Friday, 28 June 2013

cutting costs can only get you so far.

We’ve spent a good time with clients over the last few weeks hearing they are STILL cutting costs, laying off people, restructuring, recalibrating, re-organising and in some cases probably re-spelling their business.


One way of remaining profitable or paying what staff you have left is to cut cost. I understand that, really I do. After a while though there is nothing else you can cut. You’re essentially turning off the gas that powers your machine.


Who in the business is taking risk, saying ‘yes’, spending money, trying things out, experimenting, investing effort and energy? It’s here the ‘new’ will be found and get you out of the mess you’re in. It’s easy to sit here and type that sentence but there is truth in the adage of ‘what got you here won’t get you there’; Many a grandmother has made omelettes by breaking some eggs.


All this cost cutting is easy for salaried people to commit to. On a good day it looks desultory and on a bad day, just pathetic.


Cut away. Save what you want.


And remain a big business with the same problems you had before – only this time you’ll have no-one left to fix them and a culture who’ve learnt how to say ‘no’.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Keep Clam and... PISS OFF.

I thought it was a passing summer fashion from a few years back, but no the ‘keep calm and carry on” thing is STILL going.

If this has been written about already and I'm last to mention anything then I've been avoiding it until I was sure I wasn't just feeling isolated and missing out on the 'fun'.
the cards were one thing... but I’ve noticed a new generation of messages turning into kitchen or hall hanging signage. These appear to have clich├ęs such as “a cheerful house is a happy home”, or “a smile costs nothing” along with other references to dancing, wine, coffee and conversation.  Lots of middle class crap.

I’m saddened and embarrassed for us as:

You’re paying upwards of £20.00+ for something sprayed onto wood and brass chains. This is just shitty landfill assembled by children in china to hang on your fridge.

You could type out or at worst write out by hand on paper the sentiment.

But the worst and more saddening aspect is the belief that this shitty coloured trite makes us feel any better. Like we need to spend MORE on thinking and feeling what a good loving home takes for granted. Why we need to remind ourselves of it is one thing, but to have our family values and home north stars based on varieties of wine, dance moves and coffee conversation is just wrong. Any good intentioned sentiment is lost in the material acquisition of buying the bloody statement in the first place. Shame on you for doing so in John Lewis too.

I’ll choose my own emotions thank you  and I don’t need a poncy lavender board to tell me to do so.


Keep calm.

Piss off.


Friday, 7 June 2013

I thought Karen Brady would be a little more innovative...

t.v. this week provided much joy.

The Apprentice season 9 (season 9!!!) episode 6 required the teams to design corporate events.

Much as I'm tempted to get into the content of this, I won't.  My focus is on a Karen comment. I like Karen.  Never met her. Probably won't but for the record, this is all a good intention blog.


46mins into the programme the candidates are all facing the usual bollocking.

One pipes up and makes a comment about corporate people talking crap.


It’s at this point Karen says “you might find that a rough attitude when you stand up in front of a bank and ask them to invest in your business” (steely eyed look, yet retaining glamour)


Well Karen.


I disagree.


The last place anyone want to ask for investment is a bank. It’s a bit 19th century to go cap in hand to some uptight economist reading home county living banker and ask for a business loan to start an online cupcake business. the last thing we should give up is our opinions and attitude too.


The alternatives are MASSIVE.

Online lending and peer to peer support is growing by the second.

I have two pieces of stimulus to help
1. the excellent what’s mine is yours by Rachel Bosman and Roo Rogers describe in detail how the growing tide of co-created, co-shared and co-owned work and life is very much part of a successful and sustainable future. To be supplicant to a restrictive set of banking terms isn’t worthy or attractive to anyone with a modicum of ambition.  There are also countless currencies out in the virtual and semi virtual world that represent value and credit in context.  Imagine if we got a £1.00 for every ‘Like’...

2. In addition, I met with Microsoft’s CMO this week.  I heard Phillipa Snare talk very openly about her healthy distain for the establishment and authority.  So hooray for the opinions.


Much more attractive than fence sitting professionals.


Apart from you Karen – you’re an exception.  J