The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Technology Can Damage Your Ego.
September 7, 2006, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Comment

So yesterday I was waiting to get on a plane and infront of me was this American schmuck shouting orders down his phone to some poor bugger at the end of the line.

There he was in his sharp suit, giving it the full ‘Billy-Big-Bollocks’ and without doubt, he was not only aware people were looking and listening at him, but – as Macca’s say – he was probably ‘lovin’ it’.

So he finally gets off the phone and looks all smug with himself when 2 seconds later, the theme tune to ‘Sex And The City’ starts blaring out and best of all, it was coming from his phone.

Class!Within a fraction of a second, this guy had gone from Gordon Gekko to Julian Clarey and he spent the whole flight doing his best to not catch anyone’s eye … which was hard for him given I spent the entire flight trying to catch his stare.

The moral of this story?  Well, there’s two.

1. Be true to yourself because you’ll be found out eventually.

2. Technology can really screw you up.

This reminds me of a mad project we did years ago [with our friend, FBI profiler Mr Britton] where we analysed the passwords people had on their ‘Video Hire Membership’ to see if it represented something of great significance to them.

Well, what was interesting was that apart from common things like people’s names [which were often their partners or their children’s] … there was also a huge amount of words that at first seemed totally random, but then took on massive relevance once we interviewed the ‘owner’ of the account.

EG …

Surf Boy was a bloke obsessed with surfing.

Jugaholic was a guy who loved porn. [his ‘video history’ also backed this up!]

Toke was a woman who loved smoking pot.                  

Pink Rules was a gay guy who was active in the Gay Pride movement.

Only Natural was a vegetarian woman [rather than being a Crowded House fan!]

Sure, we knew this information wasn’t going to be something that was going to be ‘statistically valid’ [plus it took ages to get permission from ‘customers’ to [1] find out their password and then [2] interview them – all the time not telling them what it was we were trying to find out] but there seemed to be a real theme that people’s passwords reflected something of real ’emotional importance’ to them.

Look, I could go on about how we used this info [as well as how it also reflected the individuals movie watching habits] but I’ve got loads of work to do, I’m tired and … more importantly … we have a book coming out [fingers crossed] featuring a load of case studies using our ‘FBI Research Techniques’ and my partners would absolutely kill me if after years of trial, error and expense … I went and let people read it all for free on my bloody blog.

Sorry, I feel all ‘corporate and yucky’ saying that … but as I keep having pointed out to me, if I continue to want a nice roof over my head, I’m going to have to learn that sometimes it’s in my best interests to stop giving and doing things for free – especially when it’s something I’m proud of or incredibly excited by, because then, I’m a commercially-minded persons worst nightmare, ha!

13 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I love it when people who think they are big get shown up in embarassing ways. Its a nice leveller.

Book sounds good!

Emailed you also…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Just replied.

And for my ego, can you at least show some interest in our ‘Video Password’ thing – because if you think its crap, we may as well stop the book, hahaha!

Comment by Rob

The power!…

I thought that was a great idea, just didnt detach it from the book in my praise 😉

Comment by Rob Mortimer

you better like it because the book is packed with tons of stories like that and as much as it kills me, it shows why we’re better thinkers than 99% of all the other fuckers out there.
more importantly you better like the book because rob spent a fortune of our/my cash creeping to the profiling guy and i spent a year of my life writing the pissing thing.
you have been warned.
ps; saw you have an interview. did the petition help because if it did, im should charge you a agents fee. in all seriousness, good luck with it

Comment by andy

Sounds good!
Can I get an autographed copy, just in case it goes up in value 😉
I’ll be sure to ‘big it up’ on my blog!

Thanks. I’m not sure if it did, i’ll ask when I speak to the guy again later. I have posted on his blog before though!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

you can buy an autographed book when it comes out though be warned my signature will cost you more than rob or georges. and if i choose to believe my petition got you the meeting let me live in ignorance if its not true.

Comment by andy

Sounds fair if you wrote more of it!

Even if it wasn’t directly responsible, i’m sure it was a strong positive influence 😀

Comment by Rob Mortimer

creep. keep it up, it can get you a long way. and i wrote the book because rob and george couldn’t write a cheque let alone a book. theyre smart guys but without me theyre nothing. good luck for the meeting tell us how it goes

Comment by andy

Andy – how many times do I have to tell you, STOP BIGNOTING YOURSELF and even more importantly, STOP HASSLING CONTRIBUTORS TO MY BLOG!

I’m tired and will deal with you later. Love you really!

Comment by Rob

I read about that experiment you mentioned in some science magazine and I thought it was brilliant. I can’t believe I’ve fallen on the blog of the guy behind it. I tell everyone about the amazing stuff you do and I’m really chuffed I’m kind of talking to you. Isn’t it Paul Britton you work with? He’s a genius and I have followed his books for years. What’s he like? Are you still working with him?
Could you please email me, I’d love to know more about what you do and how you do it. Thanks so much.Pete.

Comment by Pete Hart

Oh no, you’ll inflate their ego’s!


Comment by Rob Mortimer

pete, you are more than welcome to worship at the house of cynic.
rob (not mortimer, he’s another follower) is away but ill get him to email you so you can tell me how great i am. and what science magazine was it? no doubt my name didnt appear, just the intellectually obsessed planning folk. heathens.

Comment by andy

I go away for a short while and what happens? Andy goes into his ‘Clint Eastwood’ mode.

Pete, glad you like our stuff but what on earth were we doing in a science mag unless it was about Paul and he kindly talked about us.

Feel free to email me – my address is OR you could go to

Mr Mortimer – we’ll get a book to you once we’ve bloody finished the 9,364 editing session. And we still owe you the NASA Top Trumps which I haven’t forgotten about, even though I haven’t sent them yet. Oops.

Andy, see you ‘soon’ – spanked hand time I’m afraid.

Comment by Rob

Leave a Reply