Month: May 2010

Irish – it’s not a dead language after all…

Liv_with_medal

Here’s a photo of my talented god-daughter Olivia with the medal she won a couple of weeks back for second place in the Irish poetry recitation at the Feis.  Well done Olivia!  You really are a superstar.  67 children entered this year – and as the poem was the same for all – and as most of their parents probably don’t even speak Irish themselves (according to Wikipedia, about 10% of the Northern Irish population has “some knowledge of Irish”), it must have been a bit of a trial for the audience to endure. 

However, as we all know – and Olivia certainly – the pursuit of a medal is a worthwhile sport and you just have to do whatever you need to in order to get into the final 3!

Irish received official recognition in Northern Ireland for the first time in 1998 as a result of the Good Friday Agreement and these days about 4,000 kids start to learn every year as they go to secondary school.  Where I live in Northern Ireland, there’s a rich wealth of Irish culture to embrace – so perhaps it isn’t a dying language after all…

 

 

Purple Haze…

Jimi_hendrix

Living in Northern Ireland, from time to time I come across someone that was at the legendary Jimi Hendrix gig in Belfast – and they always have a story to tell.  That night, 27 November 1967, was Jimi’s 25th birthday and the word on the street goes that a pretty girl from Bangor was selected by Jimi’s people to be his “companion” after the show.

Like most people, I don’t know a great deal about Jimi Hendrix beyond what everyone knows – Purple Haze & Voodoo Chile (popular tracks on the White Swan jukebox in Doncaster when I was at school), the fact that he died young and in London, that he was left-handed and that he played a famous gig at Woodstock.

A couple of years back when I was passing through Seattle, I visited the Music Hall of Fame – housed within a remarkable building created by the fabulous Frank Gehry.  If truth be known, my real motive in going there was to inspect the vast collection of sci-fi memorabilia collected by “rich as Croesus” Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen.  Impressive it was too – even including Captain Kirk’s Star Trek chair.  But despite my science fiction interest, by far the most enjoyable hour I spent there was wandering through a collection of Jimi Hendrix articles – especially the postcards he sent to his father when he was in the army, his flamboyant 1960s clothes & psychedelic stage outfits displayed in glass cabinets, his famous guitars and most moving of all, the lyrics of some of his most famous songs scribbled on the reverse of restaurant menus or on hotel stationery.

Writing this today has got me thinking about the legacy that each of us leaves behind – what will yours be?

 

 

The truth about marketing…

Del_boy

With less than a week to go until Learning Pool’s annual conference & with no flights leaving Northern Ireland again this morning – oh and with the prospect of launching a new website next week – marketing is something that’s been in my mind – a lot – recently.

For small companies, there’s always a lot of anxiety around spending your limited amounts of cash on marketing.  Everyone knows the old premise that 50% of marketing spend is effective, it’s just a shame that no-one knows which 50%…

At our HQ in Derry, we’re up to our eyes in balloons & conference giveaway bags & party planning so I think it’s wise to take 5 minutes out & reflect on the following excerpt from 37 Signals’ recent book “Rework”:

Marketing is not a department.  Every time you answer the phone, send an email or someone uses your product – that’s marketing.  Every word you write on your website is marketing.  Every error message in your software is marketing.  The checkout counter and every invoice you send is marketing.

Aah – I feel so much better now – it seems those conference giveaway bags aren’t so important after all…

 

 

Beckham in the making?

Gene_with_football

This is Gene McVeigh.  He’s 6 years old and I’m very proud to say he’s my nephew.  He’s a very keen footballer and today he started with Dungannon United youth team.  Gene’s had a good first day and scored 3 goals.  He’s Manchester United mad and his ambition is to one day be like David Beckham or Wayne Rooney.  It’s nice to have ambition and it’s nice to have a nephew.  Good luck Gene.  I’ll look forward to the day that we look back on this blog when you’re a world famous footballer…