Do you follow your head…. or your heart?

Yesterday, I was talking to a colleague. He was telling me about his daily struggle. Or more, how the job he loves… sorry, that should’ve been loved, has become his daily struggle. To the point now, he doesn’t look forward to it.

It instantly reminded me of a scene from the short film – Inner Workings by Disney.

Inner Workings came out last year, but it was only recently I had the chance to watch it.

Best short film. Ever.

If you’ve not had the opportunity to watch it, you must! – available to watch on Sky Movies, iTunes, etc… (all good available digital outlets!).

It made me think…. we always say, how life is short, and how we should be sensible when it comes to certain things. You know what I mean, when eating food – leave off the sugar and take it easy on the carbs. Then there’s things we do… we often delay or do a ‘mental’ risk assessment and the outcome is usually… don’t do it otherwise something ‘may’ happen.

And to answer the question, do you follow your heart… or your head?

There’s many entrepreneurs who follow their heart. They’ll set up what they want. Do what they want. Not successful all the time, but have the will and desire to succeed.

Yes, there will be times when they follow their head – espeically when it comes to making certain business decisions. But early on, it’s very much about heart… I believe. You could call it risk taking… or just enjoying it and seeing what happens.

I’ve taken risks – calculated risks, in my career. Sometimes things work out… sometimes they don’t.

I remember speaking to a Vice President within the company once, and he said – you have to take risks to be successful. Calculate them, and take them. If you don’t, you’ll be too comfortable. And when you’re thrown out of your comfort zone, it’s more difficult to change. The circumstances around you will change, but can you change?

We’re living in a world of constant change.

But more importantly… we are living.

But are we living to the fullest?

What’s the worst that could happen?

You won’t know, unless you try…. Go and try something new, different… anything, that puts a smile on your face and gets your heart going – even if it’s in small tiny steps… and the only way you can do that, is by understanding your inner workings.

Here’s a clip/trailer to the short movie…

UK on the road to a POC

Firstly, I’d like to take a moment and congratulate the Transport Minister, Paul Maynard.

Now, I’ve never met Paul, don’t know about his past (the work he did with the rail)… in fact, had to google him this morning to learn a little more about him – but one thing I do know is, he’s speaking the language and putting into place what we should be doing – and that is understanding, learning and exploring new technology.

In the news, it was announced that the UK will start to test Self-Driving Lorries (Trucks) next year.

To add a little more context to this – there will be a convoy of up to 3 lorries, with the lead lorry having control of acceleration and braking of all 3 lorries.

There will be a driver in the first lorry, who’ll be doing all the accelerating and braking, with the rear lorries mirroring this (though there will be someone to do the steering in the rear lorries – so the announcement says), but i’m sure, it’s a matter of time that the steering will also be mirrored.

Now, why did I take a moment to congratulate Mr. Maynard?

Because this is new technology – that’s having a POC in the UK.

What does POC stand for? – Apologies, I should have shared this earlier in the post – POC stands for Proof of Concept.

It’s when you have a new technology, idea, thought, anything new… and you want to understand, how will it work. It’s to prove that the concept you have, works (or not). Either way, it’s a great learning on what your idea is.

All companies who have ideas will run a POC  – mainly to understand and learn more about the idea.

All startups, innovation labs, incubators will encourage folk to do POC’s to really get more data. Data is then transformed into stories. Stories which you can then understand. Understand if your idea is working to how you want it to, or do you need to modify/change it.

You could also call it a ‘test’. We’re going to test and learn.

The key thing here is that we’re learning. We’re using technology, new technology and we’re learning.

And the UK Government are not doing it by themselves. They’re collaborating!! – did someone read my last blog post?!

And they have the ‘mix’ right! – they’re collaborating with a Truck Company (which makes sense as this is to do with Trucks), a Ricardo (which is a smart British tech firm) and a German logistics company (DHL). Look at that for diversity!

Now, with all ideas – there’ll be some folk coming out with comments and saying, it’s a terrible idea… don’t do it… etc…

I’m just going to highlight one. From the AA (Automobile Association founded in 1905).

The comment was along the lines of – with 3 lorries close to each other, other drivers will not be able to see some of the road signs.

Valid point, I thought at first. On the side of the road, we have signs indicating what the next junction off the motorway (highway) is… service stations, etc…

Then I thought… Why not just move them and have them at the top (like the picture below)

But this is the reason why you do a POC.

To learn. To figure out – hold on.. we might have an issue with something – then you can work on that and understand it further.

The important thing is the benefits. And there are benefits to this concept. With the first truck/lorry, pushing air out of the way, it makes the lorries more fuel efficient and lowering their emissions.

More fuel efficiency, lower transportation costs… which could result to lower cost of goods – now, who’d argue with that?

Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat and his black and white cat…

We’re going to be hearing more and more about electric vehicles on the road – I should really re-phrase that, to… you’ll be reading more about electric cars, because a) i’m getting one soon, and b) i’ll be reviewing it here!

But in all seriousness, you might have read the news about Royal Mail and their new electric vehicles…

If not, here’s a link to the article on the BBC Website…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-41025771

A couple of things with this…

Don’t the vans look really smart! – I mean, when they started with the first electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and the Prius, let’s be honest – they were not the most good looking cars. But this van…

Then, the progress being made… okay, there’s various other delivery companies around the world who are exploring, and even, using electric vehicles extensively in their fleet, which is great news. But it’s always seemed that Royal Mail were a little behind… let’s be honest, they have recently picked up speed in terms of using latest technology not just in delivering letters… but in the whole value stream.

And that’s how we should all be thinking.

How can we be using, the latest technology, in our whole value stream – not just the core activities we do.

Because there’s so much waste in other areas of the Value Stream that can be tackled using technology or more importantly, collaborating with others who are leading in this area.

I often say, you might not have all the answers… collaborate. Go and talk to people. Read and research what others are working on, what your competition is doing – but more importantly, get access (if you don’t already) to incubators, innovation labs, etc… (plenty of them exist) and see how you can work together with other startups, universities, companies in solving problems that either you’re facing or problems that someone has developed an answer for which in the long run… saves you money!

Back to Postman Pat and his new van… he’ll be happy won’t he?! – well, until it breaks down, or he has problems with it – then how easy will it be to ensure it’s fixed quickly. Not something you could take down to the local garage.

Then, there’s the training – mechanics will need to be trained – or is it a matter of having some computers – you plug in and there’s a ‘do it yourself’ process to fixing the problem. You know, similar to how you get your phone going again when it freezes up! (Okay… vans won’t be that simple, but are we heading in that kind of direction?)

I think, it’s a step in the right direction – and i’m sure, those who may be effected with the introduction of electric vehicles (like the traditional mechanics) will be able to see new opportunities and train to do a new type of servicing… which could be ‘electrifying’.

For those who don’t know who Postman Pat is, here you go… enjoy!

A-Level Results… it’ll all work out.

Today, in the UK… (as I have many folk from around the world reading this blog), its A-Level results day. This means, young folk who’ve been studying (hard… maybe?) find out today, if they have got the results they need to get on to the University course of their choice.

 

Sometimes, it goes according to plan. You study hard. You get the results. You get the place at Univeristy and off you go to study a subject of your choice. In which case, you jump around… all happy. (And why not! – you deserve it…)

Sometimes, it doesn’t go according to plan.

Then, it’s Plan B. But for a moment, there’ll be a time when you’re upset. Regretting some of the answers you gave in those final A-Level exams. Thinking, how on Earth did the other person pass and get better grades when they didn’t even study that hard.

That’s Life… it’s just the way it is.

So, what happens now… well, you’ve got options. And that’s the most important thing. You know the drill… you’ve got clearing, there’s jobs you can apply for who are looking for people who have just done A-Levels, etc… there’s options to be explored and then life will be back on track.

But just for a moment, I wanted to share some example of people who didn’t do too well at their A-Levels and went on, to be ok…

First up… Richard Branson.

That’s right. In fact, he dropped out of school when he was 16. But… we know how the story goes… he took some risks and worked hard. Very hard. And in today’s environment, maybe that’s what some younger folk need to be thinking about. Taking risks….

Then there’s Sir Alan Sugar. With only one GCSE and no A-Levels… he’s gone on to do alright.

I’ve picked two of the best… there’s many more like Chris Moyles (the former Radio 1 DJ), John Snow (Channel 4 News), and many others…

The point here is… if you didn’t get the grades you needed – don’t panic.

What you must have is the right attitude. If you want to be successful – you’ll find it one way or another. It’s just a temporary hurdle that’s in your life. Figure out how to jump over it and carry on…

And finally, inspiration from the phenomenal Jeremy Clarkson – if this doesn’t cheer you up, nothing will.

In 2014…

In 2015…

… and then last year,

Softer skills & tips for Pitching

You may recall, I gave a talk to the lovely folk who attended a Nott Tuesday event a few weeks ago on how Startups, Businesses and Entrepreneurs can pitch to investors and mentors.

I shared the DMAIC process – the well known Lean Six Sigma methodology, on how it can be adapted and used to ensure your pitch follows a process and be successful.

In addition to this, there’s a few softer skills and tips I shared.

Some of these included, making sure you do your homework, understand the person you are pitching to and most important of all… make it memorable. Get creative and have fun… easy to say, little harder to do.

Here’s the video, filmed by the brilliant guys at Shutter Socks. Also Thank you to the Tech Nottingham folk for inviting me.

Robotics for Kids at Legoland

Firstly, apologies I was able to blog much towards end of last week, and you may have noticed there was no Bal’s Friday Thought.

It’s because i’ve been on vacation, and then we headed over to Legoland to have a look at the new Ninjago ride…

A day out at Legoland is always fun.

We went especially to see the Ninjago ride – and when we got there, it wasn’t working 🙁

But, we walked around, went on numerous other rides and made our way back, and finally got to go on it. I must admit, it was worth the wait! – We really enjoyed it – you’re sat in a cart, which goes around, and then you have to use your arm to fire/shoot at things on various screens and the more hits you get, the more points you receive.

As we walked around, we also went to the 4D cinema they have – to watch one of the 15min short Lego Movies.

Next to the cinema, I saw this –

A Robotics workshop for kids? Try your hand at Computer Programming?

This is great! Incorporating lego, robotics and computer programming! – Imagine the fun you can have – but more so, the amount you can learn.

Obviously, learning made fun!

And I believe we need more of this. Using traditional toys & games, to really engage children in where the future is heading, which is robotics and understanding more about computer programming.

There are programmes out there that encourage children to get involved with coding, build and code your own games, which is fantastic… whilst we need more of this, incorporating traditional methods and games, might  make it easier, to remember, and maybe… easier to learn.

Because, as Whitney (not the one from Eastenders, though she might have said it also), Houston.. once said – children are the future.

DMAIC for Pitching to Investors

Recently, I had an opportunity to share my thoughts on how you could use DMAIC (the Six Sigma methodology) to structure your pitch, your talk, your presentation… to attract and engage investors.

This was in my hometown of Nottingham, at the NottTuesday event – which by the way, if you ever have the opportunity, should go to – it’s on every 3rd Tuesday of the month, where young entrepreneurs, startups, etc… gather to listen and network with each other.

Thank you to Tech Nottingham (http://www.technottingham.com/) – Andrew and Emma who organise these fantastic event throughout the city.

Thank you to Antenna, Nottingham – a fabulous location in the city.

Thank you to Shutter Socks (http://shuttersocks.uk/) for filming the event.

Radio Nottingham – August Tech Review

Looks like it’s becoming a regular slot… yesterday, I was invited onto BBC Radio Nottingham to share my thoughts and views on recent Tech News.

I shared my thoughts on various topics, some of which I’ve written about and shared on this blog, for example the ban of petrol and diesel cars in 2040, bots talking to each other… and a few other stories.

Fancy a listen?

Ok… click play on the below 🙂