Friday, 31 October 2008

Is Georgina Baillie The Satanic Slut Really A Saint?

So the BBC say they have drawn a line under the Brand Ross Sachs Affair. Heads have rolled wrists have been slapped, and possibly some backsides spanked, which is presumably right up Georgina Baillie's street if her page on the Voluptua The Satanic Sluts web site is anything to go by.

I find the BBC statement particularly interesting when it said there had been a "deplorable intrusion into the privacy of Sachs and his granddaughter".

Interesting and inconsistent. Intrusion into Mr Sachs's privacy yes, but Ms Baillie's? Let's look at some inconsistencies...Here's what her web profile says about her dislikes:

Shallow people, Narrow minded people, Chavs who yell things at me,
Having to sell out to earn money, Public transport, Dead fish.

Surely she should be siding with Brand and Ross against the 'narrow minded' uproar of 30,000 complainers to the BBC, its senior managers, The BBC Trust, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Ofcom??

Now look at The Sun - They Disgust Me

Next take a close look at her web profile and the photograph in the bath tub:

Recently singer Katy Perry was Lambasted by The Sun for posing with a knife.

So, if I understand this all correctly, The Sun approves Georgina Baillie posing unclothed in a blood soaked bath tub with a knife but doesn't approve of Kerry Perry posing for a less blood soaked, more clothed photograph. Georgina dislikes unwanted intrusions into her private life yet has no qualms about placing her story with a major tabloid newspaper along with intimate images and opinions in her personal profile on her website, and finally she dislikes 'selling out' and yet has no problem making money out of the intrusion into her Grandfather's privacy.

I am a little puzzled. Unless, of course we are witnessing something psychologically very profound. Perhaps all of these things, Ross, Brand, Grandfather Sachs, The Media, and Herself represent...


Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Resignation of Lesley Douglas

The resignation of Lesley Douglas is a salutary warning to any manager about the real power and social influence of the 21st century digitally connected social media.

The surge of complaints that surrounded the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross saga reminded me of the speed at which a news story can be Dugg or Stumbled. Opinions can be expressed and posted at the speed of light, and a digital lynching party can be called together in a moment.

In the past we would have heard the story and muttered displeasure over breakfast left it at that. Today sitting in front of TV wirelessly connected to your laptop the opportunity to 'fire' off a retort is very very easy.

It seems that people are focussing on the 'systems' and 'checks' which create an endemic and misplaced concern with bureaucracy in the Beeb. Lesley Douglas has resigned because of her gullibility and over reliance on 'remote control' management rather than managing live productions in the moment and actively participating in what is broadcast. It also reveals the complete lack of realisation and attention that is paid to the fully integrated nature of today's media by the broadcaster. This is a strategic lack of senior BBC management.

I agree entirely with the recent sentiments of Steve Hewlett who says active management of talent and smart editorial judgements is the name of the game, NOT stultifying creativity by introducing more bureaucracy and pandering to appartatchiks.

Lesley had to go. Jonathan was let down.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Sub Primate Debt Causes Eco Crunch

Can't pay your mortgage and you lose your house. Can't pay the planet we lose our home.

To emphasise the point the BBC reports today on The Eco Crunch that we are all heading for.

Just how gullible are we! In 1968 Kenneth Boulding wrote an article called 'The Economics of Spaceship Earth' (it can be found in Environmental Quality in a Growing Economy -H.Jarret (ed)

The gist of the article was to characterise two mindsets that can be adopted towards the use of the planet and its resources. One mindset the Cowboy mindset sees the planet as a huge exploitable resource, where you can take whatever you want and you can throw away what you don't need. The other mindset is that of the astronaut mindset who recognises the limitations of his/her resources and the importance and conserving and recycling.

See also Spaceship Earth

In the BBC article it is pointed out that the $1.2 trillion temporary stock value loss is dwarfed by he $4.5 trillion permanent loss of the worlds living and natural resources.

The 2008 financial crash was created by Sub Prime borrowing. The Eco Crash is created by Sub Primate borrowing - i.e. us!

"If our demands on the planet continue to increase at the same rate, by the mid-2030s we would need the equivalent of two planets to maintain our lifestyles," said WWF International director-general James Leape.

Yee Haw - gotta get me one of those spaceship things I'm heading off West pardner, or maybe North, even South, or East, there's a big universe out there boy!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

New Capitalism in Action - Now Then Sheffield

Questioning the prevailing business mindset of the unfettered market economy and challenging the lack of concern for social and environmental consequences of the mindless pursuit of materialistic 'need pacifiers' has really jumped to the forefront of people's attention.

This doesn't mean, of course, that everybody is now replacing Steven Hawkings Brief History of Time on their bookshelves with an equally less read copy of Marx's Das Kapital. What it might signal however is the realisation of many people as to just what extent they have abdicated their self control to the social influence initiatives of major corporations.

Milton Freidmann argued that the sole responsibility of an organisation was to maximise the return for shareholders, and this mantra has guided the excesses and short-termism of the banking fraternity with obvious consequences. The question is should Mr Friedmann's way be blindly accepted as the best way of doing business?

Now Then Sheffield is an example of a business model that challenges these assumptions and shows how we needn't gullibly accept prevailing wisdoms. Giving the disenfranchised and those with limited resources an opportunity to develop their talents and still make sufficient funding to keep the project alive is a key aim of a basket of projects that have been initiated by Social Enterprise. organisation Opus productions.

The magazine Now Then Sheffield is one of several projects that were introduced to me at a recent meeting that sought to bring academics and business people together to explore experiences and perspectives on different ways of 'doing business'

James Lock is one of the thought leaders behind the project and a brilliant example of someone who combines a socially motivated principle with a practical revenue generating edge. The key point though is that the projects are not 'self-serving' they have to be 'win -win'.

In that sense James and Now Then Sheffield is practical evidence of the Zeit Geist that pervades the blogosphere - collaborative effort, unconditional sharing of resources, empowering the individual, cultivating aspirations, acting in a sustainable and community spirited way. The magazine is distributed free and works on an advertising revenue model and these revenues fund project management. The bigger the distribution, the more advertising, the more revenue, the more people who need it are helped to get develop their talents.

The simple message is 'you don't need to step on the heads of others to achieve success'

Jame's project deserves your support, please visit his website with your feedback. He's looking into developing a social network presence and you might have some tips for him. If you think that the project deserves more attention please Stumble and Digg, it is much appreciated and in that way you can help make a difference to people who need it. We can all use our social influence to change the world.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

The Fuzz In A Fuss Over Fuzzy Logic

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How ironic that the British Police a.k.a.The Fuzz are in hot water because they have apparently mis-categorised the crime of grievous bodily harm with intent. The full story can be found here BBC

As we know, scientific management a.k.a managerialism loves to measure things because "what you measure is what you get" This might be re-phrased as "how you categorise influences how you understand it"

The Fuzz seem to have been applying some Fuzzy Logic to the problem of serious crime, and in a classic example have shown how so called ontological entities can belong to more than one category based on the sense-making judgements of the observer.

The Home Office, of course argues that 'grievous bodily harm with intent' belongs to a particular and unambiguous category of crime. It just goes to show that their guidelines must have been ambiguous if alternative judgements are possible.

Because grievous bodily harm is a 'social contruction' this story shows exactly why positivistic scientific management is overly ambitious in its attempts to apply the rules of natural science to the social world.

Mark Easton of the BBC remarks that correcting the labelling means that it can now be revealed that serious crime against the person has risen, which got me wondering if there might be a way to make finer and finer distinctions of crime. How might someone feel who was very badly beaten up with intent not proved? Is this NOT a serious crime too?

Perhaps we should just measure 'crime' regardless of the varieties and use that as a bell weather of the state of society.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Gluttony Of Bankers

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The gluttony of bankers becomes even more apparent as, despite their multi billion dollar rescues, we hear continuing stories of home repossession and business foreclosure. How dare they!

They ran squealing and squirming to the government to bail them out of the self indulgent mess they had got themselves into by calling on OUR MONEY to do it.

And now they think it is OK to take the homes away of the people that have helped them stay in business and generate fees for their bonuses. Would they give their bonuses back for selling the mortgage in the first place? People who work in banks should show some humility and respect to their customers. They should realise that a significant majority of people do not believe the PR they have created about themselves as 'upright, sober, professionals, deserving of respect in the community'

People who work at every level of banking need to realise that they are merely manipulative, deceitful, and self serving, and this goes right through to contact staff who were once cashiers and are now 'sales people'. They should all be ashamed of themselves and their so called 'profession'. They might even consider changing their jobs and do something that adds to the community and welfare of people.

What possible moral grounds do they have for repossessing homes and creating anxiety and misery in people's lives?

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Let's Dance!


Have a great day everyone. When you stop why not Digg and Stumble this! This is social influence in action.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Fortune Teller Saw It Coming

Unlike Norwegian MPSaera Khan, an MP for the ruling Labour Party who didn't!

As social animals we are predisposed to have an interest in trying to determine the likely future actions of others. Will they co-operate with us? or will they harm us in some way? The uncertainty of the future for some people is too much to bare and so they resort to all sorts of metaphysical ways of getting knowledge before it empirically arrives.

I wonder if there is such a thing as 'Future Addiction' where people become so obsessed with the 'not happened yet' that they will do anything to find out. The irony is that in an attempt to control the future IT actually controls you!!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Is School Anti Extremism Kit A Flawed Idea?

The proposal by UK Education Secretary Ed Balls to introduce an Anti Extremism Kit into UK Schools might be generously described as 'quaint' if it wasn't so superficial and unsophisticated. A managerial gimmick introduced by a managerial mind.

This 21st century equivalent of the Road Safety kit actually models the very complaint I have with the quality of his thinking. Changing simple behaviours such as crossing the road safely might be amenable to catch phrases like 'stop look listen' but Ed Ball's 'learning together to be safe' is evidence of staggering naivete in respect of the social influence of the dogmatic philosophies that drive extremism.

In other words its the Ideas that drive the Actions. Ed's weak idea has driven a weak action in the same way that extremist thinking drives extreme action.

The other problem that Ed's idea has is that it focuses attention on symptoms rather than causes by misplacing emphasis on the wrong thing entirely. In promoting the ideas of 'learning to be safe' he recommends paying attention to the 'things' people do rather than recognising underlying philosophies that inform their thinking. This fluffy, Utopian, teacher-esque approach to recognising the 'baddy is merely an attempt at improving 'description' rather than developing any level of deep understanding of what is going off.

Far more effective would be making Sophies World by Jostein Gaarder and Changing Minds by Howard Gardner compulsory reading in Schools. In this way children could be introduced to the essentials of critical thought and quickly learn to discriminate between dogmatic ideas and healthy skeptical thinking. Once they were tooled up in this way, they would be naturally skeptical of anyone who attempted to force an extreme ideology down their throats.

UK schools would be better off if they weaned themselves off the self-reinforcing subject focus of the curriculum and started teaching children how to ask questions rather than expect to be given answers. You've only got to look at the needy 'doe' eyed undergraduate to see what our education is turning out. Someone more skilled at rapid note taking than using their brains.

Philosophy should not be regarded as an irrelevant to everyday life and a subject that is studied at university by introspective idealistic undergraduates it is far too important for that and it needn't be stuffy and hard to access either.

Curious minds need their curiosity developed not dumbed down and their fears raised by vacuous ideas like this 'kit'. The kit won't keep children 'safe and secure' and neither will merely 'bringing things out into the open' like some tree-hugging therapy group. Sorry Mr Jones this is the real world we are dealing with and the gloves need to come off. The only thing that will keep our children and society safe is a clear understanding of how with think, the assumptions we make about how the world works, and the ways that mind-sets are formed and changed, and crucially why dogmatic mind-sets are so hard to shift!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

O.J. Simpson - Initials Explained

How many of you have wondered what O.J. stands for? Well now it can be revealed. The gullibility of Mr Simpson in assuming that his celebrity will render him untouchable from the basic laws of physics and the legal process can be explained by the new science of 'Nametics'

Nametics shows how your initials pre-dispose you to act out life patterns consistent with your initials. Following months of scientific analysis and the integration of rational processs with an understanding of social influence interpretation it has been shown that O.J. stands for Zero Judgement.

This post-natal condition implies that it is nurture not nature that caused Mr Simpson to act as he did. The forth coming appeal will be drawing on Nametics to make a case for his release.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Credit Crunch - What Business Are The Banks Really In?

As many of you will be aware, one of the most penetrating questions anyone can ask an organisation is "What business are you in?" One of the seminal thinkers to promote this question was Ted Levitt in the much vaunted HBR article Marketing Myopia.

The essence of Levitt's thinking lies at the heart of true strategic marketing philosophy because it causes business people to consider what their business 'does' rather than what it 'is'.

As far as Banks and Consumers are concerned I would like to raise attention to what I will call Consumer Myopia and the way this has been exploited by the financial 'services' (sic) industry.

I believe that it should be illegal for financial institutions to portray what they do as a 'service'. This is entirely misleading, and plays fast and loose with the notions of service and relationship marketing developed by the Nordic School and key writers like Christian Gronroos.

The use of the term 'service' is skilfully used to manipulate perceptions. It is an attempt by The Banks to create a positive Euphamism for the fact that they SELL financial products that are designed to make profit for the bank. Let me be clear, I am not against organisations making profits. I am against those that fudge the issue and pretend that they are organisations of care and welfare by hijacking the term 'service'. Does anybody seriously accept that Banks should be thought of in the same way as the Medical, Fire, Police, Military, Educational and other public services!

Banks ultimately are in the business of trust. We trust them (and they try very hard to convince us that they are trustworthy)with our hard earned cash. They know that as soon as we 'trust' we abdicate our power and control and significantly we relax our critical reasoning. Its time we got this back!

Look and listen carefully to the next bank adverts you see. Not the 'operational' ones that tell you about savings rates, but the one's that imply they are there to save you from the hassles and dangers of life. They constantly use a technique of social influence known as 'Fear and Relief' They bring to our attention all of the bad things that might happen in our lives and then position themselves as the provider of relief from fear. This is not service it is manipulation and exploitation.

The Banks and other Financial Institutions should only be allowed to state that they 'sell money products', and explicitly state that they are in the business of making money from these products. This information should not be in the small print but on the 'front page' in plain English in the same way that we have cigarette packet warnings.

For The Banks to imply that they can fund our material and consumer desires is merely exploiting the 'mind work' that the advertisers have done to us to 'soften us up'. The Banks should not be allowed to promote their 'money products' as means to acquire things that have not been saved for. That they can do this is fine, and an uninfluenced choice is the right of everybody. I'm taking issue with the fact that they conflate what they do as a business with the appeal of other products and therefore cannot ever have the best interests of their customers at heart! The sale of their products is never 'unbiased'.

Let's get the debate moving on this! If you think that Banks should be restricted in how they portray themselves as a 'service' perhaps you might Stumble or Digg this article, because they have alot to answer for.