This is a transcript of a speech I gave at the Westminster eForum in London about the future of television in the home. I thought I should share it…
We are currently house hunting and that is proving to be quite a painful experience because the market really has over-inflated the price of property in the UK. I look at some of the properties and I think, why would I pay that much?! But, I really want to build my first house, however the market for land is even more uncertain. The houses that I visit have proportions that are designed for a different generation and the market seems to be under the impression they can sell a property with some over inflated price based on the value if the property was renovated less some minimal cost to renovate*. One significant factor is that we are a couple that like to cook together and most kitchens are too small, thus you either compromise your lifestyle or factor in major structural changes. With land I find that people price it based on the potential, which isn’t fair because they haven’t actually put any effort into giving the land value. Land shouldn’t be worth some mythical value which doesn’t actually give you anything in return because at the end of the day it is a location plus dirt not a virtual house.
So, if someone reading this knows of some land to buy or has some land they want to sell then let me know! I will even pay 1% commission to anyone helping me secure the purchase of some suitable land. There is an incentive for you!
* In addition many people add in the expense of moving and selling the property plus the expense of buying their next property. More on the fairness of the property market in this article on economically sustainable housing.
This June there will be local government and European Parliament elections in the UK, this will occupy many peoples minds and for the first time it will challenge me personally. Mainly because it looks like for the first time ever: I will be voting.Yes, I am twenty nine years old and I have not yet voted. Personally I have always disliked the idea and these are my reasons:
On the business social network LinkedIn the question was posed by Steve Cohn of T-Mobile:
Can TV be replaced as a form of entertainment, and with what ?
And amongst the other answers I wrote the following which I shall share here:
“To provide some background: I work for a company that makes Digital Television receivers, I previously lectured at a specialist college in broadcasting and I also worked for the BBC (among other broadcast companies).
After all this, I don’t own a TV and the result is that both my partner and I couldn’t be happier. This isn’t to say we don’t watch ‘TV’, we watch some downloaded and on demand content, however unlike most peoples experience with television we are not passive viewers. We actively seek out that which we would like to watch and if nothing appeals we don’t watch anything we do something else.
I think the visual medium has worked for so long (theatre, graphic novels, film and TV) that it will never be replaced because it is the mirror of our lives. However, with the improvement in diversity of choice and the move away from the linear viewing experience (through DTR/PVR time shifting) is creating a new generation who don’t just watch what they want but when they want.
One thing however that will sustain is the fact that for the majority of people (not really represented in the demographic reading here) they are happy with the passive experience because it means they don’t need to think. Many people do like to be told what is good, what is right and what to do. They come home, turn on the TV and just accept that which is fed to them and they are themselves complicit in accepting this.
Fortunately this is being supplanted by the non-linear experience where popularity is dynamically decided by the social network and while consumers might only limit themselves to routinely watching the top-ten selection there is still a greater degree of individual influence and choice. Plus, through the growth of linking and “digg”ing you are seeing ‘playlists’ being composed again and what is effectively the return of the ‘mix tape’ through the sharing of content selection as self-expression.“
I welcome any comments on my reply or the question in general.
Over the years I have travelled a fair bit, more than my fair share and I have no intention of stopping now I have started. Luckly my work keeps me on the move and I should average about once a month out of the UK. I have also made a habbit of socialising internationally from college to present day. I have played with many languages over the years: French, Japanese, Spanish, German, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian and now Greek, none very successfully however but I tried for love and money.
Combining these two elements I have drawn some conclusions about different countries approaches to language…
I recall when I was in college, in my first year I was one of the few people who owned a computer and that was fine. People used my computer occasionally and that was fine. Then in my second year I moved into a new halls of residence and more people had computers. I found myself being called upon to fix these machines and it began to get a bit tedious. Luckily a friend of mine was studying computing and had a machine of his own. He had learnt a lot quickly and when we lived in halls together in the third year I vowed to play dumb. Whenever anyone asked about computers I pointed at my friend and let him deal with it. I would follow along and when he got stuck he would look at me and I would step in and offer my sagely advice. It was like a plot from some modern Kurosawa film.
I have continued in this vein for some time now, despite knowing a heck of a lot about IT I choose to avoid IT responsibilities. I offer advice, I step in where required but as I put it to anyone who from my childhood who said they had expected me to go into IT:
"I want computers to work for me, I don't want to work for computers."
I started at my new company two weeks ago exactly, it is a small branch office which co-ordinates a great deal. But there are less than a dozen people here. IT is co-ordinated from greatly afar and this arrangement has so far just about worked. The guy who sorts things out does his best, but there is only so much someone can do when they aren't on the same land-mass as you and it isn't really their job to do IT. The result is that things here aren't as slick in the IT domain as they could be. So I have stepped up and said that for the time being I will gently increase my responsibilities and improve the services here.
My hope is that I won't get stuck as "the it guy" and I will be able to get on with my real job as the technology expert for our products. Sometimes I hate computers and sometimes I enjoy them, so I have to be in a position to say 'no' and thus I have promised no SLA for this task I have undertaken. The advantage, however, is that I think I can build it in my image and get things working right!