£50,000 to the biggest idiot

October 2012

Like a lot of people, I regularly watch the news. As well as liking to be kept in touch with what is going on in the world, it also gives me a lot of material for these articles. The downside to watching the news is it often makes me angry and my TV screen ends up covered in a lot of spit. A good example of this was a piece on breakfast news a few weeks ago where some moron from the food standards agency was banging on about standardising those recommended daily guideline amount things that appear on most packages these days.

Despite thinking these guidelines are generally nonsense because what may be an average intake for an anorexic female midget is going to be completely different to an 8 foot tall body-building male I have to confess that I always glance at it. I take a look at the saturated fats and calorie count and if it contains 75 million percent of my daily recommended allowance I’m less likely to buy it because I don’t want to get fat.

This is all well and good but this idiot was trying to get this changed to a traffic light system. Now, this system is already implemented in some supermarkets and is quite clearly done to cater for idiots. I’m an intelligent adult. I can read. I don’t need things to be brightly coloured. A percentage of what I’m allowed is much clearer to me. Having something that shows me how many grams of fat something contains isn’t much help because I don’t know how many grams of fat the average 6 foot tall athletic male should consume. The fact that it’s coloured orange is irrelevant.

The problem, as always, is they are catering for the majority of the population who are stupid and probably don’t even know what a percentage is. I am finding it increasingly frustrating that I’m being grouped with stupid people.

To me, it would be more logical to have both. Keep the percentage labels so people whose heads contain more than just sawdust can calculate whether eating 2 mars bars a day will turn them into Eamon Holmes and have them coloured so the completely stupid and the merely partially idiotic are catered for.

This is called compromising. These are the kinds of ideas and decisions that should be obvious to people in positions to make the kind of decisions that affect the rest of us. I basically run a business now and it scares me how stupid people are and how few people have any initiative.

I watched a programme on BBC3 the other night called “Be your own boss”. Having read the gubbins on the BBC website, it sounded like it could be an interesting watch. It involved entrepreneur Richard Reed looking for the next generation of start-up businesses to invest in. Because I’m a young, dynamic chap full of good ideas, this appealed to me.

Now, you may not know who Richard Reed is. I certainly didn’t. Apparently he is one of the foremost entrepreneurs in the country. This appears to be based on the fact that he founded Innocent Smoothies. I actually wrote about this product early last year. His advertising strategy prompted me to purchase a Queen single and download a ring tone for my mobile phone but still to this day I haven’t tried one of his products.

Given the suspect nature of his advertising, coupled with the fact that I know any modern day “educational” programme was going to be complete patronising toss, I probably should have known better. It was basically Dragon’s Den meets the X Factor. In other words it was rubbish and embarrassing. It was just another stupid reality TV show where a bunch of idiots made an arse of themselves in front of the camera and the ones who made the smallest arse of themselves were given £50,000 to inject into their half-arsed business idea. I watched half of it through my fingers and spent the other half shouting at my telly at the imbeciles who were getting their 15 minutes of fame.

Apart from the ridiculousness of most of the ideas being put forward, my biggest problem was with the people themselves. For a whole hour all I heard was “Yeah so like I’ve got this like, you know, really great, you know, like, idea right and like it’s, you know, errrrr, really good and like, um, you know, errrr I’d like some kind of like money to, you know, like make it.”

This is a problem because running a business involves being customer facing. It involves presenting yourself to a lot of diverse people who you’re trying to convince to spend money with you. If some snotty student came to me speaking like that I’d show them the door. Then I’d throw them through it.

So you may be expecting me to claim I wasted an hour of my life watching this drivel. Well I didn’t. I came away feeling more confident about my own ability as a businessman. As someone who was born with a stammer and has always struggled on the phone, I am still more eloquent, more personable and come across a lot better than most. I also realised that I know more about the concept of strategy, marketing, sales, finance, negotiation and project management than a lot of people.

However, one cannot argue against Richard Reed’s success. He basically made millions by producing an unoriginal idea. He’s obviously got talent and it would be silly not to listen to what he has to say. Something he said stuck in my mind. He made a comment about anyone who has organised a wedding or a holiday for a group of friends can run their own business because the principal is the same: Organising a number of people to do certain tasks and be in certain places in a specific time and within a specific budget. Well I’ve done both. I organised a surprise weekend away for my brother’s stag do a few years ago with a bunch of people I didn’t even know. I found organising a wedding damn easy and nothing went wrong on the day. I remember being nervous because nothing had gone wrong and, because of what I’d been told by everyone who had been married, something always goes wrong.

Does the fact I find this sort of thing so easy mean I’m a good businessman? If that’s the case, why aren’t I a multi-millionaire? The reason is because I haven’t met someone like Richard Reed who is prepared to give me £50,000 to invest in better marketing. So here is my pitch to you Richard: Give me the money and I’ll try one of your smoothies. Deal?