Yaya Toure | Small Things | Relating | Leaving

Yesterday over the sports news pages was the story about Yaya Toure, the Manchester City footballer from the Ivory Coast. The news stated that he might be leaving the club because the club showed him a 'lack of respect' on his birthday. Despite giving him a cake, and apparently tweeting about it, that simply wasn't enough for Toure, who said that the club didn't even shake his hand.

In total honesty, at first I found this hilarious. I thought 'what?! – this guy is paid thousands each week to play football and an annual cake, I think they give him enough! Surely missing a handshake isn't that bad!' Maybe you think or thought the same. Since then, a couple of thoughts came into my head…

1. Relationships matter. More than money, you can be paid as much as you like, but here is a classic example of the truth of the importance of human connection and relationship. Whether a millionaire, or somebody with very little, we all need relationships and connections with others. You can't buy loyalty and relationship. I know Manchester City is ultimately the organisation Toure works for, but I bet some reaching out relationally from the clubs officials would nt have gone amiss. In many ways ahead of the money we are paid, we seek human relationship and want to know that others care for me.

2. It's the little things that count. It's clearly the little thing of a handshake and a smile that counts for Yaya. And for us, it's the little things that count. The cup of tea made in the morning, the bringing in of biscuits to the meeting, the little present on a Friday when you come home from work, the taking to the airport, the asking 'how is your family?', the buying of a book because you 'saw it and thought of them'. Small things count.

2. People come and people go. What some people would not even consider as an issue (I struggle to imagine myself leaving my place of work because nobody shook my hand on my birthday!), some see it as a reason to leave. It got me thinking about why people leave organisations, groups, churches, and jobs. And there are so many reasons. What is a reason to leave for one person may be a reason to join for another. When somebody may leave a company for a particular reason, it may not even enter the mind for another. People come, and people go. Something tells me that not getting his hand shook is not the only reason Yaya Toure wants to leave Manchester City, there's bound to be other reasons too. When people want to leave and have made up their mind, there's not much you can do about it, so at this point, let people go and save yourself the worry, fear, anxiety and pain of it all.

What do you make of this? Have Manchester City been harsh and neglecting of Toure, or should he dust himself off and get over it? How important are relationships and the small things?

Future tech is closer than we think…

I love the movie Back to the Future (all 3 parts are pretty great to be honest). The 2nd film in the trilogy is great fun, as Marty McFly and the Doc head into the future, 30 years into the future to be honest, in 2015. There is a great scene where we see Marty’s future house, in which you are greeted at the door with an automated voice, sunglasses are worn that are attached to various media forms in the house, a ‘hydrating microwave’ device turning a 4 inch pizza into a 24 inch within 3 seconds, as well as on demand-voice controlled fruit! Genius. Now we are in 2014 – there are some technologies that we won’t get into mainstream Western houses in time, alas! (I’m still so excited by the hoverboard.I’m working on it – hoping for a prototype by the end of March). Often we think of this type of technology as far away and almost ‘unreachable’.

However, I recently read about a guy called Tom Coates who is shifting his house bit by bit to become a ‘smart house’. This includes sensors in his house that tell him when there is unexpected movement, (warning of potential security risks), let him know if its getting cold in his house and turns the heating on for him, as well as letting him know that certain plants are dry and need a water, and can even share with him things like the weather outside, and if things are broken. Also, he has a set up a control to the lights and heating in his house from his phone (whether he is in the house or not). Using the wifi, he can do an incredible amount. Something I love about all of this is that its all wired up to a twitter feed known as the ‘House of Coates’, that tell him all of this, and effectively the house automatically tweets as if it’s a member of the family.

However, my favourite thing about all of this – is that through a little bit of research, I’m discovering that this kind of technology is not out of reach to many people financially – the wifi sensors that connect to your phone for the lights, coffee machines, electric bed blankets cost about £40 each, this kind of technology is closer than we think!

So Back to the Future 2, in some ways we may be lagging behind a bit from your ideas of technological grandeur, but actually, in many ways we are keeping up and cracking on.

Any thoughts on technology being closer than we think?

(Thanks Wired UK for this article, another fascinating one – read about Tom and Smart Houses here).

How happy is twitter?!

There's a great site where some clever people have been analysing tweets you can see how happy twitter users have been since 2008 till today(!). Below is the front page graph they have plotted, looks like in general the happiness has gradually decreased since 2008.

Whether we can/should use something such as tweets to analyse emotions in people I'm don't know. I am aware of studies in the past using tweets where the spread of illnesses has been tracked across the world – fascinating stuff. So let's not just assume twitter and social media is some shallow, unhelpful tool. Let's appreciate the good that it can do too, good that is far bigger than most of our expectations.

And let's not fall into the trap of suggesting that it is because of social media that happiness has dropped(!). I was once at a Christian Leadership Conference where one of the biggest 'amen!' vocal responses from the crowd over the whole weekend was when one person mentioned a negative aspect of social media. When so much quality stuff was shared at the weekend about our faith and leadership, I was a little gutted to hear everyone get excited over the one mention of the 'dark side' of social media.

Take a visit to www.hedonometer.org to find out more about this happiness scale from twitter. Any further thoughts greatly appreciated, some will love this kind of things! others not so much.


Tweeting & Stuff…

I think too much about social media. I don’t mean just thinking about organisations (I’m not some anomaly who wakes up at night dreaming about LinkedIn and how they deal with their finances), but I think a lot about what I tweet, and what I don’t tweet. You know, my ‘online presence’.

In fact, I often have internal conversations and debates with myself about my motives for tweeting, blogging, facebooking, instagramming and all that jazz.  I came to the following conclusion today:

I spend more time thinking about tweeting something than I actually spend tweeting it. Ouch, that’s sad.

tweet image

And I have a sneaky suspicion I’m not the only one. So I’ve come up with a few basic things to tell myself, and maybe you could tell the same things to yourself.

1. Stop trying to tweet or instagram your not actually perfect life. Tweet some stuff, and don’t tweet other stuff. Don’t stress about it so much. Don’t live the “online-perfect-life”, or the “online-moaning-life”, live REAL life.

2. Your life is not what you post. Your life is what you do when you’re not doing posting stuff. Don’t get them mixed up.

3. What other people tweet is not their life either. They are probably thinking the same things you’re thinking about social media posting, so chill out.

4. Enjoy social media. (Tweet videos of people receiving puppies for Christmas, and funny signs you see around you – I love those).

tweet tweet 🙂