Happy birthday Google+ but………

So on Friday (Friday 28th June 2013), we saw the anniversary of it being two years since the launch of Google+ (see Wikipedia) along with people claiming that it has over 359 million actual users – but is this the case?

So, here is something interesting to throw into the mix…..

How many are actual users?

I had a computer crash a few months ago and lost my bookmarks which is a real pain, as this means a link here would be great for this topic, as the link was stating that actual users is a much lesser figure even below 100 million!

The link in summary, laid claim to their reason in stating this figure, being that everything “Google” is linked. So – from memory – if you look at this:-

  • – many people log on to view things on YouTube, because Google owns it and you have an account, these figures are counted
  • – many people log on to view things on Gmail, because Google owns it and you have an account, these figures are counted
  • – many people log on to view things on Google Maps, because Google owns it and you have an account, these figures are counted

Despite been asked by many industry researchers, Google refuses to actually disclose how many actual users they have using just Google+.

Therefore, Google‘s figures have been classed as number which is very misleading whereas transparency is disclosed by Facebook v. Instagram, Twitter v. Vine, Yahoo v. Tumblr, etc, etc,

So really “Google” maybe number two but where actually is Google+? We wait with bated breath to see when and if Google will release the true breakdown of the elements that make up the Google figures…….

For more information on myself – Ian M Calvert – visit my website or Facebook


Are you listening BBC……. Hello…….. Hello……..

When starting out in business, do you do any research? Or do you just provide what you WANT to your customers (or prospective customers) for them to buy?

In some aspects, provide is right and correct. Such as being a restaurant. You have to provide food for people to come and eat, otherwise why would you open a restaurant?

Or say a rental garage, you have cars but people then ask for estates or vans, so you add these to your fleet. So, by listening, you expanded from cars to cars (hatchbacks, saloons and estates) and vans.

With such a long history of broadcasting, you would think that the BBC would have listened and provided a common platform to deliver the required solution? From the early days of radio broadcasting – which was pioneering – things have evolved but it seems that the BBC haven’t!!!

Yes you – the BBC – gave us radio and provided a news service which what we needed and then followed it by adding entertainment but that was over 70 years ago and you haven’t learnt! Or have you but lost control?

Take a look at what has happened last night (Friday 28th June 2013), people were complaining by using hashtags of #BBCGlasto and #Glastonbury to comment on the BBC coverage and it’s presenters. Why? Well it is simple – advertise one thing and produce or show another! Until the Arctic Monkeys came on at 11.00pm all previous shows where from the afternoon and early evening but nothing live! The use of your “Red button” was on and off – why not constantly on?

The BBC stated that it had learnt from the Olympics and was using this to provide “Digital Glastonbury” but this simply was not the case. The BBC has an unrivaled position in broadcasting my opinion but they just aren’t using it. Take for example BBC three – this channel only broadcasts after 7.00pm yet why? Today is a prime example of what could be done:-

– this morning showing highlights of everything that was performed last night

– this afternoon live coverage

– this evening live coverage

But this doesn’t just stop there, with Digital Television being available, the use of the “Red button”, you can provide lots more too to offer people the choice of watching different stages and then you have radio too, where Radio One could provide complete live coverage too together replays of yesterday performances.

Is this possible? Well, that is why above I stated “Or have you but lost control?” and the reason for this is Glastonbury – a dedicated programme channel that the BBC have set up on the radio section of their website. Alternatively, if you go to iPlayer Radio on their website, you can download their radio app for your mobile phone or tablet. Both of these methods are providing methods of you watching live, listening live, watching recordings, listening to recordings or watching and listening to interviews.

Guess what BBC – the younger generation plus people knowing how internet facilities work are utilising these and you are providing them! Do you know what your different divisions are doing? And this is without including BBC1xtra and BBC6music!

If you are to keep up with the ever-changing, fast-moving world of technology, you need to start delivering what your client base want. You need to listen, learn and deliver. If you can do this on-line, make sure you replicate it as you clearly can – remember the Olympics? You did utilise all the channels and time slots to do deliver this – so why not now…….

Just a thought or you will really disappear and get life behind in this new age of technology…..

Is it time for an “Engagement” or do you hide away…….

One of the interesting things that we do when we go to breakfasts or lunches, is talk to someone and explain what we do, to each other……………………

You may talk about many things to that person but during the event/occasion, you will speak to many people and for instance, let’s take just one person…..

  • Now besides what they say and the business card you may receive, do you actually take this card due to being polite?
  • Or because you want to sell to them?
  • Or maybe buy from them?

Sometimes all you do is pay lip service and in the majority of cases, you don’t actually do much with their details (that is if you don’t leave it on the table) – be honest, am I right?

So, on this occasion, you take the card, do you actually do anything when you leave with the information? I guess if you do, you add it to your database and use their information to market and hopefully sell to them. You have more than this option you know – or do you?

Have you thought of engagement process?

The main area that majority of us don’t utilise is the “Engagement Process” which is one of the biggest forms of the generating a revolving sales cycle and this we can call the “Prospective Sale”

So how does the “Engagement Process” and “Prospective Sale” work? Simple it is all about creating the engagement between two prospective parties…

There you are, sat in your office, thinking of how to target that company that is sat on your prospective list but something is holding you back but you aren’t sure what it is.

So with them being a prospect, you have done all your homework on the company and you know what they do and what they purchase roughly. (Well all companies have to buy stationary, utilities, materials for what their product ranges are, etc, etc). Now this train of thought has now produced one side of the engagement – do you see where  I am going????

At your next business breakfast, lunch or evening event make sure you speak to and engage in conversation with as many people as you can to learn about them and their business (always best to try to have a pen to hand here), ask for their card, make the first move and take it. It doesn’t matter whether they can be a client of your’s or not, but with that, make a note on it as to what they are saying and think which we one of your prospective clients (remember what we did above about understanding what your prospective client does and buys?) could either sell to that person or buy from them.

Do you see what you have done?

You have found the other person in the engagement!

Well done you…..

So, you have the two parties in mind and now you need to get them engaged. How do engage them – simple….


All you need to do is write an email to the person you are thinking of and say….

“I was at breakfast (lunch/dinner) today/yesterday and met X from company Z and they were telling me all about what they did. When I got back to the office and remembered you mentioning to me about Y and thought that it would be worth you both chatting.  So I have included X in on this email to introduce you both – a form of on-line networking I guess – so you both can have chat. Hope the introduction works well for you both…..”

See, you have created the engagement process and got the two parties engaged. Then (if it has happened before) either pick up the phone (or if you aren’t sure – call them) and see how they got on with X from company Z. Then, towards the end of conversation mention about being in the area next week (or say a fortnight) and wondered if you could pop in for a coffee?

What you have done, it has got both those sides engaged with one another and thus in turn built yourself some credibility with that company (and also X from company Z), so when you are looking to sell to them, hopefully they are more open and willing to discuss things with you.

With helping to get two parties involved in the Engagement Process, you have created the Prospective Sale – in summary, never dismiss a company that has turned you down and don’t dismiss a company selling to you as these two parties being engaged with each other could always lead to the Prospective Sale you are looking for….

Using iOS – have you looked lately at Facebook?

Have you checked your Facebook page properly when using iOS on the iPhone and then the iPad?

If you go to your profile, it is offering you to update your profile. The details are similar to how you should have your profile on LinkedIn.

This detailed approach can be seen as one of two ways. Either they are wanting to get you to give a complete and accurate view of your life which I can’t see anything wrong with. Or on the other hand, what a great move by Facebook.

Facebook are allowing you to do what LinkedIn does by creating a complete CV of yourself but with the addition of including your music, film and book interests – what a clever thing they have done……

By getting you to compile all this information they are able help drive the information (which they think you are interested in) to your page whether via sponsored posts or advertising.

So, in summary, make sure you update your page as this is a great thing in my opinion. Yes, you may think it is providing too much information to Facebook or they are being too intrusive but in reality, it is #Engagement!

It is time to engage and share your information. You are being open to show credibility and history so people can see your background and thus make them more willing to engage with you. This engaging and sharing of information gives you the chance work and connect with people who you want to connect with and have similar backgrounds and interest.

It is time to #Engage – are you ready to share and engage…….

Coventry City Football Club, SISU and Otium Entertainment Group Limited

So following on from this statement from Administrator Paul Appleton of David Rubin and Partners, the Administrator handling the current administration of Coventry City Football Club Limited (one half of Coventry City Football Club – CCFC), from a personal point of view, I think he has made the right decision by choosing Otium Entertainment Group Limited even though many have concerns as it is related to SISU Capital.

Yes, whilst SISU Capital – the company that purchased CCFC [comprising Coventry City Football Club Limited and Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd] – placed Coventry City Football Club Limited into administration and appointed David Rubin and Partners, they were well within their rights to do this as they and their related partner (Arvo Master Fund) were the largest creditors to my understanding.

Whilst the fans may not like the fact that SISU Capital are still involved, this is right in many ways – why? Let me explain in my opinion:-

– the club has been in decline since the 1970’s
– the decline has included the same people from Vice President level, non Executive Director level and upto and including main board level at various times during this period
– these people were behind selling Highfield Road and moving to The Ricoh
– The Ricoh was supposed to the first and/or, one of, if not the most advanced stadium in Europe
– the stadium was to have a larger capacity than it currently has, a retractable roof and a sliding pitch
– the plans changed due to cost control and as a result, it was decided to scale back by omitting the retractable roof and a sliding pitch
– after many delays, at some point the club could not afford to develop the stadium and outside support was sought
– it was then decided that the capacity was then reduced
– this lead to a new company being formed which developed and evolved into Arena Coventry Limited (ACL Limited) currently owned by The Alan Higgs Trust and Coventry City Council
– the administration was arrived at after ACL took CCFC to court over un-paid rent
– the yearly rent was in the region of £1,400,000 per annum with no break or rent review if the CCFC was relegated
– the rent is more equivalent to a Premier League ground and not a League One team
– my understanding is that the rent being charged by ACL includes a retractable roof and sliding pitch of which neither are part of the stadium!
– this has been mentioned to me on several occasions over the last 6 to 12 months by various people
– SISU Capital / CCFC researched comparable clubs/grounds and found a comparable yearly rent of £400,000 was more in tune to what they should have been paying
– thus trying to get a reduction proved to be sticking between both parties which resulted in ACL taking CCFC to court
to freeze asserts over non payment of rent which had been going on for a year

So yes, from a personal point of view, (based on the above points heard or seen via the media, told to me and my understanding of events), this decision I think is right one. SISU Capital are trying to do what any business (or turn around specialists) would do and get the club on a sound financial footing. What you have to remember is that when SISU Capital purchased CCFC they were 10 minutes from going bust (which I believe the words to be used by Joe Elliott who was acting Chairman and organised this sale to them). However, as I gather, they purchased a club which was in a far worst position then they were led to believe or told!

Yes, of course the question is why didn’t they do proper due diligence? From what I gather, they were asked to save the club by the board of CCFC at short notice (for some reason only a day or two before the deadline springs to mind from memory) and purchased the club to the approval of the board which included people who had been involved for many years at various levels at the club and through the revolving door process!

However, during the tenure-ship of SISU Capital (in conjunction with Arvo Master Fund) at least over £70,000,000 has been invested into both Coventry City Football Club Limited and Coventry City Football Club (Holdings) Ltd. (This is the figure quoted by Paul Appleton and/or the Media as the liability to both parties and being the largest creditors).

Thus, this is what confuses me, because,

– the club was mis-managed from 1970’s (for around 30 odd years)
– the fans shouted for the sacking (and succeeded) of various managers, sacking of the board and getting the chairman out

yet it just seemed a constant merry go round the people leaving/stepping down and then coming back! The Chairman (and/or Chief Executive) may have changed 3 to 5 times during this period but the people on the board down to non-executive Director’s plus members of Vice President’s club have virtual stayed the same but have been part of the merry go round / revolving door seniario that seemed to be evident prior to the SISU Capital takeover.

So why have the fans never really moaned about this when:-

– these people brought the club to the brink of going bust
– these people agreed and signed the lease with ACL
– these people are the ones the fans wanted out but kept asking back (merry go round / revolving door)

no they never did except for laying all the blame totally at the door of SISU Capital!

Looking from the outside in and media reports, when SISU Capital started to go through things (and this is my understanding and from information/comments I have heard/been told), they find more and more issues!

Yet again the revolving door of personnel continues until SISU Capital step up to the plate and stop this. In turn a similar story was starting to appear involving the merry go round/revolving door until SISU Capital says enough is enough and takes control which I believe seems to relate to many people being shown the door in various formats.

So, as an outsider looking in, my summary points are:-

– mis-management by personnel lead the club to being 10 minutes from going bust
– these people are the same ones who also took part and were involved in the sale of Highfield Road and agreed the rental deal with ACL
– these same people drag SISU Capital in at the last minute with not all the facts to save CCFC
– SISU Capital then support these people from behind the scenes but place one or two people in key positions to public facing and their representatives
– when they eventually start to un-ravel things, they start it would appear, to take control and start bringing in all their own people removing all the people that have been in and around or involved with the club prior SISU Capital arriving
– now all these previous people then start trying de-stabilise the club by trying to get investors in to buy the club and The Ricoh whilst ACL Limited have consistently refused to discuss or sell to SISU Capital but are happy to support these people
– strangely the row between ACL and CCFC/SISU Capital takes a turn for the worst and becomes very Public around the same time
– now some of these people are the ones getting backers and supporters to help put bids together to purchase Coventry City Football Club Limited off the Administrator
– some of these people, their bids never got to the final last four
– whilst some of these people we can assume did

Thus, whilst the fans are annoyed – and take to Social Media (and are organising trips today [Saturday 15th of June 2013] to London) to protest at/to the Football League and SISU Capital – that the Administrator has agreed the sale to Otium Entertainment Group Limited which is connected to SISU Capital, yet are happy to support bids been put together which involve or may have involved the people that lead to mis-management before SISU Capital became involved!

In conclusion, I feel that time needs to be given to Otium Entertainment Group Limited (& SISU Capital) whilst the re-structuring brings in fresh business ideas and funds to run Coventry City Football Club as a business which is what is needed in today’s football world without carry the legacy of the past. The club has facilities such as Legends, Premier Club and Vice President’s facilities for these people and other prominent people from around the City of Coventry whilst the day to day running of the club is left to Otium Entertainment Group Limited (& SISU Capital).

Long gone are the days when football clubs were the play toys of rich local businessmen who never ran football clubs as a business.

So, with football now needing to be run as a business with clubs needing to meet Fifa, Premier League and Football League rules, we need to move on from what was in place in the 20th century and allow people that run businesses worth 100’s of millions of pounds to control the clubs if you want to aim to be a consistent top half Premier League team.

This development with a complete fresh broom and funds from Otium Entertainment Group Limited ( & SISU Capital) is what is required and not with the 20th Century ideas people trying de-rail the scheme and run The Ricoh, unfortunately the move to the stadium is a necessary evil that needs to take place.

Why is it a necessary evil? Well I foresee a game of blackmail appearing over The Ricoh as with Coventry City Football Club moving away to ground share and build a new stadium, what are ACL Limited going to do with an empty football stadium? Who is going use that pitch and pay six figures or more a year rent? No one!

With this in mind, ACL Limited (which is half owned by Coventry City Council) will utilise the media and these people to say how Otium Entertainment Group Limited ( & SISU Capital) are costing the city and the area money by not using a stadium that is lying empty and losing money. So when they offer to buy The Ricoh, there will be a big gap in the valuations by both parties and yet again this will lead to Otium Entertainment Group Limited ( & SISU Capital) painted with a bad image yet again.

So, in my opinion, the fans need to stop blaming SISU Capital, and start:-

– questioning the people who brought the club to within 10 minutes of going out of business
– ask why these people set up The Ricoh deal and agreed the rent with no break clauses
– sought to actively get Coventry City Council to buy the mortgage which equated to a 50% share of ACL Limited
– ask why ACL Limited have refused to discuss any possibility of a sale of The Ricoh to SISU Capital yet were more than happy to allow Coventry City Council to buy the 50% share of ACL Limited
– ask why ACL Limited have refused to discuss any possibility of the sale of The Ricoh to SISU Capital yet were more than happy to allow perspective bidders (seeking to buy Coventry City Football Club Limited off the Administrator) to discuss purchasing the whole of ACL Limited
– why ACL Limited decided to bid and where was the money coming from? Coventry Taxpayers?
– why did ACL Limited announce that CCFC could play rent free for the whole season free of charge at The Ricoh whilst they remain in administration to the media full way knowing that Paul Appleton had stated that the issue of coming out of administration had to be resolved prior to the announcement of the fixture list and the start of the new season

So will the fans do this and allow Otium Entertainment Group Limited ( & SISU Capital) to get on with running the club, purchase The Ricoh and return to top class football?

I very much doubt this but it needs to be done!

So PLAY UP SKY BLUES and get behind a complete and united club which means Otium Entertainment Group Limited ( & SISU Capital) being able to buy The Ricoh from ACL Limited and completely develop a unified united club that will be back knocking on the Premiership door with 3 to 5 years and enter on a sound financial stable footing……

This article is wrote by myself purely based on my own views, read in the media, heard in the media, discussions and conversations with various people. Whilst yes I am supporting SISU Capital, this is done from a business point of view and not because other reasons and is done completely independently.