Tag Archives: networking

Joining the Sets

I admit that I can, on occasion, be obsessive. That isn’t entirely true. I’m obsessive most of the time, but about a wide variety of these things, so to the casual observer I can look like a fairly rounded person. I made a list once and it gave the impression of someone who had traded his marbles for any uncollected items at a pawn-broker’s that were small, spherical and intellectually shiny.

One of my ‘Things’ is the enjoyment I take in finding connections between apparently unrelated people. Imagine therefore my unbounded joy when I discovered a historic house in a town I thought I knew quite well that I had previously been completely unaware of. I’m going to leave it as a puzzle for the reader to identify a couple who would have had as visitors the following:

Lord Byron, father of Countess Ada Lovelace and his mistress Lady Caroline Lamb, believed to be the person who coined the phrase “mad, bad, and dangerous to know” about him, on their first meeting.

Sir Walter Scott who wrote the book ‘Rob Roy’ about the man who built canoes and made the only sport I’ve ever taken seriously popular in Britain. Also the reason I know the town.

Josiah Wedgwood, Staffordshire potter and member of The Lunar Society of Birmingham, Lichfield and Walsall.

Queen Charlotte, mother of Princess Charlotte after whom I think the famous rock pub in Leicester was named, where I saw The Von Bondies for the second time in 2 days. They were also the first band I saw 10 times. Which ISN’T WEIRD!

Obviously none of this was a coincidence. I take it as new evidence that in every place and era, the interesting people with ideas find each other and find somewhere to hang out together. I bet the Kardashians know Lord Sugar. Of course, a title has always helped to make you appear more interesting. I must find out where you buy those.


It appears that quizzes are not a big hit on my blog but in case anyone is interested, the couple were: The Ladies of Lllangollen.



Their house is ‘the new place’ http://www.llangollen.com/plas.html and it’s valley garden on the Autumn day we visited was both beautiful and Tolkienesque.

Power and Lust

I’ve spent a few days attaching solid-wall insulating lining-paper to the walls of my home office. To stop me climbing up said walls and hopefully to drown out most of the swearing, I’ve been listening to the ‘Business Shift’ podcasts by Megan Murray and Euan Semple. I started with #19 after seeing @Euan tweet about it, then listened to #6 on “Power”, largely because I feel a recent victim of its abuse. Since then, I’ve gone back to the beginning and forward, so far, to #10 “Security”.

Megan and Euan are interested in some of my many obsessions and we seem to share similar values but they come at everything from a slightly different angle, which is always interesting. Listening quickly to several podcasts, recorded over months, allows you to see recurring themes: change, corporate culture, process, networks, complexity, infinite shades of gr(e/a)y (including ball-gags), relationships, anarchism, agility and “IT”.

Their distrust of ‘IT’ is very similar to my distrust of ‘Management’ and they blame it for exactly the same things I blame managers. I see IT from below, where well-meaning and knowledgeable techies propose great ideas that get watered down and corrupted by ‘IT Management’ who feel the need to simplify everything, and then blame the resultant crass decisions on other managers ‘in the business’ (I’ve never quite understood why IT isn’t .) Where I hear “the business won’t pay for it”, I guess Megan and Euan are told, “IT say we can’t do that.” A quick comparison with science and politicians is alarming.

I’ve finally been pushed over the edge into responding by the suggestion that information ‘Security’ is an IT issue. I spent a year of my life telling IT managers that they may own the ‘Technology’ but that the ‘Information’ belonged to the business; that IT controls were only an answer after you had helped the business identify information resources and analysed value and risk. My attempt to change culture was countered by making my post redundant, centralising IT Security and appointing someone who didn’t want to mess with the borders of power. I’m sure my customers were told that I’d wasted a year but now they’d bought in someone who knew what he was doing and they got a single desk-top with automatically updating anti-virus software and fire-walls, whether we needed it or not.

Megan and Murray talk around the way in which the world of work is being ‘Shift’ed by Internet-enabled networks of (hopefully) intelligent humans. A world where people in the business who are trying to do useful things can connect directly to people who have expert knowledge of the tools they need, bypassing the layers of power-hungry or frightened people who corrupt the signal to further their own selfish interests.

You should have a listen and decide whether you want to take back the world from the people who think they own it http://business-shift.com/. I particularly recommend http://business-shift.com/podcast/2013/4/25/shift-episode-006