Archive for June, 2008

Young Fine Gael dress up as Gerry Adams and Mary Lou wearing a Union Jack

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Even though I’m in Berlin I thought you’d like this press release:

Date: Tuesday, June 10 2008
Time: 1.30pm
Location: Merrion Street entrance to Leinster House.

Photo Opp: Two male YFG members wearing lifelike face masks will dress as Mary Lou McDonald (in a Spice Girls Union Jack dress) and Gerry Adams in a Union Jack Tuxedo. They will hold a 6X4 foot sign emblazoned with “No EU = Britain Runs Our Economy”.

Have they totally lost the plot? They are out republicaning the republicans and have decided to dress in drag and demean Mary Lou by equating her with Ginger Spice? Given Fine Gael’s gimp-mask-wearing style cow-towing to Maggie Thatcher and the British Governments all through the few years they were in power, this anti-British sentiment is a bit rich.

It gets just that litte bit better as they start going all anti-Unionist. The proddyGaels will not like this:


SF prefer dependence on Britain to a stronger EU- YFG

35 years of saying “NO” would make Paisley proud

Young Fine Gael (YFG) has called on voters to reject the anti-European messages of Sinn Fein when they cast their votes on the Lisbon Treaty next Thursday.

“Sinn Fein has said they are pro-Europe. When you consider they opposed EEC membership in the first place in 1972, and have made persistent vicious attacks against the EU since then, this claim is completely laughable,” according to YFG President Barry Walsh.

“In 1972, prior to joining the EEC, Ireland’s economy was completely dominated by Britain:

* Interest rates were dictated by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer
o Currency levels were handed to us by the British Government
o Our agriculture sector worked hard to provide the UK market with cheap food
o Our biggest export to Britain was our young people, who worked hard to build up THEIR economy and infrastructure.
o We were the 2nd poorest country in Europe

“Since then however, we have broken free of their stranglehold:

o 1 million jobs have been created
o Our biggest exports, to the Single Market of 500 million people, are now our food and technology products
o €58 billion in funding has flowed into Ireland from the EU budget
o We are now the 2nd richest country in Europe.

“So it is clear that if the Irish people had listened to Sinn Fein in 1972, or at any referendum since then, we would still be in the economic doldrums and dependent on Britain. Perhaps this is the plan ‘B’ they are so anxious we vote for.

Cliff Notes via Slide Decks

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Robin Blandford is doing us all a fantastic service. As he reads a book he takes the key points from them and makes them into slide shows for all of us to consume. I’m not a fan of Seth Godin, I think he’s a windbag and loves his own brilliance far too much and that many of his books can be easily compressed into a single blog post. Robin has done this for Meatball Sundae and The Dip. He’s also covered Screw it, let’s do it by Richard Branson and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

second thoughts
Photo owned by twenty_questions (cc)

There are so many books that people recommend one must read if you are into tech, into business, into startups and into politics but it’s pretty damned hard to make the time to read these books while doing everything else. (My current unread stack is about 60) I wonder would it help everyone if we took the books we just read and make slide decks like Robin does. I’m sure the copyright police would get all upset and not realise that the summaries would probably promote sales not harm them. I know I’ll make some summaries once I finish my next books. Web Analytics Demystified and The Design of Everyday Things.

Anyone else want to do Slide Deck Summaries?

Fluffy Links – Monday June 9th 2008

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Take care Tom. Tom Raftery is off in a short few weeks to live in Spain for good. Conor is organising a going away dinner for him on June 17th.

Joe Drumgoole takes more of the PR bullshit from Enterprise Ireland to task.

Seán is back. Welcome back buddy.

Meanwhile John Kennedy joins us.

This has been all about the place but it rocks. Radiohead remixed.

Via Carol: Learning on the Open Social Web.

I think I’ll go order Mr. Amperduke. It’s cheap and guaranteed Irish and all that.

Know More. Nice site dishing the dirt (if there is any) on companies.

Whale Watching West Cork.

R2D2 – Steampunked.

o2 now have a discussion forum for their customers.

Via Allan

Wolf Parade – I’ll Believe in Anything

Sigur Ros’ New Album – Live Stream

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Berlin with HP- 2008

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

I’m off to Berlin for a few days. Going to the HP Connecting Your World Berlin 2008 event. You can follow it via their blog, on Twitter (stupid name), on Flickr and on YouTube.

HP Berlin

Oddly the font for this event reminds me of the Bettlejuice Cartoon.

This video is not connected at all.

Online Marketing – Fail

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Here’s a little ditty or two.

If you are creating a web service where you expect to sign up people that go online and spend a lot of time online and you don’t have integration with Facebook, Bebo, YouTube, Blogs or any of the new media out there, then you will simply ignore the most active and prolific people online. It’s like setting up a lemonade stand on the outskirts of town when you are able to set up a stand in the city centre for free or put up a big poster to announce your location.

If you rabbit on that online marketing is all about Facebook, Bebo and YouTube and ignore email marketing then you’re not seeing the elephant. How many people have an email address, how many have a Facebook account? Do not underestimate the power of either. 120k active Irish people in one place.

I’ll go back to writing this Online Marketing Course now…

The meme
Photo owned by jenjie (cc)

Radiohead – Super Collider

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Via You Ain’t:

Super Collider by Radiohead at Malahide Castle.

eBay Ireland Boss sets up Broadband Lobby Group

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

In summary:
1. There is a new non-aligned and impartial broadband lobby group in Ireland. It had a working title of the “Broadband Crisis Advisory Board”
2. John McElligott from eBay had serious reservations about the International Advisory Forum on Broadband since two members had far too many ties with eircom, he later declined an invite to join by Eamon Ryan himself.
3. John McElligott wrote a 17 page report about broadband which cuts through the crap and should really be adopted by the Government. He slams mobile broadband figures being used to excuse our performance.
4. He also seems to have pissed off senior Civil Servants in DCENR and ComReg and they seem to be be conspiring with each other to see who else he was talking to about broadband.

Back in February Simon Coveney TD sent in an FOI request about the International Advisory Forum the Government were putting together. A bland enough request for documentation was asked for and given:

All documentation, including communications, relating to the setting up of an International Advisory Forum on Next Generation Broadband Networks by the Department, including but not restricted to, communications to potential and current members of the Forum. Also including, but not restricted to, any discussion about the terms of reference of the skill set required or any guidelines relating to the calibre of members the Department wished to acquire.

Part 1 of the request (PDF doc) threw up some interesting stuff, though on first glance of the first few pages, it doesn’t look it.

But on page 12 it gets interesting. The head of eBay in Ireland, John McElligott has emailed the DCENR after it appears he was asked to be on this International Advisory Forum. He asks why the DCENR omitted the fact that one of the people on the forum was previously on the board of eircom:

Dated December 18th 2007

Ken, how does Brian Thompson’s bio omit the fact that was was on the board of eircom when it was sold? Omitting such matters of potentially key importance will not increase the credibility of the group.

Now, there are some other bits and pieces too. On page 24-30 is the revelation that another advisory board is going to be launched after pushing from John McElligott:

Dated December 19th 2007

Thanks Ken:
Are you able to tell me about the NAF? Is this the customer body along the lines I proposed?

Reply:Dated December 19th 2007

No, the NAF is separate from the proposed customer body. We have been working on a draft policy paper on NGN/NG Broadband for some time now. We have read many international reports and visited other Ministeries with a view to defining the optimum role for the Government in facilitating the roll out of NGNs. The role of the NAF is to critique the draft policy paper in advance of going out to consultation. The NAF will be made up of EU, US and Asian experts on telecoms and telecom policy and will also include the CEO of Forfas. Minister would like you to come on board an an Irish industry/customer representative. Once the report is published for consultation, we would see the customer body that you have proposed responding with appropriate comments. We could establish the customer body early in the New Year so that it has met and considered customer issues in advance of publication and be somewhat prepared before the paper is published.

and more back and forths:
Dated December 24th at 13.32

In response to your recent emails: We are taking a two stage approach to the polic paper. The National Advisory Forum is being asked to consider and critique the initial draft. The paper will then be published for consultation with all stakeholders, including customers. Minister would welcome your participation in the Forum. An early responose would be appreciated.

If, for whatever reasons, you would prefer not to participate, Minister would welcome your contribution as a customer and we will revert to you at that stage. I wish to emphasise again the confidential nature of this matter.

Dated December 24th at 15.49


Thank you for the note. I will revert to the Minister with a reply in the New Year.

Per my notes, I have concerns regarding the independence of a number of the proposed forum participants. I’m not sure if such credibility risk is in anyone’s interest, least of all the Department.

On page 43 and 44 we get a better picture of this proposed customer group:
Dated December 19th 2007, sent to Minister Eamon Ryan direct:


Per our discussion, please find attached some options for individuals who could be part of a Customer-based broadband group:
A number of online entrepreneurs (e.g. a leader from one of,,,,
A few of the large online multinationals. These are Google, eBay, Amazon and PayPal
A Bank (e.g. AIB Internet Banking, Banking 365, etc.)
Online travel company (,,
Government Departments that genuinely offer online services (e.g. Department of Finance –
A University or IT or both
Consumer Representative, though only if they have a fact base from their members e.g. NCA

Other points related to its “constitution”, which we believe are necessary to ensure success include:
* Create a body similar to the Motor Insurance Advisory Board where clear terms of reference and ambitious timetables are adopted for the implementation of the recommendations
*This group would be charged with getting to the bottom of what’s really needed to achieve the rollout of high quality broadband and plot a path to delivering this. It should identify the real issues holding up progress to date and describe plans with how to deal with them. The goal is that we end up with a connectivity infrastructure that is truly competitive. Perhaps is could be called the “Broadband Crisis Advisory Board” or BCAB.
* This group should ve very small, say 10 people. It should be convened by the Minister, with representatives from government, various agencies, education, and the commercial sector. It should be representative of the voice of the consumer, and they should be technology neutral.
* Our technology decision-making will be led by industry for a, many which are already in place. The BCAB should only refer to these where substantive issues relate to competitive issue and (c) above.
* The BCAB should represent the voice of the customer – those of us who use the infrastructure provided by the tech sector. It should also be non-partisan. Therefore, it should not include representatives of eircom, the ALTOs or ComReg, though they will likely present their views to the BACB. Recommendations from the BACB impact these parties.

Roll on to Part 2 of the request.

Nothing much up to page 18 though on that page it states:

John McElligott
eBay Ireland.
Invited on 19 December 2007, much querying on his part.

Page 19 has letter from Minister Eamon Ryan (dated January 21st 2008) asking John McElligott to join the forum. He eventually declines on Feb 8th.

Roll on to part 3 of the FOI PDF
Page 2 to page 24 of this document is great.

First we’ll go to around the page 21 mark:
A letter dated January 6th 2007 sent to Eamon Ryan and Micheál Martin

Thank you for the invitation to participate in the National Advisory Forum, which I received via Kenneth Spratt. I am considering being part of this, and will return to you with a decision in due course.

I would be delighted to participate in the forum if I felt it would make a difference. However, given what I have learned regarding the Forum to date, I am not yet convinced it is the right group. I have three specific concerns regarding its constitution:
1. Does the specific background of certain proposed Forum members inspire the desired level of confidence?
2. Are we missing the perspective of some leading markets which are our neighbours?
3. Can we boost the “customer perspective”?

Some colour on these three points:
1. Some of the proposed Forum participation may result ina reduction in external credibility. For example, one proposed participant has recently compeleted a study on models of separation – which was funded by eircom. Another participant is a former Chairman of eircom. Curiously, these two facts were omitted from the otherwise lengthy resumes I received. I am not in any way indicating that these participants would be in any way prejudiced or partial in their forum participation. However, given out need to establish credibility, I could well forsee a circumstance where the Forum’s credibility could be challenged.

2. Two of our closest neighbours (the UK and Netherlands) are stellar examples of leadership in Connectivity. Yet, curiously, the Forum has minimal participation of direct industry experience from these markets. This may be an oversight as (a) Political leadership is acknowledged to have contributed to UK leadership and (b) Northern Ireland has seen significant success, and it’s “only up the road”.

3. There may be a lack of “customers” in the forum. Per our meeting last month, I recommend adding more than just myself.

To this last point, I am currently convening a group of Irish eCommerce and eBusiness leaders to lobby in 2008 for greater progress in this arena. To date, the response to my outreach has been enthusiastic. Several of my peers believe that Market Failure is costing them dearly, and fear that current, lacklustre NGN plans will mean that Ireland continues to lag in the online sphere – possibly permanently.

Next up, is the email turning down the offer to be on the forum and annoucing the new broadband lobby group has been set up:
Dated February 5th 2008

Per our communication, I will refrain from participation in the NAF.

Two developments from my side are:
1. We eBay have engaged on this issue with a very wide range of stakeholders. Based on these discussions, I am happy to send you my thoughts on what can be done to address our issues. I intend to do this by the end of this week.
2. Today we convened a meeting of serveral business comprising a “Broadband Customer Group”. This group included 12 companies including (i) local eCommerce players and (ii) US Multis with an interestin this. We had a very fruitful and forthright discussion. In due course, we may reach out to you as a group.

On February 8th McElligott sent Minister Ryan and Minister Martin a 17 page document about Broadband in Ireland. It’s a fantastic document, well worth reading.

Part 4 of the FOI PDF contains mostly crap about hotel costs except for one email. An email where the an Assistant Secretary in the DCENR bitches about the head of eBay Ireland and his attitude and mention how they have been talking to ComReg about him too:

Dated January 7th 2008

I don’t understand John McElligott’s reaction to the invitation to sit on the Forum. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to invite him as he’s clearly not comfortable with the idea. Now that he’s setting up a lobby group perhaps his contribution might best be made during the public consultation stage. We have no other lobbyists on the NAF ( we didn’t consider him to be one in the formal sense when we invited him) and to include one will lead to calls from others to be included. I understand he has sent a questionnaire to ComReg, they’re to send me a copy and find out who else received it.

We’ll prepare a response for the Minister.

A fun week

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I’m a little hoarse. I’ve been talking shite all week. I was in Waterford on Tuesday to give a full-day Business Blogging Course which seems to have gone quite well and I was in Galway on yesterday to give two half-day business blogging courses to about 28 people in total. A lot of travel, a lot of mileage but this lad kept me company and helped out on the days. I hope we see a good few more business blogs start now as a result.Tom and Mary in Waterford and Adele in Galway deserve much praise for putting the events together and subsidising the courses too for everyone.

Met Ina today who gave a far too brief (because I had to leg it back to Cork) tour and history of Galway and a history of Galway that’s not just on the default tourist books. We also had a lovely lunch in Nimmo’s. Ina should consider doing a blog on the secret Galway that exists that the tourists never see and many locals may never have known. The story of the Russian links to a Mausoleum in a wood in Galway was fascinating.

Diver going off the board
Photo owned by Boocal (cc)

Also met John Breslin today at Open Coffee Galway and he gave a tour of the DERI facility. Love the stuff they’re doing with sensors. Got some insider stuff about which is exciting and will be revealed in time. Also met Ross from who was in Galway for the week. Also met James. Hello to all the open Coffee peeps too! Been a fun week but now I think I’ll crash before my short trip to Berlin next week, back in time for Dublin and Prince, then London for Interesting, then a business blogging course in Dublin on June 24th, then Darllight on the 27th and some talk on the 30th. Remember I said blogging will be light? It might continue to be.

Fluffy Links – Thursday June 5th 2008

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Brilliant Lisbon poster hack. Expect it robbed by a daily newspaper and not attributed.

Belated Happy Birthday OFTR. The clip of the kid. Scary.

Via Seán O’Sullivan, slides Pack 1 Pack 2 Pack 3, from the recent Telco 2.0 event in Dublin.

A book thingy for those that read books, yeah, that niche market.

Career 2.0

Six Business Starting tips.


A European Web Analytics Association in the making?

Welcome to the Internet Metallica, you’re not very welcome it seems.

Watching the watchers changes from Sousveillance to Fitwatch. Good rebrand.

Fecking around with Google to have your own definition of something show up in the definition section in Google search.

This has been doing the rounds, forget the Wii Fit: