Saying “SNAFU” in Chinese

Heqiao Tower, Guanghua Road, Beijing
Waiting for another meeting to start
1535 hrs.

Melinda Liu over at Newsweek blogs on the run-up to the Olympics in her Countdown to Beijing blog. Covering the Olympic ticket website meltdown, Melinda asks some really good questions.

She also quotes yours truly.

BOCOG Don’t Get Web.

Worth a read. Her point is simple: right now everyone here is wondering what has gone wrong with the systems at BOCOG to allow this to happen. Clearly, the IT problem stems as much from radically incorrect assumptions about website usage, if not a complete breakdown of communications between the people building the web capability and the people giving them orders.

It would be really easy to point the finger at the IT suppliers, system integrators, and the like. Ugly truth time: Lenovo has the institutional memory of all of IBM’s past Olympic IT sponsorships on their side. It strains credulity to believe the problem was the lack of advice from the tech team.

I think the issue is more systemic: none of the old folks running BOCOG – or even the IOC – truly understand how much of an online Olympics this is going to be. If 8 million people hitting the site sounds like a lot, what about 80 million, or 280 million, on the day of the opening ceremonies?

Good Morning, gentlemen. This is your Wake Up Call

The ticketing fiasco is a wake up call. BOCOG should by now realize that the online infrastructure for these games will be just as critical as the new airport, the new venues, the new public transport, and new hotels. Failure to address these issues will leave as much egg on Beijing’s face come next August as any problems in meatspace.


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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