to take a vacation.
  2. As a place to do business.
  3. In general, music, culture, art.

You don’t need to write a long essay – I will only quote the best bits in the article anyway, but I appreciate anything you can send – especially if you are not from the UK. And do let me know if you want to remain anonymous, or give me the correct name, title to use when quoting you.

You can send your thoughts to me here: mail AT markhillary.com

London 2012 Gold Medal

Living at the Kings Arms, Ealing

The video below is from December 2010 outside the Kings Arms pub in Ealing, west London. I was leaving London for São Paulo, but I had about a week left between leaving my home near the pub and leaving the country – so I lived in the pub for those final few days in England.

I’ve stayed there again on a couple of visits back to London and I’m happy to say that I’ll be there for the duration of the London Olympic games in July and August… I have my flights booked and three weeks living in the pub.

What could be better than London in the summer, with the Olympics going on, and home being a London W5 boozer?

Email: The time bandit

I was on the road travelling and working for the past two weeks. Sometimes sleeping on planes and working from airports, sometimes at conferences – I did five events in those two weeks involving four talks and one where I was doing the official social media coverage.

During this time, my email stacked up. If you have been waiting for me to reply to something then I apologise. Today was my first proper day in front of my desk for a couple of weeks and I have nearly 500 messages in my inbox today and about 350 of those are unread.

I probably get the same amount of email as most professionals. A few important mails, a few that can wait, and a lot of junk… whether it’s actual spam or just notifications about this or that on ebay or the social networks.

But email takes time. Each mail has to be read, even just to decide whether to delete or file it. I now hate it when companies email me press releases when they could be using a social network such as Twitter – I can see far more quickly on Twitter whether something is worth pursuing or not.

At least I don’t organise my time by email. I know of many people whose working day is dictated by what arrives in the inbox… I usually have a to-do list that has nothing to do with the arriving email.

But everywhere I have been travelling on my journey has had connectivity, so in theory I could have been checking my mails in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. But the reality is that when travelling on business, your time is packed with more important things than sitting in front of a list of emails. The day, from breakfast to dinner is usually packed with meetings or talks or other work.

But if this prioritisation of time is how I behave when travelling, then the obvious question has to be, why do I suddenly have time to deal with the deluge of email when I get back to the office or my home?

If my time is too valuable when on the road, then surely it is even more valuable when I am working hard on the things that I get paid for.

So here is a new resolution for 2012. I’m going to spend a short amount of time, maybe 15-20 minutes at the start and end of each working day, checking for important email. Anything else I don’t have time for is just going to get binned.

Will I lose anything valuable? Will I miss something vital? Or will I just reclaim wasted time and start resetting my priorities back to spending more time on what I actually get paid for?Bizarro-email-hell

I’m an official London 2012 blogger!

A few months ago, I entered my details into the BT search for storytellers who could write, film, and blog the London 2012 Olympic games. About a month back I heard that I was on the shortlist and I needed to write more information about why I should be chosen.

A couple of days ago, I was told that I have the job. I will be blogging and tweeting live from the Olympics.

The preferred sports I asked to be closest too are cycling, boxing, and diving, but I have not had a full briefing yet so I don’t know exactly when I should get started and what my boundaries are.

What I do know is that this should be a great opportunity to see the Olympic games from the inside, as someone who is a part of the machine telling the world about what happens in London in 2012.

I’m really looking forward to being an Olympic writer and I already have a lot of ideas about how to start blending London 2012 with Rio 2016…

London Olympic Torch Relay Finale

Wenlock and Mandeville

Callers to the BBC Five Live radio breakfast show this morning seemed dismissive of the new London 2012 Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville.

What do they want? Another cuddly teddy bear?

Take a look at the history of Olympic mascots – not much that is inspiring in that list is there? And not much purpose to the mascot, other than to have a cute cartoon character for merchandise.

Here’s three reasons why I think the London 2012 organising committee has done a fantastic job unveiling Wenlock and Mandeville to the world:

1. The focus is entirely on children. The purpose of these mascots is not just to look nice on a T-shirt, it’s to get kids interested in the Olympic games and sport in general.

2. There is an entire back-story to their creation. They are two drops of steel from the last girder that went into the construction of the Olympic stadium. Michael Morpurgo has written about their life so far and no doubt he will develop the story as we head to 2012. Click here to watch the film about their life so far.

3. They are designed with a multimedia future in mind from the start. They are designed to be customised and shared. Because they are made of steel, their skin can change colour and reflect the world around them. So kids will be able to go online and adopt the character of their choice and customise the colours, creating avatars that reflect their own interests – even changing them to be the colours of their favourite football team for example.

I think the committee has done a great job of focusing the mascots on kids, encouraging the future of sport, and thinking hard about what it is that kids will want to do with the mascots over the next two years.

Forget the teddy bears, I’m following Wenlock and Mandeville online now!