Tag Archives: Algarve

A Waiting Story: Twitter, the gift that keeps giving

I was waiting by the pool last week for someone to show – or at least, I think it was last week, my memory’s so shot these days – when a notification popped up on my phone.  “Your tweet has been retweeted!” it exclaimed in that usual shrill Twitter voice. Funny, I thought, I haven’t used Twitter for well over a year so wondered what the algorhythm had done on my behalf.

True enough, a silly little tweet about the state of the launderette I had made eighteen months ago had been reposted by someone in Alaska.  Have they nothing better to do than to respond to eighteen month old tweets I wondered.  And ignored it, trying to concentrate on the poolside activity that was misbehaving that early morning.

But not for long.  A few minutes later another notification popped its head over the parapet. Someone had commented about the launderette, this time from Russia. The story’s nearly two years old I muttered.  How come it’s still running?

That’s the problem with Twitter it occurred to me.  The damn stories don’t stop coming, they just go around and around cyberspace, like a spiral within a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel I mused (rather poetically I thought at the time until I realised I had just remembered some lines from a corny Noel Harrison song.) In the meantime, we have to deal with retweets of retweets, old themes which refuse to die and even older story lines which will never go away.

Luckily, some time later that morning I was able to prise myself away from responding to the tweets, the quotes and the trivia which had preoccupied me and get down to work for a change. Not that that lasted long.  The five year old launderette saga had reminded me that I’d left a pair of socks there last time I visited and never got them back.  It was about time I tweeted them to see if they had found them recently and to hang on to them until I got back from the Algarve.

Tips for Business Start Ups, Lessons for Life: It ain’t over if the fat lady’s still in her dressing room.

There comes a point very soon in the new start up career when the first flush of enthusiasm has worn off, the bills start arriving and the income has mysteriously decided to take an annual vacation. The paying customers are conspicuous by their absence and whilst there’s plenty of window shoppers grazing through your shop, no-one’s putting their hand in their pocket and pulling out a wedge of used bank notes to pay for your hard wrought product or service.

Alfredo, an enthusiastic proto-entrepreneur from the Algarve soon realised that his offer of Mediterranean seafood to the assembled hoardes of inner city Northampton (the furthest you can get from the sea in England apparently) was taking its time to convince them to change their foodie habits from shoe leather to octopus and calamari. One might dispute whether there’s any difference but that’s another matter.

He became despondent very quickly, his anxiety ratcheting up by the day when the friendly bank relationship manager re-discovered his nasty streak and one of his main suppliers decided that the future of seafood sales was no longer in Northampton but back in Lisbon. Alfredo looked at his shaky business, the pile of bills and the crates of eel still wriggling on his warehouse – ie his car – floor and threw up.

Faced with almost immediate economic annihilation and the consequent personal and social ruin that he thought would follow, Alfredo was on the verge of dropping his warehouse keys back with the bank and jump on the next Easy-Jet to Faro when an email popped up on his phone screen out of the blue.

It was from the local over-dramatic opera star, Betty Van Westerhoosen, diva to the East Midlands stars, putting in the largest order of clams, sea urchins and assorted shell fish Alfredo had ever had the pleasure to read. She paid a whacking 20% deposit up front and suddenly, for the time being at least, Alfredo got to save his start up from ignominy and lived to meet the local fat lady who saved his bacon – or in his case, his langoustines.

In Business Start Up land, and indeed in life in general, it’s never over till the opera singer flexes her vocal chords: and we all need the vision of Argus All-Seeing to be able to realise when she hasn’t even left the changing room before drowning in a fish soup of despair.