The Theme Park Guy

Nov 20

$1 Emails

Nov 20, 2018

If every email or snippet of chat were to cost the sender $1, as letters did in the past, countless issues would be fixed at once:

1. Spam would vanish altogether, once and for all.
2. Job applicants would read job descriptions before applying.
3. Employers would read CVs before judging.
4. Leads received online would get the recipient's full attention.
5. Emails would be phrased and spelled properly, containing well thought-out content.
6. We’d all spend less time staring at screens and more time talking under the sun.

Sep 25

Theme Park Suppliers: Attention!

Sep 25, 2018

To my theme & water park supplier friends – you probably have come across our themeparX supplier package at some point:

Let me emphasize here: this is NOT another 'marketing package'. It's a tool designed to give you a lasting edge at the expense of your competitors. And we'll stand by these words: we will never work with more than 100 suppliers.

You're welcome to brush this aside now, but when it dawns on you in two years what this was all about, don't shout at us over the phone. Ignore at your own peril. Contact Nancy Patterson or myself for more info.

Sep 20

Spotify's Founder & the pre-Theme Park Guy Days

Sep 20, 2018

Here's a picture with two fantasmic Swedes from my pre-Theme Park Guy days back in 2003. I used to run, the German market's best-known affiliate marketing news platform at that time. Ulrika Ytterholm and Martin Lorentzon ran TradeDoubler, a Swedish affiliate network that was expanding into the German market.

I remember Martin having tremendous, insatiable, positive energy. He walked into the room like James Bond having just jumped off a chopper, equipped with impeccable communication skills and merciless curiosity. I recall wondering back then: what's this exceptionally energized guy's endgame?

And not to my surprise, he ventured on to create something we all know and use today… Spotify. Which made him a billionaire.

The entrepreneurs' world out there is fair. Yes, there are some folks who don't understand give-and-take, who enrich themselves at the expense of their clients or screw over business partners with rotten contracts and insolvencies. But I strongly believe their success is short-lived.

Martin is a shining example of someone who from day one deserved to move mountains and succeed. I wish him happiness and neversubsiding entrepreneurial drive with his everlasting wealth.

Sep 18


Sep 18, 2018

Anyone remember ‘Dubailand’? 10 years ago we shot a little movie there, back in summer 2008, just before the economy tanked and visions vanished. The best part is that we captured Universal Studios Dubailand (which would likely have turned into one of the world's finest theme parks) from our helicopter while the park was still under construction. Watch it here.

And since that film is a little chaotic and silly, we'll soon make a much better Theme Park Guy movie marking its 10th anniversary (not about Dubailand). Just finished the script. Brace yourself for something real fun and unique in 2019. Get in touch if you want to be part of it.

Aug 30

A Tribute to all Cabin Crews

Aug 30, 2018

If you're looking for someone truly competitive to manage your business, don’t hire a business degree graduate – hire a former Emirates, Etihad or Qatar flight attendant!

They've seen and done EVERYTHING… they know what it means to be expats out of their comfort zone; they've been exposed to every culture imaginable; they speak perfect, neutral English; they can handle stress and extreme fatigue; they know how to be alert and stay representable simultaneously; they've learned to interact with both top executives and construction workers; they understand loneliness; they know how people act when they want (and don't want) something from them; how they talk; how they sleep; the state they leave the toilet in; how drowsy faces glued to screens turn fearful during turbulence – all priceless insights into people's true character.

Former Gulf carrier cabin crew members are NOT tea or coffee servers. They've wisened up beyond the imagination of most of us grounded creatures. Consider them for top positions!

Aug 20

Dubai Nostalgy

Aug 20, 2018

Whenever I want to feel old, I look at this picture. It’s a shot I took of Dubai Marina from my balcony back in the summer of 2006, when I lived there. Unrecognizable!

Jul 19

Theme Park Guys Boat Party

Jul 19, 2018

Here's a group of theme park folks who are not only very successful at what they do, but who also all have in common that they are very authentic and have their hearts in the right place..

Thank you for coming to my little boat party last month!

Jul 18

Meeting Alan Zeman

Jul 18, 2018

This is Alan Zeman, a self-made billionaire and one of Hong Kong's best known and most admired men, in his office.

Alan founded nightlife district Lan Kwai Fong in the 80s and owns most real estate there. He headed Ocean Park for 14 years, chairs Wynn Macau and various other businesses, and habitually dines with prime ministers and presidents such as Xi Jinping.

What can we learn from Alan? First: keep your desk clean. Second: stay humble – Alan is very humble. Third: don’t get disconnected from the real world – Alan doesn't have a door or separation wall between himself, his secretaries or literally anyone who walks into his office; everyone shares one big room. Fourth: if you aim to become an entrepreneurial game changer in life, don't get distracted by university: like Spielberg, Gates, Jobs, Branson and Edison, Alan didn’t graduate. And last but not least, and I think this is the secret of his success, predict the future and forecast what people want... 20 years in advance!

Thank you Alan! Meeting instinct-driven entrepreneurs like you who haven’t lost touch is always an inspiration.

Jun 20

A Tribute to Filipinos (and my team)

Jun 20, 2018

Here’s a pic with my Philippines team members, some of whom I’ve been working with for over a decade.

It’s not easy being born a Filipino. You've got decades-long economic misery, a deeply dysfunctional society and multiple governments who didn’t give a damn.

As a result, wherever you go in the world – a remote petrol station in the Middle East, a fish restaurant in Palau, a cruise ship that never docks, or even the UN-controlled Israeli-Syrian border – you’ll always find an expat Pinoy, singing a song, doing their best, and supporting a family far away.

On the picture you can see that my body height commands that I look down, but from the inside I really look up to you my friends!

May 15

GCC Drive

May 15, 2018

Picture with Yas Island's CEO Mohamed Al Zaabi and Aspen Creations' founder Hashem Al Marzouqi. They are both powerful Emiratis, but first and foremost they are down to earth, extremely smart and a lot of fun!

Apr 10

Snorkotel Launch

Apr 10, 2018

To my friends and partners who spent their last holiday at a terrible beach – we’ve invested a couple of months putting together our SNORKOTEL map, showing you only those hotels and resorts facing dream beaches with crystal clear turquoise snorkeling water.

Hello dolphins & turtles:

Mar 20

The Garden of Eden

Mar 20, 2018

It took me 10 years of travel & over 150 countries to find my favorite holiday refuge on earth. Blessed with otherworldly nature, sunshine and safety, this is a place rarely found in guidebooks; the place none of your neighbors can spell. You’ll only find one tourist every 50 miles, if any. I feel like I've found the Garden of Eden.

I'll share more at a later date.

Nov 22

Borderator Launch

Nov 22, 2017

Have you ever been treated badly (or very well) by any immigration officer anywhere? We just launched this:

Please share your experiences, and if you like it, share the Borderator with your globetrotting friends!

Nov 20

Nov 20, 2017

In response to numerous requests, we have now added a Jobs & Careers section to our themeparX theme park construction platform. You can also post your CV here:

Nov 12

10 Years The Theme Park Guy

Nov 12, 2017

10 years ago I committed to visiting all theme parks in the world, today the map looks like this.

Very humbled to have gotten this far!

Sep 26

Interviews with Industry Giants

Sep 26, 2017

Michael Mack, Gary Goddard, Rick Hunter, Antonio Zamperla, Andrew Darrow and more. Coming soon!

Sep 06

The Smartphone Overuse Pandemic

Sep 06, 2017

I don't have a smartphone anymore.

It’s been over a year now. And I miss nothing. I can tell you now for sure that they are a total waste of time, and even more so, a waste of your life.

Just recently I was struck by a photo I took in a theme park in southern China a mere 7 years ago. The other day I looked at it again and thought to myself ’hey that is so nice, people look so relaxed and happy here; they savor the moment; I wanna go!’

Well… that was before the smartphone pandemic hit. The world and society have turned upside down since then, and that retro-romantic energy on the photo might have long faded away, in fact, that place might be unrecognizable. So I decided to fly back to that very same Chinese theme park, just to take a picture again, of the exact same spot, 7 years later.

The picture below tells its own tale.

Claiming that smartphones facilitate human interaction is like saying slot machines facilitate wealth creation or cigarettes promote relaxation. I don’t dwell on nostalgia, I am pro-progress, love the internet and look forward to space travel – bring it on! But gadget addiction is not progress, and this can't be the future. This pandemic of smartphone overuse is a menace of epic proportions that turns otherwise happy, healthy people into drowsy, distracted shadows of their true selves. I would even go as far as to say that our collective mental health is at stake here.

I really hope that in 15 years from now jokes will be made about how smartphones made us more 'social and connected' in the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

Jul 01

Private Event Dubai, 15 April 2015

Jul 01, 2015

Thanks to all my friends and colleagues for coming. Must do more of those!

Apr 30

7+ Years of Travel

Apr 30, 2015

I am frequently asked if that wacky eternal theme park journey is for real, or if it is a Photoshop-powered fantasy. Here is the proof.

I have still seen only a fraction of this marvellous world. And I have met people on my journeys who have traveled so much further and wiser than I did, it dwarfs the sight of these passport pages. If I have learned something from all this, then it is that traveling humbles you. Whenever you meet a really arrogant person, ask for his or her passport. Chances are the pages are empty. This does not imply the reverse, of course.

Feb 04

Why we aren't working and won't be working on a mobile-optimized site!

Feb 04, 2014