Cancel the Dubai Obit

I had emails from all over the world. Some were of genuine concern, some were of the told-you-so kind, and some were just keeping me in the loop. But most of the reports they quoted, most of the news sites I went to, and most of the Word of Mouth (or Mouse) I heard was all very schadenfreude – pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. The ultimate payback for all things hubris that Dubai is all about.

Here we are in Dubai. Bust boom bust time again. Dubai owes a hundred billion. Dubai has sold this, traded that, and left the building. Click on google maps and you'll find no Dubai. Just a big hole – a drain down which we saw a lot of money just go down, right? One hundred thousand people left on the Airbus 380. On Thursday night. One helluva plane huh?

Anyway, it all boils down to work. To bread on the table. To accounts in the bank and clients in the boardroom. 'How are you guys doing?' I've been asked a dozen times in the last few days. Well, truth is, we're OK so far. Touch wood. We've still got the world's top three brands – Google, Coke, McDonald's (top by brand recognition survey, I didn't make that up guys). We've still got digital work coming our way which we are slowing down, because we don't have enough bench strength. We haven't quite heard yet about the death of Dubai. And, I'm no betting man, but I'm guessing we won't. There'll be a lot of chinese whispering, a lot if rumor mongering, gossip, tales, but the truth will be that the fundamentals in Dubai are pretty strong, and no, Dubai may be has a virus, but isn't dead.

On one of our agencies, we had a couple of clients say, they might need to be cautious for 1Q 2010. Hell, yes, of course. No problem with that. We're going to be cautious too. We're going to be watching every penny. But not because Dubai has a cold or had sneezed, but because we haven't quite come out of the R word yet – globally. Let's face it. We are a regional agency network. We're across 16 countries. Yes, Dubai is HQ, but we clock a lot of food miles as far as our bread basket goes. And it's the same with most of our larger regional clients. Their regional steam ahead plan may blip a bit because HQ has a speed bump installed in the parking lot, but frankly, it won't be a big negative hit.

Already, the negative waves across the world have eased. Markets have bounced back. Sentiment is a funny thing. It forgets the bad, the pain, the tough times, because optimism is a healer, a balm. So, no folks, Dubai is OK. Business is fine. People are great. Work is wonderful. This is just a note to say, cancel the obit on Dubai you media folks around the world. The news of the demise was an exaggeration.