views

COLOURFUL WORLD OF CHRISTINA DOMECQ

EVERYONE wants a piece of colourful entrepreneur Christina Domecq.<br /><br />Since her SpinVox voicemail-to-text conversion company appeared in 2003, Domecq has run the full gauntlet of whimsical public opinion &ndash; first championed by venture capitalists, then hounded by critics, and now slated by past and current employees.<br /><br />Don&rsquo;t get me wrong, Domecq still has plenty of devoted aficionados &ndash; CityA.M.&rsquo;s very own columnist and online BBC Dragon Julie Meyer is an ardent fan, and City PR firm Brunswick has recently zoomed in, fresh from its latest foray into global bank spinning domination with a new HSBC contract in Brussels, to help clean up SpinVox&rsquo;s image.<br /><br />But it&rsquo;s going to be one tough nut to crack, since I hear Domecq is convinced there&rsquo;s something of a smear campaign going on against her on the Web.<br /><br />A quick cyber-surf pulls up comments from reams of disgruntled ex-employees suggesting her previous business record isn&rsquo;t all it&rsquo;s cracked up to be &ndash; and drawing attention to everything from the swish Mercedes saloons used to whisk SpinVox&rsquo;s senior staff around the country to complaints about a lavish party thrown for the firm&rsquo;s employees on a boat on the Thames. (Which is not to say that we&rsquo;d ever endorse throwing cold water on a good party, of course.)<br /><br />Sadly, a call to Domecq&rsquo;s mobile yesterday went unreturned. Perhaps SpinVox encountered a problem converting The Capitalist&rsquo;s dulcet tones to text?<br /><br /><strong>COOL AS ICE</strong><br />Avid followers of the BBC&rsquo;s Dragon&rsquo;s Den may remember Ice Blading, the phenomenon that wheedled a &pound;100,000 investment out of Theo Paphitis just a few weeks ago on the show.<br /><br />Founders Karen O&rsquo;Neill and Karen Coombes are targeting the City for their next sales push, hoping for the blades, which mimic the effect of iceskating on any surface, to become the next big fitness craze for jaded Square Milers.<br /><br />With the powerful backing of Paphitis, who has already put his name down to buy a couple of pairs for his twins for Christmas, how could they go wrong?<br /><br /><strong>BRAIN GAME</strong><br />City boffins will be eagerly awaiting this year&rsquo;s Brain Game, the annual charity quiz to be held at the Guildhall on 21 October. Hosting the quiz this year, back by popular demand, is political hack-turned-tango fiend John Sergeant &ndash; who&rsquo;s still piggybacking off that Strictly Come Dancing adoration almost a year later.<br /><br />The organisers are giving away a team ticket for ten City workers, worth &pound;2009, to the quiz, so to be in with a chance, email your name, address, number and company name to events@nhq.sja.org.uk, along with the answer to the following teaser: The mother of which actor chose his name as a result of feeling his first kick while standing in front of a Renaissance masterpiece?<br /><br /><strong>HARD LABOUR</strong><br />Twitter has fast become one of The Capitalist&rsquo;s favourite subjects in recent days, but yet another bizarre series of tweets on the social networking site yesterday are more than worthy of a mention.<br /><br />The latest surprise came courtesy of Sara Williams, wife of Twitter chief Ev Williams, who was yesterday busy tweeting to the community about the birth of the couple&rsquo;s first child.<br /><br />&ldquo;Dear Twitter, My water broke... Now, timing contractions on an iPhone app,&rdquo; she tweeted happily, adrift in a rosy techno-bubble.<br /><br />Not that the bubble was entirely strong enough to withstand the rigours of the latter stages of labour, mind &ndash; six hours later, our mum-to-be was reduced to a curt: &ldquo;Epidural, yes please&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>POLAR FACED</strong><br />Not many hardened City types, faced with the prospect of practically an entire waking day being buffeted about by the waves of the English Channel, would be grinning like Polar Capital fund manager James Salter, above.<br /><br />Salter, who manages Polar&rsquo;s Japanese fund management activities, swam the Channel at the weekend in 16 hours and 17 minutes, to raise money for young people&rsquo;s charity the Luke Jeffrey Memorial Trust. Let&rsquo;s hope he&rsquo;s finally finished coughing up salt water by now.