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About Exponential

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  • Location
    Tucson, Arizona & Malmö, Sweden
  • Interests
    Innovation management consultant. Consulting on visioning, theming, and fundraising for two large "experience centers" in Sweden. Was a member of the BH&L Group, the all-volunteer, all-Expo veteran team that was judged most qualified to create the US pavilion before the State Dept. aborted the RFP and sole-sourced the project to political insiders.

    I've written extensively about the situation since in a private newsletter (now largely copied onto the BH&L Group Facebook page and on the Huffington Post, where I'm a regular blogger.
  1. This turned up in a Google search: Press Walk-out at Ministry of Foreign ... - U.S. Department of State www.state.gov › ... › June - Cached You +1'd this publicly. Undo Jun 10, 2011 – U.S. Department of State - Great Seal .... in the United States to make sure that America has an outstanding pavilion in next year's Yeosu Expo. ... http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CB0QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.state.gov%2Fp%2Feap%2Frls%2Frm%2F2011%2F06%2F165402.htm&ei=JslWTuuoGYzdiAKAqbXLCQ&usg=AFQjCNHb034zTtSOmNtZ6HxmJQyhUZBUqg However, when I clicked on the URL, I got a weird page of press releases for various months ... none of which are accessible. http://m.state.gov/ You're welcome to try to find something yourself. Of course, what else is new? Have you tried to get a copy of Jose Villarreal's final report on the Shanghai Expo? It's been deleted from the State Department's Public Diplomacy pages. However, there is a Google-cached copy -- typographically, a mess -- here: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:m_LZdtD12kgJ:www.state.gov/documents/organization/160954.pdf No surprises. Villarreal continues his cheerleading and revision of history to the end. What a blowhard. The US effort in Shanghai was as corrupt as anything the US Government has attempted, pending the next ones -- Yeosu and especially Milan -- being even more so,
  2. If you haven't read the State Dept.'s RFP for a contractor to create the US exhibition in the Yeosu Expo 2012 international pavilion, you should. There's an easy to read version on the America.gov website. What's distinctive about this RFP as compared with RFPs past -- aside from the fact that it probably won't be aborted and replaced with outsourcing, as the Shanghai Expo RFP was -- is that the State Dept. is setting itself up as an investment bank. It intends to solicit a new derivative -- pledges of investments in an Expo, in this case Yeosu -- and then hand these pledges over to the contractor selected for the project. The way the RFP is written, it sounds as if State has already done its horse-trading and the pledges are already in hand, even before the RFP application period closes. This means that the contributors -- who no doubt are largely corporations with a stake in Korea, the oceans, or both -- have the ear of the State Dept. before the contractors even submit their bids. Thus, the contributors have an outsized role in setting the tone and messaging of the US exhibition. Plus, the State Dept. puts itself in the broker's position, always the strongest perch, when valuable commodities are up for auction -- in this case, (1) funding for the exhibition and (2) placement in the exhibition. It's unprecedented, so far as I can tell, for a Federal agency to assume such power to itself -- i.e., to raise money for a project from private sources for a private recipient. That means there's less chance that the contractor will flub fundraising as it did in Shanghai but also zero oversight along the entire funding chain. There's no one who can raise money from multinationals like the Clintons -- often on terms we'll never know -- and one of them is now Secretary of State. (I'm consulting an attorney to find out how typical or egregious this act is and what can be done about it if necessary. So far, I've been told, a citizen has no standing to challenge an executive agency broadening its purview on its own.) Soon we'll see Interior selling shares in the private management of the National Parks. (Hypothetically speaking.) That's where this all leads. I wrote about this threat in May 2010 in the Huffington Post (Google "stalking horse" and "huffington" for more). Let's hope this isn't the beginning of wholesale taking of the "public" out of "public diplomacy." Read the State Dept. cables released by WikiLeaks for a sense of the possible outcome. Privatization is so antisocial, so anti-democratic. When it's applied to a practice as sensitive and important as public diplomacy, privatization threatens every tenet of self-rule. And it makes for crappy pavilions. Huffington Post- \'Blackwatering\' Public Diplomacy: The US Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo May 3, 2010.pdf
  3. Expo 2012 Concept

    Just around the bend is a huge oil refinery with dozens of oil tankers ready to unload. Ironically, this Expo about protecting the ocean and the coasts is located on one of the most endangered portions of the Korean coastline. I have a personal bone to pick: the Expo's about the health of the Ocean (which I assume includes its inhabitants, yet the aquarium they've created to complement the Expo is holding captive naturally migrating marine mammals -- Beluga whales, large porpoises -- for no good reason. That being said, this small "Special Expo" would be a really nice Expo to visit: not too crowded, a focused theme (who could disagree with healthier oceans?), and the thrill of being just miles from an international political fault line. The gravitational fields exerted by China, Japan, and North Korea must be intense. South Korea is one of the most, if not THE most digitized nations in the world. Worth seeing. Plus, the Korean people are handsome -- the women are exceptionally beautiful -- and the food is wunderbar. Parking can be a bear. So...who has plans to attend? Korea Times-Yeosu Expo 6 Apr 2010.pdf Yeosu Expo 2012 Best Practices Area briefing.pdf
  4. Don't believe everything you read. The press has gotten it wrong almost every single time. For example, it is NOT true that the US Government cannot fund US participation in Expos. It's a lie that's been promulgated to cover for a failed Bush Administration policy including choosing producers last year who can't put it together. Here's a better informed, more incisive story from Crosscut, the Seattle online journal: http://crosscut.com/2009/03/26/mossback/18916/ Until the legacy Bush policy of not funding the US participation in the Shanghai Expo is terminated, there will be no success in Shanghai. We're counting on the Obama Administration to seize the bull by the horns and fix things soon. Bob Jacobson BH&L Group Core Team Santa Monica, CA http://bhlgroup.org robert.jacobson@bhlgroup.org bluefire@well.com
  5. Hi, my name is Bob Jacobson. I'm a member of the Core Team of the BH&L Group, a nonprofit association of world-class Expo developers, designers, architects, builders, logicians, technologists, and event planners named for our co-founders, Expo legends Barry Howard and Leonard Levitan. We've threw our hat in the ring in 2007. We were the finalist in the State Department's 2006-7 RFP to select a team to create the US National Pavilion, but we couldn't pony up $100 million and weren't awarded a letter of intent. The letter of intent was issued by State in a secretive 2008 sole-source process to a team headed by Nick Winslow and Ellen Eliasoph who have labored mightily to try and make the nut some other way ... in vain. I'm here to provide an insider's perspective and also to correct a few misunderstandings. One such misunderstanding is the fact that the same 1991 law that prohibits State Department funding of Expos specifically makes provision for funding of international Expos by other government agencies. The half-truth perpetrated by the Bush Administration to cover its decision not to fund a U.S. presence in Shanghai has been repeated ad infinitum in the 2007 RFP issued by State, and in the press. It just ain't so. Meanwhile, we are on the brink of failing to field a US National Pavilion because the Bush strategy is still in effect. Perhaps that will change with the new Administration. Also, there aren't just one or two competing groups -- the Winslow-Eliasoph team (Shanghai Expo 2010/USA Pavilion) and the BH&L Group -- there's three! The third group is a powerful informal association of dissident American expat business leaders who have become despondent witnessing the situation in Shanghai. The current team resigned the assignment in October, was resurrected by the Consulate in December, funded with mystery money, and is back at it...but still without traction. The expats are searching for a White Knight. We got back in the game after Winslow-Eliasoph resigned in October. We continue to plan for the future to provide a viable alternative if and when the new Administration finally changes course. Our Pavilion and Online Pavilions are quite remarkable, but I'll save that for another time. I could go on, but first why don't you read our website, http://bhlgroup.org, or our Facebook Page, http://tinyurl.com/bhlgroup-org, for background and then ask me questions. I'm glad to respond as candidly as I can without violating confidences or speculating wildly. In return, I hope you will let the President and Secretary of State, and your Members of Congress, know of your concerns. The more public awareness we evince, the more likely that our Government will take the Shanghai Expo seriously -- and act. Thanks. Bob Jacobson BH&L Group Core Team Santa Monica, CA bluefire@well.com 520-762-7267 office 520-370-1259 mobile PS I'm actually in Tucson, but commuting regularly. If you're interested in working with the BH&L Group -- presuming we have a chance to make a positive difference -- let me know. Homepage_of__United_States_Pavilion__Expo_2010___UnitedStatesPavilion.com_.pdf