Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Culture Shock Notes

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Culture shock notes

I bought Will McInnes’ Culture Shock book a good while back and finally had enough time off to read it. As I said to Will, I dog eared the shit out of it and these are the notes from those dog eared pages. Makes sense to me, maybe not to you. I think a lot has happened and sadly a lot HAS NOT happened since it came out so the book is worth a read for anyone in a company/organisation that wants to make changes. Like all books in a new area it had to mix the cheerleading and bringing you over the line part with the “and here’s how to do it part”. I do think even in 2014 that this still needs to happen but for not as many people so one wonders could there be a sister book for the “doing” part and maybe with more exercises. So Will, another book please!

A word of warning: The book however in size looks like it’s going to be nice and easy but the work involved is going to take a lot to do but this will help you plan it all out. This book is a “put downable book” because you are dog earing or taking notes. A very personal feeling is a different shape to the book might have helped with some of the exercises/flows so they’re all on one page or spread over two matching pages. Bigger in terms of being wider. Slimmer but wider.

There’s probably a niche for another book in this area too for people like me, “lone wolf” business people. So Will, a third book!

So, some of my notes, copy, paste and Google, I might be unlazy and add links to these later.
Pg 9 “In ultra competitive business landscape, our organisations need a higher purpose. a story of meaning”

Pg 24 CTI – Coaches Training Institute
“what’s your purpose?” – Richard Jacobs
Check four audiobook too

Pg 47 HCL Technologies.
“employees first, customers second” – Vincent Nagar
Namasté Solar

Pg 57 Worldblu. List of most democratic companies. The Worldblu Scorecard.

Pg 58 Ready. Fire. Aim.

Pg 81 Namasté Solar – F.O.H. Frank Open Honest comms.

Pg 87 Gore.
Associates not employees. Sponsor not manager.
Max 200 in a unit/plant
CEO Terri Kelly – MIT Talk
Nixon McInnes – Church of Fail

Pg 105,106 Conscious Leadership
1. Leading Yourself
2. Style
3. Trust and Ethics
4. Transparency
5. Rewards
6. Comms – Realtime
7. support

Pg 108 – Questions to ask yourself

Pg 118 “Every soldier is a sensor. Every citizen is a contributor. Every resident a reporter.” – Brian Humphrey

Pg 137 Euan Semple “Banning social sites at work is for wimps, real managers have conversations with their time wasters about wasting time”

Pg 142 Crowdsourcing site “Innocentive” – Yury Bodrov

Pg 147 Hackdays – Social Innovation Camps

Pg 162 Andy Grove – “high tech runs three times faster than normal businesses. government runs three times slower than normal businesses”

Pg 173 Ben Fletcher, Karen Pine – Do something different programme

Pg 177 Train company PR guy – “We have twenty seconds before the world knows more about the crisis than we do”

Pg 179 OODA
Observe – What’s going on here?
Orient – What’s my place? Where am I in relation to this?
Decide – What will I do?
Act – Do it
Quick loops, moving and iterating
“The best decision right now”

Pg 240 Global Guerrilla blog – John Robb
Vinay Gupta writings
Are you financially resilient? How can you improve this.

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It’s all about execution. What is your “Brand”?

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Forbes interview with Matti Leshem. Some nice quotes worth sticking up here.

I thought Barry Diller hired me for my creativity where in fact he was interested in my ability to execute. Barry taught me everything I know about business and that your creativity is only as good as your ability to execute against it.

it’s causing people to pursue a career trying to work for themselves when they would be much happier just working for someone else.

The Protagonist credo is that brand is meaning. When you come in contact with a brand, an emotional shift takes place in the consumer and the person perceiving that brand immediately knows what it means to them. The brilliant thing about branding is it doesn’t have to mean the same thing to all people. When you see someone wearing a Nike logo or a Nike jacket, you immediately have an emotional and visceral connection of that brand because of the connection they have made on you over time. Building those connections with people is an incredibly difficult thing to do.

Every business is a failed business

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

(In which the author quotes his own tweets)

Every business is a failed business if it’s not started. If it only survives a second, a day or a year, it beat the odds, that’s not failure.

See: And? FDIY.

ISME 2014 Survey – Baloney from Banks and Govt on lending to SMEs

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

ISME Survey. PDF.

  • 52% of companies who applied for funding in the last three months were refused credit by their banks, a slight improvement on the 54% refusal rate, seen in the previous quarter.
  • 32% of respondents had requested additional or new bank facilities in the last 3 months, a reduction from 39% in the previous quarter and lowest demand since June 2011.
  • On average, the decision time has increased to just over 4 weeks and the wait to drawdown has increased from 3 to 5 weeks.
  • 11% of respondents who required bank finance did not apply for various reasons, a decrease from 17% in the previous quarter.
  • Of those 42% were actually discouraged by bank from making application and another 33% were afraid of a reduction in existing facilities.
  • 50% of respondents are customers of their bank for over 20 years, while 85% are over 5 years.
  • Of the 48% approved for funding, only 43% have drawn down the finance either fully or in part.
  • 46% of requests were for term loans, with 34% for overdrafts, or alterations to existing facilities, while invoice discounting/factoring accounted for 5% of requests, with 20% requesting leasing.
  • 60% of respondents had increases in bank charges imposed, while 20% have suffered increased interest.
  • Reductions in overdrafts were demanded of 23% of SMEs, down from 35% in the previous quarter.
  • 71% state that the Government is having either a negative or no impact on SME lending.
  • 74% of owner/managers are in favour of an alternative Strategic Investment Bank.
  • Only 32% of respondents are aware of the code of conduct for business lending to SMEs.

And now the board of Trinity commissions their own app

Monday, May 19th, 2014

After the well received reaction to Trinity changing their logo. Oh right. It now seems that the Board of Trinity College, University of Dublin (get used to that) want an iPad app just for their board meetings. The Public Tenders site lists iPad App for Board meetings.

Informally asking and those who dabble in this area think it could cost anywhere from €15k to €25k based on how difficult the “cloud” backend will be.

From the Trinity College iPad app tender

Background & Project Overview

It is desirable for a number of reasons to move to an electronic system of organising and circulating documents for the College Board meetings and for meetings of the Executive Officer Group. Such benefits include environmental gains, financial gains and more efficient use of College resources and staff.

There are a number of ways that the organisation can securely circulate documents. Both commercial options and in-house options can result in savings versus the current processes. Best practice in other educational providers was explored and it was agreed by the Executive Officer Group (EOG) that the purchase of a hosted solution should be explored.

Reminds me of Dave Morin and the “bespoke app” he had made so he could communicate with his secretary.

I guess an app is needed because nobody has already made one. Oh. Hang. On.

But hey CLOUDCOMPUTINGAPPBUZZWORD!

Here’s one take on that new Trinity logo too from Conor Walsh.
New Trinity Logo

“Square acquired by Visa” – Will Secret, Whisper influence the news?

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Woke up this morning to this:
John Wilshire Square bought by Visa

How can you trust a system that allows any rumour, lie or planned defamation to be published? Well, American laws for one. It’s a hot startup and has millionaire backers for two. Plenty of startups that do very dodgy things are left unchecked for a while in case there’s a chance they make money and others can profit from it. Ireland would knock and attack an idea like this, bludgeon it with negativity until we kill it. The American way is to encourage success so you can come in later and try and get a cut too.

Valleywag loves Secret. And some really good information has been leaked out through the app. And crazy fun stuff too. It was a Secret post that eventually unraveled the toxic truth behind how Github operated in such an anti-woman brogrammer way.

And the Evernote acquisition rumour was so far untrue. If you read this hilarious Tumblr, most of the rumours are untrue. Yet every now and then… Something like this too would be a perfect hoax, it’s well known that Square is trying to sell itself and is failing to do that. Visa is already and investor and of course the Square founder is already well known for running Twitter. Hoaxes have to have reality as a base.

For hunting stories though, tiny bits of information, rumours that are mostly untrue but with a tiny amount of truth are things you can use to chip away at a story. A lot of investigative type stories are almost negotiations or trades. Approach a source with a little bit of information, see will they give you a tiny bit more when you offer than tiny slice of truth. Take that, move on, uncover more with that and chip away even more until eventually you have a solid foundation for a story and then are confident to approach the main sources you can use/you want for your story.

An hour after the Twitter chatter, nothing has happened to that Square piece. An hour with a rumour or bit of information is a long time in media and a very long time in tech media. But the Paltrow/Martin marriage on the rocks rumour was weeks on Whisper before the conscious uncoupling became a reality. Nieman Labs even goes through the use of apps like these for journalism. Journalism with a small j, mind. Buzzfeed has even inked a content deal with Whisper. Well it certainly won’t be old-skool media would would find that distasteful and would take two years to come to that decision too.

Whither Simply Zesty? When £3M turns into £200k valuation

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Update: This is in the Sunday Times tomorrow so publishing this now and not Monday.

So the Simply Zesty blog is dead since April as is their Twitter account. This week UTV’s 2013 report came out and it was all very positive, mostly but…

So it looks like UTV have written off close to £3M in “value” from their Simply Zesty acquisition. The shareholders got the initial £1.6M in cash and then the other £3M in consideration was written down in 2012, 2013 and moved to zero for 2014. Last year UTV bought the remaining shares off everyone for £200k and didn’t wait until 2017. They were bragging about the savings from that in the report. Uh lads, you were the ones that agreed a £4M valuation.

Report:

From the page numbered 104 in doc but is actually page 106

“The acquisition of the rights from the previous corporate shareholder On 14 January 2013 the Group entered into an agreement with a previous corporate shareholder of Simply Zesty Limited to pay a cash consideration of £200,000 in settlement of their rights in relation to the estimated contingent consideration arising on the acquisition of Simply Zesty Limited. The fair value of the related estimated contingent consideration amounted to £1,031,000″

Simply Zesty £3M write down

Other “highlights” from the report

As outlined in the Strategic Report, as part of the restructuring the Group bought out the contingent consideration rights of the remaining stakeholders within Simply Zesty for nominal sums. The estimated fair value of this contingent consideration amounted to £1,760,000.

At 31 December 2013 the contingent consideration was valued as £Nil

“it also involved the buyout of the contingent consideration from certain stakeholders within Simply Zesty which resulted in a credit on the release of the remaining fair value of this financial liability. The overall impact on the Group’s results for the year was not material

“Free cash flow from operations decreased by £1.7m to £15.7m (Restated 2012: £17.4m), reflecting the decrease in EBITDA of £3.2m, and a £2.9m non cash gain arising on the buyout of contingent consideration rights held by the previous shareholders in Simply Zesty as part of Group fundamental restructuring, the costs of which are included within EBITDA also realising significant gains on the buy out of contingent consideration arising on the acquisition of Simply Zesty in 2012.”

“This restructuring also saw the merger of Tibus Digital Agency with Simply Zesty to deliver as a full service digital agency under the Simply Zesty brand. The integration of these businesses resulted in a change in the management within Simply Zesty and consequently the value of customer relationships was deemed to be impaired and the remaining carrying value of £188,000 was written off.”

It’s always been you

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Creativity is there already in our brains. Waiting to be left out. The old saying that “giving something a name gives you power over it” holds true when trying to understand things in our own mind. Having a language, a vocabulary, a corpus to describe your ideas can make them a reality.

The language to describe the things in our heads that we want to create is a hidden language for a lot of people and it’s only through reading, learning or understanding that we can structure it for everyone else (and even ourselves) to interpret it too.

Art
So when we read, view, see art and so on, that allows that fuzzball of creativity to find the language anchors or context to describe it with our own experiences if we want to produce art. As they say, that statue is already there in the marble, you just need the tools and skill to reveal it. The language to tell your brain what it is may very well be the idea of muscle memory and knowing how the marble can be molded.

Quantum Mechanics needed a new form of mathematics to be made before people could describe it. It was always there, what it was though was something that couldn’t be described with the language that already existed so it didn’t fit into the real world (in a way) until the language was figured out.

Programming
Programming has many languages. Programmers take ideas and put them into a language they know that gets a computer to do things and there we go, something is created. The efficient way to describe that process is what can make an app into an amazing app, the language that describes and defines the user interface might make it as easy to use as the iPad operating system. Software will eat the world and those knowing how to communicate efficiently in code will get fat.

You are creative, we all are creative but maybe for some of us it’s the lack of ways to describe what we want is the thing holding us back. Yeah we have the idea of the 10,000 hours but probably in those 10,000 hours are lots of figuring out how to describe to the world and ourselves, what we want to do.

Getting it out of your brain is that scene in Total Recall. The shit old one, not the shit new one.

I listened to the final Reith Lecture by Grayson Perry earlier and maybe it was ideas and imagery in that that made me take that idea that’s always been there and allowed me to put it into these words.

How do you get it out?
So how do you get it out? When you walk along the same part of the carpet at home, you just wear that down more. Stop rubbing the same part of your brain with the same subject matter. It’s the equivalent of using a set of Ann and Barry books to try and map out the history of the world. It’s going to come out at the same level as those books.

So be diverse. Want to succeed in business? Stop reading all your Richard Branson books. Stop waiting for his next one before you do something. In a way, experience the world. Read lots of different things, experience the language of those things and how their creator sees the world.

It can become much easier if we have a clear way of describing it. So it’s always been about you, you have the creativity, you just need to know the language to decode that fuzz.

Business ideas, Neuroplasticity, Music, more. All have their own languages, fluency in them or experience of them could give you an advantage. You have the ideas, find the language to describe them.

Just fDIY

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Of late I’ve seen a few people complain about lack of coverage of X or Y by “the media”. Complaints on Twitter. So that means those complaining have access to the Internet, have an email address and can type.

They may have or have not heard of Wordpress, Blogspot or Tumblr. All web services that allow you to create your own content. I KNOW RIGHT?

  • Someone done a ones to watch list in 2014 and left out some progressive startups? fDIY so.
  • Your city left out of great places to start a business? fDIY so.
  • Why didn’t the paper call out some some stupid racist prick? fDIY so.
  • You can do a better recipe than that food blogger? fDIY so.
  • That cool band isn’t getting any attention? fDIY so.

This is 2014, we have easy access to services that allow us to create content on any connected device. We have social media accounts where we can share the content that we can easily create. There is a crucial need for media, yes, but they’re being hammered left, right and centre by internal factors and market factors.

Yeah you could be an unknown blog with sfa visitors but Google will find your content. Even if you only ever write one blog post, you will be found. And maybe that’s all you need to do, just a single blog post. Your ideas of lack of coverage on your bugbear might not be unique so that means people are probably Googling about it so you’ll get traffic from interested parties.

And maybe if you fucking Do It Yourself, the media that forgot/ignored what you now highlight might decide this is worth some attention now. Whether they give you attribution or not, your topic is getting coverage. Job done.

You’ve always been the product

Monday, January 13th, 2014

So many, many, many articles with the frayed line “If you’re not paying for it, you are the product” when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, Google and any free services out there.

Yet people pay for the Irish Times newspaper (Print edition) and the Irish Times sells data about you to advertisers:

The Irish Times has a higher percentage of ABC1 readers than any other Irish daily newspaper.
66% of Irish Times readers read no other paid-for Irish daily newspaper.
62% of regular visitors to irishtimes.com are ABC1.

You buy the Irish Times? You are the product.

Maybe you pay for your TV licence but you are still the product when you listen to RTÉ Radio. Rate card with demographic breakdowns.

If there’s advertising then people are the products too. What about music festivals? You pay a chunk of money for a weekend pass and the festival organisers charge brands to have stands at the event because hungry, thirsty and fun seeking people will be at the festival. And they are of age ranges 21-27 mostly and 45% female and 55% male etc.

So maybe you are the product if it’s free OR of value but has advertising.

Well… If you buy an iPhone, are you also “the product”? There’s no advertising on your phone but there is commerce around you and your phone. Apple use the fact that hundreds of millions of people use iOS devices to do deals with media companies and to encourage developers to make apps that they can sell to the iPhone users. And Apple gets a 30% cut of those transactions. They do deals with telecoms carriers to sell the phone on their networks using data showing how much an iPhone user spends on average over a contract.

If you have money or even just attention that can be extracted by another party, you’re the product. We have always been the product. If you’re reading this, are you the product?