Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Perspectives on Psychotherapy

Nick has written yet another class post here. Some great insights.

read more | digg story

Monday, 30 July 2007

Teachings of Diogenes

Now he's the man.....want to get near to the Truth? ask this guy!

read more | digg story

why not try this cynical use of wikipedia to check out Cynicism

The Truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

So, now we have site that claims to be the place for finding Truth! called Truemors I came across this site via a e-mail from Saboma Maryannaville who dropped me line via my Stumble site Reasonable Robinson on Stumble which pointed to a great post that Swiss Toni would love on how to be great sales person, just visit... How to be a great salesperson Truemors was discusssed on their homepage.

We are still left with the 'how do we know' problem though!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

There's No Such Thing as a Dumb Question?

OK Folks, we've all heard that one...and so...let's see who can come up with some 'are you really asking me that' questions.

I got onto this after a brief BTF exchange with a guy from Hawaii. Nice bloke called Colin. He said he was 'argumentative' in his profile, so to test the theory I asked...

Does Hawaii have an army?

Has it ever had an Empire?

He politely filled me in with some local history...not really knowing if I was really lacking in knowledge and needing a 'leg -up' (or should that be a neuron -up?)

Are there really any questions that normally we wouldn't ask for fear of looking stupid?

Well you're safe here- test drive your Gullibility today!!

Mates in the States

Good morning America, looks like I've only got 5 more states to go before I shout 'Bingo'

If you've got any mates in those states give them a nudge to pay Gullibility a visit!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

i believe i can fly

I'm confident that I can't...

10 ways to Gullibly build self Confidence

1. Dress Sharp - OK got my haircut, ironed shirt and trousers, cleaned shoes
2. Walk faster - Will type faster do for now?
3. Good posture - Hmmm need to get one of those fancy Swedish office stools
4. Personal commercial - Damn this blog is good. Written by a real pro.

hey its beginning to work.....I'm beginning to feel very very confident......

5. Gratitude - thanks so much for taking time out to read this, its really appreciated
6. Compliment Others - your the best blog visitors a guy could wish to have!
7. Sit in the front Row - any closer and You Tube will be My Tube
8. Speak Up - well I reckon this is junk CBT for underperforming sales people.
9. Work Out - just been downstairs for a coffe - does that count?
10.Focus on Contribution - I did this out of the goodness of my heart just for YOU!

WOW!....I suddenly feel more confident ..........two floors up and........I believe I can fly...........touch the sky.............


check out Pick the Brain hmmm - analytical approach - must be coming from a Positivistic epistemology then.

10 Ways to Instantly Build Self Confidence

OK - so lets give it a go - check out my next post.....

read more | digg story

click on headline to read story

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Marketing metrics 3 of 3

Rust, Ambler, Carpenter, Kumar & Srivastava (2004) consider measures to be used at the strategic and tactical level by what they call the ‘marketing productivity chain’. Here a model is used that shows how marketing activities, such as a loyalty program, or new product introduction (with a known cost) generate impacts that ripple through the organisation moving from initial impact on customer, and effects on Brand Equity (Aaker 1991, Kapferer 2004) and Customer Equity (Rust, Zeithaml, Lemon 2000) eventually onto impact of the company’s value.

The authors explain how measures in the Customer Impact area are primarily concerned with the measurement of perception and judgements, much of Brand Equity assessment is again qualitative and perceptual involving psychological association and projective techniques that lead to assessments of what is termed ‘Brand Personality’ (Aaker 1997). Here the brand is ‘psychologically profiled’ against 5 key personality types:
• Sincerity
• Excitement
• Competence
• Sophistication
• Ruggedness

However commercial organisations Interbrand and Financial World combine data on market leadership, stability, internationality, levels of protection, and local operating conditions to create a brand equity league table. To qualify for a place in the Interbrand league table each brand must:
• have 1/3 of its earnings outside its home country
• be recognised outside its core base of customers
• have publicly available marketing and financial data
This eliminates heavyweights such as Visa, Wal Mart, Mars, CNN. Parent companies are not ranked.
The methodology used is:
• Determine Company as brand or product as brand
• Project next five years earnings and sales
• Deduct operating costs, taxes, and charge for capital employed
• Remove intangibles such as patents / management strength ratings
• Determine Brand Strength through:
 Market leadership
 Stability and Global Reach
• Generate a ‘discount rate’ and apply to brand earnings to get net present value, that is taken as an indicator a brands true worth.

Market impact models utilise mainly quantitative models to measure the effects of marketing expenditure over time. This is a vast area of statistical specialism covering such things as the sales and profit impacts of short-term promotions, advertising campaign effectiveness and such like, of which the Dirichlet Model that measures repeat purchase and cannabilisation, developed by Chatfield and Goodhardt in 1975 is a prime example.

The typical mix of general marketing measures used to a lesser or greater extent in business today are listed as follows and should involve competitor benchmarking, they encompass the key areas of:
• Sales and Profitability
• Health of Brand and Company Reputation
• Health of Customer Base
Suggested by Clark (2001)
• Consumer Behaviour
• Intermediate Trade Customer
• Competitors
• Accounting
• Innovativeness
Suggested by Ambler (2000), Ambler Kokkinaki Puntoni (2004)

Against which Ambler and Kokkinaki’s survey utilised by The Marketing Society provides a helpful list of commonly used metrics. This was an international survey of best practice that took place in the UK, USA, Australia, China, Scandanavia, and Spain:

Consumer / End User Thoughts Feelings
Perceived Quality / Esteem
Consumer Satisfaction
Relevance to consumer
Image / Personality/ Identity
Perceived differentiation
Commitment/ Purchase intent
Other attitudes e.g. liking
Brand/ Product knowledge
End User Behaviour
Total number of customers
Number of new customers
Loyalty/ Retention
Price sensitivity / elasticity
Purchasing on promotion
# new products per consumer
# leads generated / inquiries
Conversions (leads/ sales)
# customer complaints
Trade Customer
Distribution / availability
Customer Satisfaction
# of complaints
Relative to Competitor
Market Share
Relative Price
Loyalty Share
Relative Customer Satisfaction
Relative perceived quality
Share of Voice
# of new products in period
Revenue of new products
Margin of new products
% Discount
Gross Margins
Marketing Spend
Profit/ Profitability
Shareholder Value (EVA / ROI)

Metrics 1
Metrics 2

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Marketing Metrics 2 of 3

Being clear about the ‘benefit’ of a particular measure for the business relies on ‘outcome based thinking’, in other words what exactly do you want the measure to do for your business? For example, do you want to measure the return on investment (ROI) of a particular advertising campaign? perhaps you want to determine the return on the whole of the organisation’s investment in ‘marketing’ however that is defined, do you want to benchmark your sales or profits against your direct competitors or perhaps a basket of companies across different industries, do you want to measure brand awareness and personality? do you want to measure brand equity? do you want to measure customer loyalty? and so on. Norton and Kaplan’s (1992) statement “what you measure is what you get” implies that the measures management select become the focus of organisational attention and will therefore get acted upon.

It will be obvious therefore that the opposite is also true; choosing an inappropriate measure will drive inappropriate behaviour. As Donald Lehmann (2004) explains “[If] a focus on sales or share and growth per se rather than on profits becomes the center of attention. An obsession about customer image can obscure profit relevance”. This is underscored by Doyle (2000) who comments “Some marketing professionals [suggest] the firm should maximise customer satisfaction. But such a view is absurd. Lowering prices and increasing service levels can always increase customer satisfaction further, but such a policy would be a quick route to bankruptcy”.

The range of things that can potentially be measured is obviously diverse. This diversity refers to both the type of items measured (sales, costs, profitability, customer attitudes, frequencies etc) and the sphere of management interest, (shareholder value, strategic marketing or long term-effects, tactical marketing or short term effects, market area, product line, communications effectiveness, the tangible and intangible elements of products and services etc). It seems sensible therefore to build an holistic view of the wealth and health of the organisation based on a blend of measures that helps monitor the short and long term view through qualitative and quantitative dimensions.

A further implication for management is that even when an appreciation of generic measures has been achieved, a significant investment in effortful thinking still needs to be given by the incumbent management team to the process of determining what the most helpful metrics for the business are. This might be especially challenging if, (following critical review) it is deemed necessary to break away from long held, cherished and sometimes ‘taken for granted’ measures.

Marketing’s ‘Payback Myopia’
Much of the contemporary discussion regarding marketing metrics involves the recognition that marketers have developed a reputation at board level and amongst colleagues for being “unaccountable, expensive, untouchable, and slippery” (McDonald, Smith, Ward 2006) and Shaw and Merrick (2005) note that marketing types are “portrayed as false, immoral scoundrels” Chief Marketing Officers often lack numeric capability or interest in the financial realities of the business preferring to concentrate on what Shaw and Merrick (ibid) call Marketing’s Magic numbers or measures of brand awareness and attitudes rather than commercial information about income streams and profits. They go on to say “their disinterest in money often leads them to be distrusted with the stuff”. A regular objective and critical assessment of the value and relevance of both metrics and sources of data is recommended, perhaps tied to annual planning reviews.

Of particular concern nonetheless is the impact that the ‘wrong decision’ on marketing expenditure might have on long term shareholder value. Marketing departments can find themselves in a vicious circle as a result of their inability to articulate the financial and commercial implications of their activities; with the consequent result that spending on marketing can be easily cut to boost short-term profits. Because marketing activities are future orientated “many factors intervene between expenditure and reward” (Woodburn 2006) consequently future shareholder value might be put at risk through a short term approach that accounts for marketing investment/ cost in the monthly or annual accounting ‘period’. Making use of some measure of ‘conditional probability’ or ‘win-chance’ for any given marketing investment is a way of protecting shareholder value against that other commercial concern otherwise known as financial myopia.

Metrics for Coaching Improvement rather than Punishing non conformance
Commentators in the literature recommend using measures in the same way that Sports coaches do for improving the performance of athletes (Shaw 2001) where it is noted that marketers have little or no formal training in how to use figures to help their decision making. In particular a closer working relationship is encouraged between financial and marketing officers where the alternative perspectives from each can side carry benefits for both parties. (Marketers becoming more commercially aware, accountants understanding more about the complexities of anticipating and supplying customers needs). In this way the two dimensions of measuring a) what has happened and b) forecasting what is likely to happen, by anticipating ‘risk’ rather than expectation is achievable. The use of metrics is thus set in a organisational learning context rather than a controlling and fearful environment.

The Marketing Metrics Landscape
A considerable number of authors have studied marketing metrics over a period of some 50 years, each of them having slightly different ways of classifying the types of measures that are in use by organisations. (Clark 1999, Ambler 2000, Rust, Ambler, Carpenter, Kumar, & Srivastava 2004, Shaw and Merrick 2005, Uncles 2005, Greenyer 2006, McDonald, Smith, Ward, 2006, Ambler and Riley 2006) As mentioned previously measures can be broadly classified as simply:
•strategic, long term corporate view or tactical short term functional view
•qualitative, behavioural (soft) or quantitative, volumes, ratios & financial (hard)

All measures can be placed on this model, and most contemporary coverage concerns how a blend of measures across all the dimensions can be help managers take an holistic view of their performance. (Srivastava, Shervani, Fahey 1998, McDonald Smith, Ward 2006). Uncles (ibid) consider the strategic / tactical continuum, and devises three broad categories to characterise different types of measure.

1. TACTICAL: Specific Programme / Activity metrics – measuring the ROI effectiveness of an online advertising campaign, loyalty scheme, or direct mail promotion.
2. INTERMEDIATE: Product Service Level Metrics – measuring brand health and customer satisfaction, using consumer panel data, focus groups and depth interviews
3. STRATEGIC: The Marketing link to Corporate Performance Metrics – measuring competitively benchmarked sales, margins, profits, market shares, percentage sales from new products and shareholder value.

He subsumes into the final category recent interest in the measurement of marketing inputs such as degree of market orientation, the extent of entrepreneurship, the level of innovation, level or organisational learning & employee turnover however he points out that this is at the ‘measurement frontier’ and no clear measures are being utilised yet.

So when you read material banging on about what the right measures are, predicting which measures are now passe, and which one's are the hot new source of insight. Have a care. Start by asking the guru just what assumptions they are basing their recommendations on. Not only that, why should you ditch metrics that were once hailed as useful?? and now suddenly at 4.27 on the 22nd July 2007 they are not ??!!. Get yellow+ folks and transcend and include. Otherwise marketing (whatever that means) will always be prone to faddism dressed up as an objective scientific analytical search 'for the measure that reveals the truth'

Metrics 1
Metrics 3

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Marketing Metrics 1 of 3

Business guru's Norton and Kaplan encourage organisations to realise that 'what you measure is what you get' , by which they mean that if you put something on the management agenda it becomes a focus of attention and that by measuring it over time you can spot the need for intervention. Their 'buzz phrase' is sometimes stated as 'what gets measured gets better'

What often gets lost in the wash however are the underlying assumptions that guide the selection of what 'thing's' should be measured and how this should be done. Just witness the impact of 'measurement mentality' on the UK health service and educational sector.

Very broadly speaking, if you operate from a 'management is an objective science' point of view then you assume that there is a postive correlation between the amount of detail you collect and your 'understanding' of what's going off. There is a world 'out there' to be discovered (Postivist epistemology). Whereas if you operate from a 'management is a subjective competence' point of view things are less hard and fast and perceptions and interpretations of the world 'in here' dominate your point of view (Interpretivist/ hermeneutic epistemology). You might also see this as a division between a 'modern' and 'post-modern'(yuck) perspective. If you like Ken Wilber then you will transcend and include both of these views :) - yellow meme baby!!

OK, - so what I hear you say. Well, the reason I mention this is because 'where you sit affects what you see' Let's take Google analytics as an example. Somebody somewhere has decided what they think determines 'success' for a web-site/ blog and then decided these are the things that 'should be' measured and the things that 'can be' measured by remote technical analytics programmes. Now this is exactly the same situation that I managed in the gaming industry wherebye 'machines' collected data about anything that could be pressed or selected in the use of the product / game. The belief was that this constitued uncontaminated hard facts about useage and that design and management decisions could be safely taken off the back of it. WRONG. a significant chunk of information about 'how' choices were made in the mind of the user was lost and also 'how' interpretations and thus 'assumptions' of the data by designers were used to guide design. Example - lets imagine that we have seen that 'feature' x is only used 2% of the tme, this seems like a good reason to ditch it. Ok - but have you considered the impact of 'utility in non-use' in the provision of user choice perceptions and their sense of control??

So, when you see a set of measures, you are getting a very good view of what is on somebody's 'mental map'. You are getting a representation of their Ontology The stuff that they regard as 'noteworthy'. How does this work? Well. in this domestic example there might be arguments over the untidy kitchen. My measures of 'tidy' are much more forgiving than the bio-hazard standards of my partner -lol I don't 'see' clean pans stacked on the worksurface as 'untidy' whereas for my partner it indicates total chaos.

This is not to argue against collecting lots of detail, just to say that it pays to be more self aware of the the processes we use when we decide what to measure, how to measure it and what we regard as a warranted belief about 'the world' as a result.

And so it should be no wonder that the the subject of Marketing Measurement is high on the agenda. Spooky - let's measure if we are good at measuring!!!

Measurement – Marketing’s Hot New Topic?

Michael Uncles (2005) comments that “everywhere you look marketers are talking about metrics” with the Marketing Science Institute (2004) listing the measurement of marketing activity as a key concern of contemporary management. Increasingly marketers (and their colleagues in other functions) are addressing themselves to marketing’s contribution to share holder value (Doyle 2000). This is against a management backcloth of general interest in performance measurement since the 1950s ranging from the financially driven Du Pont Ratio set, Keegan Eiler Jones’s cost/ non cost, internal/external matrix, Wang Laboratories Strategic Measurement and Reporting Technique, Fitzgerald’s Competitiveness/ Quality dimensions, through to Norton and Kaplan’s Balanced Scorecard, and onto continuous improvement processes such as the European Foundation for Quality Management’s (EQFM), Business Excellence Model, and it’s American counterpart the Baldridge Quality Award. Importantly two key threads run through contemporary approaches to measurement selection and use. The first is ‘balance’, uni-dimensional measures are limited and un-helpful, and the second is ensuring ‘stakeholder value’ (customers / employees) without which the ability to create shareholder value will be limited.

What are we going to measure?
At the onset it is worth recognising that each business is unique and pitfalls await the manager who unthinkingly selects and deploys generic measures without being clear on their purpose and relevance to their specific situation. Measures that help an insurance business run successfully will not necessarily be appropriate for retail or the bio-chemical industry. One size does not fit all.

You would of course, be very gullible not to be aware of this stuff...

Metrics 2
Metrics 3

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Crowdsourcing - what is the truth about authority?

Check out Micro Persuasion for an interesting debate on this topic. I am always minded of Critical Theorists Habermas et al on discussions such as this concerning the 'authority' of authorities and other writers such as Eric Fromm who urge us to be guarded against people who claim to have all the answers.

Steve Streuble's post is a fascinating discussion because this issue applies to any 'idea' that has reach. I'm particularly interested in the reach and influence of management ideas...stalwarts such as 'the marketing concept' or fads such as BPR. There's some interesting philosophical hints in the area of Critical Realism that has alot to do with the 'power' and dominance of the individual or managing group. I reckon some sort of qualitatitve 'veracity' benchmark might be interesting. This of course then ties in with 'consensus' theories of 'truth'. This bascially means that authority/ influence is actually 'agreed' by the audience and is not some independent 'thing' that can measured objectively. Not unlike DIGG / Reddit voting. The essential issue for me here is that maybe to measure 'it' you need to think in terms of subjective measures and not the technical/ analytic type measures that dominate much of the benchmarking process in this area.

One commenter on the blog raises the need for a blended approach (hard soft measures). I quite agree, how can anything as complex as a blog be summed up with 1 metric. I will be posting a review of the marketing metrics landscape soon...

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Marketing Guru - Swiss Tony

For a more considered view of sales and marketing see post below. Please ensure you have mandatory fine wine and Belgian chocolates as you read...

What's the difference between Marketing and Selling and Advertising and Branding and...

Whilst looking up how people have stumbled across the Gullibility blog I was interested to notice several queries that began - 'what's the difference between marketing and...' followed by either 'branding', 'PR' 'selling' 'adverstising' etc.

Being puzzled by this puzzle is not uncommon and by far the most common 'man in the street' explanations are that marketing is simply a 'posh' word for selling, or another word for advertising. (Calm down you marketing acolytes I know its much more sophisticated than that!)

Now my first recommendation would be to pick up any Marketing Management text book (a good one can be found over on the left in my Amazon section) All of these types of book initiate the reader with 'what marketing is...' sections. Not that much of this seems to have reached the general public or the average business-man even after 50+ years of trying, sorry Phillip. A buddy of mine was recently given a company tour and the CEO commented as he walked past the marketing offices - " Oh yes, and here's the 'colouring in department'" and another example was a large industrial client I was discussing a senior management development programmes with who commented 'yeah we want our senior team to undestand what marketing is...not that we really want to become a marketing organisation'

Now, if you will have listened carefully as you read those comments you would have heard hundreds of thousands of 'thuds' as true marketing professionals collapsed on the floor.

I know what you're thinking...why don't you just settle it with a 'definition'? Well there are a few around and I won't bore you with them. Suffice to say they all run up against Marketing's dirty little secret...IT MEANS TWO THINGS AT THE SAME TIME.

This is where the trouble starts. Marketing is a business attitude, a philosophy, a recipe for success that says - in order for your organisation to do well you need to be 'market orientated' which in turn means - understanding and paying attention to customer needs, being aware of competitor activity, and keeping close tabs on changes and trends in the big wide world.

Marketing is also a 'function' whose managers mess around with something called the Marketing Mix which are business activities that are blended together in ways that suit the 'segement' (target market) that the company is after. This mix is conventionally made up of 7 ps (originally 4)

Places (distribution channels)
Promotion (all forms of marketing communication - colouring in, PR, advertising, personal selling)
Physical appearance (shop / outlet/ airplane / staff)
Proceses (service/ relationships/ complaints procedures)
People (you want fries with that? / certainly madam you may yell at me all day)

So as you can see Advertising, PR, Selling are just one part of the whole job. If you are allowed into the inner sanctum then you come across a whole bundle of specialisms such as Branding - now this is a tin of worms - ranging from the artsy farsty end of - personality and salience to the hard nosed end of brand equity. Shaw and Merrick, in Marketing Payback (2005 :63) comment that “Branding is a topic that can turn a room full of marketers into a herd of experts…owning a brand is like having an orgasmatron, that machine in the film Barbarella” The point here is that Brand is often subject more to management opinion than fact and that the visisble aspects are a tempting thing to mess with if you want to pretend that your having an impact on the business. The Brand however more than the logo, see Naomi Klein (No Logo)it's all to do with your 'experience' and how you feel about that experience.

Other specialisms include Service Marketing, realtionship Marketing, Database Marketing,E-Marketing, Consumer Marketing, FMCG marketing, B2B Marketing and so on and so on. Often peddled my management gurus after they have drunk from the 'differetiation is key' bottle, so in order to be different they come up with a different form of 'marketing' and of course...this one will really make your organisation fly!!

Now of course, experts in this area will be appalled at this vast oversimplification, and yes there are lots of tools and techniques that require highly professional application and deep understanding.

Nevertheless don't be gulled into thinking that Marketing is just one of the specialisms it is made up of, and , more importantly understand that it is the philosophy (properly understood ) and not half baked as Doyle explains in Value Based Marketing 2000 who comments “Some marketing professionals [suggest] the firm should maximise customer satisfaction. But such a view is absurd. Lowering prices and increasing service levels can always increase customer satisfaction further, but such a policy would be a quick route to bankruptcy”.

I think more Swiss Tony is in order - "marketing is like making love to a beautiful woman..." see next post :)

Monday, 16 July 2007

"Bin tax" plan likely to fail, say MPs

A newly discovered rule of Gullibility says ;Don't Blog when you're half asleep!; I was checking my Yahoo e-mail this morning when this headline Bin Tax plan likely to failcaught my eye.

Not another bloody tax I thought! Isn't the defence budget big enough? Then rubbing the sleep from my eyes I quickly realised that I'd made completely the wrong assumption.

Now this is interesting from a 'gullibility' perspective, and just goes to show how prior assumptions can cause you to interpret new information in a 'skewed' or biased way. I had clearly distorted and deleted relevant bits of information. It also suggests that you need to be 'awake' when receiveing and interpreting information too. Now isn't this what any influencer and persuader that lacks integrity attempts to do to us? Their aim is to put our critcial thinking capacity to sleep. So, for example, the unscrupulous sales person seeks to establish instant rapport in order for us feel awkard asking 'to the point' questions, the politcial despot (your favourite here) claims to have all the answers to present and even future problems we haven't the inisght to have thought of so we abdicate all of our sense-making and decision making faculties to them, and the errant partner sings us an 'excuse lullaby' full of plausible (and unproven) explanations of 'that phone call', 'that late night at the office', and that 'out of town conference'

(Mini Gullibility Flashback) The classic in my case of the latter was being sent away for the week-end on a 'learn how to paint in watercolours' week -end at no less a place than Flatford Mill in Suffolk (John Constable territory and the subject of theThe Haywain - how brill' was that I thought - only to learn a few months later that it was a 'cover' for my ex-missus getting together with a guy I had recently took on for a software project. Happy Birthday RR!

If you want to avoid friends taking advantage of you then a couple of suggestions would be 'stay awake' and regularly empty your 'mental bin' of its assumptions!

Friday, 13 July 2007

What Is a Meme and What Can It Really Do for Your Blog?

I've been tagged :) - thanks Mig

Once again a clear and thought provoking post from Michaela at Pamil Vision. The thing that fascinates me in the context of Gullibility about memes is how do we judge their veracity? Epistemologists (these are not people who take the 'mickey' out of people, or enjoy getting drunk btw ) ask us to consider how we use 'testimony' (the word of others) in the judgement of 'what we know' and 'how we know it'. This gets us into the area of 'trust' of course.

As an example: The UK Government claim that the ageing population of the UK will prove to be highly beneficial in the fight against terrorism. This is because there will more people over 70 who feel they have already lived a full life and simply don't feel threatened in any way by pronouncements from the A.Q. Trogladytes. Consequently the whole strategic premise of Bin Liner and his crew is totally meaningless and doomed to failure.

So here's a thought what is the difference between gossip and trustworthy testimony. Blimey...this gets us into the realm of 'because I said so' maybe that's an advantage of university degree then?

Reasonable Robinson. M.E.M.E (Master of Electronic Muttering in English)

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Your never too Jung

Picked this upJungian Personality Test via maryannaville

I should have come to Jung when I was younger! ;)

His stuff is extremely thought provoking and his self analytical capbaility is awesome. I am attracted to his philosophy because it is optimistic about human potential, and I love the notions of synchronicity and archetypes.

Me? well what do you make of this....

Actualized type: ENFP
(who you are)
Extroverted (E) 66.67% Introverted (I) 33.33%
Intuitive (N) 60.53% Sensing (S) 39.47%
Feeling (F) 54.05% Thinking (T) 45.95%
Perceiving (P) 58.06% Judging (J) 41.94%

ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 8.1% of total population.

Preferred type: ENFP
(who you prefer to be)
Extroverted (E) 76.67% Introverted (I) 23.33%
Intuitive (N) 56.41% Sensing (S) 43.59%
Feeling (F) 52.94% Thinking (T) 47.06%
Perceiving (P) 60.61% Judging (J) 39.39%

ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 8.1% of total population.

Attraction type: ENFP
(who you are attracted to)
Extroverted (E) 65.52% Introverted (I) 34.48%
Intuitive (N) 72.22% Sensing (S) 27.78%
Feeling (F) 51.61% Thinking (T) 48.39%
Perceiving (P) 67.86% Judging (J) 32.14%

ENFP - "Journalist". Uncanny sense of the motivations of others. Life is an exciting drama. 8.1% of total population.

Uncanny - I'd say! Must write a blog about that...when I left university I wanted to be a news journalist, applied to the BBC but failed to add the words Oxford or Cambridge to my application and didn't hear anything lol.

and this from Typelogic

General: ENFPs are both "idea"-people and "people"-people, who see everyone and everything as part of an often bizarre cosmic whole. They want to both help (at least, their own definition of "help") and be liked and admired by other people, on bo th an individual and a humanitarian level. They are interested in new ideas on principle, but ultimately discard most of them for one reason or another.

ENFPs are friendly folks. Most are really enjoyable people. Some of the most soft-hearted people are ENFPs.

ENFPs have what some call a "silly switch." They can be intellectual, serious, all business for a while, but whenever they get the chance, they flip that switch and become CAPTAIN WILDCHILD, the scourge of the swimming pool, ticklers par excellence. Sometimes they may even appear intoxicated when the "switch" is flipped.

Mind X ray or what???? - or am I just being gullible?

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Glasgow Kiss - John Smeaton - Scottish Legend

Never underestimate...that is always a gullible move.

Hot Chocolate - It Started With A Kiss

next on the 'kiss' theme

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer

Saturday night - have fun folks

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Advantages and disadvantages of a university degree?

Choosing A British University

What qualifies me to offer an opinion here? Well, I hope you feel the following quick resume entitles me to a least an informed voice on the subject:

1. I've done a variety of unskilled and semi-skilled jobs, from petrol station attendant, postman, factory operative - food industry, factory operative- light manufacturing, office clerk.

2. I've done a variety of middle management jobs, from games design team coordinator, marketing executive, marketing manager, sales and marketing manager

3. I've held main board positions and share holding directorships, and participated in a multi million pound management buyout as one of team of 5 people.

4. I have a private consulting business

5. I have a bachelors degree in International Relations and Modern History

6. I have a master of business administration degree

7. I have a post graduate qualification in adult learning and teaching

8. I am presently under-taking doctoral research into managerial mind sets and individual and organisational strategy making

9. I have undertaken rudimentary training in NLP & transactional analysis

10. I am presently a full-time academic in a leading UK university, educating undergraduate and masters students, together with a variety of pastoral and subject group management roles.

11. I design and build modules for undergraduate and post graduate degrees

12. I design and build degree courses for bachelor and masters degrees

13 I am involved in a wide range of knowledge transfer consultancy projects for large public and private organisations

14. I have two sons neither of whom have any current interest in higher education, both are happy and succesful

15. I have family and friends whose sons and daughters are presently undergraduates in a variety of UK universities

When I left university I ended up in the gaming business, in a company that was dominated by Production, Electronic, Hardware and Software engineers. I vividly remembering being asked by one of the managers "So, tell me, what possible use is a degree in history in a business like this"

Being young and naive I stumbled for an answer and was troubled for many years afterwards by the question. Today I would answer in a flash that "It helps prevent me from asking dumb-assed questions like that!"

Many people who have not experienced any form of higher education operate from the assumption that it is a straight continuation of previous 'taught' experience, and this holds true for a significant number of new under-graduates who pop out of the 'forced' high school level system expecting 'Sir' or 'Mam' or 'Miss' to give them all of the answers. It is interesting to observe that culturally many Chinese and Middle Eastern undergraduate students who come to study in Western universities are presently very deferential to the 'lecturer' and take a while to feel comfortable with 'questioning' what they are introduced to. Like all students the graduate process of developing a self directed critical learning faculty comes as a challenge.

A crucial advantage of university degree is that it is a 'transformational' process that changes the way a person undertakes learning (by becoming more self-directed), changes the way a person manages and manipulates information, and changes the adaptability of the individual in the face of problematic and ambiguous situations.

Now, of course, the counterbalance to this is that 'theoretical' understanding has to be set against real world experience. Otherwise we have the disadvantage of obtaining a degree, which is the sometimes mistaken belief of its owner that they are extremely smart and infallible. In worse cases it can emerge as an un-justified patronising and arrogant attitude.

It is interesting that people focus on the pros and cons of the degree qualification, seeing it as a 'thing', a piece of paper. Of course the certificate is an indicator of a standard and recognition of the effort and hard work. However a more helpful way of seeing it is if you think about the the pros and cons of going through the DEGREE PROCESS. The certificate itself is not going to get the job - you are, with your attitude, humility, diligence, enthusiasm, team working skills, problem solving skills, and self -management skills.

Nowadays a first degree is becoming simply the 'table stake' to be in the game. The opportunity to be employed not the 'right' to a job. In the UK system this takes the learner from 'level 4' learning to 'level 6'. Masters qualifications at 'level 7' are becoming differentiators, and no doubt Phds and DBA's will in the future at 'level 8'. The educational philosophy that underpins the transformation process can be checked out by looking at the work of Bloom and Perry and Mezirow

One down side to advancing your higher education is the need to become more specialised, and that can often lead to becoming part of a very tiny minority. There is also the danger that you lose your common touch, i.e. the ability to communicate thoughts and ideas effectively in approachable and understandable language, and to be concerned with matters that connect to the everyday. That's not to argue for dumbing down, or not exploring the fine semantics of say, epistemological philosophy. Just to say do it with your eyes wide open and realise that your 'subject' might not rock anyone elses boat.

Ultimately the process of a degree ought to be set in the context of your life overall. What role does it play in making your life happier and better? If you think its a passport (despite the stats) to a higher salary then think again. YOU earn the salary, roles and position not the piece of paper, albeit it helps with the 'first cut' For 3 years+ disadvantages are, deadline driven lifestyle, mentally challenging and demanding, and a continual exposure to the prospect of failure. Are you happy to put yourself in that space? If you do and you get through then that in itself is character building and worthy of merit.

My eldest son has taken a different path, bright lad indeed, not an 'academic' atom in his body (at the moment) He's just qualified as a junior electrician, he's got no student loan debt, he is learning other trades too, he's a great plasterer, kitchen fitter and OK plumber. Crucially he is happy!

For me higher education has been well, shall we say...an education. I feel my world view is broader, I feel I can discuss issues without feeling lost even if they aren't 'my subject' and I know it sounds corny, but as each new learning experience opens a door ( bit like The Matrix) you see hundreds of new doors beyond that one. This has taught me realise that the prospect of 'knowing all the answers' is a very remote prospect indeed, and to be very wary of people who claim they do.

For me that's what is really interesting is the question.. so what is it that causes a person to stop opening the doors? Think of the Managing Director who claims to 'know' his business, or the person who can't see a way out of the situation they are in. Curiosity is perhaps one of the most genetically/ memetically important aspects of the human being.

Generically I would suggest that having a degree indicates that you have developed a capacity to ask questions rather than regurgitate answers, you will also have at your disposal conceptual frameworks that can help you make sense of the world more readily than someone who doesn't, you will also have the ability to marshall and move ideas and information around. None of these things are excluded from someone who doesn't have a degree, its just that like my son he is a better and safer electrician than me because he is qualified. Would you claim to be a genetic engineer by looking at the mould in your fridge? , or perhaps claim some knowledge about quantum mechanics by looking at your savings balance :)

Finally I would invite you think in terms of University AND Life rather than anything mutually exclusive. I would see a bachelors degree as the start of the journey not the end. I would do it because you're interested and it feels right for you, not because you feel you ought, or you like wearing square hats and a cape, or you expect it to make you 'special'in the eyes of anyone else but your mum and dad.

And finally, if I was to offer what I feel (at this moment) is THE lesson to be gained from a university education it would be this:

The capability of moving from The Simplistic, through the Complex, to the Simplified is a capability that underpins, creativeness, innovation, leadership, and facilitation of understanding. This process has to be experienced to be understood.
RR - BA (Hons), MBA, pgce :)(see its what you thought about what I've written that matters and nothing to do with those letters after my name isn't it!)

Other posts relating to graduate entry to The University of Life can be found here:
Is a Degree Worth Anything in a Recession
Advantages of a Masters Degree
Shopping for a Degree?
Plagiarism is simply Cheating
How To Choose A British University

Will I earn more?
Lifetime Earning Value 2009 A degree is worth £100,000 in the UK

Good Morning America

Just been looking at Google Analytics and thought I'd say hello to the USA. Now, can anyone tell me why I've had no hits from some of the states in the States? Rock on California - thanks for the visits, I'll be over in the autumn. Hits from places I've been ? Windy City, Flagstaff, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Reno (definitley the biggest little city!), Memphis, Orlando.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Gullibometer June 2007

Another month of blogging has gone by. Having read many blogs 'a pattern that connects' seems to be emerging. Seven classes of blog stand out for me:

a)I'll help you get rich Blog (all with tagging, traffic building, adsense and affiliate tricks)

b)The art and science of blogging Blog (all of which arrive at the 'it's the content stupid' conclusion after telling you 101 other ways to do it better)

c) The 'get yourself a better life' Blog, (that have a broad mix of spiritual awakening to cognitive behavioural 'work arounds' - known a s're-framing' in the trade to help you see yourself in a better light)

d) Technical Blog ( code, gadgets and other specialised stuff)

e) This is me and my life Blogs (often quirky, sometimes very personal, frequently rants, often about my hobbies - have you seen the one on 'knots'!!??)

f) Management Skills Blogs (leadership, teamwork, resourceful humans, human resources
creativity, innovation, strategic thinking, strategy tools and techniques, marketing, sales, process improvement)

g) Life Skills Blogs (relationship sense making, thinking skills, provocative outlooks, social psychology, philosophy)

h) Hard Science Blogs (ranging from astronomy, to nano-technology and anything 'squidgy' and celluar in between)

i) Humour Blogs (ranging from people who think they are funny and should stick to the day job, and some highly original stuff such as Overheard in New York) - this category was suggested by Dan after reading this post via a link on The Wrong Advices - cheers Dan

Now there are millions of people with lots of extremely interesting and informed points of view and I have reached a mini crisis. In the lifecycle of blogging perhaps I am following a 'norm' here. I've reached a sort of 'So What' crisis. What I thought might might be interesting and relevant to people is often covered and explained better by others, the things I wanted to say have probably been said (have they?) I have the strong sense that I don't know very much at all, and that what I do know is sort of very obvious. Its amazing really and maybe here's the irony...I've been given the biggest soap box in the world and I can say what I want, as loud as want, how I want, to whoever I want, and at the moment 20 people a day on average are listening. Mind you that's 20 people I never had contact with before.

Now here's my quote folks. Warhol said that eveyone would get 15 minutes of fame. Reasonable Robinson says Web 2.0 has changed all of that now everyone has the opportunity for 24/7 fame Pass it on and make me famous!! lol

You might probably sense that my blogging style is changing over time too, and so getting back to the 'bloggers lifecycle' (and I'll evolve this overtime too) I see the following phases.

1 WOW!................... I've got a new toy lets see what it does
2 NOW HEAR THIS.......... What I have to say is really important to me and you
3 I'M GONNA BE RICH...... So, 10 cents from 75 million bloggers equals....
4 PEOPLE LIKE ME......... I've connected, someone in Antarctica has read my blog
5 RUNNING OUT OF STEAM... Not much more to say. Out of ammo over here.
6 CELEBRITY FIX.......... Now I realise why Hello magazine is a good business model
7 CELEBRITY FIX 2........ Become a 'Bloggerazzi' chase those Digg & Reddit stories
8 OLD SOLDIER............ When I first started blogging, 'the horror', 'the horror'
9 THIS IS ME............. I'm past the 'elevator pitch' now, just gonna chat now
10 ?????????

off to work now - bye!