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Editorial: Are you game?

Editorial: Are you game?

The founder of MOUS Business Systems, Peter Hickey, has unleashed a new venture on the IT channel that aims to combine growth-driven business competitiveness with charitable work in a competition ambitiously named the Business Olympics.

“Veni, vidi, vici” may not be the motto of the latest Olympic venture, but Hickey hopes noble human impulse can still be found in the business environment and he has the right forum to bring it to the fore.

Business Olympics is about to kick off in the IT realm and its two initial sponsors, Citrix and 3Com, are in the process of mailing out invitations to a number of partners to join in the fun and games that will, according to Hickey, potentially see tens of millions of dollars go to charity.

Those who join in will receive a Business Olympics Toolkit which is full of goodies designed to improve a company’s sales and profitability, customer goodwill, community support and employee motivation. “The channel”, says the proposal Hickey is handing out to businesses, “will benefit through benchmark information, free software, sales and marketing strategies and employee motivation”. A nice little idea.

In a profit-driven environment, where businesses compete on efficiency and shareholder value rather than social, technological or economic contribution to a wider social context, the idea seems like a clever combination of the all-prevailing ‘econo-metric’ fetishism and (pardon me for using an occasional Marxist swear-word) a slight commodification of charitable impulses.

Notwithstanding the fact that the venture (which the brochure describes as “commercial”) will initially be funded by Hickey himself, the notion that Business Olympics could build profits, excellence and generosity all in one breath seems like a perfect invention for the modern homo profitus seeking to combine the common dictate to amass and accumulate with the impulse to recover some of its humanity. And, yes, if nothing else, it is a clever piece of marketing that you’d definitely want to have a look at if you’re at all interested in what turns the majority of modern humans on — competition, profit and a bit of charity on the side.

How will notoriously secretive channel execs subscribe to the idea of having their live sales and profit data fed to, processed and ranked by a third party remains to be seen. But a bit of competition with a charitable twist en masse would definitely benefit the industry that has become rather self-involved of late. Are you game?


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