Spain Prepares for Ballesteros Funeral

The funeral of golfing legend Seve Ballesteros will take place today (Wednesday) in his home village of Pedrena, Cantabria in Spain.

The ceremony will be at the San Pedro parish church at 1200 BST.

Seve Ballesteros

Image courtesy of Action Images

Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Colin Montgomerie and Sam Torrance are among a few of golf’s biggest names that are expected to attend.

Ballesteros died aged 54 in the early hours of Saturday morning after a long battle with cancer.

“Seve will be cremated at a ceremony that will be as intimate as possible and at a place that nobody will know,” said the Ballesteros family.

“That was his express wish. His ashes will remain at his estate, at his home in Pedrena.”

Seve’s brother Baldomero Ballesteros was quoted as saying:

“The funeral rites will be as simple as those for any neighbour from the village. He was born here and here he will remain.”

Miguel Angel Revilla, head of the local Cantabria government, said the region will observe three days of official mourning.

At the Players Championship in Florida this week, the Spanish flag will fly in honour of Ballesteros until Sunday.

Normally, the previous year’s winner has his national flag flying over the Circle of Champions but the South African flag marking Tim Clark’s victory last May has been replaced.

Such was his legend across the sporting fraternity but his passing has been marked across the world, with silences being held at the European Tour’s Spanish Open, the Barcelona – Madrid game, the Madrid Open Tennis Championships and at the Wells Fargo Championship in America over the weekend.

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View From the Spire: Seve Ballesteros 1957 – 2011

It was a sad day for sport yesterday as the Ballesteros family announced the passing of five time major winner, and golfs most charismatic legend, Severiano Ballesteros.

The Spaniard, who was 54, passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning after a protracted battle with cancer. The battle prevented  Seve from attending the 125th Celebrations of the Open Championship at St Andrews which also included the launch of the Seve Academy – the worlds leading golf improvement platform.

His health also prevented him from physically attending the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor late in 2010 but Seve was still involved and was instrumental in inspiring the team to victory by video phone and was a key crucial member of the back room staff that brought the Samual Ryder trophy back to the Europeans.

Ballesteros, who claimed 87 titles over his career, won the Open in 1979, 1984 and 1988 and became the first European to win the Augusta Masters in 1980, repeating the feat in 1983.

He also enjoyed a successful Ryder Cup career as both player and captain – playing in eight Ryder Cups and winning 20 points from 37 matches before guiding Europe to victory over the United States at Valderrama in 1997.

But it was his daring and flamboyant style that made Ballesteros special, transforming the image of golf and bringing a whole new audience to the sport. BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter said: “No golfer did more to popularise the game in Europe than Seve Ballesteros.

“He was a fighter – feisty, skilful, cheeky and loveable. When Seve was in a good mood the world was happy. He played a fearless, exciting and charismatic brand of the game. It thrilled sport fans all over the world.” Peter Alliss BBC golf commentator

“It’s a sad day,” world number one Lee Westwood said on Twitter. “Lost an inspiration, genius, role-model, hero and friend. Seve made European golf what it is today. RIP Seve.”

Seve Ballesteros 1957 - 2011, RIPImages courtesy of Action Images

Fettes goes Native

March will signify the start of yet another new and exciting project for Fettes Management with Director David Jenkins having  personally sealed a deal to work on the delivery of dynamic sales growth for leading Edinburgh agency Native and its sister golf course consulting/advisory service and events management arm, Golf3000.

The work is primarily to extend the success of Native in existing and new market sectors, to support the development of Native clients’ business (primarily in the early phases of Golf3000) and to help strategically shape all other new commercial opportunities.

BBC Announcement

We found this amusing this Friday morning….

From the BBC – Read by John Cleese.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.”

Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let’s get the Bastards.” They don’t have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France ‘s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country’s military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout Loudly and Excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans have increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.” They also have two higher levels: “Invade a Neighbor” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels .

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She’ll be right, Mate.” Three more escalation levels remain: “Crikey,!” “I think we’ll need to cancel the barbie this weekend” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final
escalation level.

Five lip biting SEO myths…

Author: Mark Cook. Econsultancy.

The SEO field has some great thought leaders who work hard to share their knowledge and data with the community. Despite this, after nine years working in the field, I still see some horrible misinformation published on an alarmingly regular basis.

So, with the help of Twitter, these are the five SEO myths to see buried in 2011…more

View From the Spire: Star Mangled Banner

Proving that even the experts sometimes get in wrong, Christina (wot no more Xtina?) Aguilera fluffed a line as she excruciatingly belted out her version of the US National anthem that opened the recent Super Bowl final.

When she should have (obviously) sung “O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming” she ad-libbed on an earlier line claiming afterwards that “she got lost in the moment”. And I would think it easy to “get lost” at the prospect of performing such an important job infront of 110 million avid supporters around the globe let alone the brown trousering fear of 103,000 Cheesehead and Steelers fans in a newly built Cowboys Stadium in Texas. This ones for you Mariah Carey…

But she is one of the lucky ones; being able to make a mistake and get away with it by simply carrying on to the finish – at worst denting US pride and slightly upsetting the event organiser!

However, mistakes by business “experts” occur all too frequently too but often with farther reaching consequences. Unlike Christina’s mishap, it seems in business it is not just a question of just getting to the end (the “end” is surely business closure?) it is ensuring that you complete the task.

For starters, it is easy to be an expert – especially in a recession with so many good corporate people out of work turning their hands to some level of service provision; and it is far too easy to make mistakes (we all know that). Put the two together and depending on the situation, the inevitable mistake is blindingly obvious – like a bum note in a Les Dawson piano ditty, or an excocet missile – you know that it is coming but can do bugger all about it!

Take eCommerce and search engine optimisation: apparently every ones an expert. Paying experts to focus on SEO wont make you money if at core you don’t have the products that people want to part with their hard earned money for. A test: if your business is not viable with Adwords, you’re likely throwing good money after bad and I may even be so bold as to say that the same goes for your effort in online business – regardless of the experts you use! I had it suggested to me recently that SEO is an emergent property of eCommerce – and I think that that is largely right!

Then consider design and web development. Eye candy wins every time doesn’t it? If it looks nice and has nice coloured buttons with nice text – thats enough yeah? Money flies in, customers will be happy and you can plan your retirement where its warm?

Some design experts will seduce you with flattering design – it might make you proud or great to be a part of something as good looking as a flashy website, it may give you something to brag to your mates about down The Dog and Whistle, but it’s no guarantee of your businesses success. Only then will you think – how did that design agency suck us in? And then you remember the line…“Look how wonderful our design agency is – we work with RBS…” (Doesn’t every bloody design agency do work with RBS?).

To illustrate the point – take a look at the most aesthetically of appealing websites – then look at eBay. Which would you rather be yours? One of them has greater income than some Countries!

Lastly take the examples of social media and networking. Do you know exactly what this is? Do you know what it could do? Do you know how it will help your business? Its a complex thing (if you are of a certain age) and built for kids isn’t it? And it’s about sending funny videos to your pals, tweeting a bit (whatever that is) and creating a Facebook page isn’t it?

Social media is one small part of Sales and Marketing. It’s one of its many channels – and like the others, it needs constant attention and requires that you cast the net wide using all the channels available to you. However the relevant audience for your products should be crucial in any decision to focus on this as part of your marketing strategy.

In this piece, I am not here to pick on business experts in these three sectors – or any sector for that matter. I’m actually advocating a little patience and understanding in your business. I am a big promoter of undertaking due diligence, knowing a little about the work yourself and ultimately having a grand plan and sticking to it. I see so many people jumping in to SEO, web design or social networking having heard friends and colleagues talk about it. These areas of promotion are often very helpful and often lucrative elements of business but will not make a difference unless part of a greater effort across all areas of your business.

I am equally a believer in trying some of these things yourself – experience a little of social networking – read some blogs and forums; you will understand the concept quickly and be better informed to understand the potential as part of your greater vision. Then invite the experts to help you in this field and be better positioned to ensure a greater return on the investment in these areas.

In these examples, my experience is that you would be hard pushed to find a real tangible ROI for any work that is undertaken in each area in isolation. A focus in any one of these areas may on any given day work, although on another, it also may not – often the expertise, and even potential lack of it will be irrelevant. Either way, do your homework and know what you are getting into long before you sign on any experts dotted line.

I believe in a business that wants to make the best commercial success of itself – with or without a flashy website, outsourced SEO or use of social networks – it is the financials at month and year end ONLY that matter.

We all apparently make mistakes. And so if, like Christina, we are all prone to making mistakes in our performance, or take the wrong business turn or make the wrong commercial judgement what really only matters is how we manage the fall out, how we reposition ourselves and how quickly we get back on track.

Experts actually know their stuff – and in most cases to a phenomenal level that is worthy of your investment in time, effort and money as they are capable of delivering fantastic results for many business whatever the sector. It is up to you to understand some of what they say and can do in order to best utilise their talents within your business vision.

View From the Spire: Superheroes

We are in the midst (although hopefully nearing the latter part) of a recession. A recession that has apparently been the worst for 100 years; surpassing even the Great Depression of the 1930’s. (As an aside – what is so Great about a depression?)

In these tough times, even Superheroes are finding it tough. I refer, of course, to Spider-Man our web slinging red and blue pyjama sporting saviour. According to Steve Wacker, Marvel Comics Editor, Peter Parker, photographer, loses his job and signs on the dole in the latest issue of Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.

In true life fashion, our Superhero will struggle with unemployment, struggle to pay bills and keep a roof over his head. Surprisingly, he will also struggle to buy “web fluid” – now hands up if you knew that thats what it was called AND that he bought this concoction (I thought like saliva, he naturally had it in him)?

Like many of us, what next for our crime fighter? Where does someone who has had several jobs including science teacher, sports coach and researcher do next? Not least do they have to decide where to focus their efforts, and possibly continue to fight global crime and defy nasty villains but they actually have to secure the job – they have to get past interviews and the gate keeping jobs worth’s in HR.

And so, what does a Senior Manger think if a Spider-Man type turns up for a job? And what if the same thing befalls other Superheroes characters and provided they dont suffer the pitfalls of alcohol, or gain a temp job up the local call centre, do they naturally all suffer a similar fashion faux pas at interview?

If so, Superman would wear underwear over his trousers; Batman would wear underwear over trousers and then put a belt over his underwear. Robin follows what Batman does regardless. (Is this peer pressure?) Wonder Woman would wear the belt on her head. Poor Spidey puts his underwear over his head – and I sincerely hope that they are clean.

For my money, not one of them would make that vital good first impression other than looking like a moron in a fake (but actually real) superhero costume. As all of them would look like they got dressed in the dark, what good would you think that they would be with a theodolite, in charge of an IT system or a salesmen in a bed shop? And how would you see through the spandex to understand how they could benefit your business? Perhaps Spidey could consider going solo career with a digital career on the World Wide Web?

In testing times like these then it is no surprise that Tiger Woods and Robbie Williams (amongst others) have decided to come back to work.

Now rest assured people, this is a serious concern of mine. This is no joke. Our Superheroes feel the pinch too. I only hope that like the rest of us, they learn to work with it; find new ways of doing business; they learn to grin and bear it, smile and occasionally laugh. After all, what better way to laugh than by telling jokes. And we all know a Superheroes favourite part of a joke is the “punch line!”

David Jenkins is no Superhero but he can work with you to save your company from ruin, be an interim manager getting you through a tough period, or provide some focussed sales, marketing and business development strategy to get you out of a tight spot. For more information, make sure you check out David Jenkins’ full CV here.