Weirdest CEO Moments of 2005

Well, it seems the CEO’s have their moments too. Here is a rather funny Fortune article, about some of the weird/funny/sutpid moments some of US CEO’s had to pass through during 2005. I am sure that there were more. Here’s one:

American Express filed suit against Savvis Inc. and its CEO, Robert McCormick, in October for failing to pay McCormick’s $241,000 one-night tab at Manhattan topless club Scores. AmEx claims McCormick said he rang up only $20,000 in charges (and blamed the rest on fraud), but Scores provided AmEx with signed receipts for the full sum. Savvis placed the CEO on unpaid leave in October.

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It seems that by the time they are getting to Romania, most of the cool things/brands are going un-cool. Same with much rumored Starbucks, which

is going from hand-crafted beverages to machine-prepared beverages. Starbucks is replacing all of its La Marzocco espresso machines with automated espresso machines that dose, tamp, brew, and steam milk with the push of a few buttons. Automated espresso machines make beverage prep so much easier and so much faster for Starbucks Baristas … similar to the systems McDonald’s uses to make hamburger prep easier and faster for its front-line employees.

Well this it seems is not all, as there Starbucks and McDonald’s are becoming more and more alike. Kind of expected, I would say.

Read more about it here.

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Big Brands Fighting To Replace Vodafone On Manchester United T-Shirts

As Vodafone announced last week that it is ending its four-year deal with the once world richest football club’s, two years early, Manchester United is in talks with a number of global brands giants about replacing Vodafone as its shirt sponsor, according to reports.

Vodafone’s deal is set at 9 million pounds, or about $15.5 million. Some of the names reportedly thought to be willing to top that include Google, IBM and Yahoo but Coca Cola and Levi’s as well.

While for Yahoo this would not be a first, as  Yahoo has been quite successful in sports marketing with a 2001 global sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup and the Yahoo Dome, home to Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, it would definetly be a first for Google. Even if they recently opened their Manchester regional offices, as well as a London GooglePlex, I still can’t really see Google on football t-shirts, but who knows.

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Super Size Me

I finnaly got the chance last night to see the Super Size Me documentary by Morgan Spurlock. For those who haven’t seen it yet it’s basically a 30 days experiment of a McDonald’s exclusive diet. I have to admit the movie is scaring, even if I don’t use to eat junk food more than couple of times a year, I sill got stomach ache only seeing it and thinking about it.

Well the movie basically is self explanatory about why more than 60% of american adults are overweighted. Even more weird the “funny”-ugly stuff is the detail about the Cheesburger Bill which would make illegal for people to sue food companies for making them obese. Huh, nice. Well most of all is a debate about the limits between personal and corporate responsability. But considering the cigarettes precedent, I don’t see too much of a debate actually.

The World’s Most Respected Companies 2005

As we’re getting to the end of the year, the time is coming for various tops and classifications for the year that passed.

For the eighth year, the Financial Times (reg. required) has published its World’s Most Respected Companies list. And for the first time, Microsoft garnered the number one position. Not only that — Bill Gates was named the World’s Most Respected Business Leader, and was second on the Most Influential Business Writer of Management Guru list, losing only to management theorist Peter Drucker, who passed away earlier this month.

As FT wrote in its announcement:

The new economy has finally triumphed over the old. For seven successive years, General Electric has topped the table of the world’s most respected companies. But for the first time it has been pipped to the post by Mircosoft, the software group.

The top ten comapnies, out of 50, named this year by the Financial Times, are:

  1. Microsoft
  2. General Electric
  3. Toyota
  4. Coca-Cola
  5. IBM
  6. Wal-Mart
  7. BP
  8. Procter & Gamble
  9. Apple Computer
  10. Siemens

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Romania to Absorb Investments Worth €3.5 bln in ‘05

Romania is the main Southeast European country to have absorbed the highest investment volume in 2004, and in 2005 it will attract investments worth about 3.5 billion euros, according to a report on the evolution of the business climate and investments in the Southeast European countries made public by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), ACT Media news agency reports.

Based on the report, Romania will be followed by Bulgaria with 1.8 billion euros, Croatia with 1 billion euros and Serbia-Montenegro with 800 million euros.

More than 80 percent of the investments made last year in the Southeast European area were drawn by Romania (4.098 billion euros), Bulgaria (2.114 billion euros) and Croatia (921 million euros).

The Southeast European countries implemented the reforms aimed at aligning them with the other countries with respect to taxation, and Romania joined the OECD investment instruments.

The biggest privatisations were made in the banking sector.Romania started the privatisation of the Romanian Commercial Bank (BCR) and the CEC Savings House, the report stressed.

The OECD officials, however, said the level of the investments in the region remains insufficient.

The countries should promote more greenfield projects for the small and medium-sized firms (SME), since the Southeast European countries have a strong competitor, China, the OECD said.

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BusinessWeek Gets Romanian Edition

The well respected BusinessWeek and Business Media Group (BMG), the publisher of some well known romanian business and lifestyle magazines, have announced their agreement to publish a Romanian language edition of BusinessWeek.

The first issue is scheduled for launch in February 2006. The Romanian edition will be published weekly and will be available on newsstands and via subscription. Editorial content will consist of selected material from the North American and international editions of BusinessWeek and original editorial by BMG’s journalists.

“BusinessWeek has had an established relationship with BMG for several years. We have witnessed its rapid and successful expansion as well as its journalistic integrity,” said Gary Hopkins, senior vice-president of operations for BusinessWeek.

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Euro Cities Monitor 2005

Senior Executives from 501 European companies, systematically selected from “Europe’s 15,000 largest companies”, gave their views on Europe’s leading business cities, in a study published by Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker. The principal findings are:

  • In the overall rating of best cities for business the top cities of London and Paris continue to lead by a pretty big margin.
  • The other cities to move up this year are: Berlin (9th to 8th), Lisbon (16th to 14th), Düsseldorf (18th to 16th), Budapest (23rd to 21st), Glasgow (24th to 22nd), Copenhagen (26th to 25th), Helsinki (28th to 27th) and Oslo (30th to 29th).
  • Valencia and Bucharest head the list of other cities threatening to break into the top 30.
  • Warsaw remains the city that can expect the biggest influx of companies over the next five years, with 41 of our sampled companies expecting to locate there. If this happens, Warsaw would move up to 6th position in terms of international company representation.
  • Prague, Moscow and Budapest can also expect a healthy inflow of companies; and Bucharest is attracting interest. Paris, London, Madrid and Milan are the most popular nominations among the more established business cities.
  • Worldwide, Shanghai remains the clear favourite – 41 of our companies expect to expand there.
  • Beijing, followed by Mumbai and Mexico City can all also expect future investment from Europe.
  • London extends its leading position over Paris but these two cities are well ahead of their nearest rivals. Barcelona overtakes Amsterdam in fifth place with the top seven cities clear of the rest. The small differences in scores of cities outside the top seven means that slight changes in score can produce a movement of several places in the rankings.

Here is the list of cities that made it to the top 10, along with their scores:

  1. London 0.87
  2. Paris 0.60
  3. Frankfurt 0.33
  4. Brussels 0.30
  5. Barcelona 0.28
  6. Amsterdam 0.24
  7. Madrid 0.24
  8. Berlin 0.19
  9. Munich 0.18
  10. Zurich 0.18

You can download the full PDF report here. Via

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Top 10 Web Moments

In celebration of their 10th Year anniversary, the Webby Awards website takes a look back at 10 Web moments that changed the world. Here is the list:

  1. The Dotcom Boom and Bust (1995-2001) – Launched by Netscape’s IPO, the Boom & Bust fast-tracked the Web
  2. The Drudge Report Breaks Lewinsky Scandal (1998) – Matt Drudge Scoops one of the decade’s biggest stories
  3. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Named Time’s Man of the Year (December 1999) -1999 Was A Watershed Year for Online Commerce
  4. Elections Worldwide (2004) – Howard Dean Revolutionizes Politics
  5. September 11th (2001) -Millions of Americans Turn to the Internet for Information About the Tragedies
  6. Asian Tsunami (2005) – Citizens Journalists Are the First on the Scene to Document the Tsunami
  7. Napster Shut Down (July 2001) – Court Ruling Spurs Innovation and New Business Models
  8. Live 8 on AOL (July 2005) – Internet Coverage Of Global Concert Bests Television’s
  9. Booms (2002) – The Web Becomes the Primary Means for Making Connections
  10. SARS Virus Discovered Online (2003) – Web Plays Central Role in Research to Discover SARS Virus

Read full story here.

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Yahoo Local Maps Beta. Google Still Rules

Yahoo just launched it’s new flashy versions of maps online. Unlike Google and Microsoft maps, Yahoo has chosen to use Flash over AJAX in building its new service, and they’ve added new features that are not found anywhere else (checking the good things first).

  • because Yahoo Maps is a flash application, it avoids the need for page refreshes changes are made to the page. A simple drag and drop module on the top left lets users move around easily
  • there are multiple ways to zoom into and out of a map, including using the scroll wheel on the mouse
  • there is excellent integration wth Yahoo Local businesses..
  • they allow multipoint directions, something Google and Microsoft don’t

Well on the other side of the story, Y!Local maps should have been called Yahoo!USMaps since they only cover US so far.

Second, Yahoo!Maps lacks of beutiful satellite imagery that both its competitors put online with Google Maps and MSN Virtual Earth.

Well finally, they have an Yahoo! Maps Embeddedable API, but they are limited to 50,000 queries per IP per day and to non-commercial use.

So, I have to agree with this post, that says that Yahoo’s new pretty maps are doomed (and so are Microsoft’s).

Need more proofs? Check Google Maps Mania, an interesting weblog with links to hundreds of applications of Google Maps already running out there online.

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