Sunday, 29 March 2009

Day 21 30 March 09 From Porridge to Pizza

Struggled through a bowl of porridge and raspberries on a slight head this morning on the back of a great The Secret Millionaire last night. There's something about that programme that just presses all the right buttons for me.

Struggled too through 40 lengths of the Antrim pool again this morning. The bordem is almost crippling. Doesn't seem to help even if I race those that I think are trying to pass me (oblivious to the fact that they are in fact in a race with me).

Met John Sharkey for lunch a Consultant Workplace Psychiatrist. Interesting guy.

Just ordered a pizza in for the evening in the hope that I can get loads of work done before heading home for 9p.m..It was delivered by a guy in an old VW Campa van at such a speed that I thought it was going to come flying through the main set of glass doors at the front of the building. Guess I should trust German brakes far more than I do.

Staff all brilliant again as usual.

Day 20 29 March 09 - Of dates, dogs and boat racing

Spent much of today hosting friends at the house including those who came round with dogs, those who came round to watch the boat race and those who just came round.

Turns out it's my Dad's 20th wedding anniversary of when he met his second wife Sheila. Was it really 20 years ago that he left the house with the family dog to meet her with her dog for a walk around Edgbaston Reservoir armed with a few strong opening lines and a poopa scoopa?

Did some work this morning on the company Facebook page. This may be a great thing we're doing or a complete waste of time. Time itself will give us the answer no doubt.

Still reading Pay it Forward. Keen to finish it if only to start reading something else. Trying to finish up quickly so as to get home and watch The Secret Millionaire.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Day 19 28 March 09 - Of tea coffee and a good beating

Went to see the Bronson movie last night. Wow! Its in your face stuff. You leave feeling you've survived a damn good beating yourself. This film doesn't glamourise violence or criminals. It just makes you feel grateful that you're not like him even to the smallest degree. Hardy as Bronson is quite brilliant mixing agro and humour masterfully.

The telesales training went well yesterday but there's loads to do before everyone will feel ready to get on the phones to clients. I feel a long weekend coming on.

Planning a business trop to Poland next month which should be interesting. Last time I was there it was the time of Solidarnosc, Lech Walesa and an awful lot of queueing for anything and nothing. Guess it's changed a bit. One of our party was caught changing money on the black market. We bribed the local policeman with a large jar of coffee to forget the whole shameful episode.

Time for a cup of tea...

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Day 18 27 March 09 - Of spinning webcams & business minds

Came in early today to get some work done before a half hours swim and attending a full day's sales training seminar.

As a company we now have a web cam, Skype, an entry in Wikipaedia, a Facebook page (launching tomorrow courtesy of my nephew) a Twitter deck and a blog oh and a web site. It's all a bit disorientating but an interesting experiment. I had my first comment on my blog from an unknown person last week. (It took me a week to discover it!). How he found me I don't know.

Meeting Nikki and Michael from The Streat to brain storm next week. Still trying to work out what our two businesses have in common but nothing strikes me at the moment.


Day 17 26 March 09

Met a businessman last night at The Culloden. Made him an offer he can't refuse which I think he is in fact going to refuse. We'll see.

The general consensus of opinion seems to be that the Legal-Island/Belfast Telegraph Annual HR Conference yesterday was a huge success. There's certainly been loads of coverage of it in the BT today.

Elaime McCann was in today taking care of some HR issues for us. The woman's on fire at the moment and that's just after her third child!

Started reading Pay it Forward. This has promise and I may even check out from work today early to get home to it.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Day 16 25 March 09

Currently Blogging from the Interent Cafe at the Europa Bus Station. I think I'm getting old. I'm so irritated by the adverts on the commercial radio blasting out that it's all I can do to stay here at the keyboard. At least in the car you can listen to Cool Fm until the adverts come on then switch for more music somewhere else.

Attended the Legal-Island/Belfast Telegraph Annual Human Resources Conference today. It looked good with a healthy enough attendance bearing in mind the current econmic climate. The speakers did well includingt Peter McBride who was on fire.

Finished "The Tipping Point" last night. Must say I'm really disappointed by it. It started with so much promise but fell flat by midway through. The chapter with Sesame street as a case example was particularly hard going. When reading it I couldn't help but be transported back to December 1999 at Ashford Castle, Ireland. We'd checked in for a Christmas break and one of the guests was going round to everyone with his arm up a puppet's arse shouting "Big Bird Big Bird" to everyone. A few seemed amused. Other were polite enough to fake amusement while increasing numbers, as the break went on, became more and more irritated. Come Christmas Day he was still at it and he was lucky not to end up head first either up his own bird or the huge one of the dining table. Afterwards someone told us he was the man from Seasame Street and we faked interest.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Day 15 24 March 09

Swam 20 lengths last night. Finding this exercise increasingly difficult. Boredom strikes much earlier than it ever used to. Also, if you go to the pool anywhere near closing time you can't access half the facilities you need because the life guards are already cleaning & packing up to get away. You can't get in the male only showers, access to your lockers is impeded by yellow plastic gates dotted everywhere marked "Cleaning in Progress" and if you're not careful your feet at least will get a good hose down as they stroll by with an over zealous hosepipe. Right that's my Victor Mildrew rant out the way. Feel much better.

It seems it's Sir Alan's birthday today. Happy Birthday Sir Alan if you're following. He's 62 and far too old to go on his own show as a Candidate. At least that is what our Press Release will say today when it goes out suggesting the line up again smacks of age discrimination.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Day 14 23 March 09 - Of Millionaire Row

Well having consulted staff today (which every good boss should do apparently) it seems that "The Secret Millionaire" made many others cry last night not just me. Kevin Morley, the Millionaire, was mighty with great people skills and looked every bit the man who was destined to succeed in life.

I can't help but wonder as the popularity of this show increases whether it is going to encourage all those in run down areas to be terrible sweet to all casually dressed but well spoken people new to a neighbourhood in case they produce a cheque for thousands after just knowing them for 8 days.

We're press releasing on The Apprentice this week to the tune that the young line up smacks of ageism. Wondering how the whippersnapper just how over the top Belfast's Ben Clarke of The Apprentice is likely to be.

Picked up my first Foller today. Result! Wonder who wifeofwimbledonwannabe could possibly be?

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Day 13 - 22 March 09

Just when you think there's going to be nothing to blog about the Irish win the Grand Slam, Jade Goody dies and ya Mum calls to express her astonishment that her only son has actually remembered Mother's Day.

I don't think you could have written a match with anymore drama that the Irish v Wales game. 2 minutes to go and the Welsh have a penalty on the halfway line they need to convert to win. They miss by 2 metres. They drop to fourth place and propel the Irish team into rugby history and O'Driscoll to near Sainthood. I watched the game recorded later, when I knew the result and my nerves were still jingling so how the rest of the nation coped I just don't know. Probably by consuming huge amounts of the black stuff before during and after.

Jade Goody is dead so the BBC World Service announced this morning. I'm pleased. She's at peace and at least now for a while there will be nothing in the news that reminds us of the ugly British obsession with empty pointless celebrity.

Last night I attended an amazing concert at The Waterfront called Eclection - a musical cocktail shaken up by a string ensemble Sinfonietta, a bluesy-rock band called Hooker and a choral group Melisma. It was a stage full of some very ordinary people doing some pretty extraordinary things. The evening belonged to the Compare however who, towards the end of the evening, tried to whip up audience involvement by assuring us we were all in the same collaborative club with "28 members up here on stage and one great big member out there".

I was sat next to Mr and Mrs "The Streat" and exchanged stories on how our businesses developed pretty much at the same time. Best of all we swapped business cards and arranged to meet for lunch sometime soon.

Mother's Day hey? A time to remember and thank one of the two who put you on this mortal coil or a day when we allow ourselves to be driven by the card industry again?

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Day 12 21 March 09

Went to Deans last night. It was good but overrated and overpriced. My company got bladdered so we left before we were thrown out. Oh the joys of socialising! The couple on the table next door were causing a scene too. The restaurant's credit card facility had broken and they were asking everyone to hoof it up the road to a cashpoint. The couple clearly didn't feel much like hoofing last night so they argued the case for leaving their credit details for the restaurant to process once the machine was back up and running. Their waiter tried a politie explanation, then a second waiter had a go. Then the manager was called. Then my bladdered friend waded in whilst I left for the cashpoint...

Just when I thought this blogging was a complete waste of time an email arrived in yesterday entitled "Blog" from an HR professional just up the road from our main offices. I met him for lunch and left excited about what the contact may generate for us both. We both talked about "The Tipping Point" and how a book with great potential and fine reviews is actually proving hard work to read.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Day 11 20 March 09 - Of fallen stars

Wow! Friday already. The great weather has convinced me its better to play tennis today rather than fire up and down a pool 40 times for my daily exercise. My tennis partner is, like me, a former Wimbledon wannabe. We both muse and lament after each match how good we once were as juniors and how bloody awful we are now as seniors. When I play him I'm ruthless and aim to win the point in no more than 3 strokes. This is for no other reason than if it goes to 4 I know I'll be too knackered to get the shot back..

Yet another day full of meetings but also some serious in between work. The Legal-Island web site is coming on but it's still not firing on all cyclinders. Until you can google anything at all and get us in first spot I wont be happy...

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Day 10 19th March 09

Trying to perfect the art of a powernap wherever I am for 10minutes around 8p.m! I'm working on the basis that a quick re-charge in the evening will get me through to midnight which adds an hour of reading plus Paxman on Newnight to my day. Must say Paxman has been on great form recently. And there's nothing like a waffly politician having to square up to a journalist with a meat hook!

Struggling a bit with latest read "The Tipping Point". It contains some interesting ideas but it's padestrian at times.

I note the line up for The Apprentice has been announced. It includes a Ben Clarke from Belfast
but no-one over 36. Smacks of age discrimination if you ask me. How are you Sir Alan?

Currently preparing for three meetings today. The biggest is the splash marketing meeting where 6 of us are aiming to act on ideas formulated one creative afternoon earlier this year to raise awareness of the Legal-Island brand.

Time for a swim. Trying for 40 lengths in 40 minutes unless boredom kicks in first.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Day 9 18th March 09

Watched Newsnight last night and the build up of new military hardware in Russia. Sure it's alarming but it doesn't compel me to get out in the garden with my shovel and build a nuclear shelter just as I did when they invaded Afghanistan all those years ago.

Walked to work this morning. The Spring air, the great weather and low hovering mist over the river proved too tempting to resist. Took me 42 minutes door to gate. Walked along the first part of the river bank with a certain amount of pride as I recalled how much rubbish myself and a few neighbours had managed to remove a few weekends back.

Big day ahead. Loads of meetings all of which are important in terms of staff management.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Day 8 17 March 09 St Patrick's Day

St Patrick's Day! What a great marketing day for the Irish. If only I could think of an equivalent for Legal-Island. It's a day for me in the office without any colleagues or phone calls which means I can get loads of work done whilst puffing a cigar! Marvellous!

Met Peter McBride of Carecall last night for dinner. He's just bought himself a Porshe with 3.8 litres of grunt under the bonnet. In other words a car with legs. He's off to Atlanta soon, then Spain then Malawi. It's tough at the top. We went to the Belfast Castle Restaurant for something to eat only to find it closed. We tried upstairs at the Hotel. No chef on. Went to the Landsdown Hotel and had bland soup followed by tasteless pasta. Northern Ireland cuisine hey...?

Finished Garry Kasparov's "How Life Imitates Chess". What a great book. I didn't think he'd make the connection between the two but he does many times over. I was more interested to read about how single determination, backed by mighty intelligence and a large dose of aggression can help you succeed in life.

Just started "The Tipping Point" and it has promise.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Day 7 16 March 09 - Plane boredom

Yes! Result! A personal PB from Mr BP right at the beginning of the week : 40 lengths of the pool in as many minutes. The only thing that was stopping me from doing more was sheer boredom. I must find out whether there's such a thing as a waterproof underwater walkman I could use. Or should that be waterproof MP3 player or indeed MP4 player?

The flight home yesterday with Aer Lingus was great but I couldnt wait to get off the plane. I've never known an airline for playing such awful piped music to its passenger. It was fast paced piano music - a kinda of Benny Hill meets Schostacovich with them both in a hurry. If it was designed to get the passengers off the plane quickly it didn't work. Why do the passengers who take forever to get their bags down from the overhead bins (whilst standing in the middle of the isle) always choose to sit at the front of a plane?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Day 6 15th March Wonderful Wonderful Heathrow

Crap! Missed my flight to Belfast Int'l by 10 minutes now awaiting 3p.m. flight back. Apparently at the UK's largest airport there's no business lounge so I'll have to loiter around the Internet Cafe bar for a good few hours.

It's a beautiful day outside and a great time to cherish the Spring weather. Debating whether to hop on a train to somewhere a bit more agreeable that Terminal One. Richmond? Windsor? Back to the Gloucester Road?

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Day 5 14th March - Wonderful wonderful London

Lasted a full two hours on black jack at the casino last night before waving good bye to the £50 I said I would flutter. Stick or twist on 15 when the odds are so eitherway? Decision paralysis made no easier by a large G&T. I'm always amazed by the Chinese at these casinos who seem to want to get rid of their hard earned cash as quickly as possible.

Beautiful day in London. Spring is well and truly here. Torn between working on the Net for another hour and reading a book in Hyde Park. Should be a no brainer but this Blogging, Twittering Facebooking is becoming addictive. Just wish this Internet/Film shop would change the DVD a musical featuring it seems all too reegularly "Wonderful wonderful Copenhagan"

Friday, 13 March 2009

Day 4 13 March 09

Currently staying on the Glouchester Rd in London for meetings here. I'm not sure if you could get a better pitch for a hotel being close to Heathrow and just about every type of restaurant you can't find in Antrim. Sinaporean, Lebonese, French, Italian. Yum. The folks apparently ate in a KFC last night just up the road...

We now have over 3,000 signatures to our petition in support of the peace rallies and just one complaint from an employment lawyer that it encourages employees to breach their Internet Use Policies at work. I'm not sure that she's right. I am sure it was the right thing to do.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Day 3 12 March 09

Currently at the airport awaiting flight to London Heathrow. Taxi driver who took me to the airport charged me just a fiver. He was 15 minutes late and showed up in the reserve cab. His other has broken down and the replacement had dodgy wheel bearings. It sounded like a spitfire trying to get off the ground whenever we did more than 50mph.

Watched the news last night. The media did its best but it wasn't a huge turnout for the peace rallies. Our own online petition is in the hundreds not thousands.

Day 3 11 March 09

7.30a.m. at work and testing the best music to listen to first thing to help pump me up in the morning. In lead position at the moment is Status Quo's "Down Down Feeling Down". It's great though the air guitar accompaniment can be a bit distracting.

Resolved this morning to follow up on the networking I did yesterday. Meeting my accountant at 12noon, Mike Nangle. Good bloke. Not at all like most accountants are thought to be and indeed probably are.

Off for a swim - all that getting wet, cold and dressed again just to keep the weight off. There must be any easier way liking Googling "weight off pills"

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Day 2 10 March 09

Started the day at the Burlington with a loud knock on the door at 7.30 a.m. It was the cleaner wanting to get on with her day.

Hoofed it over to Clare St for a networking session at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce then on to meet Gerry from the Indo. Nice guy. Played around on the Internet whilst waiting for my lunch date. Legal-Island ranks 1st, 4th and 55th on our top search terms with Clearly more work to do! Spose I should hyperlink Legal-Island everytime I type it!

Raced home to catch the auction in Mallusk. Wonder if I'll pick up another speeding ticket. Racing home now to read my book by Kasparov on how chess imitates life. Can't seem to put it down. What a great read.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Day 1 of Barry's Blog

Blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - trying to make sense of it us one thing. Trying to work out how best to use it for business business is quite another.

Over the past few weeks we've had a new media seminar inhouse to consider options and I've read a good number of books on similar subjects but yikes it's hard work trying to see a way through it.

This morning I drove to work from the swimming pool passing Masserene barracks. I know the journalists are doing their job but do they really neeed to be standing directly outside the place where the two soldiers were executed? Not convinced.