My latest profile, about setting up a business during the year the Dubai dream goes bust.
Brocas Burrows was just another expatriate executive seeking a sun-splashed fortune in Dubai in September 2008.
Mr Burrows’s company, Platinum Vision, builds high-end home automation systems, the sort of thing that opens blinds, sets the air-conditioning, lowers the lights to a setting marked “romantic”, all at the touch of a mobile phone.
It was a perfect business for Dubai, where more luxury homes were being built than anywhere else in the world.
And Platinum had an ace most start-up executives would drool over: Donald Trump had hired them to design 400 systems for apartments in the Trump Tower and Hotel development on the trunk of the famed Palm Jumeirah.
Two months later, ‘everything went haywire’, Mr Burrows recalls. The global credit crisis rolled into the country. Mr Trump cancelled the contract and Dubai’s anything-goes property market began to sober up.
‘I told my partner, Mark [Dallas]: Whoa, we’ve got to figure this one out pretty sharpish now ’cause we sell high-end luxury goods, which aren’t on the top of everyone’s list right now.’
As 2008 came to a close, Mr Burrows, 35, found the odds stacked against him. ‘Ah, right,’ he told himself. I’m setting up a business in the middle of a recession.