Archive for the 'Blog' Category

The Art of Diplomacy

The nature of business is that you have to be diplomatic – a lot.

Disagreements come up all the time. Working with parties who have conflicting agendas are all part in parcel.

Disagreement doesn’t mean you’re right and they’re wrong, or vice versa, it just means you disagree. Even if we can’t agree on these points, here are some we can, to build a relationship lets focus on these.

It’s often the lack of relationship which creates the friction, the differences can exist but a stronger relationship lessens the negative effects.

Never let your ego get in the way of getting to that relationsip. It is tough but means you can get to that bigger goal which makes it worth it.  You’d be surprised of what you can accomplish when you do.

September 13th, 2012

The little things in your office you don't do but should

Have some area to play. To de-brief, to talk, to unwind. We have table tennis & foosball, as well as being located in a hub of great cafes & bars, so people can connect outside of work.

Inspire yourselves, let people take ownership of their spaces, decorating, or creating art, posters on the wall.

Have a beer fridge – with all sorts of beverages. Again lets people have some social time at work, meaning a stressful day can be unwound before you go.

Have brainstorms. Get everyone out to help solve a problem. Gets everyone involved.

Team lunches. Again when the company has a big win – take the team out. Share the win with everyone. It’s what the whole organisation is there for.

Share case studies. Little stories or wins that people have. This can be a newsletter, notice board.

Company talks every now and again. We do Y&S talks, with topics from how to sell an idea to art installations. Google Talks are even more impressive.

Pick one and give it a go.

September 12th, 2012

Involvement & Collaboration

Becks latest album is to be launched only with the sheet music.

To bring it to life you need to play it or find a mate who can.

It’s not real or complete till you take part.

People just want to be involved, acknowledged & rewarded for their participation. It’s the fundamental behind all successful products.


September 10th, 2012

One Inbox

10 years ago having a three or more different email addresses was a pain, way too many.  Too many websites to go and check.


These days we have them, one’s called Facebook, one’s called Yammer, one’s called Twitter, on top of our work and personal emails.

At some point there’s going to be some consolidation. There always is.  Make it easier for us.

September 6th, 2012

The Art of Craftsmanship

This NYT article comments on the struggles of a $4,000 suit maker, a true craftsman making completely custom suits in New York.

Even at that price as everything is hand produced he can only make so many suits, the cost of 1 suit or 10 is the same as the inputs are the same. There are no efficiencies.

The irony here is for craftsmanship to remain, technology needs to come into play. How do you retain that craft whilst embracing technology?

I suspect is starts with technology assistance, what are the 20 little optimisations that improve the process? Rather than looking at factory like churning out, how can technology help him personally. Rather than replace, embrace the craft.

September 4th, 2012


When we learn & train, we’re in essence doing simulations of the real world. What others have done, how we should react and what we should do – based on prior performance.

Simulations give us the opportunity to do better. To experiment. To try something different. Without fair of reprisal.

It’s kind of like how kids test their parents. Where are the limits. What happens when you can circumvent them.

Flight manual checklists are refined based on how pilots respond in simulations. Making sure that they understand what they need to do and that they consistently perform the key actions.

Sales professionals do role practice sales call, refining their pitches.

The military have many War Game simulations to continually test and refine operations.

Stock markets have simulations to allow you to play and learn with fake money.

Always worth a go. It’s when people can test without fear of retribution that they do so.

Games are often the easiest way to get into this, have a hunt around, you’d be surprised at what simulations you can find.

September 4th, 2012

Retracing your steps

I constantly lose things, or forget what I opened that website for.

The easiest hack is to retrace your steps, reread what you were reading, click through the sites, walk back downstairs.  Go back to the start and start again.

Whatever you were intending do to will come back to you.

As whilst you’ve physically retraced your steps you’ve also mentally retraced your steps, making the same connections and in turn arriving at the same thought.

September 3rd, 2012

Poor Economics, thoughts and ideas

This book explores who we behave when our means are low. Very interesting insights. One that really struck me was the complexity of the financial instruments used in developing countries.

One such thing was ROSCAS, rolling savings schemes, a group of people meet up at regular intervals. Each time they contribute a certain amount and one person takes the whole amount. All you have to do is turn up and commit to doing that to hit your savings goals.

Read more below:

“When we met her, she belonged to no fewer than six ROSCAs, which differed in size and frequency of meeting. In one of them, she contributed 1,000 Kenyan shillings, or KES ($17.50 USD PPP), per month, in another one 580 KES twice a month (500 for the pot, 50 to pay for the sugar for the tea, which is an essential part of the ceremony, and 30 for the welfare fund). In another, the contribution was 500 KES per month, plus 200 as extra savings. Then there was a weekly ROSCA (150 KES per week), one that met three times a week (50 KES), and one that was daily (20 KES). Each ROSCA had a specific, separate purpose, she explained. The small ones were for her rent (this was before she built a house), the bigger ones for long-term projects (such as house improvements) or for school fees. Auma saw many advantages to ROSCAs over traditional savings accounts: They don’t have fees, she could make small deposits, and on average she got access to the pot much faster than it would take her if she saved the same amount every week…..”

“But her financial portfolio did not end with the six ROSCAs. She had taken a loan from one of her ROSCA savings pools in early May 2009 (a little over two months before we met her) to buy maize worth 6,000 KES ($105 USD PPP). She was also a member of the village savings bank, where she had a savings account, though it was currently almost empty. She had used that money to buy shares in the village bank worth 12,000 KES ($210 USD PPP). Along with some shares she already had (each share entitled the borrower to borrow up to 4 KES from the village bank), this allowed her to borrow 70,000 KES ($1,222 USD PPP) and build herself a house. She also had little stashes of money hidden in various parts of her house to deal with small emergencies such as health needs, although as she pointed out, sometimes the health money was used for feeding visitors. Finally, she was owed money by a variety of people, including 1,200 KES by her clients and 4,000 KES by a former member of her joint liability group in the village savings bank. He had defaulted on the loan when he still owed the bank 60,000 KES ($1,050 USD PPP), obliging the group members to cover for him, and he was only now slowly paying them back. As a market vendor married to a farmer, Jennifer Auma probably lived on much less than $2 a day. Yet she had an array of finely tuned financial instruments.”

Excerpts from Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty – great read.

Imagine this concept here?

I’ve always believed, we can learn as much from developing countries as they can from us.

September 2nd, 2012

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