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.


Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Syndicated Yesterday

Banned Books Week Urges People To Seek Out Controversial Works

Joining the annual celebration of the right to read, US author Jessica Herthel called for 'more information, more voices' to protect diversity

Augmented & Virtual Reality Yesterday

Outdoor Camp Presented In 360° VR By X Games Gold Medalist

The video features campers riding BMX trails, zip lining through the woods, and performing big-air jumps


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants Passengers To Control Their In-Flight Experience Through Their Phones

The airline manufacturer is embracing automation through a new generation of mobile travel apps

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

VR Surgery Videos Offer Interactive Medical Education

Dutch startup MDLinking hopes to globalize communication between students and medical care professionals with virtual reality content

Culture Yesterday

Use Twitter To Learn A New Language

tDict is an app that uses the social media platform to help you search for words in local dialects

Mobile Yesterday

This Startup Wants To Digitize The Loose Coins In Your Pocket

CoinOut is a new app that lets you save your extra change from cash transactions as electronic funds

Advertising Yesterday

McDonald’s Is Accepting Trash As Currency In Exchange For Burgers

An initiative in Stockholm is trying to keep streets clean while satisfying hunger


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Creative Agency Founder: Using VR As A Race Relationship Tool

Maurice Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Giant Step, explores the value in transforming headsets from high-tech entertainment tools into empathy machines

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Culture Yesterday

Google Is Using Virtual Paper Airplanes To Bring People Closer Together

The tech giant released an app that lets people throw their good wishes out into the world on the International Day of Peace

Advertising Yesterday

Get Paid For Traveling In San Francisco After Rush Hour

BART Perks rewards commuters who take early or late trains by giving them extra points to trade for money

Culture Yesterday

Artist Designs Covers For Books That Don’t Exist

Published by the fictional 'Specious Books,' the subversive works facilitate a conversation regarding the artistic integrity of graphic designers

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Food Yesterday

Bringing Food Innovation To America’s Crowded Milk Market

a2 Milk's Blake Waltrip, Chief Executive of the USA region, discusses how the distributor plans on bringing the popular drink for the dairy-sensitive to the States


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Financial Services Yesterday

Device Makes Digital Currency Feel Tangible

The concept gadget wants you to experience the highs and lows of spending money

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

NBC Is Planning To Stream The Presidential Debates In Virtual Reality

Partnering with AltspaceVR, the broadcaster offers another way for Americans to engage with the election season

No search results found.