Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for May 25th, 2012

Nico’s fools day

with 3 comments

I was the first victim of the scam. Here’s my version of the story:

I was having a particularly busy and tough week: swamped at work and unsuccesfully trying to give a hand to some close people who are having trouble coping with the crisis in Spain. So I didn’t have the time to write anything on this blog and, in full frankness, to a certain extent I didn’t feel like it (at times it feels weird to focus on this very narrow field of competition law when there are so many more important things going on out there). Last week was somehow similar, and we covered it with some “easy” brief posts. But since we are becoming increasingly more concerned about not sacrifying quality in exchange for output, I told Nicolas yesterday that I wouldn’t have time to write anything this week. He said he would take care of posting something. So far so good.

At around 18 pm I was at a meeting with Luis Ortiz, Marcos Araujo and Susana Cabrera when suddenly I started receiving a first set of weird emails entitled: “I’m so sorry“, “What happened?”, etc. So I first thought: has Spain collapsed or what on earth is going on??

Then I see another set of emails coming in asking “Is it a joke?“. I still had no idea of what they were talking about, but judging by the number of emails it looked like something big.

But then a minute later I get one from Nicolas entitled “Check out my post…” followed by some others asking what had I done to him (?!). It took a few hours until I was able to read the post, but then I read it and understood all the fuzz. Of course it was a joke (although the fact that it wasn’t funny might have misled you to believe it wasn’t!).

Since then I’ve received tenths of very kind emails from all kinds of people (most of whom I’ve actually never met, which is nice). I’ve tried to respond saying that everything was ok, but, once again, there was no time to respond to everyone.

Not only we’re not parting ways [although after this I’m starting to have second thoughts 😉 ] but we’re thinking about ways to make this blog better. Our problem is that there are now too many things on which we would like to write something sensible,  and since you are a particularly informed and smart bunch of readers, we’re afraid not to have the time to stand up to the challenge (and perhaps the brains neither; don’t let the size of Nico’s head fool you) (sorry but it’s easy-joke-day around here!).

In sum, the show will go on, for whatever it’s worth.

A few additional comments:

– Whoever wrote the comment saying that after our divorce I should keep the blog has definetely earned a free dinner!

– Could the creator of chilledcompetition please identify himself?  (No sooner has one gone that another comes along…). I’m impressed by the fast move. You deserve a guest post here!

– If what Nicolas wanted was traffic then the scam was a successful one; more than 3,000 visits in less than 24 hours is insane for a blog like this.

– Next time my dear co-blogger does something like this without consulting me first we’ll split up for good!

– We owe you one. Those interested in having one or a few beers on Sunday evening (post Brussels 20km + Street jazz festival) are welcome to join us. Everything is on Nicolas, of course. No kiddin’ here.

– This very timely scam has made me lose most of today’s morning. And now I’m leaving for the airport. My firm will take care of billing Nico for this (hourly rates apply).

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

25 May 2012 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Show must go on

with 6 comments

The very existence of this post is proof that yesterday’s announcement was a scam.

The idea of this post germinated a year ago. Alfonso and I were pondering about the actual impact on the blog, and how would people react if we ever shut it. We thought we should one day announce that we had a fight (we mean a real one, after a heavy night out), and that the blog would close. For a whole bunch of reasons, we eventually never published this post.

Yesterday,  it crossed my mind that the time was ripe for a post like this.

First, we had been silent for 5 days.

Second, we posted nothing on 1 April.

Third, and more importantly, my professional life lies at a juncture. I have taken way too many commitments in recent years, and I need to address a huge input>output situation. I have discussed the issue at length with friends, and I came to the conclusion that I have to scrap various things in my activities. The blog belongs to the list of activities, but for some reason, I keep on thinking that we should continue. This natural experiment just confirmed it, thereby leaving open the issue of  how to calibrate an effective structural remedy (GCLC, my courses in Lille, BSC, etc.?).

Fourth, on Tuesday this blog was eventually accepted on Adwords publishing platform. With this, our incentives have changed :). We must now make sure that our posts generate  a sizeable amount of traffic (how could we otherwise finance the chillincompetition conference?). And with more than 1000 visits and 17 comments, this post shows that we are up to the challenge.  BTW: our decision to run ads has nothing to do with the somewhat weird, and coincidental Almunia ukaz on the very same day (or with other coincidental reasons).

Finally, whilst the mud throwers have been quite vocal on this blog in past months, the silent army of readers friends only occasionally gives feedback. With this post, we received many nice messages and comments from sad readers (in particular within the Spanish readership). In fact, I’d never have thought that there would be so many reactions. And the post has revealed a number of interesting things:

  • Alfonso has a big fan, who will soon be invited for a free lunch;
  • A complaint before DG COMP is apparently under way, with allegations that we abusively refuse to supply;
  • Competition is one click away, and we now have a new competitor (;
  • We are discussed daily at the university of Chicago, wow!;
  • Bengoshi was the first to suspect a joke (he also gets a free lunch);
  • M-Lex and Competition 360 have made no annoucement about our fake separation. We still need to get bigger !

Please note that the decision to publish this post was mine, and mine only. In no way, this reflects the opinions of my learned co-blogger and Friend Alfonso (who nonetheless suggested the title of this post).

To conclude, thanks to the very many of you who read us, and who will keep doing so.

Written by Nicolas Petit

25 May 2012 at 1:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized