#The45Plus: Two MUST Have Ingredients⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

This post looks at how and why #The45Plus went from a vibrant, positive forum that was trending on Social Media for 2-3 days, to losing large numbers of followers and becoming more politically charged and divisive online and offline... and how to regain momentum.

Background
Started off as #VoteYes
but evolves to become a mindset
After the Scottish independence referendum on the 18th Sept a group of people who voted "Yes" for Scotland to be an independent nation took to Social Media to discuss some breaking news about a crisis with the "Vow" for maximum devolved power and riots that were taking place in Glasgow.

This group decided to chat using #The45 hashtag, a reference to the 45% of people who voted yes and were keen to highlight that 1.6million people was a pretty significant "minority." This hashtag trended for large sections of the weekend.

By the end of the weekend the #VoteYes team had seemed to get through their venting, and any engagement with the #VoteNo camp had went from angry exchanges, to invitations to join in the chat. The hashtag was evolving from #VoteYes to #The45Plus mindset.


The45Plus in Education
I have been working on developing a community like this for the last 2 years in education, but had to abandon my plans as the culture was not right. The reason I took an interest in the Independence Referendum is because I noticed that the conditions were special... as special as the kind of environment that created Silicon Valleys conditions (See posts from 9th, 15th & 20th Sept). This #The45 thing felt like something special.

I was keen to help but wanted to do so in collaboration with the right groups. It took a few days before I could reach anyone by which point #The45 had been renamed to #The45Plus, had made the news and had the politicians doing what they do best. Arguing and calling #The45plus divisive, (See Why all the Fighting) when I did reach people the answers I received included;

Indecision and Procrastination
"We want to do something with this, but we're not sure what to do with it" and "Receiving lots of suggestions... best to get it right than fast"

Momentum is an extremely important component with the roll out of a new idea, we saw the momentum with the Yes camp. This indecision and procrastination allowed others to fill the void and decided the shape that this community would take. This fragmented the group and alienated the "No" camp and made the experience less enjoyable with each visit for many, perhaps with the exception being political activists.

Some groups like Brave Many are appreciating the need to actively cultivate the right culture... Something that should have been done last Monday. I am not sure if we will be able to get #The45Plus group to  fulfil it's full potential as some momentum has been lost, but I am keen to see if I can help. I will be writing some posts on establishing the right culture.

Natural Leadership
There are some natural leaders who are emerging from this who I will be giving my full support to and includes Brave Many (@BraveMany), Wings of Scotland (@WingsScotland) and National Collective (@WeAreNational) and their supporters. The 60+ Yes Scotland accounts are also key. I really liked Brave Many's recent post "Indy Ref and After" by Salmo Salar

I will be detailing some areas that I feel are important to achieve the kind of culture that will allow #The45Plus to achieve it's full potential. Everything I suggest will be to facilitate two key principles that create momentum for tech companies and products (Including Ebay, Amazon, Google, Apple), Network Effects & Positive Feedback Loops.


Network effects
Communication platforms are of more value when they have reached critical mass; telephones, e-mail, mobile phones, social media etc have less value when there are only 100 people subscribing to the service than when there are 1 million. The more people from your friends/group/network subscribing to a service the greater value it will have to you. 


Positive Feedback Loops 
The more positive the experience for users the better the network becomes. If you like a site you will invite others to join you, the more people from your network who join, the more relevant the conversation becomes to you – the more time you spend in this space. These are principles that have assisted google, facebook, you tube, Amazon & ebay etc but there is potential for colleges to apply these principles as well.

Facebook
Facebook rolled out to Ivy league universities and did not move from one university to the next until the had 50% of the students signed up.Once 50% of the students were using the site they;

1) Stayed on the site for longer, and
2) Other students would join their fellow students 

Being an exclusive club saw other universities and schools want to join. Having their friends on the site made it a positive experience and word spread.

#The45Plus
The group was already established through the #VoteYes #IndyRef hashtag so the network effect was already there. The diverse membership ensured that the conversion was varied and the Scots humour made sure that we came back on a regular basis.

The #VoteYes also had a shared identity and the noble cause of wanting independence. 

On Monday 22nd Sept a new culture that integrated both Yes and No voters should have been established and a new set of goals discussed and agreed.

The group did discuss these areas naturally but there was no consensus. The next few posts will discuss this.

Culture Shift 2 – The Journey⤴

from @ Pedagoo.org

Every school is on a journey; it’s the very nature of what we do that means we’re always looking for more. There’s new specifications and syllabi coming through, new initiatives to drive our students to further success, ever changing targets or even the challenges of special measures.  It doesn’t matter which school you’re in, there […]

3 Things #IndyRef Yes Alliance & Apple Have in Common⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories





iWatch: Countdown to the Referendum & Iphone 6
When the Scottish Independence Referendum debate was really heating up Apple's annual product launch presentation unveiled the Iphone 6 and the iWatch. Here we explore three things that Apple and the Yes Alliance have in common.

21st March 2013
The Scottish government announced that the referendum would be held on 18 September 2014

Mar 13-July 14
Opinion Polls 
According to the "What Scotland Thinks" website, the polls for #VoteYes were only over 40% once between February 13 and July 14 (which was Aug 13 = 44%).






5th August 2014
Interest in the referendum gets intense when Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling go up against each other in their first TV debate. 

The fiery debate ended with both the Yes and No camps claiming victory, but a snap ICM / Guardian poll showed 56% thought the former chancellor had won, with 44% choosing Salmond.





25th August 2014
The second televised debate takes place between Salmond and Darling. This time the ICM/Guardian snap poll shows 71% of viewers felt the First Minister had won, with just 29% putting the Better Together chief in front.


7th September 2014
A new poll for the Sunday Times, by YouGov shows the Yes campaign in front for the first time.


8th September 2014
A second poll, this time by TNS, shows the two campaigns neck and neck with 10 days left until the referendum. 

10th September 2014
Apple has it's annual event to showcase it's new products. This year it includes the iPhone 6 and the iWatch. Apple isn't usually the first to roll products out but, when they do they tend to dominate. For example MP3 players, mobiles and tablets were out long before Apple entered these markets, but today are market leaders.

Why is this?

What about "First mover advantage"?

As far as I can see, the similarities between the last 2 weeks of the Vote Yes camp of the referendum campaign Vs The way Apple roll products out appear to be very similar.

1) Product Market Fit
Apple: In our Technology in Education report "Developing Relationships and Delivering Value" we included an article about the iwatch from Feb 2013 which asked if Apple can play watchmaker. We would like to draw particular attention to this comment from this article;

"To build and to ship are two entirely different things, and Apple often does the former, but only selectively continues through to the latter"

Yes Alliance: When developing these products, establishing close relationships are key:

  • Within the company 
  • Across the tech sector, and 
  • With users 
Many tech companies will work from their clients office to identify the needs and create a bespoke product. The SNP exemplified this with

  • Little/no in-fighting (At least not as much as Tory/LibDem coalition!). 
  • Partnerships with other parties via the Yes Alliance 
  • The SNP is based in Scotland and is interested in the future of this "Small Niche Sector" compared to Westminster.
Not only does Westminster need to consider the needs of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Europe. The uneasy Team of rivals that was "Better Together" was nowhere near as cohesive or collaborative as the Yes Alliance.

Being a small, but determined team, is absolutely no handicap when up against the more encumbered market leader that is "set in its ways". Especially not when you have the intelligence, vision and determination. Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon reached out to anyone who shared their vision of Scotland's Future to form the Yes Alliance and a collaborative form of politics. See Appendix 2 to see how this strategy was similar to when Google was looking for a new CRM supplier (What Would Google Do? P35):

So what did I learn from [Choosing a risky Startup Vs established Company] this? I learned that the obvious solutions are not only the ones and “safe” choices arn’t always good choices. I had thought that due diligence meant finding the product most people relied on, then putting pressure on the vendor to cut the price. It never occurred to me to talk to a start-up...

We have different tolerances for risk and different ideas about what two smart people working alone could accomplish...Two smart guys working on complex technical problems, it turns out, can accomplish a hell of a lot. Doug Edwards, Google Employee 59

2) Presentation Matters 
Apple: "I define a miracle as something that comes in and changes your life for the better in ways you did not expect." 

Is how the mother of an autistic child explains "The miracle" of an iPad because of her son's enthusiastic engagement with it, which features in a video celebrating the first year of the Ipad. 

In "Life's a Pitch" Philip Delves Broughton continues to observe how; 


Apple spend 250 hrs on 20 min
product launch presentation
Apple thinks and behaves like many of history's greatest evangelical organisations. It was founded and was run for many years by a highly charismatic leader, who refered to his own achievements as "magical" and "revolutionary." Its advertising describes its products as possessing miraculous powers.  

In the same film as the mother with the autistic son, Ron Johnson, who oversaw Apple's stores at the same time, says, "The iPad has to be held, has to be touched to truly understand how magical it is" - as if it were the Turin Shroud.

Then there is the fact that Apple put a lot of work into their product launches. In his book, Talk Like Ted, Carmine Gallo observes that the Apple team spend 250 hours on the presentation for a 20 minute product launch.

Yes Alliance: Presented their message in a similar way to Apple, they did not focus on features & functions of how an Independent Scotland would operate (Admittedly an issue that the Better Together camp exploited, but did not endear itself to the public). The Yes Alliance focused on the benefits, what independence would mean to the people - a fairer society, Bairns not bombs, health, education but not in a 5 year plan and all statistics and dry documents. Neither did they focus on the issues that appealled only to the elite, currency and markets etc.

3) Social Proof
Apple: Apple are very effective at utilising their brand advocates and fans, they send out press releases with some of the functionality and whip the fans into a frenzy. This means that on launch day the advocates are jumping up and down on their seats, everyone in the audience can be seen in the media coverage looking at their new watches with awe and wonder.


How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual
Apple's Training Manual
The difference between going into an Apple store and some other electronic shops is night and day as one is uber helpful and friendly, other play keystone cops as they chase you round the shop trying to sell you stuff! One is very effective at getting the til ringing, the other is not. Both are approaches are very much focused on sales...although the difference may be you "Buy" at one and are "sold" stuff at the other. Something that both Apple and the Yes Alliance used to good effect is "Social Proof"


"No leader can hope to persuade, regularly and single handedly, all the members of the group. A forceful leader can reasonably expect, however, to persuade some sizable portion of group members. Then the raw information that a substantial number of group members has been convinced can, by itself, convince the rest. Thus the most influential leaders are those who know how to arrange group conditions to allow the principle of social proof to work maximally in their favour" Robert Cialdini

Yes Alliance: Having achieved product market fit, established a collaborative alliance (who put together a tremendous grass roots campaign), communicated the message well... it was time to pull it all together. On the 15th September

The people of Scotland behaved like Apple evangelists at a product launch.  

There was an uprising of "Vote Yes" in Glasgow, revolution was definitely in the air... the winds of change were blowing.



Bringing it All Together
What happens when you bring Product Market Fit, a well communicated message and Social Proof together? Some seriously positive PR! By building a compelling product/vision through establishing close relationships provides a loyal fan base. Putting on a show when you bring the product/visions together with an enthusiastic fan base sees everyone talking about it.

It is these 3 factors that play a significant role in making them the market leader with any space they enter, regardless of how late they are to the party.

While this may sound very straightforward, this is extremely challenging to get right. The culture matters so much and requires a massive amount of collaboration.

Tech guru Geoffrey Moore and more fun and visual demonstration of him explaining these principles that help Apple to become the market leader. How Dancing Guy Crossed the Chasm.

We saw that these concepts were so powerful that the momentum lead to #The45 & #The45Plus, but a lack of understanding of these concepts led to the culture and momentum being affected.

The question is can we get this momentum and culture back to get the party started again? This is something that we will be exploring in the next few posts.

PMF + Social Proof + Presentaion = Time for an #VoteYes/iParty

On Doing What Makes Me Happy – Co-operative Learning – Values and Practice⤴

from @ Pedagoo.org

“Happiness is when what you think, what say and what you do are in harmony.”  (Mahatma Ghandi) Co-operative learning makes me feel happy.  It also makes me feel perplexed and challenged but this discomfort is worth it, most of the time.  The thing that makes me happy about co-operative learning is the interaction between the […]

Update letters⤴

from @ SQA Computing blog

I asked the admin team to send out two update letters on Friday: one for non-advanced awards and one for advanced awards. They contain important information about changes to vocational Computing awards.

The non-advanced letter includes information about new National Units, new group awards (such as NPA Digital Passport) and changes to existing awards (such as PC Passport).



The advanced letter includes information new Higher National Units and details about new and revised awards at SCQF Levels 7 and 8.


There's nothing in either letter that readers of this blog will not already know but for those who don't regularly read this blog they contain vital information about changes to qualifications, including important dates.

The letters will be sent to centres on Thursday, as part of SQA's normal (electronic) weekly update (via your SQA Co-ordinator), so look out for them shortly after that.

Normandy Fahrt Day 3: Omaha Beach⤴

from @ blethers



We spent our third day in France reliving the American experience on Omaha Beach. I felt I knew most of what happened there from endless re-runs of The Longest Day (shot on location: we saw photos of local involvement in the filming) and the more recent Saving Private Ryan, but nothing had prepared me for the sheer size of the cemetery that takes up the whole area on the cliffs where the German defences were sited above the main beach. There is something about the starkness of the white crosses rising straight out of the cropped grass, crosses that had name, rank and company as well as home state and date of death, that depersonalised the loss for me - no emblems, no age given for the dead, no flowerbeds around the graves. Instead, I was forcibly aware of the anonymity of these ranks - look at the lines, which flow straight in every direction - and the dedication that ensures that every single grave has this cropped grass round the foot of the cross (or Star of David: you can see one to the right of centre in the photo). There were clumps of heather round the pine trees grouped occasionally around the site, a multi-faith chapel that was too over-run by visitors to give me any sense of anything, and a Garden of the Missing where a 22-foot statue ‘The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves’ looks west over the headstones - over 9,000 graves,  among which are the stones of 45 sets of brothers, and 1,557 missing in action.

But even more than among the graves, it was down on the beach that I felt the hopelessness of the  task faced by these young men from halfway across the world as the ramps of their landing craft fell forward and they saw what they had to climb, under withering fire, if the invasion was to succeed.
 The photo on the left shows Mr B and friend on the sand where so many died just as they left the sea, and beyond them, the trees standing distinct on the skyline show where the guns overlooked the whole area, while other fortifications were, I think, among the dunes where the vegetation starts. The photo below shows the same section of beach from what is now the viewpoint; it would have been a  viewpoint with a rather different purpose in 1944. The area to be covered is now traversed by a neat path that you can see disappearing in the middle of this photo, but even with its steps and easy gradient it took us a
good 15 minutes to climb back up. The area in between is now covered in shrubs that I imagine have been planted to deter wandering in this site, which is entirely given over as a memorial.

After a break for lunch had turned into a truly French affair (because some of us went looking for a crêperie and ordered galettes complètes and while this is fast food for one it isn't for 14), we visited another sobering site above the Pointe du Hoc, where the American Rangers had to climb the cliffs to reach the huge guns which actually for the most part faced inland because the Germans didn't think anyone would make that climb. The whole area was pitted with the holes from the shellfire from the Allied ships, and we were able to go inside the concrete gun emplacements and see the view made famous by a scene in The Longest Day when a German officer first saw the invasion on the horizon.  We went from there to another iconic site, where an American paratrooper famously caught on the roof of the church in Ste Mere Eglise and hung there for hours pretending to be dead to avoid being shot. A museum stands on the site where on the fateful night a house was on fire, and - somewhat bizarrely - we could see from the town square the torn parachute and (model) paratrooper still hanging from the church roof.

That evening, like the previous one, was spent in raucous entertainment. The young staff of the Chateau flocked, like little moths, to the door of the room where this mob of ancients acted Allo Allo in execrable French accents and sang wartime favourites and French songs at the top of their still-unbelievably-loud voices to the accompaniment of a small keyboard pounded to great effect by Mr B.

As I've said on previous occasions, you really had to be there ...


6

SuperSalmond Episode 5: Helping A Competitor… Advice for Other Parties⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

So far in this series we've looked at reaching out to kids, Science fiction fans and considered the startup community through Stratacus' advice for branding an independent Scotland.

In our most recent post we encouraged the people of Scotland to dream big and be the best in the world. We also detailed why, based on Tech sales, the old style politics might just want to pack up and leave. Today we're going to reach to this group who desperately needs our help... and some hope. Our competition: Other political parties.

Good Digital Citizens Help Competitors
While SuperSalmond and the YesAlliance have the (Entirely fictional) written constitution of being "The Defenders of Hope" Our (Equally fictional) arch enemies...The Minsters of the West have an unwritten constitution of being "Dull and incompetent," as one of SuperSalmonds own heroes says these Minsters are

"Sad Strange Little Men and they have our pity"


Good #YesAlliance Digital Citizen's shouldn't get angry with their competitors and/or make them feel like they want to flush your head down the toilet. We should collaborate with everyone, even our competitors, and help them (in our case this would be help them to pack. Lol. No just kidding, well actually I'm not but there's a nicer way of putting it).

Hey Misters, apologies forgot what we stand for, and are "The Defenders of Hope" I had no right to say you were sad or strange... although you don't seem very happy! And your beheviour towards Scotland with its energized proactive Digital Citizens does seem a little strange? Oh and if ever there was a Hopeless situation...(Note to self: Stop it! Play Nice!)

Wager: Dull and Incompetent 
Tell you what, how about a friendly wager? You go speak to your expensive consultants to see how to deal with Brave Many's #SuperSalmond design and this "Defender of Hope" stuff and, if the strategy is a good one.... If its as good as your Better Together campaign, we'll say that you win. If not we do? What do you say?

We can bet a sticky bun on it... Or how about one of those Cornish Pasties that we understand Minsters of the West are partial to?

Superman Making a Difference... SuperSalmond Creating a Legend
Alex Salmond has already spoken to Superman and he told us that he had beat some baddies in real life: How Superman Defeated the Klu Klux Klan. Superman asked the #YesAlliance

"What would happen if we took a goodie from real life to and made him into a cartoon superhero?"

As things stand when the Minsters of the West encounter SuperSalmond it's as his alter ego The First Minister of Scotland. You like arguing with him and belittling him and his effortdown in your house. Your common house which is full of strange little people who just argue amongst yourself all day long.


Hope in the Face of Retirement
When Mr Salmond retires you'll be glad he's no longer here to bother you. But, IF all this Superhero "Silliness" takes off, how are you going to argue with or against Super Salmond, without trying to crush some peoples hopes.

Therefore, it is our hope that you will need to change your leadership style. Leadership where people collaborate instead of shouting and arguing.

Leadership based on results... on what you have actually done, not based on soundbites that you never get round to fixing.If you do decide to start arguing and fighting with the Scots, you will be having an almighty battle as you will be taking on "The Defender of Hope." Might even have a SuperSalmond comic!

Embedded image permalinkWe've Tweeted out to The Beno, the Herald, Mecha Man, Horribe Histories, Comic Con and a regular SuperGran, we'll be asking the kids what they think about the idea too. If they like we could explore and and all of these areas;

 Teachers & Students: New & Engaging Teaching Partnerships, More Trust and Respect
Young People: Increased interest in Politics by young people,
Scotish Business: New Partnerships, Ideas and Increased revenue

Leadership Super Powers
We are preserving and adding to the work of the kind of leadership that makes sure they take other people with them. 

We have been breathing breath life into adding to and celebrating Brave Many's #SuperSalmond design: We hope that we have added to "The Legend" with ideas that will be difficult to shake out of the minds of the people who read this. ie comparing Salmond with "The Steve Jobs of politics" and that he has created an "Entrepreneurial and Start up Politics".(See Welcome to Scotland and Episode 3: Start Up Scotland)

Doing Good while Having Fun... And Just Being Silly! (But Annoyingly Effective)
If Alex Salmond, the #YesAllience like this whole "Super Salmond idea" and they ran with it, it could have been problematic if we were an independent country. However, we're not, we're a part of the British Empire and every kid knows that you need a bit of silliness and rebelliousness when you're up against an Empire... Even the grown ups say so in "David and Goliath:Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants" 




SuperSalmond in Education
Education does not need any misfits or underdogs in the class, there are enough of those already. Education and kids in deprived areas need a battling giant and we feel some SuperSalmond ideas could be the solution. We detail some of this in Episode 1 and RockStar Educators (With more to follow)


Waiting for Superman follow a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth. This film takes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying "drop out factories" and "academic sinkholes," methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems .

We're going to see if we can do good while having fun in education, and see if Super Salmond can help with this.

Hail the Conquering King? Or There's a Hero in All of Us
"Who'd want a monarchy, when they "conquer" and "rule." But Superheroes... They defend people! Especially those who can't defend themselves. This has the added advantage of being the antithesis for Minsters of the West, home of the elite and friend of big business.
There's a Hero in all of Us
"You'll never guess who [Little boy Henry] wants to be. Spider-Man. [Because] He knows a hero when he sees one. Too few characters out there, flying around like that...saving old girls like me. And Lord knows, kids like Henry need a hero. Courageous, self-sacrificing people...setting examples for all of us.

Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them. Cheer them. Scream their names. And years later, they'll tell how they stood in the rain for hours....just to get a glimpse of the one...who taught them to hold on a second longer.

I believe there's a hero in all of us...that keeps us honest...gives us strength...makes us noble...and finally allows us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady...and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams. And besides the post this morning was just a story! But if you do want to take it seriously: Here's the rational"

Don't know about anyone else but this sounds a lot like the #YesAlliance so far and what Scots aspire to... There might be something in all this silliness and Super Hero fun.

Super Hero Leadership
In the previous SuperSalmond Episode We highlighted some changes may benefit others with leadership roles; 

"Get rid of the "Takers" and "Fakers" in leadership roles and replace them with Adam Grant's "Givers" and Dave Logans "Stage 5" teams... the ones that take other people with them, and create value for all, not just themselves"

It would be great to think that this Superhero idea could force politicans hands. I stress I am non-partizan, and am happy to help anyone out. However, the higher the bar can be set, the better. A retiring politician who the people like is one thing to take on, but what about when he leaves? What about a legacy that will keep people on their toes? Superhero status... I love it Brave Many! Well done!

What if this image and brand takes off? I'll tell you what... OUCH! You might just want to consider a new referendum... just to get rid of this political hot potato! I don't know if Brave Many is aware of how significant this is, which is why I've been happy to help develop the narrative with these posts.

Now, here's how we hope this SuperSalmond series proves to be a real challenge to the "Takers" and "Fakers". I hope that those who deserve to, find some of these concepts difficult to remove from people's minds once the ideas are out there... I have attempted to write it some concepts that will resonate and "stick" so.even the political spin will struggle, But I am no spin doctor so have no idea if these ideas will have any impact. But here are some examples that we were going for,

Where it all began: Enron's Ken Lay & George Bush.
Cosy tit for tat favours to cover up incompetence
Comment in post: "They're the Woolworths of Politics"
What people will think when politcians talk "I'm listening to a dinosaur: You are the stuffy the old guard" 

Comment in post: Startup Politics
What people see when politicians talk: Stop talking and show me the money! Don't tell me what you are GOING to do, show me what you have done!

Comment in post: Adoption cycle and customer profile
What people will think when politicians talk: SuperSalmond, YesAlliance, knows my fears and can relate to me about them. All other parties think about are along party members and class lines.

Comment in post: #BetterTogether or Divorce
What people will think when politicians talk: If you argue or try to belittle Super Salmond the noise for wanting another referendum will become Exceedingly Loud! You may want to think about playing nice. Collaborative politics.Maybe not be what politicians want or what are used to but it's not about you.

You could always fight fire with fire and create your own Super Hero, but who? And for what? What would they stand for and have achieved? Maybe Iron Man's compatriot, The Iron Lady? That WOULD go down well in Scotland!

This is not personal, I want to hold example of leadership like this up so that people see the results and success if people choose this style of leadership, and not look at "Takers" style of leadership which gets more attention;


"If you fight people, you'll lose; If you fight for a cause, you'll win"

If it looks like these posts are "Out to get" anyone, this is untrue. If any politicians feel this way, maybe it's because this is their leadership style. Please also allow me to remind any MPs listening in that every party has had emails from me. I have met with people from every party, but many of these ideas in my blog have gone ignored.. 

Furthermore, if I wasn't interested in helping... why would I tell you what people will think and provide advice for you in each post. HOWEVER, even offering advice may be pointless... if people don't care about anyone apart from themselves or lack integrity. If the culture is not right then nothing you do will work. I guarantee it #in-the-thick-of-it.

As an example, we are seeing aspects of this in the Independence camp as there is not the same culture and sense of unity, purpose or humour when you compare the #VoteYes Camp and campaign Vs post election activities. Culture Matters...More than ANYTHING else!!



SuperSalmond Episode 4: Achieving the Impossible⤴

from @ Edu Tech Stories

I have been blogging extensively about some ideas I have about #The45Plus community and thought I would detail my motivation for this. I sincerely hope that Scotland's politicians, business owners, students and sales people read this. I believe that it could assist with productivity.

If that's not enough of an incentive will you read it if I tell that it includes information as to why I would advise that, based on Technology sales and roll out principles, Labour and the Conservatives should just pack up and go now, and why a second referendum appears to be inevitable.

Great Organisations
I also hope that my experiences might encourage others to get on Social Media, open a blog and have some BIG AUDACIOUS GOALS!

Jim Collins Hedgehog Concept
I enjoy reading about startups and the culture and priorities that top performing organisations have. Regardless of who you read about, whether MIT, Google, Stanford, Apple, Geoffrey Moore or others, you get the same answers.
  • Recruitment matters
  • Product Market Fit Matters
  • Focus Matters
  • Culture Matters
  • How you organise Space Matters
  • You should do what you Love; and love what you do
Be the best in the world!
Find you're vertical! Find the one thing that you can do better than anyone else. Stay focused, don't be sales let. Work in a niche and stay in that niche until you've become the market leader. These are other universal recommendations.

However, while I read about these issues and my Silicon Valley and Boston EdTech contacts do to... I've not met many Scots who have read these books, so I hope this post helps politicians/independence advocates and businesses (BTW Not an easy mix to appeal to in a single post).

It is my belief that the #YesAlliance is an example of this. The UK Government promise a "Vow" but can't deliver something for 5 million people because they have got another 71 million people to appease. And the 5 million are VERY different to the others. Then there is keeping the vow together with 3 opposing camps.It's always going to be very difficult to be the best party in Scotland when you want English votes too. This is the same reason for the UKIP defections. 

I went through the process of asking, if I applied myself, is there anything I might have a shot at being the best at? I decided to go for being one of the best sales people in Further Education. According to start up gurus FE has some ideal attributes but, like a Westminster MP based in Scotland, I failed. 

Being in a Bad Market
In January I published my New Years Resolution: 100% College Roll Out, a few weeks ago I abandoned this project, for the time being at least (For more details see Leaving FE). Through helping a would-be-competitor out I realised that I was in a "Bad Market," the quickest and simplest way to define a "Bad market" to #The45Plus group is maybe 

"It's like being a Labour or a Tory MP in Scotland at the moment" 

The conditions just are not right, they cannot reach their audience because their is a supplier who has a better product and who is on the way to become the "Market Leader," Labour and Conservatives, I'm sorry to say this but, as far as the tech world literature goes... you may want to just pack up now. Your task now is like Yahoo Vs Google, My Space Vs Facebook... ie you had your chance and you blew it. 

See Page 19 to see why the Yes Alliance will be forgiven for any errors or transgressions... which is also why I wouldn't moan about them if I were you, they have the people on their side. Collaborating is your best chance now. Referendum or bust. But if you collaborate and/or agree you'll get kicked out. You're choices are: A slow death, or a quick one. Them's the choices. 

This is what happens when you're up against the Steve Jobs of Politics, this is why I am writing all this stuff. People like this CHANGE THE WORLD. Get behind them or get out of the way. Not easy to hear I know. Been there got the T-shirt. Had to abandon 4 years of hard graft just because, like you, I found the conditions were not in my favour.

If you want to get Alex Salmond style popularity, stop off and Newcastle and declare the North East free from Westminster and you'll be the peoples' champion too

Ahead of the Game... Not The "My Space of Politics"
Although I hasten to add... my problem, apparently, is that my ideas were "Ahead of their time," yours is that like Yahoo, who saw search as a small insignificant part of the operation. Google focused every single resource on search. Guess who won.

The problem I faced in FE was that you're toxic Westminster culture seeped into education and you killed innovation in FE. People were either so scared that making a poor decision will get them sacked or they are over worked as 30%+ of of their colleagues have left the sector. So innovation has been frozen and, in the same way you are facing this in Scotland, this may lead to the sector fading into insignificance, as Starbucks enter this space. I'm not kidding! What's happening with this Scottish Startup politics may be a good time to re-raise the alarm and help with your current situation too;


If you know anyone who might want to pick up where I left off in FE, here's a lot of my research (Although please do wish them luck, they'll need it!):


What's My Motivation
Personally I find it easier to work with people when I know what motivates them, and I am wondering if my new Scottish readers and friends are wondering why I'm either spending a lot of time blogging and/or giving a lot of hard earned research away.

I would like to draw everyone's attention to the "What's My Motivation" section of "The Fox of EdTech" post above. Read it? OK. Good. 8-10 months ago people laughed at some of these "Crazy ideas" (Especially Competitor Collaboration, Giving Movement, Question Perceptions about Sales) because of the impossibility of the task in hand. 

I'd be keen to hear from #The45Plus group to see if these ideas seem so laughable and impossible today, once you've read this post.

Get Rid of Psychopathic Leaders
Get rid of the "Takers" and "Fakers" in leadership roles and replace them with Adam Grant's "Givers" and Dave Logans "Stage 5" teams... the ones that take other people with them, and create value for all, not just themselves.

My plans for SuperSalmond have not been revealed yet, but I hope that my work with this makes it extremely difficult for "Takers" to operate in any area of Scottish Society.

These ideas would need to be read and acted upon but I can't influence that too much... The best I can do is focus on the areas I can affect, publish my thoughts/ideas, and try to do so in as compelling a way as possible.

Sales Matters: 400% Guarenteed
Get Educators to see sales differently, to get employers to adopt "Social Selling" and co-create with their clients, to create content and add value and not generate spam and waste people's time talking about "my company, my product/service" etc. We're not even talking about telling customers about how the service will benefit them...

It's having EVIDENCE of how the service has added value to your early customers. Again this is a MASSIVE culture shift and will be near impossible. However, to not even try means that sales people will continue to be seen with suspicion. This is unproductive, inefficient, ineffective... and unfair! The problem is (Surprise, surprise) CULTURAL See

All of this is about replicating Apple, Google and IBM's techniques. MIT says that in order for people to switch to a new method you need a X10 improvement (Which may be why SNP didn't win, they didn't articulate how life would be 10 times better to the 55%).

But issues of a X10 improvement is not the problem with social selling as there are case studies with a 400% increase in sales, so

What is: Unwelcome calls and spam that takes up a lot of time for both seller and buyer, products perhaps could be better (How many Scottish cos have 100% repeat business ratio and/or are best in the world at what they do?), anyone with Traditional sales skills may well find employment harder to find in the next few years.

What could be: Better products, Less rejection for sales people So - "Doing good (Not annoying people as much) While Having Fun (Not in tears at the end of every call. Lol). Improved products for the same reasons as Startup Politics will have - Co-Creating with clients and improved customer relations. There there is increased revenue for companies and economy.(See Appendix 2: What Would Google Do?)

What's not to like? Change is tough! Even when the benefits are obvious! Then Scotland... Get a move on! SNP Tell business to get into this, there could be massive improvements to the economy to be had here.

As a nation, if we were to have resskilled sales people we could become a specialist in Social Selling and Community Management, you just might find businesses leaving London for Scotland with i'ts very efficient and effective sales network!


For any sales people out there and you're boss insists on cold calling, get in touch with @scotsayyes this is his bread and butter. If you don't, you're an idiot! Here's why;

Dude Cold Calling is for Losers

Shape Yourself to a New Mark...

So I wanted to work on connecting educators up in FE. However, through helping a competitor I realised it was not happening, the conditions were not right

For the last few months I've been liaising with US educators, but it does upset me that I am not working in the UK. I am not because I just can't make it happen.

I noticed the potential in what Alex Salmond was achieving on the 9th Sept. I have been shouting about how great this opportunity was just because "I could" I felt I could help... so I have done. Today helping #The45Plus just might have repaid in buckets. I helped Brave Many with the SuperSalmond idea.

I know that Brave Many is keen to see a SuperSalmond Comic, so I wrote SuperSalmond Episode 1: A New Hope...Opportunities

If this happens this just might help get Scottish educators connected. So my collaborating with a competitor and helping #The45Plus out "Just because I can" has given me a New Hope and alternative opportunities to keep a set of goal I had been working towards alive..

Crazy and Impossible Goals?
So guys, what do you think? The moral of the story? Do your homework, research your market, understand when the conditions just are not right, collaborate, always show your friendship first, think differently and dream big... ask yourself 


WHAT IS THE ONE THING I CAN I BE BEST IN THE WORLD AT

If you can't do this for yourself, then [it may sound like a cat poster] do it for your country. There are only 5 million of us, if you want to have a fair and just society then follow the example of the person that has made 3 things that were all but impossible a year ago a lot more tangible... Thank You Mr Salmond, I have renewed Hope regarding some of these opportunities.

The implementation of these goals will depend on people actually reading and acting on my ramblings, I'm doing all I can to be heard, and that's what matters doing what you can. I'll do what I've always done and follow Nightingales advice when trying to make a success of these plans;

"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal." Earl Nightingale

If nothing else #The45Plus community seems a good cause to help out in any way I can, as I continue to work towards achieving these goals. I appreciate that I might never get there. Regardless, I'm in good company. It's the journey that matters, the company you keep and how many people you take with you. I'd rather take as many people as would like an adventure... whether from Scotland, VoteYes, Vote No or from Sparta... than go it alone.   

#coffeechat Episode 003⤴

from @ teachitgeek

Tonight I had the pleasure of hosting episode 3 of the #coffeechat podcast. I started this with my good friend Ian Simpson (@familysimpson) as a way for us to chat as often as possible about the state of technology in Education.

Tonight we had the pleasure of the Aberdeenshire dream team Jim McLean (@jimmclean1) and Susan Sey (@seysusan).

We spoke about the need for photocopying, modern classrooms, display interactivity and iPads in teaching and learning.

The audio version will be uploaded to iTunes ASAP.