BROADLY EXPENSIVE - The announcement by Freeserve that it will raise its price for high-speed broadband internet access and the decision by BT Openworld to stop targeting the consumer market is bad news for Government plans to make the UK a nation of quick and happy surfers. It's obvious that consumers used to paying little or nothing for their online wanderings will not pay pounds 500 a year for high-speed internet access. They have only recently digested the concept of paying similar subscription rates just to watch Aston Villa versus Derby County on satellite or cable on a Monday night.
If you have ever watched Villa versus Derby you will be hard pushed to justify such an expense. As a long-suffering Villa fan, I should know.
ACCOUNTANT'S TRICK - We hired a stand at the recent National Accountancy Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC but were rather shocked at the poor turnout.
At times it seemed there were more exhibitors than visitors. Where are all the accountants? Some days later I stumbled across the answer. An accountant friend of mine, who had been given two days off to visit the exhibition (and was notable by his absence), had managed to book himself and other 'accounting friends' into the nearby Belfry Golf Club for two excellent days of golf.
In future, and in order to strategically market ourselves to the accountancy community, we may have to start targeting golf courses. I might even have to take up golf - a great British management tradition I have so far managed to avoid.
SWEAT SHOP - At our last board meeting our non-executive directors asked the management team to 'sweat the assets of the company'. It has always been my belief that the greatest assets any company can have are the people who work for it. So I smiled at the irony of this request as I looked into the faces of my management team - who have done nothing but sweat since the beginning, and especially since the market for dot.coms has taken a downward turn of late.
PROGRAMMED TO PLAY - An internet pureplay marries creativity, technology, commerce and flair. It is therefore no surprise that such a business attracts interesting characters. In our company, one of our leading programmers, Ralph Weadon, is a professional jazz pianist on the side and runs the Ralph Weadon Trio. He has a fascinating brain - half nerd, half artist. It's probably the right combination for a good programmer