Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Herbie rides again

I once had a scheme which involved buying train tickets just before the prices went up, so that I could profit from the difference. It never made me a fortune. I had a similar scheme for stamps. I did make a small fortune - about twenty four pence. I count that a success. Last week, I mentioned that I'd had deodorant problems...the spray stopped spraying leaving me a sweaty undeodorised man. Not good on the tube. The manufacturer didn't help when I contacted them, but those lovely people at Boots sent me a giftcard for my troubles. And normally that would be it. All done. All sorted. But in a moment of deodorant rage yesterday I sent an e-mail to the CEO, Herbie. Getting a phone call from him half an hour later caught me only slightly off guard. He's on the case, and has promised me a package next week. I assume it won't be ticking. I'll be back using Soho Fish Dry Deodorant. And I'll be in profit again. At this rate, I'll be in The Times Rich List before you know it. I promise not to forget you all my plantation slaves.

Someone else who is rich is Arianna Huffington. She was rich before she sold the Huffington Post for £315 million. Actually she probably got dollars, but is certainly a good deal richer than she was before. And good luck to her. Except, she started off by telling everyone she was setting up a site as an alternative to right-wing leaning networks. So bloggers have contributed quality content to establish it as a leading global publishing platform that makes $30 million a year. And that would probably have been fine, except she decided to sell to one of those networks. So the blogging contributors have started a class action to get their share of the winnings - claiming they've been treated like plantation slaves. My view is that this isn't the first time that someone has made a fortune of the backs of other people's sweated labour and it won't be the last. So she's probably morally bankrupt, but otherwise doing nothing wrong. Let's face it there are a lot of morally bankrupt people around these days. The bloggers themselves have gained a lot of kudos by contributing...but I guess that doesn't help pay the bills. If I was AOL though, I'd begin to wonder about the sustainability of a model that relies on free contributions to generate editorial.

Someone else who must get paid well is Daisy Waugh who writes a piece in The Sunday Times Magazine every week. I don't read it often, but I did this weekend. It was something about not being able to organise a piss up in a brewery, or at least a dinner party at home. It was an OK piece nothing special...and certainly nothing better than I get to read here in the blogosphere. The Sunday magazines are littered with columns like hers. So it got me wondering why she gets paid and others don't. Why doesn't The Sunday Times simply adopt the Huffington model? They'd get better copy wouldn't they. Of course, poor old Daisy would be out of a job and would have to sell her children into plantation slavery. But it's a tough world isn't it?

I've a friend who's been a very active Facebooker, but has come to realise that 140 characters is not enough, so has asked for some tips on starting a blog. I haven't got a clue. I just jumped in and have been swimming ever if you've got any tips for her they would be muchly appreciated. But I'm not paying you for them.

The BBC adopted a rather arrogant tone yesterday when it asked, 'Can ordinary people make good interviewers?' Implying to my narrow chip on the shoulder mind that they regard themselves as something extra-ordinary. I'm generally a great supporter of the Beeb, but here I think we have a reporter getting out of line. They should start reading some blogs and realise that just because you choose to do something as a profession doesn't make you any better than people who do the same thing but for fun. professional arrogance should be left to the bankers and plantation owners.

PS does anyone know what's happened to the wonderful Tom Foolery?