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

All You Need Is Love. Unless They Don’t Love You … Then All You Need Is Prozac …
February 22, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Love

One of my favourite television programmes is Peep Show.

I love it. If you haven’t seen it before, you should check it out – especially as the last series has just aired on TV.

There are many reasons I love it, but one of them is the brilliance of the characters, Mark and Jez … played by real life best friends, David Mitchell and Robert Web,

David Mitchell is – in real life – a bit of a clever clogs, the next generation of Stephen Fry perhaps.

That said, for all his smarts, he has been honest about his insecurities – from how he looked, to his social awkwardness to the back pain that debilitated him for many, many years.

Recently he got married … to the smart and beautiful, Victoria Coren.

The thing that is wonderful about this story – beyond the fact that it’s always lovely when people in love get together – is that he had secretly loved her from afar for years.

The feeling of unrequited love is one of the most painful of them all.

The feeling of loving someone and them not even realising it – let alone knowing it – is one of the cruelest things we can do to ourselves.

[It goes without saying that loving someone and them loving you back is the best feeling on earth. After maybe, Forest winning]

Anyway, as I said, Mr Mitchell and Ms Coren got together eventually and I recently found this video where he talks openly about his transition from aching love to shared joy.

It’s loving, thoughtful, gentle and honest and given it’s a Monday – in the official month of love – I thought we could all do with starting the week on a nice note.

No, I don’t know what’s got into me either.

Does Honesty Triumph At The Expense Of Truth?
February 19, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Context, Culture, Cunning, Empathy, Insight

So recently I saw 2 quotes that I love.

First this one …

Then this …

I suppose what links them is they capture societies awkward relationship with ‘truth’.

And I’m talking about all of society, not just the folks who work in adland.

Of course, I appreciate that truth is [often] relative, but the fact is, unless we’re in a situation where we’re fighting for our lives, we generally find expressing or hearing bold, blunt truth pretty uncomfortable.

We talk around it, we use words to soften it, we attempt to hide it under statements like “it’s complicated”.

This isn’t purely because we’re a bunch of hypocritical beasts – though, as I’ve said many times before, we are – it’s also because our brains are designed to protect us [rather than learn for us] so when we find ourselves in a situation that has the possibility of danger, it responds in a way it believes will help us achieve the most positive outcome … which is often cautious honesty rather than unfiltered truth.

Yes, I really am saying that honesty is different to truth.

In my opinion, while the intention is the same, the delivery is different.

Of course part of the reason for this is because people are generally caring and compassionate souls who don’t want to cause upset or harm to others – and that is a beautiful thing which should never be dismissed – however it could also be why we sometimes blindly believe or find someone utterly refreshing when we hear them talk in a way we perceive is blunt and confident, despite the fact we also sometimes find – as in the case of Donald Trump – it’s has nothing to do with truth – or even honesty – it’s pure egomania and an attempt at manipulation.

We say love is complicated … politics is complicated … filling in a tax return is complicated … but to be fair, that’s only because underpinning all of those things is a subject that is the most complicated subject of them all. Truth.

Life With Less Distraction …
February 18, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Childhood, Dad, History

A old friend of mine recently sent me this …

I love it. Not just because I relate to it but because it reminds me of a story about my Dad.

When I was growing up, I used to have a lot of friends come to my house and – like it shows in the photo – they would dump their bikes outside the house or on our lawn.

Sometimes the bikes would be out there for a few minutes and sometimes for the whole day.

We didn’t have to worry about them getting stolen – not just because crime was very low – but because the community I lived in meant everyone knew each other so if someone saw someone on a bike they knew wasn’t there’s, they’d get a smack round the earhole and be told to return it.

Social interaction was different back then.

We would turn up at each others houses unannounced just to see if you wanted to come out and play.

We could have used our home telephones to see if our mates were in – and we occasionally did – but the whole attitude to life was much more spontaneous.

Nowadays, if a mate turned up at my house unannounced, my initial reaction would either be mild irritation or concern for their mental state.

Anyway, I digress.

While my parents loved the house being full of noise, my Dad hated it when we left our bikes on the drive because it meant he couldn’t easily get the car in or out of the garage.

One day – during the big school holidays of the 1980’s – Paul was at my house and we’d left our bikes on my drive.

We’d been playing happily for a few hours when my Dad came home and wanted to see how we were.

After chatting with him for a while, Paul and I decided to go out so we left the house only to discover OUR BIKES WEREN’T ON THE DRIVE.

We looked on the grass.


We looked down the side of the house.


We looked on the pavement.


We started to panic and ran back into the house to ask my Dad if he’d moved them.

“No”, he said.

We started getting upset, not just because Paul had an expensive posers BMX Mongoose, but because our bikes were our independence … so my Dad told us the only thing to do is walk to the local police station and either report the crime or see if someone had handed them in.

Upset, we set off to report the loss of our beloved bikes.

We had only gone a few minutes when we heard my Dad shouting at us to come back.

We ran home and he led us to the garage.

He pulled open the door but instead of seeing his car in there, we saw our bikes.

As we were trying to work out what the hell was going on, my Dad turned to us and said,

“Don’t leave your bikes in the driveway again”.

We never did.

I miss his lessons.

And I hope Otis gets to enjoy the same sort of childhood I had.

Old Is Gold …
February 17, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Communication Strategy, Culture, Innovation, Marketing, Technology

So recently someone sent me this ad for a scientific calculator …

I’m not sure when it’s from, but a quick search revealed the RadioShack TRS-80 came out in 1980 so it’s certainly a long time ago.

But here’s the thing, I don’t just like it because I’m a nostalgic fool, I like it because despite being very product focused … despite them shoving a ‘direct marketing’ element into the execution … despite the product costing a bloody fortune … it’s refreshing to see an ad that gets to the point rather than pontificate about what it ‘believes in’.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe the values of a brand are massively important, however so many brands these days spout a bunch of contrived bollocks … either because they haven’t got anything interesting or valuable to say about their product or they’re a faceless corporation attempting to sound ‘purposeful’ by retrofitting some bland, meaningless value-terminology to themselves, despite no one actually giving a fuck about what they say because all they do is exactly the same as everyone else.

Phew … I feel better after that.

But that aside, maybe I like this ad because it seems to have inspired the positioning for Nokia’s N95, the first – and possibly last – time the Finnish phone peddlers did something that was innovative [for 2007] both in terms of the product and their point of view.

However, if I’m being totally honest, the real reason I like it is probably because I still use this as my calculator.

Yep, the one I got when I was 12 [or maybe 13] … 2 years after the TRS-80 came out.

The one where I’ve still not used 99% of the buttons on the left hand side of the calculator.

The one that is so old that the screen doesn’t let me type 553l8008 clearly.

The one I wrote a blog post about.

Which all goes to show, it might be a new year, but I’m still as pathetic as I’ve always been.

Whoever Said Revenge Is Best Served Cold Didn’t Know What They Were Talking About …
February 16, 2016, 6:20 am
Filed under: Attitude & Aptitude, Comment, Communication Strategy, Cunning, Devious Strategy

One of the things I’ve learnt with age is that you get to destroy arrogance and stupidity far more effectively, easily and enjoyably, when you give the other party the space to reveal their ‘true colours’ before you strike. ‪

I used to jump in the moment they started to spout off … trying to cut them off at the knees.

I was wrong.

Sure that method worked, it’s just this approach works so much better … both from a destructive and emotionally rewarding perspective.

See Andy, I am listening. Eventually.