I don’t welcome a new majority Tory government in the UK. It doesn’t directly affect me since I live in a politically separate crown dependency, but nevertheless I still consider myself British as much as Guernsey, much of my family live in the UK, and the tone of the mainland does rub off on our culture here in general. I’m a left-leaning liberal and a strong supporter of progressivism, social and otherwise, and I see a pure Tory government as generally regressive, pursuing an ideology that, despite the aspirational rhetoric, largely favours the incumbent wealthy in society.
Warning: this post contains images of me over the years. I take no responsibility for the damage this may cause to your retina and/or mental state. Time’s a funny thing; it just keeps on passing. There it went just now. And again. And here I am, burning your actual time postulating about how time passes. And again, with that apology. Sorry. I should stop now. Another thing is that we have this impression that there’s a “right time” for things.
I’m now sometimes referred to as an ‘entrepreneur’, and occasionally I spend a little of my time trying to figure out what that actually means. I realise that a lot of the time, how other people perceive it is quite different to how I see myself. Much of the talk around entrepreneurship is about blue-sky thinking, of aiming for the moon shot, of being the big-talking guy who is always selling his next grand vision of the future.
So there’s been a ton of talk lately about the state of the mobile games industry, and specifically the place we’ve reached now in the race to the bottom on pricing, which has meant people concluding that if you make a mobile game today, it has to be Free To Play to be successful, and that this fact is either ridiculously awesome because it’s leading to vast riches from new audiences, or that it’s an insidious evil which is destroying the game industry forever.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a swinger. Not in the dodgy suburban wife-swapping sense, but in the sense that many aspects of my personality - creativity, gregariousness, concentration for detail tasks etc - seem to be in regular flux, swinging back and forth like a pendulum - the frequency (or period, physics pendants) is different for each but there’s definitely a cycle there. I used to think this was odd, maybe even a sign of a very mild bipolar or something, because no-one in my professional circles really talked about it much.
I’m passionate about the fact that there’s never been a better time for people with talent and passion to get out there and start their own businesses. The Internet has flattened the playing field considerably, and globalisation and the recession has led to a lot of people to realise that employment isn’t the safe harbour they might have previously thought it was. The opportunities for making an impact from a small starting point are more numerous than ever, and people are increasingly aware of their options in a way that was unthinkable 10-15 years ago.
There’s a campaign that’s been running here for a while called ‘Buy Local’ which encourages people to buy things from their local shops rather than ordering online, thus putting money back into the local economy. In general, this is a sensible message that I can support. But the more I think about it, the more I think it may be missing the point. I think what needs to be said is that the fact that you’re local isn’t justification for customers to prefer you over another supplier if your product or service are sub-par.
“90% of startups fail” I hear this meme repeated over and over, from ordinary people whom it terrifies into spending a lifetime using their talents primarily for someone else’s benefit, to those business leaders who use it either to discourage shifting investment away from their ‘safe’ industries, or more subtly dropping it into conversation to increase the chances they’ll keep their best staff. I hate it, both because of the psychological blackmail it represents, and because for the vast majority of people starting a business, it’s total and complete nonsense.
It’s seems you can’t tune into any sort of political debate on the economy these days without a glut of commentators and politicians lining up to tell us how all our problems can, nay must, be solved by ‘attracting investors’. We must do everything we can, we’re told, to catch the eye of these incredibly elusive and rare beasts, who are constantly on the move and always on the lookout for the juiciest pickings.
One of the things I hear on occasion is the maxim ‘People buy from people’. Usually what people mean when they say this is that the only real way to sell things to people is to go meet them, shake their hands, wine and dine them, play golf with them, organise trade delegations to impress them, and so on. I’m sure that’s still the way it works in some industries, especially those which are large, slow-moving and headed mainly by the over-50s who are most comfortable negotiating over walnut boardroom tables.