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Monthly archives: May 2013

The Magic of the Hebrides

Just over a year ago we were in the Hebrides, and they have made a long-lasting impact. My wife was kind enough to surprise me with a carefully planned Hebredean holiday taking in the isles of Lewis, Harris and Skye for my 31st birthday. It is now a place that I think about several times a week and somewhere that I look forward to returning.

A flight to Inverness, a hire car across to Ullapool, a challenging ferry crossing (I’d avoid this stomach churning route next time) to Stornoway and we were on Lewis. Once out of Stornoway we headed to our first stop, on the other side of the isle, at Suainaval B&B in Uig.

Driving across Lewis as darkness rapidly fell, the desolation was striking. We were soon in pure darkness, winding through single track roads and were lucky enough to spot a stag. Waking in the morning we were greeted with gorgeous views and a delicious breakfast. I would definitely extend our stay at Suainaval next time.

We had given ourselves the day to explore Lewis and make our way down to Harris where we were to spend the next two nights. The first lesson was to be learnt – eateries are few and far between so grab something when you see it. We drove solidly for 4 hours exploring and didn’t find any shops, pubs or restaurants which were open (lesson no. 2 – the population strictly observe Sabbath).

Harris met us with a greater sense of population but as quickly as it arrives it leaves save for the odd scattering of grey pebble dashed, slate tiled houses holding conference over the barren landscape.

And so to Skye… I’d prepared a photographic check list, much of which ended up unphotographed due to the weather, but we still visited:

  • Storr
  • Elgol
  • Fairy Pools
  • Quiraing
  • Sligachan
  • Coral Beaches
  • Talisker Bay
  • Blaven from Torrin

Skye is an undoubtedly beautiful place and staying in a hotel starved of television and the internet kept us outside and exploring – even more so as we had, once again, located ourselves at one extreme of the isle. I hope to go back and get my list of photos ticked off sometime!

Get Back To Work And Make It Happen

Right now, somewhere in the world, a child is being born into an uberly rich family. That child will grow up to inherit millions for absolutely no work. He’ll live the good life full of yachts and private jets.

Right now, somewhere in the world, there is a party happening full of gorgeous wealthy people who need not lift a finger to attain the luxuries that they have. Their success is only a matter of genetics and luck.

Right now, somewhere in the world, is an investment banker who is making literally millions after clicking a few buttons and making a few phone calls to a few friends. He knows the right people and is in the right place, and that’s all that matters.

Right now, somewhere in the world, is a 20-some year old guy who is worth billions because of a website he started. He was born into a family that sent him to the right high school. He then went on to one of the best universities in the country, built his website, moved, met the right people, and raised $500+ million in funding. He and likely generations down the line are set for life.

Right now, somewhere in the world, is a 17yr old teenager who started a company with some money from his parents, built a product, with help from friends and family, and got acquired for $30 million.

There’s always someone becoming richer than you for much less work, every second of the day. Look past that and just keep working. I get down about how unfair that is from time to time, but there’s nothing you can really do about it, other than focus on your work.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5443384

A Tale of Showrooming and Buying Blinds

Recently my wife and I have been looking for new window coverings. If the high street is struggling in like for like product retail, surely they have the advantage when it comes to face-to-face service and installation which would follow.

Naturally the first port of call is the world wide web to allow us to view hundreds of blind options quickly, and then compare prices. With some selections narrowed down we were able to order samples, for free, direct to our door. It doesn’t get much more convenient.

Having measured up we began to worry about what could go wrong with sinking a fair sum of money into blinds, if we’d got the details wrong… To the high street!

A few local companies short-listed we set about visiting them on a Saturday. One diverted to a mobile, one shut early, the other was open for business so off we went.

On arrival we were able to see what the options were in real life. Great! My wife wasn’t so keen on what we were planning on getting so a potential fallout was averted. Even better! And so to the salesman.

We mentioned we’d seen various blinds on the web, seen some samples, would like to see more. We spoke about our window dimensions and our requirements. The response was being thrust a sample book (obviously nothing we could take home) told there were details about light transmission, thermal efficiency with no explanation and no interest in selling us anything.

I sensed that this jaded salesman had seen it all before. Showrooming. The process of checking something out in a bricks and mortar store only to go and buy online.

We took an hour or more out of our day to engage with this local business, bash our head against the wall window trying to get this salesman to understand our needs and offer a service and sell something. We were all set to buy. We were red hot leads and not showroomers.

Perhaps this is a tale of poor salesmanship, or perhaps it is a sign of what showrooming is doing to the high street.

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