Archive for November, 2008

ISPCC Christmas 89.9FM

I’ve posted about this on my other blog, but i think this project is so unbeliveably great that i wanted to share this on a different level.

After radio enthuast and close personal friend Garv Rigby told me about the project i knew i had to become a part of the ISPCC’s Christmas FM initative.

I absolutely love this concept, Its win win win, win win! Absolutely everyone benifits – Essentially its charity on steroids. In our younger days i first met Garv in a pirate radio station i presented on called Pulse FM, will didn’t have a license, it was all voluntary and in 1999 when we shut down were the biggest station in Dublin by a long shot. Some of the best years of my life.

Garv and co. decided that Ireland needed a radio station exclusively to cater for the festive season, playing only christmas music. He developed the idea, applied for a temporary license and brought the Idea to the ISCPP. I imagine their pitch was something like follows – Hi the idea is Christmas FM, we’ll organise the whole thing, please try to make as much money as you can from the idea cause i believe in your organisation. Christmas FM was born.

Christmas Radio

Christmas Radio

So its a nice idea, but why am i so excited??

Its the positivity of the concept, I’m a strong believer in “Value-Ad” and understand that people are only motivated towards positive things and away from things they fear. I realise this will upset some people but i feel that (at least for me) people give to charities because it makes them feel great to do so and other times they give to charities to avoid feeling awful (thing of the emotive guilt driven TV ads). If you don’t agree with what i mean – give a larger amount that normal to a charity and notice the fuzzy feeling come over you.

This opportunity adds value to absolutely everyone and really doesn’t use any negative or fear motivators. When i heard about the idea i wanted to be involved and also offered to contribute to the cause (MyCostume Business Sponsors the breakfast show presented by Keith Shanley). Everyone else i talk to agress its a great idea. Models Naomi Cullen and Sarah Burns straight away offered to donate thier time any press requirements, shop owners said they’d tune in when it goes live, there’s just such positivity around the whole initative.

Christmas FM

Christmas FM

Its creating a value add for everyone in its catchment area, Dublin and not asking for anything back directly. Ofcourse we’d like you to donate to the ISPCC, but Christmas FM wants to lead by example – we’ll give first and then let you decide – once your in the giving mood of christmas. Now if that isn’t christmassy i don’t know what is.

Chirstmas FM goes live tomorrow (Nov 28th) on 89.9FM and runs until Dec 28th. Loads of special guests to be announced…

How to pitch to VCs

With loans and business start up capital a rare comidity in the current climate i got to thinking about how difficult it must be to be a VC in todays economy and also how difficult it must be to be on the other side of the table – knowing that an Angel / VC is most likely to see 2000 – 5000 business plans a year and only to invest in 1/2. The odds suck.

When my search ended with this awesome presentation from Entrepreneur and VC David S Rose, i felt i just had to share it. This is a powerful, honest and very benifical presentation for anyone in business. Regardless if you need to raise capital or not, theres a lot of golden nuggets in this.

Thanks to the gang at TED, amazing resourse guys.

Based on Mr. Roses presentation here, with his confidence, you just know he knows exactly what he’s talk about.

His top 5 tips to pitching to raise capital:

5. Always Use Presenter mode when using power point
4. Always use remote control
3. Handouts are not your presentation
2. Dont read your speach
1. Never ever look at the screen.

Bardon Molumby

Had an awful experience with Bardon Molumby accountants in Portlaoise. Agreed an appointment for last Friday with their senior partner Tom Tyrrell, at their offices at a time which he chose, 2pm.

I arrived early at 1.50, office was closed so i sat on the steps for 20 minutes. Eventually, after a trip to the shop, i caught someone arriving back to their offices and told them that i had an appointment with Mr. Tyrrell and there had been noone to let me in. My Jaw dropped when i was told that he was off socialising to say goodbye to a member of staff leaving the firm. “He’s just around the corner in a restaurant”, followed on the employee – “i’ll call him!”

After a further 10 minute wait, along with several other clients in their waiting room, while the accountants were socialising on office time. I decided i could no longer stand for this ignorance and left a business card with the only working staff member (of apparently 30+ in the firm), explained that the wait was unacceptable since it was he that chose the date, time & venue and asked for a call.

I understand that everyone can make mistakes but was absolutely furious when i never recieved an apology for being stood up! Even when i followed up with an e-mail. This sort of business don’t care arrogance disgusts me.

‘The Big Debate’ Enterprise Forum

The Enterprise Board has been hosting the Enterprise Week. One of the high lights for me was the open debate on enterprise in City Hall.

Dublin Enterprise Week - City Hall

Dublin Enterprise Week - City Hall

I was quite impressed with Damien Young, Head of Small business with Bank of Ireland. Poor fella was on the end of some pointed questions and with the state of the banking at the moment. He had a difficult job to try and defend their position, but did so very tactifully. It must be tough to be in a room of entrepreneurs when the banks simply arent lending and worse still are asking for personal guarantee’s from business owners when they themselves are asking the tax payers to also guarantee their survival.

Only critisim about the debate is that for all the talking not one resolution, action or solution came of it. It was just words. Words that wont be followed up with action.

Also met Brendan Casey from Micro Trade, really cool guy and would highly recommend anyone who’s doing cross boarder business up north to talk to him. Micro Trade promotes cross-border business and co-operation specifically within the micro-enterprise sector. They can be also very helpful with helping start ups make contacts and training.

Dell – Disasterous example of out sourcing in recession

Earlier this year Dell have been letting staff go in Ireland and outsourcing some of the jobs to India to cut costs. Apparently a cutting costs measure to react to the down turn.

Seemingly the easiest way to cut costs is to cut down on staffing and they way they seem to be doing it is by ignoring their customers.

In all the businesses i’m involved with up to a year ago every computer was a dell. In the same way you order a coke with a big mac – its been the pre-programed easy decision. When i went to college we were issued with a Dell Laptop as part of the course and it was second nature to stick with them – Latitudes to be precise (genious marketing strategy to hook future business minds). Since college i’ve got a new latitude almost every year and kept all the businesses i’m involved in using dell.

However the last two times i’ve been buying computers and equipment i’ve sent them the tech spec on the items to my “personal business account manager” and get a “will look in this” message back – And thats the last we hear from them. . Can you imagine someone walking into a shop cash in hand, pointing to a product and saying i want that one – only to be ignored.

Yes i know i could buy online – but the truth is they structured their business in a way that your account manager gives you what i have come to expect to be the REAL Price so i go online configure the product and send them a copy expecting my 20% + Discount. Its not really a discount anymore – since every corporation gets it too, is it not an entitlement?

Dell forget your woes off the down turn in the economy and get back to basics. The last place any business should cut staffing is at the cash register that rings the most.

Time to give Macs a chance – i believe the ad in the post below has won me over!




Dell finally did get back to me and inertia took over – I copped out with the excuse i dont have time to learn to use the MAC system at the moment, so against my better judgement have gone with a latitude and made a mental note to go Mac when i have enough time on my hands.

Achedemic Marketing Vs Reality (Coke Vs Pepsi)

Was listening to the radio with Authur Martin Lindstrom talking about his book – Buyology: How Everything We Believe About Why We Buy Is Wrong. Interesting interview and person with many relevant points but in my opinion he made some assumptions which don’t really wash in the real world; Ironically they are more designed for achedemics and college students.

Take for example the topic this morning on Coke VS Pepsi, very interesting piece about how using an MRI scan people took a sip of coke and the a sip of Pepsi and they conclusively proved that Pepsi is the preferred choice of softdrink without marketing in play. Then when they told the subjects which brand was which they reversed thier preferences (proven again on the MRI scan). The conversation then went on to say advertising was to credit for winning the minds of customers; Coke has a Big Red santa and trail of trucks that signals the start of Christmas and Pepsi has Michael Jackson with his head on fire.

Sounds reasonable??? Maybe, but in fact its not the cause. What it comes down to is an unfair comparison. Did you notice they only drank a sip??? Not drank a 500ml bottle! How many people do you know only take a shot of a soft drink? The reality is Yes pepsi is sweeter and therefore creates a nicer first sip but as you continue drinking the sweetness becomes too much and from peoples experiences a majority would far prefer the last “sip” of a bottle of coke to a bottle of pepsi.

Marketing is important, but at the end of the day you have to tweak your product to the consumer, advertising can’t fix a problem. As demonstrated in my favourite ad of the decade:

Which is the ingenious retort to the Microsoft 300Million investment to fight back and the taunts of Mac (who have a fractional share of the market).

The Dole Blackhole

With the challenges facing the Irish Economy at the moment one thing that really needs an overhall is our social welfare system. A overhall of the social welfare system has the potential to reignite the economy and move it from its current economic market correction (recession) into a functioning economy again. Best of all it could cost almost nothing to do, it just requires a bit of better thinking.

In the past month i’ve experienced a social welfare officer ADVISING a client they would be “BETTER OFF” on the dole than working full 40 hour week at 11 Euro an hour (permanant position)! Where’s the incentive for an unskilled worker to start at the bottom of the ladder and work their way up?

What really ticked me off in this case was that the welfare representative suggested that the person in question stay on the welfare for another 5 months to make the minimum threshold for the back to work program – which would then allow the worker to keep 75% of his benefits and the wage for the first year, 50% in the second and 25% in the third. Essentially over 12,000 Euro incentive not to work! and making him earn more than his superiors for the first year. And all that assumes that the economy can provide him with another Job as the unemployment rate rises.

I have nothing against folks on the welfare who need / deserve it. I do resent those with the attitude that its easier to be on the dole than to work – in my opinion they don’t deserve it and shouldnt get it. If you have no other option then the dole is for you, if it seems like the easiest option for a person then we owe it to that person to make other options easier.

So how can we Fix the Welfare System?

How about we let them work?? Lets go and tell everyone they can earn as much as they like while on the Dole, on top of their benefits, but they have to pay tax at a higher rate (maybe even 50% of earnings). If you work one hour thats great, 22 hours even better, 40 hours hey maybe you’d be fiscally better off off the dole paying lower taxes. Every person should be a little better off to reflect thier contribution to society and the taxes will go into the system towards dole payments. Ok so the maths not exact here, but would take less than an hour to work it out properly.

At the moment the system says if you contribute X you loose Y. Why not say if you work X you keep Y but there are some conditions – all of which would result in you being better off. People are not inherently lazy and i believe the right incentives will work. Can you imagine a CEO telling their staff if they contribute 10% more they will then have their hours and wages cut! No? Then why do we treat the people in the most need for that little extra income like this?

Telling people they have to do something just doesnt work, using a carrot and stick approach does. Take primary teachers for example – i had one apply for a full time position not cause she wanted the job but apparently they need to sit an interview or two during each summer ‘holiday’ to get their dole money. Apparently this is common place but does this sound like a system that works for or against the economy?

Like any good incentive scheme with postives must come negative reinforcements. Abusing the welfare system should be easily reported. If you get cause abusing the system, you will continue getting your payments but will be required to put in some community hours to earn it – doing whatever you excel in that adds community value.

As with the current climate of welfare where if you can find temp work for a month thats great – but then it’ll take 6 weeks to get you back on the dole! So you would be far worse off for contributing to society!

So the answer is simple, make it easier and more benificial for people to contribute, if you want to work then work. If your being on the dole because its easy – its us that have let you down for making it so. If you can’t contribute to society thats fine too, for thats what the welfare should be for – the people who really need it!

TV3 Fashion Show

The Costume Shop did a fashion show on TV3 showcasing the very best of 2008’s costume range