Thursday, August 31, 2006

One Lesson of Business that School Teaches You

Cramming, last minute style, happens.

It wasn't a good idea in education and it isn't a good one in business either.

Side note: The guy who invented the end of the month is dead, right?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Reading Lee Hopkins keeps you wise

Google's Blogger now has a beta version for trial and on the encouragement of Daniel I was about to sign up.

A click away from completion my thoughts played a little game and sent me on my way to Lee's post made in January Are you responsible for purchasing domain names?

Suffice to say I won't be creating a trial blog at

Technorati Tags = Lee Hopkins Domain Names

Friday, August 25, 2006

Gym Membership Going Down in the UK

Tracked Gym membership in the UK has shrunk by 3.6% in the past year. Obesity is a hot topic for news and lifestyle media this summer as the round year of 2010 becomes a nice, close round number to tie scary figures to.

In April 2005, all four Flying Aqua Badgers signed up to the local gym on the usual no registration fee, 1 year tie-in. All four of us have terminated our membership.
Does our act of 'throwing in the towel' mean we are in more danger of reaching obesity?

Well maybe, but that was only a minor consideration. I feel like cattle, queuing at machines, constantly being measured when in the gym and let's face it CV machines are dull. Very easy not to go and put my monthly fee to waste either too embarrassed or too vain to cancel the direct debit.

Swapping a twenty minute run on the treadmill breathing in the vaporised sweat of my fellow man that costs £30-£40 a month for a twenty minute circuit of the local 'nature reserve' every other morning that sets me back nothing is hardly a decision.

I would like to think that we're smartening up opposed to fattening up.

Technorati Tags = Gym Membership Health

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Speaking of Education

My uncle beat me to the punch on this but just to let the world know that my brother passed his 'A' Levels and will be going to his choice university of Exeter in October.

Dead proud of you bro!

Tory's answer for first time buyers

David Cameron announced at the Tory's first time buyers' summit that their plan is to have tenants in Council and Housing Association (HA) homes have their rent payments converted into mortgage payments to increase home ownership amongst the poor.

The notion of helping first time buyers onto the ladder is an idea I support but this is not the way to go about it. This will promote a system that is unfair. Their is a large problem with social housing stock. The "right-to-buy" scheme which worked on a similar principle had to be stopped because it was eating up the stock and no doubt made significant contribution to having the housing market skyrocket out of reach the now first time buyers.

This would also put a generation of private tenants in limbo. The rich would be able to buy their homes, the poor would be able to buy their homes (although nothing has been said as to whether this will be at the full price or a discounted price as per "right-to-buy") but the middle earners not entitled to live in a Council or HA home and not able to build a deposit to buy because of the high cost of renting privately would not be able to buy.

The implications on education of this plan seems to be unthought-of as well. Britain is suffering a skills shortage that if it wasn't being plugged by sapping skilled workers away from poorer countries would likely have our economy hitting a severe downtown.

The message that will come from this scheme to children in education is that it doesn't matter. Only if you super-achieve will learning be worthwhile. If you do poorly, you will be better off than those that just do well.

I was worried that once the Tory's have had their bedding in time with the new leader who had taken a lead over Labour in the polls that they would ruin in by producing poor policies. Looks like my concern was warranted.

Technorati Tags = Tory Conservative Party Houising First Time Buyers

Irrational at the Airport

Two men guilty of being young and Asian or Middle-Eastern in descent were ejected from a plane for undetermined "suspicious" behaviour. Naturally they were perfectly innocent and allowed to fly home on a later flight back to Manchester.

Does this now mean we are not going to be happy until we have segregated flights?

If we want to go down the route of second class citizenship then this is the way to go about it and I'll be damned if I let this country do that to itself.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Comfort kills, motivation thrills

I've been following Andrew Garrett's Mutation for some time now and thankfully he is now turning into one of those one a day men (that's posts by the way).

The subject of motivation is his offering for today. Poor levels of motivation are caused by two things as far as I'm concerned: Fear and/or laziness. Laziness being the more deadly.

The fear could be of many things. Fear of failure, fear of the spotlight, fear of living too highly and having it all taken away. Fear is somehow seen as reasonable because it is a trait that we should have. But fear only doing something stupid not just risky.

Laziness is blasted as a useless attribute, not doing something either because it is hard (work) or it is painful (exercise).

The more I look at it, the more I am seeing this as a fight of inner and outer demons.
The inner demon is laziness. Whether you're working hard at something or hitting your threshold is something felt inside which only you know. Fear is an outer demon because it is based on impressions of others, what they see and how they think of you.

With that in mind I think laziness is actually the easier to beat. The benefits are easier to work towards. My body is my starting point, healthy body, healthy mind and all that. I do believe it will give me a lot more faith in myself and from that other parts of my life will fit into place or otherwise start making more sense to me. I've always kept myself in a condition where I can compete or take part and my competitive nature normally sorts me out after that, but I've never taken it any further than that.

I am sick of "good enough" or "it will do". Time to banish the demons.

Andrew, your thoughts are an inspiration.

And because any thought of doing less than 100% is now drilled into my head, damn you Chris Brogan (or is that bless you, I haven't made up my mind yet).

Technorati Tags = Andrew Garrett Chris Brogan Motivation

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Digital Pensioner

Recently I've started on a little crusade to teach my Nan geography. Why? Many reasons:
  1. Quality family time
    • Always one of life's top priorities, right?

  2. Building confidence
    • I can't stand people saying they are no good at something, yet having an interest in it.

  3. Something a little different
    • There's a good chance I'm the only twentysomething grandson in the country doing this...

  4. Fun
    • Yeah, that one caught me by surprise too

  5. I see potential
    • Now this is an odd one. Potential is usually associated with younger generations. Well, that's needless. If you believe everything educational BBC programmes tell you short of an actual brain affecting disease, natural deterioration of the mind shouldn't occur until our seventies. I know my Nan can remember things. She reams off dates, events and politics from medieval history with a passion. So no excuses about a terrible memory to stop her from learning more.

How does this fit in with the digital pensioner? Well, check out geriatric1927 on YouTube. The internet is making level of entry so low that fear is the strongest remaining barrier. So my hat is off to Peter for making this step.
And despite what might be said of the young we obviously do listen to the elderly. The man has been signed up for a week and posted 6 videos and has had well over 100,000 views.

Engage and we will listen.

Hat tip: Stuart Bruce - PR Guru (or many thanks to Stuart Bruce for the pointer, depending on which side of the fence you sit in the debate started by Rob Skinner)

Technorati Tags = Digital Pensioner Training Stuart Bruce Rob Skinner

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Can it get any more viral?

Now the Mentos and Diet Coke experiments were cool. By my reckoning, a far better use for the products than the traditional oral consumption.

Topping that comes the group OK Go. I caught the video for A Million Ways when it was doing the buzz-round those many months ago but now they have gone and really raised the bar with the new video for Here It Goes Again.

Strategically lining up six treadmills isn't as easy as mincing about in your back gardens or school grounds or wherever else the kids are copying this to. More stuff like this and it'll send the Jackass wanabees and happy slapping out of fashion.

Technorati Tags = Viral content

Friday, August 11, 2006

Good on Ron Steen - Invest in a student

However poor or risky this investment may turn out to be should anyone take it up I have to thank Ron Steen for opening up a new market of discussion by asking Ebayers to pony up $100,000 in exchange for 2% of Ron's earnings over a 40 year period.

I don't want to talk about the advert itself too much because it is just too painful:
Quoting the disclaimer "I will not accept Paypal" yet the seller (assumingly his father) prefers Paypal and indeed lists no other means of payment.
The spelling errors are commonplace and it blatantly hasn't been thought through from an investor's perspective.

I really like the idea of being able to jumpstart a child's life by getting rid of the troublesome education costs and I would go as far to say housing.

Not a finance or legal expert by any means but judging by the fine line between "investing in people" and slavery trod here I'm going to imagine a transaction like this would be forbidden by law.

Seeing as I just about fit his model I'll have a little experiment. Lets say my projected earnings based on maintaining the status quo over the course of my working life comes in a just over $2m (this isn't far off base for the average 23 year old brit. This means that anyone wanting to invest in me in my current position could have a 5% stake for $100,000.
However, my proven rate of growth over inflation puts the projected earnings at $2.5m.
With a 5% stake that means from all the figures I could give to a serious investor right now is that (s)he would make just $8650 real money over 40 years (and I'm rushing through this so I know there are a couple of variables missing that would drag this figure down further).

So at best it would be hard to make this a great investment opportunity. To persuade an investor I'd double their money means a 10% slice of flying aqua badger pie.

It would be hard to strike a bargain appealing to both parties.

This post was brought to you on behalf of the fact that I seem to love Dragon's Den far too much.

Technorati Tags = Personal Finance Ron Steen

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Not to mention the carbon quota

In light of today's airline problems centring around a foiled bomb plot, Seth Godin opens up the debate as to whether air travel for business is a practice worth keeping.

Not being a business flyer this is my angle:

I hate not being present. However, there's a caveat on this for me. I hate not being present with equal weight as other participants. So whilst I'm not a big fan of conference calls, it is different when you have 4 people each on the end of the phone opposed to 3 around a conference phone and one at another location.

There is a huge element of communication missing when it isn't face to face but each participant having an equal footing puts me at ease.

With air travel the incentives are turning. Fuel scarcity is not going away, the environment debate is becoming ever more common and now with the in-flight workstation being taken away it is looking more and more like long distance travel is losing its worth.

Technorati Tags = Air Travel Presence Flight Incentives

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Favoured Word for the Day

daedal \DEE-duhl\, adjective:
Complex or ingenious in form or function; intricate.

Something a friend sent me in a email the other day, no doubt trying to search ddot in the dictionary and finding the next best thing. Very nice of them.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

BBC backs Top Gear

In a world where political correctness has gone absolute berserk and you can be sure that any statement over four words long is sure to offend someone thank God the BBC is showing some balls and backing up the tone of Top Gear.

I can watch goodness knows how many "comedy" shows and not crack a smile, they are that bad, but with Top Gear I can guarantee at least one belly laugh every show without fail.

Brilliant programme. Don't like it, don't watch. How easy did you want your life to be?