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Showing posts from 2016

Did Trump trump her, or was it trumped up?

Huge agonising about how and why he won, but very little mention of the influence his name might have played. There can be little doubt that perceptions are formed on hearing a name before meeting the person. A Rupert in the UK is an upper class twit. I know a few Ruperts and none of them are either upper class or twits, but when you're going to meet a Rupert, you prepare for cravats, limp handshakes and a lack of chin. Likewise Sharons are loose blondes from Essex. Not very bright, but a vodka and orange can end up a cheap and energetic date - if not one you'd want to repeat. But every Sharon I know is charming and, as far as I can tell, far from loose. I'm sure every Rupert and every Sharon in the UK suffers from jokes about the stereotypes their names suggest. I don't know why we form impressions about people because of their names (other than clues about nationality, age and gender perhaps), but we do. And I suspect it has a far greater effect than we a

Maybe Trump isn't so bad. What am I saying???

Never thought I'd be writing anything positive about a man I've called a moron, with apologies to all morons, a lying, ignorant, arrogant, misogynistic bully. But having slept on yet another massive defeat for electoral common sense within just 6 months of our own Brexit shock, I'm starting to come to terms with what just happened. And I think I can begin to see this in a positive or at least hopeful light. I'm still not happy about the nuclear thing, racism or climate change, but I think I might on reflection start to feel reasonably positive nonetheless. Has Grombler finally gone mad? Read on... My first difficulty was trying to understand why so many millions of ordinary people could possibly believe that a man with no admirable character traits could possibly lead a country. Amazingly the stats show many of his voters are women, and even more oddly perhaps, many are immigrants. I was also surprised at how many EU citizens living in the UK supported Brexit. Turkeys

Like vs Want vs Need vs Must Have... The Universal Sales Challenge

"They loved it. It's in the bag." (Business buyers are usually polite and often complementary even if they have no intention to buy) "It's getting loads of 'likes' on Facebook. This is a winner." (People are often keen to demonstrate to others how they feel about things. But this is different from deciding to buy where many other considerations need to be satisfied) "The majority of people we asked said they'd buy one." (But would they when you ask them to pay?) It's so easy to confuse 'like' with 'need'. People and businesses rarely spend money on things they just like. What they are far more likely to spend money on are things they need, especially things they can't do without. Businesses need to measure propensities to buy their products far more carefully than superficial reactions might indicate. They also need to consider WHY their products might be purchased, as well as WHEN and HOW, not just IF.

Blame the Polls for Trump

Here we go again. The polls unanimously predicted a victory for Clinton, and we all know what happened. The polls also unanimously predicted that Britain would remain in the EU, but they were wrong there too. Only months earlier the UK polls predicted every sort of party combination to form a government, except for the one that won. Why do polls get it completely wrong, especially when they're unanimously predicting a close result? Perhaps it's because of the Observer Effect (sometimes confused with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle). Simply put, it states that by measuring something, you can affect it. In the case of opinion polls, this is what happens: The polls all predict a close result If the person or party you like is losing , you become more likely to vote because you can make difference If the person or party you like is winning , you become less likely to vote because you don't need to There's a sweet spot for this effect. If the polls are predicti

The Trouble with Causes... is that they're rarely causes

Lily Allen cries on screen and apologises for 'her country's' refusal to take in enough migrants. As if emptying the Jungle would solve the reason why impoverished desperate people fight their way to be there. I've no problem with highlighting the suffering of individuals or communities. Indeed it's important we don't ignore suffering. I've also no problem with people and states doing something to relieve that suffering. Of course we should. What I do have a problem with is the naivety that assumes solving the symptom sorts out the cause. Causes are rarely the causes of the problem, they're symptoms. It's an odd misnomer. Voting for Brexit (sorry) is another example of the dangers of focussing on symptoms without understanding underlying causes of issues - or, in the case of Brexit, of not understanding the consequences of curing symptoms. Intriguingly by making the UK less attractive for immigrants by devaluing our currency, frightening off mult

The Dunning Kruger Effect explains Brexit, ISIS and Trump

As the Chinese premier Chou En Lai once said when asked what he thought the effect was of the French Revolution on Western civilisation… “It’s too early to tell”. Brexit hasn’t happened yet and won’t for years of political confusion and indecision. During this time we will continue to trade as normal, perhaps even well, except for two things... foreign investment into the UK will dry up, and we'll have to pay for thousands more civil servants and highly paid consultants to start negotiating trade deals for corkscrews, bricks, cheese and every one of the millions of things people want to sell us and we want to sell them - and they'll have to negotiate these with every significant country or trading block on the planet. Whoopee Australia has recently said it will be keen to try to sell us stuff. Well that's a big surprise. So are we going to let their sheep farmers put our Welsh farmers out of business? One product to negotiate with just one country. But this time

Exceeding Customer Expectations

Yesterday I bought some sardines from a local fish market near where I live in Portugal every summer. The lady selling the fish had a display of sardines in front of a box of them. I felt one or two of the sardines in front of the box to test how fresh they were. The stiffer they are, the better. The flavour of fish changes dramatically after a day or so. These were fresh. They were also large and plump (not like the pathetic version we see in the UK). I asked for 2 kilos (enough for 10 people we were entertaining at the villa that evening). Instead of picking the fresh sardines on display, she picked them from the box. I assumed they would be the same. But when I got home and started to prepare them, I discovered that the ones she had sold me were a couple of days older than the ones on display. She had deliberately deceived me, and presumably all her customers until she had emptied her box and then had to sell her display fish. A couple of years ago I was in a French market. Spyi

Make the World Ashamed they're not British!

The following was extracted from a previous post about the positives we might be able to create from our decision to leave the EU. In this post I'm focussing on immigration. 52% of our electorate demanded we 'take control of our borders'. Nigel Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party, produced this poster as his contribution to the Leave campaign: And he called Remainers Scaremongers ! I sincerely hope not a single Leaver decided to vote because of this poster. But perhaps our leaving the EU can awaken something far more valuable to us, and to the world. Our humanity and decency. Let's use the decision to control our borders to enable us to be more WELCOMING to people who really need our help, rather than people who want to simply exercise their right to be here because their own EU country is letting them down. If we need specific skills from other countries, there's nothing to stop us letting them in. So this is our chance to be selective abo

A Plan for the UK

Out means out. Or words to that effect. Since the referendum in 2016, investment into the UK has stalled. We need to restore confidence in the UK fast before it continues to head elsewhere. But if we're no longer the 'gateway to the EU', who are we? How can we restore confidence in a divided nation where every expert and foreign leader (excluding Putin and Trump who want to see Europe and the UK weaker), has predicted the UK will be worse off on its own. The pound has already weakened dramatically (from $2 to $1.28 at the turn of the decade) making our exports more attractive - which is good - but we are already finding it harder to borrow money on world markets - which is not. The things we import are also more expensive. That's good because it makes home produced alternatives better value, but bad because many of those home produced items contain imported parts - so those British goods will start to cost more. And a lot of people's jobs are based on selling and

Andrea Leadsom. Don't tell me to be optimistic!

I've just watched Andrea Leadsom's address to a bunch of (Leave) acolytes. As a Leaver herself, she naturally continues to ply us with the 'better off out' bollocks and her principal call is for the country to unite around being optimistic about the future. I have no problem with people being optimistic, but optimism is not a state of mind you decide to adopt. It's a state of mind resulting from an assessment about the future. You can't suddenly wake up optimistic if all the evidence tells you that the future is bleak. Having a positive attitude in the face of adversity is one thing. I am sure it helped encourage all those young men to leap out of their trenches at the Somme. But wouldn't it have been better not to have put them there in the first place? Were they optimistic about their futures. No chance. Were they hopeful they'd survive. You bet. I will of course make the best of the bad hand she and her deluded chums have dealt me. But I will co

Brexit. It might actually work out.

I promised myself I wouldn't bleat any more about Brexit. But my country has gone stark staring mad, we're tripping over the corpses of political leaders, and I received this excellent summary of the current state of play: So, let me get this straight... the leader of the opposition campaigned to stay but secretly wanted to leave, so his party held a non-binding vote to shame him into resigning so someone else could lead the campaign to ignore the result of the non-binding referendum which many people now think was just angry people trying to shame politicians into seeing they'd all done nothing to help them. Meanwhile, the man who campaigned to leave because he hoped losing would help him win the leadership of his party, accidentally won and ruined any chance of leading because the man who thought he couldn't lose, did - but resigned before actually doing the thing the vote had been about. The man who'd always thought he'd lead next, campaigned so badly that

I Blame...

17 million Brits, out of the 46 million who had the vote (37% of the electorate), have decided to force the UK out of the EU. It's a pity 28% of us didn't bother to vote. It's devastating news for the UK, the EU and the whole world (except Putin and Trump apparently). But apart from the elderly deluded xenophobes who put their cross in the wrong box, here's who I really blame. The EU For not realising this might happen. Not only should they have been reforming their inefficiencies - or at least explaining to everyone what they might already be doing to improve things - they should have offered the UK better concessions over immigration. Their intransigence in the face of growing xenophobia throughout the whole EU will be their undoing. As I write this the day after the vote, the worst affected stock markets are Spain, Italy, France and Germany. The FTSE (UK), paradoxically, is one of the least affected (although massively down). The Conservative Party I'