Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection

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Comparisons kill – Action wins the ride.


“I’ve never trusted collaborations, because most people in this world are not closers. They don’t finish what they start; they don’t live what they dream; they sabotage their own progress because they’re afraid they won’t find what they seek.”

Its a really simple principle – people don’t follow though, people don’t start, people would rather do what they are told than have the freedom to choose to do what they need to.

Adrenaline Ride

I got chatting to the Helter Skelter Operator at a festival…. I chat to everyone to find out about their business and what is going on. They work 9 month a year drive length and breadth of the country – ping-pong form the Lakes to Cornwall if they need to.  Three guys as a team – the owner back at base.

“So how much does it bring in a day?”

The answer is thousands – many thousands per day. If you suggest £15k he wont dispute that. And 50% can go to the landlord – the festival owner.

“Jeez… we should all be saving up for a Helter Skelter” I muse

“Not me buddy, I just like to work for the man”

My kids think the ride is a hoot but the guys that live with it day in day out would buy a  ticket for that kind of gig.

There is fruit on a tree but they’d rather buy it in a punnet from Tescos. Tesco fruit doesn’t even come to you ripe – you have to ‘ripen it at home”. But still they’d rather shop than grow.

Comparison Kills

Its risky. You can have panic attacks and fret and loose belief but if you don’t do it you don’t get the ride.

You start from zero – but be patient. If you compare your start with someone else’s achievement 1, 3 or 5 years ahead of you you will falter. Don’t compare your start with someone else’s middle.

But most importantly DO START.




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Getting dumber and dumber


On the night of Brexit – after weeks of debate, after a week-by-week roll of debate, hate and hobbled reason… to finally have the results coming in…. it was exciting.

Exciting like the London Olympics, exciting like winning the Ryder cup.

But it wasn’t good news because it wasn’t what I had expected. From the point of my world-view and my opinion we weren’t supposed to leave – we were supposed to just rubber stamp the status quo and to put ‘the others’ in a place where they felt heard but not acted upon.

When the result became inevitable (I stayed up most of the night until exhaustion meant i could take no more) I headed to bed. But it was exciting. Unexpected. Unpredicted. And oh, Lordy, we were out of control now.

But before heading t bed first I hunted out the image above…to share with friends… because it captured how I felt. Shock and Awe and comedy  – 48% of the UK “trembled like a dog shitting peach seeds”. Leaving the EU?Just how dumb could it get?

No one likes change. Even change that is rational and can be understood. But time heals all. We walk along a grief curve and we can come to accept it. Acquiesce. Accept our place as victims of “its unfair”. And yes, I did sign a petition. And yes, I do know its dumb and no, I don’t expect it to go anywhere…

I didn’t understand how it happened – 17 million people couldn’t be racist. (But some of them are, points out Ricky Jervais). Why didn’t I see this coming? What didn’t I understand. And I cringe that Scotland could have escaped but we all talked them into staying. Im Sorry guys, okey.

However, there is an upside to the vote for me – because I just discovered that politics is has become tasty.

The helplessness of growing up in Tory Britain. The disappointment of the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown years (I have the book Spirit Level on my reading list for when I feel I need hard evidence on the failure of new labour). The disappointment of Clegg. The despair at the Millibands (who now seem almost palatable and human now). I really gave up on this lot many years ago – maybe 25 years ago…

But now its all got me trying to understand what is so bad north of Northampton and i get it, okey. I grew up in a shit hole I just did realise how deep the hole got and how hopeless if can feel trying to make sense of it. And okey I see its not a North and South thing. There are some reports on the Knowledge economy in the UK – anywhere in the crescent of knowledge is doing fine (Oxford, Reading, Cambridge and London) – everywhere else it’s pants. Don’t beat me up for spotting this 20 years ago and for choosing a career and life inside of these regions.

And I didn’t understand why the (hard) left disliked the EU so much. What was this democratic deficit – and just why do people despise bureaucrats so much (I read that Junkers has blocked most efforts to hold American corporations accountable for paying in-country Tax, and read and listen to Yanis Varafaroukis talk of his experiences with the EU Group and accept its all very wrong and broken and unjust and unapproachable.

And now Im happy to keep reading on this stuff and making sense of it – knowing its complex and I am unsighted and unclear on how it will all play out. And Im happy to accept I cant fully understand why so few young people turn out to vote. And accept that the parliamentary system is ineffective in promising an alternative. And despair at the bleakness of Theresa May (FFS!) and the bleakness of the press reporting on Corbyn and the even darker bleakness that it has come down to one shabby 67 year old man to reluctantly stand up only to be shot down again – because in a world where people need a promise of something worth believing in there is still nothing… except a shabby 67 year old man who can’t respond to text messages.

But at least I’m watching. I care. Im engaged. I’m trying to understand and above all else, Im developing a capacity to tolerate being proven wrong and then ask “why?” and “how?” and “if not that then what else”.

Sure, Im still shitting peach seeds like everyone else – but I’m sure it will all do me good in the long run. Its good to cleans. At least Farage has gone.



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Lunch with a clown

The clown tricked me once more and as I leaned in closer to sniff his lapel flower – he laughed

“One thing I know for sure there is absolutely no benefit to staying in the EU.”

I mopped my wetted face and dried my glasses on the edge of my t-shirt. I thanked him for sharing his words and bade him a good day.

(I really need to take more care on where and how I spend my lunch times.)

There is a warning in the centre of Faringdon -” Mistrust a man who never hass, The occasional flash, of silliness”.  But there can also be a warning to never trust a silly man who is absolutely certain on his own ideas.

Doubt and confusion have a place as sure as clarity and assertion are the preference of the managerially minded.

One doubting Radical said:

“One of the most important things in life is … described as ‘that ever-gnawing inner doubt as to whether you’re right.’ If you don’t have that, if you think you’ve got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics, from the persecutions of the Inquisition on down to Communist purges and Nazi genocide.”

If you are blessed with some degree of gnawing uncertainty on your EU vote then that is a blessing.

There is no perfectly correct answer to an imperfectly asked question.

But whilst we deliberate what the strategic challenges truly are – doubting that  Bureaucrats in Brussels, Housing in Hemel or immigrants in inner Hants are the real challenge… I will vote Remain and keep my wits about me.




The NPS Lag

“People’s willingness to buy, recommend, work for and invest in a company is driven 60% by their perceptions of the company and only 40% by their perceptions of their products.”

The Reputation Institute


I spend a lot of time looking at NPS – the Net Promotor System – the measurement of the ultimate question… “Would you recommend us to a friend.

Of all the KPI’s that get tracked and measured at an operational level.. NPS is the one measurement that gets reported upwards. Its a measurable in “digital” and in our customers experience that has board room recognition.

There are some companies that have high scores – think Apple, think Google and think of the unexpected ones – USAA and think the UK’s Giff Gaff with its exceptional advocacy and community dynamics.

NPS is a lead-indicator of the future financial success of a business.  It’s owned by Bain and they ‘work it’ nicely. They have earned attention.

I find myself looking at Forresters Cxi measurements…another spin on advocacy and I find myself reading The Reputation Institutes statement above.

If willingness to engage/consume/recommend is driven by peoples perceptions of a company – and I then reflect upon the multitude of comments on Apples recent quarterly results – they sold shed-loads of phones – the most “up-arrowed” comments on the BBC news article were questioning the ethics of Apple – payment of tax, supply chain concerns, lack of philanthropy …

What gives? Apple are successful, the NPS is in the 70’s and yet the perceptions are ‘critical’. Nice phone tho….

“60% perceptions, 40% product”?

Im either reading the wrong news site or the influence balance quoted is wrong. Lets pick another:

“60% silky glass screens, 40% me-too candy crush addictions”

We want loyalty – the retention, the enrichment and the advocacy – but I don’t think people really have a handle on what really drives it. What are the antecedents – in our context, in our ‘places’.

We all know the visceral reaction to “wrong” but if you do want to build a ‘cake of wow’ Im not convinced we really know what to put in the mixing bowl.

Too much fluff – too little enquiry – almost zero evidence.

Yes an experience matters.. but what builds it!


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On chicken soup and behavior and choice


Who first drew those frame lines around the Heinz tin can label? Its timeless and trusted. I love my Aldi shopping relationship, but when it comes to soup, it’s Heinz that I trust. The soup that heals, the soup that warms and the soup that fills a gap when I don’t know what else to do… But for the past few weekends my head has been like chicken soup after my time walking an NLP journey. While I stretch and creak and yeld in my head – there is lots of good stuff going in there – but head is like soup.. And whilst this is ‘happening to me’ Im also thinking and aware of my need to frame the ‘what and why’ of my learning purpose.

Do I see NLP in the way of Frank – its the capture of what works in the three most important professions on the planet: How we parent, how we teach and how we lead. We have become experts at coding the knowledge of science, finance and engineering but we have failed to grab the essence of influence and impact – to resolve the conflict in our purpose and beliefs that are who we are – but which we often fail to listen to.

Do I see it as a part of the tools Joel and Michelle Levey use in the training of top talent in Google as part of the Mindfit program (have you taken a G-Pause lately?) Or the tools they use with the US military elite that allows them to resolve the different parts of the soldiers self so that when they are in a moment – when a job needs doing – they commit without inner distraction or conflict knowing they are not their work at that time but have a wholeness and balance amongst the many sides inside them.

Or do I see it as the power behind Amy Cuddy’s gestures shown here at TED – building that complete congruence between intent and behavior that either gives us the power to be a fully at-self at a point in time – or just stop those doubting programmes we run that mug us under pressure.

(I love that my wife followed Amy Cuddy’s suggestions before going into an interview last year – she didn’t get that job – but they created a whole new role for her… they wanted her energy… the ripples went out from there… her work life has snowballed since and its great to see her succeeding. She is way more than I am!)  

So Im happy to take any of the frames and stories above to help me make sense of what I just did. And my ‘personal why’ on why I did it…  because ‘I can be better’, or that ‘I can help you’ be better (I like this), or do I see it that we can ALL get better from nudging each other. Who are we kidding… We are all interconnected (not just digitally but beyond) and its no bad thing if we choose to be our fuller selves altogether.  

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But you learn some shit, some of it sticks, some of it goes deep inside but hides it self … and some of it comes out into the day with you… just as you put on a clean pair of pants (most days… love my weekends…) in the morning. But unlike the Chicken Soup, new learning hasn’t got the shelf life of half-of-forever – it wasn’t sterilized, superheated and hermetically sealed – it can’t gather dust at the back of a cupboard for the rainy day – its got to be used. And also I can’t beat myself up and be overwhelmed by seeing and feeling too much in a 10 day course… but I do have to embed it.

So… Im going to noodle on my Chicken soup and enjoy my learning lunch. But Im definitely going to eat it.

And you? How are you choosing to snack today? Which of the 57 varieties are you (mindfully and now) selecting to set you up for the day?

And if you want more soup in your life – drop the Brain People a line. They cook up a storm most weekends.

(Disclaimer: Other brands are available… But are they? Really?)