Posts

Slight return

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It's coming up to the first anniversary since I closed the most well-known part of my business, an arts/tech/society/criticism magazine called Imperica . It was making a significant loss and after 10 years of the website and 6 issues of the "real" magazine, it felt like the right time to cease publication. Since then, I have thought on and off about the next business. Closing Imperica has not dulled my appetite for doing something. Running my own thing, however small or slight the impact, reinforcesd my sense of personal purpose. I need that thing which motivates me in my personal life, but also gives additional visibility and presence in my professional one. Imperica was a significant financial burden but it... well, it grounded me. It was absolutely heart over head - passion over profit - but there was only so much passion that the company's bank balance could take. I want to record some of my new ideas with the hope that one of them - at least one - crystallises in

Goodbye Imperica

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  I have always had a fascination with the intersection of creativity and technology. Where that stems from is probably long gone, but I am aware of two moments which helped. The first is my dad buying a ZX81 from his mate in Poplar for 25 quid, and arriving home one Friday for us to have fun with it. The second is my already-well-documented obsession with cars, and my absolute euphoria at the launch of the Ford Sierra and its advertising slogan " Man and machine in perfect harmony " . My cousin had one of the first Sierras, a white 1.6L, and drove me around Oxford in it. I could not have been happier. Both of these incidents were in 1982. I wonder if that's an important year for anyone else. Fast-forward a few years and I drew a logo for a fictitious company in 1995, called Imperica. A couple of years later, imperica.com goes live as a hotchpotch of post-degree stuff which I'm into - art, technology, digital creativity, contemporary culture, some history, and fragmen

Brexit: rejoiner strategies for consideration

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  The UK formally leaves the European Union in a couple of days. Both sides (if you want to call them that) have a deal. I'm not inclined or indeed equipped to comment on the deal, except to say that it all seems rather sad and pointless. The £350m per week savings promised to the British electorate by Vote Leave seems to be earmarked for customs checks, lorry parks, and a general uplift to meet the transnational benefits afforded by the EU . OK, enough. I'm a remainer, and you won't hear this often from my tribe: we have totally failed so far. When thousands of people marched through London to protest against Brexit, it failed. When MPs pushed the government to the edge in terms of their support, they failed. But, my lot have often displayed such frothy-mouthed silly behaviour, that - to quote Bill Hicks - I have frequently found myself for the war, but against the troops. Would I like to see the UK rejoin the EU? Of course. I believe that it's in the country's be

In the market, naked and afraid

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  I spotted this tweet last week, from Liz Truss: Liz Truss is the International Trade Secretary. Ms. Truss's announcement was related to UK citizens who work in Switzerland, and the removal of the current visa requirement . Naturally, this resulted in a flaming from the FBPE contingent, who were claiming that workers can currently do this as the UK is in the EU, and Switzerland is in both the EEA and Schengen. That isn't necessarily true: non-Swiss workers require a visa for 90 days in every 180 , which is (as one might expect) very expensive. So, while tourists will be shut out of free movement in Brexit, UK-resident workers in Switzerland won't be. Anyway, that wasn't why I'm writing this. It's this bit of Liz's tweet: This agreement locks in our existing services relationship, worth over £17bn, & is part of our strategy to enhance the UK’s status as a global services hub. "Our strategy". When was this communicated? When did this happen...

The dance, the glow

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A few years ago, I was at a birthday party. You know, those event thingies where people could get together. The olden days. I was chatting to someone at the party who remarked about the host: "... well, I'm never going to see them again." It felt as if I was struck by a meterorite, there and then. I will probably never see the host again either, along with most of my fellow guests. With every second we are aging. The window of time that we have to meet people, to spend time with them, to see them is ever narrowing. Of course, the restrictions now in place across many countries due to COVID-19 makes the available time, the opportunity, even smaller. As a teenager, I would spend hours on the phone to my friends. I may have seen them that week or even that day, but one hour-plus calls were frequent, at a time when using the phone was expensive. Ironically, my mobile phone contract now offers near-infinite talk time but I might use 30 minutes per month. When abundance became

At 700, thank you “Car”

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  Cars have always been integral to my life. My parents realised my fascination as a toddler. They helped me to learn to read by reading the word "Ford", then transposing that with the word "food". Once I could learn to read, I would ask my parents to buy two things: Beatles albums, and car magazines. My fix in terms of the latter would be for them to buy Autocar and Motor magazines, with an annual catalogue of cars - called something like Car International Catalogue and published in Italy - occupying my post-Christmas time, when I wasn't playing outside or riding my Raleigh Super Burner. (Update 24/11/20: I was close; it was this publication .) While I liked Autocar and Motor, they seemed rather thin. Car magazine had more pages, a glossy cover, and seemed to offer a bigger feast. It was more expensive, but it was monthly, so I could persuade my parents to buy it. My first purchase for me was in autumn 1983. I think that it is the issue featured in the above i

The Trillion Dilemma

Among all of the poor decisions and actions which Boris Johnson's government has come out with in recent weeks, one - from his ubiquitous adviser Dominic Cummings - caught my eye. Before I tell you what that is, I want to clarify that I have a begrudging respect for Cummings. I knew in the first week of the disastrous Britain Stronger In Europe campaign that it was going to fail. 50% of that failure was self-inflicted, but 50% was due to Cummings. By employing data advisers and strategists into the Vote Leave campaign, Cummings knew exactly what to do to win. He has then taken that thinking to government, winning the 2019 general election with a similarly effective, rigorous execution. Cummings has said that he wants the UK to have "trillion-dollar" companies , as is the case in the US, where Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, and Microsoft have so far passed this threshold. More are to come - one presumes that Facebook, Netflix, and Tesla will soon follow. By comparison, the m