Saturday, 25 June 2011

Oh no, I'm getting old

I flew to Glasgow on Thursday for a couple of meetings. One was with an innovative, enthusiastic and clearly very able social entrepreneur. He and I going to do some business together, as well as some campaigning which will be huge fun.

He sent me a text to say he'd be easy to spot as he was wearing a pink shirt. I still didn't spot him and had to ring him so that I could pick him out of the rather small crowd.

When we met I realised why I'd overlooked him in the airport arrivals hall. He's 25 and I was looking for someone twice that age! Over the next few hours I came to realise that youth was no barrier to this guy's considerable success. Over time however, I had clearly acquired a perception that to be successful you need to be middle aged. I'd assumed I was dealing with someone nearer my own age. Why did I feel that way? It rather pisses me off to find I have developed an ageist prejudice.

So, for the record - I now fully understand that you can be successful at any age. Mt next challenge is to appreciate that if people the same age as my kids can be very successful entrepreneurs,  then clearly my kids are no longer kids but fully functioning adults. Yes, I knew this, but somehow  . . . . . .  . . well you know what I mean . . . doh!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Strut your stuff or peck someone's eyes out?

I find 'society events' rather annoying. Most of the people are nice, the wine welcomed and the canapes fill a gap, but there's something superficial about all the air kisses and polite smalltalk that leaves me cold.

Last night, Belinda and I were at yet another of these evening receptions. To be fair I had some very useful business conversations and caught up with some people I like and respect, but the evening had its moments.

However had I not gone, I'd not have experienced one of the most outrageous examples of what I'll call lily pad hopping. One particular old frog, a well known local PR grabbed me for what I initially thought was going to be an interesting conversation about a stage performance we'd both recently seen in Cambridge.

However, mid conversation she spotted someone she considered more worthwhile approaching. She simply walked away leaving me in mid-sentence.Clearly she'd made a quick assessment and decided that the other people were far more useful to her. I detest the superficial way people like this treat others. By only talking to who you consider to be the most useful person within grasp at any one time, you prove to the world that you don't actually care about people - just what they can do for you.

Ironically and unbeknown to her, I spend a considerable amount each month with an excellent London PR agency. They take me seriously and deliver astounding results. They don't take me or anyone else for granted.

How can we expect our Big Society to help the vulnerable up the social ladder when there are people already on the ladder willing to put people down to further their own upward progress? Perhaps life at the bottom is better after all!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Would you accept cash in a car park from a Serbian car dealer?

Well, I've just sold my 4x4 to a lady with a Serbian accent, who is buying it for a friend called Vlad. Deposit paid by credit card and the balance will be handed over in used tenners tomorrow.

My wife's response to the announcement that tomorrow we're driving two cars to a railway station to handover surprised me. 'It's probably drug money,' she said, 'or the proceeds from human trafficking.

My 'due dilligence' suggest otherwise. The buyer's Facebook profile shows a smiling middle aged lady holding a much loved dog. Surely a drug dealer would have a more sinister profile picture - perhaps something moody, with urban graffiti in the background and certainly dark glasses.

The deposit was paid via my website, which means I have the guys name, address, phone number and email address. Google reveals him to be a trustee of a Greek Orthodox  religious charity so perhaps not a man likely to be shipping teenagers over the North Sea to satisfy the sexual desires of London's coke fuelled city traders.

Am I naive, or do dodgy people carefully craft respectable online personas to trick people like me? If we all thought that, then nobody would trust anyone. Surely the default for us all is to be honest, trustworthy and decent. Tell me I'm right - please!