Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.
Sometimes all at Once.
15TH February 2010
Business Tricks - Culture
The Center of the World
TCOW is a unique place- it changes frequently and there is no official designation. But one thing’s for sure: I know it when I see it. I was on Wall Street while Gordon Gekko was cutting it up. I was in Paris for les Bleu’s World Cup victory. I was frequently in San Fran (and New York) during the tail of the dot.com craze. Heck, I was in Pittsburgh for the immaculate reception! So, as a more-than-once-witness of the fleeting phenomenon hereafter known as TCOW, I hereby grant London as the current, undisputed claimant. Give it up for the Brits, the occuli has shifted, or as they say its now Cool Britannia! Smart people, great sport, good food (really), culture, business and (oh yeah) money have each converged North of the Thames. A few examples: Chelsea FC (aka Chelski) was purchased for by Roman Abramowitz who promptly spent a Billion on fixing things right. Then starting to buy players. I’d say he is in for $1.5 billion by now. The payroll makes the Yankees like middle managers. There are over 500 properties in London listed for above $25 million. The Tate has Kandinsky, the Albert has Rodin, and Wagamama serves the best soba noodles anywhere! Believe me, the examples go on and on. But I was most interested in the why…
There are five reasons, as I see them: first, remember when the Brits joined the EU but kept the currency separate from the ECU? Seemed weird to me. Alas, with the addition of near-welfare states latching onto that currency, the Sterling simply avoided disaster. Second, 9/11 and there are many less visas for Arabs to America. Where do they go? Why Belgravia of course! Third, petro dollars go coursing through the markets, but because of reason #2 they trade first through London, not New York. Fourth, Russian oligarchs (nicest word I could muster) look to employ Halliburton’s full of cash, which seems magnetically attracted to Knightsbridge. And reason the fifth, anyone with any talent is rushing through Heathrow on their way to the City, or at least the city, to serve the burgeoning economy. The result is a concentration of wealth, culture, sport and talent that is stunning for the moment. So, how would another city wrest away the title of capital of the world? Not possible to even try I would think. Just one of those perfect storms that few can predict, but people sure know when it hits!
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