While most of the conference attendees at the World Space Risk Forum in Dubai prefer to use science and statistical analysis over superstition when working out whether to take a financial risk or not, there is always a place for good luck. As such, this writer did take some amusement in noting that some of the sponsors’ logos had some poor Fung Shui-luck design issues. Worst of all was the new one for the worldwide satellite operator SES which had the dreaded “poison arrow head” pointing straight at the company name. Whether it is down to this, or to Romain Bausch stepping down as CEO, good luck may not be going that firm’s way!
When this writer warned Tim Wright that his new underwriting agency Altitude Risk Partners has a similar problem with its otherwise beautiful logo, the not-so-superstitious Tim said he would only change it if the MGA’s results suddenly go bad.
While your correspondent’s comatose “dead soldier” impression during a few of the talks was down to post-lunch comfort and jetlag rather than any lack of interest, one of the better presentations was Chris Kunstadter’s which was full of numeric detail and analysis. JLT top man, Peter Elson, amusingly admitted in his panel that he was very impressed by Chris Kunstadter’s analysis of insured satellite numbers…if only he could remember what they were!
As he described the early days of his firm Surrey Satellite Technology Limited’s (SSTL) in his focus group, Andy Bradford showed an amusing photograph of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visiting Surrey Satellite’s clean room. As you can see unlike the others who are wearing standard issue hairnets, Her Majesty still retains a proper looking hat on her barnet (“barnet fair” = hair in cockney-rhyming-slang).
When asked why she was allowed to Bradford’s right-royal excuse was: “It would be inappropriate to ask her otherwise.” Could it be Sir Andy Bradford shortly?
During the forum, your correspondent was pleased to be introduced to a charming sales executive called Mr. Tank. His unusual surname did, of course, bring a smile to your correspondent, not least because all he could think about at the time was: thank heavens his parents resisted the temptation to give him the first name Sherman.
On that cockney-rhyming note, your correspondent was pleased to secure interviews for the WSRF newsletter with the heads of Arianespace and ILS, including flushing out the fact that all Proton rockets are blessed by a Bishop (though probably not enough given the recent failure). However this writer’s efforts nearly all came to nothing as the tablet and subsequently printed copies of the newsletter were nearly impossible to read. Hoping that that the sudden deterioration in his eyesight was note down to something he had done in his youth, the overuse of binoculars for bird spotting for example, this writer was relieved to find that it had been caused by a printing/formatting error. To make amends the organisers sent the punters at the conference a full size e-mailed edition.
Lucy Gilchrist, who did much of the hard organisational work for WSRF, might be a modern graffiti-art loving former punk-ette, but when it comes to inviting show workers she is distinctly non-Politically Correct. Her instruction to the model agency offering charming young ladies as helpers to the conference: “Make them the hottest babes you have.” Just to get those middle-aged male participants safely though the forum you understand.
The organisers had previously warned participants that for religious and cultural reasons overt “public displays of affection” were not approved of in Dubai. Your correspondent began to suspect that this was really at the request of the lady participants to stop him from kissing them. And he does not even look like a 1970s British TV star!
Ah well – there is always next time. See you at the WSRF 2016 wherever they vote to hold it – though this writer is still hoping for Hawaii (Inshallah).