RIP Great Britain

Brexit: Little England kills Great Britain, for the silliest of reasons. Pour un oui, pour un non.

Great Britain turns into Little England

From The Economist

Small mindedness, pettiness, emotions triumph over self awareness, pragmatism, phlegm.

When two clowns brought down a realm of ideas, for short lived personal gain over their own country. Scotland becomes independent and later joins the EU, Wales remains hostage, Northern Ireland returns to chaos – or realises its destiny lies reunited with Ireland in the EU, for simple economic and stability reasons.


Clown number one. They weren’t actually listening to me, were they? (The Guardian)

The lessons for the UK: a much smaller economy, a much smaller state of mind, at the mercy of economic winds and much bigger powers. Welcome to the little leagues.

The lesson for Europe: do not underestimate populism, lack of leadership and sheer stupidity. The reasons for the European Union remain strong, but need to be actively defended, and not by small minded lower case politicians.

Clown number two

C’est la vie, says Fromage. (The Guardian)


Britishness vs Englishness

Bifes Mal Passados (which translates as uncooked steaks?): Portuguese academic describes English as ‘filthy, violent and drunk’. Anyone who has been to England has experienced at least two out of three with his or her own eyes, every single Friday is drink till you drop day; what’s interesting is the reaction in the UK to this:

Britishness: The world seen from a higher plane, stiff upper lip, fair play, the rule of law, self deprecating, sophisticated, dark sense of humour which is much appreciated everywhere, one of the important places in the world.

Englishness: The world seen from a much smaller place, feel outraged when faced with the obvious, lash out, pettiness, ignorant provincials from an island to the north west of Europe.

What they have in common: geography, truly, unmistakably and irredeemably dreadful food. When faced with the latter the British will shrug and accept it, think of the saving graces at Waitrose; the English will utter something about the great English breakfast (disgusting) or look to start a fist fight.

How did this sense of Englishness survive Britishness, given rising standards of living over centuries? Should the Union be dissolved simply on this evidence?

The Internet’s Original Sin (Ethan Zukerman, the Atlantic)

It’s not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web. Must read.

Stuck on advertising and investor storytime: “Investor storytime is when someone pays you to tell them how rich they’ll get when you finally put ads on your site.”

“most online advertising doesn’t follow your interest; it competes for your attention. It’s a barrier you have to overcome… to get to the article or interaction you want”. Amen!

“our attention, as viewers, is worth only a penny an hour to Facebook’s advertisers”

“Targeting to intent (as Google’s search ads do) works well, while targeting to demographics, psychographics or stated interests (as Facebook does) works marginally better than not targeting at all.”

Advertising on the web downsides:

  1. Advertising implies some sort of surveillance.
  2. Generates clickbait, “but little thoughtful engagement”.
  3. Centralized, bigger companies buy start ups.
  4. Personalization creates silos.

I would add a 5th downside: companies are out of the loop of their customers’ experience, are missing out on the opportunity for their customers to achieve better results with their products, to enable customers to contribute to the overall experience, for instance by telling companies which options they’re looking for, appreciate more and would be willing to pay for.

Micropayments are part of the solution; web solutions are now within the grasp of companies to engage their customers directly, ditching ads altogether.

Francis Urquhart vs Frank Underwood

Or the emperor vs one angry ewok with a drawl.

Francis Urquihart

The real Francis. Via

On the one hand power, certainty, control, fear, tradition, deep cynicism sprinkled with lovely croutons of irony. How he enjoys power. He will flay you with his eyes.

On the other hand a tired sludge plumber, busy rewriting bills, a tourist in his own life. How he suffers power. You can’t but feel sorry for his banality.

Frank Underwood

The sludge plumber. Could we swing by the ribs place? Via

The US / sanitized version misses the point entirely, as expected. Opportunities missed:

  • Looking at Joe Viewer in the eye and showing him how he created this Washington monster: yes, they all fake the accent, yes they all sport a toupée, yes they’re all for sale, and it’s all thanks to you. The ivy league WASP with a fake texas accent; as opposed to the tired cliché of the poor upstart with a grudge.
  • Showing the might of US power, its antagonism with the gosh shucks version.