Monday, 30 April 2007

Only the paranoid survive?

Interesting post from Rick Segal.

A good friend of mine works at Google.  On my last visit to the campus, he said some interesting words which have stuck with me.

"How do I like the job? I'm scared shitless cuz we are a one click and they are gone kinda company with other apps that have to really compete."

 I don't agree you have to be paranoid. I do believe you have to be acutely aware of what is happening in the market but also be prepared to listen to feedback from your customers and innovative ideas from the shop floor. Ideas plus excellent execution. We are all in a game without rules today and we have to make it up as we go along.

You can choose to see that as a constant threat or you can see change as a positive way to move forward. Yes its scary sometimes but you won't just learn about your business - you will learn much more about yourself.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Social media - let your customers do the talking

From Debbie Weil :

Look at the mock-up below of a typical Amazon product page (this one for an iPod) and you'll get an idea of what social media looks like on a Web page. The schematic was created by Web designer and writer Joshua Porter. Shows 16 different ways that Amazon is including links to other related content, much of it created by users. [via Brian Oberkirch]


Of course - lets not forget its about creating great products or services that people actually WANT to talk about.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

How's your Crog going?

No I didn't know this one either but it seems a whole new web lingo is building. Luckily Business Week is here to explain it all to us - until the next silly words are invented. Who actually makes this stuff up? Is it all geek led? And how are we to keep up? WE should be told.

p.s Crog is a carefully researched blog. No sarcastic comments please :)

Friday, 27 April 2007

Did your TV work?


Have been on the road this week with a well known mobile phone operator helping to facilitate a series of mini conferences. We were at the beautiful Lowry Hotel in sunny Manchester - bodywork hanging from ceiling ( see above).  Unfortunately the Man U team were staying there before the big game and no rooms were avail for us to actually stay. So we marched down the road to The Travelodge ( see below)  Umm. We had spent virtually the whole day talking about customer service and  it was a bit shocking to be presented with a very sloppily photocopied feedback form ( with a spelling mistake ). The one question that finished me off was

"did your tv work?"  Y/N

I know its a "value hotel" but it wasn't that cheap. That one question immediately lowered my perceptions of the organisation. If that is the level at which they set the bar, it should have been considerably less expensive.  

Impressions - real or perceived are hard to change. Made me think.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Empowering Women

 Unitus is a great site - innovative solutions to global poverty.

I am seeing a lot more sites like this. The web is transforming how we in the wealthiest nations can help people in developing countries and we can actually see and have feedback from the individual directly. I'm filming a report for BBC Click for next week on Social Lending - will post more details then.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

No Pressure.....

I'm sure many of you are acutely aware of the need to perform well under pressure. In my former business of selling news – editors and presenters thrive under pressure particularly as a big story breaks when you are presenting live on air. Most of the time and I repeat most of the time – all is well and you sail through like the proverbial swan – calm and serene on the top and paddling like hell underneath. But sometimes and they always seem to be on big nights – nights where we got several million viewers – things don’t follow the plan. One night – I was presenting from another studio as ours was being redecorated. It was 10pm and the first night that Five was to announce the winning lottery numbers – we were told the big cheeses would be watching.

We did a quick rehearsal and everything went fine – then at 30 seconds to air the lights started to dim, the autocue showed complete tosh and to top it all I couldn’t hear the director unless she shouted very loudly– which she promptly did to ask Five if they could run something else. They said “no" and started counting down from 10. At times like these – the adrenaline kicks in and you start to think about self preservation – you might not mind looking an idiot in front of a few of your best mates but in front of 2 million television viewers it starts to look positively ( as one of my editors says “CAREER LIMITING”).

At times like these printed scripts are useful. I just went for it and kept reading (slowly) everything I had because we also didn’t have any pictures or any interviews that would play! The studio lights took some time to totally go out but I understand that at the end of the 3 minute bulletin I could just be seen in silhouette. "That's it from all the team - hope you'll be able to see us tomorrow" - my sign off.  It wasn’t my finest broadcasting moment but one that many people delight in reminding me of. The next day, we found out the ITV News Channel had flicked a switch that had taken over all the controls for pictures, autocue and lights. Heads rolled. And my presenting skills got better. 

I now help Exec's to deal with the pressure of presenting and often advise them to "roll with it". If something goes wrong -  make a virtue out of it. Make 'em laugh. They will remember how you dealt with it and THAT is the key factor.

Take a leaf out of Sir Trevor McDonald's presenting technique. His coolness when he muddled the two words “Kent Countryside” is now legendary.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Keep the change

Thought this was a neat idea:

"Customers who sign up to the Save the Change scheme will have their debit card purchases rounded up to the nearest pound, with the difference deposited into a nominated Lloyds TSB savings account, enabling consumers to save unconsciously. This is ideal for people who don't carry cash but still want to have a coin jar".

Could work with other purchases or payments. Imagine if everything was priced in whole pounds or dollars - with the penny going to a charity/social benefit?

Monday, 23 April 2007

"Go and help people"

When I first decided to set up my company I asked Mentor Mike Pegg how I should go about it.  He said "go and help a few people using the skills you have".

That's exactly what I did. I went and listened to people telling me about the challenges they had personally or at work regarding communication. I asked  a lot of questions and then finally started to say what I could do to help. I have found this is really useful for the potential client in that they get exactly what they want and also allows me to do my best work. Its about being honest and saying what you can and can't deliver. Its not about trying to get someone to buy something they don't want.

Below is part of an interview with Mike about his MAGIC OF WORK book. I hope you find it useful. It tells you a great deal about the man.

* What prompted you to write this book?

Encouragers have given me a lot during my life, so I wanted to give other people encouragement. Looking back 35 years, perhaps the hardest step for me was to move from working in a factory to doing work I loved. The process took around 6 years. Encouragers helped me to make the transition. Let’s hope the book helps people to shorten the period it takes them.

Anybody can do work they love, the art is getting somebody to pay you for it. People want three things from work: Money, Meaning and Magic. Money feeds the stomach, but meaning and magic feed the spirit and the soul. A key challenge facing people today is: “How can I balance my mission and mortgage, my finances and fulfilment? Do I start from my joy and create a job around it? Or do I find a job and try to weave joy into it?” The book focuses on how you can follow your vocation, find the right vehicle and do valuable work.

* How can people best use the book?

Depends on their Agenda. When doing Career Mentoring, for example, I find that people come with many different challenges. The Chief Executive of a company may want to explore how they can return to doing what they do best---and give most benefit to the business---rather than get locked into being a cop, chasing others to do their jobs. The 22 year-old who is a self-starter and has just left home, for instance, may want to explore how they can be creative and yet retain their integrity in a commercial world. Think it is a good idea for people to clarify ahead of time what they are looking for in the book…then take the best and leave the rest. The book also suggests other reading that people can follow up to pursue their particular interests.

* Is focus really more important than flexibility?

Both are important. Great performers balance apparent contradictions. When performing superbly, for example, they picture the overall vision whilst also seeing the details. They are good finishers and deliver on their promises. They are both focused and flexible. How? They build on their strengths, do a few things and do them brilliantly. Within this niche, however, they are able to be agile, customise and help the customer to achieve success. By the way: Focusing on strengths does not mean that you ignore the ‘fall out’ from your weaknesses; it simply means that you find ways to compensate for them. World class performers are extremists: they make extreme use of their natural talents.

* How do you see the world of work changing?

Great employers will always want to hire great contributors. If you want to stay ahead of the game, build on your strengths and do superb work, but still think like a freelancer. Why? There are no safe jobs anymore, so stay in charge of your destiny. Successful businesses will want two kinds of players in the future. They will want ‘Soul Players’ and ‘Star Players’. (They will have little time for ‘Semi-Detached’ Players.) Soul Players will embody the spirit of the company; Star Players will bring their unique talents to add that ‘little bit extra’. Enlightened employers are already taking steps to retain key people who want to be creative. They are encouraging them to take charge of their future and craft fulfilling roles that benefit both themselves and the business. Whatever path you choose to follow, keep taking initiatives, rather than become institutionalised.

* What do you think makes the difference between a company that keeps innovating compared to one that has a single innovation and milks it for years?

Pacesetters are different. They take the lead, maintain the lead and extend the lead. They make the new rules for the game.  Pacesetters create ‘Positive Prototypes’ that work. They create the rules that others copy and follow in the future. People, teams and companies often follow five steps towards making breakthroughs in particular fields. They focus on their:

Passion: They follow their passion.

Purpose: They translate their passion into a clear purpose.

Professionalism: They do highly professional work.

Peak Performance: They achieve peak performance.

Pacesetting: They make the new rules for the game.

* How important will leadership be in the future world of work?

 Good to remember there are different kinds of leadership. Great leadership teams, for example, have people who fill the roles of Energiser, Environmentalist and Executor. Energisers provide the inspiring vision. Environmentalists provide a nurturing climate that encourages people to grow. Executors make sure the work gets done. Everybody may be a mixture of all three, but teams work best when there are clear demarcation lines. (Energisers who dip down into executing every detail can cause chaos.)

* Have you any thoughts on the subject of leaving a legacy?

People like to do worthwhile work and leave a legacy. Sometimes they only move onto the latter stage after achieving their original picture of ‘success’. Why? They embarked on their professional lives aiming to achieve an ‘external purpose’, such as gaining riches or climbing the corporate ladder. Later in life, however, they focus on an ‘inner purpose’. They concentrate on ‘doing what they were meant to do.’ As they grow older, people also find ways to pass on their wisdom. They may act as a positive model, be a mentor or find others ways to share their knowledge. As the old saying goes: “We have no choice as to the talent we are given. But we do have a choice as to what we do with that talent.” People who find and follow their vocation have a gift for life…and they frequently want to pass on the fruits of this gift. Providing they are able to follow this journey, they often echo Noel Coward’s words that: “Work is so much more fun than fun.”

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Roaming romance

Romance brand Mills & Boon will launch some of its books on mobile, to combat the “embarrassment factor of carrying your Mills & Boon around".

There are four ways to read the books: “As autocue-style text moving from right to left across the screen, a scrollable text block moving up and down, single words flashed up in quick succession, or a full page of text. “Teenagers prefer reading one word at a time, but most adults prefer the horizontal scrolling style”. 
Apparently,  it’s women who will drive take-up of this particular mobile content. “Japan is normally 18 months ahead of the UK. They are finding that it’s women who like reading on phones and romantic fiction that’s rising to the top".

Who ARE these women?? and can they be stopped?

Meeting "outlook" could be better?

Was chatting to the wonderful Eileen Brown from Microsoft yesterday talking about how meetings go on too long.  She suggested that people just schedule for 30 min's or an hour out of habit or software? You decide.

Seth Godin hates meetings. Has some good ideas.

TIPS: I think most of the time, most meetings should be held without chairs. People standing up think more quickly and get distracted less often. And the meetings don't last as long.

All day meetings should be banned. Meetings that attempt to accomplish more than one of the tasks above should be banned.

Bonus tip: Last person to walk in the door pays $10 to the coffee fund.

Extra bonus tip: hire someone to come in and videotape a few of your standard meetings. Watch what happens.

 Worth a try methinks.

Saturday, 21 April 2007


Bill Owen from Southwest Airlines on how they listened and learned.


"Talk about sticking your head into a hornet’s nest! We got 274 replies, and from the tone of some of them we quickly realized that, at least for some of you, a few of our policies were out of step with your travel needs. So…..we’re changing! We heard, from both Customers and Employees alike, that you didn’t like our policy of not publishing the dates on which we plan to extend the schedule. No problem! We now make the tentative, planned date of the next schedule extension available to our Reservations Agents, and in short order this information will be prominently displayed at "

Does blogging work? Ask Southwest, Dell and Microsoft......

thanks to Craig McGinty

Friday, 20 April 2007

One laptop per child

LOVE this project!  And now its finally becoming a reality. I know there will be challenges along the way but the scheme aims to bring the benefit of computing technology to the remaining five sixths of the world's population, who currently live without it. Microsoft software will sell for just $3 in some parts of the world if Governments agree to buy the computers.  

It's a massive vision but one that I hope will succeed.

Customers tell Dell sell "what we know well"


Well you couldn't make it up could you? The much maligned computer manufacturer Dell has been told by 11,000 of its customers that they are not Vista ready yet and would like to buy pc's with XP rather than Vista.

Some people don't like change. It reminds me of  a saying often used by Management Leader Tom Peters, quoting an American General .

" if you don't like change - you are going to like irrelevance even less".

I know technology can be frustrating but we are living at a time of great opportunity. I believe if we embrace change and are not frightened by it - we can more easily start to live the sort of lives we really want to.  

Technology in itself I can't get excited by but the fact that it has enabled me to reinvent myself in new and exciting ways, most definitely can.  Long live the revolution !

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

No Careers - just lives

“You don’t have careers anymore, you have lives”.

A friend of a friend wrote these notes about Charles Handy. If you have never heard him talk - then do yourself a favour and go see him. You wont be disappointed.

Charles Handy - Management guru and respected thinker on people and organisations at a management conference promoting his new book, ‘Myself and other important matters’.On the subject of teaching and learning, Handy was clear about the need for lifelong learning. On degrees he said, “a degree is only proof that you can learn. It is irrelevant for any other purpose. All it proves is that you can adapt and that you have potential.” “By the end of this lecture you will have forgotten 80% of what I have talked about.
By tomorrow morning, this will be 95%… I remember all of it!”
“What this shows is that if you want to learn anything, then you need to teach it. If you have children, then you need to get them to teach you. They will learn faster this way.”
Drawing on his studies at Oxford, Handy talked about happiness, commenting that it is good to see this being given attention. “It is not new however, Aristotle talked about this many years ago”.
Handy commented on the term coined by Aristotle, “Eudaimonia”. [u-dai-moany-ah] “This has been commonly translated as ‘happiness’, but this is a mistranslation. A much better translation would be flourishing. What it means is doing your best at what you are best at … for others”.
“It is about feeling bloody good about yourself. Because after all, that is all that is left. It is not a state. So how do you find this out – you need to work that out for yourself.”
“Education should therefore be about finding out what you are good at. We have a problem today with young people leaving education too early. If we followed eudaimonia we would allow them to understand what they were good at and then allow them to do it”. 

Personally, I couldn't agree more. School should largely be about helping our children to discover their strengths / what they are good at. It doesn't matter what academic achievements people have - ( see Tim Marshall story ) its the A word that means the most - Attitude and bloody hard work.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

What next for TV News ?

Jeff Jarvis has been getting his camera out again at the Radio Television News Directors Association panel. An interesting observation from Michael Rosenblum - who knows a thing or two about VJ movement.

Jeff goes on to say:  

Zadi Diaz of JetSet doesn’t want to be a journalist. She doesn’t want to be called a journalist. Neither does Amanda Congdon, who says she never called herself a journalist but a video blogger and actress and producer. We journalists keep thinking that everybody wants to be a journalist and that it is our precious title to mete out. But these talented, creative, popular women want none of it. Note again that they don’t want our label. Which says something about the label and what we’ve done to it, eh? We’ve made it exclusive. We’ve weighed it down with pretense and presumptions and rules. We’ve made these women assume that being a journalists stops you from doing what they do. Beware.

Got me thinking. Not sure what I am at the mo. I spent 12 years working as a Broadcast Journalist and Presenter. I now work occasionally for BBC Click as a reporter. I also help business people to communicate confidently. I host conferences/debates/corporate videos.  I write a new media blog and shoot/post my own videos. I also hope to create a weekly internet show - helping people to see the web as a fantastic place to live, learn and love ( in the widest sense of the word - not in a second life sense). Thoughts?

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Monday, 16 April 2007

The Working Journalist in the Age of the Internet


 Mark Glaser is MediaShift.  A blog that will track how new media—from weblogs to podcasts to citizen journalism—are changing society and culture.

Loved his post on doing work you love. He says:

First things first: The most important thing for you to do is find work that you love, that you have a passion for. Don’t take a job because it’s what your parents want or for the money. My dad and uncles are all lawyers, and they assumed that when I was in journalism school that I would just eventually become a lawyer later. Uh, no.

Mark tells a great story. You could do it too. I'm doing it right now. It's called re-invention.

Many thanks to Craig McGinty.   He offers some great hints and tips to small business owners, writers, self-publishers and anyone else interested in getting the best out of the internet.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Techno tots

One for the youngsters and I do mean young.

Computer literacy is increasingly seen as an essential skill for children. But what is the best age to introduce them to computers and does it give them a head-start?


This is a story I did for BBC Click - text story and video. In my experience - I have seen such an interest and excitement from my children ( 4 and 2 ). They love singing songs, playing games, printing out characters, doing puzzles and having a story read to them. Yes I know I  should be reading and playing with them and I do but as long as they don't spend more than 30 mins then I'm cool about it. Just wondered if anyone had any great sites for younger kids to go to?

Blogging may damage the nations health

Over at The Guardian there seems to be two distinct schools of thought. One which tells us how great the digital world is ( Guardian Unlimited)  and another where nothing is right ( Guardian extremely limited?)

Johnnie Moore rightly pointed to Jonathon Freedland's whine this week.

Right now, the internet is too often like a stuffy meeting room on a bad night. It needs to change if it's to live up to its democratic potential.

This weekend Tim Dowling has a go in his piece "Comedy of Manners".

Marina Hyde writes "New technology, new lows for our political discourse".

On the launch of Labourvision she agrees with the comment

 "New Technology, same suck up".

Now depending on which box you tick on the ballot paper - you may agree. But surely that's up to the audience. Either they watch or they don't. Why do these rather full of themselves "real journo's" get so worked up about it?  The Web is not perfect and neither are some of our national newspapers. Freedom of Speech anyone?

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Wanted - new Bush Speechwriter


This is marvelous. If like me, you have ever wondered how George W has consistently been able to deliver great speeches - then wonder no further.  This new Presidential aid(e) could be just the thing if you're struggling to find a creative way to deliver your own marvelous monologue.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Radio presenters wanted


Brilliant idea ! Stowe Boyd has started BlogTalkRadio - here's the blurb:

BlogTalkRadio is a platform that extends the blog, allowing any individual to host a live blogshow online. Our service is free to all users, whether you host a blogshow or listen in. Plus hosts earn half of all revenue generated by their blogshow and Host Channel page.

Why do you say you extend the blog?

The blog has changed the face of media and communication. But unfortunately, it has its limits. Primarily, the blog does not allow for real-time interaction between the blogger and his or her readers. At BlogTalkRadio, we extend the blog to allow such live interaction, as well as allow users to generate and consume content in audio format as well as in written format.

You have "radio" in your name. But isn't your site different from regular radio?

We allow every individual the freedom to become a blogshow host, similar to a radio talk show host. That is why "radio" appears in our name. However, because we are on the Internet, your potential reach as a blogshow host far exceeds the reach of a radio talk show host because your audience is global rather than regional. Additionally, as a listener, you have access to far more content than you would on your local or even satellite radio station.

Who would qualify as a host?

Any individual, anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection, any kind of phone, and something to say! We welcome hosts who have passions and interests they want to share, opinions and information they wish to disseminate. Whether your audience is 10 or 10,000 people, we have a place for you here at BlogTalkRadio, and we'll even help teach you how to expand that audience.

thanks to Euan for the info :)

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Little IT man wanted..

The Beeb says 2007 is shaping up to be the year of a new media revolution - and one family in Gloucestershire, in the UK, is going to be at the cutting edge.

So auntie is fitting out the Boston family with the kind of kit you might need to take full advantage of a world where all the media you want arrives in digital form down your phone line. The aim is to find out whether this changes the way the family uses media. The Bostons goodies are:

Samsung 37inch HDTV

Belkin Wireless router

Acer Aspire iDea 500 media center PC

Apple TV

Apple MacBook

Sonos wireless music system

Kodak wireless digital photo frame

Umm - having spent far too long getting to grips with the complexities of my so called smart phone - I can only hope they have a little IT man. Every home should have one.

Flogged and fired in 60 secs

David Brain of Edelman PR - Sixty Second View Blog - when I couldn't get to his newest blog entry.

Oops. Sorry. 404 Not Found

Hmmm ... Not sure what happened to this page.  The slaves, err employees must have screwed something up. Please be patient. When we discover the culprit he or she will be thoroughly questioned, then flogged, then fired. In the meantime, just click the "Home" button above.

Wonder if he has any jobs going?



Tuesday, 10 April 2007

My other car's a Bentley, admits "green" M & S chief

Stuart Rose the chief executive of Marks & Spencer, who is spearheading a £200m plan to reinvent M&S as one of the UK's greenest companies, has been driving two gas-guzzling Bentleys on his days away from the office - The Guardian tells us.

I'm reading Christine Arena's new book "The High Purpose Company". In it she quotes Paul Hawken,  "Real corporate responsibility involves systemic change. It requires a business to carefully evaluate every aspect of itself, and very few want to do that".

Marks and Spencers high profile campaign states "there is no plan B".    Some one should tell Mr Rose.

Blog slog beats land hog

or how two journalists used a website to defeat planners and save a rural idyll from a £1bn development. David Hewson took on Goliath and won.

Reminds me of the quote " create a cause - not a business". Feel optimistic we may well see more David Hewsons in the near future. 

Poo Poo PowerPoint

Garr Reynolds on that hairy chestnut called Powerpoint.

"It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form. But it is not effective to speak the same words that are written, because it is putting too much load on the mind and decreases your ability to understand what is being presented."   — John Sweller

Garr sums up what I think and have been banging on about for some time:  If your “PowerPoint deck” can be perfectly and completely understood without your narration, then it begs the question: why are you there?

Monday, 9 April 2007

Ethan's vision .....


Following on from my last 2 posts. Thanks to Jeff Jarvis. Meet Ethan Bodnar. He's a junior in high school planning on going to college for graphic design. Here's his take on the future of newspapers. Ethan Bodnar .

The Future
"When I get out of college I would love to have my own design shop in a big city. I have many big ideas that I would like to do someday, when I am not so busy with school. Furthermore, I want to change the world by breaking the rules and doing what I love."

I want to change the world by breaking the rules and doing what I should he include that on his CV? or with thinking like that maybe he wont need one.....

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Can £10 make a difference?

Had lunch with the energetic Oli Barrett or should I say the The Daily Networker - the other day. If you haven't heard about Make your mark with a tenner - the Challenge is simple. Each student is ‘loaned’ £10 and given 1 month to make an impact. The socially minded entrepreneurial scheme is backed with £100,000 from Andrew Reynolds, Patron of The Prince’s Trust and founder of The Entrepreneur Channel. Oli explains more:

It seems to me that we should be encouraging more of this in our schools. I believe for my children's generation there really won't be any "jobs" in the traditional sense as such - only interesting projects. For some that will come as a shock. But how about we actually prepare children to be able to stand on their own feet. Think creatively about ways to make money AND follow a higher purpose. Sustainability is the new business word - but I think we can also choose to make our children's working lives sustainable. The only way they will have a "job for life" is if they understand their skills and strengths and search for their true vocation. This is what we can give to the next generation and I for one, urge educationalists to become "purveyors of encouragement".  Thoughts?  

Saturday, 7 April 2007

The cock-eyed optimist

New Media Guru (!) Jeff Jarvis is a self confessed cockeyed optimist and he's tired of the bleating about the business in traditional newsrooms......

He takes up the story.....

Just last week, San Francisco Chronicle editor Phil Bronstein reportedly told his staff that the newspaper business “is broken and no one knows how to fix it.... And if any other paper says they do, they’re lying.” What a frightening lack of imagination and optimism that betrays.

There are lots of ways to fix it and as soon as Bronstein’s bleat was published, suggestions began pouring in from blogs. And it’s not about fixing, anyway. It’s about growing, expanding, exploding. It’s about new opportunities.

So I’ll declare this a whine-free zone. No moaning, mewling, mourning. Let’s talk instead about our reasons for optimism.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t risks in this change. There are. But we already know most of the risks, dangers, and problems. We’ve been obsessing on them. Now it is time to turn our attention to the opportunities.

As an ex broadcast journo I really can empathise with how some in the industry are feeling. But it is all about growing, expanding and exploding. I have spent the last 14 months reinventing myself as a new media bod. I have been and am on, a VERY steep learning curve. Its sometimes hard to understand where all the pieces fit but I know the world of news especially is not going to be dominated by one or two editors in Canary Wharf or even at the BBC. Real people will decide what's important to them. As I have said in a previous post THE WEB CHANGES EVERYTHING. Please take a few minutes to read what Jeff has to say. Are you optimistic?


Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Not just for profit....

My good friend Chris Nel has been causing a rumpus over on Tom Peters Company Blog. Suggesting big corporations are doomed to mediocrity not due to size, but because of the inherent inability of "large" to generate a strong sense of common purpose in the organisation beyond making money for its stakeholders.

 He says " I believe that we as humans search for a meaningful purpose in everything we do. We are at our very best when we find it. My simple business hypothesis is based on the fact that when humans are at their best (i.e., are purposeful) they run/work in extraordinarily successful businesses. So it turns out that the leader's primary job is not to be a clever strategist or a brilliant technician (let alone control freak) but to help people find a clear sense of purpose (not revenue targets!) in the work that they do. Profit will follow from this, not lead it."


Was thinking about this while researching the next report I'm doing for BBC Click. It will be about social lending. Zopa  "No banks, no huge overheads, no bureaucracy — just people lending and borrowing with each other" seems to be doing some pretty cool stuff and many who said it was a flash in the pan are having to eat their words as the company has been in business for several years now. Imagine how much better it must be to help people borrow the money they want more simply, cheaply and less hassle.

Kiva is a slightly different model but I believe an exciting way to get people engaged in helping entrepreneurs in the developing world. I hope to be able to tell you more very soon.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Are you the real deal?

I love Mike Pegg. All I do is blog about a sermon that I suggest is a good example of a female speaker with energy and stories to tell.

Lets just says he didn't much care for Nancy's quote 'self-revelation as manipulation'. Said it reminded him of the great Alan Bennett sketch from Beyond the Fringe:

Life, you know, is rather like opening a tin of sardines. We are all of us looking for the key. And I wonder how many of you here tonight have wasted years of your lives looking behind the kitchen dressers of this life for that key. I know I have. Others think they’ve found the key, don’t they? They roll back the lid of the sardine tin of life. They reveal the sardines, the riches of life, therein, and they get them out, and they enjoy them. But, you know, there’s always a little bit in the corner you can’t get out. I wonder is there a little bit in the corner of your life? I know there is in mine! Ouch...

He then went away and came back several minutes later with suggestions for inspiring women role models and thinkers.

Sahar Hashemi Co-Founder of Coffee Republic and Author of 'Anyone can do it' - links here to her 3 min showreel and a longer (15min) talk. Very natural, warm and wonderful energy. Simple story telling backed up with lessons that can be used by anyone. The longer version well worth a look. She has a great story to tell ( IMHO )

I will be suggesting others this week - suggestions welcome :) 

Sunday, 1 April 2007

So slmpie....

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.
The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid aoccdrnig to rscheearch at
Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a
wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer
bein the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll
raed it wouthit a porbelm Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed
ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Courtesy of John Wilson.  :)