What has Elvis got to do with Investment Impact

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
 35 , then 34 again
 Brilliant celebrity panel interview blog arrives…
New user I got all excited about turned out to be a spambot.

I have many  brothers and sisters – a combination of steps and halves that I guess is relatively normal for a family which has seen 5 divorces, 1 death and 9 marriages. My siblings are Russian, English & Greek. And they are all fantastically unique – as is my relationship with each of them. From highly interactive to non-existent. One brother is aka Dreamweaver, the author and editor of the blog (not this one obviously – the much better one on the consultancy site).

Dreamweaver and I have a mighty similar anal retentiveness about us and are both – most bizarrely – fascinated by kitchen utensils. A couple of weeks ago, I walked into his flat in London and congratulated him most sincerely on his spice racks. They were wonderfully neat, beautifully labeled and – although I didn’t check – most probably alphabetically organized. As I would have liked mine to be. Unfortunately having a child, meant that nothing in my house was organized the way I liked it anymore.

“Ok” he said, starting our conversation in the middle, “have thought of the most puntastic title. I can work on it a bit more this weekend. Am down in Kent which is great, but I always seem to be at the mercy of the list of jobs that can’t be entrusted to Dad. The current thing is fixing the roof.”

Refusing to be drawn on any temptation to criticize his father – because he was not my father, I said – “Brilliant. I was thinking for the next one a kind of interview with some famous people’s opinions on how the internet is changing society?”

“Okay… like real people? Or made up with famous people like Richard Branson?”

“No more like, Elvis Presley…Audrey Hepburn, Anne Frank, JFK and Winston Churchill.”

“Ha. This one writes itself.” He said.

Of course it did not. He wrote it  – brilliantly as usual – and the accompanying email said:

“Sorry this one’s longer, but with 5 celebrities all having their say, the words just kept on coming.”

So you might be wondering, what on earth does Elvis Presley have to do with Investment Impact. Honestly? Bugger all. But – my brother is a great writer and as my networking contact from Real Eyes Marketing says,

“The Blogosphere and the Twittersphere [yes, those are real words] are all about pre-sales. The goal being to attract people to your website through interesting Tweets (remember what’s in it for them), get them reading your blog. Does it demonstrate your knowledge of your subject matter? Can it regularly hold their attention?  If so you have created awareness. If they find it interesting enough they may retweet (RT) it. Once people are aware of your site, you’ll be at the top of their list if they have a need for you.”

So whilst Elvis may have bugger all to do with Investment Impact, I think he remains interesting enough for people still to read a about him.

Avoiding IR35 can be inspirational

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
 A real person signed up on the basis of a tweet!
Sweden boiling hot, packed totally wrong clothes, boobs already too big for all bras.
Faced with prospect of wearing yoga bra and expandable tracksuit bottoms for next two months.

It’s Tuesday I think. Since I work most days, I seem to have moved out of the confines of the civilized  time measurement system of 9-5 Monday to Friday….here on Brännö, I drift in and out, only reminded that everyone else uses the Gregorian calendar by my many Skype meetings. But when I am in the UK, it is a fairly time bound life. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t know whether I was able to get my Starbucks fix in the morning before dashing off to an early breakfast meeting in the city.

Starbucks has fulfilled not only the caffeine need in its consumers, but added a precious extra 10 minutes to our mornings to spend with our children or important other stuff (plucking eyebrows, the sun salutation etc). Starbucks helps and ironically – by reinforcing the home/work divide – perpetuates the work/life balance conundrum.

But different countries work in different time zones. Surely if I like working in the middle of the night, I should work with those people who are up in the middle of [my] night. And here is the real usefulness of the internet. Not only does it destroy geographical boundaries but it also allows you to hover between time zones more effectively then ever before. Because there are only two timezones now….online and offline.

Like all babies Investment Impact didn’t spring fully formed out of my womb. No. It was the culmination of many ideas. Both reactive and proactive. And the first one was reactively-actively trying to avoid the IR35 legislation (“Oh what is it?” I hear you ask. Well I shall tell you).

When I took the so-called-voluntary-but-heavily-coerced redundancy from Vodafone, I said

“But I love what I do, maybe I’ll just be a financial consultant, consult back to Vodafone and that way earn more money through my own company” I said naively – forgetting as most people do that the accountancy costs money, the holidays are haphazardly taken between contracts and the burden of proof on you for proving justifiable business expenses is heavy.

“Ah but remember the IR35 rule” said my future fellow consultants in brainwashed monotone voice. “You can’t do anything that looks like it’s employment disguised. Otherwise you’ll be taxed like an employee” (that IS the rule by the way, want more detail you can look here).

“But I won’t be employed, I’ll be a consultant.” I said confused.”None of the perks including the Vodafone Christmas party.” That alone should have been enough to convince the HMRC.

“If you go to work like an employee, are paid monthly like an employee and do a similar job as an employee, then the HMRC considers you guilty of avoiding IR35.”

“But you’re all consultants.”

“Yes, but I haven’t worked for 6 months this year.” said one sad consultant (let’s call him Mr. Stretched).

“And they only extend me week by week.” said another haggard consultant (let’s call him Mr. Maverick).

“And I do extra work in the evenings for another company.” said a third consultant (let’s call him Mr. Dark-Circles)

And looking at them, it dawned on me, the price you had to pay to gain an eensy-weensy bit more dosh.

Ah ha! HMRC you fiend you. Challenge extended.

My consulting services had to be nothing like employment. Firstly, I needed several clients per year. And secondly I needed not to be required on site every time there was a contract. In fact, there seemed to be no escaping it. Investment Impact, the supposed platform for my own consultancy services, actually had to be a real company. Because I did not want to end up stretched, I wasn’t by nature a maverick and pre-daughter, the only dark circles I had came from too many parties.

The Laziness of the Human Race

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
One more user. This time an unknown.
The user calls himself OBD Connector. Looked this up and found out it is part of a car?!
Name too cool and geeky to be a spambot…I think. If name turns out to be spambot, will feel like a dumbass. Also if turns out to be girl, apologize in advance.

“Don’t tell me you’re writing your blog online.” Said my boyfriend. “My god didn’t we learn back in 1992 that you could lose the whole thing by pressing the back button.” 1992, being the dark ages of course.

“But I don’t intend to press the back button,” I said

He grabbed my laptop and said, “What happens if your finger happens to be touching CTRL at the same time as you’re deleting something?”

He waved his fingers menacingly over those two keys.

“Most browsers have that command programmed as going back a page. And if you do that and it isn’t saved, you lose the whole thing.”

“Don’t do that,” I shouted, “I haven’t saved that draft.”. He looked at me for a long moment smiling evilly. I said nervously “Did you erase it to teach me a lesson? “

“No, but I couldn’t stand you if you lost your work like that. It’s so dumb.” (Note YOU, not IT)…

Well it’s a pity you’re having two children with me isn’t it.”  I said, without the slightest intention of changing my habits.

You see, even the threat of repulsion from my boyfriend, can’t persuade me to write these blogs offline in notepad and then copy them to put them online. Because it’s too much like hard work. To back up my files I use dropbox (It’s automated and I highly recommend it – please let me invite you if you want to use it – because the more referrals I make, means the more space I get), but for my blog, I simply write in the online space word press provides and risk the possibility of losing EVERYTHING…

Whether or not I back up, I am absolutely 100% sure that I am not alone with this psychological block. People are inherently lazy. Including me. And it’s our being lazy that has surprisingly driven us to such heights of ingenuity. The wheel, for example, would never have been invented if those Chalcolithic dudes hadn’t been so apathetic about pushing their own boats into the river to go fishing.

That’s why, against all evidence to the contrary, today’s diary is not about backing up (to my boyfriend …MWAH HA HA).  Although sure, it’s a good idea, but you probably won’t. No…it’s about making things as EASY as possible for your clients. If they have to jump through hoops to get to your stuff, well, they won’t. And on the internet remember – jumping through hoops simply means scrolling down the page an inch further than they have to. Of course I know this theoretically, but there still doesn’t seem to be enough room on the page for what you want to say (if you’re reading this then you’ve scrolled down…)

Yes, we may have walked on the moon. But taking a second extra to click, is still a step too big for mankind to make. So if you want your stuff to sell, put it/damn good teasers on the front page, remembering that depending on where you want to sell – not everyone reads left to right….

(Ps. Also back up)

No-one likes being told what to do

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
 Got a good review for a product
Reviewer said they hadn’t actually tried the product yet
Was pathetically grateful for any review at all.

Actually plenty of people like being told what to do. S&M Submissives. Brainwashed disciples. Insecure depressives. But I am not yet classed in any of those categories.

So when I informed my boyfriend yesterday that I felt like eating a packet of crisps (pregnant woman’s prerogative) and he told me categorically that I shouldn’t get them after last pregnancy’s experience of big butt syndrome, I found myself all of a sudden 20 minutes later sitting in the depths of the Swedish forest eating the most ginormous packet of Cheese Doodles…the cheesey wafery bits ground under my nails, the E-packed cheese powder caked round my mouth and in between  my teeth and 7 cheese doodles melting on my tongue sticking to the top of the roof of my mouth. The birds twittered, the leafy sunlight dappled my skin and the bag was finished within quarter of an hour. Heaven.

And then I went home and told him 🙂

“But why?” he said. “And why now are you telling me if it was supposed to be secret?”

“Because you SHOULD know by now that the word SHOULD, SHOULD be banned.” I said. “Telling me what to do means that you don’t have enough respect to treat me as an adult to make my own decisions.”

“And eating an entire bag of cheese doodles just to prove that to me is the behavior of a grown up? I told you not to because you will be miserable when you get fat and have to exercise to get slim again. I don’t want you to go through what you went through last time, because I love you,” He said.


“Having children ruins your body and I’m not complaining about the sacrifice I have to make – the pain, the back ache, the saggy tits, the sleep deprivation and the split pelvis. My butt might be big for a while, and it might make me unhappy to have to work it off in a year’s time, but it’s still my decision to make. If you just have to suffer a bigger butt than you find attractive, then that’s your sacrifice. I DESERVE those cheese doodles.”

What does this mean for a business? Well for one, that you should never tell your prospective clients what they SHOULD be thinking or they SHOULD be doing. Although you might possibly get away with telling them a tongue-in-cheek “SHOULD NOT”.

“You should absolutely not eat this delicious packet of cheese doodles. It will cause you immense pleasure and relatively less weight gain. ”

Or you could just let them do what they want without selling yourself at all.

“You may or may not eat this packet of cheese doodles. Here it is, if you want to buy it. Or not. Whatever.”

Or you could try and balance out a little temptation with a little product placement on the LinkedIn “Snack discussion Forum”

“Cheese doodles. Not the kind of snack you want to be addicted to…but you can have the first packet…for FREE….”

Me? I plumped for what they call the “Freemium” model combined with an open review system to allow users to give stinkingly honest feedback. The beta testers get products for free, and then get to say what they like.  Very scary.

Why did I do it this way?

A) Because no matter how much I considered it, I couldn’t see myself trying to do the hard sales (I’m not a saleswoman either). The products and services needed to be good enough to stand on their own two feet, or if they were shit, users had every right to say it.


B) Because I hate being told what to do.

(BTW, that entire cheese doodle conversation was made up. Or was it. I never told him. He’s sitting there at his computer now reading my blog wondering whether I did indeed eat an entire bag of cheese doodles. I guess you’ll never know, honey, will you :))))

Counting on others in Business

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
Someone wrote to me and told me this blog had a brilliant conversational style
Felt chuffed until they said that the actual site wasn’t as good.
Maybe I should change professions.

This post could be really short. Just one word really.


Yes, alright – two words, but abbreviated. It’s a terrible lesson to learn because I truly want to believe in human nature. And not a lesson that despite all my pontificating about the work-life balance being a matter of perception I carry over to my personal life (Oh, I haven’t pontificated about that yet? Don’t worry I will). You see with those I love and like OUTSIDE of business I am a firm believer in Kismet, the Law of Attraction and the miracles of the Universe.

In plain English, put your faith in others and you will be rewarded. Believe that they are untrustworthy, and it will be so. Amen.

But in business, somewhere, somehow, things have become terribly skewed. Self interest and politics get in the way of generosity of spirit and honoring of one’s word (especially if that word is verbal). So when my web development team got back to me today on my query as to whether the next stage of work was imminent, I was furious but not unduly surprised to hear:

“The production schedule is very busy for August I’m afraid, so we would be looking to start in late August or early September at the earliest, but otherwise at a time to suit you.”

The time that suited me of course being the beginning of August as we had said in our conversation at the beginning of July. A month is a long time in the internet business.

Don’t get me wrong – in many ways they are very good. They have worked hard on the website – but its no favor, they have been well paid for it. Do you remember when I said you should not be offended by swearing? Oh you do. Good.


The next stage of web development kicks off the gaming system in Investment Impact and is – as I see it, key to the entire success of the business. I feel royally screwed, but its my own fault for not recording the damn conversation. Otherwise they would have had to stick to their side of the deal.

So do yourself a favor and remember, the people you do business with ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. Take insurance, cover your ass and always, always, plan for delays. Because they will happen. And if on top of that you are to suffer a heart attack from the stress, well that wouldn’t be very pleasant, would it?

Short List of Tools to cover your ass:

1. Skype/phone Voice recorder. Those gits at Microsoft have now made you pay for skype plug-ins but believe me its worth it. (See how the universe reminded me of this the minute I stopped paying for plug ins).

2. Don’t forget email…bcc/cc field…cc can be used strategically to ensure all parties know they are being screened or evilly, to pull a trump out of your hat

3. A blog like this one to expose – and reward – your network. Oh how poetic.

Be afraid….

What do you do for a living?

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
 36 Boyfriend being really sweet to be to avoid being slated in blog No ideas as yet about how to make use of the month of downtime. Contemplating cultivating vegetable patch

When I met my Swedish sister in law (or out-of-law since we are not married), she turned many of my ideas upside down. I was pregnant with an-as-yet-unknown girl when she asked,

“So are you going to find out the sex of the baby?”

Luckily my boyfriend and I think alike on this issue – neither of us see any point in waiting to find out. But – let’s call her, Anthea, feels differently. Radically differently as it turned out.

“When K was born, I asked everyone not to tell me the gender, I wanted to hold my baby for five minutes and relate to it without classifying it as he or she. It was the only time in my life I could do it because no matter how we try and treat our children neutrally as individuals, they always end up with gender stereotyping.”

Just so you know, Anthea is a judge and highly respected lawyer. Not a tree-hugging, Abba-fan from 1972. Oh sorry, that middle bit is untrue. She IS an Abba fan. (Swedish, ergo Abba fan sum).

I was even more flabbergasted when she told me about another couple who had decided not to tell anyone the sex of their baby for the first six months. Unsurprisingly enough, she said that few of their friends were able to relate to the baby as a person because we are so brainwashed in pink and blue.

It got me thinking about labels. Most of us need labels in life to be able to categorize people. Gender, Ethnicity (ironically only if different from our own) name, nationality and last but not least profession.

After – How do you do, what do you do?

My boyfriend’s cousin visited us today and told me that she had read my blog – this blog – in a vain attempt to find out what I do. And for that matter what Investment Impact does. She is none the wiser from what I have written and to be honest, I am not surprised.

In any case, here are some of the hats I wear on a daily basis.  Annie – this is for you!

1. Financial Analysis Consultant (used to be in Technology & Telecom, but now several industries) – mainly to help companies forecast the success (in money terms) of their project investment. Some people call it decision support.

2. Excel Modeler – In order to do the above, I build/program financial models in MS Excel which help predict customer demand and revenues for new products, or cost savings driven by technology replacement and in general the possible outcomes of different scenarios.

3. Mother & Expectant Mother  (self-explanatory)

4. Business Owner – To win contracts to perform numbers 1 & 2, without sacrificing the time for 3 I have developed a web-based consultancy called “Investment Impact” where I sell products and services about 1 & 2 – both online and offline – which gives me more flexibility to manage my work. .

5. Contract Referrer – The platform I have built, is developed to be by definition a marketplace for consultants and clients across industry and discipline. It sources more contracts for services 1 & 2 than I can manage or indeed have the ability to do, so the website funnels the project details that come through the website to consultants who have signed up to get them. I don’t take commission (because I don’t believe in the evil pyramid), but consultants have to pay a small amount (£20) to get the contact details, if they are interested. It’s like a ‘call’ option on a potential project.

6. Business Model Designer – To cover 1, 2, 4 & 5 I have spent the past year designing a business model that is profitable but not cost prohibitive for the consultants who want to sign up. I have also made sure there are no bottlenecks to prevent the model being completely scalable. This means we can handle as many projects that come in, without adding on huge overheads. Consultants remain their own boss and mainly define their own pricing. But first they have to prove that they are good by creating products demonstrating their expertise and selling them online. These products are ranked and reviewed by users. So it is the users themselves who determine who gets the most projects from this system.

7. Blogger – In an effort to prevent myself from going even madder than I already am, I blog about my life and business as an outlet to my frustrations but also because it helps to chat the progress of the business and additionally serves as a marketing tool for it.

8. Game designer – In order to help the really good consultants get the best contracts, both rewarding hard work and commitment as well as protecting Investment Impact image, the ‘level up’ process via which consultants get the juiciest contracts is done by a gamification of the business, making Investment Impact fun for users and also forming  solid community which is often lacking in virtual businesses.

9. Woman suffering from severely bitten fingernails – due to trying to achieve all the above and be a mother.

Being Authentic

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
This blog was retweeted.
Brother arrived for week long visit. He slid down banister and fractured ankle. Have to go with him to the hospital tomorrow.
Work for myself. Therefore theoretically able to take time off. If you work for yourself, life gets in the way a lot of actually working.

The struggle to find oneself, the pushing against boundaries and questioning of the status quo is everywhere – I see it in my daughter every day – only 16 months and she fights like hell to get her own way.

“No Freya, you can’t chew the remote/pull that book to pieces/slap Mummy across the face.”

Fågel Blå was the name of my boyfriend’s punk band back in the days when he rebelled against his mild-mannered, middle-class parents and lived in a squat. It developed quite a groupie following in Gothenburg back in the late 80’s. My boyfriend is now a very successful IT programmer, Forex trader and pop songwriter. He has (or had until we recently let her go) a nanny, a cleaner and divided his time between Richmond and Gothenburg. It’s a far cry from his left leanings.

Over the years I have had several inspirational mentors. Some who barely know  they have left a deep impression on me and one in particular – Ralf Lauterbach, a man of quiet genius – who said to me

“You will know when you have reached your limits; all human beings have a comfort zone beyond which they only stray for a time. It’s a natural inclination.”

We are like balls that settle into the holes of a puzzle. It takes some longer than others to find themselves – 37 years for me to be exact – because it’s only now that I adore what I do (I admit, having a child has something to do with it).  Although the frenzy of madness over the last few months has driven me insane, I truly believe in what I have created. A solution for professionals to work around their families; a challenge to those big name consultancies to stop charging the earth for advice and knowledge that should be shared more freely. A move towards perfect competition to topple the oligarchs and a carbon friendly way of working. Hurray!

Why is believing in what you do important for business? Because the internet has opened up the possibilities of fraud like never before. It is faceless. And people are trying to grasp an anything that will give them that much needed trust. The buzz word for it is “Authenticity”…and you can’t bottle or fake it.

In 2002 when my stepsister had sent round the link to her myspace profile page so that my aged grandmother, and all my uncles and aunts could see that her favorite article of clothing was crotchless panties, we all gasped in shock. But somewhere amid the mutterings of “dirty laundry in public” I felt a tinge of pride that she did not compromise who she was. For anyone.

You have to be authentic on the internet to create trust, get followers and bond with your clients. On twitter they call it finding your voice. Be yourself. Be consistent. It’s the law. Of course, no-one’s saying you will have to share as much as my sister did.

Seriously Consider: Is corporate life worth it?

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
 41 Starting up after 2 weeks holiday. Feels good. Feel like I haven’t had a holiday Difficult to take time off when you know every day costs you. Makes for very expensive holiday

Once upon a time, I had a corporate job and a corporate life. Barely got home in the week, traveled with my colleagues abroad, dined in hotel rooms with BBC World or fancy restaurants after a conference. I’ve lived in Paris, Dusseldorf, Milan, Dublin, Nicosia and spent considerable amounts of time in Budapest and London. And loved it.

“The mark of of VP” said one Boss “is that you can party and drink everyone under the table until 4am and then be in at your desk at 8am the next morning.” He was 6’4″ and was good at that game. He also had an enormous amount of charisma and I, like many people, hung on every word he said. I would give you his name – because he was awesome – but he sacrificed an awful lot for that job, time with his four children and fidelity to his wife.

I don’t judge him. Not one little bit. When you spend that amount of time away from your family doing VP stuff and get wrapped up in the egocentric world that is top management, many people betray their own values and forget why they are doing what they are doing. That’s corporate life. Or can be. The crazy thing is that I aspired to it. For years, the goal was to climb the ladder and be the best.

“They’ve asked me to lead the center of excellence for decision support.” I said. “The exact title is Head of Decision Support Excellence.”

“Putain” said my french husband (confused? you might well be) “A job with head and excellence in the title, it sounds good. What would you do exactly? Accrue things?” He giggled at his own joke. As far as he was concerned the perfect balance of accountancy was a mystery.

“Well, I would lead a team to design investment appraisal methodologies and models in excel, but the only thing is….that the job is in Milan. It’s an international assignment. We would both have to move,” I said. He stopped giggling and drew breath. He realized at once the enormity of the decision at hand even if he hadn’t understood the first half of the sentence. Stopping me from doing a job involving my passion – the creation of excel models – might have meant the end of our marriage then, instead of 2.5 years later.

No one reason can be blamed for the breakdown of a marriage, but I would say that the strain of my corporate life certainly didn’t help it. My husband didn’t have any qualifications, or indeed knowledge of Italian but fancied living in a hot country, with the help of his wife’s salary. Our plan was that he would use that time to study – distance learning. That way it would be for him but also for our future.

It’s a sad but true fact that even now, it is expected that the husband will be the one who gets the high flying job and the wife will follow. Going to Italy, my husband was not only in the minority of men who were supported by their wives, but also totally isolated as a foreign man having followed his wife on international assignment. There was no social support system and worse, total unspoken disrespect for us both. To the outside world, I was the ball-breaker and he was the wimp. Pretty soon we stopped telling anyone what we were doing, and that put paid to our social life with Italians in general. As his resentment smoldered, so did my shame…with surprising consequences. But that’s another story.

So was my promotion worth it? No one can regret what happens in life. But you can learn. And my lesson was that corporate life won’t be the cause of the downfall of your relationship (that’s up to you), but it may be a big catalyst for cracks that are already there.

Hold onto your dreams

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
 16 Active Users on the up
Total Users down
Decided that I could only legitimately tell whether someone was a spambot or not by detecting whether they logged in a second time. Spambots, you suck. The end.

Dreaming is an essential part of running a start-up. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the present. How could I not, when only yesterday my little girl learned how to count to three in Swedish. But dreaming – especially WITH someone – is very pleasurable. Dreams turn into ideas and goals. Ideas and goals are an inspiration for your reality.

“So if Hollywood pick up your blog, who would play me?” asked my boyfriend. “Matt Damon?”

Matt Damon had the permanent number one spot on my top five list. And for three years, had been the only person on my list…until I had watched True Blood several months before.

“Alexander Skarsgård would be more suitable since he’s Swedish.” I said lightheartedly, not betraying that – still in the new celebrity crush stage – just the thought of him made me breathe a little faster.

“Now, we would need a suitable English girl to play you. Cheryl Cole. Done.”

I visualized them in the Scarlett-Rhett pose.

“Rhett, Rhett – wherever shall us go, whatever shall us do.”

“Yah, yah frankly my dear I don’t give a hwit.”

So Alexander and Cheryl are now destined to get it on on the big screen. You read it here first.

But seriously, dreaming is what made it possible for us to spend three months this summer on this remote island. Perhaps I mentioned once before – we divide our time between Richmond and Sweden. Most of my friends are astounded that we are able to do so (and I would quote back to THEM the words of that prodigy Marty McFly “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”)

Achieving geographical freedom is one of the greatest pleasures one can know. We have worked damn hard to be able to get here. It has been 12 months in the making – and it has been a common dream. My boyfriend is an employee for a great firm who have given him the leeway to be able to work remotely for three months, so that his personal ambition of allowing his daughter to get to know her Swedish family and roots can be fulfilled. A carefully planned strategy of proving his dedication to the company, ability to work from home and perhaps above all, gall to actually ask them, means that we are here. Living our dream.

It’s useless to rehash the wheel, so if you want to know how we did it I wrote about it here. Lesson for today. Dream your direction and then do it.

The Power of a Smile

Site Launch Day User Count Going right Going wrong Comment
Active Users climbing; feedback on products good so far
All users from direct pushing with offer of free credits Pushing very tiring…will I have to give out free stuff forever?

As our daughter struts merrily around the house @ 8am having kept us up all night,  blithely unaware of everyone’s baleful stares, I wonder how Margaret Thatcher ran a country on 4 hours of sleep a night. I read somewhere that it was only on becoming a parent and regularly understanding how little sleep this is, that you finally realized MT was indeed as mad as a can of beans. (Am supposed to cite reference, but one hit in Google and I can’t find it. Am too tired to do anything further).

Whether it’s because I am pregnant or just selfish, I lay there at 3.45 hearing my boyfriend sing (and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word) lullabies, having kicked him out of bed to “deal with her” even though night duty is officially mine. A hangover from breast feeding days. She finally got to sleep at 5.30 and then woke again at 7.30 chirruping with the birds. The thing is, that even though she has kept us awake, one toothy grin of delight and my heart melts. It is impossible to be angry at her.

Like my accountant. No matter how many times she doesn’t deliver a payslip on time (and it has been often), or has an error in her reporting, when I see her – to tell her what’s what – she immediately gushes in superlatives…

“Oh yes, I am SO sorry – I COMPLETELY understand how you must be furious. The technician is coming round to fix the synching on my computer TODAY. There’s a time stamp issue on my dropbox.” Then she dazzles me with a smile which takes all the wind out of my sails. Consequently, I have apologized to her twice for being so crabby, when I am the client not getting the good service. I am still with her because actually it is quite nice to be able to complain to someone and get a smile back. She’s ok as an accountant and the smile more than makes up for it.

You would do well to remember this. The same goes for email/text. Compare the following two sentences.

  2. You are a loudmouthed twat 😉 >-) :-p

If I received the latter, sure I would think that the joke was inappropriate and the sender was an idiot…. but if I received the first, it would definitely be taken as an insult.

So my lesson today is: learn how to use smilies. They take the sting out of your online sarcasm (if, like me, you can’t resist it) or downright insults. Whilst in posh, proper, corporate emailing, smilies are still a no-no (god knows why smiling in emails is not considered professional), the habit of using them will earn you secret points – and smiles – with many recipients.

Too tired to write anymore. Going back to bed |-O