Are we free to be jerks?

Freedom is a very complex term to understand.

Is a person free to inflict their personal views on others?

If you are free to drink vast quantities of coke every day and you grow to be a diabetic blob of hundreds of pounds of flab, that requires others to feed and oil your bed sores, is this an undeniable freedom?

Are you free to own deadly weapons and leave them lying around your unlocked house so others can steal them and use the in horrific crimes?

Are you free to drive at 130 miles an hour on the freeway?

Obviously there are limits to personal freedoms, when they impinge on others rights to the very same freedom. But where do you draw the line.

It seems obvious to me that banning the sale of large sugary drinks in NYC doesn’t make sense, personally I see the health risk of over sugared drinks, but why the arbitrary size? I guess it makes the health point if in a silly way.

Guns, on the other hand is a tougher discussion. Clearly personal protection and hunting are strong arguments, but I get concerned when I see loons dreaming about government takeovers while waving their ar15 above their heads. There is clearly a mental health issue that should be considered.

There is such a fine balance between personal freedom and public responsibility.

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The fundamental flaw in America. Healthcare

There is a simple clear difference between the us healthcare philosophy and the rest of the world. And it’s a difference that is so ingrained in the philosophy of the system that even the most radical ideas of either political extreme will not change it. And it causes untold hurt to Americans.

In every other country in the world, when a drug is found that dramatically increases the quality of life for patients with progressive and deadly diseases it is evaluated against the overall good, while in America the evaluation is against the overall return on investment.

Every drug has side effects, and some of the best have deadly but rare side effects.

If there is a drug that halts the progression of a terrible disease but will kill one in a thousand, that would be automatically prescribed in most countries. But in America a whole range of lessor viable drugs would be used first. And with each failure the disease may well progress leaving the patient more debilitated, until eventually the best drug will be used because at that point there is no other choice.

This model ensures the maximum ROI for the doctor and the least chance of law suits, but is worse for the patient.

Surely it’s time to improve healthcare and reduce the cost of healthcare. And that means making decisions that are scientifically the best, and if that means that people lose the right to sue their healthcare providers for everything but the most obvious of mistakes so be it.

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Microsoft may have actually done something right!

A colleague at work was talking about the new Microsoft surface pro, that was due out in a few days.

And it turned out that the launch day was a very snowing day in New York City. So for a snowy walk I choose to transverse Central Park and aim for the Microsoft popup store at Columbus circle.

It was a fantastic winter wonderland of tobogganing children and a range of adults having fun in the almost real world of Central Park.

I arrived at the Time Warner building glowing from the heat and cold of the hike and straight into a world of enthusiastic apple-esque Microsoft sales people showing all variety of the surface. And it was obvious to me within seconds of playing that the surface pro was something very special.

I bought one added a tactile keyboard, a VGA adaptor and was ready to change my business computing platform.

As the next day was the start of a week long business trip to europe, it was the perfect chance to try out this new wonder. So I pulled the Mac air and the ipad from my bag and added the freshly configured surface to my kit for europe. Yes I was nervous without the full range of iOS toys, but i still had my iPhone, so I wasn’t going 100% cold turkey.

I’m not going to bore you with details on the machine itself, let me just say its a tablet sized windows 8 machine.

When I arrived at the start of our 4 day meeting, sitting next to me was our head of sales whose laptop blew up the day before, so he was working on an iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard and on my other side was a sales Person on a standard dell laptop. This gave me the chance to compare and contrast these three choices.

I love apple products, so it’s very hard for me to say this, but the ipad sucked as a stand-in for a pc. Editing emails and trying to send just part of a received email to another person was a exercise not unlike making a soufflé. A delicate operation that takes expertise and careful Planning.

While the laptop was too large for a fully stocked business meeting. Making talking over the screen complex and all in all over intrusive.

While the surface was a dream. Running all the standard business apps just like a pc, being small and unobtrusive, and lapable when I needed to take notes on the fly.

I love the fact that the power block has an extra USB charging spot and that the power cable is a simple one and not unique like the dells, meaning I was able to use a standard cable and didn’t need to resort to a plug converter, which for the uk is the size of another power supply.

The machine worked perfectly in every way. I have no complaints and nothing but praise for the designers.

Maybe Microsoft have exited their years in the hell of horrible products, or maybe their will still be something horrible that I just have not hit yet? Here’s hoping for the former.

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lets tlk social

Every marketing person I speak to thinks that social media just has to be part of their marketing mix. I ask the question;
Why?

Think about it, social media is simply a forum for people who know each other, knew each other or share some element of interest in common. That means that they… we…. are not really interested in companies, products or services when we choose to use any of the plethora of social media systems that exist. What we are interested in, is people.

Tell me about you, about your interests, your frustrations, your opinions. When I get to know you I will start to care about your views. And when I care (even a little) then I may be interested in the company you work for, what you think of them, and maybe about the product you make or sell.

There is a massive difference between you and your product, at least I choose (we all choose) to believe that.

Once I care, things change.

So businesses, social media is no quick, cheap place to get a list of people to market to, it’s possibly the most expensive medium in existence. It’s expensive because there is no escape from actually acting like a human being, and deeply understanding the people who you interact with.

When facebook created the ‘like” button, they were being incredibly astute in the language they used.

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The love of being wrong

There is an incredible number of opinions out there, so many that they become white noise. Some people decide to believe things because they were given an idea so early in their lives that they were never questioned. Others choose to believe things because the people who are making those claims are attractive or their views further personal goals.

I choose to only believe things which are quantifiably provable.

I suspect that many things I believe will on further examination prove to be wrong. I’m open to being proved wrong. In fact I relish being proved wrong.

Finding out you are wrong, and correcting your knowledge is the purest pleasure.

I live to learn and I abhor those who do not.

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