let’s throw these guys a parade – they’re gonna cure cancer with a ray gun next

okay – i just can’t let this idiocy go without comment. go, click the link, read the article and then come back. we will be deconstructing.

yup. you read it correctly. atlanta’s best and brightest have a new strategy to make the atl a global city. its genius; it’s complex; it’s so amazing only a bunch of ceo’s and a brilliant journalist could come up with it. here is there brilliant plan

The initiative will have a razor sharp focus on attracting direct foreign investment in Atlanta from places such as Europe, Latin America and Canada. And it will target Asia — specifically Japan, Korea and China — as potential trading partners and new markets for existing Georgia businesses.

wow. i am stunned by the sheer brilliance of the plan. no way my pals and i could have come up with that. no way we could be sitting around grant cental east having some pizza and have this conversation.

‘hey atlanta needs to be more global and attract more money from overseas? wonder what we should do?’

‘i got an idea. lets get a bunch of foreign people to spend some dough here and then buy our stuff when they go home.’

nope. no way we could have come up with that.

it really takes a bull-session with a pulitzer prize winning, new york times columnist in an expensive restaurant to come up with that. luckily there just happened to be one on hand.

Last fall, in the hushed confines of Atlanta’s tony Bluepointe restaurant, The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman quietly met with 20 civic and business leaders…Friedman’s book, “The World is Flat,” has become required reading for CEOs and anyone wondering how to run their business in the 21st century. The book’s premise is that as technology and education help countries like India and China catch up with the industrialized world, jobs can be outsourced almost anywhere. Financial news services can employ analysts in Mumbai at a fraction of the cost they’d pay on Wall Street, while manufacturing can now be done almost anywhere.

that’s right folks. the genius who took 500 pages to tell you that israelis and arabs don’t get along because they kill each other, then took 500 pages to tell you that people in the third world both like and don’t like america and who now has taken 500 pages to regale you with the genius theory that ‘wow things are cheaper in India, we’re gonna have to do something about that like get some smart people or something’ was on hand to help our business leaders through this quagmire too.

not enough though. we probably need some high-dollar consultants involved too.

With data from McKinsey & Co., the group is going after two kinds of opportunities. The first is to attract foreign investment to Atlanta to build factories or open North American offices, which in turn brings jobs. The second is to find new markets and trading partners abroad for Georgia-based firms.

well goody! they could have paid me 50 bucks and i would have told them to do that. i am sure mckinsey got a lot more.

ya know, this also really sounds like a great opportunity to put an old buddy on the payroll after getting canned too. well sure enough –

The Atlanta chamber already has hired former Delta executive Jorge Fernandez to fill the position of vice president of global commerce. Fernandez’ job is to implement the new international plan, which is the handiwork of the chamber’s International Task Force, formed in 2005 and chaired by Rice.

don’t worry though. fernandez is going to be working hard on this thing.

While the countries that would be involved in the FTAA have yet to complete trade agreements to formalize the organization, Fernandez said the traveling to promote Atlanta’s FTAA bid has spawned unexpected rewards.

well besides platinum status on delta and expense account dinners what could those rewards be?

For example, the United Nations has made Atlanta one of only 12 cities worldwide to have a training center for local officials — International Training Centre for Local Authorities/Actors (CIFAL). During the ambassadorial days of Andrew Young in the 1970s, Atlanta requested the facility. Now, almost 30 years later, during the travels for the FTAA, someone in Geneva remembered Atlanta’s request, and the idea became a reality, Fernandez said.

wow! that really oughta bring in the tax dollars.

this is so absurd.

Williams said the meeting with Friedman was expensive, but “it was worth every penny.”

yeah, now he gets to tell everybody about his bull session with a pulitzer prize winning author.

honestly, i love how these guys are blowing a ton of their shareholders money on boondoggles and pointless dinners and then issuing press releases to congratulate themselves on it.

or perhaps i am being a bit harsh?

10 Comments so far

  1. George Burdell (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 8:51 am

    I think you are being ‘a bit harsh’. Sure, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out and discuss what these bigwigs did, but foreign countries are more likely to listen to a group of orgainized CEOs from large international corporations than a group of beer swilling (yet intelligent) urban hipsters.

    I suppose it won’t help to tell the audience who didn’t read to the end that everybody’s wet dream of a mayor, Ms. Shirley Franklin, is on board with this. I guess bashing only works when it’s people you despise.

  2. Jim V. (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 8:58 am


    Have you actually read The World is Flat? Don’t mistake snarkiness for intelligence.


  3. james (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 9:02 am

    hah! c’mon george. you read this enough to know i don’t ‘despise’ any of these people – read my comments here where i *defended* these same ceo’s. i’m a corporate guy myself, and in pr, so if i really hated these people it would pretty much be self-immolation now wouldn’t it.

    what bothered me about this they spent a bunch of the chamber’s money on a silly lunch with thomas freidman (who i don’t despise and i think is a great feild reporter and an awful global business commentator) and a mckinsey study that led them to conclusions any mba student could have come away with, and the spun it as if they did something great for the city.

    as for shirely and her trip to china, that was kinda tossed in as an aside at the bottom of the piece, and has to do with her lobbying the chinese government for a driect air route between atlanta and beijing, something very tangible and definitely an appropriate use ot taxpayer dollars and public servant time.

  4. james (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 9:03 am

    nah jim. after “from beirut to jerusalem” and “the lexus and the olive tree,” which i have read, i decided i needed a thomas freidman break.

    however if you can ensure me that “the world is flat” is somehow miraculously different from those two books, i will give it a shot.

  5. james (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 9:11 am

    well that link didn’t seem to come through so here it is – http://atlanta.metblogs.com/archives/2006/07/cool_off_for_fr.phtml

  6. George Burdell (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 9:13 am

    Good points James, but I think they were lost a little in your rant. What would government be without useless squandering though? Efficient….

  7. Jim V. (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 9:31 am


    Taking a course on globalization is not the same thing as rallying people behind it and inspiring people to take action.

    I have little doubt you would be disappointed in The World is Flat, since it’s clear you know everything.


  8. james (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 9:39 am

    jim – i have no desire really to argue with you and i probably shouldn’t even respond to that comment but against better judgement i am going to since you seem to want to engage me on a personal level.

    Taking a course on globalization is not the same thing as rallying people behind it and inspiring people to take action.

    you seem here to make an assumption about who and what i am. you really have no idea what i do or what my global business experience is, though, do you?

    I have little doubt you would be disappointed in The World is Flat, since it’s clear you know everything.

    how does the fact that i don’t like an author you happen to like, or that i happen to think that these guys wasted a bunch of shareholder’s money equate to me ‘knowing everything.’ is having an difference of opinion ‘knowing everything’?

    i mean honestly if i said, “i love leo tolstoy,” and you said ‘man i find him boring and his religious beliefs bother me.” and then i said, “haev you read anna karenina,” and you said, “no, but i ready war and peace and several short stories,” i wouldn’t then turn around and say, “well then jim, i guess you just know everything.”

    btw – i freely admit there are lots of things i don’t know – general relativity, what women are thinking, a good alternate to traffic on 400 south.

  9. Jim V. (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 10:03 am


    I just find it to be incredibly arrogant for you to so harshly criticize what appears to be a well intentioned endeavor by the Atlanta Chamber. I suspect that the meeting was less about conveying knowledge to the CEOs, and more about leading the people who admire these CEOs to action.

    I apologize for personalizing the argument, but in fairness, my words were about 25% as mean spirited as most of what you write, nearly every single (non-food related) post.


  10. james (unregistered) on August 15th, 2006 @ 10:37 am

    okay – fair enough. i obviously disagree with you but i respect you opinion, and as my dad used to tell me, “if you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.”


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