Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fearless Felix, Olivia reporting for TVE in Galicia, an interview of my memories of the Motorola Cycling Team, Yoigo best mobile operator of 2012 and other things.

Sunday 21st October 2012

Fearless Felix, Olivia reporting for TVE in  Galicia, an interview of my memories of the Motorola Cycling Team, Yoigo best mobile operator of 2012 and other things.

Proud to receive the prize of best mobile phone operator 2012 for Yoigo with my colleague María Luisa

Hi everyone

How was your week?  Mine was at times quiet and at others rather hectic and stressful what with it being financial third quarterly results week for Yoigo.  

My week, however, has been nothing compared to 43 year old Austrian Felix Baumgartner’s I’m sure.  By now he has become a worldwide household name after his amazing supersonic jump last Sunday where he broke three world  records during his descent from a balloon 24 miles above earth.  He apparently hit Mach 1.24 or nearly 850 miles per hour.  He had to wear an amazing space suit and jump from a spacecraft with the whole world looking on, including his tearful mother.  The descent lasted 9 minutes.  Imagine.  The whole project was financed by Red Bull, the drink teenagers take to keep awake during exams or whilst clubbing.  I heard it took 5 years to achieve and cost some 50 million dollars.  I just wonder whether Red Bull will see any return on investment in sales.  It seems a silly thing to finance to me and that the money could have been put to better use.  Fearless Felix, as the Austrian is now known, will surely not agree with me.  Whatever the case, the man and the project had the whole world looking on in amazement, myself included.

Fearless Felix when he landed in New Mexico

Oli’s week must have been stressful and hectic too as she was reporting live nearly every day from Galicia this week.  Her boyfriend Miguel joined her for a busman’s holiday and accompanied her everywhere.  Monday saw her reporting on an English teacher giving free lessons to unemployed Spaniards in Santiago de Compostela which you can see here (fast foreward to 11.42h).

Oli reporting live on TVE1 on Monday about free English lessons for the unemployed in Santiago

And on Tuesday she reported on the big court case concerning the Prestige tanker which spilled oil on the coast of Galicia now some ten years ago (see the report here  if you go to 13.50h). Olivia is at her best reporting on court cases and I have always thought she would have made just as good a lawyer as a journalist.

Olivia reporting live on the Prestige tanker court case in La Coruña on Tuesday

Later she posted a photo on Facebook of her and a group of journalists trying to record declarations from Gaspar Llamazares, the head of the left wing party I.U. who are involved in the case as one of the accusers of what they say was bad practice of the government at the time.  I loved her Indian friend Sumit’s comment on the photo which I share with you here: “Reporting is like boxing... the longer your arm reach... the better you are at your job! Well done for crushing the lady in white Oli!”.

Oli trying to get her arm in with other journalists outside the court in La Coruña

On Thursday she reported on a very sad case, the mysterious death of an 11 month old baby in Pontevedra which you can see here (12.40h).   Later on Friday she did another story on the case and interviewed the Father live.  She spoke to both parents and told us how difficult it was for them to agree to do the interview.  Of course it would have been.  What an awful story.

She had some fun moments too, like this one where she reverses her role with her cameraman in this picture by the coast.  They were going to be reporting on the weather but had technical problems or rather the satellite TV van didn’t arrive on time for the report, which annoyed Olivia intensely.

Oli having fun on the job reversing roles with her cameraman

There was also time for some tourism with her boyfriend Miguel.  The photo below is of the famous Hercules Tower in La Coruña apparently the oldest lighthouse in the world. 

Free time for Oli in Galicia.  With her boyfriend Miguel and the Hercules Tower light house in the background (La Coruña)

Whilst Olivia was away, we had the pleasure of the company of Susana quite a few days of the week when she worked with me by my desk, often staying for lunch with us.  We even went clothes shopping one evening.  She is a little frustrated with her job which although interesting is extremely badly paid and is talking of moving to England. So this week has found me scouring the internet for food related jobs in the UK of which it seems there are plenty. One of them was for Nestlé in York where the old Rowntrees factory is.  I thought how funny it would be if she ended up working in Yorkshire, sort of reversing what I did, moving from Yorkshire to Spain for my own career.  

On Tuesday I discussed the difficult job market for young people with Susana and Juan who work for the PR consultancy, Llorente y Cuenca and who used to head up the Yoigo PR account for me when I first started with the company.  For lunch we went to a great Asturian restaurant called Esbardos where Juan and I shared a delicious “fabada”.

Wednesday was the results day and TeliaSonera, our mother company, announced the Q3 financials where, unsurprisingly Yoigo had done really well.  I am proud to tell you we have now reached 3.5 million customers in just under 6 years.  This meant a lot of work in the morning preparing the external and internal release but also putting on a staff briefing which we call Yoigo Mornings.  It was the first without our charismatic Swedish CEO Johan and you know what, it went fantastically well. 

On Wednesday too I was tickled pink to read an interview with me about my experience with the Motorola Cycling Team in the 90’s.  You can read it here too, if you know Spanish.  Gustavo had interviewed me and written it for a very popular cycling blog called El Tío del Mazo.  It came out in the throes of the news of the evidence published by the USADA on Lance Armstrong’s doping his way through 7 Tours of France.  This subject has been on my mind most of last week and this week too because of my interest in the matter and of course because I knew the Texan personally.  I read somewhere “We're talking about millions of fans being deceived and tens of millions of dollars being fraudulently earned by Armstrong”.  Yes he was a cheat, there is no doubt about it and a bully too.

This week too I read the book by his former team mate Tyler Hamilton, “The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs” and my mind is still boggling with all the undercover doping that most of the peloton seem to have been involved in. On Monday the UCI who come out nearly as badly as Armstrong does in the USADA report, will finally give their opinion.  I just wonder what they will do about the 7 titles. If they strip him of them, will he have to give the money back and who will they be given to which could be quite a problem as most of the runner ups are tainted with similar accusations?  All I can say, as I did in the interview, is that I sincerely hope that this issue finally serves to clean up a sport so tainted but one that I am passionate about.

Tyler Hamilton's book reveals nearly all about Armstrong's doping

The interview with me was called “The Motorola Cyling Team, a story about pedals and mobile phones”.  I sent the link to some of my cycling friends and contacts, including the Spanish Tour of France winner Pedro Delgado.  He thanked me for mentioning him in the interview but also commented: “cycling and mobile phones, what a nice mixture”.  In a way he summed up my involvement in the sport; always related to mobile phones.

I remembered his comment when I attended the prize giving dinner organized by the online publication ADSL Zone on Thursday night which took place at the Hotel Eurostars Madrid.  Here the whole sector got together including people from Motorola, the sad thing being that Motorola Spain will be closing down in December.

It was at this dinner that I was proud to represent Yoigo and receive the award for best mobile phone operator 2012.  It was rather fitting to receive it the same week as the good results published by TeliaSonera although there are rumours they want to sell the company. The photo illustrating this entry above is of me receiving the prize with my colleague Maria Luisa.

I sat at the table for the sector journalists and communications directors and we had a ball of an evening.  We suddenly realised that all 4 communications directors for the 4 big mobile phone network operators (Vodafone, Yoigo, Telefonica and Orange) were present at the same table so jumped at the chance of a photo.  We may be huge rivals but Juan Carlos, Pepe, Fernando and myself are first and foremost colleagues. We were all delighted when Pepe got the prize of best communications directors as he is so popular.  Well done Pepe.  Of course I would have loved to win the prize but you deserve it more than any of us.

With my counterparts from the competition who do the same job as me (communications directors).  From left to right, Pepe from Vodafone, me from Yoigo, Juan Carlos from Telefónica and Fernando from Orange - at the ADSL Zone prize giving dinner.

So yes you see the week was busy.  But finally Friday came and I was able to relax.  Oli came back from Galicia with Miguel but they arrived just as we were leaving.  We had a dinner date with José Antonio and Dolores in Madrid.  They had booked a table near where they live at a Restaurant that serves food from the Santander area called “Cañadio”.  I must say my fish, sort of fish and chips without the latter was superb. It was great to catch up on their news and I just wish we saw them more often.

That was our only excursion this weekend.  The rest of it has been spent at home this cloudy and cool weekend in October.  Yesterday, Saturday, was a family lunch, the first for quite a while.  Today Sunday has been pretty routine, reading the papers, cooking lunch, a siesta, etc.  Later we will go for our walk with the dogs and watch television, a great interview programme called “Salvados” where the journalist, Jordi Evoli, corners politicians better than anyone.  We will also watch the results of the local elections in Galicia and the Basque Country, a sort of battle between the right wing (PP) and left wing (PSOE) parties and for which Spain’s head of Government, Rajoy was waiting to be over before deciding on a bail out from Europe; very important you see.

And that my friends, is the end of this week’s events and activities.  Thus I will leave you here wishing you a great week ahead.

All the best, Masha.

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