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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Whisper, whisper

One of the most destructive things in small countries is the power of the whisper.

The funny thing is that it can surround you completely whilst you least recognise it. WHat is the 'whisper'. The whisper is the inability or unwillingness of people to deal with dealing with anything openly, and cloaking it in the mask of disliking confrontation.

I am usually least to know about many things because the whisper usually eludes me. After all if you are unlikely to keep the whisper at a whisper level then you dont exactly fit into the cycle. Much less if the whisper is about you :-)

The thing about it is that it permeates every pore of our society. The employees who have friends who have another friend who doesnt like your boss. The affair that is happening or may not be, even whilst they sit in the midst of their own follies, the corruption that might be happening but is best left alone, the man who is well known as a child abuser etc etc.

I have made a resolve to open all whispers as quickly as I receive them. That way I can satisfy my desire to find out what motivates people to spend their time, in work, out of work literally creeping through life, even as some of them are afflicted with even greater malaise than the people they whisper about.

Be strong. say it out. Do not lose your dignity. And do not ever have the mistaken guidance that it is strength to be double faced. That may work in Machiavellian scenarios, but I dont think the prince would consider that Dominica or any small Caribbean island be the apex of power games.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lime n Spoon

The rebrand of Cable & Wireless in the Caribbean brings up some interesting questions.

LIME as a replacement for bMobile might seem a natural fit, but as a transition away from the core C&W brand it comes off as anything but a playful get together, which is what a 'lyme' is supposed to be in Caribbean talk.

This is in the context of a Digicel which has taken on the mantle of aggressive in the region, and now AMerica Movil, branding itself as Claro as it does through its deployment in Latin America, taking an aggressive first stance in Jamaica.

How does a corporate company become a sour fruit and not suffer consequences from using the colour black. As a hip lifestyle brand it can work. As a corporate brand I suggest that this is a doomed project and can only devalue its likely acquisition by a bigger player in time.

The other question is whither Liat ? A few weeks ago we tried booking media for a client and were told by Loat that their new inflight magazine was being rebranded and re-designed. The name of their new in flight mag ? LIME.

The colours, the look and the positioning are excellent for Liat.

So now we have two limes. one black and one green.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Seriously

I love my little island. I really do.

The country has a resilience that is extremely warming.

It should be obvious that something is extremely wrong and needs to be fixed. Dominica isnt a failed state. Luckily our natural resources and some very persistent people havent allowed that to happen.

We are a stagnant state. In reality a small island nation in this very hostile economic world isnt exactly in a great position.

However we arent the only small island nation in the world. What we are witnessing is a systemic failure of the pillars of a healthy society.

Its a difficult thing to grasp but the country is gripped in a classic low inferiority complex loop. There is no independence in that.

Mamo, the Douglases, the current set of blingers...all have been guilty of keeping this country as repressed and underdeveloped mentally. The majority of the people of this country see no future in the country for their children and literally ship them out as quickly as possible with a do not return sticker on their case.

Watching the faces of people who came home and almost felt validated for the decisions they made years ago, is somewhat sad.

If there was a history of a Dominican upper class or even middle class abroad it would be simple for anyone to accept the flight from small third world nation to first world economies.

Yet most of our migrants are moving to working class. In other words, just being able to get a job.

Its not something I enjoy writing about. And I am sure noone will enjoy reading it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reunion Mess

My thoughts

30 years of Independence and its a mess.

I have and continue to blame GREED.

The country looks like a bombsite about to hold a BBQ to raise funds to fix the bombsite.

A small group of people have manouvred themselves onto committees in order to reward themselves either directly or indirectly.

Thats not to say there are no genuine people working within them. But when you look at the mess these people have created running over themselves to get things done quickly and get paid, its no wonder.

One particular quasi government person and his private sector partner should be ashamed of themselves. Make your buck but dont create an eyesore every where you pass in order to corner the coin.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sign of the Times

Someone pointed out recently that the US nationalisation of two major mortgage providers was fascism.

The statement she made which is very accurate is that they are 'socialising the risk and privatising the profit'.

Its an interesting situation in that the risk of course to the US economy was huge, but in many ways they are bailing out capitalism gone mad.

The situation in Dominica with Chavez money is equally strange. The volume of money supposedly given to this country does not reflect in what you see in the country.

Ah well.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Catching Up

On the fast...I made it to three days and then got back on board slowly. Food tastes very strange after you come off a fast. Will try again.

On work. There are changes, much self imposed, and understanding the limits of what can be done. Its amazing how you can miss what is happening around you when you are so deep into your thoughts and plans. And how enlightened I am.

On life. Opportunities come when you slow down and listen and observe.

On the Olympics. Didnt get to see enough. Bolt is a phenomenon but my favourite athlete is Dayron Robles the cuban 110m hurdler. The classiest athlete in T&F.

On football. My team Arsenal are not looking good, early into the season as it is. Not a good time to need them to uplift me. Those guys look like that have a long hard season ahead.

On Mccain vs Obama. I am more worried about George Bush and what he is likely to do in his last days as Americas worst president in living memory. The US financial meltdown is potentially very scary now and whats scarier is that most people in the Caribbean dont even know what 'could' happen in a matter of months. Having a mortgage and loans is not a good thing right now.

On Reunion 2008, and Nice Up. A byword for failure and incompetence. Almost a metaphor on the management of the country for the last 30 years.

On me. Wiser.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Easy does it

I am fasting. Water fasting to be exact.

I am almost through my second day and it has been pretty good. My biggest problem will be tonight and the Friday night orgy of meat eating which I usually put myself through.

Anyway, I am no tree hugger or yoga disciple. I like the idea of the discipline and I am already alot more aware of things around me as I am not working on the next meal syndrome. As human beings we are obssessed with food. When we going to eat, what we going to eat, where we going to eat.

Health wise there is plenty of material out there on water fasting. I intended to do a 4 day fast but I am not sure if I am mentally ready for it. I cant jump back into lifestyle of the meat eating Caribbean man either. Have to take it slow or risk damaging myself from thinking I am on a racecourse for the starving.

Here in the Caribbean meat is everything. Typical Caribbean man considers a vegetarian in the same way car drivers consider bikers, mavericks who we laugh at at particular times. For the motorcycle rider its when its raining. For the meat eater, its any feast where you need a big piece of meat in the middle of the table :-).

I wonder if I will make it through picking up chicken and ribs later.

I will let you all know.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Its just business

There is a level of competition in the Caribbean where we start to understand how people can be manipulated.

FSI have worked for both Cable & Wireless and Digicel as an agency. In fact we worked for Orange too at a point. We have done some interesting stuff.

The level of competition got ridiculous because at some levels people have managed to be convinced that someone competing for a small market is effectively trying to kill them and ruin their lives.

I am ashamed to say it makes the perfect business case for expatriate bosses of local companies. Local people just cannot divorce their personal likes and dislikes from the business need. Hard as it is...the expats simply want to meet their targets and piss off. The locals want to play their own version of Age of Empires and have stories to tell about who they 'funded' or not.

The Caribbean cannot sustain more than two cellphone companies. With America Movil and Carlos Slim (the second richest man in the world) now actively in this region, someone is going to get acquired. And with those aquisitions people you thought were your mortal enemies, may have to become your best friends.

Wise up people...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Anonymous

I was told that writing a blog shows that I have time to burn. I dont. But its a useful diversion where I have millions of thoughts and sometimes its good to put it down to define the thought.

The interesting thing is what draws people to comment on what is written.

These observations are not any way to discover who I am. They are in a way an easy way to discover what I do think about. Unlike a diarytwhich can hold the sacred thoughts and experiences and give them strength as you get older and can connect the dots, a blog, and this blog, is like talking about what you see when you look out your window.

This is for Anonymous readers, and conspiracy theorists. The essay written about you is the one written by you.

peace

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Its about Sex baby

Here are some thoughts

1. Caribbean men have some of the highest rates of prostate cancer because the traditional view of the prostate check, ie the finger up the ass check, is that it is well ummm homosexual. I always tell guys that the only time they need to be worried is if the doc has both hands on their shoulder and they getting probed. Then my friend its time to reevaluate your fears. So many rather suffer death than having their ass fingered, to put it brutally. Its particularly prevalent in macho man territory, Jamdown.

2. The amount of money which passes hands for sex in the Caribbean is much higher than people think. We dont have classic prostitution except in the bigger islands. The communities are too small and most of the time where there is prostitution its done by immigrants. However the case of bartering for sex is definitely there. In countries with disparity in income it doesnt take much either.

3. Homosexuality. Fact is in most islands you live in small communities where the gays (I dont like what this word was converted into) are well known. We grow up with them, play with them, party with them, lime with them. They are in effect, us. Then at some point once sexuality becomes a dominant theme of morality as defined by religion, they become this evil thing. Except.....many of the 'gays' in my country are literally captains of industry and some of the best know contributors to the social and cultural fabric of the country. So many people walk around softly softly not wanting to offend most of them because of their power and value to the country, and making hypocritical noises to frighten those young people who have real dilemmas. Cue: confusion. Lesson - If you have enough money you can bugger all and sundry and even get a front seat in church. If you aint - Fire Bun you.

4. Talk about sex in the Caribbean is almost taboo. Well not enjoyment. There is talk about abortion (its evil), Aids (get tested and wear a condom), morality (its best having it with your spouse and then no condom needed - ie the Church position), abstinence (if you aint married abstain - or masturbate regularly which is my advice). But is there talking about good ole sex enjoyment. Oh no. Meanwhile, the reality is that people want some...all the time. Even those going to church too.

Have some great sex today. Even with yourself.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Catching up

Three posts in One day.

Some random thoughts.

On Comrade Ralph and his Caribbean utterings. Caribbean unity is an elusive thing. The committment level of Caribbean people to Caricom et al is pretty low.

Much of that is driven by business, which has maintained a protectionist stance based on the fact that many mediocre businesses are thriving because of lack of competition. Island by Island there are numerous monopolies who thrived because of coincidence rather than excellence. Were the Caribbean fat cats in each island expansionist in their regional view, Caricom would be a success long time ago. But still everyone is happy in their little fiefdoms.

The other driver is ignorance. The situation in Barbados with Guyanese immigrants is one case in point. Rather than trying to understand and debate publically, the ability of more Barbadians to scale from working class to middle class in a country which CAN support this, the Bajan press has concentrated on demonising Guyanese immigrants, who ironically are coming in because they are willing to do low wage work, which is a natural condition of capital investment driven economies. Foreigners love paying low wages as part of their overall investment package. Therefore the Guyanese become essential.

Why shouldnt there be free movement of Labour and people. WHy shouldnt Dominicans or Antiguans consider going to farm or mine in Guyana and selling precious metals on the global market.

Can you imagine a set of small islands enforcing work permits on countries closer than most cities in the US and Europe.

What gives

And as for the musings on a regional judiciary. The only reason Caribbean people still trust the Privy Council more than its own judiciciary, which of course is a mockery of the whole independence of most of those islands, is this. Caribbean parochialism at every level has convinced all that the same buddy buddy system of governance and business will hold true at the highest level of justice.

The people are not wrong either. However it is time to take the leap or continue to be held in chains by fears.

Reality Check

Standing in Victoria Station straight off a Gatwick Express train I started wondering what was wrong. All around me there were signs of mad panic. People were flying around, melee, confusion.

Luckily it wasnt a bomb scare or an attack by a mad person with a gun.

It was just rush hour. I lived in England for 13 years, most of which I didnt use the underground tubes (trains) for more than 20 minutes. I even used to drive to Birmingham to and from, rather than take the train. I fall into the bracket of wasteful Caribbean man who prefers chilling in his own space. I accept that.

But this rush hour thing really shocked me. We dont rush around like this unless a serious hurricane is coming. These peeps do this every morning just to get to work on time.

Which beggars the thought. If humans are not naturally efficient and time driven then do we all have to implement a mental rush hour to perform ? I dont think so. But obviously some of these people are just highly paid guinea pigs. And they keep on stressing themselves for no reason, just to get to work on time.

As someone who strives hard to be successful, even when i lived in England my contracts over the last 5 years stipulated that I started work at 9. I would budge on salary quicker than I would of my time comfort. Call me lazy but it never affected my standard of living.

Maybe I really needed this reality check to understand why chasing success is often a myth.

Take it easy

Just returned from Barbados. I both admire and am afraid of Barbados.

Barbados represents the ultimate in first world mimickry. Its a beautiful little country with some of the hardest working people you can find. Its economy and living standards are first world, and its stability as a nation is great.

I admire all of those. Barbados has shown a capacity to absorb foreign direct investment to the point where it is attractive for foreign dollars to be in Barbados because foreigners want to holiday there, they want to live there, they want to even die there.

I get the sense that Bajans tolerate this success carefully. Its like the butler who takes shit all day because he knows he gets paid higher than even some white collar workers elsewhere and that he lives large. But deep down, he doesnt want to be a butler anymore.

A black bajan middle class may emerge, one that has landowning power. But right now they are as happy as any mid income family guy in Surbiton in the UK or Westchester in the US who really wishes he didnt have to wear a shirt and tie to work and wants to be free from being part of a robot working environment with team talks and quarterly targets.

I havent seen the balance yet. Maybe Martinique reflects it better. An island laissez-faire buffered with some colonial visitors and French patronage to give them enough income to continue being laissez faire in a great setting. Les Antillais rarely wear suits as a matter of fact.


Its funny when you think of it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mimic Men

The Caribbean in many ways is in a state of flux. This hasnt got to do much with its size. Have a look at Singapore for example. The argument about slavery is a good one, in that slavery fractured the societies of the Caribbean, but we are like many peoples able to choose a new path for ourselves.

or can we.

There is a routine failure of thought in the Caribbean. Indeed we continue to mimic other peoples routinely, with the idea that we can simply transplant the effect of their systems on their own lifestyles, to ours.

The contempt ordinary Caribbean people have for thinkers is something we dont notice. Caribbean people (even transplanted) appreciate work which has a definite wage or reward system. You dont meet Caribbean philosophers unless you want to apply that to the musings of an old fisherman on a Friday night after he has had enough spice rum to allow him to speak openly.

Its economists are barely contrarian, usually fitting in with convention. Its politicians, the most brazen of prostitutes, available for the highest bidder, and convincing the populace that giving scholarships, constructing roads and building a school constitutes a grand plan.

And its population....migratory, transient and ready to seize another identity.

There is another way of course, but mimicking is easy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Said it before

If you took a poll for and against an oil refinery locally in Dominica it would be an overwhelming yes vote - for. The same masses wanted the Billion dollar lottery here as well, even when it was shown to be an IBC scam which amazingly was being allowed to offer the scam to people living in the jurisdiction of the IBC. (Thats one topic that people dont get...why would your govt allow a scam to hit your local populace). Personally I dont have a problem with scams run by governments. The local coffers get filled and when the scams collapse usually so do the governments involved. Voila...a double win. And as for the innocent person in idaho who loses his money ? Well...greed aint good.

The alternative voices are usually a middle class with a vested interest (ie the environmentalists, the hoteliers, etc) or opposition political voices. Therefore you have classic polarisation. And the issue at large really suffers.

I love the quote by Mo udall (the guy who lost to Jimmy Carter in the US elections). He said in his concession speech, " The people have spoken, the bastards".

This assumption that Dominicans know whats best for them is a false one. Its also false that we have to do the right thing. A generation of people like this cannot learn by being denied what they consider golden opportunities. it just increases the chance of one major fuckup one day.

The other point we have to remember, unlike the dissenting voices who are looking to contribute large amounts of air to the argument, and to the economy, Chavez is putting hard cash into the local population and promising to pay for his refinery. In Dominica more than most places, money talks.

So if you want to preserve your country people, get that billion dollar investment and that Marriott and that new offshore university. come with dollars or watch the ride.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Things that foreigners cannot handle

1. "I cant find it anywhere". I understand this reason very well. You just want to go to a movie and chill. You just want to go to a restaurant and get served quickly even if they dont know you. You want a leg of Lamb NOW. You want to go to a club and you dont want to feel like you stepping into a meat factory.Its, selfish and not really important, but it is at the same time. Especially when it really isnt an island problem since you can go to other islands and do all of the above.

2. Everyone is watching. Met veye is an occupation in this small island. Like your privacy ? Go far into Zion and come down for you shopping and go back up. The alternative is that everyone is going to know you business, whether its true or false. Confidentiality means nothing here. Your bank manager to your next door neighbour has info that has to be shared. And goddammit...them goin share it. Just accept that or be a hermit.

3. The rumour mill. Not content to minding their own business they also have to create stories to match their interest. Its an island, ok . We dont have National Enquirer or the Sun. We have radio neg. The best ones are rumours that people can end up telling you not knowing its you they are talking about. Priceless, but some people can really get hurt by the non ending quest to damage their name or reputation for the sake of easing some dead TV time.

4. Government. Look. there is nothing more irritating than govt on small islands. In most large countries you dont even know who you local rep is. You are detached and the machinery of government just rumbles on. In Dominica you get to see the person who has influence over many aspects of your life close up. And it aint pretty. The bureacracy, thin skins, and plain lack of smarts of Government can drive anyone mad and get them to leave this place. Many of them prob wouldnt even be able to get a middle tier job in on merit elsewhere. But here they are king....and you better remember that or make plans to scoot.

5. Dishonesty. The country is small. That means every slight gets magnified and really CAN piss you off. If you get into business in Dominica you have to realise that there is no code of conduct or business ethics etc. Its the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest. This is not a statement saying that Dominicans are more dishonest than anyone else. We are a good people. But tings tight as they say and people have no qualms about copying, stealing or plain taking your ideas, your dreams or anything they can use and running with it. I am not being harsh. I am being real.
However if you are just living your life this doesnt apply. Well, except if you expose a fresh British or US accent in the market. Then crapaud smoke your pipe :-)

6. Gotta have some. Caribbean man must be honest. Its so damn hot and we get so horny that we have to tackle every woman. Or do we. On the flip side I really think we need to do 'Get some' holidays. Want to get some ? Come to the Caribbean island of Dominica and get laid. There is someone for everyone. Lady has a full grown beard or a nervous tic ? No problem...we have someone for that too. All joke aside though, as a man you dont realise how bad it is until you have a lady friend visit from abroad and move around with you. Guys talking to you and watching her like a piece of bacon on a menu. Some like it (bearded ladies need love too), many dont. But its real. 24x7 tackle mode is employed. It has to stop of course but women in Dominica have to play their part in stopping it.

Better get back to the real world.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ten reasons to live in Dominica

Some people dont understand why I love Dominica so I will give ten reasons why despite all the things I dont like, I still remain. Of course as they dissapear I will update :-)


1. The pace, or lack thereof. If you dont understand, stand up in grand central Station in NY or Victoria Station in London and watch people run around like headless chickens to be packed into trains like sardines. Voluntary madness. And they consider that normal. Well normal is strolling and not feeling obliged to walk fast.

2. The food. Simple and without fanfare. Who care about dining al fresco when you do that everyday. Who cares about descriptions such as a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or a collage of greens and all the bs you get on these menus in the so called first world. And now even in some caribbean countries, poor mimic people that they are. People really do giggle about it when they are being honest.

3. The water. A simple thing. River water, pipe water, just water...abundant, though less so than ever i remember but still more than most places. And it does taste different. And in this case different is better.

4. The air. Unpolluted, and fresh. Soon to possibly to have a slight tinge of oil refinery added. But still...worth being here for.

5. Familiarity. its a personal reason. I like the fact that I call and get my fish just like that fresh from the sea. I like that I know the people I encounter. yes the downside is claustrophobia of sorts and everyone being in your business, bt after all...it is a small island with not much going on.

6. The weather. I hate winter. Honesly I wasnt built for that biting cold that I willingly subjected myself to for 12 years. I am sorry, but winter fashion and frequent nookie sn enough to justify that season.

7.The innuendo of life. This need explaining. In dominica you could met your local pastor in a quiet spot literally talking off the pants of a young lady and then unashamedly experience the same person in a fire and brimstone speech next day. Dominica has an almost daily occurence of comedy, some unfortunately rooted in hypocrisy but much of it is just pure innocence translated into reality. Our signs for example are classic examples of that.

8. Carnival. Can explain it. Just do it.

9. Proximity. Just down the road in the US or UK often translates to a 30 min to and hours drive. Just down the road here is a drive that could be walked in ten minutes. I love it. I am done work and at home in ten minutes.

10. Irreverence. The lack of unnecessary airs and graces. take it from me. People in big countries have to put up with so much fake bs in their average day that its almost understanable when they go on these mass shootouts. Frustration builds up over time. Everyone has to be tolerant of each other no mater how they feel etc. In the meantime you literally see people imploding. here in Dominica a man offends another man and the anatomy of his mother comes into full view via words. They then meet next day and life goes on. there is something unhealthily healthy about that.

Add to my list if you have any.

A few thoughts

We now have social tourism from venezuela. Poor venezuelans get to come to Dominica to have a holiday via direct flights into the Nature Isle. Might be a way to placate those restless Chavistas about their socialist revolution and get some people to justify the new venezuela to dominica flights. Somehow i am yet to understand the benfit to the actual Dominican but I am sure it will come in a ruling party communique.

And yes....I know...there is no poverty in our new economic powerhouse. After all we just gave 90,000 dollars to Liberia on request from the IMF. Yes the IMF. Remember them ? That evil group of hegemonists as described by that new organisation called Alba which condemns the IMF (hawk...spit). We truly embrace the 'urgency of now' in Dominica.

This leads me to Tony Astaphan, lawyer and political advisor to the ruling party (this sounds better than government and it is actually what it is). Tony gets alot of stick because his family is rich and he is seen as a champagne socialist. Of course Tony is more than ideology. He is also a successful lawyer who works for the Antigua, Kittitian, St lucian, vincentian Labour parties (many of them have since gone from ruling to merely waiting). Tony has obviously worked out that ideology without money makes you something like a walking Cuba (liable to end up dreaming of being exploited just for the freedom of it all). I would say I admire Tony's ability to appear to be a political player. I am more reminded of those slick Mafia lawyers who all the other lawyers hate because they make more money and who still get the best 'other' work. Some could do worse than study his career approach.

Barack Obama and religion. I must say Obamas church / religion thing disturbs me. Black people for generations have been stupefied by religion. I dont believe Barack Obama is, but I do believe that he has studied the reach of religion which is even more dangerous. At times his speeches seem like sermons grabbing at the hearts and minds of the listeners. Makes me think that this guy has managed to make a whole heap of unbelievers at least pay tithe, which is why his fundraising is so successful. Between the three remaining options though I see little home for countries like ours, except that our politicians will get more chances for photo opps.

In Dominica the use of the church to legitimise people who are dirtier than the hell that most people are supposed to avoid, is well...almost religious in execution. The gathering union between church and state in Dominica is a bad bad sign. Unlike the US which has secularity drummed into the lives of its citizens, Dominica has a range of crackpots who would love to have the ability to use Government as a pulpit. Because of the belief system of people here, there is nothing more dangerous than a politician playing the God card. Their level of accountability can be nil and they will still succeed.

Lastly....Its great to be in Dominica. Its green, its sunny, its beautiful and the social tourists havnt started squatting here yet. Viva la Revolucion.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Follow the money

There is no doubt that the Caribbean is a serious challenge for an entrepeneur. Given that our laissez faire culture and the size of our markets do not usually encourage venture confidence you have to ask, why bother ?

The other issue is that there is no such thing as angel investing or VC funding in the Caribbean. Sure, some people list themselves as being VC funds but none of those Trinidadian based or Barbados based orgs are really entrepeneurial focussed. Had a chance to deal with one recently and the company had an aversion to a face to face meeting and gave no criteria as to what would encourage them to invest.

In another life I was a due diligence specialist for ICG Internet Capital Group. I was actually the CTO of one of their seed companies, Breakaway Solutions, in the UK, and spent time doing due diligence on people like Inreon in Switzerland, CargoBiz in Germany, FOL in Leicester (Farming online).

Now you wont hear of any of those companies today. They have all gone under. Of course ICG is still there, whilst all the people who used to work for these companies and the entrepeneurs who set them up, are gone.

The story is that banks and vc companies take calculated risks, but their rebound factor is high. Entrepeneurs dont have that luxury most of the time.

While I was at BWAY, the stock went up to as high as 178 bucks. We had 1000 plus employees at one point. The wasteage was incredible. I remember staying in the Old Colonial Inn in Concord , Mass, with FOL, a venture which was something of a reverse online auction system being built to operate as an online B2B venture. It tanked of course.

Many of the US colleagues went on to form Greenbeacon GreenBeacon Solutions and they are increasingly successful. The strange thing is that Breakaway had some of the brightest people I knew.

The gist of this blog entry is that life is a risk and the inability of Caribbean institutions to think beyond their nose might be one of the reasons why young people are literally being bred to run away.

The worst part of this is that it isnt worth the while for most VC's to do DD on the Caribbean. New large scale ventures in the Caribbean are few and far between. Digicel perhaps ? After that everything else is a first world outpost with a Caribbean representative.

Our impression of ourselves is not good. Its Liat Airlines. How do you expect people like CFSC and DFL Caribbean to take any risks in any enterprise.

Monday, March 03, 2008

One at a time

So far 2008 has been interesting. Starting a charity / trust foundation has gone well so far. The people contacted have all agreed and we are almost there. Its going to be interesting to see what we can achieve.

Business has been very interesting. Our free publication, The Tip, is moving overseas. It never caught on among the corporate public but it was very popular locally in Dominica with by far the widest circulation. Funny but true :-) Anyway it was a labour of love and at the end of the day love and business are pretty bad mixes. It was an interesting experiment here though and shows how the business community thinks. Note to self: Next time launch it through a 'front', preferably a white American.

Still havent joined the DAIC. Havent seen one single reason why we should. They are the local chamber of commerce.

Started two new ventures. I swear that a masochistic streak runs through me and my colleagues. Its an unusual thing but I personally do not fear failure. In fact you could almost say I live in the eye of the breeze of failure. Its a great rush. I guess its because I have failed and recovered. Maybe in a few years time I'll get tired of this.

Watching this Venezuela thing very closely.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Cronyism

There is something happening in Dominica. A kind of rampant cronyism. First of all the country has descended into the George Bushian 'with us or against us'.

Dominica joined Alba, the Bolivarian alternative to the FTAA or whatever you call these long winded meaningless games hegemonists like Chavez play. Read more about the real venezuela in this Venezuela Blog

Firstly I feel the governments problem. They have the imagination of a beetle in heat, and really have the most unusual problem. In real terms they should stand before the population and let them know that the illusion that there should be no poverty and that Dominica should be thriving, is just that, an illusion.

That would give them real room to help the country become a little bit more self sufficient and to try to work to create some jobs for the ever growing mass of young people without employment.

Instead what we have is that every major crisis or issue is faced with either the mayor, the whaling commissioner, one of the ministers, or the national radio station, or one of the govt overseas friends making statement in support of whatever steps the govt has taken.

One old person likened this government to the Patrick John government. A popular leader, a band of cronies and yes men, and a country lurching from one crisis to another without any plans other than the brainwaves of the Anointed One.

I hope not. I dont want this government to fail because in reality the lack of any intellectual and economic progress in the country right now reflects on all Dominicans here and abroad. There is a collective failure of the country. And very few people want to admit that 30 years of Independence are indeed 30 years of very little achievement. There is work to be done and I am willing to help.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A sense of power

Its Carnival time and I want to communicate something totally unrelated to the drinking and merriment goin on right now in Dominica.

How does a country with a government who are lost in action, a private sector dominated by a couple wealthy families on a continuous 'me only' agenda, and a population so bludgeoned into servility that they dont understand what is happening, change ?

There is an intellectual crisis in Dominica which could result in a backlash of sorts even for those who are nothing to do with the greed that is going on at present. There is a race and class factor of course but more obvious is that every significant organisation is now compromised either by government cronies or cronies of the private sector bullies.

And imagine having to deal with these bloodsuckers every day. Answers everyone as to what to do. I want to examine the pacifist and the 'possible bankruptcy' options. If you ask questions out of confusion I will answer and bring you up to speed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Marketing - Really

We are going through a crisis of creativity in Dominica. I blame it on the culture of cheap. You have large companies running full campaigns which look like they have been built by a 5 year old on potty break. The result ? Well...the consumer still buys, and ultimately the result is no work for proper agencies. The hostility to proper marketing and products is based on a perception of what should make money. Lets face it, in any given office if a random question were to be asked as to who thinks they can do marketing, everyone would put their hands up.

Our competition ranges from the lone range freelancer who concentrates on coming below the pricing, to our version of the local chinese, a company which does any and everything and whose owner is now trying to get political influence to backup the weakness of his services.

It used to be something that would make me vexed but I guess it is too much to expect for someone to pay decent prices for something they dont respect. The average bigger company here is acutely aware of who they 'give' money to. Therefore the trick is to make sure you never need them else they will usher you to your demise, whilst smiling and shaking your hand. Its a Caribbean ting. We are not the only people. Piracy of everything is at an alltime high and with the Chinese explosion thats just the start.

Ironically creativity, whether in our environment or in our people, is pretty much all we have. And the beat goes on.