It’s 9am and I’ve just arrived from Warsaw with on a plane filled with German football fans all looking worn-out and hungover after last night’s surprise defeat by Italy in the Euros… some are still drinking.
Any other time the flight would have cost less than one hundred Euros, but because of the football it cost seven times as much… and I’m paying for it, not a sponsor or the organiser of the conference.
It also means that I will have less than an hour to prepare this afternoon’s session on Africa and there may be some confusion about which airport I’m supposed to be picked up from. I also have to get an overnight bus back to Warsaw so I can fly back to London tomorrow lunchtime.
But I wouldn’t change a minute of it. Last night’s game was beautiful. It could have been England playing Germany but if it had happened it wouldn’t have touched last night’s game, in many ways I’m glad I saw this game rather than any faux English adventure.
Pirlo was majestic, Ballotelli super, the referee was a credit to a much-maligned profession and the teams were balletic, sporting and dramatic. Just whenever I think football is stupid, a game like this comes up and I fall in love with it again.
I was one of the lucky few with an access all areas pass to the ‘Uefa Club’, an ancient Roman feast where sponsors such as Orange, Canon, Carlsberg and more bizarrely, Castrol and Continental Tyres laid on largesse for their clients and friends.
It’s grotesque in many ways, no sign of a Euro crisis in that particular club, but it’s difficult to turn down such an invitation (thank you, Orange) when it’s offered. I imagine it’s like being invited to a Buckingham Palace tea-party, but with cocktails and beer. A glimpse at the other side, where the weirdos live; like gatecrashing a Davos networking event.
To give this newsletter some context, I’m interested in Orange Buzz, the data the operator has collected during the tournament and what it’s going to do with it. Measurement of data is all the rage with investors jumping in and all sorts of futures being written.
Social media measurement and management platforms such as Brandwatch, Radian6 and other newcomers such as tracx are being used by brands, agencies and Fortune 500 companies to know to the microbit what their customers are saying and what their customers want.
As operators comes to terms with a future where they need to change their business and become smarter pipes instead of dumb ones, it will be data that can transform them. With (still) huge subscriber numbers and no end of possible data campaigns, offerings such as Orange Buzz are likely to proliferate.
Over here in Berlin there are other things for me to worry about because my driver still isn’t here and, like the German football team, I don’t know what the immediate future brings. But what I do know is that the future probably isn’t Orange, but it most certainly is data.