Today’s Hellenism

01 September 2011

The Greek empire left us more than their heritage in architecture, mathematics, medicine and philosophy. The great emperors who led the largest territory existing in history have taught us that it doesn’t dominate a nation only by military force. The Greeks knew, and later the Romans, that one of the most effective ways to maintain economic dominance over other groups is through the linguistic and cultural imposition. If this nation learns to speak your language, they will consume your culture.

The lesson of the Greeks was not limited to the Roman Empire. In modern history, the United States performed this task in an exemplary way in the world with the “Big Stick” philosophy, with customs, cars, products, movies and music and references to a population who didn’t bother to play the role of just a consumer market. There was no counterpart, the goal was economic domination and imposition of culture (with a stick in the hand, of course).

Not surprisingly, the current most spoken languages ​​in the world are from the most important economies, showing that the thinking of centuries BC remains the same: China, USA, Spain and Latin America (I have my doubts about that importance here), India, Brazil, the Middle East. The list of “top seven” also has the Bengali, from Bangladesh.

The difference between the Greeks behavior and these countries is that not all of them spread their language and culture to other corners. Brazil is in that list because of its huge territory and for being the fifth largest population in the world. Unlike France, Italy and Germany which have much smaller populations than the countries mentioned, but complete the ranking of countries with the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world, along with Russia and the Arab world.

Portuguese isn’t named an international language, used in diplomatic ceremonies, nor a UN official language, which accepts only Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Anyway, the Portuguese-based communication seems to show some growth, with more than 30 million students worldwide.

Even with this increasing demand for Portuguese teachers, we haven’t learned to be like the Greeks. Indeed, this is one of the shortcomings of Brazil. A more efficient communication plan of Brazil abroad would help bring the culture, custom and products to other markets.

We can easily find Indian, Chinese, Japanese and American in prominent positions in multinational companies. The Indians do that pretty well, especially in the technology area. Perhaps, it is one of the reasons to be increasingly easy to find Indian restaurants in the United States.

We are an economy of respect and we have one of the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world. No doubt the importance of Brazil is increasing at the global level. A more aggressive communication and brand reputation plan for Brazil could be an important tool, as it was for the Greeks and Romans in the past, and has been for American, Russian, Chinese, and Indian…

The social media in the Brazilian elections

21 October 2010

In two weeks Brazil will have a new president:  on one side Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s Chief of Staff and leader of the most recent main nationwide projects and, on the other side, José Serra, former Ministry of Health, from Fernando Henrique Cardoso government, who controlled the inflation in Brazil and brought economics stability for current booming times, are in the runoff vote.

The elections in Brazil have presented a new way to make politics in the country through social networks. All the candidates in the first round and the two candidates in the second round keep active profiles in all the channels like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

None of the candidates drew up a creative plan. Everyone just followed the cake recipe with profiles and campaign videos but, by the end of the first round, it is possible to make a deeper analysis of the behavior of them and evaluate which of them took over these tools.

Dilma was the candidate who most explored social network channels in number of profiles. She thrust the flag of PT Party on Orkut, Youtube, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and Identica, but didn’t explore them as much as her opponents. She is the last in the number of tweets, for example, with only 327 posts. Jose Serra tops this rank with more than 3,200 messages, followed by Plínio, with over 2,600 messages and Marina Silva, with 2000.

Serra also leads the list of followers with 467 000 people in a profile created for other “Carnivals”. Dilma has achieved 240 000 followers in the first round, even not being so present in the micro blog. Marina comes the third position with 200 000, and Plínio with almost 48 000 people.

The communication, at least unusual, of controversial candidates, such as Tiririca and “Pear Women” also drew attention, but this is subject to a next post.

America for Americans

12 September 2010

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Face in, face out

17 August 2009

Analysts have warned of overexposing Obama’s image in the media since taking office, but this criticism doesn’t seem to be affecting him, Obama is still on the cover of all magazines and his wife as well.


The last feat was the interview with the boy journalist Damon Weaver, who fielded questions about education and mangos for lunch, last week, in the White House. The result of the interview particularly pleased me and I was surprised he took the time out of his day to do that. The outlook doesn’t look so positive, though.


One big hint that even the media has started thinking twice before having Obama was the arm wrestling last month between the broadcast networks and the President’s Office to carry the press conference about his health-care overhaul. The White House rescheduled the meeting for one (less-watched) hour earlier because NBC would air an interview with Susan Boyle.


Obama is certainly a man down to earth, in my opinion. I just wonder if he still needs to prove that.


The future is the end

06 August 2009

In the middle of this decade some social network services were created to change the world forever.


Of course the Turkish Stanford student Orkut Büyükkökten didn’t expect to change the people’s behavior (mainly in Asia and South America) when he launched Orkut in 2004, neither did Mark Zuckerberd, when he launched Facebook a month later, in Boston (MA), but they certainly contributed adding one more habit in our routine: peek in our social network websites.


MySpace had been launched six months before Orkut and Facebook and Friendster was even older but they were completely unknown out of the United States and only after the boom of those two new services that the world noticed the strengthening of the social networks.


Today, we count with a long list of the websites with the same ends: look for friends, job, and dates, stalk a former partner, prospect new business, and meet ex-colleagues…and bla bla bá.


During a call with a new supplier the other day, I was asked for my phone number and my twitter. I inquired why he needed my twitter and the answer was: well, everybody has one today. So, the rule is: you are on or you are ‘out’, and that is the exact point that concerns me.


All these new technologies and new services enrich our communication and may develop new ways to reach people but are you really interested in knowing if your buddy is doing the laundry or going to the movies right now? Who has never seen a message like “I am cold, I will get a sweater” on twitter, raise your hand.


In my judgment, these network services will develop into other new and innovative platforms and will exist forever in our lives but users will over use them and find a way to ruin their application.


One good example of how it has already happened is Orkut. It is still very popular in Brazil but it has been passing through serious problem due to illegal content added by fake users. The quiz now is to bet on which network service will be the next to end.

Bad taste ice cream

30 March 2009

After using multi media, pop art, and being pioneer in using the internet during the elections, Barak Obama has been facing a hard time dealing with his worldwide disseminated image. A Russian advertisement in bad taste of a vanilla and chocolate ice cream has created reactions in many human rights organizations since last week. The ad brings a character clearly inspired by Obama, in front of the White House, with the slogan “it is in everybody’s mouth. It is black on white”.


According to agency Reuters, the organizations have judged the campaign, launched in the city of Yekatarinburg, poor.


Reuters also talked to the creative director of the agency Voskhod, Yevgeny Primachenko, responsible for the ad, who he only wanted to “create a funny campaign, as funny as eating ice cream.


I hope the ice cream isn’t as bad as its campaigns.

The slumdog in Aristotle

09 March 2009

The room lights went down and a young man’s face was on the screen. He was Jamal Malik, the main character of Slumdog Millionaire, the one who would be very rich two hours later. I could hear people commenting the awkward lack of trailers – what is an almost tradition today- but the voices went away as the room was getting darker.


The movie seemed to be a sequence of City of God, a Brazilian drama which tells a similar story (except for the romantic ending) directed by Fernando Meireles, in 2003.


The slums, the poverty, and the human bestialities are in each part of the story recreating and reinforcing not only the scenario of City of God but also Aristotle’s main idea in Poetics: the catharsis.


Aristotle explains that “in real life, men are sometimes too much addicted to pity or fear, sometimes too little; tragedy brings them back to a virtuous and happy mean. [Tragedy is then a corrective; through watching tragedy the audience learns how to feel these emotions at the proper levels]“.


Some modern analyses of Aristotle’s work indicate that catharsis is the feeling of relief for the audience because the tragedy isn’t truly theirs; however they had felt all the emotions of the characters during the play. In the end, the ecstasy set them free from these corrosive feelings.


I asked myself how far all that tragedy was from me and how fair I was a catharsis example. I can see those two boys in São Paulo streets every day at the traffic lights, near my work, on my way home. I am the audience but I am also in the tragedy.


In this sense, I didn’t get to laugh in some parts of the story, when everybody did, and I didn’t cry at the end either as many did because I knew I would see lots of slumdogs in the streets when I left the fancy mall to go home.


The inevitable comparison between City of God and Slumdog Millionaire isn’t the only thing that we, Brazilians, can take from that movie: the poverty and the social abyss isn’t our “privilege”, unfortunately.


At the end, a second awkward situation. The movie ended but nobody got up or left the room. They were all quite facing the screen. That was the ecstasy. Aristotle scored again.

The authors of an unrehearsed play

17 February 2009

The Guardian published this month a ranking of those responsible for the global economic crisis. The list is headed by former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan.


Bill Clinton endorsed a law that allowed people with fewer resources to seek home loans.


George Bush was inert in front of worsening of the problem and was unable to put a brake on subprime loans.


Dick Fuld was Lehman Brother’s number 1 when the bankruptcy was announced in September 2008. He has left Lehman Brothers heavily exposed to mortgages of low quality.


Gordon Brown despite having previewed the crisis, did nothing to prevent it.


Hank Greenberg took expensive trips for himself and other AIG executives, while the largest insurer worldwide went under. Greenberg spent AIG’s US$400 thousand in a spa resort for its top employees.


Mervyng King took too long to realize how deep the crisis.


Abby Cohen sinned by excess of optimism, refused to accept the crisis’ gravity.


Phil Gramm was the main individual responsible for the financial deregulation that would detonate the mortgage crisis.


Alan Greenspan (last but not least) – The Fed had the authority to stop the granting of credit to supply the market for subprime mortgages, but Greenspan did nothing. With this, the housing bubble burst. He admitted his mistake in an interview.




Two-sided knives

08 February 2009

The first time Barak Obama came out in the main media (at least, for me) – bringing something in the air about being the next guy – was in 2007 when Time magazine published a photo of him on a Hawaiian beach. The publication which has already given him 15 covers, praised his body shape and highlighted the next American president’s good health. The magazine didn’t name the beach, but some folks from Hawaii identified kailua Beach Park as the fortuneteller place.


Since that casual spotlight, Obama has made the informality his main background when the issue is marketing. But his main strategy to keep his name in everyone’s mind in 2007, starts showing its dark side of the force.  He has been everywhere now: candies, mints, refreshments and even condoms. Last week, an American company released two dolls inspired by his daughters Malia and Sasha and his advisors decided that it has been enough.


Obama is planning a new image in the media now. His dismissal divulged poster, plagiarized from Andy Warhol, turban old photos or beach photos will give place to a serious, well dressed, and formal man. Not surprising based on his position; just don’t know if the public who elected him will sympathize with this new man after the election. 

Hello world!

30 January 2009

Welcome to Collective Conversation.

This is a brand new Collective Conversation blog and the owner has yet not published their first post.