MonthDecember 2015

When will the ‘True’ Meaning of Christmas be Different?

To some it is obvious, for some they know when tested, by others it is never considered. The true meaning of Christmas is fading (or changing). The tale of the birth of Jesus will one day not be known by many, however I believe even when or if it does fade away, Christmas will still be celebrated just with a different meaning.

Imagine trivial pursuit in the future, it may one day carry the question – ‘What was the original meaning of Christmas?’

Whether this is bad or not is personal opinion. I will say, however, that what I believe will become the meaning certainly isn’t a bad thing.

How do we learn?

The strength of religion in households is falling. Less and less families are attending church or any other place of worship, instead more and more are claiming to have no religious belief (source: telegraph). So naturally there will also be a decline in the number of parents teaching the story of Jesus to their children. If they are never taught, how can they ever know?

Thinking about my childhood, I remember schools playing a big part in the education of religion. We would have many Christmas services to remind us why we celebrated. Whether children really listened or cared is a different matter, what’s important for this discussion is that we were aware.

The education of religion around Christmas time is also said to be on the fall (source: Radio Times), if this continues, who will be left to educate children. Again, if they are never taught, how can they ever know?

The new, true meaning

If in the future the true meaning of Christmas is forgotten, why will people celebrate? Well I think we already know the answer to that… it is the reason the majority of people celebrate now.

To be with friends and family, to be thankful for all we have and to give something to others.

Christmas may turn into the holiday to celebrate family and friends. To all come together, share gifts, eat food and enjoy each other’s company. This is how we already act, and therefore it is in a position to become the reason in our minds for Christmas, if this reason becomes what is taught to children it could very well become the new, true meaning of Christmas.

 

Whether you are religious or not, celebrate the birth of Jesus or not, spending time with family and friends is always a good thing and it should be enjoyed and cherished.

And, on the note, I would like to wish everyone reading this a very happy Christmas!

Year 2 Term 1

My first term of second year at university ended rather abruptly due to the flooding in Lancaster! Despite being a week shorter than expected, it was still full of stories to tell and lessons to learn. Somehow I think it managed to be even better than my first term last year (yes, the first term of being a fresher! I thought that term would be impossible to beat!)

Let’s get straight to it – here are the two main things this term has taught me…

The right people can make any situation enjoyable

My days are full of lectures, working in the library, meetings and then probably back to the library. I can’t remember a single time I worked in the library last year, now I’m there until maybe 7/8pm consistently. These longer days are only made possible by spending them with the right people.

The thought of working in the library for 3-4 hours isn’t fun, but agreeing to go with a friend and then go for a drink after makes the evening as a whole good fun! Rushing from meeting to meeting can be exhausting, but if those meetings are with people you enjoy spending time with, it can help energise you. After a long day working, it can be difficult to give maximum effort at sport training, but having a good relationship with you team makes it easy!

Worry less, laugh more

It is so important to be able to laugh at yourself. You can’t control everything, not everything you do has to be taken seriously, sometimes you have to just relax and laugh.

Last month I agreed to be one of the faces of Global Entrepreneurship Week around the university. I was more than happy to help support the events and so I gladly went along to a photoshoot. A week or so later the sample promotion was sent over…

GEW 1

I looked over a rough copy, suggested a couple of changes and agreed for it to be printed.
A week later I saw my face everywhere! There were over 15,000 little versions of me all around the university. That alone would be too much for some people, it wouldn’t help that within the first day it was pointed out to me that in the printed flyers, it looked like I was wearing lipstick…

Alongside all the mini-me’s there was one, not so mini version….

WP_20151122_004
I soon saw myself on a learning zone window – a version that was bigger than me.

A number of people asked what I thought, expressing they’d be embarrassed… I loved it!

I know the picture isn’t great and that I literally am everywhere, but I’d rather laugh about it and when I would receive pictures and messages like this…

gew lz drink

… I certainly did laugh!

What’s the Purpose of a Business?

The main aim of a business is to make money.
The main aim of a business is to make a change.

Let’s see what you think! Once you’ve read this blog, come back and vote for what you think a business should aim for.

What should a business aim for?

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When starting a business, what should you aim for? It seems as though the above two should go hand in hand, and they can do. However, the more I’ve looked around at people starting businesses, their core aims usually differ, siding with one of the two.

Making Money

A business is there to make profit, right?

Find a business model that will make money and implement it so that it slightly differs to what already exists so that it can capture customers and make money. The differentiation can come from operating in a different area, applying an already proven business model to a new product or even just undercutting competitors in price.

To me, this approach covers the stereotypical entrepreneur’s ‘first venture’. Countless stories of entrepreneurs selling drinks, sweets or small items in schools. The only thing new about this, is the location, and it works! The model is proven – if you have the motivation to implement it, you will see the rewards.

The approach certainly still exists in large corporations, I’d argue budget car companies take on this approach. They aren’t investing to invent new cars, they are simply taking what exists and making it available to a new section of customers.

In my opinion (or guess as I really haven’t experienced the development of these enough to know conclusively) the initial set up and implementation of these businesses can be promising. They may grow rather quickly. However, turning it from a solid business that has concurred the niche it set out to exploit, e.g. a new area, into a leader in the industry is extremely difficult. There may be hundreds or thousands of similar businesses. Why will you be the one to take the lead, to be the one to expand out of your niche? It is at this stage, that the ability of the individual entrepreneur takes precedence, as it is up to them to make the decisions that will ultimately determine the success of the company.

Making a Change

A business is there to make a change, of course?

Make a change to your local area, disrupt an industry or change how people interact with other people or things. A business should look to create something new that adds value or improves people’s lives by solving a problem.

This approach now covers the more current ‘Silicon Valley Entrepreneur’ stereotype. “What we’re creating will change how people pay for their shopping forever” or “we want to change how people interact online, we want to make communication personal again”. They can be very big statements, they can sound genius or crazy. They need visionaries to take the lead and a team full of passion to work on it when the results are non-existent.

These businesses can take years to bring in substantial results, most won’t succeed at all. However, in my opinion there is something rather special about these businesses – they’re exciting!
Both approaches have, and will always have, a place in the world of business – in fact they are both needed! But which approach is preferred, which approach do the business people of today aspire to follow? You tell me!

Startup Weekend Lancaster 2015

November 20-22 saw the return of Startup Weekend to Lancaster. This year we had over 60 participants, from numerous countries! Lots of ideas were pitched, teams (one the size of a football team!) were formed and off they went to work.

This year, I didn’t participate as I was an organiser. However that doesn’t mean I missed out – far from it!

I got to experience organising and running a large event, but I also got to spend a weekend messing around, playing games and talking enterprise!

Here’s a little example of what I mean….

Of course, at times, I had to take things seriously, even with distractions all around…


But in the end, we pulled through and delivered a very successful event! Just last night, this was recognised as we (Lancaster Entrepreneurs) won LUMS event of the year!

 

Anyway, back to Startup Weekend. The only way to really know what happened is to check out the event’s live blog, FULL of pictures, videos, quotes and stories!

Just to finished off, and sum up my involvement in the weekend, here is the (short version) of the event’s highlight video, enjoy!

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