A facsimile of the author's application for the role of chief
executive for Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, submitted to
recruitment firm Optima Global Talent yesterday. Yes, really.
To whom it may concern,
Please accept my belated application for the position of
Chief Executive Officer with Dunedin Venues Management Ltd.
I am highly confident of my leadership and asset management
capabilities in relation to this role. The information given
in the job advertisement notes that the facilities managed by
DVML "attract international and domestic events in the areas
of the sport, conference and entertainment markets". This
should make my job much easier.
Nevertheless, I will strive to tout the Forsyth Barr Stadium
far and wide, beyond those top-class international events
that fling themselves at it. That's only what any decent
asset manager would do.
I can offer you a competitive salary. Yes, that's right: I
can offer you a competitive salary. (You will notice my way
is somewhat unorthodox, but I suggest to you that
conventional thinking is not the way of a great leader.) I
will do the job for $80,000 per annum. I would live
handsomely on that, and I have no interest in bonuses, for I
am not especially concerned with the acquisition of material
You may flabbergastedly wonder what, then, could possibly
incentivise me to do the job well, if I were not earning my
predecessor's minimum of $250,000 per annum. International
performing star Sir Paul McCartney expressed my philosophy
best with the lines, "When you got a job to do you got to do
it well. You got to give the other fella hell." That may seem
old-fashioned, and I think I probably am a bit.
My accepting that salary of $80,000 upon appointment to the
post would automatically save the company at least $170,000.
That alone could leave it in a better financial position
after my first year than it was in the previous year. If
that's not hitting the artificial turf running, then I don't
know what is.
Strategically I favour frugality. I would not find it
difficult to make a $3.2 million loss, going forward, in any
given financial year, if it please the stakeholders, but I
would endeavour to convince them we can and should do better.
My personal fiscal responsibility, in an uncertain global
economic climate, is beyond reproof. I have no assets, no
debts, and $NZ4000 to my name. This makes me comparable to
some United States cities: the City of Scranton,
Pennsylvania, for example, was recently estimated to have
$US5000 left in its coffers.
Further, it puts me in a superior financial position to some
other United States cities, which are bankrupt; some due in
no small part to their having bought massive events venues
they cannot afford and cannot fill. I am mindful of these
things as I look to my stewardship of Dunedin's prime venues,
Permit me to give you an example of my approach, as
envisioned by me, going forward. On my watch, there would be
no corporate events with free wine and nibbles. Wine is
expensive and nibbles make any crowd seem like a plague of
rodents, which is ugly. Nibbling adds to a sense of anxiety
in a room, in my experience. I will instead aim to put at
ease our clientele, if that is what corporate wastrels must
be called, with the distribution of chewing gum. Chewing gum
is relatively inexpensive, and everybody enjoys it.
In attracting international performing stars to play Dunedin,
I would apply the six-degrees-of-separation principle. For
example, I know someone who knows someone who knows Sam
Neill, who, according to Wikipedia , is
friends with not only the musical Finn brothers but also
Jimmy Barnes. And I know someone who knows someone who once
slept with the lead singer of Skunk Anansie.
It would therefore not be difficult to get hold of them and
invite them to the stadium. I would also ply the usual
channels, namely concert promoters, to bring the big acts
trotting in from across the globe. I have a cordial phone
manner and tend to get what I want from people, owing to my
natural Libran charm.
It goes without saying I am capable of business growth, but
for the sake of redundancy I will say it. I have for the past
four years written a web log for the Otago Daily Times
website. It used to get about 300 reads a week. Now it gets
about 600. It follows I could possibly double the revenue for
a couple of venues.
One way of going about that would be to make the venues more
attractive to potential visitors. You may have noticed the
seating at the stadium, for example, is bleak. Making
cushions available to hire for $1 each would be an attractive
and revenue-generating option. You may have noticed the hot
dogs at the stadium, as another example, are yucky. Making
yummy food available would be an attractive and
I am confident I would be extremely well supported in the
role of Chief Executive Officer by the Dunedin community.
This is for three main reasons. 1. I have always lived here,
so I know everyone and would feel comfortable asking for
input and assistance from a wide network of citizens wiser
and more experienced than myself.
2. Many, and maybe most, people are aghast at the debt the
city has accrued because of the DVML asset portfolio. I
daresay they are prepared to take a chance on a wildcard such
as myself, as desperate times call for desperate measures. I
would be happy to be part of a shortlist of candidates put to
a local referendum to test this theory.
3. I can't remember what 3. was going to be.
Lastly, I predict there would be spin-off benefits to DVML in
having me appointed as Chief Executive Officer. I imagine
rebellious liberal music acts, such as Green Day, would learn
of the humble blue-collar worker who took on the Herculean
task of managing an unfortunate stadium at the bottom of the
world, and then they (Green Day) would strategically attach
themselves to that rags-without-riches story by offering to
play here for free.
Rebellious liberal Madonna might also be keen. Then Sir Peter
Jackson would see the obvious film potential and would make a
movie about our city and its little stadium that could.
Claire Danes and Neil Patrick Harris, both of whom I closely
resemble, would alternate in playing my character, thus
bringing in the art-house audiences as well as the
feelgood-film fanatics. DVML would soon become flush with
proceeds from the story rights and saturation merchandising.
You can see my potential. Thank you for considering this