Category Archives: Observation

Don’t Settle…

I started reading a new book a few days ago. It’s called ‘How to Get Things Done’ by Richard Templar, and almost immediately, I began to struggle with it. Maybe it’s because the previous two books I’ve read (Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and Adapt by Tim Harford) were both extremely thought provoking and quite deep, in an unassuming way, whereas this new book on my list smugly purports to be clever, and apparently full of ‘secrets’ about how to get stuff done. Whatever the reason, each night I find myself flicking through the book looking for a helpful point to jump off from, and very quickly failing and letting it fall to the floor.

This morning on a rare pre-breakfast weekend wander around Twitter I happened upon something called ’50 Inspiring Quotes from 50 Top Social Media Power Influencers’. Rachel Miller had shared the article and despite it’s crappy title, I chose to read it based because Rachel often shares interesting stuff. I haven’t worked my way through the whole piece yet, but so far I’m particularly struck by this observation from Chris Brogan:

“Don’t settle: Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.”

Sorry Richard – on this occasion Chris is right. I think your book is crappy. It comes across as smug, twee and…crappy. I’m quitting on it, even though I spent £10 of hard earned cash, on this occasion I will not fall foul of post purchase rationalisation. On this occasion I will not finish this crappy book.

Starbucks Paying Tax – Empty Threats?

Have you walked past an emptier than usual Starbucks lately? If yes, you’re not the only one, far from it. Since the news broke that Starbucks hasn’t paid corporation tax for fourteen of the past fifteen years, my timeline has been busy with tweets about people walking by and seeking out a Costa Coffee, Caffe Nero, or even an independent coffee shop. There are many alternatives to Starbucks on the high street. They’ve never been my preference – I think their coffee sucks, and maybe that’s another story…

But for now, hallelujah, happy days – Starbucks has seen the light and is deciding it will pay more tax in the future. More than nothing eh? Well I guess that is a start. I feel for the people on the Starbucks frontline, I doubt they knew of their bosses decisions to play the tax system for maximum corporate advantage, yet what little job security they have is being made even more fragile by the current absence of customers.

In its press release, Starbucks says, ‘We have listened to feedback from our customers and employees and understand that, to maintain and further build public trust, we need to do more.’ You don’t say?! And this admission implies to me that listening, whether it be to customers or employees, has not previously been a Starbucks strong point. So – looking on the bright side (ish), we now have a company willing to tip a few coppers into the UK tax system (at least until they’re sure no one is looking again), and they’ve had some kind of listening epiphany. I hope that this will make Starbucks a better place to work in future.

While all this plays out, other companies being criticised for similar tax avoiding practice include Amazon and Google. Neither of these companies has blinked yet. And why should they? Who do we order our online Christmas shopping from? And where do we go for internet searches? Hmm… Neither Amazon nor Google faces the level of competition that Starbucks does, and of course none of these companies is breaking the law as it stands, however morally repulsed by their decisions we are, or are not.

It strikes me that whilst customer and employee pressure should be given its due, the simplest way for Government to get a grip on this taxation fiasco is to act decisively and change the tax laws. We’re all in this together, right? In the meantime, I’ve booked a day off to go Christmas shopping in the real world, well Brighton at least 🙂

What makes a community work – second helpings

Experiment

Pilot

Make mistakes

Look inside your community and outside. I love what Tom Peters says in relation to this (kind of):

Spend 50 percent of your time with “outsiders.” Distributors and vendors will give you more ideas in five minutes than another five-hour committee meeting.
Spend 50 percent of your “outsider” time with wacko outsiders