Archive for August, 2006

Volunteers

29 August, 2006

During the past few days, I gave feedback on a logo idea to a volunteer from overseas, which perhaps was a bit too critical – I did my best to be constructive – resulting in his bowing out from the task. 

Nonetheless, I would like to thank him for his time and effort – so thank you Juan – and thank you for giving me some ideas to build on.

I will now have to get my sketch pad and pencils out, to see what I can come up with. 

A few days beforehand, an email arrived from a volunteer who I hope will help with some translation work. Hopefully we will be meeting a little later this week.

If you would like to volunteer in some capacity, please get in touch.

Telecom Or Telecon?

24 August, 2006

Airtalk and Telestunt, your service does not work from either my Meteor prepay or my O2 contract mobile.

When I expected to be connected to a couple of international numbers, I was told ‘calls to this number are not allowed,’ or words to that effect.

Perhaps the good people at Comreg and the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland might look into the matter.

This is particularly timely given the government are currently drawing up new consumer protection legislation and establishing a National Consumer Protection Agency.

If these small companies want anyone to use their service, they might begin by making sure the service which they claim to offer actually works.

Given the fact that they still have a monopoly on new line connections, and that they cannot exactly make the excuse that ‘we are only a small company,’ Eircom are no better.

Our new office line, which we had been told was activated, has a fault on it. Secondly, they made a mistake when they notified me of our new number, getting a digit wrong.

What if I had spent hundreds or even thousands of euros on advertising and getting new business cards printed featuring the incorrect number?

While I wait for the landline fault to be fixed, and the broadband to be activated, I will be putting my complaint to Eircom in writing and looking forward to using VOIP. 

Entrepreneurial Encouragement

22 August, 2006

The weekend newspapers offered some encouraging news.  

In northern Iraq – 400 miles north of Baghdad, the city of Sulimaniyah thrives peacefully, according to The Mail on Sunday. 

Having suffered at the hands of Saddam Hussein back in the late eighties, five million Kurds live here in an area the size of Switzerland, sharing the territory with Turkmen, Assyrians and Christians.

Sheer determination and tolerance, it would seem, can defeat violence.

In other news, Virgin founder Richard Branson is planning to devote more of his time to social entrepreneurship. Along with the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, it is encouraging to know that role models like Branson realise that their wisdom, experience, drive and ideas can contribute to improving lives through work that is not solely governed by the bottom line. 

I wonder if we will see Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary championing a charitable cause any time soon? 

And finally, on the subject of Irish entrepreneurs, I wonder if James Hyland – whose new TV music channel, Bubble Hits was launched recently – could be persuaded to turning his hand to something charitable?

A Challenge And A Half

19 August, 2006

On the same day as my local newspaper featured several reports on local charitable projects, The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Challenge – or ‘Entrepreneurs in Africa’ – as I previously referred to it, made compelling viewing on RTE.

Assisted by Goal’s charismatic leader, John O’ Shea, Jerry Kennelly had ten days to set up Create Africa, a charitable business based in Nairobi.

The sheer intensity of the project came across well on the programme, as did Kennelly’s dedication, drive and enthusiasm.

The next instalment should be equally interesting.

The Potential of Blogging

15 August, 2006

Writer, blogger and consultant Jerome Armstrong describes the role of blogs and the internet in modern political campaigning.

In the first stage, a candidate reaches out to the base, and specifically over the internet, reaching out to bloggers, especially those most local. A campaign builds up it’s listserve, the candidate aims to get buzz from the activists on the ground, and recognizes the local blogosphere as the pre-field organization of the campaign. At this stage, it’s a very decentralized operation, and the candidate’s message works because he’s seen the movement rally around it, and everything going forward builds off of this base. Moving into the second stage, when the campaign brings on field staff, they are integrated with the grassroots. The communication staff are in daily touch with the bloggers for message and tactics, and rapid response and oppo research. The Financers recognize that if they can get buzz and chatter and small donors, it’s more than just noise and provides validation for the larger donors and funding organizations.By the time we get around to the last stage of the campaign, I wouldn’t argue that it’s all that different. It’s still mostly about TV commercials, direct mail, and GOTV. Certainly the campaign that recognizes the power of using niche media to reach the other 65% of the voters that don’t watch broadcast television has an advantage. But bloggers are not as integral a part of the closing effort of the campaign, except in helping to rally troops, and some with rapid response (but can still be pushed around by the media mainstream memes).  

Although this has obvious applications to charity campaigning and fundraising, arguably the considerably lack of internet use in older age groups, particularly in Ireland, might affect how, or indeed whether this could be applied to Ireland.