Feature Creep

 

First of a regular column by Gizmodo features ebooks and why they have failed to fulfil their potential. Hopefully they will cover Tablet PCs next.

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

Sociology more than just a qualification for a McJob

One of my colleagues has been doing research on an issues management campaign in the offing and came across SIRC (Social Issues Research Centre), an Oxford based organisation with lots of useful articles on their site. Apparently they spawned the term ‘white van man’.

And they don’t ask you if you want fries with your web page.

Big Brother Awards


Just came back from a cheap, but worthy night out. I took my friend Jonathan to see Privacy International’s Big Brother Awards, held at the London School of Economics and compared by Mark Thomas. The venue was a student bar with a glass roof rather like the Hac. A few hardy souls turned up as spooks a la MAD’s Spy Vs Spy comic strip. Anyway the winners were

– Most invasive company BG (British Gas)

– Worst public servant Margaret Hodge

– Most appalling project NHS IT electronic patient record system

– Most heinous government organisation Office of National Statistics

– David Blunkett Lifetime Menace Award US VISIT programme

Full details can be found here