June 26, 2009
‘Play me I’m yours’ were the words stenciled on the side of the well worn upright piano leaning against a tree on a grassy patch in Moorgate. So we rolled up and gave it a go. And just like that, we got a little boost. Playing the piano under a tree in the centre of London is certainly not something you experience every day, but it is certainly something that makes you smile and think, ‘What a great city! Life is good.’ This is just another example of random happenings in London designed to bring happiness and spontaneity into our lives. The pianos are brought to us by www.streetpianos.co.uk and can be seen and played all over London until July 13th when the well worn ivories will be donated to schools and community groups. Want to give it a go – click here for a map of where to find the street pianos.
It is positive initiatives like this and ilikeucoz – and countless other activities – that are making the world a happier place one click (or plink) at a time.
Dave playing streetpianos.co.uk
June 4, 2009
Thanks to Tom and thegogooderarmy for this short video interview at Kindival:
May 29, 2009
It happens that here at the ilikeucoz HQ (which is virtual of course) we never stop thinking about how to develop the service and the corporate environment is something that fascinates us (can’t say more at the moment).
Yesterday 2 articles caught my eyes and they confirm what we’ve been hearing for quite some time now: in recession all that matters is engagement. Let me explain it better… Companies are struggling to attract and – most of all – retain talents and depite the economic doom and gloom there are shortages for staff and skills in some areas. In this scenario job insecurity isn’t and can’t be a sufficient strategy for smart companies. What is required to successful companies and their managers is to engage employees in order to have them motivated, productive and loyal. Not only, because engaged employees are empowered people, which are very likely to initiate ideas and make change happen quickly. With all the inertia typical of the big corporations, agility is and will be increasingly important (in fact it’s why small start ups can beat the Goliaths of business quite often – at least in niche segments) and it can make a difference between success and failure.
Patents are important, technology is important, but people after all are the beating heart of each organization and therefore must be regarded as the top priority at the moment. Some entrepreneurs already got it clear and are building their business around talent recruitment and retention, for example BraveNewTalent. I’m ready to bet this is going to be another victory of David against the Goliath of recruitment.
PS: there’s a very interesting article about “How David beats Goliath” by Malcolm Gladwell – a bit long but worth the time.
May 28, 2009
It sounds like one of the typical “ilikeucoz” messages, but this time I dedicate it to a place I just discovered in its full glory and which really blew my mind. Actually, it’s more than a place – it’s a mentality, an attitude. It’s the coolest Italian start up incubator, named H-Farm. Where could a place with such name be located? Go figure, in a completely renewed farm in the middle of the fields between Venice and Treviso (this google earth image is quite old but gives the idea). A stunning and charming place, a smaller scale Googleplex, a place to fall in love with. In different circumstances I wished ilikeucoz was born there.
There are 160 people working there, the vast majority of whom from the numerous start ups incubated or participated by H-Farm. A real inspirational place, believe me. Not only Italy could use more places like that (not just for the place but for the mentality and the values it fosters), but UK too.
TechCrunch talked profusely about a London hub for start ups (here and here for example) and for sure there are areas where the concentration of start ups is higher (Old Street, Shoredicth, Soho, Bermondsey/London Bridge, etc) also thanks to start ups like Huddle, Moo and Last.fm which are hosting other starters. However, how cool would it be to have a place outside London where to group all these start ups and create even more synergies than those created by the buzzing networking events? After all H-Farm is 15 minutes away from 2 airports, 2 hours from Milan… a location around Brighton would be ideal. And the cost of living / office space would fall dramatically. I’m not saying that it must be done, but given my short experience at H-Farm I’m sure it’d be amazing and very productive. I was seriously impressed by each company I met there and I want to remind everyone that Italy is NOT the friendliest place on earth to start up an internet business.
Some pictures of the almost-surreal H-Farm HQ are here, but their site offers other shots and also a very nice video too.
May 13, 2009
Benjamin Zander - radiating possibility
I’m inspired. I was optimistic before, but now I’m really optimistic.
I went to an amazing event last night: Deutche Bank’s Women in European Business conference, a gathering of some 2,000 women (and a few men). One of the speakers was Boston Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor Benjamin Zander. He is one of the most sought after speakers on the subject of leadership in the world, appearing recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, TED and, several years ago, he received the UN’s ‘Caring Citizen of the Humanities Award’. At first I was a bit confused as to why the closing speaker at an event celebrating European business women was a man…but once he started talking I knew why…
Ben is a sprightly, older gentleman. British. Tufty white hair. He has a boundless energy and gift for storytelling and motivation. He and his wife Rosamund have recently authored a book called ‘The Art of Possibility’
. Ben talked excitedly last night about awakening possibility in other people. He spoke of how many people are caught in a downward spiral rather than radiating possibility – especially today. All it takes is a slight change in outlook and attitude, he said, to change everything. “My job is to remind people what the rhythm of transformation is,” Ben said. He described to us the grading system for the classes he teaches. Most unusually, he gives each student an ‘A’ grade on day one of class, provided they write him a letter describing the person they will be at the end of the term who is deserving of these top marks. He says, “When you give an ‘A’, the relationship is transformed. We treat the person we give an ‘A’ to totally different than the person we give a ‘C minus‘ to.” How true this is! If we just give people encouragement, a boost, a bit of confidence… it goes such a long way.
To underscore this point, I’ll also share a quote Fabio posted on Twitter the other day from Voltaire: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Seems the world’s leading thinkers have really figured it out! We could all learn a few things from them for sure.
The illustrious conductor in closing, quoted his wife Ros, saying, “Possibility is always only one sentence away.”
So what are you waiting for… appreciate someone today! www.ilikeucoz.com
May 8, 2009
After the recent and rather juicy panel about girls in tech during TechCrunch “GeeknRolla” and all the funny/grotesque aftermath it looks like the theme of girls/ladies/women (as you please) working in tech start ups is hot and I’ve been closely following what Girls’n'Gadgets is doing in that space to put great web ladies under the spotlight. [note to self: use punctuation every once in a while...]
It’s no secret that Leila – aka Miss Girls’n'Gadgets or @swannny for the most – is a great advocate of ILUC (and in fact she also carries uber-cute Moo mini cards saying “official ilikeucoz evengelist”) and today’s portrait of a kick-ass web girl is our own Diane! I really enjoyed the post (you don’t wanna miss it!) and I can’t repeat enough how valuable Diane has been to the development of ILUC so far and how big is the amount of energy and enthusiasm that she brings to the project. Let’s not talk about her network of contacts… looks like she knows everyone and I can easily see why – she is an outstanding person, from a working and personal perspective.
So, bottom line is that ILUC works with 2 of the best web girls in town, Diane in the trenches and Leila in the open field and they both deliver a terrific job while having a huge grin on their faces, which is always nice and contagious. As far as I’m concerned, women in tech rock – starting from the first one I got to know in London a while back, Suz… so now the mission is to bring her on board too!
PS: the original title was “Riding the wave of girls in tech” but then I realized that there must be something about the ‘n’ thing (GeeknRolla, Girls’n'Gadgets) so I joined the bandwagon with a more appropriate and ambivalent “girls’n'tech”
May 1, 2009
Tom from TheDoGooderArmy (and main organizer of the event) posted a very nice video which shows all the activities, projects, art and kindness shared at Kindival.
ILIKEUCOZ is 3:55 minutes in
It’s hard to say what I enjoyed the most (and perhaps a bit unfair too) but I can’t help but saying how much I loved the pink bananas from Joanna Stanford! The rule was: either you take a picture of the bananas or you give one as a gift to someone, which is what I did. Next step is to eat the banana before it’s too late and take a picture of the peel (which the guys over at London Bananas should love!).
Art student Jo - gone bananas
April 24, 2009
The sun is shining. It’s Friday. Kindness is running rampant in London.
Since ilikeucoz was founded, we’ve had our eyes peeled for other ‘feel-good’ initiatives going on out there. And what we’ve found lately is that there is clearly a kindness movement afoot in Britain. Yes, it’s true! This week alone, kindness runneth over.
First, there’s the Absolut Kindness initiative sponsored by Absolut Vodka – where they’ve been promoting their vision that cash can be replaced by acts of kindness in an ‘Absolut World’. So all around London this week, cinema tickets, coffee, fruit and veg and — you guessed it — vodka drinks (in some Shorditch and Soho bars last night), were sold for energetic whoops and kind greetings instead of cash. Great idea! And who doesn’t like free stuff? Makes me smile.
Then, on Saturday (tomorrow, don’t miss it!), Kindival is the event to go to if you want to continue the good vibes. It’s a first-time event sponsored by Channel 4s Battlefront initiative, and it’s dedicated to promoting Random Acts of Kindness, championed by student campaigner Tom Robbins. And the best part is that Kindival organisers love ilikeucoz and have invited us to exhibit at the event and introduce people to what we’re doing to make Britain (and the world) a place where people feel free to give spontaneous compliments to one another. Exciting isn’t it? Fabio and I will be down at Chelsea School of Art and Design at Kindival all day showing off ilikeucoz and spreading the love. If you’re milling around town, stop in and say hello (it’s free to attend).
Also – if you come across other ‘kind’ initiatives happening in London or around the world, please let us know at info[AT]ilikeucoz[DOT]com
With the great weather this week putting huge smiles on people’s faces, you can practically feel the kindness spreading across London. We definitely think there’s a trend developing here and ilikeucoz is loving being at the forefront of it. It is definitely contagious.
To close, enjoy the slick video from Absolut to promote their Absolut Kindness campaign.