Krasnodar – our thoughts are with them

I was really shocked at the weekend to see the awful images of the flooding in Krasnodar, Russia. They have had two months of rain in two hours and it looks as though many hundreds of people have lost their lives.

A model at the Krasnodar stand at MIPIM 2012 – courtesy of Richard Baker

I don’t know a lot about the region, other than that I have seen at MIPIM. Back in 2010 I was at the signing of a partnership agreement with the region. I blogged about the event here.

In 2011 and earlier this year I called on the Krasnodar representatives at MIPIM and on both occasions was welcomed with open arms. They keep asking when we are visiting them! They are incredibly proud people and have huge ambition to build new places. They come to MIPIM with their incredible plans and technologies. I visited them with Richard Baker from the Nottingham Post this year and we were wowed with their 3D modelling / hologram of buildings from a 2D drawing. Richard posted a story about them here.

I can’t imagine the devastation that must exist at this time. Our thoughts must be with them at this time.

I am in touch with my friends at the City Council to see if there is anything we can do to help.

MIPIM 2011 – day three

As I blogged yesterday Wednesday was a busy day – an early breakfast with Derby was followed by a few meetings with an Investor and Architect. I had lunch with my colleagues in a small restaurant in the old town.

My afternoon was part marketing and part fact finding.

The first part was a trip to see the Mayor of Krasnodar who we met at last years MIPIM. As we found last year they have an affection for Nottingham – and were keen to show off some of their new technologies – particularly their 3D hologramic modelling of buildings. It was impressive. They are also using a form of QR codes in their literature – although this was not the same as ours. They are also preparing for the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014 – some of the Images and models look amazing. It was good to see them and I came away with another invite to go and see them…

Then my fact finding. I went to a discussion panel run by Argus software – this is the principle software we use in preparing valuations. They are launching a new product shortly – only in the USA, but hopefully, in the not too distant future in the UK too. It will benchmark property valuations against published date. A delegate arrived late and sat next to me. I was talking to him after the main event about the role of the RICS in valuation in the UK. It turned out he was the President of Argus!

The Nottingham Drinks reception followed and we had a fantastic turnout again – more great contacts and genuine interest in a number of really interesting opportunities.The room was full for around two hours – and Team Nottingham worked the floor!

Then the was completed by a private VIP Dinner with Adam Wilkinson and his colleagues from Derby City Council. The food was superb (not lamb). I thought the event went well, but some of my colleagues were concerned about the apparent ‘Baaa’ noises heard during the meal….

Today is our last day in Cannes before we head home tomorrow morning.

It’s a small world?

I blogged last year about Minsk and an offer I had to go in late January. For various reasons I was unable to – most due to work commitments. Although such overseas trips involve ‘work’ I do have a day job – which by all accounts is pretty much UK based.

Nottingham in Ningbo

I am still fascinated by Univest’s proposals to create a district for 21,000 people – the work is anticipated to start this year. You can read all about the proposals here. It looks an amazing scheme. The only downside is that it’s quite cold there in the winter! The scale of these projects amazes me.

At MIPIM this year (also ‘work’!) we met up with the Mayor and his Officers from Krasnodar – and that too looks a fascinating place. We have a strategic alliance with them – and again, it is somewhere I would like to see. In particular the architecture is fantastic. Krasnodar are looking for help from UK professionals as they grow their City. It is hoped that the City will have a trip there later in the year. We were certainly made to feel welcome when we met up at MIPIM.

But my latest invite is to the Shanghai Expo at the end of August. The first World Expo was held in the UK at Crystal Palace. The UK have a Pavilion at the Expo – which looks stunning (as indeed do most of the pavilions). Nottingham are taking a delegation – which also includes a trip to Ningbo and the University of Nottinghams ‘twin’ campus. It’s a long way to go, but is very tempting, especially to see the University. They have invited me several times, but I have never really had the reason to go.

Is this it? I will let you know…

Nottingham & Krasnodar – lots in common?

I was delighted to be part of a select group of people present when Nottingham signed a Partnership Agreement with the city of Krasnodar at MIPIM this year.

Dinner in Cannes with Krasnodar guests

A lot of people have asked me about the event and how it went. I must confess that I thought it would be quite difficult – especially I had never had a conversation through an interpreter before. It does take a reasonable amount of concentration – but the two translators / interpreters were excellent!

The early part of the evening and meal was a little stilted – but as the evening wore on (and the toasts grew more frequent) it got easier.

The thing that really became apparent was the similarities in our cultures. I think we have a culture (especially in business) where we don’t take ourselves too seriously. There was a fair amount of teasing and joking going on – which was being duly translated to the guests. They were highly amused – and it wasn’t long before they too joined in.

I got the impression that, despite the relative seniority of the guests, they too didn’t take things too seriously either. They were extremely polite and it was clear that they valued the tie-up with Nottingham. There were a number of toasts which made reference to friendship and it was clearly quite sincere. The friendship aspect seemed to be a significant element of their culture – reference was made to the standing of a person being judged by the number of friends he / she had.

Culturally I thought we would be somewhat opposed (but I don’t know why). We weren’t. It’s funny how you have pre-conceived ideas and, possibly, prejudices. You can very easily be proved wrong. Too many Bond films for me I suspect!

We were invited to go to Krasnodar as their guests – it is something I would consider – especially as they were such good company at dinner. It was a highly enjoyable event. I am also fascinated by some of the architecture – one of the gifts I came away from the dinner with was a book showing some of the trophy buildings in Krasnodar. Some of them look stunning.

UPDATE 2 April 2010

I heard today from Marina Astapova – our translator on the Yacht. It was quiet at their office today. She is trying her best to impart some Russian on to me. Today was a proverb – “Rabota ne volk, v les ne ubezhit”. Word to word translation is “Work is not like wolf that can escape any moment”. I think that this means that we can never get away from our work!

I think there may be a trip out to Krasnodar before the end of the summer – I might need to learn a bit more Russian!

MIPIM 2010: my overall impression

I have been back in the UK for a few days now – and my 6th MIPIM is over. I have had a chance now to reflect on the show and whether it was a success.

It is always a show seized upon by the press as being something of a ‘jolly’. We try our best to defend it as a business show where we work hard. But the images of us on luxury Yachts sipping some form of alcohol in the warm sunshine of Cannes makes it difficult to defend.

It is incredibly hard work though – most days start at around 8.30 and go on into the early hours. Breakfast, lunch and dinner simply punctuate the rounds of meetings and presentations. My feet still ache! I haven’t read through my notes. I have a pile of business cards to put in my address book.

The memorable features of this years show for me:

1. The Krasnodar dinner and signing
2. The launch of Nottingham Southside
3. My Robin Hood presentation

But we are always asked what tangible jobs we get out of it. It is wrong to say that we won jobs whilst we were there. We are there to network and raise the profile of Nottingham and of our own firm.

I have said before that if only 5% of marketing is successful you wouldn’t bother with the other 95%. The difficulty is you never actually know which 5% works! MIPIM puts lots of the 5% people in the same place at the same time – so your potential hit rate is higher.

But interestingly this year I have come away with three positive things (I can’t divulge the exact details for obvious reasons)…

1. A very significant management opportunity;
2. A requirement for a retailer who wants to open an outlet in Nottingham;
3. An opportunity to be part of a team who have won a bid on a major scheme in Nottingham – they need professional advice.

In addition I have made a number of new contacts – who I will keep in touch with.

We had great profile whilst at MIPIM as I blogged about a couple of days ago.

It’s not just about me and my firm – it’s also about Nottingham too. The benefits to the City are perhaps even less tangible, but it will be interesting to get some feedback from the other delegates over the next few weeks.

It was interesting to see the PR from MIPIM themselves who suggested,

With 17,300 attendees from 81 countries and 1,720 exhibiting companies, attendance figures for MIPIM 2010 were comparable with those of 2009; and this stabilisation was also reflected in the mood among delegates attending the event. Markets are turning the corner and the property sector is making ready for the future.

All in all I think this was one of the best MIPIM shows I have been to. And it was hard work – honest!

Been there – got the t-shirt

Doesn’t a year fly by? Actually five years..

It really is that pink....

I’m off today to my 6th MIPIM conference in Cannes. But unlike some brave folks I will be flying (green people please note that the plane was going anyway).

You might have guessed from previous blog posts that my firm sponsor Invest in Nottingham – along with others from the private sector. We also go because we meet clients out there – old and new.

MIPIM has become an established place for the world property market to go. There are 18,000 participants crammed into the town of Nice, of whom 3,575 are know investors. 1,213 developers are registered this year. 79 Countries are represented – most of whom will have a stand in the ‘bunker’ – which has 20,000 sq m of exhibitions!

The major themes this year are said to be renewed investor confidence, the return of ambitious building projects and strategies for sustainable development in major cities.

My diary is pretty much full – presentations about Nottingham Southside feature heavily – where my Partner Matt Hannah will be speaking. I have the privilege of speaking about the work of the Sheriff’s Commission on Tuesday night – and we have an exclusive preview of the new Robin Hood film! I will also be at the dinner with Krasnodar and Nottingham City Council – where we expect a special announcement. In between all of that there are meetings planned with the leaders of Nottingham City Council and Derby City Council, breakfasts with a number of my private sector contacts and lunches with a similar crowd.

Our day is normally rounded off with a fine kebab – great food after a day of canapes.

It is a fairly frantic week – I usually get through a box of business cards and collect a similar number!

So, time to board the plane to the Cote D’Azur – and sort the t-shirt. If I am honest I am not sure I will bring it back…