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When you want to blog about something but shouldn’t

So we all have times where someone really ticks you off, when you feel like letting loose and calling them on “it” but quietly biting your tongue! Well i’m not going to let loose just yet but someone is currently walking a very very fine line with me and this Vid is the perfect visualization… Hehehe I love the evil guy on my shoulder sometimes.

Three things important to Start Up

Been thinking about the Start Up Process as i’m about to launch a new business when i get back to Ireland. Currently i’m in India so Rather than write im going to try Video Blogging about it.

Irelands become boring

Saw this on Rick O Shea’s blog and it got me thinking about Seth Godin’s recent post on how sometimes things are broken on purpose.

Ireland has become boring, advertising is boring, people are doing boring things and when anything comes up that’s not boring it gets talked about:


Photo with thanks to Radar

Therefore the apparent “lost in translation” sign probably has a higher pull / return rate for its owners than just another boring sign that says how boring there service is. I’m not saying bad connintations are a good way to get business – but doing anything to stand out from the crowd is better than not being seen at all!

The Future of Pubs in 2009

Got a bit of a shock last night as some friends and i hit Dublin’s City Centre for a night out. Some places are visibly in trouble, Ron Blacks was the first big eye opener. Arrived at around 1am and were surprised that on a Saturday Night the place was fairly empty and that getting a table for 8 wasn’t an issue – amazing since the bar next door Cafe En Seine was packed like Sardines. Then we realised why.

Myself and one other ordered Vodka and a mixer. I thought mine was very week and then other the Vodka Drinker in our group said she thought we got her a 7-up cause she ordered a double but didnt taste of any Vodka. We brought it to the Bar Managers attention, he tasted and agreed their was no vodka in them. Then tossed a shot in as if that would be enough to fix the issue – but did not apologise and didn’t seem as shocked as we were. Clearly someone had watered down the previous Vodka bottle as they did poor it from a smirnoff bottle in front of us with the correct measurements.

Now before i go getting myself sued i want to point out i don’t know or think that this was coming from the top down – but obviously they’re having serious problems somewhere in the staffing chain. Needless to say we left after that drink and told others of what happened. One other group we met said they had a similar experience there.

Then off to Reynards for a last drink before we called it a night. Like every other bar in Dublin January is going to be a tough month and I was impressed that everyone from their door staff to the bar staff have signed up to the managers vision to get them through the tough. We hesitated at the door as their was an admission charge into the bar – which we hadnt expected and a few of our expanded group now 10+ including myself were questioning wether it was worth the money since the bar would be closed in half an hour. The door man quick off the ball, just as some of our group went to hail a taxi he negotiated that if all of us went in he’d let every second person in for free.

Which do you reckon of the two will survive 2009?

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.

‘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.

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

Just wanted to give a quick plug to the guys at Its a really great resource site that pulls together all the different elements that you need to pull together a good party! Everything from Kids parties to Weddings are catered for.