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Showing posts from July, 2012

Don't Give Start-ups More Money, Help them by Giving Less

My title sounds wrong, doesn't it? Journalists and economists - you know the types: instant experts on everything, but where the priority is not to inform, but to be considered smart - are telling us "What Britain needs is for the banks to free up credit to help more people start businesses". Politicians are telling us the same. "Let's lend or even give loads of money to get the economy jump-started." "The more money you make available, the more jobs you'll create" is Labour's mantra. In my opinion that's the opposite of what actually works for most start-ups. I understand that some businesses simply can't get going without a modest amount of funds, and a tiny few can't get going without an awful lot of funds (tricky to get a nuclear power station cranked up in the garage). But my advice is to starve start-ups for as long as possible. In fact if they can't get going and survive on virtually nothing, then you're simply

NegaTED Update

I'm delighted (if a grombler can be permitted to show delight) that there's a fitting addendum to my previous post about the antidote to TED enthusasteria . You will recall NEGA TED  was conceived following a chance encounter with a delegate from Sydney at the final lunch. It seems she had put her name down for a TED cycle ride to end the conference - very TED. Skinny exercise fanatics demonstrating zero-carbon transport combined with off-the-beaten-path tourism and a shared sweating experience. Far too positive for my mind.... and, as it turns out, hers too. Here's what she has just emailed me: Hi, Well actually I managed to squeeze in an extra TED story. One of my shoes spectacularly fell apart on the bike ride, and had to be tied up with a bike strap. The bike ride was actually a bit less organised than I expected and though we were taken there by bus they did not pick us up and, no one knew how to get back. It turned out we had to walk back (strangely challenging for

Why Radical Islam is Attractive and how to Defeat it.

I was struck by the story of Maajid Nawaz , a British citizen growing up in Westcliff-on-Sea who is by any definition an Islamic fundamentalist. He spent four years being tortured in an Egyptian prison (ironically now run by the Muslim Brotherhood) and emerged to found a movement known as Quilliam opposed to radicalising Muslims (and anyone else for that matter). He wants Islam to return to being a religion rather than a political movement. To explain how radical Islam originally charmed him into its embrace, he tells the story of growing up on streets filled with white skinheads armed with baseball bats and razors, intent on driving brown skins out of their territory. These thugs were nihilists with no moral values and imperceptible intellects. Lethal bullies, blind-eyed by the local authorities defending free speech, a fear of violence spreading, and a concern for votes (the BNP and NF were and are strong in places like Westcliff). Nawaz relates an incident where he and his brother

NegaTED - the Antidote to TED Conferences

I've just returned from TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh. I'm addicted. It was my third TED experience including a brilliant TEDx at the London Houses of Parliament I attended the previous week. TEDx is a sort of mini-TED organised by enthusiasts, but with fewer Americans. So at the end of 5 days full-on brain porn (I sat through around 100 presentations or acts of varying degrees of wow ), there I was, balancing precariously on a beanbag while trying to keep equally precariously balanced 'healthy' food on my fork, when my similarly struggling neighbour from Sydney (younger but no less inept) introduced herself - as you always do at TEDs, in talks, bars, on escalators, even in toilets (yes, really). We sized each other up reasonably quickly - again, as you do - to discover that she too was a Grombler (although self-evidently not a Grumpy Old Man - but you get what I mean). It was her first TED and she asked me if people were always so effusive about everything that happened