Anticipation on the Start Line

It has been an unusually busy and hot week for this time of the year.  I was in London today and noted a calmness and lack of buzz which is, perhaps due to the fact that many have started their holidays.  Yet the over-shadowing anticipation of the start of the Olympic Games tomorrow is plastered-in-pink across the underground and railway stations.  And Boris’ announcement to “get ahead of the games dot com” has become as familiar as the announcement about the sequence of train stations down the line from London Bridge to Ramsgate.

I was therefore struck by a poster from BA which I noticed first today and it got me thinking:

I am proud to be a Brit.  I was very excited by the Games being held in London.  Yet I do not find I am overly-excited by the fact that the games are now on the starting line.  This might be partly due to the fact that I applied for several hundred pounds worth of tickets and received none.  It might also be due to the fact that the disruption in London over the next six weeks is going to affect my business (quite by how much I am not sure).  However, the poster above somehow hit a nerve.  I am going on holiday in France (driving) – so am not flying anywhere.  Yet even if I wanted to sing the anthem, no one in TEAM GB would be listening.  I don’t feel part of the Games.  If anything, I feel they are a virus taking over the city that is where I work and sometimes play.

That, in itself, got me thinking about “The Game”.  You are either a player, a spectator or somewhere else altogether – neither playing nor watching the game.  In so many things we do (and play at), we are spectators.  Yet we often forget that there are many who are not interested in watching what we watch – and are most definitely not interested in watching us play our particular game.  As the world becomes more populated, it is interesting how the Olympics has such reach – and will have so many spectators.  Whatever sport interests you, perhaps the greatest spectator event will be tomorrow night’s opening ceremony.  The anticipation of the flame being lit.  The anticipation of a well-rehearsed once-in-a-lifetime show of Britishness.  Let’s hope it does not rain.  And that there are enough Brits in the audience to sing the National Anthem!  Good luck TeamGB – even if I won’t get a chance to see you in the flesh.


Inward Investment, Magic and Love

As the world becomes more and more global and the European national political and economic frameworks remain stressed, each city is left to its own devices to attract inward investment and keep and grow talent.

In researching this area for a number of UK cities, a friend in the US sent me the link to this video.  It is so clever on so many levels you have to watch it more than once:


Oh, and anyone thinking of moving into a new career of iPad magic shows, please let me know!  I would love to learn how to do this kind of magic!  Brilliant!


Losing Faith, Renewed Hope

We caught the first swarm of bees for this season on Monday night.  It was 18ft up in a bush in a nearby village – very late in the season for the first swarm because of all of the wet weather we have had in April.  I had to use an extension to my long pole (used for painting) to get the box up high enough.  Luckily Dennis (whose garden it was) had an additional 3 poles which I used both to extend my pole as well as get the smoker up there with a further two!  Very Heath Robinson!

The photo looks as though I am trying to catch the sun!

Here is a close-up of the contraption holding the box that I caught the swarm in – the sun was a bit out of reach!

Having inspected the hives on the previous Saturday, the hive called Faith is still very weak from over-wintering and I somehow doubt will survive – as I have now tried to re-queen her twice.  We therefore decided to call this swarm Hope to keep the spirit of our three first hives that we started back in 2004 – Faith, Hope and Charity.  The original Hope and Charity hives died off in 2005/06, but Faith has kept going since then and has produced some of the finest honey-crops.

Oh – and it was luck that the place that we caught the hive in started with an H – so we stuck to the Bee Law of naming the hives from the first letter of the place that they were caught!

Hence we are losing Faith (although not all is lost) and we are gaining Hope!  Not a bad place to bee!

More bee law and bee lore at one of my other blogs:


Lorne at the Lords

I gave evidence at the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications on Tuesday – all about the future of UK Internet Access.

There is  a video of it here:


Everything will be All Right in the End…..

Susie, my wife, booked us to go and see a film on Sunday evening – “The best exotic Marigold Hotel”.   A very funny film and well worth watching!  You can’t leave the film and not remember the line that one of the leading characters, Sonny, keeps saying throughout the film:

“Everything will be all right in the end; if it’s not alright then it’s not the end.”

Apparently this is a quote of the Brazilian writer Fernando Sabino: “No fim tudo dá certo, e se não deu certo é porque ainda não chegou ao fim” – but I am not sure if he really was the originator or not.  Doesn’t matter.  It is a great quote.  Actually, Susie has often quoted the first bit at me and it is strange, but somehow, everything always does work out in the end….

Anyway, it got me thinking back to the Thursday Thoughts theme two weeks ago about optimism – and the Optimist’s Creed.

And so it was that last night I got to Chapter 24 in Daniel Kahneman’s Book “Thinking, fast and slow” (which I started to review last week) only to find that  this chapter – entitled “The Engine of Capitalism” is all about optimism too!  Or perhaps, more accurately, over-optimism.  Coincidence or what?

Kahneman summarises in a section entitled COMPETITION NEGLECT:

“It is tempting to explain entrepreneurial optimism by wishful thinking, but emotion is only part of the story.  Cognitive biases play an important role, notably the System 1 WYSIATI (What you see is all there is):

  • We focus on our goal, anchor on our plan, and neglect relevant base rates, exposing ourselves to the planning fallacy.
  • We focus on what we want to do and can do, neglecting the plans and skills of others
  • Both in explaining the past and in predicting the future, we focus on the causal role of skill and neglect the role of luck.  we are therefore prone to an illusion of control.
  • We focus on what we know and neglect what we do not know, which makes us overly confident in our beliefs.

What was more extraordinary is that as I was reading this, a good friend and follower of this stream, David Brunnen wrote to me and  sent me this link:   with the  comment: “Worth a read I think – partly because of his realistic assessment of US R&D funding and partly because Rob gets close to the tendency that has long-plagued the ICT world – eternal optimism and hype.” 

Even more coincidence.  Anyone else thinking about optimism, over-optimism and the way we think about the future?  Please join in the flow by commenting below!


The Optimist’s Creed

As an eternal optimist, I came across this rather splendid creed which was originally published in 1912 by Christian D. Larson in a book called “Your Forces and How to Use Them”.  

I hope it gives you a lift and makes you more optimistic!


Promise Yourself:

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that thesis something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticise others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

One hundred years on, and every word rings true.  How timeless the messages are.  In these times of so much pessimism, it makes you think how important it is to be an optimist!  Oh – and May the Force be with You!