Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welling up with wisdom


Cutting costs (and customers)

I must say that I am surprised that in these apocolyptic "recessionary... times" that budget airlines are reacting in the way that they are. A quick browse of the business pages will tell you all about how airlines plan on cutting costs, eliminating unprofitable routes, cutting out the frills and also grounding planes during the winter months etc... This is all wrong.

What they need to do is cut fuel costs, my somewhat controversial suggestion is that they just don't let their more husky customers on board... I said it was controversial, but hey, we have an environment to go saving AND costs to cut.
However, in all seriousness if an airline lowered the weight of its average passenger, through enforcing restrictions, by say 7kg (just a bit more than a stone), and assuming a plane holds 200 passengers that would mean having 1400kgs less to be lugging through the air. This is not only alot of saved fuel, but also means that certain customers wont be taking up one and a half seats... bad personal experience here

If car insurance companies can have women only clientele, surely airlines can have fit passengers only...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Educating Edward

Not too long ago the results for my college degree were released, as it transpired I missed out on the top grade available by about 1 or 2% overall, which I must say is a bit annoying to say the least. When I saw the results I just sat and stared (and listened to supertramp) at the computer screen and decided to feel incredibly sorry for myself for quite some time. During this time however it gave me an opportunity to really think about the importance of it all.

Did the fact that the number on the screen was slightly smaller than one I wanted to see make a monumental difference? Did it affect all the great things I got out of my time in college?

The next morning when the initial wallowing in self pity had worn out I decided that the grade itself was of practically no consequence, and in reality I had got a first class time out of college.
Some of my friends however have not taken so kindly to their grades and to this day feel hard done by and even worse genuinely believe that by not achieving a 1st class honours have wasted 3 years of their lives. This however, (for them) could be fairly accurate.

As I said about the recent case competition I attended, if your single purpose of attending was to win (or get a 1st class honours), and you end up coming 2nd, then to you the whole thing has been a pointless waste of time. Once you recognise that grades/rank/etc are only a PART of college, you can enjoy the journey, get involved outside of coursework and get the full benefit from the experience.

The whole grade fiasco reminded me of the movie “Educating Rita” which I saw recently. There is a brilliant scene near the end of the movie where Rita, having transformed from a working class woman to student of English literature, announces to her lecturer that she doesn’t need him anymore, “I don’t need you, I know what wine to buy, what clothes to wear, what plays to see, what papers and books to read and I can do it without you”. The lecturer (played very well by Michael Caine) responds brilliantly with “Is that all you wanted… Have you come all this way for so very very little?”. I like to think that the lecturers remark is applicable to grades from college too, not that I am saying that barely scraping by is ok, but once you are above a certain point, the grade itself becomes rather arbitrary.

So I think at the end of this rather unstructured rant, I am trying to say is that, by setting the wrong targets and awarding them a disproportionate weight, a person can preclude themselves from important aspects, experiences and outcomes of any activity…
Rant over… I think

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

One man's rubbish...

On one of my many long rambles around Toronto I went to a nice little place called Ireland Park down by Lake Ontario where I bumped into a pretty cool guy by the name of James. This nice fellow had possibly the best (may be exaggerating here) business idea ever.

It seems that when some people need to move house or liquidate an inherited house, that they are just too busy/lazy/distraught to sort through the bits and pieces throughout the house that have been accumulated over a lifetime and, well, just pay someone to come in and get rid of them, that's where James and his buddy come in.

The beauty of such an arrangement is that not only do they charge people for extracting the materials in question... but then proceed to sell anything on that could be of value rather than just dump it! This means that not only do they get even more money out of the job, but also reduce the costs that incur from dumping charges.

the example he gave me was of a home he recently "cleaned up on" where he found a rifle from the US Civil was which sold for $4,000... not too shabby to say the least.