"Krejcir associates disappearing and being killed"; Globopolis.com

I wonder who’s got the movie rights to billionaire-cum-prisoner-cum-fugitive Radovan Krejcir’s story? Now he’s also a murder suspect (“suspect”? [rolleyes] Oh please…). However, the way CTK has translated the headline to the related story (and part of the headline to today’s entry), one would think that Krejcir is now on a killing spree.

But today was supposed to be about the little Prague dot-com that could – but unfortunately did not. For those who were either a part of it or were (and still are) sick of hearing about it, you may want to move along to the Dog Eat Blog archives, or perhaps to a few of Dr. Vladimir Czumalo’s excellent articles about Prague.

Founded by former Globe Cafe & Bookstore owner Scott Rogers in December 1999, Globopolis.com was an online city guide to Central and Eastern European (CEE) capitols. Much to the Czech business community’s surprise it managed to secure 6 million USD in investment capital – one of the biggest investments into a CEE Internet start-up.

Rather than bog this down with a bunch more facts (here’s the googlage), it’s enough to say that Globopolis.com got into the game just as the dot-com bubble was on the verge of bursting. By the time I joined, the dot-compost was already beginning to pile up stateside. But Globopolis had yet to ripen, let alone decompose.

It was a fast and fun ride. Fed up with teaching English, I interned for about a month and a half, doing data entry and editing copy. Then I got hired on as a copywriter, and soon became responsible for marketing a G-bop product called Boparrazi, which was something like the stupid party pictures that Think Again prints in the back of its magazine, the difference being that I had very talented photographers working for me.

So, I got experience and had fun, as did pretty much everybody else there. And I’m sure we were (and probably still are to a degree) a source of envy among the expat community. And who could blame them? Of that 6 million USD, Globopolis got 3 million up front, and man did we ever enjoy it.

3 million American bucks. Goddamn, today’s exchange rate puts that at over 75 million Czech korunas. You’d better believe we were living large, burning through that cash like our American peers: a foosball table in the break room, Free Beer Fridays, trips not only to the other CEE capitals, but also to other major European cities for research purposes (not that I got to go on any of those), the inevitable “team-building” weekendâ?? there were more extravagant expenditures (not counting rent and high-end computing equipment), I’m sure, but I was thrilled not to be teaching any more after 4 years. I was learning new things and (ack!) networking. I was also making decent money – not much more than what I was making teaching, but, hey, I’ll say it again – I wasn’t teaching.

(Note: that’s not a diss against the noble profession of teaching English as a Second language. All I’m saying is that I taught for a while and found it wasn’t for me but found myself stuck in it. So of course I was overjoyed to be offered a way out of doing something I felt trapped doing for a living)

One expense that I can’t let go without a comment was the godawful advertising campaign that MarkBBDO whipped up for Globopolis. It was lazy shitty work that did the company no favours, and a lot of the team voiced that opinion.

Nevertheless, the management stuck with the garbage that BBDO’s account managers presented to us in an utterly imbecilic manner. Example: in his preamble to the presentation, one of the account managers actually said, “You are a very big client and we want your money.” Well fucking d-uhâ??

It was around this time that things started to feel a bit amiss. Then in January 2001, the good ship Globopolis went down. And, after pretty much ignoring us for a year, every unclefucking media outlet in Prague sent their cubs and hacks a-swarming to the G-bop offices on Hybernska. I can take defeat, but the Prague Post’s glee-trimmed feature on Globopolis’ demise was putting salt in the wound purely out of spite.

However, for many a former G-bopper, the experience led to bigger and better things. From the ashes sprung Prague.tv (btw, its City Beat blog has a slick new look that’s worth a look-see). Prague’s IT and telecommunications firms and ad agencies opened their doors to us. Speaking for myself, I have to say that the full-time jobs I’ve had since Globopolis haven’t been as fun (though Cesky Telecom certainly had its moments), but they opened more doors that have taken me to exactly where I want to be – self-employed, working when I want, and now where I want. For that reason I will always be grateful to Scott Rogers, Dan Mucha, Chip Schenck and all the great people I had the pleasure of working with at Globopolis.

So, in spite of the fact that the quality of their paper has actually improved over the years, the Prague Posties can stick that in their pipes and smoke it – if their lungs and brains can handle it, which I sincerely doubt.

Jul 28, 09:24 (Filed under: People, Prague media )

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