When I landed in Rodos, Greece in February 2014 it was really quiet. I had several friends that lived on the island that had more or less begged me to come down to look at all of the business opportunities within the island. Those opportunities mentioned was anything from bars, beach bars, and fabric for clothing to restaurants, all of which would be an investment in the range of 10K- Euros.
I am familiar with Rodos, so I didn’t think it was something that was dodgy or unreal but what I wasn’t aware of was, the lack of common sense associated with business there. Everyone including the guy who is holding the American flag on the moon knows that Greece is suffering financially so I thought- “Why not?” Besides, the people on the island are beautiful, warm and friendly. I have known some for years.
Flying within Europe to a holiday destinations in the winter takes just as much time as flying from Berlin to Sydney. The flights are limited and more than likely there are layovers. My trip took exactly 27 hours, which is only a mere 10 hours short of driving from Dublin to Rodos- That is excluding the ferries of course. .
Anyone that knows me and some of you do by now, know I am a chancer and getting the job done with real opportunities is my rush. So I thought, “Ok Beau, this year your really going to get a few peoples knickers in a twist and explore the Mediterranean during the winter”. So I took the bait from those individuals that pitched these unbelievable opportunities to me.
First step of opportunities that facilitate impatience:
I got off the plane in Rodos after zero sleep but I felt as if I had slept the whole day. I was full of energy and I was excited to meet my friend of 5 years. Lets call him “P” (which is short for his first name).
“P” had stayed in touch with me during the year when I was in either LA LA land, Dublin, Berlin and Miami, Florida. Each time we spoke, it was about these amazing opportunities on the island and the seasons predictions of tourist that are expected to come to the island. Just like everyone else that were my Facebook friends from Greece, he constantly complained about the world renowned “Greek Crisis”. Some of them went to the extent of asking for a loan during the winter to tie them over and this was back in October. I found it strange since the season had just finished and there should have been a few settlements from the previous season cash wise. I look at all problems as solvable and I was under the impression that “P” just needs my help and guidance.
So there I was sitting at the deserted airport in my leather jacket and a pair of shades on in Rodos, Greece in February- waiting on “P”. The first 20 minutes went by and I used my Irish cell phone to call him and ask him where was he. I had mailed him my flight schedule in Dublin and we had spoke on Skype for hours upon hours of a plan once I would arrive. So I could not understand why “P” was not at the gate waiting for me. There was not any passport control and the only company I had sitting there was the array of wild cats on the island.
After an hour and a half, I finally got through to “P” and his response was; “ I will be there in 20 minutes.” Again I got the rush for opportunities and overlapped the fatigue from the two days of traveling so I sat there patiently. – Opportunities facilitating patience.
He arrived and drove me around the island, which was completely deserted at this point. He showed me the deserted hotels, café and restaurants that looked as if there were never used. I thought, “finally my luck has changed and this is going to be a remarkable piece for The Worthwhile Journal for our next issue.”
What I didn’t know was, the establishments that “P” was displaying was active. The owners had just left them as they were when the season ended and would refurbish things when the season drew near. Hmmm something none of us know about in regards to tourist destinations.. at least I didn’t.
Because of “P” age, 29, I thought that the Greek crisis was just the results of old traditions that couldn’t adjust to the modern world as we know it but b****t is b****t in any language or territory. And my sensory glands went on high alert. But as the opportunities created more space to facilitate my patience, I thought; “Maybe I was just being paranoid.”
You see, just like the rest of the world, I love the Greek islands. Its fresh, beautiful and there is a sense of purity. At least for anyone that goes there for a short period of time. This time around my intentions was to go deeper and deeper into what the people really thought of the crisis and what did they expect from the tourist that comes in. Plus I knew if I lived amongst the people of Greece, which I always held in high regards, then I would understand more.
I live in Dublin and I know the complaints around the E.U. in regards to which countries had to suffer because of another countries weakness. But I also knew which countries that didn’t complain about others because of the turn around abilities those countries that suffered would rebound from. I couldn’t understand why, with Greece being such a beautiful place, the people in the E.U had very little confidence in Greece rebounding from the crisis.
When I was able to put things into perspective (Mid March), I realized the aforementioned. From my experience it is was;
“Show the beauty of the island with a natural false sense of hope, captivate them with a temporary story when you don’t know the language, the customs and the traditions, then suddenly the outsiders are more or less sticking their hand in their pocket. By then its to late and you are now trying to sleep downing a half bottom of Ouzo! – Did it go that far?? Not quite but my patience at this point was kicking the shit out of my ego.
So I asked “P” after nearly a month of not seeing him; “bro where are you? I knew the only person to blame was myself. But in real time talk; there was still opportunities there to make up for the time wasted to show something to my better half of me being away so long.
I never heard from “P” again while I was on the island. –complete and utter b*ll****er- whatever- bullshitter. Although as an optimist, I am thinking this is an isolated case and I loved the island so lets see what else was around.
The apartment where I stay, overlooks the island and every morning I am looking across at Marimaris, Turkey. So its kind of hard to have a dope place in Rodos, a freezer full of food, a top notch gym, some sort of wireless service and pack up and leave. February and March in Dublin isnt a pleasant one. Its cold and rainy, but its home.
Everything that goes up has to come down at some point and that can include a country. Greece has its growing pains and I thought this was just an isolated case.
When I was invited to go to the island futbol match, I was shocked that there was a stadium on the island. I knew there was a basketball team but I wasn’t aware of the league level of futbol on the island. Naturally, I took to Google in search of where the stadium was and to research information on the team.
This would have been perfect for an article within The Worthwhile Journal and also some entertainment. So when the owner of the complex where I had been staying, invited me to the game and informed me that he was the newly appointed President of the club (Rodos FC), I leaped at the opportunity.
His words were; “ My friend come and see the club play and sure you could help bring us money to the club. We are going to take the Greek league by storm.”
Maybe my patience was starting to pay off when I looked at the Google search engine in complete disbelief.. What no web site?- No Rodos FC web site! But a futbol stadium that seats 3,000 people and there is only two professional teams on the island. Eh? By now my patience was on a channel of the Twilight Zone.
I have to pause here and explain. Rodos is and always will be a special place to me and by no means am I making fun or putting the island down. However, this is 2014 and a professional futbol team whose country is participating in the World Cup it is imperative to have some type of web presence.
The irony of it all is, I communicated with the president of this club via Facebook and he had more friends on his Facebook than the Futbol Club and neither were over 500 likes. But still there has to be a website for the club right?
So lets start this thing again. What Greek crisis if they are not panicking to respond to the situation or worse, not open enough to accept an open hand of help?- What Crisis?
I am forever saying “if you know better then you do better”. Well if someone informs you that the world is turning to a different page than you are, then you have to either catch up or do things differently because something is obviously wrong. Common sense would tell you if tourist are coming to the island with money and you want them to spend it, then you have to adjust to whatever is going on the outside. Something has to be wrong.
Rodos FC have just been promoted to the second division within their league. But they have zero web presence, very little social media and do not know about the new brave world that exists outside of this remarkable island. They have a major threat of not selling tickets in a historic stadium that is owned by the island, which also owns the team. In other words FIFA, the governing body of futbol, would not be impressed.
Based on what you have read thus far (no web presence and/or social media structure), it seems as one would most likely agree, that this is a gold mine covered with hundreds of years of traditional volcanic ash. So I put together a structure submitted as a keynote presentation and pdf, as a student-marketing consultant, to help them bring in the main currency in sports- money!
I was thinking the whole time, how could I even think of business in such a beautiful place surrounded by remarkable people- I do love Rodos. But…
The problem identified was branding via the social media as well as a blend with respected traditional media to avoid anyone thinking there was a threat of occupation or invaders. Basically I set up their complete social presence, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr scheduled via Hootsuite. The website was created but stated “Under Construction” and was due to launched months before training camp.
Hootsuite was created to suit their convenience to post updates about the clubs developments, youth progress within the club and most of all selling tickets within their historic stadium.
Because the island is a major tourist destination, with a little over 2 million visitors each summer season, there was also a plan to implement social media traffic for the tourist that would arrive. We all know that the first thing anyone does when they come to paradise is “check-in” via social media sites. They want to show the world that they are there as well as share with those who are curious. The bottom line is instant promotion while utilizing instant gratification methods at its finest.
But the point is, because I brokered a deal with the islands major Internet and phone network (Vod____e). We made sure that the tourist gets information on the club. That information displayed the team, the promotion of the team, and merchandise as well as the upcoming season schedule. Greece had qualified for the the World Cup so naturally I thought the island would be in full swing of Futbol. So why not make the local team jersey for sale as a souvenir or a rarity of support.
Rodos island has only 50K inhabitants and there are 2 million tourists expected during the season. We don’t have to do much adding and subtracting to recognize the revenue stream potential right? At the end of the day as so-called marketing experts, it’s a common sense deal. Merchandise is the number one finance provider for any sports organization anywhere. This is all done via the wireless networks, which would be a classic case of a mutually beneficial situation.
The team would garner revenue based on the teams jerseys sold to tourist that could be put into the team as a revenue stream. More money buys better players and creates employment opportunities for a better structure such as a social media department. Mind you the economy is at a historic worst within the E.U. let alone the world.
The other holes within the rubber tire (wheels) that the marketing department would have to facilitate would be one simple method. It would be utilizing the social media utilities to bring in revenue with the natural resources that persist on this amazing island. Common sense makes money; money doesn’t make common sense-right?
The patience level again;
The problem started with communicating with the president of the club. I called and called and no one was available. This was after nearly 200 hours of putting together a program, hounding my business partners in the States, making sure a social media plan was in place with LA Editions in Paris, France, and getting top recommendations from lecturers at Full Sail. What could possibly be the problem if there is a crisis and you’re being handed the solution.
At my highest level of enthusiasm I approached the president of the club and said, “Hey, lets omit my fee for (the web site I constructed, the social media patterns and engagement we have created that I was billed for 500 euros, the 2000 photos I have taken as well as a video interview, the graphics for the merchandise jerseys that will bring in instant revenue from the tourist sales) in exchange for rent for a mere 300 euros. Just omit my rent and let’s forget about the cheeseburger and let’s eat a steak!
I got no reply. Weeks went by and no response.
At this point it was easy to get a little paranoid as the summer season was starting and tourist was slowly coming in.
It’s really easy to have the patience in paradise but at the end of the day all good things come to an end. There has to be something in place that would validate the 4 months thus far. I could not believe that the facts were pointed out; with Full Sail approving the Keynote presentation yet there was no reaction.
To be quite frank, I didn’t know what to think. All I heard was give me give me and read how the E.U was late on responding to the Greek crisis. But the funny thing of it is the E.U (balanced by Germany) was extending their patience of loaning the Greek government more money and waiting for a return or a plan of returning the billions of euros that the E.U. had loaned.
There are always two sides to a story. If my patience had grown thin, I can only imagine what the people of the E.U. were thinking. Then again I was one of them and experiencing some serious aggravation in the process. We are after all paying extra tax to accommodate the paradise islands and country of Greece. Yet the country are doing absolutely nothing to educate those who have little finance to build their economy and stop the take take, please help me system but with no return.
How could you help those who cant help themselves or doesn’t want to.
Was this because they thought the world owes them something because of these beautiful islands? Are they lazy- no. Are they friendly and warming?-Yes without question. Are they honest?- that is up to those who are visiting the cities in Greece and judging for themselves.
Please remember this is my experience and one that have been garnered over a mere 6 to 8 summers. But where is the common sense in not following through with business, when you are sitting around drinking Frepes and not doing anything about your crisis. Common Sense makes make right, money does not make common sense.
Overall I would advise anyone to go and have the Greek experience. My agenda was clear cut from the beginning and I am sure everyone’s experience wouldn’t be the same as mine.
Departing Rodos at 5 am on a ferry to explore every island within Greece, it was very hard to hide my aggravation. Finally I was tired and fatigue had won the battle.
Next stop Macedonia to Pristina, Kosovo.