The Business Post reports that a Government sponsored group, the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group is looking at suggesting the banning of drink sponsorship of Arts and Culture events. There’s been talk for a long while too about banning drinks brands sponsoring sports events. So no more Jameson Film Festival, Absolut Fringe, Corona Cork Film Festival and the Guinness Jazz Festival?
Arts and Culture organisations will be even more moany if another source of funding is shut down. Government grants aren’t what they used to be. We’re in a recession so it’s harder, for some at least, to get corporate sponsors. Of course one can donate to an arts project without having to publicly be listed as a headline sponsor/sponsor. I’m sure many drinks companies will instead do this, given how they care so deeply about Irish culture. So says the press releases. Bit of Dáil discussion on it too.
You have to wonder about Arthur’s day too then. Will this artificially created calendar event get killed off too? It’s not “Guinness day” but is associated with it. No coincidence it was created just as worldwide drinks companies started seeing traditional marketing routes denied to them. Funds for social entrepreneurship, like sponsoring arts and culture events are another route to keep your name around if you’re a drinks company. I wonder will these be classed as sponsorship too. It’s nice that a fraction of revenue from a single day out of a year is spent to keep these projects sustained for a while.
There’s some great lessons to be learned from the arms race between the tobacco industry and various Governments over the decades. Now it’s happening with alcohol. I’m sure fatty foods will be next. For those that haven’t issues working for tobacco companies or drinks companies then there is serious money in change and disruption. Think of the euro changeover or the Y2K bug. Fortunes were made from it. Helping these companies find newer routes to market their products will get you that mansion sooner.
And of course with tobacco TV ads banned we get this instead, now if they ban drink and fatty food ads…
The Business Post covered the Mulley Comms Teen Smoking Survey recently. Some of the data was unexpected and eye-opening. Reasons for giving up saw cost and health equally matched and what many already know: the anti-smoking ads don’t work.
Starlings create these amazing patterns when flying together. It seems they follow three simple rules and if you recreate them as a software model, you can get the same patterns. Fly at the same speed, always stay the same distance between you and your neighbours and if you see a predator, leg it.
Jim Carroll’s post on Quality v Quantity in the music business where you now have only a few months to break on through (it seems) due to easy findability of every band on the planet, kind of links into this piece quoting Ian Rogers on how it’s easy to create and distribute music nowadays but again because of easy discoverability, you have to market harder/smarter to get yourself noticed, so more resources are going in to marketing/pr/promotion.
That to me says there are opportunities as well as suggesting maybe with all this connectedness it could bring the quality way up for bands but they still need that 10k hours idea Gladwell came up with. Wait til they get the tech right for people to jam with each other properly around the world in real time. No more ‘bassist wanted’ flyers in guitar shops. It worked with Internet dating!
This of course ties into everything else not just music. When the web first came about, search engines allowed us to find/discover textual information and it worked well. The amount of information then for the basic web was tiny compared to now. With these more complicated media, more tech and more opportunities to sort out information were born. Now with the web we have services like Last.fm (liked this song, others who did liked this one), Netflix for movies, Amazon recommendation services (bit rough) and sites using your social media footprints are now aiding us into finding new things we might like. Counter to that though is the idea we are having too much hidden from us due to what we soley like. Serendipity gets stomped on. There’s a whole TED video on filters and this:
Anyway, Dylan Collins did a blog post on what people (I was included too) thought were opportunities for startups. A good range of people and a load of good ideas are over there. Importantly for me and maybe you is that these quick bursts of ideas get you to think and come up with other ideas and opportunities based on them. Even reading them and saying “this is bullshit because…” gets you to be creative and analytical and maybe share ideas and potential opportunities.
So loads of new ideas for everyone around the world that can be inspired by blog posts and what not. More ways to be inspired, cheaper tech and infrastructure to build your ideas and faster turnaround for the ideas. Increase in quantity, increase in quality too but also a lot of noise. Geography won’t matter as much (we’ll have no Valley is better than Roundabout stuff in the comments please) so an Irish startup could compete with a German one for example. Creativity and skill not previous history of the area become stronger factors for startups.
Is the startup world following what is happening in music? If yes, will the issues with the music industry become a lesson to be learned by startups too? So a bit like Inception, there seem to be opportunities inside opportunities as the opportunity to have an opportunity becomes easier.
Inspiration is just a matter of slowing things down and observing:
The dayjob is about three years old this month. It’s been going well, I think. Doubling in revenue year on year.
I work for myself, pay myself a basic wage and that’s it. I get to buy nice work related toys now of course. I’ve turned down more work opportunities in the past year than took on, many times because I can and don’t want to but some because I just don’t have capacity even when I do want to. That bit sucks but I still get to work on great things. Even though I mostly work seven days a week (which when you enjoy what you do, isn’t too taxing) and long hours, I still have missed some projects which would have been fun.
About two years ago I started thinking I needed to hire people. Doubling every year is a nice growth rate but you can’t do that on your own forever. I’ve reached that impasse about now, unless I increase my prices. So two years ago I was looking around and being the type that doesn’t forgive mistakes easily, found it hard to find the right people. Personality wise and experience wise.
An additional slight backstory is that I was a teamlead in a previous job and people management is not for me. I like to just ask people to do things and let them do their thing while I do mine. How are you today, is there anything I can do to make your job easier, I knew you had a hangover and skipped work but HR rules state instead that I have to see can we work together so this doesn’t happen again. Fuck that.
Finding the right people
Back to the main bit of meandering. So I looked at this for a while but work got in the way of looking more into the idea of hiring people. In the past 12 months again as I saw where turnover was going I knew again that if I want to grow the company more, I needed to hire people.
Going past just you
When I talked to a lot of business people, well experienced ones, they all said this: “Damien Mulley can’t scale so what are you going to do?” Back to looking for good people. When you run your company your own way, it’s a mess, full of odd routines and illogical organisation methods so anyone that comes on board will need slight deconstruction of their persona and then rebuilding back up.
So there were things I could do:
* document the way the company works
* build systems and automate them as much as possible
* hire someone to learn these systems
* hire in people that were good with people and have them hire the workers and keep them away from me
This is why a little while back I started looking at the Myers Briggs tests. Find the first fulltime hire and have them being a good match with my personality. Which apparently says I have the same personality as the great dictators. So someone that can put up with that is what is needed and is good mentoring others.
Don’t hire anyone, ever
While this was going on, I used to say this to every business owner I met. Without exception they all told me that employees were the bane of their lives and things would be so much simpler without them. One person that owned a multi-million euro company had 80 staff and said they broke his heart, another said she wished she kept the company at 3 people and that was it because for every new employee, the company made less per person and brought with it more personal drama. It was accepted that employees were a necessity to scale but I was forewarned by many that they would change what I do and change the company too.
Digital will scale?
I’ve been using contractors for various work bits and bobs and for clients I send them straight out to others when they ask me to do certain services (Web dev, web design, marketing campaign supervision, status updates etc.) All these services need people though and it looks like I’ll be avoiding that now. So how to scale?
It has to be digital, right? I’m working on a few web services (me bitching about finding Irish web devs to build it is another post) that will aid the company in scaling up and luckily I’ve calmed work down for the past few weeks and have time to draw out on A4 pages on what these services can do. Still, ironically, getting this right seems to be as taxing as finding that unique special snowflake employee type but I can get away with not wearing pants in the office with this digital employee. Sorry, I went there.
Now this is just me who works in a very personality driven company. I know other business people who love the company of their employees and see them as a big family. It’s not you, it’s me and I have the utmost respect for people like that.
Anyway, it’s been an interesting 3 years and we’ll see who the work in progress goes for year 4.