Do I deserve to be whipped?

Out and about

I am about on social networks mainly for marketing purposes. At least that was how it was in the beginning. However, having built relationships on-line, some become friendships on-line or off-line.

I enjoy discussions in various forums, whether business or social. I like to express my opinion., otherwise why would I take part? Very occasionally I might say something to which another person might take offence, but certainly I would not set out to upset anybody, and I hope I would be ready to apologise. As I have said before, our on-line reputations are important and easily damaged with a loose comment. If someone is hurt we have to “kiss them better”.

Taking the flak

We have to accept that our views and, I guess our morality, are not shared by everyone else. The other day I expressed an opinion in response to a forum question. That opinion was that stealing from the Government by fiddling one’s tax returns was wrong. It is not a particularly controversial view I would have thought, but some apparently believe that the Government should have higher priorities than catching the small scale tax dodgers. Perhaps they do need to prioritise, but that is no reason to let anyone get away with it, at least in my opinion.

If you have been free with your opinions you have to take some flak. It is fine for people to disagree with me. At least they take notice. Having a opinion and expressing it is better than firing quotations of the great and the good into the internet ether as some do to boost their Klout score.

For thinking this small-scale tax-stealing was wrong, I was called “holier than thou”. I was rather hurt. In fact I was rather more hurt than when I was called without provocation a very bad word in a private forum long ago. That was more about networkers I was seen as being associated with. Being called “holier than thou” was more personal.

I felt less hurt after I reasoned that maybe it was a back-handed compliment about my adhering to my beliefs.

Following our path

What we have to do is to be wary of damaging our reputation but carry on with what we believe. We have to be out there with our marketing, and we need to participate in forums to maintain our reputations, and because we are intelligent opinionated people.

Whipped

We have to take a whipping now and again. Maybe I deserved it. At least I got noticed. The pain was probably worth it.

Here is a relevant quotation from Leo Burnett, and early twentieth-century advertising executive which I promise not to tweet:

“If you don’t get noticed, you don’t have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks.”

So that’s all right then. Or is it?

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Economists with the truth

I went to an interesting meeting last night. Two out of the three speakers were economists. It is often said that there are as many opinions of economic issues as there are economists. There were two opinions of the economy from the two speakers, but really it was all about a difference in attitude.

The first speaker, a lady, did not want to be attributed so we will only say that she in connected to a well-known Old Lady who lives in Threadneedle Street. Her view of the current economic climate in the South East is that things haven’t been so bad, the economy is on the up and eventually everything will be all right even though the UK economy has contracted by 6.1%

All fine and dandy. She says she speaks to lots of businesses north of the Thames and that is her general impression. Funnily enough I also speak to a lot of businesses in my local area, which is specifically South Essex, so much smaller. I get a somewhat less optimistic view of the situation as it is.

I could hardly wait to be disappointed by the second economist, Mark Pragnell of the Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership (TGSEP) . However I was pleasantly surprised both by his honesty and his attitude. Yes, the economy had contracted by 6.1%. He thought that South Essex had been very badly hit by losses of jobs both in London and locally, possibly worse than in the South East as a whole. He might have had a vested in talking up his view as the Old Lady’s representative had, but he didn’t. What he did say that there was a huge opportunity for growth in the area, that we had a skilled workforce ready to go, and we had attractive lower housing costs and we have industrial units and warehouses which can be rented very cheaply (poor landlords) but potentially profitable for many.

I hope I have not misquoted too much. I was not able to make notes, but my general impression after hearing the first speaker was that I was now listening to someone saying “yes, things have really been bad, but we have the chance to really make hay and bounce back quickly.” Really it is all about attitude and realism and not towing the line of officialdom notwithstanding that TGSEP is very much an institution of local government in the area. Well done, Mark!

If we wait for our businesses to improve they may eventually, but it is likely they won’t. If we are positive, proactive, make plans and exploit the opportunities that are out there our future is in our hands and we know we are not hostages to fortune. Seize the day! Carpe diem.

© Jon Stow 2010

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