Sunday, 18 August 2013

The paradox of mediocrity

I come up with a lot of ideas. As I think of them I have a buzz of excitement. I immediately imagine fame and fortune as I visualise my idea taking the world by storm.

Then I remember I never know what to do next.

I came up with the idea of doing a silent disco at Glastonbury in 1995. I never got round to organising one.

My adult life is littered with flights of fancy like that. Flights that never leave the tarmac.

In the last year alone I've considered organising a music festival in Bradford called Bratford Rocks. I even bought the website url,  spoke to a local councillor and set up the Twitter account. That was the end of that one.

Then I thought the world needed separate fridges for all the half used jars and pickles that seem to take up too much space - hence No need to tell you what happened to that one.

Next up was an app called The Morning After Chill Pill which was designed to tell you the morning after the night before all the places you'd been and for how long and who you'd been with. It would then give you the option of deleting any social media check ins or tagged photos of you to help wipe the memory. Brilliant that one. Kind of.

More recently I've wanted to launch a rival to eBay called Hear Their Every Ware.

Which reminds me I once had the thought of launching a Yorkshire version of eBay called E-Buy-Gum but someone already owned the url.

This morning I started thinking about what I'd do if my youngest daughter was bullied at school. She makes a groaning noise when she is concentrating you see. And kids can be cruel.

Then I remembered about how both Dynamo and Derren Brown had learned magic so they could trick their way out of it. Hence my creation of the School of Magic For Gifted Kids - with the strapline 'trick the bullies once and for all'.

You see in my head these are all strokes of genius.

Which reminds me I once wanted to have a fashion show in an underground station. The trains would arrive, the models would get off and walk along the platform then jump back on. Cue next train. Inspired. That was back in 2001 that idea.

I get a sense of excitement as I think of them both past and present.

I love thinking them up. But I am also mildly frustrated at my lack of will power to follow any of them up.

Talking of which last weekend I said I was going to write a book on that very topic for people like me who aren't completer finishers. It will be called The Incomplete Starter. Sums me up, as of course I then put the idea to bed.

Then someone said why don't I just write down all my ideas. That suggestion combined with a funny conversation with a chap called Gal led me to buying a five year subscription for That's right. Five years.

Then I set up the Twitter account @MediocreIdeas.

And then this morning I went and volunteered to present 20 of them in quick succession at the next Bettakultcha event in Leeds on 26th September.

Of course the irony of creating something called Mediocre Ideas is that it is actually not a bad idea after all. Which is slightly disconcerting. I may need to close it down as a result.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Giving your boss what for (whilst drunk)

Last night I got drunk and sent my boss an email telling him what I really think of him.

I'd just got in from the pub (wife and kids are away) and my BlackBerry was filled to the brim with emails from him referencing all sorts of things from weeks ago, and in one case months ago, that he'd obviously only just read. And he'd chosen tonight of all nights to tell me.

Here was I, home alone, stupidly responding after a skinfull of ale.

Before you start to panic, don't worry my email was full of praise not abuse. 

Not in a sycophantic way. I am genuinely full of admiration at how he operates. I like him. A lot.

So I told him so.

I tried to choose my words carefully. But bearing in mind I couldn't focus very clearly on the screen what came out was as much luck as it was judgement.

As a nation we rarely tell people what we like about them to their face. Or at least not at work. Perhaps it's part of being British. Stiff upper lip and all that.

But loosened by one or two pints and a fairly empty stomach (I'm trying out the fasting diet at the moment), I dispensed of my usual inhibitions and told him how much I admire him.

Now it would be easy to cringe at this point and feel somewhat embarrassed on my behalf, but please don't. It's Ok.

My praise was well received.

So what is it I like about him so much that I felt the need to share?

Where do I start.

He has the ability to instil confidence in others.

His praise is warm and genuine.

He is enthusiastic and willing to take risks.

He is very centered. Calm and reassuring.

He is a connector.

He shares his knowledge openly and without an agenda.

He is smart and clearly ambitious but also he wants to harness talent in whatever shape or form he finds.

Quite frankly he's the kind of leader I yearn to be. I want to emulate him.

You'll be pleased to know I didn't say all of that via my rather tipsy email.

But boiling it down I wanted him to know I respect him.

He's a class act. Period (that means full stop in American btw).

Long may I continue to work for him and be inspired by him. 

N.B. Just in case any of my work colleagues are reading this, my 'boss' is not my line manager - although to be fair he shares many of the same attributes as above.