• When Bernie chopped his finger off…

    (I posted this before a Be2camp event I hosted in July 2010)

    I had explained it 60 times already by 10 am Tuesday so I thought I would put a quick blog together on the sling and the finger before today’s event.Monday evening I was at a mates place and leant back in my wooden patio chair to declare ‘Oh what a wonderful life!’ and it collapsed on me, that is the chair, not my life.

    To steady myself I made a grab under the seat and caught the ring finger of my left hand in between the part of the chair that was collapsing with velocity, propelled by my body weight.

    Chair shut tight with the skin of my much-crushed finger in it and the tip of my finger bone visible. I said something that sounds like ‘duck’, ‘truck’ etc. Then said Jesus very loudly, well we always turn to a maker no matter what our religious disposition. I quickly collected myself and looked at the damage and refocused on the inside of my finger, more impressively my bone. What a unique journey of inner self-discovery this was becoming.

    Next, like Neo from the Matrix jumping up after a thrashing from an agent, I leapt up, rushed inside grabbing kitchen roll to wrap it in, blood was gushing down my arm like a BP oil pipe.

    It was an unusual sensation but obviously had something of a timer on it.

    I have learnt from parachute jumps to pay attention to what is going on and be at the moment, Wordsworth talks about being ‘prompt and watchful’ and having visual access to my bone and all this blood was certainly unique and something to treasure. (Clearly, I was getting light headed and starting to hallucinate.)

    I arrived at the tap.

    Cold water on.

    Made a mess in the sink.

    Cleared it up (I am a dream husband).

    Looked at my hand, my finger and then admired my bone that was visible in the gap in my skin.

    Then the water pushed the top of my finger back on, and it started to sting.


    Then my mate Debs came in and went blue.

    She told me I was a brave little soldier; I got wrapped up to stop the flow and then thrown in a car to the hospital.

    I got dumped at the hospital and waited for Super Cool Wife to arrive. I was alone with 40 people in A&E in Whitechapel, switched on my iPod and started mind mapping in my notebook.

    I was called through to be seen.

    ‘Name?’ ‘Bernie.’

    ‘Are you allergic to anything?’ ‘Yes – seeing my bone.’

    The nurse undid the bandage, flinched and STRONGLY recommended I don’t look.

    Suddenly a plastic surgeon appeared flinched and STRONGLY suggested I don’t look.

    He recommended going straight up to theatre where he could stitch me up, any delay and I might lose the tip of my finger.

    He asked me what I thought; I said if I was going to lose the tip of a finger my right hand would be best so I could enjoy the awkwardness of people shaking hands and not knowing whether to mention it or not for the rest of my life.

    By now Super Cool Wife had arrived and was having none of my ‘take a photo and let me tweet it!’

    Nonsense, she did take a picture, but both the surgeon and she STRONGLY advised me not to look.

    She is a clinical psychologist so has some authority on how things affect us.

    Until now I was eager to see the new iphone 3, sod that, now I want to see the picture of my finger.

    Up to theatre, lots of injections as I lay awake with people sewing my finger back together and really what a luxury it is.

    Amazingly helpful, considerate and reassuring staff, we all sang along to Paul Simon and Hall & Oates on Magic FM as they performed their craft with precision for 45 minutes.

    If anything I am grateful for the experience, why? Because as the whole sequence unfolded, I realised that I worry much more about what MIGHT happen and how I MIGHT react that the actual reality of what happens.

    Like the scene in the movie Amelie where she imagines she is tied to a missile.

    I spend HUGE amounts of time wondering ‘what if?’

    When it happens, I always know what to do, until this little drama I did not acknowledge that in myself.

    I lay on the table in the operating theatre thinking; you know what?

    There’s a quick blog in this.

  • Late Late Breakfast Show #llbs – Why these dudes!

    The mad bonkers crazy Late Late Breakfast Show hits the pavement at The Warwick next Monday night, while you may think the line up is the result of collecting cards in a seedy bar at three o’clock in the morning after a PSA gig – I want to set the record straight.
    These people form a big part of my journey and all have something I think is worth listening to, only for seven minutes mind you!
    This is real-time live user-generated content….here we go!
    1.      Andrew Bargey,
    Runs the mighty London Blogger’s Meet Up and keeps them in beer, eBay Thermo mugs and Vodafone USB sticks. The membership ranges from the corporate networkers, high-end Tech startups and East End Lasses. Knows his stuff and operates his tribe with integrity. I asked him to talk because I think blogging and marketing are fun but also 10,000 million times more powerful than trite flyers favoured by some. He rocked the room when he held court with Meet Up.com founder Scott at our event at HQ in Clerkenwell.
    2.      Lena Robinson,
    Straight talking and adorable, absolute rock to have around, knows her onions, does what she says she is going to do and usually ahead of schedule (which always scares me!) Of all the branding ‘experts’ I can count on one hand those I rate. Lena understands with relentless passion ‘brand evolution’. – If you are going to chuck £15k at a logo why not work out where you will be in 5 years time as a team and business too? The combination of her background in business and cutting her teeth in a large agency that has the same name as the surname of the bloke called Ian who played The Saint in the 80’s give her vision and drive for herself and clients. – She won’t let you buy a logo.
    3.      Mark Shaw
    A real turning point for me in twitter was when I met Mark Shaw, he turned twitter from a ‘tool for super-geeks’ and ‘megastars’ into a conversation. I met him before he hit the big time with ‘Twitter is not about Cheese Sandwiches’ and being interviewed by Chris Evans on his Radio 2 show. One of the hardest working and most generous people in my cartel.
    4.      Rod Sloane
    Last year Rod and I tore through London with his ‘How to Barrack Obama Your Businesses’ which was a whistle-stop tour of marketing and engagement techniques for SME’s and professional services firms, (thousands of those that attended will be shortly be making partner or hitting The Times rich list at the end of this year.)
    I find him very deliciously challenging as a marketer because he asks ‘Why should people do that?’ with alarming regularity. His mantra this season is ‘alignment’ that is the alignment between your sales team and your marketing team, so often these two departments are shooting each other in the foot and standing back to admire their accuracy.
    5.      Dave Clarke
    I met Dave through NRG Networks over three years ago and many cups of coffee later he is still here. One of the most reliable and quietly supportive people in my network. His time in business and networking give him a deep understanding of how people connect, what really builds relationships and how different business cycles work. The proof is in the pudding as NRG is expanding fast across the UK after Dave and Martin have build a solid platform based on advocacy.
    6.      Gary Schwartz
    I asked Gary to speak because I think there is huge power in getting people to listen to you, especially through headphones! His business is podcasting as a listener you can run, clean the house, stand in a packed rush-hour train listening to stuff. I do about a book a week this way and it really helps me learn, I am very dyslexic which gives the benefit of a wild imagination but the downside is not being able to concentrate when reading and absorbing the information as much as I would like to – Audible.co.uk got me through Uni! 
    7.      Michael Gritnert
    Michael is one of my best discoveries from East London Business Place events. He has an seemingly endless stream of stories around solving logistical problems for a whole range of companies. These range from moving containers in South America, biscuits in Denmark and getting Choirs to Paris. He studied business in both Germany and England and enjoys a jet-set life, often sharing planes with David Frost.
    Book you Late Late Breakfast Showplace here – Click this Link – enter ‘Ireadtheblog’ as the discount code for your complimentary ticket for getting this far. 
    Keep up with my blogs here
  • Green with envy…

    Innocent bystander suggested an examination of the emotion of envy as a clear route to goal setting. 

    I was slightly suspicious of this suggestion at first and realised that my well trained Catholic guilt (there is an Albatross to ones development if ever there was one) automatically dissuaded me  from an constructive entertainment of this ‘sin’ well it might be a ‘sin’ in heaven but it is an emotion on earth. 

    The other barrier was my own commitment to ‘positive thinking’ or PMA, nearly all my life I have focused on keeping positive. One consistent affirmation I have received from people school to the workplace has been on my sunny disposition. 

    One ‘faux pax’ of positive thinking is it can sometimes drift into denial, lucky I have never fallen prey to this… (Cough)!

    Many times I have sat down and written out goals with varying degrees of success, key achievements have been quitting smoking, running marathons and falling in love with a Super Cool Wife. Key missed goals have been multi millionaire by the age of 30 (in spite of several near misses) and learning Spanish to a high academic standard.

    I have always subscribed to being at least attempt being realistic and have an unwavering distain for people being herded into rooms and under the illusion of being taught how to ‘manifest their lives into a goal’ preferring instead, arguably more capitalist and commercial adage – ‘just do it!’ Juxtaposition this with ‘you can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg’ and you have the perfect ‘goal tonic’.

    Whether or not I achieved the goal there was always the reward of learning, self actualization and working out if the goal was really for me. Writing a list of envy points produced one of the most alarmingly concise ‘to do’ lists I have owned in my life.

    So to envy. I went to work on this emotion and looked at my closest friends & colleagues to see what incited envy in me. Being tall, red haired and Welsh? Nope I was ok as I am. Having long blonde hair and lots of shoes? Nope I like my Seth Godin / Moby look.  

    Now here is the kick, all of the things I ‘envy’ in other people are in fact within my reach or learnable. They range from knowing how to use those deep uncharted depths of Outlook that only highly skilled PA’s know, to learning Spanish so I can argue proficiently with Super Cool Wife in her native tongue. Of course there is the financial security one in there too, I am more than a tad envious of my square friends that always drank diet coke, did not come to Ibiza or V festival at the end of the last century, always opted for the last train home over a cab and never got a credit card.

    I sleep at night knowing you are all going to be subject to a midlife crisis much earlier than I am – anyhow everyone knows you can’t take it with you!  

  • Example Blog Post


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