Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mon petit homme vert

The promised deluge - Fionn as Ireland's 16th man, opening day of the Six Nations.

Yes, he's wearing a No. 13 shirt - he is, after all, technically from Leinster.

Reacting to another piece of Irish magic:

Halftime pep talk:

Getting ready to pack down behind the scrum - natural born openside:

Full album is here.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sink to the bottom with you

I've been following the continuing slide of the economy and the Wodehousian farce that is the collapse of the Irish banking system with a mixture of resignation and trepidation. As scandal piles upon scandal, it should really come as no surprise to us that there are senior figures within the business community for whom lying, cheating and stealing on a daily basis is a way of life. After all, the Mahon tribunal showed us that businessmen and women have been more than happy to bribe politicians for years - what made us think that they were not also merrily engaged in bribing and defrauding one another?

Commentators have been calling for "root-and-branch" change, which would be very welcome, but something I read over the weekend gives me a sinking feeling that a simple personnel swap will effect little difference. The problems endemic in Irish business go right to the core, right back to when the rules of how to be a successful businessperson are being laid out.

The piece I read was in the UCD alumni magazine Business Connections (I actually didn't attend UCD, they just haven't updated their mailing list in a while by the looks of things). In a celebration of the centennial of the UCD Business School, the issue was showcasing:

"...some of the leading figures in business, industry and public life who have graced the halls of the UCD School of Business over the years."

One of the "leading figures" they chose was Jim Flavin, the former head of DCC. You might remember Jim from the news in recent past: in 2007 he was found by the Supreme Court to have engaged in illegal trading of Fyffes shares (banana republic, ho ho ho), yielding his company €85 million in ill-gotten gains.

Nice one UCD: what a shining example indeed, a true paragon of virtue to hold up to Ireland's next generation of leaders. Behold! You too can cheat the system!

BTW, Mr. Flavin was also previously head of AIB's venture capital unit. Smashing. As I've said, I think it'll take more than a sweeping out of the old to see any real change in how business at the highest level is carried out in this country. Maybe the memory of the thousands and thousands of lost jobs will make us all a little less trusting next time. Here's hoping.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sneak preview

There'll be a Fionn flood arriving here shortly: I've been manfully struggling to get my photos and videos organised, battling against dying laptops (Sinead's old Inspiron is on it's last legs), and an ever-shrinking amount of free time, but I'm on top of it now...

Here's a photo of his lordship to whet the appetite (pun firmly intended)...

I liked swimming, so I swam

So I'm almost getting back into a regular swimming schedule. Couple of weeks in the water in TCD, and this week started morning sessions in Glenalbyn. Hope I can stick with it - watch this space.

On a similar note, my father Greg is attempting another long-distance swim this summer: he and the Channel swim crew will attempt to swim the River Shannon from source to sea. Check out the blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

They Don't Sleep Anymore on the Beach

How tired am I? I was chatting to S this evening over dinner about the upcoming BizCamp Dublin (disclosure: I'm involved with the organising of this worthy event), when S asked me what date it was on. I replied, with quiet deliberation, that it was taking place on February the 7th of March, and then couldn't figure out why she was giving me a look that was somewhere between concern and hilarity.

Sleep needed. Bed now. Swimming in the morning.

P.S. Seriously, check out BizCamp, coming soon to an entrepreneurial hotspot near you. If you can't make it, consider grabbing the badge on the right and help spread the word. FTR!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Good, The Dabs, and The Ugly

Dabs.ie just lost a sale. I wanted to buy this, but the process of actually purchasing the thing drove me almost batty, so i stopped. Sucks to be you Dabs.

Three things they did wrong:

  • They made me create an account just to buy something. No, no, no, no, no...

  • They made me create an account just to buy something, even though they offer the option to purchase via PayPal. No, no, no, no, no...

  • They would only let me deliver to the billing address of the credit card used for purchase - this is for "security reasons" and is "in my interest". Really? Gee, thanks...

Epic fail Dabs. I wanted to give you my money, but you made the process so frustrating that I would rather go and trawl the Web looking for alternative sellers. That's a special talent, good on ya.

If anyone from Dabs actually ends up reading this (Hello!) I suggest having a read of this.