Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time.
I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.
Last week I was listening to This Sceptred Isle (a history of the UK on BBC Radio 7) and was struck by the use of a phrase back in the 17th Century. After the death of Oliver Cromwell his son became the Lord Protector after which the 'Rump Parliament' was reinstalled. This Parliament was thought to be so bad that the diarist Samuel Pepys wrote "...boys do now cry 'Kiss my Parliament' instead of 'Kiss my arse', so great and general a contempt is the rump come to...".
I had, hitherto, always assumed that "Kiss my a***" was a modern, almost Bart Simpson, phrase. But no, it was in common use in the 17th Century. A reminder to me (and maybe others) not to assume. As a good friend once said to me, assume makes an ASS out of U and ME.
A couple of days ago I visited the Pencil Museum in Keswick in the UK's Lake District (pencils were invented in the Lake District in about 1550, using the graphite that could be readily found there). One interesting snippet of information was that back in the early days of the space race, the US spent millions of dollars designing a pen that would write in space. By contrast, the Russians simply issued their cosmonauts with a pencil.
A great story, and one in wide circulation, but unfortunately not true. In the beginning, both the US and Russian issued their astronauts with pencils. By 1967, a private company in the US had developed a pen that would write in space and convinced the US of the merits of using their pen, rather than the humble pencil (bits break off a pencil and float round in the air, and pencils can catch fire).
Why is the myth so sticky? To anybody familiar with Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, the patterns are clear. It is a classic re-telling of the fable of the Hare and Tortoise, we would like it to be true because it shows the power of thrift over expenditure (not that the Russian space programme was exactly cheap).
For a couple of years I have been blogging about the scale of the changes that are taking place in the business paradigm, in particular the range of businesses that need to change the way they monetise there assets, moving away from charges at the point of use towards alternatives, such as advertising.
This week’s Economist has a great article looking at how the Asian Video Games market is leading the way in changing how games are monetised. Unlike traditional, Western, games many Asian games are free to download and free to pay. The company makes its money through charging for extras , such as clothes, weapons, etc.