The Business 2012 conference at the O2 Arena in London was an enjoyable and entertaining event but one speaker stood out amongst the multitude.
Business 2012 was designed to be a showcase of support services for business. All the stands were resources that a business needs: printing services, understanding copyright law and the tax system and the most popular one this year: how to use internet marketing (IM).
I was primarily interested in internet marketing because there is a fair amount you can do for free. I enjoyed a talk by two guys from Video Results that added a different spin to the usual chatter about internet marketing. I saw two speakers (Simon Coulson and Nigel Botterill) each of whom had become millionaires via an internet business and following their internet success were now making more mula with ‘how to do it’ courses. Success breeds success.
Invariably, at the end of each seminar, the speaker would offer a “great” deal on their coaching services with a view to sucking in a few customers. I’m a hard sell: I didn’t buy anything; I got as much free info as I could, took their website addresses and decided I would just learn from watching. Importantly, I don’t have a few grand lying around to spend on courses! Write a book and I’ll buy it.
Anyhow, one guy I went to impressed me the most because he completely ignored IM and talked about the effectiveness of old-school marketing. He said he hates employment because he finds having to fill out a form when he wants to go on holiday a most offensive corporate requirement. He prefers to swan off without having to ask. What I learnt from Nick Davies:
The beauty of email is also its shortfall. Lots of people bash out emails because they are so easy. So when he started a business a few years ago he made a list of his target corporate clients and started making phone calls with a view to meeting up.
If he couldn’t get hold of someone by phone to arrange a meeting, he wrote a letter. Nowadays people receive a lot less physical mail than was the case in the past so it may well be worth buying an attractive package and sending a letter and a sample to prospective buyers or distributors.
However, don’t just make calls and blast letters out willy nilly! Try your best to figure out who the MAN is. That is the person with the Money, Authority and the Need (they don't have to be male!).
Every organization has a person who has been entrusted with decision making power. Your sales pitch will be much more effective if you can find them.
It’s a bit annoying to buy tea and biscuits for Suzy, and then to have her say “I’ll have to speak to Jane about this, Jane makes all decisions regarding [blah]”! You should have been speaking to Jane in the first place. Of course if Jane trusts Suzy and you really impressed Suzy then it’s not a complete waste – except you’ll probably have to come back and re-pitch to Jane.
So, in all endeavours, as you try to build up a business don’t forget about traditional marketing and that your quest for sales is a quest for the MAN!
If you’re solely depending on someone else, be it the Government or the company you work for to provide for your retirement, start thinking now about what percentage of the time you plan on choosing food over heating. If there’s one thing that can be learnt from the credit crunch, it’s that governments and companies are more likely to fail than one would like to believe.
Let’s start from the beginning. Last week I was watching “Loose Women” on TV. The few times I’d flipped past the show whilst I perused what was on, I had perceived it to be an intellectually upmarket show where women discuss pertinent issues of the day. In fact, I watched it for ten minutes and had to change the channel because I couldn’t take the sheer ridiculousness of some of the things that were being said.
One lady boasted proudly that she has never bought an investment property and owned only the property she lived in. She thought buying property was greedy evidenced by the property bubble and the credit crunch.
It may have been the same lady, perhaps not, who stated that she’d grown up on a council estate but because her mother was quite an "aspirational" woman she opted to buy when Thatcher brought in the right-to-buy council housing. She went on to argue that her mother had disadvantaged herself in doing so because as a property owner she now can’t get as much out of the government. I think this was the point when I switched screens.
Fact: most western governments are spending more than they collect in tax each year. It naturally follows that their deficit is widening with every passing year.
The government cannot afford to pay the pensions that it thought it would be able to. Something’s got to give. To make up the difference two things will almost certainly happen:
I think if well planned, property is one of the best investments for retirement. However, you have to 1) start young and 2) have a portfolio. Paying off the property you live in is part of the plan but because you live in it, it can be hard to earn an income out of it at the same time. If you’re happy to rent rooms out in your own home then obviously that’s great. Most people prefer not to.
WHY DO I THINK PROPERTY IS SO GREAT?
I paid a 5% deposit on the first property I ever bought. This means I borrowed 19 times what I put in. There is no other situation in which a Jane Average such as myself could get that kind of money. That was 6-years ago when I was 22. A good chunk has been paid down already just by making small monthly payments each month.
The average mortgage is 25 years long. If you plan to completely retire at 60 or 65 it means that any property purchased before the age of 35/40 could feasibly be fully or at least mostly repaid.
Property income is taxable but the interest payments and any reasonable costs e.g. estate agent fees and insurance can be deducted before tax. If you’re being taxed at 40% you’ll still be receiving 60% of the profit.
For example, if after interest and other costs you have a £500 profit, the government gets £200, you get £300 which you can use to retire the mortgage or use in any other way you see fit.
Regular repayments of the mortgage using this unearned income mean that over a 25 to 30–year period you could have a solid asset base built almost entirely of other people's money.
If you manage to build up a property portfolio of say four houses by the age of 40, excluding the one you live in, it’s possible for those mortgages to be fully repaid or mostly repaid by age 60-65. If those four properties can be rented out at £500 each, that is an income of £2,000 per month. This is enough for an old couple to live on comfortably. Even with out a capital gain, a pension is insured.
By this point, your home will be fully paid down too so the main expenses are food and utilities (gas, electricity, water, insurances, phone and internet) with plenty left over for a holiday or two.
In addition, the property portfolio will be (almost) 100% equity so you could decide to sell up and put that money to better use. You’re financially flexible.
The interest-only view
I know some people who subscribe to the view that you should never repay a home, just get an interest only mortgage and own the house for capital gains. I have two views on this:
Job done. Now, is that greedy, I ask? I think with foresight and delayed gratification, anyone can achieve this. I don't think you need to be particularly brilliant at anything nor do you need to be earning big bucks. You just need to take advantage of a bargain when you see one and interest rates when they are low.
Some of my friends laugh at my shopping at Primark but I tell them, less now for more later…this is my mantra, join me so in retirement we can all be sun bathing in the Bahamas sipping on piña coladas with not a financial problem casting a shadow over our retirement.
If you haven't read Rich Dad, Poor Dad already. Please do get it, it help me to form some of my views on money. Don't just read it, absorb it and digest it. Links to Amazon.com and .co.uk below.
You will know if you follow my blog that once I discover an idea that I believe is moving me closer towards my goal of financial freedom, I publish it, not everyone’s modus operandi – I know; however, when I finally hire that celebratory yacht on the coast of St Tropez, I don’t want to be the only one enjoying that sweet joy I want all my friends to be there celebrating their own financial freedom. Anyway, I digress but you must excuse me, I only went to bed at 1.00 a.m. working on Fat Creep™’s next YouTube video and I’m already up at 6.00 a.m.
Last year I made a massive discovery. Something that adds so much value to my life that whenever I meet someone that has not heard of it I plug it like I am on their payroll although I am not. It’s called Weebly.com. Weebly is a drag-and-drop facility that enables a user to build a fully functional website within hours.
When I started understanding the internet, way back in 2007, I used to host my websites via Powweb, however, because I was having to use my own amateur HTML skills it took me ages to update my website and naturally that site would remain not updated for months at time.
Fast forward to 2010, I saw Powweb offering a widget called “Weebly” and I started using that to update Katsonga.com instead and I was hooked. You see, the problem with HTML is that different browsers – internet explorer, Google chrome, safari, firefox and the rest of them – read HTML code differently. This means that the same code will look different depending on the browser being used and sometimes my pages used to look awful in one browser versus another. This wasn’t a huge problem even in 2007 because internet explorer was still the major engine used for web browsing but a website that is not optimized for all browsers is most certainly not acceptable today as internet explorer only has a small portion of the market. Weebly solved this problem for me because their widgets are already optimized for all major search engines.
To add icing to an already splendiferous cake the facility is already mobile enabled. If you go back even six to eight months, most websites appeared all tiny and weird on a mobile device because they had not been optimized to work well on small phone screens. Weebly had already preempted that issue and solved it before it was one.
Now, whilst I think Facebook is fun and everything, you will agree that it can be a massive time vortex – it sucks many to its core and before you know it you’ve wasted a whole hour that you hadn’t planned on wasting, browsing through some random’s photos. Weebly on the other hand adds massive value to a life. It enables a user that otherwise may not have been able, to get their idea out there and possibly make some revenue out of it. Even incorporating features such as Google ads is so simple. Through no extra effort on my part I am receiving my first £10 from Google. You may be thinking that’s a small amount especially given that’s after a few months of use but I did nothing special to receive it and that, to me, makes it a substantial gain, it’s passive income and it will grow over time.
I could go on about the benefits forever, integrating shopping carts, embedding YouTube videos and pictures is very easy. You can add a forum and even an appointment booking system within minutes.
Indeed, if you know a little HTML you can easily adjust the code on the Weebly templates to make them more unique to you. Basic HTML is putsy, I learnt my first bits of code in late 2006 using htmlgoodies and I was able to build a very simple site in three days so it is definitely worth pumping a little time into. If you need any help, they have a super-responsive support team that responds to emails in less than 24 hours.
Anyway, enough said – get your ideas out there, use Weebly. They have a free service but to build something more sophisticated you will need to upgrade for $78 for two years, that’s less than $40 / £27 per annum. This is way lower than the value that these guys are adding to my life right now, but I am not that naive, I know it’s the entry level fee and in two years’ time they will hike that rate up, it’s the model everyone uses but in Weebly’s case I am not going to mind because their very presence will be the reason I managed to get my ideas out there.
Friend, how often have you visited a website that you would not publicize on the front page of a newspaper? Let’s be honest, at some point we all have, even if it was by accident. This week, however, I have developed a renewed respect for cyberspace. I have had to acknowledge that even if one operates anonymously they are not at all anonymous.
What brought this about? On the back of Fat Creep™, essentially my new business and hobby I designed a newsletter. I have been interested in the world of business since before I was a teenager (weird, I know) and I’m always curious about new practices and methods. Last year, I noticed that several emails that I received had a “Mailchimp” stamp on them and I clicked on that stamp to investigate what Mailchimp was. Mailchimp is basically an email marketing resource but it goes far beyond that.
I decided to use Mailchimp although I didn’t realize the full extent of its capabilities. As a starting point for creating a newsletter, I contacted all of my friends including most of my Facebook friends to ask if it was okay to include them. Given my belief that most of my friends would be okay with it (and note, I am one of those people that actually knows every Facebook friend) I told my friends not to reply if my newsletter was welcome to spare them the effort. I made this explicit request for permission in the first two lines of the email to keep things transparent and I sent the request from my private email to ensure that it was actually read. I gave it a week because I know some don’t check their messages daily.
Following my first newsletter, a week later, I had the privilege of a status report and I was astounded, completely astounded at the level of detail in that report! Not only did it show how many emails had been opened but it also reported how many times the email had been opened, whether any links in that email had been clicked, which emails had bounced, which people had unsubscribed from the letter and who had hit the SPAM button! I knew exactly who had done what.
I was pleased that only two people had hit SPAM but given I had requested their permission I was not impressed, they were promptly unfriended on Facebook for irresponsibility. Those that properly unsubscribed I respected because I believe everyone should only receive information that they need and want to receive.
The whole experience, made me realize the extent to which the realm of cyberspace is not private. There is probably nothing less private. EVERY SINGLE CLICK, is recorded. If you are doing anything on your PC or phone that you would not be proud of, stop because you do not know how that click will one day hold you back, or worse be provided as evidence in court to build an image of your character.
Friend, you have been warned – cyberspace is dangerous, very dangerous. Keep it clean, keep it squeaky clean.
...Or at least that’s how I felt for the first hour after watching The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching on TV. They rounded up a select group of Britain’s best penny pinchers and I was astounded at the extent that some people will go to, to save a penny – and in some cases it was literally a few pennies:
There are only 24 hours in a day. Part of the reason I work is to buy myself some leisure time. I have a plethora of hobbies which I want to pursue in my non-working hours – reading, writing, spending time with my family and friends, sleeping?! Rather than spend an hour going through price comparison websites to decide where to shop, I can do one of the above.
I thought, if these people chased enterprising ventures with as much earnest as they do the bargain hunting surely they would by now be raking it in? One can spend so much time trying to save a buck when in fact, spending the same amount of time trying to find a new revenue stream would earn you two bucks.
Finally, Peace of mind
Sometimes people underrate the importance of having peace of mind. Ms Coupons admitted that whenever she heard there was a deal to be had somewhere she just had to go there and get it – even if she didn’t like the product in question! Come on? I wouldn’t want to have that kind of stress. She felt she was being wasteful if she didn’t take advantage of a deal.
My opinion on the matter is – let’s pursue frugality but let’s not be obsessed about it. I’ll try to be generous of heart but I won’t be wasteful; I’ll try to save money but I won’t make it the bane of my life.
A week ago, I decided I wanted an app that helped me with a certain something. I searched for existing iPhone apps that could do this thing but I couldn’t find anything suitable.
So what does a girl do?
I basically spent the whole of last weekend designing my own app. I sat on my computer from 7.30 a.m. on a Saturday until 2 p.m. without so much as a break. My brain was toast. I couldn’t do anymore work so I went to enjoy the day and came back for more work that evening and well into the Sunday!
By the close of play on Sunday I had an excellent proposal for an app; highly detailed with diagrams and everything. One problem: I hadn’t even thought about how I would develop it;pretty dumb, huh?!
Well I didn’t want to get discouraged by the development quotes so I thought it best to get the ground work out of the way and worry about costs later.
I had read that there are now companies and websites that allowyou to develop an app yourself for $500. That’s a really good price but I don’t have time to do this without some serious moonlighting In the latest edition of Entrepreneur magazine they talk about AppBackr. It’s a website where you post apps and get equity funding for the idea.
It’s a great company but I didn’t want to give away any equity, especially since this application is more a labor of love than purely an enterprising venture. Whilst the equity investor would be focused on how they might recoup their money I was entirely focused on how many people this app could benefit.
Also, I thought the suggested costs of development on AppBackr sounded too high.
I know that India is a technology powerhouse so I found a couple of developers online but before I gave them the commissions I told them that I was scared of my idea leaking out. I was impressed by their professionalismbecause both of the developers sent me their Non Disclosure Agreement forms within one day. They were pretty good but I was still worried about things like paying and not getting the app developed on time.
I needed reviews and a proven track record to get comfort but I thought that I couldn’t get any of that stuff in a reliable manner from an independent developer on another continent.
My world changed when I found an article on OSX Daily that referred me to Elance and oDesk.
I read the OSX Daily article in bed on my iPhone on the Sunday night after I had completed developing my app on paper.
On Monday morning, I could still remember the word Elance due to its derivation from Freelance so I went online, liked what I saw, created an account and wrote a short paragraph about what sort of app I wanted.
If you want a fixed price for your job Elance requires you to state your budget range and so I chose to go for $1,000 to $5,000. I had been holding out for a $500 app but my reading had suggested this was not going to happen if I wanted a quality app hence my choice of budget range. You can also get quotes for hourly rates but I was focused on the total cost of my project.
Posting a job is free, however, Elance allows you to distinguish your level of seriousness by paying $5. This $5 means your job will get more attention from developers than those that don’t pay the extra $5.
I was astounded by the response. Within two hours, I had 14 people showing interest in developing the app. By the time I got home on Monday there were 22 offers, by mid-week there were 27 and by the end of the week there was an astounding total of 33! I sent an NDA which I had crafted up myself using the independent Indian developers’ as a base and firm offers to develop my app started rolling in. Given my experience, I would highly recommend Elance.
Given such a wide range of offers, how does one choose a single developer? I used the following criteria:
The initial offer. Some of the app developers in their initial offer to do my job referred specifically to the things I mentioned and gave me relevant reasons for why I should choose them. Others just copied and pasted a generic blurb on what their company does and why they were so good. That seemed like really low effort to me so I rejected those offers quite quickly.
English. You need to be able to communicate. If the developer’s English was of a very low standard relative to what I needed, I rejected the offer.
Track record on Elance. For some developers, the work stream on Elance has become a very significant source of revenue and they do not want to lose this stream of work so they are less likely to mess you about for fear that they will get lower Elance points if you report them or review them negatively or worse still, if they get kicked off Elance
Negative Reviews. People that have used a developer can rate them. Developers do not want to get negative reviews because that will reduce business volumes so they will try their best to be helpful. I rejected one serious contender based on a review that suggested they upped their price for minor changes and were very bad with deadlines. It was just one bad review but it still gave me cause for concern and I wasn’t going to take that risk when I had such a pool to choose from. Competition is fierce!
Depth of experience. Some of the offers you get will be from people who have a very long track record, however, this track record may be website development rather than app development. When you are down to your last three or so ‘contestants’ filter the reviews for words like iPhone or android to see exactly what proportion of these reviews are relevant to the app you want developed. The results may surprise you or help to sway you from one developer to another.
Visual quality of apps. I had two contenders that both appeared great and both had sent me links to all the apps that they had created, however, when I looked at each link carefully one produced far better looking apps than the other.
Size of the company. I wanted my app to be taken seriously and my feeling was that the larger companies would give it less priority than other bigger projects so I rejected the proposal of the largest company;well, their final quote to do the project was outside of my affordability range so that wasn’t even an option for me in the end.
Skills. Elance breaks down the skills a company has into very specific categories and although self rated to begin with, over time, as those skills are tested through various jobs, those skills are rated and given a ranking relative to every other Elance company with those skill., tThis is very useful because you can see whether the Developer is in the top “x”% in the category of skills that you need.
Percentage of repeat customers. This is an interesting stat but I didn’t give too much weight because many people might not require a second job done.
Completion. If you have a strict deadline look carefully at how long the developer says they need to complete the work.
Contactability: all the developers were available to chat on Skype so you could ask more questions. Definitely go for a developer that you won’t have trouble getting hold of.
Other things. In my final Skype interview, I asked the prospective developer a bunch of operational and technical queries like: will I have a dedicated project manager? How often will I get progress reports? Will they upload the product to the app stores for me? Has Elance’s fee been included in their quote? (The developer should really be accounting for this in their quote, or explicitly state that they have not) Has the fee for app stores been included? After the app is live do I get free project support for a limited time to fix any bugs? Will the app be developed in its own native language rather than a hybrid that can read across platforms? Apparently apps made this way are of lower quality.
What happens once you assign the job to a single company? The company breaks up the job into small milestones with expected dates for reaching the milestones and you only pay when a milestone has been completed. You fund the milestone just before it is done so that the Developer knows you have the money but that money is held in escrow by Elance and you hit a release button for the funds to be released once the milestone has been reached. In this way, Elance protects you from unscrupulous businesses.
So, if you have an idea, especially in the technology space on your mind, don’t sit on it – get on Elance or oDesk and post it. I haven’t tried oDesk myself but I can definitely recommend Elance.
I have been thinking about why many people never put their ideas into action. The vast majority of us have a business idea every single day but most will never even try to research whether or not it would work. Why is that?
As I pondered through the usual reasons people give, such as the lack of start up capital, the poor economic environment, so on and so forth, I thought of a reason I have never actually heard anyone use, mostly because no one would ever admit it: dozens of people are too embarrassed to fail and this psychological stumbling block holds them back from even trying. It’s not entirely their fault either, culturally we have been bred to avoid embarrassment. This fear has been instilled in most from a very young age. I will elucidate this with two examples.
Example 1: The athlete who wanted to take part in something
This weekend a 17-year old bloke named Sogelau Tuvalu from American Samoa in the South Pacific entered the 100-metres and finished miles behind everyone else; I say miles but it was actually a mere 5-seconds after everyone else, however, in the world of 100-metre sprints, that’s a big difference.
This man had initially failed to qualify for a shot-put event so he decided he would go the 100-metres and in preparation for that he trained 4-hours a day for a month. On the day of the run he achieved his personal best although he was the last man to pass the finish line. Whilst other laughed at him, he was ecstatic at merely having tried.
I admire this sort of spirit because, for me, that is what life should be all about: trying your best and being your best.
Example 2: The girl who isn’t embarrassed to ask
That’s me. Two days ago one of my colleagues brought up a situation in which I had asked a highly intelligent question but had mispronounced one word. In fact the mispronunciation was due to the fact that the word is pronounced differently in classical Latin versus in English. I learnt Latin first and that’s how I thought the word should be said and in fact I prefer saying the word that way. Anyhow, he has a laugh and I laugh with him because I don’t take myself too seriously and then I told him that I was still proud to have asked the question because a) in the entire forum of about 200-300 people no other woman asked a question and I thought we shouldn’t just leave the floor to the guys and b) several people wanted to know the answer to my question but asking it would have looked like they were challenging the decision of senior managers; I, on the other hand, am nonplussed by such considerations.
“I’m not easily embarrassed," I told my colleague, in conclusion.
“Yeah, I’ve noticed,” he answered back, annoyed that he had failed to irk me.
And that ladies and gentlemen is the bottom line. Some people just have such a strong fear of this emotion called embarrassment that they will not put themselves in any position where there is a chance that it could happen. I am proud to be a member of the not-so-easily-embarrassed crew and I hope this will enable me to make positive decisions in my life.
As long as you believe that you have done or are doing the right thing, PLEASE don’t let the fear of embarrassment stop you from trying to put your dream into action, go for it!
We're walking down Regent Street in Piccadilly wondering where to eat. I want Thai food but reluctantly we walk into a Sushi restaurant not knowing that we are about to encounter a brand new experience vis-à-vis dining out: Inamo.
Two Oxford graduates were dissatisfied with having to wait around in restaurants for waiters to take their order, add new things to the order, bring their bill and so on and so forth. So what did they do? They opened a restaurant without the unnecessary addition of waiting staff.
How does that work?
Projected directly onto your table from above is an interface resembling a computer screen. A circular touch-pad built into the table's corner allows you to control a cursor and peruse the food and drinks menu which appear elegantly from cartoon icons.
Like all authentic Japanese restaurants there are pictures of the food as well as descriptions on this virtual menu which you can scroll through and whose thumbnail size images expand with a click.
When you're done with ordering, you send the request to the kitchen at the touch of a button. Say what? It doesn't end there: if you want to see a summary of your group's bill including your portion of it, it's on the choice of options. Want to check out what's going down in the kitchen? You guessed it, it's on the menu: a real-time video-link of the chef appears for all to see.
You can even choose the visual theme of your table top: bamboo shoots, flowers, pebbles - I think there were over a dozen themes to choose from. Can't decide? Well, then hit "random shuffle" and the table theme will change every two minutes. Ready to leave? just hit the "ask for bill" button on the menu.
I wonder why this sort of technology is not more widespread? It makes life just that little bit more convenient: waiting is not my forte.
Could Inamo be improved?
It's a pretty neat experience but yes, there are a few niggling points that I have.
Firstly, the camera into the kitchen gives fuzzy pictures and it would be good if the camera roamed from one corner of the kitchen to another so that we could see everything the chef is up to.
The menu offers a list of things to do in the vicinity after the meal, however, the options are rather limited, and it is not interactive (but then I guess we would be asking for an internet connection and the birth of the iTable).
All minor points but every good entrepreneur is always looking at ways of taking their business further so I'm sure these two Oxford chums will appreciate the feedback.
If you haven't been to Inamo, book a table now. No, I'm not getting paid for the recommendation, I genuinely liked the place!
Some people deserve to be super wealthy…
You all know him: Mr Bean. So this weekend he massively crashed his F1 McLaren, a car that costs £2million second-hand because of its exclusivity (it's cheaper brand new but you have to join an excruciatingly long waiting list). Some would argue that spending £600,000 or more on a car is completely wrong. In fact, there are many that would but is it really? If you've worked so hard to create something that earns you a tonne of money, shouldn't you be able to splurge guilt free. If the money were inherited or obtained by chance on a lottery, we could argue differently but here I focus on the spending of earned money.
Am I wrong to believe that some people deserve their wealth (no matter how enormous) because of their amazing contribution to this world. Humour has a huge role to play in society, it binds people and I believe Mr Bean’s humour succeeds above most because it transcends linguistic barriers, age and even ethnicity. Whether you speak English, Chichewa, French or Urdu, Mr Bean can reach you. He can get a chuckle as easily out of a five year old as he can out of an eighty-five year old. There is only one Mr Bean and though others may try, they cannot replicate the uniqueness of the Mr Bean series.
Moreover, besides buying supercars I assume (I can't find any evidence) Mr Bean probably contributes more to charity than most of us so perhaps we should not be so quick to criticise. Most people who have crazy money will splash out because the fact of the matter is, you can’t take it with you to the next life. Like as not, what you don’t spend – will get spent by someone else, someone that didn’t put the time into earning it – relatives, if you have them and the Government, if you don’t.
I haven’t watched Mr Bean for fifteen plus years but I still remember those days with warmth. I completely disagree with ill gotten gains, however, would you not agree that Mr Bean is very much entitled to spend his wealth in whatever way he chooses? There are more examples of people who have done something so different or so interesting that we just want to throw our hard earned dosh at them: Bill Gates – what would I do without my oh-so-affordable laptop and the internet; Steve Jobs at Apple – where would I be without my iPhone?
These guys have gotten mega-rich because we give our money to them. They haven’t stolen it and rather than criticise the luxury goods they have afforded themselves we should applaud their contributions. If you want money – do something interesting or different; do something that will make someone’s day-to-day existence easier or better. When you do, the cash will come rolling in and you’ll see how you won’t appreciate commentary on your expenditure choices.
I'm sure it happens to you all the time too, you see something that makes you go, "Why hasn't someone thought of that before now?" This is what run through my head as I queued up to buy my cinema ticket in the same line as the food.
In the old format, you bought your film ticket at a dedicated ticketing counter before going off to buy your popcorn, drinks, chocolate - whatever you fancied. This is not only a hugely inefficient way of doing business but you lose out on the food sales of those that are on the border between buying and not buying something to eat.
My plan was to watch a film and not buy any food because cinema food is too highly priced (and hence a waste of my precious money) plus I don't need the extra calories. Unfortunately, the self-service machine was faulty on this fine day; this was how I found myself at a food counter. I had just woken up from a mid-afternoon siesta and it had been a couple of hours since my last feed. I was running short on will power and I didn't want to look like a cheapo so when the attendant asked me what I want, I asked for a Sprite Zero and a ticket for Bridesmaids, just like that, Cineworld added £2.50 to their coffers.
Selling tickets and food at the same point is ingenious, I'm surprised the model hasn't been copied by every cinema. I'm pretty sure it increases sales and reduces labour costs, so why wouldn't you?
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I'm always thinking, debating, considering and revising my views - some of those deliberations will be shared right here.