George Parker: Sun Valley Serenade

George Parker: Sun Valley Serenade

George Parker is the perpetrator of Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.

George Parker
  • 13 july 2010

Once a year, Idaho is blessed by the presence of some of the richest and most evil media and new technologies moguls you could ever wish to have nightmares about. Yes, it’s the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, and the usual cast of movers and shakers assembled last week to cook up deals and plan the final, ultimate takeover of your social networking addled brains.

All the wankers I love to write about flew their massive jets into tiny Hailey airport after getting permission from Bruce Willis, who owns the airport and just about everything else in Hailey. Attendees included the Wizened of Oz (Rupert Murdoch) and his child bride, Wendy Deng, carrying a five day supply of horse tranquilizers. The Poisoned Dwarf (Sir Martin Sorrell.) The Shogun of Redwood Shores (Larry Ellison). And quite possibly, every Hollywood Tycoon and Silicon Valley wanker you could think of. The only interesting “no-show,” yet again, was GodJobs, who probably thought they should all come to pay him homage at the Dark Star on DeAnza Blvd!

The interesting thing is that no one knows just what the fuck all these billionaires got up during their five days of behind closed doors meeting and presentations. But then, as the New York Times pointed out in an article, the cardinal rule at the most talked about media conference in the galaxy is: You do not talk to the media.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this event, which has been going on since 1983, is the company hosting it. Founded in the early twenties, Alan and Co., is still run by the family that founded it, something almost unique in today’s financial mega conglomerates. Being private, it is not publicly traded, but if you are one of its lucky investors, you will have been enjoying returns in excess of 40% for the last thirty years!

From its early beginnings, when Alan had to beg clients to show up, now attendance is strictly limited to 300, by invitation only, and many of the nouveau hoi polloi have been turned away. Interestingly, Alan foots the bill for everything, which must be quite a tab, all the mega rich have to pay for is their parking space at Hailey airport. But the question, I have to ask again, is what the fuck do they talk about for five days?

Yeah, we know they do mega deals about mergers, takeovers and IPO shit over cocktails, golf, ice skating (yeah, in July) fishing, bike riding, and possibly a bit of bonking on the side… But they also attend presentations on all kinds of shit. Even General Patraeus showed up to give one on his plans to turn downtown Teheran into a sheet of molten glass… OK, I just made that up, but he may have done, ‘cos no one who was there is spilling the beans! Anyway, shouldn’t he be in Kabul instead of ice skating in Sun Valley?

But, whatever went down in Sun Valley last week, there’s no point in worrying about it. “Cos there’s nothing you can do about it. And anyway, it’ll be on FaceBook and Twitter within the week.

George Parker is a guest columnist for He is the perpetrator of, which is without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. He is the author of MadScam and his new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, which is currently setting the ether ablaze (and which you can order now on Amazon). He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.


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