I've moved my blog to www.ijeanes.posterous.com as it's a simpler userface and it's much more interactive and easier to share on. So, sorry Weebly. You will now just hold my previous blogs until I can import them.
At the moment I'm putting my face back into the Londonosphere by attending more social events, embracing new social circles and exercise fat relationships (relationships I've allowed to get lazy and dwindle!). It can be tiring stuff but when I'm ready to launch my new business idea, I'll be needing the feedback, support and ideas from such people. I also remembered that whilst I've been working hard and exploding my creative writing into Second Life, I've neglected my lovely blog. So I thought I'd write a very short one so that my blog remembers who I am and not to worry, a quiet spell means I'm laying the foundations of something bigger.
Cheer up blog. Peekaboo!
I'm feeling reflective so I find it funny how, as mentioned in my previous entry 'Unfinished Epiphany', I've made a rather obvious discovery that, no doubt, everyone else knows. It's about the ability to call on our experience and education and apply the strengths of our personality to make things work. There are some things we can't do alone because either our self-esteem, both professionally and personally, is low or our experience needs development (who's doesn't?) but we all have the starting blocks to make something. I'm referring to Business generally but I'm specifically talking about creating a new opportunity and developing it into a tangible product.
Human interaction is something I've noticed that keeps me striving for my end goal. Here are some key things I've found in the last year that matter to me and seem to have worked in creating opportunities.
+ EXPOSURE: no matter what it is we are striving to achieve it is important that we are seen and heard. Social Media has been a great facilitator in allowing us to access a larger audience at a smaller basic cost . Using Blogs, Twitter and Facebook profiles to raise our profile amongst friends, strangers, peers, potential business partners and, more importantly, mentors is, for me, an effective way of highlighting your interests and experience in a softer and engaging approach. Creating a profile on these platforms can give people you meet a place to come and find out more.
+ NETWORKING: is super important when having an online profile, you've basically created an interactive business card but you still have to physically exist to provide the reason for discovery. Meeting lots of people in one space is effective but also limits what we can say and do in the small time we may have with one person. Handing out a business card is a start but the business card should be more than a contact detail. It should create an opportunity for the receiver to research and look you up – with guidance on the information found!. We all look for ways to remember the person who's business card we have after meeting so many people, this just makes it that little bit easier and a good PR activity.
+ CLEAR IDENTITY: If you've read Identity Thrift then you'll note that I have multiple identities at present but my main goal is ensuring that each one is clear. My professional Facebook profile is clear, here my blogging identity is a little more general and is a place for my thoughts but is still important in my end goal and for what I want to achieve. I believe it to be absolutely essential to be clear and honest about what it is you're striving for with people you meet, chat to and talk at. Profiles that you've directed people from Networking events to should be consistent and relevant to the opportunity you're looking for. You wouldn't give someone the telephone number of a stripper if what they need Pain Au Chocolat!
+ SUPPORT NETWORK: Through networking, identity consistency and clarity, self-exposing (ooh er!) and lots of chat should start to build up a network of people you trust and can begin to rely on for advice, support and mutually beneficial business opportunities. Having a support network in different social circles has helped me pursue my own dreams to set-up a business
+ CONFIDENCE: Confidence in my ideas have come from understanding what it is I want and talking it over with people I trust, some have even offered to provide help and guidance for a very little more than a cup of coffee or just their own value of sharing experiences.
+ RESEARCH: My goodness this has been ridiculously important, if not obvious to even the most oblivious of people. Taking on advice and looking into avenues, systems, regulations, EVERYTHING, that you discuss and share has helped me develop my idea to be competitive, interesting and evolving. It has also helped me put substance behind the passion.
+ ACTIVITY: Ugh! It's easy to fall off the Radar if you become to inward, scared or contemplative about succeeding. JUST DO IT! If you feel your idea has changed or is changing, talk about it. Call up on a personal friend to chat about your emotional attachments and detachments. Email that technical friend who can help you pin-things down. Skype that amazing person who just knows exactly what you're doing wrong and can put you on track. Or, just blog about what you're going through! It helps to still create activity around your product to remind you why you're doing it. Remember, failure only occurs if you gave it everything and you learned nothing. Otherwise they're just set-backs and as we, as humans, have been able to make the most interesting opportunities with our lives for thousands of years! From discovering fire to building firefox, the wheel to flight and all our technology advancements, we can do anything that we set our mind to. You've just got to set your mind to it.
Building a business or developing an idea needs love and attention. You have to date your idea, show it your friends and introduce it to your family, then when it's ready, marry the bloody thing and commit to it with everything you have. You need human intervention, human emotions and human interactivity to make it work, and we're all human. Don't do anything alone, it's not fun!
If you speak to many Black Cab drivers here in London they are always quick to mention that times have been difficult and they are still finding the current climate a mission in finding work. It's this kind of honesty that I find endearing about London's Black Cab drivers and why I have a preference for this service over a Private Hire vehicle who calls itself a Taxi.
With a lengthy training process known as 'The Knowledge' (which can take up to 4 years to study), the rising cost of fuel and road costs, a decrease in public expenditure on luxuries and the prevalence of a still increasing Mini-cab industry, what future awaits the Black Cab of London?
Personally I much prefer a Black Cab service over a Private Hire vehicle or Minicab for so many reasons it would be coma-inducing to list them. My reasons fit into my idea of three key factors that, for me, make a good service.
Brain! For me, absolute knowledge of the industry one is working in is highly important. In service we must absolutely be able to trust the person, entity or business that provides us with information. It has to be right, which isn't to say that I'd expect the service point to known everything, but a redirection on how to get the information is perfectly acceptable and just as important.
The brain is also responsible for the analysis and efficiency of the service being given. Ensuring that the customer is understood and treated individually, making it seem like, at that specific moment, it is about them.
Heart is, in my honest opinion the most integral part of service. It's no good analysing and understanding your customer if what you do is just apply it to business. You have to apply it to the relationship as well and this is where 'heart' works with the brain. Every business transaction, encounter and interaction is a relationship. A heartfelt one is a service that leaves the customer wanting a 'second date', then come the regular meetings, the loyalty and support and a family. Most often, families can be expanded and grown to create bigger relationships. I've milked the metaphor but you get my point. Enjoying the service your giving and treating the customer with alot of love can strengthen, develop or change how the brain of the business works.
Mouth provides the Communication and the voice of the business and is essentially the key output of the service. Your ability to communicate your knowledge, care and attention and passion to the customer is a business' strongest weapon. Feedback from your customer will shape your service and streamline any difficult procrsses whilst helping you find the right way to give it heart. Interaction comes through effective communication and gives the customer something to remember with the service. Stepping into a cab and being driven somwhere is not the same as having a cab talk you through the route he/she will take, what the area is like and any landmarks that are significant en route. You're most likely to remember a service through personality, even if the execution of the serivce's purpose was perfect. People want people to look after them and it's that human injection that shapes any perfectly well run service.
This is why the Black Cab is a far superior service than any Private Hire company I've EVER used. My step-father runs a very well run Private Hire company filled with friendly drivers but STILL i will not be driven away from the Black Cab.
I won't deny there are perks to having a Private Hire vehicle come pick you up with costs sometimes being lower through negotiation and being able to pre-arrange the pick up is nice but it takes a well-run service to do these well, and most often than not, those who get a late pick-up wave a Black Cab down anyway.
With the service of the Black Cab a preference of mine but still holding an uncertain future, how can a Black Cab become stronger over it's overpowering competition?
Future! It's a simple word and rather generic but it's what should and could happen. I'm not talking amphibian taxis or flying cabs. I think that the cab, which is a choice of many a businessman, should be a portable hub for those who use one. Here's what I propose:
1. All cabs should be fitted with Wifi to enable those who get stuck in traffic during rush hour and endure longer journeys to be productive with their time. Perhaps even tuning a radio station in the back to be sync'd with your personal Spotify profile or Last.fm preference.
2. An iPod docking station and Jack terminal that has a separate sound system to the driver but can be interrupted by the on-board intercom for advice, communication with the driver and tourism information. Perhaps even with the Jack terminal last minute presentations can be recited and perfected.
3. On-board computer screen which displays the current GPS satellite system AGAINST the destination. No! It isn't satellite navigation but it is able to give the passenger a visualisation of their journey. This would give them a little more control and trust with the driver. Perhaps, if it's touchscreen, the passenger could circle exactly what part of the route is best avoided and where the ideal drop off point is.
I think these such points would make a useful service grow and become part of the dynamic, real-time technological world we live in. If these items started to become standard, more people would accept the extra cost of a Black Cab as opposed to relying on a taxi booking from the unreliable Minicab service of the Joe Bloggs and Emma Smiths of the taxi world.
For more information on Black Cabs see www.londonblackcabs.co.uk or to book one http://bit.ly/77fo2l
The Future is black!
Rule number one in starting a business is Company name (so I've read), closely followed by brand identity. The key thing about any business survival agenda is your identity. In my opinion that goes across multiple distinctions - meaning the identity of your business, your professional image and managing your personal identity too. As a result of my perceptions I appear to have broken my personal identity into more than one. In previous workshops I've discussed how having a professional identity separate to your personal identity could help grow your business brand - in theory. I did that very thing when I was a recruitment consultant by having two facebook profiles. One for my personal life, one for my professional status. I decided it would be a good idea to build a business profile that coincided with my business development and knowledge expansion. I found that it helped people relate to me better in both professional networking capabilities and in my business agenda. It became more of a softer sell approach. Since then I started to develop my @ijeanes identity which, at the time, was to discuss openly the nature of recruitment and how I wished to change the 'face' of it. My method was to allow active engagement with forums and create a place where I could gather opinion on misconceptions and issues faced when dealing with recruitment consultants. My @ijeanes identity changed direction when I was made redundant and became the documented thoughts of a lad exploring opportunities in London to the now evolved blog about Life, Love and Living in London, with my experiences of London and the opinions formed discussed whilst I'm here. This means my identity has opened up entirely but is still a slightly more business and creative emphasis of my personal life - meaning what I blog, isn't necessarily what I discuss in my personal friends on facebook.
To top that off, so far I'm counting three key identities, I've started working on a project to build a business in Social Networking. This has lead me to use my thoughts on brand identity and apply it to my business idea. Thus creating another identity for that. My creative fictional blog concept is a first person narrative of a character I'm exploiting in Second Life, therefore creating fictional diary entries of his existence. FIVE IDENTITIES to manage. Personally there are probably slightly more as I have different personalities which I express and emphasise with different groups of friends. What we discuss with one group may be entirely different with another, so there again my personal identity is splintered.
So what am I to do about this exhausting life? Is it possible to manage this many different identities without collapsing of having a breakdown. Perhaps I'll develop an internal multple-personality disorder. Maybe I already have one. The best thing for me so far is this blog. Writing it down and sharing it. It might help me focus these identities and work out away to successfully execute one identity.
Moments of 'Eureka' that happen to us during our progression in our lives can take many a form. Most of mine, and it appears that I have far too many to write here, is mostly about my purpose.
My purpose in life, my fulfilment in my career, my satisfaction in lust and contentment in love. It's all about what I'm here to achieve, particularly living in London. We only have a short time in our lives to take what we learn and apply it to something we want. Most of us, career wise, don't know what we want, or the career we want comes at the cost of some sacrificial priority, like love, location, family or, most oftenly, finance. Sometimes it is difficult to make those sacrifices and sometimes it is too easy. Right now I'm having a similar (i'm gonna say) 'crisis' in that whilst I'm earning money and progressing my paid job (not one I aspired to have or continue to see a future in), I'm letting my priorities slip in acheiving my goal of being a comfortable, life-loving businessman who works for what he wants or thinks will work.
I'm an ideas-boy. A mass-debater (erm) and a creative at heart. I'm a poetic, a chaotic individual and life-loving person who wants so much to achieve. Whether it be the musical I dream of writing or the new fictional story concept I've started, maybe the business idea I've been working on and the project that goes alongside it. Either way, I will continue to have my epiphanies of what I want to do and will finish as much of them as possible, but I'm telling you, having unfinished Epiphanies makes life totally worth living and makes the difficulties of finding that absolute happiness much much much more exciting.
I react! We all react in our own way but i'm one of those non-confrontational people who deal with situations by perhaps conflicting and disagreeing in polite verbal tone. Never one to raise my voice in debates or arguments, unless my patience has been pushed of course. Certainly never one to get into a physical fight.
Now very recently voices all over have been heard about the Jan Moir article published in the Daily Mail. They've been blogged, there have been comments left and debates about it have been heard on chatshows. My post doesn't focus on the content of Jan Moir's article, though I certainly have an opinion on that very matter. My post is about the freedom to say these things. FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
The outcome of the that post was fantastic. Not only did I read it and find it to be terribly out of touch with the reality of not only the modern gay stereotype but also the large majority of healthy gay men and women out there, but that there was an absolute outcry and uproar of opinions that showed anyone who agreed with Jan's ill-timed and poorly researched article that we, the public, have a voice and are not afraid to let it be heard. Repression doesn't exist in the same majority as before and the huge response shows that the middle-class target market for such an article clearly disagreed. I also observe that few felt strongly enough in favour of her article to agree with what she was saying. So what does that tell us? Middle-england have courtesy to the grieving, difference in opinion to the article and, more importantly, begun to move with the times and understand that we are no different to them and you.
Admittedly, there are those who do us an injustice and provide the topics for such heinous articles with campaigns such as 'We're gay. Get over it!' which I find to be terribly discourteous to the hetrosexuals who need help in understanding that we are NO different and should therefore be treated as equals. Advertisements like this are saying that they should just deal with it, but this is wrong. Campaign's like this should be amended and aimed back to the homosexuals with 'You're just gay. Get over it!'. We are only that afterall. We have different sexual orientations and different expectations in lifestyle choices - which is down to so much more than sex. We're getting better at looking after our sexual health. After all, I did previously report that last year there was only a 2% difference in straight and gay sexes living with HIV and we get tested far more often because of the concerns associated with gay sex. Anyway, I'm digressing as usual, but you get my point. We are not doing ourselves any favours by promoting our homosexuality in an agressive way, which in turn, gives people like Jan Moir ammunition to insult us.
Now, I've explained what I think about it all but what I want I want the resounding mesage here is let there be these homophobic columnists and BNP officials. Let them write and have their say, because freedom of speech isn't a choice made my others, it's a liberation of first person perspective. Voicing our opinions only inspires others. Provocation is no bad thing when we strive to build something better out of society. When the voice has had it's say it is down to us to see votes and our own opinion fight back and ensure that the opinion that sympathises with human nature and understanding allows for a better living environment. So I say let the Jan Moirs and Nick Griffins speak out loud for us to hear, and let the world respond in unison, holding hands of justice, intellect, compassion and understanding and put them to right. It is with power of speech that requires accountability and responsibility and these people should be held accountable for their opinions. It is our job to show them that we, too, are equals and that we will show them equality in allowing them to share their opinion, that we don't discriminate as they do and that we will listen to the speech of those who have not evolved. We will read their paintings on the wall and make our own informed decisions and not be beaten into uniformity because someone believes difference to be wrong. From their hateful words we will rise from it a more powerful, more knowledgable and a more empowered people. A generation who will focus on developing the human world and maintain the environment that we live in. Aiding those who need our help and seeing only opportunities to forge relationships, not enemies. It's a long way off, but for this to occur we must let freedom of speech be exactly that and let it highlight those who will die out eventually whilst the rest of us prosper and bask in a peaceful and successful world.
NOTE: This post was written with haste in a bid to publish my opinion on this matter speedily. Therefore, digression may appear but relevance should resound. Thank you for reading and keeping up.
An exhausting night in London started with an exhausting day.
The aim of Friday 14th August 2009 was merely to engage in as much as I possibly could in order to get my project up on running. With it encompassing as much of my experiences on things such as my 'coming-of-London', being gay, networking, technology, and social media I've come to try and cover most of my research in a fluid motion of education. Encounters that take me to the heart of my experiences. Had I known that when I got up that morning it would have encompassed all that I speak of would have saved me quite a lot of time. Instead of feeling nauseous, apprehensive and upset about the events that took my 9.30am wake-up call to my 7.30am sleep the following morning, I feel excited and enegised about what I've learnt.
The alarm that morning was vocalised by my very faithful and trusty piece of technology- my Nokia N95 8GB phone. A beautiful piece of music led me slowly into the subconscious world where I had muchh to cover on this fateful day. Getting up and showering was the easy bit, the hair - not so easy but it isn't especially relevant so we'll bypass my preparation. I flicked through the diary:
"11:00 - Tuttle Meeting (finally meet some Twitter people [@ilicco and @whatleydude]) [ICA - The Mall?????]
13:00 - Lunch with boyfriend, discuss plans for the weekend including wedding party for friend. [Picadilly?]
15:30 - Meet with friend and great mind to compare ideas of our projects [Soho]
18:00 - Work - money earner for project and London survival.
24:00 - Meet with friend from San Diego who is over for a catch up drink (or two) [Soho]
03:00 - Bed to Sleep in time for work the next morning."
Admittedly as I type out my plans for that day (and night) I can see that it was rather a lot to put together but this is me, I never stay still and live on bouncing around. I guess I'm the Pinball of London?
So apart from getting lost on my to the ICA (video footage taken on my Nokia can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF7g2AIDioQ
) I arrived at Tuttle and enjoyed my time there, meeting some great characters as well as the lovely @ilicco and @whatleydude. Inspired by technology enthusiasts and good conversation (as well as a little TOO much conversation) the rest of the day followed in equally great footsteps especially at my coffee meeting with my friend in Soho. At one point there was a sudden rush of chanting when the Hare Krishna celebrators came thorugh the streets of Soho to spread the word. To my left there was a... well I'm going to call her a 'crazy in one shouldered dress' (CIAOSD)... sat a few seats down. In an apparition of what Soho really encompasses for me, she got off her seat and joined in the dancing. Performing Samba and Salsa, prayers and salutations to the passing chants, but it wasn't until she turned back round to me that I noticed that one of her nipples had fallen out. It was out in full force and the sudden shock of this took my friend and I by surprise. Rib-splitting, asthma-inducing, lung-crippling shock. I'd like to say 'poor woman' but she had absolutely no sense (or sanity) so, for her, it was as shameful as getting a wrist out.
Work wasn't too busy and the night went passed fairly quickly leaving me ready to party with my friend in town for a few drinks. This, unfortunately, is probably where the frivolities of the night ended. After drinking probably a little too much, which isn't really me but I think the exhaustion and lack of solid food had acted as an accelerant. Whilst waiting for my bus to arrive in the Strand I was acosted by a seemingly friendly chap who came over to me and hugged me. I didn't return the hug as I'm not a huge lover of engaging in personal physical contact with people I don't know well - let alone at all. I thanked him awkwardly and immediately checked my persons for the mobile phone I had just that moment used to send a message to my boyfriend. GONE! I can only assume it was this chap who had stolen my phone so I asked him to take out all of his belongings from his jacket and prove to me he hadn't taken my phone. The strange thing was that he didn't seem offended to be accused of such an act and was laughing at me. Insulting me is how I see it now. He said he didn't know what I was talking about and he got on the next bus and left. I immediately ran to the nearest phonebox with last piece of change I had on me (I might stipulate that I rarely carry a wallet out with me for this very reason!) and informed my boyfriend that I had just been MUGGED by a Hugging Mugger - something I'd read about recently.
My bus finally came and made my way home. Unfortunately, the alcohol and the warmth of the bus led me to fall asleep on the bus. I woke up at a stop I didn't know and got out. I was too embarassed to ask anyone where I was in case I was incoherent and unitelligible. Instead I got off and looked at the nearest bus stop routes etc. Finding out that mine was nowhere to be seen it meant me catching a bus to one place and then catching another to another place, etc etc. Somehow I ended up walking to find the stop that the map had indicated and was approached by two youngish lads who said something and teased me a little but I think their sympathy kicked in at my upset and drunkne state and left me. It was until I turned around as I left them that they had signalled to another four members of their crew on the opposite side of the road. Perhaps just to signal that it was a failure? I don't know and I don't like to think what could have happened.
By the time I finally got home I put my key in the door, headed up the stairwell and through the door to the apartment. As I opened the door my very worried boyfriend who had waited up since the initial call three hours ago grabbed me as I collapsed against the wall and cried my heart out.
I cried because I had been violated, my personal item had been taken from me in an obvious way. I was a fool. I was drunk. I was upset that it took me three hours to get home. I was upset because my phone documented my relationship with my boyfriend. I cried because I had taken from me, the very technology that allowed me survive in London and get through some of my toughest times. I was angry at how someone can find value in something which is worth so much more to me, and me alone.
I didn't dwell. I creid out my tears and gathered my breath. I had to get up for work in a pain-staking 1.5 hours and carry out a full day and night's work. An in that time I had to sober up.
Lessons learned? Too many to disclose, but one thing I shall end this account with is:
I regret NOTHING.
I would rather have not had my phone stolen but it is only a piece of technology that is replaceable. I went home in one piece. I slept in a bed. There are far worse situations out there in London at the moment. I only hope the next person who uses my phone gets to record their own memories on it.
Onwards and upwards. A Nokia N86 with an 8MP camera beckons and new memories are to be created. For as long as I still have my mind, body and soul, I can relive the memories in my own mind and enjoy as I tell people of my stories.
Walking along the streets of East London, hopping on to a bus and then slipping on to a tube I can't help but suddenly jolt at the realisation that I'm in London. So many of my mistakes and subsequent regrets have been borne out of careful planning and thought. Meticulous counter measures to off-set any negative outcome that may arise in my plan. The plan normally goes ahead with little a hitch to talk of but my regret is never enjoying the moment as I had hoped. Getting lost in thought and process and not absorbing the real-time personal education or development that is to be had by just letting go and having fun.
Let's entertain retrospect for now: As I grew up I began to steer my focus away from detail and not make a decision always on logic. If I wanted to do something I knew that I shouldn't think about it as much. I know from experience (and recent events) that it turns out I can be resourceful and launch into the unexpected and not be hospitalised by fear. So many decisions or missed opportunities occurred as a result of fearing and over-analysing. I always took decisions on my own and never thought through the result with someone else - never really sitting down and going through the thought-process with another, older and wiser individual. Anyway, I'm digressing as usual but the reason I emphasise on my previous experiences is because two and half years ago I decided to work on secondment in the largest city in the UK. I would embark on an attempt to secure a position in one of London's more volatile mortgage packagers. The decisions was on a whim and I wasn't sure how I would do it, but very quickly I discovered my ability for building relationships.
At first I started my London adventure staying in a hotel for one week and then a different hotel another week because one was full and the other over my expenses allowance per night. I spoke to the manager of the latter and asked if I could arrange to keep residence there for 12weeks on a reduced rate of £100per night. He agreed as I'd explained that it was guaranteed business for the 12wks. This was pretty good for a 50% discount in a rather lovely hotel. Pleased with myself I was already feeling more relaxed about working in this large, unknown city. 12wks went by of relentless relationship building with my account and positive comments seeped through the professional channels. However, despite feedback from the account and businesses attached it was working out too expensive and a professional betrayal meant that I wasn't going to be kept on in the London branch and would have to go back to Wolverhampton. Deflated, upset, angry and lost I boarded my train back to my home town. I mulled over it for some time, how could I have changed it? How could I have been better, but I quickly discovered that it's now in the past and what I do now is going to be the changing point.
The work I had done in London, though short-lived, was now recognisable in the industry and put me in my prime-view of potential employers. I interviewed and got my preferred employment. It was higher paid, more intuitive and I got to be responsible for a huge account, even more volatile than the previous. 'Woohoo, a challenge', I thought. It was short lived however as the mortgage industry had begun to crack and I could tell you stories about the industry that would make you cringe... Another time perhaps! The lender had a restricted tranche of £5m per month, which was the amount of business my account was bringing in alone, so cuts had to be made and I prefer to tell the story that it was because I had sustained business growth and was too good! For now, I'm content and have evidence to justify this.
From being redundant from this job I supported an IT testing system for a few months until I landed the job that I wanted in recruitment – determined to bring something new to the industry. Again, another redundancy after six months due to quiet recruitment periods over Christmas left me with the need to find another job. However, this time I aimed to do something creative. With friends and a network of people built and sustained during the two years I'd worked in London I managed to get two jobs working in a bar and restaurant to pay off some debts that accumulated during my turbulent period in 2008, yet when I look back through this rather emotionally testing and confidence challenging period in my life I can safely say there are few regrets I have. I've lost good friends and established better friends, fallen in and out of love with different people and found something more special than anything I've ever met and am now building my own identity within the Social Media world and learning new things about branding and social networking. I'm happier than I've been in a long while and I'm pushing myself to mark my own stamp in London.
At 25 I'm still young and I have much to learn about myself and this world, but I couldn't be any more pleased to be learning such values in my favourite city. London I love you.