Archive for May, 2007

Why the Irish property market is screwed. Part 1

I’m so fed up of hearing the non-sense from so called property experts and economists on the Irish property market. Look if your business was in property would you really admit markets go in waves its been up for 30 years and now its going through a natural recession. If your news papers property section is completely funded by ads from estate agents and property developers would you really let people know that what their selling at the moment is a very bad buy… and if you did do you think they’d pay tens of thousands to advertise on the page beside that article.

“Dublin property prices inched up 0.1% in April, and were up 10.6% over the past year, with the average house in the capital now costing €429,754.” says RTE’s business site. What they actually should be saying is relative to Inflation property FELL 4.9% in a month!

And this doesn’t even start to explain the seriousness of the problem, sales figures are massively down – noone is buying whats on the market on their is a buyer seller stand off. I’ve heard of properties being valued for above 25% less than they got valued at three months before. That news makes it hard to come to a sell decision, its an ego thing. The “experts” say this is because with the change of government, stamp duty will probably be aboloshed. I believe, while that is true, its only the tip of the iceburg. The problem is property is Irish Property, in general, is no longer a good investment!

Look when everyone thinks the easy way to make money is a certain way its time to get out of the market. Every person at the water cooler ofcourse would have told you its fool proof – after all doesn’t “property always goes up over time”! Ofcourse when you take out your phone pretend to answer it and pass it to them telling them its Japan from the 80’s calling wanting their prices back, they look at you like you just kicked a baby. Residential Land in Tokyo is down almost 60% with a steady year-on-year declines.

Recently a property developer told me that he’s not going to be going ahead with any new buildings untill the market sorts itself out. See the big guns in the property market aren’t going to be the ones worst affected, some will, however if your a single teacher (or similar) who stretched yourself to buy a second house in 2006 and is subsidising the mortguage for capital gains your likely to get a devastating awakening.

Forget all the technical mumbo jumbo. This isn’t complicated, here’s why property at the moment is a bad investment.

1. A single person needs to be earning at least 100,000 to afford a reasonable sized house.

2. Population growth! (Info taken from the CSO Census 2006 – Preliminary Report.)
‘From a ten-year perspective, Ireland’s population increased at an annual average rate of 1.6 per cent between 1996 and 2006 – the largest population growth rate in the EU.’ Lots of immigrants coming over to enjoy the country while its ecomony was on fire, if/when there’s an economic cool down some will leave less new ones will come. This massively affects your rental market.

But here’s the big issue. My father came from a family of 13 kids (thats right a soccer team with subs), they all had to grow up and find houses. Large familys weren’t uncommon in those days. Now days having 4 kids is considered a status symbol! ‘The average number of children per family decline from 2.2 in 1986 to 1.4 in 2006.’ Why? Condoms, Abortions and the Price to raise kids nowdays. In fact all of the EU is a shrinking population. So in 20/30 years there wont be that first times buyers market to keep up with the availabilty of residential property coming on the market due to deaths. As the population continues to get older they will prefer spacious living accomidation rather than the tiny apartments so popular with investors nowdays.

When the stand off between buyers and sellers escilates the market drops a little because the smart people take the hit and leave graciously. Then suddenly its fashionable to be getting out of the property market, even if the market was stagnant you could still be loosing money by subsidising rents so the smart thing to do is get out, or so the talk at the water cooler goes. But now your asking people to potentially take a loss they can’t afford, so they hold on. Things get worse, houses are cheaper and therefore rents start to drop because the new sophisticated investors come in to stabilise the market and get a deal; for example housing is down 40% so new investors come in at that price, rent for 30% below 2007 market rates eventually forcing more and more unsophisticated investers into repo.

Its already started happening and i think its going to happen fast and brutally.

Today i hurt someones feelings

I guess i still have a lot of work to do on my interpersonal skills.

I recieved a complaint today about a company employee, ME! I guess its the big advantage of running a business that you don’t have to answer to anyone – cause i’d have been tough if someone i employed recieved such a complaint. I spent a short while beating myself up over it. Now i’ve resigned to try improve myself and have put it behind me. But here’s the story to get it off my chest and i’d appreciate any comments or feedback:

We hired a truck to transport some equipment we needed to install. Not gonna mention the company cause its not really relevant, anyway its not a major player and you most likely wouldn’t have heard of them. We pay in advance plus a reasonably large deposit for to cover excess milage. So all goes well the first 3 days untill the cluth gives way leaving us stranded. We call up one of our engineers who tows the truck to the garage and we transfer the remaining equipment into his landcruiser. It takes an extra day but we finnish the job in time for the weekend. Monday rolls around, the rental company informs us they have another truck for us to pick up and off we go to collect. “Your lucky its the only one we have free – It’s been sitting in my back yard for six months storing furniture” says the rental mechanic. The truck is well past its usability date, i express concern about the “stability struts” used to tie the equipment in place not being strong enough for our purpose – only to be told their solid as a rock. “Give em a tug” suggested the mechanic, being a bit over zealous i pull at a loose strut and it comes off. I hand it to him sleepishly, i didn’t mean that to happen. Well its all we got says he smiling. We go. The truck has a top speed of 40km, no exageration, and that was down hill on a motorway!

Project complete and a week later i get the Invoice(s) – Rather than a rebate it says we owe them money. I get on the phone to call the owner to ask a few questions:

1. Why is the milage rates 80% higher for the second vehicle when it was the same brand, model and size?
2. We had agreed that we would be credited for the full tank of fuel in the broken down truck, could this not being deducted be an error?
3. Why were we being charged an expensive daily rate in opposed to the agreed weekly rate? (Six days being nearly twice the price of a week).

After several attempts a reach the owner manager, he said he’d investigate the first two issues, the third however since their seperate trucks, their seperate Invoices and since we only had the truck for six days we couldnt expect the reduced rate for having it for seven. I reminded him we booked for Two weeks and the only reason we didn’t have it for so long was that his vehicle broke down. He went off explaining how much it cost him to fix the truck, i felt like telling him how much it costs us to delay and have engineers waiting around doing nothing, but i composed myself and said “you can’t blame or charge us extra for your truck breaking down”. He said he never infered blame and i apologised as i could see there was little reasoning to be done. He agreed to review the Invoices and get back to me soon.

Two weeks roll by and i get impatient, so i ring to follow up. The guy really starts to rub me up the wrong way when he says he’s been out for a week and is only back in the office now – “i’ll get back to you on it,” he dismisses me. Mind mind was thinking this guy can’t be for real, how can anyone own a business and be so glib to a customer. Remeber this guy owed us a deposit back. ‘Away last week?’ i was thinking – ‘What about the week before that when you were suppose to call me back!’ Instead i find myself saying “I’m getting pressure from the accountants to rap this up (a white lie), can you give me a rough estimate when you’ll call back”. Although i controlled the words my voices gives away how disimpressed i am. “No i can’t,” he barked “i’ll get around to it when im ready.” The phone hangs up and i’m in disbelief as to what just happened. What a jerk.

Later i recieve a fax opening “Firstly i don’t appreciate being spoken to in such a tone” the letter gets all defensive and then in the final paragraph mentions that he’s reviewed the Invoices and he is “willing to offer as a gesture” the refund which in my opinion was quite obviously due. It hits me, this guys pride has been hurt because by querying the Invoice in his brain i was accusing him personally of not doing his job right and by asking him to respond within my time frame i was implying he wasn’t king of his castle.

So despite both of us going off thinking we were in the right, we both up ended feeling bad because of it. We both went off feeling we won – i got the money back which was my goal and he showed the young smuck who’s boss by going over his head and sending in a complaint which would give any boss good reason to question a persons employability. Don’t worry i’m not letting myself go just yet :). The result i’ll need to find a new supplier when we have need to rent a truck and his business will forever need to replace the disgruntled customers it looses.

Anyway i guess from the experience i learned that i need to work harder on the human element of dealing with people. Common sense isn’t all that common and sometime people just need you to let them think they have all the power if it gets the desired result. There’s probably many many people like him that find people like me impossible to deal with!

Tv has finally gone too far..

Take from CNN

“In Amsterdam a 37-year-old woman suffering from an inoperable brain tumor wants to donate a kidney before she dies and will choose the recipient from among three contestants on Dutch national television, a TV network said (on) Tuesday, claiming it wants to highlight a crisis in organ donations.

Asked to intervene, the government said it was unable to stop the broadcast, regardless of how distasteful — and even unethical — it might be. And it’s unclear whether the contestants are a medical match with the terminally ill woman, and whether the winner would be capable of receiving her kidney.”

You get to vote in via SMS for who gets the chance to live, assuming the contestant turn out to be compatable. This is dispicable profiting from sick individuals.

The Importance of Owning your .com

Imagine going through all the efforts of setting up an online brand and introducing it to the public only to have someone who owned the .Com domain to cash in on your efforts. Well it seems this is whats happening to
Roam4Free. is a sim card which allows you to roam for a fraction of the cost of normal networks and recieve free calls in 115 countries. Its one of the products that i’ll be including in my new online store of FreeCallsClub when i finally get it launched in the next two weeks.

With it’s growing popularity due to word of mouth and its ability to save customers hard cash; its becoming a big success story and the new version due for launch soon, which promises some revolutionary changes to the roaming market, it’s only going get bigger and bigger. No surprise then that people are trying to cash in on the success., a non affiliated site who happened to own the lucrative name have advertised a “Roam4Free” sim card. Offering a 50 – 70% discount on calls in opposed to the up to 90% offer! Its an easy mistake to make to just put a .com after a brand name your looking for and in this case could be costly.

It’ll be interesting to see what CEO of and friend of mine Pat Phelen thinks of the new comers.

Eliminate your roaming charges

Nokia 8600 “Luna”

Sales have already started of the new designer model from Nokia, although nothing is on the official Nokia site as of yet. The mobile retailer Carphone warhouse on Monday advertised the Nokia 8600 — similar to Nokia’s strong-selling top-of-the-range 8800 and said it will come with a 2 megapixel camera, music player and FM radio, in a stainless steel casing; All the usuals then. I was a bit surprised they couldn’t do better with the battery life, I have an 8800 at the moment and the battery is shockingly bad – lasts one day at best, a few hours at worst. For this reason i always have to carry spare batteries, which they supplied with the phone.


Nokia 8600 at a glance

GSM 850/900/1800/1900


240×320 pixels, 262k colours

2 megapixels

Medium-large slider
107 x 45 x 16mm / 140 grams


Memory card:




Battery life:
3.5 hours talk / 10 days standby

How To Run a Nightclub pt1 – Door Staff & Clientel

I’ve noticed nightclubs making the same mistakes over and over again. In these posts I’ll try to explain some common mistakes that have closed down thousands of venues across the world and have stopped good venues becomeing great.

Door Staff – You door policy should NOT be set by your Door Staff. Door staff should be their to maintain order and above all should be their to facilitate the customer. It should be their job to greet each customer, have a brief chat with them to make sure they arent too drunk and make them feel that they will be safe in the premises under their supervision. They don’t need to be “hard” or “scary”, the best security i’ve encountered are so friendly that when they go to break up a distrubance – it stops automatically and they apologies for cause them problems. They do this because both side consider the security personell their friends (who are on their side) after their brief chat at the door.

So how then, you ask, do you ensure you get the clientel you want? First off before you open decide who your clientel is. Write it down in your mission statement and don’t be vague. “Don’t say 18 -45 years old who like to drink lots” instead Niche as much as possible. For example “23 -27 year olds, young professionals, who like X music, wear designer clothes, etc…”. You need to do this because your going to choose your clientel not let the clientel choose you.

Once you can visually imagine your A-typical customer, investingate what they want from a venue and a nightout. Again be specific. Do they want comfy booths, designer Beds to lounge on, bar stools, to stand and leave a drink on a table. What do they drink? Should you serve pints? Don’t just assume you have to! What does each brand of drink say about the customer? If your catering to a student market maybe you should serve Cheap larger in jugs. If your catering to models maybe a large range of Champagne and fresh strawberries. If you want health concious females then maybe a freshly squeezed cocktail bar. Are they price concious of the price of drinks? Set your price to suit your market. Always have a good value option and i’d recommend charging above odds on alco-pops – people who drink these aren’t price concious and tend to be young.

Make your music policy specific. Don’t go down the road of playing “a bit of everything”, that’s what every other venue is doing. The problem with doing this is that your customers will never be loyal, they have no reason to be! If your the only venue where they can find a specific atmosphere and music then you can be sure you’ll develop a regular loyal clientel.

Being a DJ myself this is likely to sound biased; but i’ve experienced managers taking over a nightclub trying to reduce costs because they think they’re paying to much for a DJ and going from 1000 people a saturday night to less than 50 within 4 weeks. Never skimp on DJ’s, a top of the range DJ is worth 100 times what you pay for them and a cheap one costs you 1000 times what you save, in customers that will never come back. Look the only way a club will succeed is if the experience they have in the venue makes them want to come back and bring friends… Don’t think of a DJ as just entertainment, their your marketing (word of mouth) and they create your atmosphere – hence dictate your clientel. Whats equally important is what a DJ DOESN’T PLAY , saying NO to requests means that your club is saying were not somewhere for everyone – were special. Otherwise you’ll end up unpleasing your target market to keep happy some group you don’t really want in your venue and who probably won’t come back anyway because the venue isn’t designed to cater for them!

Pop band for sale!


It’s a first – even for show business! Successful pop band The Rednex (Their words not mine) with dozens of international Top 10’s and No.1’s in over 15 countries is actually for sale.

And they don’t mean for sale as in, “hire them for your next festival” they mean completely for sale as in:


– the buyer gets it all:

The Music – the Trademark – the Band
The Tour – the Record Deals – the Web Site
The Record Releases – the Plans – the Contacts
The Contracts – the Styling – the Catalogue
(all previous hits and recordings)
And of course… … the opportunities… … the future…



Promo review – Fierce Angel, The Answer by The Bassmonkeys

I’ll be publishing reviews of some of the good promo’s that come my way from now on and where possible i’ll embed a little sample of the track. As one of my favourite labels i think it’s only right to start with the first ever single release from Mark Doyle and the gang at Fierce Angel.

Fierce Angel release their first Single The Answer by The Bassmonkeys. It’s only getting released now but i’ve been hammering out various mixes of this for some time. Its a definate 10/10 and gonna be a big summer tune for me.

Here’s a taster, gotta say the vid is cool:

The Great DJ Debate Pt 2- Which is the Best CD TURNTABLE for beginners or mobile DJs?

I think there is only one outstanding CD player in this category. I’ve had a set of these for over 1yr and i find them so handy for mobile gigs and always bring them in the car incase a turn up to a venue with a dodgy set of decks. The Denon DN-S 1000 ‘s are fantastic. Don’t get me wrong they should never be installed into clubs, as far as i’m concerned Pioneers are the industry standard and these babies just arent designed for that kind of job. These are super light easy to move about, cheap, cheerful and functional.

However if your spending under 1000euro for a set of decks and a mixer AND a soft carry case – These are by far your best option. And they have enough features that beginners won’t get bored of them as quick as the others in that market. Plus you can do a whole gig from one CD player (not that you would, hehe) since you can play two tracks at a time for one Player!

The Great DJ Debate Pt 1- Which is the Best CD TURNTABLE for club use?

For me its the Pioneer CDJ1000 mk111. Why? Simple, nearly every club will have these in place and whats the point in buying anything except what your gonna be using.

In any market you only have a leading brand, its rival and one outsider. In this case its Pioneer, Denon and drifting behind Technics.

I remember getting very excited about the technics CD player before it came out and frankly was disappointed. Here’s why: