Testing Marketing theory

Since I published Best Scandal Ever in May 2013, I have been rather lazily testing marketing theories I learned in Second Life.  So far so good, I have learned a lot from doing very little, and now have a large variety of outlets for my little niche.  I have spent little, and done a lot.

 

A few months back a group of fashion graduates tweeted out that they required $25,000 to produce four handbags.  I asked why they would need this amount of money?  They replied that this was to produce four prototypes and market themselves.  I think I have already demonstrated that this is nonsense.  If your product is good, you do not need the ridiculous amount of capital suggested on the average course, and you do not need a half million a year to promote to the luxury market.

 

Now you could tell me that since I am still a fledgling author and artist at this point, that this is extremely presumptious of me, that time is money, and had I acquired $25,000 I would have a viable business, staff and be moderately famous as an author by now.  I would reply to you that this would lead to a shoddy product, many complaints and undue pressure to produce a product that would make me ultimately unhappy.

 

I see too many thirty and forty somethings who have invested heavily in what they imagined was the perfect life, only to find they were unhappy and mediocre as a result.  I used to be a super fast achiever, not unlike the lightening fast Mr Wolfe, who is so speedy that I would challenge the paciest gamer online to outmove him at self promotion, but since the bereavements and enforced leisure period, my strategic streak has come to the fore and I am disinterested in putting out crap. If it isn’t meaningful, it isn’t worth doing. Ask the millionaire accountant who took up painting the fences at the Airds Hotel in Port Appin after a weekend away in the 1980s, and he will tell you much the same thing.

 

When starting from scratch, you have two options online, either you believe the hype and invest in vanity advertising in your chosen interest area, a majorly growing market that it would be wise to invest in as a shareholder, if not as an advertiser;  or you invest time.  After a little trial and error, my belief so far is that the latter is far more useful, and gives you time to sharpen your game.  If you are any good, the market will come to you.  There are obvious caveats to this, but generally speaking, this theory has been borne out by experience so far.  A personal approach is also very worthwhile.  It is insufficient to present the product as good, now you have to explain why and what it is for.

 

This year, I am taking a micromanagement approach to expanding my tiny niche, and there will be a few surprises in the form of writing, gaming, artwork.  I will report back on this date next year as to how well this has worked out, but I suspect that, as I have seen so far, Second Life is an excellent grounding in online marketing.  I may try some additional tweaks, but this is a ground up project, requiring a patient and steady approach.  If I am correct, I will have made significant progress by this date next year, and all it will have cost me is time and a minimal advertising budget.

 

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Make it happen

Let me tell you a story, today, about my sister.  Not the off-the-planet crazy one, but her sidekick, the drunk.  She is fifty five years old, and has nothing positive to contribute to the world.  If asked about any subject at all, she becomes aggressive and defensive, and will not lift a finger for anyone unless there is a self-serving reason for doing so.

 

Many years ago, when I was still a child, she told me to ‘get as much as I could’ because I wasn’t in the will, as it was made in 1964.  Little did she know, that neither was she.  My father took pains to tell me that his money had been amassed purely for my mother’s benefit, and that she was to have as much fun as possible.  The year that my sister told me this, my mother told me that I was ‘to look after her once they were gone, as she wouldn’t be able to cope.’  And so the world turns.  The selfless must care for the selfish.

 

Several years later, and this particular sister was telling me that I could not possibly understand her dilemmas on life, as ‘my life changes every day.’  This is true, if I want to change something, I do not tend to see obstacles in the way of my changing it.  It may take a long time, or, as in the case of Wolfe, be improbable, but nothing is out of reach as far as I am concerned, even now. (in case he drops in on one of his ina-binges, this aside does not relate to meeting him in person as I would regard this as a waste of my time)

 

My sister has been in a constant rut since she was fifteen years old.  She will do almost anything to avoid thinking for herself, and seems to believe that her rut is not only righteous, but a source of comfort.  She is one of the unhappiest people I have ever met, despite having amassed quite a bit of money by staying in stable but mind numbing jobs which require a plodding non-initiative based approach.  In short, the drunk is a screaming, poisonous bore.

 

This stability, and the effects of long term drinking, has led to her becoming a bitter, vindictive and malicious person who imposes her very narrow view of the world on anyone she perceives as weaker than herself.  In the company of the narcissist serial bully, she is extremely dangerous, since she believes whatever she hears from the stronger personality, and carries out her deranged instructions.  One of their many complaints about me began with ‘my elderly mother is extremely well looked after.’  This as they dumped my unwell mother back at our home and called in a complaint implying that my eldest sister’s inability to look after her was all my fault and that I should somehow be punished.

 

The lack of rationality aside, these women are both extremely unhappy, despite having comfortable and unrestricted lives.  When I compare them with my own extremely constricted situation and frequent hardships whilst looking after my mother, I wonder why their freedom seems to go with such intense unhappiness that they must spend quite so much of their time inventing fantasy complaints about the life of my mother and I.  Considering this liberty and affluence, I fear having nothing to strive for.  Would it turn me into a bitter, grasping and nasty waste of space, clawing at the air in a deranged search for meaning in my life?

 

This week, I suggested to her that she might be happier moving away from the rest of the family and getting a life of her own.  Her immediate reaction to this is likely to be that I am being manipulative.  How she could manage to find manipulation in my stating clearly that this is what she should do, to free herself of the influence of the very spoilt and vindictive eldest sister, with the worry and spite that goes with it, I do not know, but I am entirely confident that she will complain to anyone that will listen that I have suggested that she simply go and seek happiness elsewhere instead of interfering with our lives for the benefit of nobody.

 

The likely outcome is that nobody will challenge this stupidity, and she will remain a thorn in our side, stopping us from doing anything remotely pleasant, for my mother’s remaining years.  This is extremely tiresome.  Her rut is now gaping wide enough for us all to fall into it.

 

If you are unhappy, you affect everyone.  Make it happen.

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Followers likes and fans

Recently on Twitter, I have found more people who follow you, wait until you follow back and then quietly unfollow.  They usually do this in the first week, so clearly this is a policy they have adopted to grow their following.  Given that the vast majority are muted, since they are not interested in my product, and I am not particularly interested in theirs, you would think they would content themselves with sitting quietly on the list, but no, apparently this is not enough and they require a list of mute followers who they do not themselves follow.

When first on twitter, this was mainly 17 year olds, with a list of four word sentences about nothing in particular, who seemed to require validation in the form of 20,000 or so followers not listening to anything they say.  Recently I have noticed, however that more and more middle aged people are doing the same thing. When did we all become so vain and facile that we relied on fake followers and likes for an ego salve every day, whether interested or not?

Now in the case of someone trying to build a following or business empire such as that of David Wolfe, I can see why it would be beneficial to have a massive following of superficially disinterested people.  The more followers or likers of his page, the more important he appears to be, and the more feedback he gets from his many posts.  Whether this feedback actually does him any good long term is really up to him. I am sure that the numbers are considered to be useful indicators of popularity with the same types of interest groups as lost their money in the dot com boom of the late 90s – people who do not really understand how the internet functions.

My guess is that they are mostly floating fans of the pithy memes and few of them will actually turn out to be customers.  Experience so far tells me that engagement has no relationship at all with followers or likes.  I have around fifteen thousand readers, and a few thousand people who want to see artwork,  and you would never guess from my figures on social media or individual sites.  I am considered to be providing good blog posts, although people rarely comment.

When I examine my own behaviour, I can see why this would be the case.  If I am interested in something, I do not need to click like to be reminded that I am interested.  The only things I click like on are either things I wish to be seen to be interested in, or reciprocal likes with someone who has requested that I like their page. I would not dream of clicking like on ebay, for example, although I spend a great deal of time and money with ebay.  It is a kind of extension of tattoos or branded tee shirts as far as I am concerned, and not something I feel the need to identify with.

The internet generally was a lot more interesting and personal when we were still without the social media giants of facebook and twitter.  Social media has made it far easier to spread the word about things that are important to us, on one hand, and far easier to sink into a daily social whirl without actually finding any new and important interest streams, on the other.  Take the number of daily meat eaters who now spend their time ranting about animal cruelty when they see a picture of a dead giraffe or lion, for example.  Are they actually joining the dots in terms of the tasty steaks and cheese on the supermarket shelf?  I think not.  It is nice that people are less anthrocentric than they once were, but not so nice that they seem to be encouraged not to actually think for themselves.

Our reliance on celebrity culture for stimulus is also causing a kind of brain death which horrifies those of a generation who remember life before continuous light entertainment on demand.  More and more news items refer to products, and more recommendations from celebrities have replaced actual media content, examples beyond clothing and makeup including politics, social values, moral judgements and campaigns. Even the spellcheck on my own blog attempts to make me spell like a Yank, in a futile attempt to make us all adhere to Webster’s simplified English.  It will be a sad day indeed when everyone forgets how to spell programme properly. The road to idiocracy is paved with apathy and laziness.

Rather than rely on the number of likes, retweets and followers we get, perhaps we should worry more about the input, in order to improve the quality of our general output, at work, with friends, and in our daily lives.  Does it really matter if Brad went out without Angelina?  Does it matter at all if Miley takes her clothes off again?  No, of course not, but as long as you waste your time on that, you take your eye off the ball in terms of being aware of your own power and ability to shape your own futures.  This suits your political situation, whatever country you are in, perfectly.  The less time you spend actually thinking for yourself the better.

Stay unhappy, and you keep shopping.  Stay entertained, and you stop thinking.  Carry on relying on others to provide you with a minute to minute mood changer from your gadget or phone, and you forgo your own development.  All of those things are desperately important if you happen to want to steal the future from the masses.  Sleep on, and you win the destiny of losing everything to the very companies you continue to feed with the holy money.

As long as you are worrying about how many fake followers, likes you have, you are not doing anything about the things that really matter in your life.  It is too easy to pick the soft option.

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You will spend your money on….

This is the time of year when you have just slightly overspent on your family and friends, and socialising in the event that you have employment and suitable friends/colleagues.  You will now be considering diet products, as you will seek to lose weight for your forthcoming holidays, which are traditionally planned at this time of year.  In the event that you have the time and inclination, you will also be considering a New Year’s resolution, which may also cost you money.  After the debauchery season, comes the austerity season.

Your spending is highly regulated by media influence throughout the year.  This is much the same whatever your income bracket.  It is a skillfully managed machine that has become finely tuned over the last three centuries or so, since the rise of the department store and initial increase in marketing budgets that led us to where we are today.

It is alarming, when you are unused to it or know how the system of manipulation works, how smoothly you are induced to slip into a state where you are easily induced to spend with the herd.  Your diet is as relevant to this as any other part of it.  Take out the traditional food, socialising, willingness to conform and you quickly realise how often, and how fully you are lied to in the course of the year.

I used to wonder why people would want a holiday every year, because I loved work so much.  Now that I am ‘on duty’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week I actually need a holiday once or twice a year, in line with those who chose to have children or who have been trapped in a particularly tedious job and lifestyle by circumstance.  Most things that people in the west want are actually social constructs to make someone else a living.

Once you accept this, and try swimming against the tide somewhat, you will discover just how fast the streaming goes.  In my lifetime we have gone from 20 year spending phases of life to 5 or less.  It used to be that you had the childhood phase, the disposable income phase, the young family phase, the mature family phase, the post family phase.  Now we have more individualistic phases to extract the cash from a wider range of people. Computers and gadgets have caused a proportion of the population to genuinely believe that they need the latest phone/social media/computer/game/movie, and they need it now.  To fund this, they need a ready supply of fairly meaningless and unfulfilling work, and during the course of this they need to lie, agree to say nothing about things they don’t agree with, or pretend to like someone who really is not at all admirable.  The age of the role model, and the age of integrity have gone in favour of the great Capitalist con.

The irony is that our national economies performed much better when we favoured honesty and were shown examples of heroic rebellion.  Saying yes to people we have no respect for, on the grounds that they have a nicer suit or car, is what led to the economic crash.  Banks and supersized companies alike, favour the cheating robot over the honest and devoted employee.  This is not healthy.  The Western economies fully deserve the downfall they will suffer in the next century or so as a result.  Sooner or later, command capitalism or simply a well educated, well motivated developing nation who admire progress will eat us all alive, unless we learn how to look back and learn.

As individuals, we need to learn to swim against the tide.  Every time a stupid acquaintance remarks on our old car or clothes we should learn to righteously sneer at their frivolity and congratulate ourselves at avoiding the great capitalist con that keeps them in debt.  There is no actual joy to be gained from being endlessly available or engaged in pursuits that are simply designed to drain our finances into someone else’s pocket.

It is important to remember that the multiplier effect only goes so far.  We in the West dropped the idea of real money some years ago, in favour of virtual money that moves as a number without any currency to back it up.

Be ahead of the game, rather than sorry at the end of it. Any economic growth they report now is directly at the expense of another nation, students or sectors of society that you are told to hate, for a variety of increasingly spurious reasons.  Hate the fat, hate the elderly, hate the disabled in relation to the welfare bill or the NHS.  Hate the Muslims whilst we destroy their countries for yet more gain.  Hate whoever they tell you to hate, but do not be deceived that it has anything to do with anything apart from the money.

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Widely Spread Lies

Anyone can be anything they want – no, they cannot.  Life is a series of trade-offs, for a variety of reasons associated with their mental capacity, commitments outside work including geography, family and social.  People select the best available option, they do not get to choose from a wide variety of options in many cases.

Avoid negative people to get further in life – unless you choose to be alone most of the time, this is not really possible.  Negative people can be helpful in unexpected ways.  Where would Eeyore be if Winnie the Pooh, piglet and Robin acted like that?

You cannot avoid your family – yes you can.  My mother’s children certainly aren’t people I would choose to associate with.  They are greedy, irresponsible, dishonest nasty people and I refuse to parent people who are quite a bit older than I am.

Your destiny is your responsibility – this goes with anyone can be anything they want.  It is a lie.  See previous answer.

Friends are important – no, they are a nice-to-have.  They are expensive, time consuming and assume undue influence on your life.

Love conquers all – no it does not.

To give is better than to receive – again not true.  As someone who has spent most of her life being told that it is somehow unacceptable to give away my work for a variety of reasons by a variety of unworthy people, I can tell you that giving is often used as a reason for making you feel bad.

It is selfish or negative not to capitulate to a majority in a social situation – nope.  I had to again put my foot down today as I was being railroaded.  Even working from a chair in your own home involves standing up for yourself, apparently.

Karma – this does not exist.  Bad people will probably not ‘get what’s coming to them,’  and as I have hopefully begun to demonstrate, bad people are not necessarily bad if they are simply not doing what you want them to do.

Famous people are special, separate from the rest of the population, more attractive and more pleasant than the rest of the world – no, definitely not.  Celebrity ain’t what it used to be, and there does not appear to be a school for gracious stars to tell them how to handle themselves.

Superficially, we seem to be creating a heavily Americanized culture of what I would term obese superficiality, in which we tell each other the same lies every day. Not everyone is going to reach their star, and it is just as well because if they did, it would not be worth reaching.  Talent takes work, for most people, and there is a world of difference between someone creating a persona and someone actually having the quality they would like you to believe that they have.

So, what to do when you discover that no part of your life is going to be even slightly pleasant? Change direction.  Sometimes the direction will be unclear, sometimes the goal will be blurry, not everything will work out.  All you can do is try.  I once made the point to a group of students that the emphasis on lending money to small businesses was somewhat spurious, and led to thousands of people a year losing their future prospects to failed ideas.  If you reconsider your ideas, generally there is a cheaper way of starting out on almost any project.  To demonstrate my point, I started a business with ten pounds, and by the end of four weeks had made eleven hundred.

Flexibility and determination is a lot more important than capital investment. Not believing the bullshit you are fed is more important than blindly believing anything in the hope of gain. Never assume that anything is as it appears, and you will not only become a more critical thinker, but a happier person and then, and only then, we can all get along much better and not sit posting the lies of the powerless rather than actually getting a life.

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All that Eco fair trade bullshit

As those curious enough to bother investigating will know, I am;

pro natural health (on a civil liberty basis)

pro ethical business (even pretending is a step forward)

pro social capital (on an neo-socialist basis)

pro nationalism (on an anti USA dominated globalism basis)

pro diversity (on the basis of leaving people alone unless they attempt to interfere with your life)

pro action on climate change (this ought to be obvious unless you are demented)

 Unlike most people, my confinement at home due to my caring responsibilities means that I have some limited time to actually find out before making decisions on such things.  My vision for the future is of individuals investing in developing nations from their own pockets.  Setting up a rural business in Africa obviously requires significantly scaled down investment on setting up a business in central London, which is apparently how our delusional spoilt brat government in the UK thinks.

A chance conversation with a nice chap from Yorkshire on Twitter today alerted me to the fact that most people do not realise why they are under threat of being fracked.  It is part of the war effort and strategy for the period after conflict, when Saudi, the USA, and to a more limited extent European countries including the UK will divide the spoils in terms of contracts issued to rebuild countries such as Syria and Lybia.  To achieve this, puppet regimes will be put in place in much the same way as they have been put in place in the Ukraine, Iraq and Lybia.

Oil prices are artificially low at the moment.  There is no actual glut. Sensible countries should be withholding their reserves for the future, but the few individuals that benefit from defence spending, loans taken out by people maintaining appearances, inflicting poverty (which affects the rest of us by causing a proportion of the population to take up a life of crime eventually) on the lowest income brackets and new immigrants alike, are making sure that no reserves are held.  This is to ensure that the nation funds the biggest economic heist in history.  As I have explained in several previous posts, your only chance is to redirect your money.

I have already suggested that you move your money to ethical banks, who do not invest in fossil fuels, defence producers, GMO and chemicals.  I have suggested that you avoid chain supermarkets.  I have suggested that you feed the smaller companies to encourage competition in the fields of media, finance, food, chemicals and health.

Today’s conversation indicated that most people do not have sufficient knowledge or interest to investigate reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.  As this is rather central to our current political situation, I shall now endeavour to explain the very real conspiracy you enable when you vote either Tory or (new)Labour, both end up with the same global result, in slightly different ways.

When I was still interviewing, it became apparent over several years that gas prices continuously went up.  When I investigated why, it was said that Russia was the main supplier to Europe, with some supplies coming from the Middle East.

We all know how hysterical the USA are about Russia.  They seem very fond of Saudi, however.  My Hindu friends hypothesize that Saudi has bought some favours, meaning that we are taught endless tolerance even as people fall victim to attacks which probably would not happen if we were not incessantly helping the USA with their encirclement policy against Putin.  Now we are also being asked to tolerate armed American guards in our airports.

Fracking is supposed to be accepted without question.  If pushed, they will probably tell you that it is part of the war effort, since Canadian and American fracking is lowering the price of gas. In the UK, the Tories are keen to exploit our rather fragile country in order to produce even more.  This is not to benefit the consumer at all, since once America installs a puppet state in the countries we are currently destroying, the preferred fossil fuel suppliers will move into those countries, making fracking the UK a luxury that will no longer be necessary.  Granting permission to do it, however, means that the same people who benefit from war, benefit from fracking your country when the war is over during the rebuilding process.  Therefore relying on gas, is effectively supporting endless austerity and perpetual war.

For this reason, five years ago I installed an air to water heat pump and system in the family pile.  This has saved us 66 percent on our huge fuel bills, and means that a 14 room house costs slightly less to heat with our constant hot water than my friends 2 bedroom flat costs to heat with gas. The system paid for itself two years ago in terms of outlay, and we are not supporting the corrupt and outdated fossil fuel business.  I am not quite brave enough to switch to an electric car yet, but I will be doing this also, when I am satisfied that I will still be able to drive all over Scotland without mishap.

Not for the first time, this story has been divided into parts, to make sure you are confused, and to make sure that you can only be bothered about one bit at a time.  ‘Anti frackers, anti science’, in much the same way as they have waged war on the alternative health ‘problem’.  This is in anticipation of TTIP TIPP and TISA.  Europe and the Asean countries are expected to play along with American corporate dominance, bought with borrowed American cash. (from China, who are laughing their heads off)

Likewise, it is relatively simple in America to present the argument as ‘Anti-war, anti-Jesus.’  We in Europe are not so simple, so instead we get some nice frictional immigration to foster a shift to the political right.  Your nervousness about immigration is likely to confuse you into supporting the welfare budget being spent on bombs from the Cameron friends and family.  The media has helped by doing a marvellous job on persuading you that poor people really do deserve to starve, so it is fine that thousands of disabled people die because of the policies of the poorly educated Ian Duncan Smith.  Add to this, the cheeky Jocks wanting to take your fossil fuel supply away, and we have a perfect storm of confusion.

The consequences of you falling for this, staying in a state of ignorance, believing that as long as you are in the home counties or London, paying your way in your relatively safe job, getting the rest of the UK to fund as many bridges and roads as Boris could wish for, is that your country is being set up to be sold to the USA hook, line and sinker, with the proceeds going to a very few already rich people.

Voting labour in its former form, simply meant the proceeds would go to alternative already rich people.  Under Corbyn, there is some hope that the structure of corruption changes somewhat, but not completely.  As I have said before, socialism and capitalism are mutually dependent.  Endless liberalism is not desirable either, since it simply leads to people being confused into agreeing to a different package of corruption.

So, in addition to my entreaties to move your money, to stop supporting large lobbyists, to encourage competition from smaller and more honest players, I now ask you to consider investigating ecological, therefore moneysaving ways of reducing your personal reliance on fossil fuels.  You support war and corruption to a degree beyond that of even the most hardened junkie.  There are many reasonably priced alternatives – solar, wind, groundsource heat pumps, air to water heat pumps.  The government would have you believe that this does not matter, despite European emissions targets.  Remember the day Gordon Brown signed us up to them, simultaneously ordering two more coal fired power stations?  That is the level of stupidity and corruption we the public are up against.

You need to change your habits now.  Repeat after me,

We are not American, and we will not be conned any more.

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The True cost of Celebrity

The True cost of Celebrity

Piers Morgan, Tony Blair, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Gordon Brown, JK Rowling, Eddie Izzard.

These names alone will ensure that this blog entry will be read by several new readers.

The reason for this is much the same reason that people used to read tabloid newspapers.  They want to be shocked by something that doesn’t actually affect them at all.

Yesterday, Nicki Minaj’s many complaints about Anaconda not being given an award, despite her having followed some formula that she had seen in Marie Claire about nudity in pop videos, were very, very significant on Twitter, aided and abetted by Piers Morgan’s counter complaint that she had not realised how terribly important his children were once upon a long, long time ago.

May I remind you that none of the people in the first row of this article wish you well, or intend to promote you or your work in any way.  They are just generating  publicity to line their own pockets.

It used to be referred to as being a ‘lickspittle‘, back when the general population still had a decent education. You are welcome to look this up. They distract you from the truth, so that you continue with your lives and do not take any action to better or help yourselves. ‘Spokespeople for the establishment,’ who would like to make sure that everything stays the same.

Anaconda was not a particularly bad video, indeed for a song which must have taken Nicki Minaj all of 20 minutes to write, I am sure she put a great deal of work into it.  Her public image, only partially derived from that of Lil Kim, is, I am sure, positive for many people who think that buying makeup and clothes will somehow lead to a better life for all youth, not just the outraged black youth that were so keen to avoid reading Piers Morgan’s article yesterday, branding him a racist.  He probably is a racist, but that is not what his article was about, and it does not matter what you think, as long as you are sufficiently aroused to notice his name when you see it.

Do not be deceived, Piers Morgan is trying to revive his profile in America, because he would like to be on TV.  We in the UK, as with Russell Brand, are delighted to oblige you with as many annoying celebrities as you care to pay. Nicki Minaj is complaining for your attention, Taylor Swift, the current darling of the establishment, already has it.

Meanwhile in the UK, we have the same sort of illusion in politics.  Tony Blair is pretending to care about the Labour leader election, because he wants a right-wing acolyte party that closely resembles the Conservatives. He also wants to distract you from his charging  330,000GBP for appearing at an event for world hunger.  Tony, as you can see, cares about you, and you should listen to every word he says, as he takes every self-advantageous opportunity that comes his way.

Gordon Brown, a man now so hated in Scotland that he dare not stand in his own constituency, also thinks he will up his after-dinner speech fee by pretending to come out of retirement to save the Labour Party, a Party so hamstrung by the cult of personality that nobody can make a decision until someone else tells them to.

Even well established authors are not immune from this famewhore behaviour.  J. K. Rowling, an English author who chose to live in Scotland, invested heavily in trying to sway the Scottish referendum.  Since then, she has continuously complained that she is not liked in Scotland.  She has had many column inches, varying from how great she is on Twitter, to, em, how great she is on Twitter. She has done very well with her spare million, in terms of column inches, and potential placement on the honours list.Eddie Izzard, a rather faded star these days, also felt that Scotland was a good publicity opportunity, and so he and a few media friends came up to support Jim Murphy, a politician so dreadful that he tried to associate himself with a can of Irn Bru during his campaign.  Because Scottish voters are clearly stupid according to Jim.  Are we clear on this yet?

THESE PEOPLE DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU AT ALL.

They do not care about your life, they do not care about politics, they do not care about bettering the world, they do not care what happens after they die.  They are not lofty, special beings.  They are here to make money and get ahead.  They do not care.

Almost all the news is just a distraction to make you think you are keeping in touch with reality.  You aren’t.  Let me give you an example:

During Gordon Brown’s term, a news programme came on TV.  Two stories were of note.

1. Children of women who stay at home do better at school.

2. Chinese people rescuing baby pandas from a flood.

Ah, I said, There aren’t enough jobs for everyone, and Gordon Brown has signed something for the UK to do business with China.

I went out, got into my car, put on Radio 4.  The news came on, the first two stories were:

1.  Unemployment has increased, and several thousand more jobs are to be lost shortly.

2.  Gordon Brown has signed a deal with China.

This is reality. There is no them and us.  There is you, and then there is the power hungry fool you voted for, bought a newspaper from, or bought music from. You need to take your wallet and give it a long hard stare.

As I have been telling you, it is all a distraction.  The only person who can really change the world is you.  Yes, all of you. Each of you.  If anyone were to stop and think about an ideal world, this would not be it.

#youmatter

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Problems with Motivational Speaking

So, now that I have given you a rough guide to why Wolfe is not such a bad guy after all, (see previous posts) I would now like to go into the problems of the methodology of American motivational speaking.

Strong elements from the past also render it extremely weak for the following broad reasons:

Plain English – motivational speaking is popular because of the homely tenor of delivery – speakers such as Earl Shoaff were poorly educated guys who took to network marketing to earn some extra buttons in the early part of their life.  Jim Rohn himself was basically a sales trainer for Herbalife in the latter part of his career.  I cannot imagine the level of worship that he enjoyed being replicated in Europe, for a number of very good cultural reasons. Whilst I have no problem with imaginative and non-patronising explanations for things – I once used doughnuts to explain the main theories in social philosophy, for example, sticking with a formula which worked sixty years ago is extremely limiting.  I watched Wolfe in the early part of his career becoming extremely frustrated with the apathy he was confronted with as he tried to grow various early versions of his model. (kudos to Wolfe for leaving this material online for me to gawk at)  Since then, he has found other ways around the problem. Suffice to say, the world has changed considerably since the Dale Carnegie/Earl Shoaff golden era of smartly dressed and respectful audiences writing down every word their chosen guru says. Today’s audience is more focused on education and a level of information provision that Shoaff and Rohn simply did not have to worry about. So, the answer here is to develop a more advanced methodology which includes a little tragedy with the optimism and present a more balanced and believable picture than in the past.

The rich are too rich – One of the more interesting features of Rohn, in this case, is that he does not bother to present himself as a particularly nice person, the grin that does not reach his cold dead eyes is particularly marked.  His assertion that we should wish to leave the 90/95/97 percent behind simply does not suit modern thinking – economically speaking, people are now well aware that having a tiny percentage of extremely rich people at the expense of everyone else is not a feature of a healthy society. So, rather than a ‘forget the negatives and affirm yourself to wealth’ approach, today’s speakers would be well advised to shoot for an informative way to implore the audience to collectively raise their personal bar of achievement.  I had a look at The Secret a few years back, and it was so despicable in its approach that I was unable to continue with it.  Reality check – people are starving to death and we all hate banks – social capital is the future, not leaving people behind to die whilst we roll about in our money. Interestingly, economic anthropology shows that we are thinking more consciously about others in the west as our countries are richer – third world experiments show a far more dog-eat-dog mentality.  So, unless you plan to market to a developing nation – try to show some sign of ethical values.

Plagiarism – keeping a journal of things to make you richer is a very bad idea unless you plan to reference everything extremely carefully.  It is considered to be acceptable in oratory, because obviously it is impossible to reference every line you say in the course of delivering information.  It is, however, relatively simple to paraphrase, and equally easy to mention the source of your great ideas. Rohn’s premise of journal keeping, and using anecdotal material to get your point across is just not going to cut it for the future. Instead, it is again quite easy to pepper your material with useful or otherwise stimulating information and heartfelt goodwill to your fellow humans.

The pyramid must die – This is a personal observation – it is time to kill the pyramid – the one percent sit at the top of it.  There are other formulations, from the time of the Medici, which I am able to go into, but will save this for a different post or possibly book. If you are employing or being told to employ your affirmations or motivational techniques as part of a sales scheme in which you are on the lower ranks of yet another layered network, just get out of it and find some ideas of your own.  You are not onto a winner in the vast majority of cases.

Stop hitching your wagon to other people – I have witnessed life coaches and motivational speakers alike who speak in almost religious terms about their inspiration.  I think I have demonstrated from my non-relationship with Wolfe that it is entirely unnecessary to worship your inspiration.  It is entirely possible to see people for what they are, admire them for the good bits, and kick them in the ass for the bad.  It is called, amusingly, being objective.  Objective objectification, in my case, presumably, given my ongoing project. I do this mainly because I want him to get what he wants from his life, but this does not mean that I have any responsibility for his success or failure, that is entirely up to him.  My direction is parallel, rather being on the same wagon trail. The point is that there is no answer – you should be shooting for your own path, not dragging your heels on someone else’s. Which brings me on to my final point for this evening –

Original Material – despite the many problems I would love to get my teeth into, (alas I am not a 22 year old beach bunny) Wolfe’s use of whimsy kept me listening to him for several weeks before I realised why it sounded so familiar, and yet so odd.  His timing is impeccable, just when you are thinking you have heard enough about premium spirulina, along comes some random wildness that shocks you back into your chair.  Whilst this is to be applauded, it is important to self-generate something that is completely your own.  You need to wallow happily in your own filth, to a certain extent, to be producing something that you are so comfortable with that you own your topic, whether you are writing, or speaking.  Being confident is not about following a model, it is about making use of a model for your own purposes.  It is imperative that any keen audience get some sense of acceptance. Bringing a sense of dignity to your audience whilst raising their consciousness may seem like a return to an evangelical approach, but it is perfectly possible to instill pride, and make use of it, in an audience which has been lulled into defeat by an increasingly oppressive meritocratic approach.  This does not mean that you start every speech with tales of poverty and anecdotes of failure, as used by Zig Ziglar, but it does mean that you remove the barriers from an increasingly cynical and browbeaten public.

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Sticking out from the Crowd

Today’s entry is on an entirely different subject, although I hope readers of the previous entries have given some thought to moving their money.

I had to do a lot of temporary contract work throughout university and afterwards, not only because I was older than everyone else, having had a previous career, but also because my pesky mother point blank refused to go to the doctor to deal with her heart problem and my father already had dementia by that point.  I was a late baby.

I could not help noticing that every office that I worked in seemed to contain a den of bitches, male and female, who seemed to regard me as bit of an alien.  Being a loner, this did not upset me as much as it might, however I came to believe after a few different offices that there was something seriously wrong with me, which made me retreat into my shell somewhat after having worked extremely hard to scratch my way to the top of my previous male-dominated career.

Employment agencies presented a range of similar problems.  The women who decided whether to put you forward for jobs were completely different animals from me, and could not seem to wrap their heads around the idea that someone who had run their own successful businesses had retrained.

This meant that the education that I had spent time and money on was pretty much meaningless in terms of gaining suitable employment from these people,  and so I was scuppered on both counts.  Nevertheless, I managed in my obsessive, compulsive way to keep myself in work by spending 7am to 11pm looking for jobs whether I needed them or not.  This went on for about 6 years.

My last job was as a banking consultant, a job which paid unusually well but involved working 3pm to midnight, six days a week.  Not satisfied with the idea that this was a result, I took on another two jobs, one as a government research interviewer, one as a corporate researcher. I viewed this, after the years of gypsy wandering, as the prudent way to go, so at one point I was making calls over breakfast, visiting people in their homes at lunchtime, feeding my father in the hospice, and then racing across the city to the bank to work until midnight.

Since I had always had quite a lot of control over my lot prior to gaining my additional education, it did not occur to me that there were rules associated with working in banks which had not been in place elsewhere.  I had had a couple of problems with large companies previously, when I had taken it upon myself to suggest changes which would save the company money and waste.  You are not supposed to do this.  You are supposed to be so petrified of losing your job that you say nothing even as several hundred, or in one case thousands of pounds per hour are being squandered right in front of you.  It was at one of these companies I was jokingly referred to as ‘the economist who hates money.’ I could explain why, but that would be another lengthy story.  I would rather be referred to as ‘the geek that hates waste,’ to be honest.

Anyway, back to the bank.  I was in a room alongside probably two hundred people, all earning a fairly vast amount of money, ranging from 1000 to 3000GBP per week and doing fairly basic clerical work.  As the deadlines were quite tight, I can confirm that it was fairly hard work, however I have worked as hard for minimum wage, if not harder. The problem arose when one of the printers broke down, and the entire room was left to cope with a vast amount of paperwork and only one functional printer.  As you can imagine, the queue for this printer became hot and very unpleasant extremely quickly, and so I took it upon myself to go to the project manager and request another printer.

A few minutes after I had done this, the well dressed and obviously well heeled team that I was working in expressed shock that I had done this.  Hadn’t I gone to the supervisor?  I was not supposed to talk to the manager.  I was also comparatively scruffy and regarded as something of an exotic flower in this team, since I did things other than banking for a living.  They were impressively shocked.

I don’t mean to sound quite such a grumpy old lady, but since I have been making this same point since I was quite young, it is not strictly an age issue.  What on earth has happened to the world?  The 1950s working generation were the most economically successful generation in world history.  Nobody is ever going to match the achievements in their lifetime.  People like my parents had choices, of where to work and how to work, and got respect for what they did that would be scoffed at now, and yet we are less efficient than ever.  We pretend that technology has made all things possible, and everything more efficient, and yet in productive terms, and in progressive terms, we have actually declined in efficiency.

The ‘blame’ and ‘yes sir’ culture is what caused the Bernie Maidoff situation in banking.  Guys in suits shaking hands with other guys in suits and not actually examining what they were doing.  And why oh why has nobody joined the dots about the banking crisis which immediately followed?  They talk about the problems with sub-prime lending but nobody dares mention that this happened at exactly the same time as the Maidoff scandal.  Far be it from me to point out that the bankers were following orders, and have been made scapegoats to the alleged crisis, but to me the real issue was the cultural issue, of stupid employing stupid and doing business with crooked.

If, like me, you stick out from the crowd.  If, like me, you don’t like waste and you don’t believe that your level of oiliness should determine success above your level of actual talent, then do not be ashamed of it.  You may never be rich in today’s cultural climate, but perhaps you are made for better things.

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A Goal is a Dream with a Deadline

One thing since my family disaster in the form of both parents getting dementia has been the death of the personal deadline. I should be concerned about this, since I have traditionally been fond of work deadlines as a method of avoiding the rest of my life.

I am going to fly in the face of any motivator and tell you the truth – deadlines are no good for quality. I have got much further since I abandoned the deadline. I do things when I feel like it, for as long as I feel like it and the rest of my time is pretty much eaten up by 24/7 responsibility for my mother and her property.

The fact that I am trapped in the house by her illness and the lack of support has meant that I have no distractions in the form of looking after or enjoying myself, and so I feel I can afford the luxury of time. Some of the first batch were being thought about for over a year before they were actually completed, and I can honestly say this has made my work better.

The work went into the 3rd dimension only after a personal crisis brought about by an event outlined vaguely in Best Scandal Ever. Finding out that I cannot expect even the smallest amount of respect from a desk jockey agent when trying to help somebody basically caused me to decide that nothing mattered, and the removal of time and the restraint of ambition has meant I have all the time in the world to perfect this one thing that I can confidently say is unique to me.

So much for your standard motivational garbage then. A disaster of rejection has led to me finally doing what I probably should have done in the first place – ignore everyone and do whatever I feel, whenever I feel like doing it.

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