Better drowned than duffers. If not duffers, won’t drown.

I recently listened to an audiobook of “Swallows (by Arthur Ransome) and Amazons” and it struck me how much their parents trusted them. Not only were they camping outdoors but on an island, an island they had to reach by themselves. The eldest child, John, was perhaps 14 years old, the youngest, Roger, only 7. Their absent father, away with the Royal Navy, gives his permission for this adventure with a telegram (see the title of this post).

The mother of the Swallows was Australian and certainly “outdoorsy”. She grew up on a sheep station and sailed (and capsized) in Sydney Harbour. She also mentioned falling asleep on horseback. And the books were set in 1929; a different time certainly.

I know from personal experience that my kids love the outdoors just as much as they love the Playstation and Nintendo worlds.

Mayer Hillman writes:

“Children’s lives have been evolving in a way that mirrors the characteristics of the lives of criminals in prison. They, too, have a roof over their heads, regular meals, and entertainment provided for them, but they are not free to go out. Enforced detention, and restrictions on how they spend their time, are intended to seriously diminish the quality of their lives. But children are not criminals.”

As much as I want to learn to sail for my own enjoyment, part of it is to provide something of a legacy. I went out on a boat with my dad once, a bulky motorboat which grounded itself on an island in Lough Neagh. I don’t know what happened to it. I went fishing with a friend of my fathers, Davy, a few times. We caught perch and pike and cooked them up. I used to camp in the back garden but as a child I never went camping proper.

“We’ve been profitable from day one”

This is easy for service-based businesses which operate in a cash transaction world. When I started Mac-Sys, we were earning money from Day One but that’s not the same as being profitable. When you can do a piece of work and then get paid for it, that’s being profitable.

In this TNW article about “Why should you want to pay for apps“, Tapbots co-founder Paul Haddad says “We’ve been profitable since day one”. I’m not saying he’s wrong but in the months that it took to build their first product, I’m presuming they had living expenses while they worked on their first product, WeightBot.

This is why so many companies start out as a second job. Smart developers and designers who have time on their hands and an itch to scratch.

In a depressed region with salaries 20% lower than the UK average and an economy dependent on low wage jobs (call centres etc) and public sector subsidies and with higher living expenses (due to shipping costs, lack of economies of scale), it’s going to be harder to start things. And it pretty much eaves folk who are not designers and developers by trade out in the cold. Maybe these folk without the requisite skills have no business in starting technology businesses?

Maybe that’s the problem. We have subsidies in place to help people who are not technologists with skills to create technology businesses. Maybe we’ve been looking at this the wrong way.

IPad Theft in Lisburn update

A few weeks ago I mentioned on my Twitter stream that an iPad had been stolen in Lisburn.

Two of the lads identified as thieving that iPad from a young man with learning difficulties in Lisburn were ‘Darren’ and ‘Luke’, the latter was driving a small silver car, apparently a hatchback. Three of the four lads were dark haired, one was fair haired.

They talked their way into the house and when his back was turned, they made off with his iPad.

If you know of where the iPad went, please send along some information. We are all deeply saddened by this.