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Showing posts from July, 2010

Silicon Valley Is Dead - a critique and why Ireland's current plans are doomed to failure

Silicon Valley Is Dead

This article explores the problematic relationship between technical innovation as a driver of economic success, and the question of depending on such innovation to rejuvenate job growth. As the article suggests, it doesn't work that way: much of the manufacturing that lies behind such innovation has long since vanished from the US, even hugely successful companies like Apple now only have 25,000 employees remaining in the entire US. Compare that to Siemens in Germany, which still employs 126,000 out of its total of 420,000 in the Fatherland. In comparison, Apple has only 34,000 employees in total - most of the manufacturing and supply chain management is entirely outsourced and offshored.

The initial few paragraphs discuss the trend whereby most industries in Silicon Valley have experienced about a 20% net drop in total employment over the last decade, although the average wage has rised. The writer points out that what is often forgotten is manufacturing, wh…

More on the real world

You know, there are times when I wonder is there two worlds in Ireland - one a make believe world, in which developers, FF politicians, NAMA employees, bankers, high end public sector employees and slumlords live, and another, in which the rest of us live.

Today, while investigating on yet another job prospect, which happens to be extremely well paid, I looked a little into pensions.  I eventually found myself on the spectacularly poor PS website on pensions, which was really shocking, but this took the biscuit:

"Target Audiences


The National Pensions Awareness Campaign focuses on the general public and particularly those sectors of the population as identified in the CSO (Central Statistics Office) Pensions Surveys and Updates as having consistently low pension interaction and coverage. These areas where pension awareness and action are low include:



Hospitality – the lowest level of pension coverage of all sectors and highest level of respondents who admitted to having limited kn…

Cowboys proliferate in recessionary times

I had a spot of time this morning to peruse one of our wonderful freesheets, in North Dublin, the Northside People.  Its poorly written in places, but the small ads are amusing.  Until I started noticing just how many of them were obvious advertising desperation by poorly thought out businesses offering rubbishy or poor services.

For example I discovered one ad for piano lessons.  As once upon a time I was a piano teacher I was curious.  What was the background of the tutor, what they were charging, etc?  Just out of interest.  I might ad I was a triple diploma-ed (all 3 teaching diplomas - 2 on pipe organ and 1 on piano) music graduate with quite a bit of experience.  I was aware of what one of my employers aptly described as "Minnie in her parlour" - offering lessons at what appears to be a professional service for cheap, but in reality is just 4th rate.  Anyway the person offering this advertised themselves as a player of piano and piano accordion, and boasted of coming f…

Getting real

One thing I find really annoying is the patronising comments you see on places like boards.ie where some idiot who got laid off and got a job in 3 days tries to patronise the other 450,000 people on the dole who are finding things much harder.

Here are some gems:
"How can you be so picky?" (this was to a number of people who either are getting no reply or getting interviews but not an offer)
"You are getting 6 interviews a week and still no job?" (i.e. "you are lying" or "you are some kind of dumb person really" - actually I've had about 5 telephone and about 5 f2f interviews but no offers as yet - that unfortunately is a symptom of how tough it is, not how dumb or unbelieveable I am - and I know this because most of my colleagues have not yet managed to get a single interview)
"Why are you happy with turning 15 applications into 3 interviews? You should be turning 15 applications into 15 interviews?" (this has to be the most dumb …

The World out there

Its been quite refreshing and also in a sense a little shocking to live for 3 weeks now in the twilight zone after paid employment, collecting modest but gladly received little payments from the state. I knew redundancy was eventually going to head my way, I just didn't know when. When I started my last job it was on the same day that a bunch of guys in a different dept were being laid off. And 2 of us started that day. I knew full well that a company that refuses to consider its existing employees for new roles is a company that one day is going to drop you right off its payroll. It was just a question of when, not if. In the end I think I went out on the 5th round of layoffs in under 4 years, 2 of which my role was euphemistically "at risk" - corporatespeak for "you are fucked sooner or later."

I very briefly signed on in the UK into a regime like something from a 3rd world banana republic and this shaped my expectations. In particular, my experience o…