Entrepreneurship – no thanks we’re British

There is an interesting article Sunk before they’ve even begun in the July/August issue of Real Business magazine regarding the effect of student debt on entrepreneurship. The article, was interesting because it touched on a seldom visited area, a number of articles have already been written to the effect that fewer students are going to go forward to caring professions, creative sectors or push the boundaries of knowledge because of the weight of the debt compared to their likely earning potential. According to the article, little research has been done in the area but empirical evidence would tend to indicate that student debt (which has risen considerably) has produced graduates who are less likely to innovate or take risks. One of the key reasons why this is occurring is that while UK universities are wanting to become like their generously private funded US counterparts, the universities are not holding up their side of the bargain. In the US, universities provide a wide and deep network of contacts for students and have close relationships with sources of venture funding. Something that UK academics provide a sketchy infrastructure that is a shadow of the facilities available to American students.

In addition, the UK has nothing equivalent to the veterans programme where the poorest members of society can go to college after a minimum amount of time spent in military service. If I was going to college now instead of ten years ago (after I had been made redundant in the downstream oil industry), I would not have been able to afford it and would be pushing boxes around a warehouse.

The UK stock exchange already underperforms the US stock exchanges because we have so few young entrepreneurs coming through like Michael Dell, Jerry Yang and David Filo or Larry Page. By giving into the free market demands of the further education sector Labour may have sown the seeds for further underperformance of the UK economy in the long term.

Googlewatch

Can I be bothered trawling through the Google filings when someone from the Washington Post and assorted equity analyst will give up the juicy bits anyway? No. This Washington Post article here is of interest. Whilst I wont be buying the stock I will be bookmarking their virtual roadshow page.

What do I think?

– Sergei Brin and Larry Page are very smart people, yep, even smarter than me

– The auction and high price is reducing the chance of an internet bubble and ensuring that the offer makes Google rich and its Googleers rather than merchant banks, Wall Street insiders and other parasites like ‘friends of Frank’

– Their split capital structure means that they are building to last rather like the European families like the Quandt’s who run BMW or the Wallenbergs in Sweden, rather than just another corporate monolith

– If anyone stands a chance of not being ran over by Steve Balmer and his purile pranksters, its Mssrs Page and Brin because they are customer focused rather than competitor focused

Will Wonders Never Cease?

Computerworld ran an interesting article on the social tics that IT workers sometimes may have. Read the real reasons why management are so happy to fire their ass and send their job half way around the world, thus alleviating an immense irritation and providing an opportunity to rack up huge amounts of air miles researching the IT outsourced operation in India, China, whereever. Cost savings, yeah don’t believe it, most ‘business decisions’ are political, outsourcing is the price you pay for wearing ‘g3t fr4gg3d’, ‘I am r00t’ or ‘I read your email’ t-shirts around the office and leeching at the attractive golddigger of a marketing manager the chairman foisted on the company. Remember ‘Microsoft Certified’ means that you are commodity that can be bought or discarded like a PC.

Stop the press, management board members found to be thinking! Next up, uber brains McKinsey have launched the results have launched their second survey (free registration required) on what C-level execs think. Wait a moment, C-level execs don’t have to think, that’s the reason why the hired McKinsey? Anyway, the key takeout points are not exactly surprising

  • Generally positive economic outlook particularly from European CEOs, though this has reduced since January due to oil prices, interest rate rises et cetera
  • There is not much scope for price increases, so inflation should be kept under control
  • Increased investment in China and India, though North American execs in particular, are less confident that China’s government can continue the steep increase in growth
  • Mixed messages on IT spending, CTOs in Europe are less confident of an upturn in IT spending than the peers in the rest of the world. China and India in particular are looking to be hotbeds of IT spending as they seek to leapfrog the West

Google unleashes more whoop-ass on Microsoft, Gmail the Hotmail killer just got better, list of improvements can be found here. Don’t have an account yet? Maybe its because you have no friends to send you an invitation to join, socialise more you’ll feel better for it.The new Blade film Trinity is due out in December, my colleague and Balham’s mack daddy Cad Bwoy flagged up the following link. Troubled by the demise of the vampire race, their partners in repression of humans the government go toe-to-toe with the daywalker. Much booty is kicked by Blade! No sign of Whistler though.

Nuu medja prostitutes e-consultancy.com have a paid for report on the importance of online PR. OK, might they feel online PR is important because they are an online organisation that sells subscription services to PR agencies? Charging for this is like Next charging for their catalogue.

Digital terrorist Orrin Hatch plans to emulate muslim extremist Osama Bin Laden by disrupting Americans basic rights and way of life in pursuit of his own sick and twisted beliefs. Senator Orrin Hatch admitted that he wanted to steamroll through his flawed piece of legislation though Capitol Hill. Unfortunately like Bin Laden he is funded by shadowy supporters as this research shows. Like September 11, deeply engrained systems and a lack of imagination by legislators have prevented government operatives from taking him out, going behind the Lincoln memorial and giving him some high velocity lead poisoning. You can make your feelings known to Orrin by contacting him via his website here.

Customer Service Heroes and villains

Orange turns me green at the gills

One of the things I have learned over the past couple of weeks is that you can’t rely on a brand for consistent customer service, only people.

As you may have read, I had some problems when Three cut my number off. Well credit where credit is due, eventually my problem was dealt with in a most professional and helpful manner by a Scottish customer services lady called Sammy Reynolds. I decided to move to Orange, they seem on the surface to have their act in gear, WRONG!!! The shop staff near Bond Street tube were happy to sell me a phone but weren’t so eager to expedite a swift number port from Three. I eventually called the Orange customer services line and got through to the relevant team, things then got Kaftesque. Orange would not be interested in my number until Three called them. Read Orange was not interested in having my custom in a particularly speedy manner. I had to get Three to call Orange to sort things out. Three had given my number up, yet could not do anything as Orange’s systems were down for two days.

Orange did not keep me informed of my progress and dealt with me in a manner that would have impressed a civil servant. This was all happening on the back of me trying to sell my house and my best friend about to give birth. My initial impressions of Orange have been disappointing to say the least. Despite Three facilitating the process as much as possible it still took seven and a bit days to port my number over – this is the minimum standard specified by Ofcom!

Dot.com with Good Idea

A couple of weeks ago, I got invited the wedding reception of an ex-colleague. The bash was at the function room of a well appointed pub in North London. The wedding present list was online, ok lists can be a bit assumptive, however this one was cool. The thing that struck me was how well the whole online thing leant itself to wedding presents:

– You don’t have wrap the present

– don’t worry about bringing it along to the bash

– don’t look too mean or extravagant compared to other guests

– they won’t get damaged in the traditional family punch-up that happens at these events

Oh yeah, the party was good and all.