Memories from Cannes (2008)


(All time classic)

My company MORE Real Estate Services proudly represented Romania during MIPIM 2008. MIPIM, the no.1 Real Estate exhibition worldwide, took place at Cannes from 11th to 15th of March. There were plenty of Romanian companies there (8) plus the municipality of Bucharest had its own stand, promoting the city and the country in general.


  • Sometimes it was difficult to speak with everyone who was interested in Romania! More than 145 meeting reports, many other people who left unhappy, a real… fest! The interest for Romania was very strong, but I doubt if it will remain like this forever. I also heard the first people speaking about an "oversaturated country". For sure Romania was "the Princess of MIPIM 2008", the future will show us the rest…

The… resurrection of Aristotelis Onasis

  • Have you ever met the legendary Aristotelis Onasis? I guess not, neither did I. This is why I was really surprised when I realized that the gentleman who was sitting in front ofme could really apply as his "resurrection". Same face, glasses and style. I guess the voice has to be different, like the smart Greek eyes, which were replaced with smart eyes probably German by nationality. His age and nationality unidentified, around 55 I could guess. He was feeling really comfortable "attacking" at me every 2 minutes, testing my knowledge, evaluating my answers, crosschecking the information I was providing him.
  • With a big experience in Real Estate business and an impressive track record of acquisitions, he was really enjoying the whole situation. This is why after one hour of "pure interrogation", I felt proud to receive from him the approval, so as to start discussing seriously about some projects. Maybe it mattered that I know quite well the market and my job, maybe the fact that I was replying to his "attacks" by looking straight at his eyes, as he did too while he was asking. In the next months I will find out how seriously he considers an investment in Romania. But his words are really a "medal of honour" for me.

Nothing good is forgotten…

  • It was 1959. My family was the biggest trader of Northern Greece in meat, sending every week to Athens thousands of lambs (one of our business in the past was meat trading). It was the period before Easter and they had collected around 10.000 lambs to send to Athens. My father was just 29 years old. On the way to Athens, all the (primitive at that period) trucks stopped working, one after the other. That time the telephones in the villages of Greece were as rare as they are now in Sahara desert, this is why it was too late when my family was informed and when they went to find out how the problem could be solved. The trucks arrived in Athens with delay, just few hours before Easter parties. The disaster was complete. We are talking for today's few millions of euro, but in a market that these millions represented a big part of the local GDP, 50 years ago…
  • That time in Greece cash was something that you could not get. Poverty was extremely high, especially out of the capital, where we had our business. Most of the agreements were established verbally and in this way there were also the agreements with the villagers who had animals for sale. So, that Easter of 1959, my family needed to decide upon something really critical: What should we do? Pay the villagers, although we lost all the money? Or should we inform them that their animals were not sold, that we lost the money and simply tell them to wait for better days in the future? At the end of the day, there was no paper signed with anyone, it was just the word of my grand father (also Ilias Papageorgiadis). My family decided to pay everyone, up to the last cent. For this reason we took a loan that we paid back after 29 years, in 1988! (Don't ask me how many times more we paid the original capital…)
  • An old gentleman reached the stand of my company in Cannes, asking me in Greek from where I come from, where I was born. I informed him that I come from Katerini and then he asked my name "because my face was familiar to him". After he asked who was my grandfather and my father, their names. He also asked me some questions, but he had already tears in his eyes. I invited him to sit on a table and to relax, without to understand what was the problem. Then he told me: In 1959, with the money that my family paid to his family for the animals they had given us, they bought tickets and they left to Germany. Nowadays, they run a big and wealthy business in Real Estate. They knew that we could easily refuse paying, but we did. The old gentleman was crying and I could not keep some tears too. AFTER 49 YEARS, HE CAME TO THANK ME FOR THE HELP OF MY FATHER AND GRAND FATHER DID TO HIS FAMILY. Needless to say that we will do business together.
  • Many times people smile or laugh when I mention that my family is doing business since 1761 and that we have really strong ethics and principals in work. Well, allow me to be proud of this and to share with you the feeling of pleasure when I discover once more how important is the name and the tradition that you carry. I am sorry for not being very modest, I hope you will forgive me.


"Business is not only hard work, but also lots of luck"

  • I was really happy to meet a very interesting businessman, with origins in Czech republic, citizen of London since the second world war. "My young friend", he told me, "business is not only hard work, but also lots of luck" (well in luck I can not say I am very good, I think my advantage is in hard work). Examples of successful investments, an approach of business which really fascinated me and a passion which is not easy to find in someone who must be at least 65 years old. Important detail: On the last day, Friday, he passed by the stand of my company, just because he wanted to crosscheck "if you came to your work today, or if you abandoned it, partying or leaving earlier". He was very happy to find me there (me to leave before? Impossible…)

Official MIPIM party: Too many, too hungry, too… drunk

  • The first night of MIPIM, Tuesday, it is a tradition to have an open party in Carlton hotel, on Croisette boulevard. This year the situation there was worse than 2007, with most of the people drunk very fast and fighting for some food really badly, an atmosphere which had nothing to do with style. Our team stayed there just few minutes and I noticed that the same happened to many others, who left the place really fast. I don't get it, they organize an event like this and they don't take care of having enough food for everyone? Not to mention about the rude doormen, who were behaving like they were guarding the doors of paradise…

My new friends from… Bahrain!

  • I also made new friends in MIPIM, like the people from Bahrain. A very polite team of professionals, presenting a major project there, right across our stand. To be honest, when you see their project, anything we may present is too little, as they had something really very attractive (you can check it in the site I also promised to help them in something they are searching in Greece and I will be very happy to hear about their next major project there…

Cannes: Dangerous for husbands and boyfriends…

  • I warn you, Cannes is a very dangerous place for you, if you decide to bring your wife or girlfriend. The shops are across the street from the "Palais de Festivals" and the temptation is really very big, especially if you make the mistake to send them for a walk during the day, when they are open. All the major brands are there, one next to the other, with excellent outlets and the best collection available for you. As my friends told me, this year the record in shopping expenses was done again by Russians, with tens of ladies walking around the Croisette, each with 5 – 10 bags…

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