Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'll grant you. But not you.

This is one of my broad brushstrokes. Take as such.

At Uni, I was broke. The problem was I had middle-class, middle-income parents. So when it came to largess, their generosity went pretty much on the fees and stuff. Hall bar tabs didn't make the cut. That was what van driving was for.

However, I did notice that there were those who seemed to be first in and last out, 12 pints of subsidised Red Barrel later, without recourse to alternative sources of income. Oddly, they were from two extremes. There were the rich, connected kids who just didn't need to worry about much as it was all sorted. And there were those from lower income families who were on full grants, including 'living expenses'.

I've noticed funding is a bit like that, with the extra quirk that the rich guys also get money they don't need simply by being connected, and the poor guys get helped to find anything that can get thrown at them by rich guys paid a nifty cut from the pot to do so.

Meanwhile, Malcolm in the middle struggles on.

Every little bit helps..

... but it doesn't half make it hard when the big bits keep on hindering.

This morning was cold and crisp. As I left the house with the boys, I glanced back and felt a small surge of pride that the roof slates were still thick with frost, despite the central heating cranking up for the last few hours. All that investment in insulation was paying off.


As I strolled back through town, I could only wonder how much energy was going out of a few stores' open doors. All I think, from chains, whose marketers will have paid a consultant to go to a conference that says this will bring in more customers. I believe all the local shops had, either through self-interest on the thermal or financial front, or simply common sense, closed theirs.

In this era of joined-up government, kids getting fined for putting thew wrong piece of paper in the bin, etc, I wonder what 20% who is doing, and how they think this is keeping it real.

Helping others... do what, exactly?

I'd like to think, mainly because I asked and paid folk who said/say they know and know how, that our site is a good as it gets for being legal and looking after people's rights and protections, etc. We certainly try, not just for derriere-covering self-interest, but simple good marketing reasons. Trust us and you will use and stay with us.

So, although we don't yet, if you opt in you may get told of various things by 'suitably vetted partners' of offers that may be of interest to you'. Click or delete at will. We are a commercial, ad-based medium after all. Free, mind you... don't forget, all for free.

Now I don't wish to become all Charity-bashing here, but I just got this:

**** supporters revealed

****, the international **** project, is offering its list of more than 15,000 supporters for rental through ****. The organisation is a charity dedicated to providing ****. Their programmes have helped rebuild lives. The list comprises people who have made a donation to the charity. They majority are aged 50 and above and have donated via a mailshot.

Now I'm not sure how these things work, and maybe the folk on the list have opted in, but does this mean I could decide that **** supporters are just my kind of folk and buy in? Not quite the way I'd like to think it is.

Charity begins at... where... now?

I am not against charity. I am not even against the obvious fact that to get goodwill (in whatever form) from donor's pocket to beneficiary takes an inevitable amount of wheel greasing and admin.

But I am starting to think things have gone too far and, typically, 'management' (today's buzzword) has decided on the obvious solution: throw money at a campaign. In my various ad and marketing e-wsletters there were several accounts changing hands in the sector just today.

Trouble is, while some brilliantly conceived and executed award-winner will sail over my head, the following will resonate in my mind for much longer: I should never have offered farm aid to Africa Along with my own experiences offering free resources at the time of the tsunami to a shower of yahoos more keen to get to the free pop concert being held 'to help' than actually work on the problem.

I just wonder who will suffer first.. the executive salaries, bonuses and pensions, or the poor they exist to help?

Read it and weep

Further to my post on middle management doing little except exist in paralysis to maintain the status quo, which at best means not going down, career-wise, maybe it's simply how it is at every level: Miliband is charming, clever and ill-informed.

I'd take issue with one thing, and that's the headline. He may be charming, but he's not ill-informed. Just clever enough to know that having a clear view is not what gets you ahead personally. Process, not product. And the media are complicit in this destructive game.

And here I am about to post a letter to him asking him let me know what he can do about something.

I don't know how you can stand for office when you are unable to take a stand on anything.

My note:

Dear Mr. Carr,

Clever enough to be well informed yet opt not to say anything helpful

On a day when we have a report on middle management in paralysis and costing this country dear, I now have clear evidence it extends far further.

I'd thank you, but this is the man to whom I am writing to at least ask for the answers to some questions, and maybe even the chance of coherent, high-ROI action.

God help my kids' futures. They can't live on charm alone.

What we need is more reasearch, obviously, to avoid making any decision on this

Pushed a few buttons: David Brents 'are costing us £220bn'

Just think what such management is preventing us from making.
At my company have another view of these folk, which is not meant to be that complementary: gatekeepers.
If carried out correctly, it is a very necessary process of assessment and filtering, but all too often can mean barriers of self-interest, concern for being wrong and plain desire to maintain comfortable status quo that prevents innovation and competitive development: paralysis.
In my own area, the environment, I’ve lost count of the instances we’ve experienced or have been told of, where innovation has hit brick walls within public and private organizations more interested in process than product.
I’m obviously happy with the report’s finding in support of this, but have to say doubt the solution is in the engagement of more blame-shifting and/or shoring trainers or consultants to further muddy the decision-making process.