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17 October 2006


I am fed up with complaining about Multimap having incorrect data and failing to do anything about it. Five years of complaining about street names being wrong and no action. A public name and shame would seem to be in order and details of their SLA would be appreciated so that I can set a recurring reminder at the appropriate interval to kick their collective butts again.

Is it beyond the capabilities of an industry leading site to at least check the street names against the post office database?


11 October 2006

Biggart Baillie Innovation Award 2007

Calling all innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs in Scotland - the Biggart Baillie Innovation Award 2007 launches today.

Brief terms and conditions:

There is no limit to the number of entries an individual can submit but each entry can only be submitted for one category.

All entrants must:

  • Have an idea which is a first or an innovative twist on an old idea

  • Clearly demonstrate how it is unique

  • Be resident in Scotland

  • Be over 18 years of age

  • Be willing to participate in publicity around their ideas and the award

See the link for more details.


10 October 2006

Is "too experienced" the new ageism?

I applied for a job recently which would have been a slight step up the career ladder. The job was excellent and I was really excited about applying. I tailored my CV accordingly the agent liked it and thought I was a great match and after 2 weeks the company reported back that despite my impression that it was a step up the career ladder and it was a bigger package than I am currently on that they rejected me because they felt I was "too experienced".

Is this a euphemism for "too old" I wonder? I don't feel too experienced when shovelling horse shit each night when I clean the stable. I don't feel too experienced when I do the manual work around the house. I also don't feel too experienced being versatile enough to step in and do all sort of work that comes my way so long as it gets the job done for the company?

Too experienced? Is there such a thing? If I think I'm a good match for the job, the agency thinks I'm a good match for the job is it not better for a discussion to happen regarding whether the employer feels I'm too experienced or not rather than a flat rejection? After all, what some women prefer when returning from having a baby is an easier job with more flexible hours, less stress and a better work-life balance. Are they also rejected for taking a step back because they are "too experienced" ?

Well if the company wants me to run a multi billion pound company then fair enough I'll take the job, but really being a project manager would be just fine for me thanks. It would be a great job, would be a career move for me and would allow me to balance the day job and doing an MBA. Perhaps after 2 years I might be too experienced then, but 2 years is a long time to look around for a promotion.

My experience, as well as feedback from agencies and the experiences of other candidates indicate that recruitment is easily the most inefficient process when running a business. How can it be made to work more smoothly?


The crowdsourcing revolution is coming. Read the blog. Official website launching shortly.

08 October 2006

The great business rip off

My bank wrote to me this week offering me a deal - a credit card in the name of my Ltd company and with no annual charge. Shock horror I thought to myself, has the world gone mad? On further reading I found the card was only free for the first year but there would be a £25 charge each year after that.

Lets do a few comparisons

Personal credit card with the bank: Free
Business credit card with the bank: £25.
Perhaps they don't appreciate that most people will get get another personal credit card for free and use that if they want to keep their business transactions separate?

A few more examples:
Personal banking with the bank: Free
Business banking with the bank: Charge per transaction

And finally:
Cost of filing annual (tax) return with the inland revenue: Free
Cost of filing annual return with companies house: £30 (£15 electronically). Criminal offence if you don't pay.

Why are companies seen as such an easy target for these rip off charges? They only result in costs being passed onto the general public. Is the £4.35bn profit that the bank makes per year not enough?

06 October 2006

Veiled confusion

So the biggest story of the last 24 hours has been Jack Straw politely requesting Muslim women not to wear a veil. Certainly Jack Straw got the debate he wanted. However I have a few questions.

1. Despite the apparent controversy raging in the media, many of the Muslims interviewed have been men. Excuse me, but it's not men that are being asked to lower the veil. Would I ask a bunch of men their opinion on whether bras were too tight? Could we ask the BBC for more female opinions please?

2. In all the time that Jack has been asking women, they have been free to refuse and none have done so. Does this not imply that the real people objecting are the men who wish to subjugate women to the status of dressing up according to their ideals rather than what the women want? Is this acceptable in a Western Society which advocates equality?

3. If women are choosing to dress this way, why is it that the toilet on air flights out of strictly Muslim countries is full for the first hour of the flight while women change into normal clothes?

4. If we force people to show their face at passport control, is a polite request in an MPs surgery really so controversial? What if veiled women want to go into a bank which has a big sign saying "Motorcyclists please remove your helmet'. Is it not seen as a security risk that a bloke could dress in a veil to rob a bank? The identity parade could be quite interesting. Also, what is going to happen when ID cards become mandatory?

5. If western, non Muslim, women don't cover their heads in Muslim countries or drive a car in Saudi Arabia, they face arrest. Westerners MUST conform to Muslim ideals in Muslim countries. If we had the same attitude here we'd be forcing Muslim women to go around half naked in summer like most Western women. The fact that we don't is a sign that we are a tolerant society, so why is it so controversial just to ask the question or removing a veil? We enshrine freedom of speech in this country and not being allowed to ask the question or have a debate on it is an attack on this right.

6. If a Muslim woman comes to collect a child from school and is wearing a veil, how do you know it is her and not a kidnapper?

7. Supposing you employ a Muslim woman wearing a veil at work and you employ a deaf person. The deaf person will not be able to work with the Muslim woman as they will be unable to lipread. If the deaf person can't do their job as a result, they could sue under the Disability Discrimination Act. The Muslim woman could sue under Religious Discrimination. Who is right?

8. The Muslim custom of wearing a veil could be considered the Islamic equivalent of men in western countries wearing ties. Neither is in fact prescribed by any religion. Both are long standing customs that allow the wearer to conform to other peoples ideals of dress. When we accept men in this country without ties to be equal to those that do and do not force any man to wear a tie at work then we will be in a much better position to judge the dress codes of other nations and religions when we have learned to accept people for who they are, not how they dress. Is the request for women to show their faces a parallel of expecting male politicians not to hide their mouth behind a beard?

9. Why is it that because an extremely tiny proportion of radical Muslims advocate violence and terrorism that suddenly every story concerning Muslims suddenly becomes a major crisis point? Did we react the same way towards all Irish people and carefully consider their point of view when the IRA was terrorising London. No. You can just imagine the nonsense that would ensue if Irish jokes were banned following an IRA bomb. Double standards?

10. If you look at the BBC debate on this point you'll see that the vast majority of people think on the BBC forum think that Jack Straw is right. If the BBC was reporting this in a balanced way, their TV reports could perhaps give some more objective analysis of this discussion by conducting an opinion poll amongst both the public at large and the people affected, namely Muslim WOMEN. Then we would be able to look at the issue objectively rather than the endless vox pops we've been getting where one person who disagrees with Jack seems to be speaking for the entire Muslim community when clearly the position is likely to be a lot more complex than that. In the struggle for so called balanced reporting, are the views of a small minority being over emphasised?

Can we have faith in more objective discussion on this or will the BBC continue to cover it up?

02 October 2006

Scotland and TechCrunch

We were mentioned on TechCrunch UK today. Watch this space for news on relaunching meetings for Scottish entrepreneurs and investors.

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