You know that time when you’re driving, and two people driving different cars are being stupid at a junction and you say out loud what’s in your head. For me it was the phrase, ‘make a decision you pair of dozy arseholes’ and then a small voice behind me said ‘daddy, what are dozy harse hools?’
Yeah, that. Forgot that everyone else was in the car with me while in busy traffic.
The Quorum has been a great ride and an enormous success for me. I have loved almost every moment; learned and grown as a person; made friends and business contacts that will I know turn into long term relationships and generally been able to step away from Shadowcat and think deeply. Most of my thinking has been about the culture, the direction and the strengths of the company and the wonderful staff that are part of it.
The initiative has also led to some excellent, and often greatly inspiring, Masterclasses. These are lectures, events, where a speaker will engage about their life and what they have come to learn and I wrote several blog posts based upon them.
The first of these was from Mark Freel a professor at both Lancaster and the University of Ottawa. Mark spoke about innovation for companies and the importance of being innovative, but also innovating well. He also mentioned the goals that businesses must develop and gave a great account of the Brew Dog brand.
Pete Goss gave a wonderful account of his experiences running several yachting challenges. His lecture was both exciting and humbling and made me reflect on the fact that it is the 'team that make you the leader'. His meditations on life, leadership, teamwork and overcoming great odds was inspiring and can relate to everyday existence.
Pete Goss: An Exceptional Cornish Sailor
There were other lectures that I could not attend, or did not write about. One that stands out was Kirsty Henshaw who spoke about her business and personal challenges. She also gave positive example that you can face almost absolute disaster and yet bounce back from it.
The Forum was so much more than this though. Kim, Laura, Ian and Richard created a programme of events and material that supported a journey. This was a challenge to face and a lot of time was spent in thinking, learning and listening to other people. The manner in which we became supportive was amazing and that we also developed peer learning. We came to understand each others challenges and approaches which gave fresh insight to ourselves and our businesses.
We also had a great opportunity to forge links with other departments and staff at the university and to see the resources and opportunities available by involving ourselves with them. This was one of the first elements that attracted me to the initiative and so I am especially happy to have been able to do that.
So this is a bit of gushing praise for the experience and the people. I am sad that it is over and yet I know that we will continue as a group in one form or another as there are strong links already forged between us all. I really want to thank/praise the University, the staff, Boost Lancashire and especially Kim and Laura for all the hard work made to make this a great thing to attend.
'Give it away,
Give it away,
Give it away, now,
I can't tell if I'm a king pin or a pauper' (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Give it Away, Blood Sugar Sex Magik)
This week Ribasushi (Peter Rabbitson to some) long time Perl stalwart, drinker and general evil man/sith lord who just happens to belong to the Shadowcat Team wrote a reasoned, thoughtful, restrained (and not his usual frothing at the bit going to kill you all with a gun) piece of rhetoric in support of Gittip and why the Perl community should be part of it.*
I am not going to repeat Riba's article here, I think you should go and read it for yourself. However I am going to step into what seems to be the firing line along side him and say, 'whut?' and 'why you no wanna free beer?'.
A word of caution, this is mostly just a random rant, an expression of what thoughts came to mind when I was thinking on a particular subject. Don't expect a reasoned piece like Riba's, this contains mostly me and a semi-knee-jerked response.
Okay, I can see that there is some cause to see this as maybe:
a deviation of funding;
an excuse for a business model; (see notes and comments)
the only one to benefit wil be a few luminaries who already get stuff and the rest is worthless;
too little, too late (nods at the memory of Jean Rhys);
distracting from real investment, solutions;
[I'm guessing here, I didn't even grace the arguments with a care to read them].
And other arguments of similar scope and intent. I feel that some people will argue over a gift or something that is free. There is this expectation it seems that a free thing, a gift must have more value than something you pay for or receive as an actual justifiable remuneration. As if it is an insult, I am worth more than that even if it is given freely, how could they value it/me that way. It isn't the cliché of 'looking a gift horse in the mouth' it steps back and points dispariging looks at anyone who would contemplate either giving or receiving such a horse. Well, how dare they? How dare we?
On that note, I am on Gittip. I joined it to be part of the communities and to contemplate doing what Riba is doing and buying people I admire, respect, think they have done good works, a beer. A small sum as appreciation. It may not be seen as much to many but it is my choice.**
At this point I haven't set a budget as I wanted time to let others join and to balance finances so I was being cautious unlike my Sith compatriot.
Then I discovered I am in receipt of funds.
So someone wants to buy me a couple of beers.
Without this extra gem I had originally seen the whole system as a neat idea. Sure there is a business model behind this site (see notes and comments), but listen up people this is a capitalist world where people have/want/like to make money. If you want a better world, and it seems to me the owners of the site do as this is mostly a great way of distributing wealth in a self-sustaining system that site within the framework of an existing global methodology, you have to make small changes. Small steps are needed to force change, not bloody revolutions. Total rejection leads to a local effect sure, but its impact is restricted, better for the smaller models to work, the most powerful force in an economy is usually local businesses (combined) so small companies, making a profit but supporting a social change will make an impact and will make a difference.*
What I mostly got was an enormous buzz. Someone thought the work I did in the community was worthy of a couple of beers and they wanted to make sure I had them each month. That's simply great. I don't care that it was a small ammount, I was stunned by the fact that I was chosen, that they cared.
Which is the whole point of this piece. I wanted to support Riba. I wanted to say I admire his defence of choice and of wanting more of the communities he is involved with in this system where we can choose to give. I don't care so much about the amount. The act of giving, of receiving, of choice and reciprocity are powerful enough reasons to be a part of it.
And if a large governmental/charitable/not-for-profit want to step in and take over to turn the whole system into a zero-profit total gain system, then that's cool. But it isn't an absolute and I am quite happy for the people behing [Gittip][gitty] to make their bread and butter.
On 'Sure there is a business model behind this site' - If you read the comments you will discover that the model is in fact self-funding through the same mechanism the site creates. The fees are simply the direct passing of provider fees and not for the site and they rely on donations. So this is in effect a not-for-profit. The only gain is to fund them if you like their idea. True crowd-funding and part of the 'small steps' path needed to make long term change.
Well done guys.
This ammendment is to preserve the original article yet allow more recent, and relevant information.
* I'll just take a deep breath after that impressively long opening sentence.
** Oh wait did choice just enter the room. Did personal opinion and feeling just wander by. Did I just indicate that foaming and decrying are usually done by those who do not celebrate choice. I see repeatedly people who claim to celebrate choice, who declare to be proponents of free speech, free expression and the given right to be an ass via textual expression. But that is not a celebration. That is to use freedom as a method by which to assert negativity on a given subject onto everyone else. Instead of appreciating someones choices, values and opinions, it is more fun to destroy them. It is so much more satisfying to anhilate someones opinions and give yourself that little win, all in the name of freedom.
* I am digressing and that's a much longer argument that should be visited elsewhere.
The intention of the day was to try to bring a range of groups together, from academia, local government, business and community to network and discuss sustainable models. This is a grand plan and I think it was mostly achieved, the one area I found instantly lacking was the business response. I know we are all busy business people but these events add a lot of value.*
I managed to tweet a lot during the first part of the morning which was based around some introductions to the aims of the day, a little bit about ESTA and the principles Michael wishes to pursue regarding local trade and local economies, and then a series of short presentations by some local groups.
Michael Hallam in front of the audience
A couple of particular highlights were Sue Keenan, of Lancaster and Morecambe College, who spoke about the need for continuing education in the workplace and in life. She then described some of the ways in which they are providing a valuable apprenticeship service and to see that as a route to higher education not an alternative.
Debbie Stubbs talked about the Catalyst! project from Lancaster University which is in its final year and has introduced many initiatives and projects including AccessASD (Clasp) and the Barter project which is done in conjunction with Lancaster ESTA.
Debbie Stubbs talks about the Catalyst! Project
The last talk concerned the Less is More Game being held next week which seems like a great way to show how we can all make a difference even if it is a small difference, combined that is a huge effect.
After a short coffee break we split into groups and discussed a key theme and our responses to it with the intention of reporting back to the rest of the assembly. The group I chose to join was 'Stuff' where we spoke about digital rights, creative freedoms and alternative economies. At one point we discussed the downsides of unchecked capitalism and I may have compared Wonga to a tapeworm.**
The challenge was interesting and brought about a number of conversations that were far too short as we were hampered by time. But it was good to hear of people's differing ethical and emotional stances and how that related to their practical existence.
Our Stuff sheet
The morning concluded on time and with some sense of people needing to explore alternative avenues, the clear feeling is that the system we currently use is based on several large fallacies and that encouraging a more balanced local response is sensible in an ecological manner.
I personally have a lot of thoughts around how we are defining and using finite in regard to resources and expansion, and why this is a problematical analogy when ever you consider a system that has infinite as an absolute in it. But that was more a quasi-philosophical/linguistic issue. I also would like to think more on local economies and shared resource financials in regard to commodities.
I would like to thank Michael, Jem and Phil for putting the event on, and to the University of Cumbria for hosting. I would also like to thank the presenters for starting the day and to the people I met and spoke to for provoking many interesting thoughts. A special regard to Growing with Grace for the samples of extremely fresh and tasty watercress and coriander.
* This will likely be the subject of a much longer rant.
** Personally I now feel embarrassed and ashamed. I had no intention of causing any disrespect or harm to the humble tapeworm.
I am starting this blog as I sit in the back of the conference hall at South Lakes Foyer in Kendal. I just gave a talk to the Engineering Society on Open Source and as I write Ian Norton is giving a talk on how the Internet Works.
The talk I gave was a general introduction to the philosophy underpinning Open Source, how OS as a model works and why you should be using it in business. This was a very new area for the members as many of them have strong hardware skills but are new to software.
I didn't really touch too much on the differences between Open Source and Free Software as it is a hard to distinguish argument for neophytes to the discussion. Also there is little value, the FSS model is admirable but one which is less favoured by companies seeking to use more open methods.
Starting my presentation
And at this point I like to present people with a giant picture of bread
As I sit here Ian is embracing the members in an interactive talk on how the internet works, in a physical sense, using the model of a telephone system and the history of how the telephone was introduced. I am loving the approach that Ian has taken, he is getting the audience to interrupt at will and ask questions making the whole talk a lot more fun for them. It was a slight shock to him when he discovered a couple of the members were ex-telephone engineers.
Ian talking about how connections are made
For my talk, I am not sure how much I conveyed the subject as it is a broad area and difficult to fit into a single area, especially for anyone new to the subject. I am hoping they enjoyed it and I didn't either bore them or convey a poor message. These are all intelligent, and interesting, guys and I would like to think they got something out of it.
I did manage to have a bit of gentle banter about the guarantees of an open system and in particular how it might invalidate another matter. I used a basic analogy that it would be nice if you were driving a car and someone came along and upgraded the engine for free. This elicited the thought that it may not be that great if the brakes then stopped working. This is true and I hope I wasn't too flippant in my jokey response. It was along the lines of:
At the back during Ian's talk
"Well yes if you strap a rocket to a Robin Reliant it might do three hundred miles per hour but there'd be no guarantee that your brakes would still work, you certainly have exceeded the manufacturers recommended usage and tolerances."
It was a good evening and I think both of the talks complemented each other nicely. It will be interesting to see if we can re-model them slightly and present them again to some other groups in the near future.
For Shadowcat Systems 2013 was an 'interesting' year. By which I wish to bring instantly to mind the old proverb/curse 'may you live in interesting times'. We had periods of growth, change, evolution and also loss. We lost both long-standing and fondly liked staff who needed to move on in their careers, and of loved ones.
However, for many in the company it was also a period of personal growth and development. We managed to grow the staff at the central SC office and to expand our alumni of worldwide quality staff. At the same time we also celebrated those staff who stayed in our 'mad organisation' for another year.
As always Shadowcat kept a strong commitment to local and worldwide community organisations being members of many projects and groups which would just look like a directory listing if I were to repeat them here. However, I would like to reflect on the highlights of our year gleaned from news and blogs from the company site.
It was announced in this month that Mark Keating and Matt S. Trout would both be giving keynote presentations at the YAPC::NA in Austin, Texas. Mark was to open the conference with his Perl of Christmas Past talk and Matt would close on the final day with Future Perl.
Shadowcat announced that it would be offerring cPanel and WHM support for those people wishing to develop modules and services for this platform.
Jack Knight who has been responsible for the caricatures and Steampunk Cats that we have been creating for use in our promotional items ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for his first exhibition and we were glad to be a part of that.
On a lighter note we decided this month to sponsor the Lancaster Beer Festival as part of our 8th Birthday celebrations which would happen in March~April.
This month was all about Ian as he chose to attend and speak at two separate networking conferences. The first was the OpenNMS conference in Germany and the second would be FlossUK in Newcastle. At both of these events Ian talked about Exim and Perl.
Mark also joined the local, Hermes, chapter of the Business Network International (BNI) as Shadowcat continued to grow its local community presence to complement the international presence in the Perl community.
April was the most mixed bag of months for the Shadowcat offices filled with both great joy, fun and fellowship and also loss.
At the start of the month we mourned the loss of Adrian Trout who passed away at the end of March. The loss was felt by a large number of the staff who had grown to love and admire Adrian over the many years we knew him.
Then we were lifted as the Shadowcat Team and Lancaster University hosted the Perl Quality Assurance Hackathon. Luminaries from the Perl world, and great friends to us all, visited Lancaster. A particular delight for me was to have Dave Golden, Ricardo Signes, Andreas Konig and Barbie all discussing an issue around a board in the Shadowcat offices. There were also many people who I had met only virtually along with friends of many similar events and conferences. It was a great joy for the staff to have the irrepressible Liz and Wendy of Djikmat as our guests.
The month of May was the start of a period of tumult and change in the Shadowcat offices as we moved from our old offices to a new unit that boasts more space and a better layout. This meant a period of planning and moving so as to create a minimum level of disruption as possible to the team, our clients and the services we provide.
In this month Matt was invited to speak at the YAPC::Asia conference in Tokyo. Matt was unfortunately unable to attend due to personal reasons but it was a great honour to be recognised by the world's largest Perl event.
Setting up Desks
The auxillary server/network box
The Shadowcat Cats are Framed
Ian and Tom moving the larger rack (Darth Vader's Coffin)
We were now moved into our new offices so the first thing we decided to do was design and build our own access control system. We had the expertise and experience to handle the project, it would be unique to the company and we could code it in Perl.
We joined the Chamber of Commerce as part of our continued drive to be a strong member in our local community.
During July we competed for a Small Business Award as a part of the White Cross Business Awards 2013. In August we were happy to receive an award of three thousand pounds to help towards staff expansion and training. It was a great challenge and something we had never before considered and we were extremely grateful to be considered and to be in receipt of the award.
Mark Keating receiving the Business Award at the Shadowcat Systems offices on Wednesday, 21st August
Mark joined the first cohort of the Lancashire Forum in September after a succesful application. The initiative is aimed at bringing together business, government and academia and to helping companies to grow. Mark was delighted to be given the opportunity to attend the six month programme of events.
In the continuing new office developments Mark and Ian altered a treadmill to become a walking desk for Mark (and any other staff member who wishes) to use in the office. It is part of a continuing focus on staff health and welfare that is being developed in the company.
Tom, the intern we employed earlier in the year, was finally offered a full-time position in the Shadowcat offices in Lancaster. Tom had proved himself a capable learner and a fun member of the team and was a natural fit for the offices. It was a great experience taking a new learner into the fold, helping to guide their development and seeing them progress and finally being able to employ them full time.
To finish the year the team were working hard to organise projects over the holiday period. We started to wind down a year filled with expansion and experimentation and a year focussed on local growth.
The wonderful Jack Knight of Knight Time Creations
Jack scetching while mapping out ideas with Claire
December also saw a refresh of the look of the Shadowcat website and a re-organisation of some of the material.
As always I write these reviews at the start of the New Year. In my usual manner I am often critical of making promises or resolutions at the start of a year, it seems inappropriate until one has finally wrapped the previous year. I always like to take a few weeks to settle into the annum and determine the best approach to the year. I would not have started 2013 thinking of so much expansion. I considered company growth but not to the level we achieved.
However I do have some plans and ideas and so does my prescient partner, Matt, and we hope to fulfil a vast number of things throughout this year.
One thing is certain, you will learn of them in the news section of the Shadowcat Site.
I was fortunate, last month, to attend a Masterclass Lecture given by the sailor, Pete Goss. The lecture was once again organised via the wonderful staff at the Lancaster University Management School(LUMS) and my attendance was part of the Lancashire Forum Programme.
The first thing I have to state is that the Lecture Theatre One at the LUMS has some of the most comfortable lecture seating I have ever experienced. It is like an armchair. So I was quite concerned that my attention might wane during the talk and I would doze off. The lecture was at six-thirty in the evening and I had been at the University since nine in other lectures and workshops.
I need not have been so concerned, lack of interest was not going to be an issue.
Exceptional Cornish Man
Pete had asked that his introduction be:
A Cornish Sailor
However we were told he was:
An Exceptional Cornish Sailor
Pete Goss: An Exceptional Cornish Sailor
The reason given for introducing him that way is that Pete gained a lot of fame as during the single-handed round the world yachting challenge when he went to the aid of a fellow sailor who was in trouble. They were both in the path of a hurricane at the time. So his exceptional status is not without attribution.
I should initially note that a lot of what is related here has a nautical bias, and there are lots of marine allusions. Please be patient with them, when Pete tells his tale they seem natural and fluid, the repetition of them here are by my hand and therefore do not have his skill in the usage. In fact this is a simple reflection, somewhat distorted by time and my own ability, of his talk, although not derisive it is not an indication of his quality.
Pete began by saying he was going to share with us his leadership insights. he would do this while telling us a little of his life story and by telling of three sporting challenges he performed. It is worth noting that he calls these projects, and that each project he has done was like running a seperate business.
He also likes to say he lost:
the world's biggest catamaran
As part of what was known as Team Philips. This was not just going to be a talk about success but a reflection on loss, and failure to complete. Pete has had to contend with failure as much as success. The first thing that he chose to present to us was:
Leadership challenges the norm
The accepted ways of doing things do not work when you are a leader. Part of what marks you as a leader is doing the non-normal tasks. Pete likes to ensure that in his teams they are:
A group of leaders. Each team member should be a leader.
Each team member challenges those norms and makes an exceptional challenge possible. The role of management is in making that leadership efficient. However there is a note of caution:
Too much leadership is bad
The challenge for the manager seems to be to know when to let people lead and when to inspire them to follow.
There are some people that Pete feels you need to be cautious in managing. Particularly he indicates those that have crawled so far into themselves that they are in a very dark place with no sense of leadership or direction. These people have become insular and objectionable. You can either help them and get them to change or throw them overboard.
You need a pendulum inside yourself so that you can balance yourself. Sometimes you have to lead sometimes you swing otherwise
The aim of a good manager is to delegate and train until you are not required anymore, you must allow your people to grow, to nurture them to lead. In many ways it seems that the role of a good manager is to make themselves redundant in the process.
try to do yourself out of a job.
Don't take risks, embrace risks
When Pete talks about a successful team he recalls that they are often described as lucky. However this may not be an unrelated element to that of hard work.
It is through hard work that we seem to become more lucky.
We make our own luck by creating or having the courage to grab opportunities. I like how he sees any challenge either good or bad as being an opportunity. There are no problems, there are opportunities. The problems, or issues that we all face become tasks. These tasks are our challenges and so we should treat them as opportunities with which to test or better ourselves.
There will always be experts who tell you cannot do something, but no one can tell you that you cannot try
People tend to focus too much on mistakes from a blame perspective. This is a negative road to travel and doesn't carry a team forward. You shouldn't cry over mistakes that are made, celebrate the lesson and learn from it. However if someone is being genuinely foolish, that shouldn't be tolerated.
People should be able to share their mistakes so foster a culture of sharing, of owning a mistake and admitting failure so that it can be examined. Don't allow the act of, or encourage by your approach, complaining and political manouvering.
There is a series of tasks that are faced when undertaking a sailing project. To face them it is wise to see this as a projects nature, and they are synogeous to businesses. In tackling them we use what I will fancifully describe as a projects ouvre:
Innovation, technology, challenge and adventure - the four parts of a project challenge
These are to Pete the principal works of a sailing challenge, however to me they seem to tie well to business.
Innovation: You have to be innovative, and you have to innovate well. You must use all the appropriate technology you have.
Technology: Sometimes you can use new technology to help with innovation. However, Shadowcat have the tagline 'sufficiently advanced technology' for good reasons. I think what Pete indicates is that you must invest in the technology whether new or familiar and be prepared to spend time with it.
Challenge: If your business or life is not full of challenges then you wil stagntae, you have to face and overcome to progress.
Adventure: Yachting, and single-hand around the world races, are the embodiment of adventure. But we can all have adventure in our everyday life, it is a perspective thing. Life itself is a journey and a new pathway can open at any moment. It is how we approach that adventure that marks us as a person.
Pete punctuates this with a small tale. He once woke to the headline "Goss will die", because he used an innovative swing keel on the round the world race, not the best of headlines. The papers apparent experts had decreed this foolish and that it would see him die in some horrid manner. Pete went on to set speed records which he held for nine years. Pete had invested in people and their abilities and skills. He had trusted with them and trained well and so overcame the limitations brought about by only working within trusted expectation.
This wasn't a tale of Pete taking risks, it was him seizing opportunities and trusting in expertise and the practicing of skills to bring out experience.
Pete was quite passionate when he started to talk about teams. It was clear from the start that he not only appreciates a team for the support and talent, but he loves working in one.
Unless you are absolutely committed you cannot expect others to be committed
Pete has strong feelings about his teams, he invests a lot of effort and there a distinct impression that this inspires the teams he has run to do the same. There is a lesson in that, we should consider that as managers, or members, of teams we have a duty to perform as well as others and to share the load.
Pete likes to think that you start with a strong team and that they are facing a mighty task. This is the team's weight. It is the load they must carry. This weight is made up of a number of factors, experience, objectives, control of a situation, et cetera:
As a team should be always breaking down the weight they are carrying and lessening the load
So the ideal plan is to lessen that load, to break the weight down into manageable chunks or to reduce it by deletion.
Part of doing this he advocates is an investment in yourself and into bettering yourself:
Knowledge dispels fear, the more you train and prepare the easier it is to face the unexpected challenges in life. The heart and the soul need nurturing as much as the body
At this point the lecture became a discussion on the Single Handed Around the World Race, and how he faced it. This included lengthy discussion on the challenges and trials he had to overcome. Pete spoke on how he had to focus on:
Systems of regularity
These are the challenges that a business faces on a daily basis, the running of the event is the challenge that a company will face as it moves through a business period.
The allegorical relationship between facing a difficult challenge and running a successful business with multiple projects are apparent, admittedly we rarely have to face actual turbulent seas, but the metaphor still stands.
Pete told us the most famous story connected to him, how he came to rescue a fellow competitor in the round the world race, in the middle of a massive storm.
The story highlighted the decisions he had to make in an extreme situation and how he was able to face them.
Being in a strong storm that has waves that spin you around and are four stories high all you can do is react to the situation
Pete was heading towards Australia on the Indian Ocean leg of the race when he and many of the other competitors ran into a large storm front. In the position he quotes above, with waves crashing hard on to his deck, and him stowed belowdecks hoping he could hold out. All he could do was react to the situation, no planning could conceivably cover this situation as the events were too fluid and variable.
At this point Pete received a May Day from a fellow competitor. The Frenchman, Rafael, was 140 miles away and in a desperate situation. Rafael was sinking and fully in the path of the hurricane.
Pete had to make the difficult decision to stand by principal of sailors and answer the SOS at the risk of his own life or be conservatively rational and deduce that the possibility of failure was too high and then two people would lose their lives. One important fact to think of here is that Pete stressed his own vessel was taking on water. he could barely stand on deck without fear of being washed overboard. The possibility of death was very high without going further into the storm.
Pete was at the main crossroads of his life. His belief is that as a team leader you are the custodian of the team, so that you have to uphold the values of the team even in the most difficult conditions. So in a situation where he could hardly breathe, on deck with a boat almost sinking, he felt a faith in the experience and training, the hard work, of his team. Pete turned into the wind to answer the call. His unshakeable belief in the preparation and management gave him the confidence to overcome the fear and deadly danger.
Pete broke his situation into three parts. He task managed his situation:
Survive the current state
Get to Rafael
Get out of the storm with Rafael
The storm was so violent that the engine of Pete's boat was ripped from its mounts on the first night that he turned into the storm. He had to tie himself to the lower deck as her couldn't return to the deck. The rudder was locked in place.
But despite being alone on the boat Pete sees this not as an individual effort but a team effort. The team who made the boat, the team that inspired him, the team that broke his challenge into milestones. You don't stand alone.
Pete speaks as a man not just standing on the shoulders of his people but lifted by them and placed up high.
Courage, determination, persistence. You have to drive through the darkest hour and be a calm head in a storm with clear goals.
Rafael knew he was going to die. He stood on a sinking boat, strapped to it so that he would not be blown off, watching as his life raft was torn apart by the storm that was raging all around him. Rafael had made peace with himself, he knew that his life was over and had accepted that.
Then the Australian Air Force battled through the storm and found him. They dropped him a life raft as his ship was finally sinking. True to the notion of all that is French Rafael saved a bottle of champagne and got to the raft.
The combination of determination, skill, and luck born from hard work, got Pete to Rafael. The Australian Air Force risked their lives to stay above them circling so Pete would find him. Pete saved Rafael just as the boat sank. However, the ordeal didn't end there. The exposure had got to Rafael and he was desperately ill. Pete had nurse Rafael for the next ten days before he could drop him off in Tasmania. At the same time Pete had badly injured himself in his arm and it became infected. Pete had to perform surgery on himself, using a scalpel and a mirror, while being directed over the radio by a doctor.
From this Pete draws his three kernels of truth:
You can do anything if you believe it.
If a group commit mind body and soul you can get anywhere.
When you are on your own against strong odds the only failure comes from complacency.
On team Philips they decided to build the best boat and experience that they could. Responsibility is a hard thing to bestow, and a difficult challenge, but if someone lives up to it then they can really grow. They wanted to use this challenge to do that.
Pete believes that the ethos is important, you must stick to it, hold onto your core values so they are not for sale. Pete turned down two million pounds in sponsorship from a tobacco company on the Team Philips project as he doesn't support the ethos of advertising that product.
Team Philips at Sea
As always we returned to the team:
If you invest in a team a greater wealth of reward will come back to you
Once again Pete repeats that he doesn't own the project, his role is to be custodian of the project, he is another part as is everyone else. By empowering his team he was able to achieve goals for less outlay of resources, he gave them the ability to make and deliver on decisions and expectations.
The biggest lesson learned from the Team Philips project was to have a bad news meeting. A black hat (not a computing black hat), where you identify all the failures and either bin them, change them or improve them. From that you can then look at delivering:
You also must assess the teams that are divisioned and their strengths. If everyone is not playing for the same team then that is an issue, so move people into different teams to get people to integrate with each other. Recognition is the most important thing. You must learn to recognise peoples strengths, weaknesses and any failures.
It is easy to be on top, and good. But when failure, especially catastrophic, happens how you deal with it is the true telling of any team.
When Team Philips had their catastrophic moment, they didn't blame each other, they quietly set to the task of finding out what went wrong and work on it. That is how they approached every challenge. They were one unit, again the image of a strong family comes to mind, what Tönnies would have described as the Gemeinschaft of social networks.
Team Philips hit an eventual disaster that ended the project, their challenge and almost cost them their lives. During sea trials before the competition for the Round the World race they hit a freak storm. They encountered what sailors call a water bomb, an event similar to that shown in A Perfect Storm.
They were doing thirty two knots speed in a storm, while slowing themselves with thirty tons of drag and sea anchor, with no sails raised and encountering three hundred foot waves between peak and trough.
This was the point when Pete knew he had to abandon the project. Pete was responsible for everything and at the last moment he knew that the lives of his crew outweighed any other cost. They did a mayday and abandoned the vessel and were rescued by an oil tanker. They had a perilous time getting off the boat and had to watch their work and dreams sink below them.
Even though they failed, they had pride and achievement that the experiment worked. If you work in the hard and fast lane you have to expect a failure but it should be as always learned from.
You need to bring a hundred year challenge into a twenty five year achievement
Pete ended his talk with a list of things he learned, words that should open up whole dialogues for anyone managing people and projects. To begin think about what is needed for the project:
Then think about what you need to do for your team as their custodian:
Listen to your instinct
Talk to people
Listen, listen, listen
Be honest with info
Consistent, firm but fair
Never ask others to do what you wouldn't
Receptive to change
Leadership is a privilege that is bestowed, not a job title
And finally it comes to yourself, what you need for you:
Have an outlet for stress
Make time for clear thought
Don't forget family
Success and failure are part of progress
He left us with two simple words:
Once again I went to a lecture where I thought I might be entertained by listening to a different life. Once again I was taken aback by such passion, insight and genuine character. Pete Goss is an inspiring man, if he is one tenth of the man in life that he appeared in the lecture then it would be an honour to be a member of his teams.
I am sat in a workshop room, in a Hindu temple, in Preston, for the first ever Social Media for Women conference to be held in the North West.
I am here not just as a delegate, I had decided to come along when Jane first mentioned it to earlier in the year, but also as a sponsor as Shadowcat chose to support the event. Here with me is Claire, the PA to the Directors who is choosing to up her skill levels in Social Media as she will be responsible for doing that more for the company. Part of our company strategy will be to have more content on our site, a broader social presence and to ensure we engage on social levels in the manner we do to communities.
The social media for women conference is not intended to be a single sex event, although a large percentage of those people who are around me would probably be biologically classed as women, and would likely identify themselves as female.☆ Speaking to Darren (of DigiEnable) when I arrived I was intrigued, though not surprised, to discover that there were four men out of approximately 100 delegates.
Sat in the room, just before the keynotes, I was approached by one of the other men with a cheery 'hello fellow chap.' So I have an interesting aside. I understand why he approached me, we are at a tech conference, you have seen someone you can relate to, you approach and greet them. I think I mumbled some pleasantries, I also thought I was a little rude as I didn't stand to shake hands (a personal thing I think is polite), nor did I engage much further than pleasantries.
Why did I do that? Well, it was a knee jerk reaction, I was one of the only men in the room, I was the only man at the table, it was perfectly reasonable for the chap to say hi to me. I just wished he had said hello to the whole table.
Part of my personal delight in this conference was that it would take pressure from me. I am involved with a lot of tech conferences, I organise a lot of events. There is a pressure to try and create an environment in which gender isn't a barrier or an issue. I felt that today could be part of a positive push to look beyond gender (even with the conference title) and be considered people.
You see, I was feeling that it is a refreshing change. I might have had feelings of being a unicorn, or an elephant or an aubergine in the room...I didn't. I didn't really feel out of place, which is not how I would have thought I'd feel in this situation. The atmosphere felt nicely uncluttered of the gender issue, even for a conference that aims to promote and support one gender. Maybe that's why I didn't feel out of place, maybe that is why I was a little brusque. For that I apologise.
I am at a conference with a title that some might take as an exclusion to men/males, and the last thing I feel is excluded. I'd like to thank the organisers for doing that, part of me thinks that I should wish there were more men in the room so they could appreciate it as well, the rest of me doesn't care as I would rather just enjoy the event for what it is. I would rather that the speakers be identified by their gender and the audience be just delegates, 'we the people' to paraphrase an address.
The main thrust of the event 'for women' is not the delegates but the speakers. The organisers, Jane, Liz and Darren intended this event to be a platform to encourage more participation by women into technical conferences. As outlined in the opening keynotes the issue is not just that women are under-represented, it is that some feel they are not able. Jane (Binion of Jane's Social Media) spoke of how she once felt intimidated about attending events where her voice might be seen as less important from a gender or merit assessment,☆☆ which is unlikely to be even representative of the truth.
I guess we could see part of the strength in this conference in the studies that state social media is a pursuit with a greater upkeep among females to males. There are a lot of factors that determine this and it is different across the differing networks, but generally women are greater in numbers, more prominent and more active on social networks than men.
Another strength, that I can find, is that for once I am surrounded by women speaking about tech. I know many women in tech, but we end up at conferences talking when they are still in the minority, here the males are in the minority and that makes a difference. How much a difference can be debated by better minds than I, but for me it again feels rewarding.
So I end my first blog about this day. You can see my reaction was positive and I would like to applaud the organisers for making that happen
☆ As always I am using 'sex' to indicate a strict biological distinction and 'gender' to indicate a social choice.
☆☆ There is of course a well understood social bias towards seeing men as more technical, adept at technology.
Aside from just talking about the seven steps I have been trying to put them into usage and did so just this very morning.
So a little context probably will not do any harm. Some of this text is taken from an email I wrote in which I also discussed the seven steps.
I guess I was feeling a little annoyed...
Hmm, okay step back and explain why I was annoyed.
I can often be aggrieved at the slightest thing, tiny things are the real killer in any situation or relationship, they are the issues that are trivial but when they reoccur they feel personal.
In this case it was slight, but not minor, as it had reoccurred.
At this point there is a cat somewhere that is dying of vague, that's because it is relevant that you know the emotional context to relate to, but the actual thing is a McGuffin. It has no value either to this blog or in fact at all.
Anyway... rather than let the feelings fester, as I usually do. Or steam at someone, sometimes unrelated to the original catalyst incident, to blow the pressure. Both of which often result in me feeling like a bad person. Instead of that, I gave myself the 7 questions.
7 Questions to help you S.U.M.O
1. On a scale of 1-10: about a 2.
2. Will it be important in 6 months time: individual incidents have no value beyond the immediate, the issue is in repeats of behaviour.
3. Is my response appropriate: No.
4. How can I influence or improve the situation: This is an attempt to talk over what I feel - silly boy.
5 What can I learn: see subject line - I took the Seven Steps that's learning
6. What will I do differently next time: I am doing this, this time, if it works I will do this earlier next time.
7. What can I find that's positive on the situation: Doing this is fairly positive tbh., I feel better already.
Outcomes and Consequences
So the process actually helped me to evaluate how important this was. Okay I still will likely be irritated at this matter, however by analysing its actual value I can try to place its importance in the proper context. I see it for a minor problem, an irk, an irritant and not the example of a deeper issue, just a tiny inconvenience that I should ignore and appoint little significance to.
The questions allow me to take a step back, they are general enough to cover almost any situation, and the humour inherent in them allows a lot of ill feeling to dissipate.(2)
Looking forward to seeing if I use any more of those words I heard Paul speak on that night, and I may even continue to share if I do.(3)
(1) Shut Up, Move On
(2) Helped enormously by the amusing post card that the pictures came from and which is distributed by Paul at his talks.
(3) And at this point I am hoping that nobody thinks I am his secret stalker, I might be a groupie, but stalking is something I leave to Facebook
This is a short report on the night, I have quoted the speaker repeatedly but these are not all of his words they are more my understanding of what he said. If I have recalled poorly, expressed badly or simply mixed things up that is not a reflection of him.
The name 'the SUMO Guy' is a brand and a philosophy started by Paul and aligns with his bestselling book, it stands in typical Mancunian fashion for 'Shut Up Move On', hence SUMO. This was the first of many sayings that Paul was going to favour us with through the evening.
Paul started by stating his talk was aimed to satisfy two goals. The first was to give every member of the audience a piece of advice that they would find practical in the next 24 hours in either their social life or their business life.
The Second goal was to make sure we all had a laugh in the evening. With that in mind he made us all stand, we all turned to face a partner, or two partners if we were a three, and look each other in the eyes. He told a little tale about how Maori's would meet and rub noses to greet each other, however being respectable we wouldn't be doing that (which I am sure the person facing me appreciated). He did however make us look the other person in the eyes and then repeat a few words. They were in Norwegian so I have no way of telling you what they were. I did however discover the English translation, as did everyone else as Paul told us them. They were 'I Love you sugar baby".
When arrogance meets ignorance it is a dangerous cocktail
Paul quickly proved to be an excellent speaker, engaging the audience using insight and personal understandings gained through his life that he was able to relate with wit and brevity. Part of what made him so interesting has to be his educational achievements coupled with a clear love of people and their interactions.
The biggest challenge is how we deal with and relate to other people. How do we lead ourselves and others in challenging times
Enter the Ring
Paul states that he:
Tell it as it is
He also has a clear passion for trying to get people to look at themselves. SUMO when told to motivate younger people is often expressed as:
Stop, Understand, Move On
We learned that Paul likes to work with younger people, one of his goals is to try and make people understand the difference they can make in someones lives. The younger that person is, the more effect you can have on them. It is important to make sure your language use reflects that.
You are all utterly, completely and totally MAD, Making a Difference.
I liked the way that we were spoken to in a very natural, down-to-Earth manner, yet there was a lot of concept thinking behind this common sense speech. Much of what Paul was observing and relating to us falls into CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), as a discipline. CBT looks at much deeper emotions than the ones most of us exhibit, however the application of the technique, of how to address issues and come to understand them has merit.
Who is the most important person you are going to talk to - yourself
It was interesting to hear Paul state that much of this is simply:
developing fruity thinking
Throwing down salt (making the challenge)
We have to come to understand ourselves and part of that understanding is the knowledge that just like an airline oxygen system, before you can think of helping others you yourself have to be in a safe position. You have to put your mask on first.
Paul also had some insights that when stated seem obvious, but I am doubtful that most people practice them. One of the most surprising to me, and one I often do but I don't consciously say it enough is related to staff. Paul quoted a belief held by many companies, and shown to great effect that:
If you want to be really successful, you put your staff first and your customer second, never underestimate the appreciation of a single person
We should however raise some caution to this. Just as you can make a positive change the influence of people who are negative in your organisation is just as equally MAD - but this is not the best difference to make. Being critical is a valuable thing, it allows us to analyse and assess, being obsessively critical of everything is a quick path to negativity and cynicism.
The management of the people and the culture they operate in is important, if you manage people badly they will come to behave badly
There were a few more insights that were passed to us, and again you can easily feel they are aphoristic, but the way in which Paul presented them, how he used examples gave you insight into why they are useful:
What have I got to lose - take some action it is far better than being doomed into innaction
We must be fruity thinkers as we can easily slip into faulty thinking
* this will increase your stress and anxiety
* it will decrease your effectiveness
Inside the Ring
Change can make you feel uncomfortable - we were not programmed to love uncertainty - if it feels good do it, if it doesn't don't do it, but don't let that stop you trying
Paul wants us to move outside of a comfort zone. The comfort zone is a safe place, but it can make us complacent. If you want to learn, seek opportunities and generally grow you have to step out of the familiar, you push the boundary of your comfort zone and therefore increase your ability. However in a cautionary note Paul stated that thinking that occurs outside of the comfort zone can quite often be faulty. But if you are forewarned, you are forearmed. In my opinion it is wise to write down, to learn more and then to re-assess.
Paul spoke at some length about the inner critic, an old tutor of mine (Carol Coates) who taught me Creative Writing used to call this the Inner Policeman, the person who tells you to stop and go no further. Paul likes to see it as a boxing glove that pummels you down. The inner critic makes us think in a faulty way and it stops us stepping out of our comfort zone and exploring the unknown.
Recognising that things can go wrong,without it being controlled by you. It can be a bad day doesn't make you bad.
Never underestimate the impact of a casual conversation to lift people.
Never forget the power of words when you talk to yourself
Some people take their inner critic to a new level and succumb to the Tomato Syndrome. This is actually the Martyr Syndrome and how many of us like to play that role, to be the victim to complain like Marvyn from HitchHikers that:
Why does this always happen to me
The martyr's suffer from BSE - Blame Someone Else. You can blame someone else for the problems, and sometimes global effects do matter and make a difference such as war or economic strife. But, you have the power to affect your life and the lives of those around you, can change things but you have to make that change it rarely just happens.
Every person is a leader, even if it is only to lead ourselves
The Winner's Proclamation
The final thing that Paul introduced us to that night are the Seven Questions he came up with, I love these questions and I think I will use them repeatedly. In his talk he only spoke about three of them (1, 2 and 4) and to be honest they are very important and maybe form the initial trilogy of inquiry you can throw at a situation, and especially to address your mood.
Where is the issue on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 = death)
Stress makes you stupid (drugs and alcohol will also do this)
Higher your emotional involvement the lower your perspective
How important will it be in 6 months time
Your brain helps you find what you are looking for, it looks for patterns, and if you are not looking for it, you don't see it.
How can we influence or improve the situation
There may be no bridge, people complain about it, people moan and blame, you have to instead look for the answer, ask questions ('build a bridge, get over it' - Australian Proverb)
Often the resources you need to build a bridge are around you and you just want to be a tomato
Ripeness is All (King Lear)
A final thought was presented, sometimes it is good to have what Paul called 'Hippo Time'. Sometimes it is fine to wallow to feel that life is a little unfair and to feel sorry for yourself. However it is not a good place to stay, so when you visit there have a good roll around in the mud, get the negativity thoroughly out and then SUMO.
Life does not reward good ideas or intentions, it rewards actions. It is not how or whether you fall, it is how long you stay down there
Paul left us with Carpe Diem, which an aged relative of mine decided was 'Size the Day'. You must seize the moment and move with is. I have always preferred the Lear use of 'Ripeness is All'.
The talk left me in a state of positive euphoria, I was 'buzzing' a sa Mancunian would attest as I left the theatre. He was a great motivational speaker, insightful, funny and very understandable. By making his approach on a very human level with understandings gained from his own life, his own failures and how he dealt with them we were able to sympathise and emote.
His style was very natural and it reminded me of some of the other great motivational speakers I have heard, often motivational due to their passion and understanding. This is something Paul shared. If you can I suggest you attend one of his talks. If you run a team I suggest you get him in to talk to them or take them to his talk. At the very least you should buy his book, I know I'm going to, and it is going to be the first book of that type I am ever likely to read, I will let you know what I think about it at a later date.
In Sumo only one challenger leaves the ring happy. In SUMO I think the whole room was joyous.
This is the second article written from my notes taken during the 'Innovation for Everyone' masterclass held at Lancaster University and hosted by Lancaster University Management School (LUMS). The talk was presented by Mark Freel who teaches at the University of Ottawa and Lancaster University, I should also point out that he is the 'RBC professor for the commercialization of Innovation'.
A sort of metric
There is a pertinent question that I am sure everyone in business has been asked at some point in their lives and was posed to us by Mark:
What is the goal of business?
The answer he almost invariably gets, and one which he assures us some people are very insistent to point out is the only goal is:
To make money
There is however a different approach we can take. If the only goal of business were to make money there would be no appreciation of product. It is true that some people, and businesses try to enhance profit margins as much as possible and at any cost, but as can be seen from the recent food scandals this can often backfire with disastrous results.
That is because to the consumer the purpose of the business is not to make money but to provide them with a product they are willing to pay for and they judge that based on a 'value'.
The goal of business must therefore be to create value
A couple of things came to my mind when this was suggested:
How then do we measure this value?
Well if our product or service is in demand and we get repeat business that is some measure of the value.
How do we determine the factors governing what value has been gained?
These can be done with a survey, but may also be judged by how our customers interact with us. Do they say favourable things, or do they curse us for being the only, poor, solution in a depleted marketplace?
How do we determine whether we are pursuing the best business goal when we give that value?
This last is the topic that Mark addressed. How do we measure the value to the product being made in a way that can be of use to a business. He suggested the following understanding:
Let 'V' be the Value of the product to the customer
Let 'P' be the Price per unit
Let 'C' be the Cost of production
With this in mind:
V minus P is the Consumer surplus
P minus C is the Profit per unit
V minus C is the Value created
So as long as Value is higher than Price we will have a consumer surplus - the product will be wanted.
So long as Price is higher than the Cost to create the item we will have a profit.
The difference between Value and Cost is therefore the Value Created.
One could infer that to increase the 'Value Created' we must either lower the cost of production or increase the price without sacrificing the value to the customer as less sales would be less consumer surplus.
However if we increase the price we lower the differential of value to price, and if we lower the price we lower the profit per unit.
The profit per unit doesn't affect the value, but it does affect how much we as a company earn.
The danger, and one which we see quite commonly, is that the cost of production decreases, the price either remains the same at which point the company grows, or the price has to drop due to market pressures which can directly impinge on the value to the customer.
Would people want an Aston Martin car so much if they were as cheap as a Honda Jazz?
There is an inverse relationship between creating value and making profit, increased value is higher cost.
You have to stay within an area that is called the Efficiency Frontier - you have to create enough value to cost of production to stay flexible and to push the boundary. Innovation may be about pushing or changing that frontier. Push out the frontier to utilise the same cost to more value, or change the value co-efficient. Innovation adds more value without changing too much of the cost in production.
Customers typically want more of the same but for less prices:
I asked my customers what they wanted and they said "we want faster Horses" (Henry Ford)
Sometimes you need to have 'disruptive innovation'. That is the fact that you have to change the environment so that the customer comes to want your product. As the Henry Ford quote above shows, and what is commonly known, sometimes people do not know what they want as they cannot see the value of the item you are trying to sell them.
So people when asked what they need to make their lives easier didn't say a horseless wagon, they said they needed faster horses. They needed more of the same but not at an increased cost.
But you cannot change the world too quickly. people do not always see innovation as a good thing, they like the comfortable and the familiar. You have to take some of the old with the new when we make changes, even social changes. So a piece of technology may be massively smaller/different yet still packaged for a good deal of time in the same way. Think of all the empty space inside a DVD player, or a digital watch, or an electronic carriage clock.
So sometimes understanding the customer, reacting to their needs or what they don't like is innovation.
There are a few things we can identify as 'Customer Driven Innovation':
Look outside the organisation - start with the customer;
Observe customers - walk in their shoes;
Make customers active, make them an ingredient in your recipe;
Make a connection, create fans;
Don't be afraid of the unexpected.
And some ways in which you can utilise the consumers of your product or services:
Recruit the right customers - early adopters are best;
Use a structured approach - what do you want, how would you use it, what is the job that it needs to do;
Manage your expectations - customers often ask for things you cannot deliver;
It's more about needs than solutions;
Seek fresh eyes in evaluating ideas.
There are several types of customer:
The enthusiast, a small percentage of people who are geeks about your service or business;
The early adopter - the people who catch on to a new thing early, always having the latest new item, gadget or toy;
The early majority - a third of all people;
the late majority - the next third;
Hangers on - those who seek to change just as all the innovation as gone and the market is stable and not expanding;
Most people fall into the early majority or late adopters, as an innovator you need the early adopters, they will let you know what the early majority and the late majority will really need as consumers, not enthusiasts.
The customers you most want are the 'Early Adopters'.
What is the outcome of what you are doing when you innovate? What is the primary objective? How can we achieve that?
These are some of the larger questions that should be asked by everyone seeking to be dynamic and innovative in business.
Outcome driven innovation
How do customers think about value?
Customers buy products to fulfill a need, either a physical or emotional desire. Customers have to want something, they may not know what that want is, you have to see and fill those wants.
The job is a primary unit of Analysis
Products come and go the job is stable. You need to go out to see the customer and find out what they use and what they really want - go out and figure what the jobs are.
Ideas Versus Execution
Extraordinary execution of the ordinary - sometimes being great at something is innovative as you do more than others in your field.
So what are the domains of innovation? How and where can we utilise innovation in our companies? There are multiple domains of innovation:
Innovation in products;
Innovation in processes;
Innovation in markets and marketing;
Innovation in administration and work organisation;
Innovation in supply chains;
but maybe not in the business model.
A few final thoughts to summarise:
Invention is not a common part, it is more likely to be imitation and borrowing;
technically mundane works quite well;
What you are innovating doesn't have to be high risk;
good ideas are everywhere don't be afraid to look in odd places or explore new ideas;
innovation is about satisfying need, those needs may not be understood or apparent.
Innovation shouldn't be for innovations sake - innovate to create value;
Maximise the business between value and cost, If it doesn't raise V or lower C don't do it;
What value do your customers perceive and what are your value creation processes;
Understand how your customers use your products and services;
Emphasise on 'technology use' not 'technology creation'.
Once again I am deeply indebted to Mark Freel for such a thoughtful lecture and for Lancaster University Management School for inviting me and filling my Wednesday morning and these two blog posts with a lot of material to chew over.
I kinda feel sorry for David Cameron. Okay I dislike a lot of his politics and as a firmly left of centre chap I dislike his party almost completely. They, and he, stand for everything that is alien to my life and way of living. However I can sympathise with him as he is trapped by his own appeasement.
Cameron’s skill has always been in being a yes man, a negotiator of smarm thinly disguised by a charming demeanour. He agrees with you only to wheedle you into moving towards a preferred position, his aim to be popular, loved, needed by all.
He is all things to all people and in doing so he is nothing to most.
Cameron has to contend with coalition partners who see him only as a method to force centrist policy, opposed by a militant wing of his party locked in the past where strong right wing policy creates an idyllic England filled with the common good. This mastubatory fetish dictates obedience without compromise. This factor makes me sympathise with him.
There are members of his party who tired quickly of being in power with the ‘enemy’. They see Cam not as an appeaser but a traitor. It is they who constantly promote an agenda of losing party and soul to the disparity of UKIP.
Cameron’s popularism has bred an environment where he must constantly bend to these factors and this without the great black pustule that is the apocryphal ordinary-man-in-the-street and the popular press. A post all on its own.
So I have some sympathy for the great appeaser. Not much, just some.
"Return Of Kings is a blog for heterosexual, masculine men. It’s meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine.
ROK aims to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men. Sadly, yesterday’s masculinity is today’s misogyny. The site intends to be a safe space on the web for those men who don’t agree with the direction that Western culture is headed. Click here to send an email to the team.
Women and homosexuals are prohibited from commenting here. They will be immediately banned.”
they should be fucking shot
people who should be castrated
they should not be shot. nor castrated. think about it.
they should be smothered in fucking love and compassion. possibly the only way they’ll ever snap out of it.
$50 says if you castrate/shoot them they’re bound to just build a nastier website.
don’t perpetuate the cycle. rise.
Thanks Amanda Palmer aren’t u a gr8 persun
Don’t you DARE say these men need “love and compassion”. Our anger is a legitimate reaction to all these sorts of sistematic hate perpetuaded by white cis het men. I REFUSE TO GIVE ANY KINDNESS TO SHITTY PEOPLE LIKE THEM.
We will not perpetuate the cycle. WE’LL SMASH IT.
watch the world go up in flames as an eye for eye leaves us all in a pile of cosmic hate-filled fire.
I think we should be angry. But can you really fight hate with more hate? Doesn’t that just perpetuate the cycle?
yes. we can and should be angry. this website is mad cray.
"THESE MEN SHOULD DIE SLOW DEATHS/BE CASTRATED/MUTILATED" and those responding "FUCK YEAH"
is stooping right down to level of mindless violence and non-respect that this website is perpetuating. and it’s exactly the response that gives forward-thinking feminists a bad rap in as a bunch of maniacal “man haters”.
so yes. feel anger. share feelings. respond with truth. but don’t use wrong speech, or get violent. or say anything you wouldn’t say in the actual company of these human beings.
it still amazes me that some women think the correct response to this is “LET’S KILL THESE PEOPLE.”
really, ladies? would you call up the mother of the guy who started this website and say “hello, ms. smith, i think your son should be castrated and die.” ???
no. really. honestly. you wouldn’t. you’d be angry, but human.
so let’s please get our shit together and treat each other - yes, even the people like this - with dignity and respect.
golden fucking rule, people.
otherwise we all stay in the fucking gutter.
Amanda Palmer has been my hero since I was 13, I’ve seen her in concert five times, but I’m an adult now and realizing how fucking problematic some of the shit she says is. Like this. 'Rise above the hate' are you fucking kidding me. I will not 'rise above' anything I will obliterate those tools. 'Don't threaten them you'll just reinforce the man hating feminist stereotype!' Why the hell would I want any man around me that guzzles that kool-aid, or for that matter doesn't think my 'man hating' (aka FEAR) is justified. Not gonna cuddle these assholes into submission, really rather just eject them into the sun.
No Amanda, just no. I am so disappointed.
and i’ll say it again, and i’ll never stop.
rise above the hate.
it’s actually possible.
and it’s the way out of here.
you want out?
you want websites like this to go away?
you want everybody on the planet to be happy?
including this guy?
you wanting to “eject these people into the sun” will not help matters. at all. ever.
if you think it’s “not okay” for these men to use cruel, violent speech and awful imagery, surely it’s also “not okay” for anyone - including you - to do the same.
if you cannot see the connection between your violence and their violence, you aren’t looking hard enough for a real solution to the larger problem.
a problem that i think we can all agree we need to fix pronto.
So Teresa May wants to introduce fast entry to UK ports for businesses people and probably celebrities of a certain wealth bracket…
Will it be faster than the service offered to those who live in the UK and pay taxes?
That aside this notion of fast entry to prevent loss of business is pretty abhorrent. Surely the better answer would be to improve the whole system, not engender a culture of avoidances for those deemed special.
The excuse that this is to benefit us all is facile. There is no guarantee that this move is anything more than appeasement by the Home Sec. to the more frothy members of her party.
Once again democracy is easily bought. Fair values, the notion that we are all in the great ship Britain together is gleefully mocked.
"This is going to be my last tour for a long, long time." Wait, how long is long long? I'd love to see you.
<p><a class="tumblr_blog" href="http://amandapalmer.tumblr.com/post/65330441458/this-is-going-to-be-my-last-tour-for-a-long-long">amandapalmer</a>:</p>
<blockquote><p>after this tour is over (I end in Vienna in mid-November) I am ending this round of the grand theft orchestra. </p>
<p>I’ll be doing 10 shows, solo, in Sydney for the Sydney festival in the amazing spiegeltent (January 9-19) and after that, i’m stopping. </p>
<p>i am going to write a book, start a home with neil in upstate new york, and take the summer relatively off for the first time in about…12 years. it’s been that long since I took a true break from touring. </p>
<p>i am also going to start work on a giant long-term theatrical project/original musical with my director hero, steven bogart. </p>
<p>i am also going to fully clean my apartment in boston for the first time since - NO SHIT - 2004. that’s the last time i vacuumed. expect interesting pictures. </p>
<p>i don’t know when I’m going to tour again, or how, or who with, but it won’t be for a while. I’ve been on the road pretty much non-stop since 2002 and it’s time to take a fucking break. </p>
<p>i also need to get back to writing music. as nice as it is to be known for being a feminist, a kickstarter maker, a blogger and a general pain in the ass, i miss the days when people knew i was a good songwriter. this last record i made, Theatre is Evil, was the best of my career, hands down, with the strongest production and best songwriting i’ve ever delivered…and i feel like the poor record itself got drowned in the murky seas of Everything Else.</p>
<p>time to balance the scales…brush off self, re-tune strings, collect thoughts, simmer the chaos, and ready myself for whatever is next, armed with a new song.</p></blockquote>
I read an excellent article some time ago about how movies are using Cyan and Orange a lot, especially colouring in post processing.
Since then I have been very aware of it. I just rewatched Skyfall and noticed how much they have used that colouration in I this movie, it wasn’t so apparent in June cinema (projected colours), but massively visible on Blu-Ray.
So I changed this year, after almost 5 years, from owning an iPhone to owning an Android device. It might be that switch that makes me feel this way…
…I just cannot get excited by the new phones. So updated speed, bit more ram and more disk space in the top end. A nicer camera and some very funky software updates…
…and the fingerprint thing is sweet but not really revolutionary…
…but not exciting.
The design is now feeling a little staid. It just underwhelms, sorry,it was stunning when it first came out, and I loved the 4, but the 5 is just a stretched 4 and i don’t think it is a good look at all.
And they have been in this shape and look for too long. So they changed the colours and baked the edges a little tighter, but really is that it?
Sometimes the conjunction of news events sickens me, in the same list are the two items ‘hundreds of thousands of refugees are starving in Syria crisis’ and ‘Spanish club pays 90 million in highest transfer fee for a Football player’.
There is a reason we have an economic crisis, we don’t know how to spend money properly.
Defending the Fantasy Genre with Terminal Intensity (for the official Edgar Wright show at Gallery1998) – 18” x 12” (numbered edition of 30)
My friends and I fell head over heels in love with Spaced when we first saw it on Channel 4 over a decade ago. The general predicament of the characters, the countless references to pop culture from our generation raised by VHS and Playstation, it was as if our own minds had somehow collectively made a sitcom without any of us knowing about it, and made it far more amazing than we ever could have imagined. To this day I don’t think I’ve connected with any television show in such a visceral way.
So, when I was invited to contribute to the exhibition, after already having created artworks inspired by Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim, it just felt like a good time to return to the seminal show. When I started to think about what to do, it became clear that all the main characters needed to be in there, and as many of the minor ones I could squeeze in too, so something rather epic began.
Skipping to the end (!) I could call it a labour of love, but it didn’t really feel like labour at all.
The show opens Tuesday, August 20th, and remaining prints will be available online at some point after that.
Not sure what I’d use instead of this term, I am fairly certain though that I am beginning to hate ‘mansplaining’ and its usage.
I read a blog where someone was accused of it because they were talking about an item and the person they were talking to was an expert. So what? Maybe they didn’t care about gender, maybe they just were enthusiastic? Maybe they were breaking the ice, sure that might sometimes be creepy, but you could have told them. However what you do is say nothing while silently categorising them…wait, how is that different to how they are treating you?
In the same manner that I detest it when I use gender specific rhetoric myself and then realise it is blatantly just awful. I can see why it became a good term to use, now I see it only used as abuse :/
Nice to see the UK government’s newly directed Bulldog Force, formerly known as UK Border Police and Immigration, toughening it up and abusing immigrants.
From the blissfully understated advertisements shouting get out jhonnie wog, to the tweet storm, and now the reported stop and search of people caught wearing dark skin, we are brought back to the days of actively promoted government funded racial profiling.
This stuff is so blatantly abusive that even the head of UKIP is calling it nasty.
What next? Being stopped for wearing foreign clothes in a built up area? How about talking in a funny accent? Do we have to bring out the being in possession of an offensive wife?
Oswald Mosely is sat upright in his tomb doing a jig of joy.
The Job Fair is underway in Room 2.120 of the Thompson Center.
This is a great opportunity to visit the Sponsors and learn about career opportunities available from the many companies. It is also a chance to pick up some of the special swag that the companies have brought along just for you.
If you are looking to further your career or to get an understanding of who is hiring, or simply want to come along and thank the sponsors please visit.
You can also make a donation to The Perl Foundation while you are there to help them continue to support you, Perl and our community.
Information Technology and Services | Lancaster, United Kingdom, GB
I have worked as a designer and Internet Interface designer with several years experience of design software for print and online (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDraw, Inkscape, The Gimp, Flash etc.); I have a good working knowledge of HTML and CSS and will program using these languages from a text editor.
I also have worked as a project manager and small team manager with responsibilities for IT development and planning in a small business.
Currently I manage a small business focusing on software and open source project development and consultation. This has led to experience in management, training, accounts (including works payroll), project planning, scheduling and timetabling, promotion, marketing and research into community and joint project ventures.
My current goal is to develop my company into a more prominent publisher of open source and bespoke software and to instigate new projects and challenges.
Eventually I want to live near a beach and work from a laptop with a good wireless connection and a view of the sea :)
Specialties: Salary negotiation and budget planning; css and html standards; internet development and planning; company goals and achievements; project scheduling; marketing and promotion
2008 - Present
co-Leader / North-West England Perl Mongers
2008 - Present
Organiser, Supreme Overlord / London Perl Workshop
The London Perl Workshop is the premier Perl event on the UK calendar, and known throughout the world. Mark has been the organiser for this event since 2008.
This specific post was created using WordPress for Android on a mobile phone. This explains but not excuses any incorrect or unusual typography, brevity or formatting.
...is married to Leigh and has two sons called Benjamin Connor and Elliott James, they all live in Lancaster, UK with a cat called Darwin and several tropical fish. He stumbled sideways into the magnificent world of Perl by way of linguistics, literature, a publishing company and an undefined close association with Matt Trout. He is a neophyte evangelist of modern Perl and an advocate of Enlightenment thinking.