How to upgrade from Tiger direct to Snow Leopard

Although I’ve had few problems with the Tiger OS X operating system for my Apple Mac, there’ve been a few occasions recently where applications have not supported Tiger (e.g. Google Chrome, Evernote etc) – this is only going to get worse.

So I thought I’d better make the move from Tiger to the latest Mac OS Snow Leopard. Easier said than done.

Here’s how I managed to upgrade from Tiger to Snow Leopard.

First, let’s address my two initial points of confusion:

  1. Can you move straight from Tiger to Snow Leopard? There is little guidance on this but the answer is YES (provided you’ve got the right hardware i.e. Mac with an Intel Processor . 1 GB of RAM. DVD drive for installation and 5GB of spare hard drive disk space).
  2. Is it a case of just sticking the Snow Leopard CD ROM in to update and sitting back – NO!

(I wonder whether point 1 is not widely publicised because plenty of folk will have paid £100+ to upgrade from Tiger to Leopard OS when it was launched a couple of years ago (before the launch of Snow Leopard) however, now you can jump directly from Tiger to Snow Leopard for just £25!)

As you have gathered from point 2 above, I did initially just shove the Snow Leopard disk, rebooted my Macbook (holding down the C key to activate the installation process) and installed it. Beforehand, I had ensured that I had cleared up my disk using the handy Disk Inventory X free tool to free up the minimum 5 GB. I had also backed up my data.

It all appeared to install fine, but when I clicked on Safari, iTunes, Finder and pretty much any other application (apart from Firefox) it failed showing an error message along the lines of “Safari quit unexpectedly”.  So frustrating!

Here was my Twitter feed at the time!:

After much searching online using trusty Firefox (with Safari now defunct) for possible explanations, I found the following which came to the rescue:

This article. – although the disk permissions etc didn’t actually help, it was the reference to the “fresh installation” that opened my eyes to the fact I’d probably missed something…..

This video showed exactly what I should have done – basically, erase Tiger OS. Having followed this advice, it worked perfectly.

I hope this works for you too.

Build your business around its WHY?

What is it about a businesses like Apple that allow growth in market share plus increasing profits? All whilst retaining a cool and forward-thinking market perception?  Is it due to Apple Mac’s relentless focus on growing its profits and market share?

Partly perhaps, but there’s something else. Apple understands its WHY?

It exists to create innovative and beautifully designed products that are simple to use. The increased profits and market share follow this why – the old adage, build the fire and the heat will come is apt.

Building a successful business is easier when you understand WHY you are in business – understanding your purpose.

Understanding your WHY? helps you:

  • At best: Solve a world need
  • At worst: Solve a local need (still an incredibly compelling purpose)
  • Build a crystal clear vision
  • Inspire customers
  • Inspire employees
  • Inspire community
  • Have a mission
  • Make strategic decisions – is the issue congruent with your why? If not, bin it
  • Make a contribution to society
  • Attract like-minded customers
  • Turn off unsuitable customers
  • Make price irrelevant – your why becomes your market differentiator
  • Do good – your why must be about more than making money – it must solve a problem
  • Take pride in your business purpose
  • Tell your story (about your why) to influence your customers
  • Avoid becoming a commodity
  • Contribute – rather than extract value
  • Be focused
  • Diversify – as long as you stay true to your WHY.

Is your business WHY clear?

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Fun + games for the Budget 2010

Today was a busy day working alongside the Manchester Evening News to provide exclusive business tax coverage of the Budget 2010.

I won’t cover the detailed proposals here now as a) you can Google Budget 2010 and get a ton of facts + figures and b) you can get my initial reactions by visiting the M.E.N. Business section of the site.

Suffice to say that there were a lot of promising proposals for UK fast growth companies (including the video gaming industry – which is great news) but we are still lacking the crucial detail which will be key – I will update as the details emerge.

It was good fun to interact via Coveritlive as the Budget unfolded. Listening to Alistair Darling speak, digesting the info whilst reading and interacting with Coveritlive comments (many humorous comments too – thanks!) was both fun and challenging. You can replay our coverage here.

What announcements for UK business caught your eye? Please also feel free ask any questions following today’s Budget below.

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Manchester sparks further innovation with FABLAB launch

 

FABLAB as an institution is news to me but it sounds like a fantastic idea and – even better – they’ve recently opened their first UK based FABLAB in Ancoats, Manchester.

FABLABs offers a mini hi-tech factory where people or companies can design and create pretty much….. anything using latest 3D machine cutters and technology. There are now over 35 FABLABs in existence across the globe in as varied locations as Afghanistan, Russia and Columbia. The first FABLAB was set up in Boston, US by Neil Gershenfeld (as featured in the above short video). 

What is really exciting about FABLAB as an innovative concept is:

  • accessibility to latest cutting edge technology for local individuals, companies, community projects and kids – for FREE!
  • local problem-solving capability for local businesses, individuals etc
  • hands on education – for kids. (For everyone involved).
  • global connectivity of ideas – a global video network allows ideas and knowledge to be spread between FABLABs
  • empowerment of local manufacturing rather than outsourcing the manufacturing process overseas – typically to the Far East
  • environmental benefits of local manufacturing (see point above)
  • democratisation of creativity given the ease of access and low barriers to entry (cost, accessibility and available technology) to design and manufacture.

There have already been some local Manchester success stories using the Manchester FABLAB including the Sky Baby folding travel cot and the Crackit Bat ultralight beach cricket bat.

With the aim of empowering anyone to make anything anywhere – I can only wish FABLABs every success!

Enterprise UK Class of 2010 Make their Mark with a Tenner

Enterprise UK has just announced its finalists in its Make Your Mark with a Tenner campaign.

The 25 trail-blazing finalists include:

a 15 year old who runs an online advertising service while still at school (and works with big hitters like William Hill and MySpace to boot) and a 19 year old who set up a swimwear boutique using her own personal savings.

At a time when the UK desperately needs more promising young people to view entrepreneurship as a viable career, it is refreshing to see such initiatives seeking to instil a sense of enterprise, resourcefulness and business nous amongst our school pupils.

This is an area close to my heart, as both a father and advisor to start-up and fast growth small companies. We desperately need more kids and students to consider alternatives to the mainstream accepted path of higher education followed by a graduate job. We need more entrepreneurs and for this to take shape we need a change of attitude and policy for training the minds of our brightest kids at school.

I remember we had a ‘tuck shop’ in our school which sold (teeth-rotting) sweets – healthier alternatives might be more appropriate today! – however, it provided an opportunity for its volunteer pupils to gain a valuable  glimpse of hands-on business enterprise. But there must be opportunities for all schools to encourage its pupils to get involved e.g. collaboratively run one large school enterprise or run a variety of targeted smaller businesses within the safe confines of the school?

Meanwhile, we should be encouraging our students to set up businesses alongside a University degree course (particularly if their degree is remotely linked to business) given that the barriers to entry of running a start-up business is getting lower and lower – after all, if a 15 year old can compete with William Hill and My Space on a tenner whilst balancing with school work, then surely there’s hope for the entrepreneur in all of us…..?

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Business Tips for Start-Ups from David Hansson – 37 Signals

Some key learning points for fast growth and start-up companies:

  • Common misconception that start-ups need external finance.
  • Taking other people’s money leads to bad choices – too much staff, computers and too much time.
  • Don’t waste your time raising money. Prove the business on its own revenues.
  • Make sure you are working on your best idea right now. If not, move on.
  • Market share is not important. Profits are important. Look at Apple’s (l0w relative) market share on computer hardware and smart phones yet huge profits.
  • Don’t chase the vanity of high revenues. Profits are all that matter.
  • Number of employees is irrelevant – you can run a successful business with 1 employee.
  • Build a business that is scalable – if you land a further £100,000 of orders, you don’t want to have to ramp up your employees and capital assets to match.

Hard to fault these words of wisdom – I would only substitute ‘cash’ for David’s repeated reference ‘profits’ as being key plus keeping the ‘WHY’ you are in business at the forefront at all times i.e. how will your business change the world?

Well worth watching.

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Making BrITain Great Again – Intellect launch Technology Manifesto

Intellect launch their Making BrITain Great Again Technology Manifesto with a call for investment in supporting intellectual property rich (IP) technology companies in order, not only balance the books, but to rebuild a stronger UK business base for the future.

This technology manifesto identifies 4 types of technology business needing support and encouragement:

  1. Early stage tech start-up – great idea but need support, encouragement and investment
  2. Established technology companies – proven track record and growing
  3. Leading IT companies – becoming world players
  4. Global IT companies – already world players that we would like to see make the UK their home.

Key proposals that caught my eye in the 16 page report include:

  • simplifying the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), including allowing entrepreneurs who participate directly in the running of the business to qualify for income tax relief – currently the legislation is designed to incentivise angel investors who are not the founders of the business to invest.
  • extending the Corporate Venturing Scheme from 20% to 30% tax relief in order to encourage investment by larger businesses into smaller tech companies. The manifesto points to the success of Silicon Valley investment by corporates into smaller businesses.
  • further simplifying the R&D tax credit regime to encourage further successful claims
  • careful monitoring of the UK corporation tax rate to encourage inward investment of overseas technology companies
  • ‘tax holidays’ for cluster areas of technology companies within designated areas or business parks.

I welcome this report as further progress on a growing body of recommendations and manifestos (e.g. Ingenious Britain and the Conservatives Technology Manifesto all released within recent weeks) that seek to put technology and other advanced emerging sectors at the forefront of growth for Britain – even better, they seek to achieve this by rethinking tax incentives and support mechanisms for these high growth sectors.

Download the report here.

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R&D tax credits get thumbs up in Tory Technology Manifesto

Hot on the heels of the Ingenious Britain report by James Dyson, the Conservatives have released a disappointingly limp Technology Manifesto. Although its key aims build on many of the promising ideas set out in the Tory commissioned Dyson report – in aiming to position the UK at the forefront of global technology and science based exports – it unfortunately lacks any great detail (I’m all for brevity but 11 pages?!) plus it appears to veer off track in many parts (not sure how publishing data like….public sector salaries over say £150k etc is going to put us at the leading edge of global tech commerce? Worthy aim, wrong manifesto).

To its credit it promises to implement many of the proposals set out by James Dyson as soon as possible which sounds promising plus it singles out R&D tax credits as being retained and simplified – although unfortunately no mention of increasing the tax relief to 200% as Dyson recommended (although this is still a vast improvement given the rumour that the Conservatives were, up until very recently, considering abolishing research and development (R&D) tax credits altogether in an effort to simplify the UK corporation tax regime.

There is also talk of implementing a superfast broadband network of 100mbps that is some 50 times faster than Labour’s proposed super broadband network but the detail on exactly when and how this will be achieved is also notable by its absence.

Overall, I am delighted to see that the Conservative party is choosing to focus its efforts on pushing the boundaries in making the UK a leading global technology and science friendly location to do business, we could just do with a little more detail – as we’re not the only ones with this lofty ambition.

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10 tips for getting more stuff done

  1. Plan your day but build in contingency time for last minute emergencies (they always happen!).
  2. Open email first thing in the morning and deal with emails that can be sorted within a few minutes. Then close it, ideally until lunchtime when you can revisit. Reopen at close of play. 3 focused email processing stints. Good luck (still struggling with this myself).
  3. Close that internet browser!
  4. Get some quiet / alone time. Shut your door if you have an office or find a quiet space if you’re open plan (or go to your local coffee shop).
  5. Use autotext shortcuts where possible e.g. in a Blackberry go to ‘Options’ then ‘Autotext’ and insert commonly used email terms (e.g. ‘R’ for ‘Regards’). Saves you a ton of time when you’re on the move.
  6. Ask yourself “Am I the right person to be doing this? or “Is this the best use of my time?”. If not delegate or outsource it.
  7. Treat ‘To-do lists’ with care. Make sure you put your most important task at the top and don’t allow yourself to jump to the easier stuff until you’ve completed it. The danger of to-do lists is that we become obsessed with the thrill of crossing actions out and so end up focusing on the low value easy stuff (often without realising it).
  8. Turn off the ‘New Mail received’ chime and notifier on your email.
  9. Have stand-up meetings only. This makes everyone focus on the important stuff, keeps meetings shorter and minimises the risk of chit-chat.
  10. Get out for some fresh air or exercise. Even if its only for 30 mins. A refreshed mind is usually more focused and productive.

Any further productivity tips to add?

Dyson backs ingenious Britain + Changes ahead for R&D tax credits & EIS?

James Dyson hits out at the existing “lacklustre” UK R&D tax credit system and its “botched” implementation by HM Revenue & Customs.

Dyson is right in his assertion that the recent tightening of policy in restricting certain claims (e.g. for prototypes that are eventually sold) is fundamentally flawed, however, my experience of working with the specialist R&D HMRC units has been positive overall.

Sure, the legislation is complex in parts but this is inherent in a system that seeks to adapt for ever-changing claims in line with the emergence of new industries. It should be added that much of the complexity has arisen from attempts to enhance the attractiveness and availability of the research and development tax credits for UK companies!

Dyson suggests that a new improved R&D tax credit scheme be implemented that is simpler to apply and that should be targeted at small, high tech companies. Although I sympathise with the principle of helping many of our future innovative small businesses, such a policy is misguided in its laser focus as it omits larger, more diverse companies that can equally contribute to the UK economy from successful R&D.

An increase of the R&D tax credit rate to 200% (from a current rate of 175% for SMEs) could further increase the attractiveness of the UK as a place for internationally mobile companies to do business – the UK currently ranks 19th internationally for the attractiveness of its R&D incentive regime.

To shift from recent murmurs of a Conservative government (if elected) abolishing the R&D tax credit scheme (in order to simplify the UK company corporation tax regime) to actually improving the regime if the recommendations from this report (commissioned by the Tories) are implemented is welcome news.

Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS)

Meeting the funding gap for start-up and fast growth hi-tech technology companies has always been tricky given the higher risk of failure – the recent credit crunch has made this a whole lot worse. Angel investors (or micropreneurs) have frequently come to the rescue as, not only can they bring their expertise to the table (particularly if they made their money in a similar sector), but they can also invest in smaller tranches to meet this funding gap where the companies are too small for larger private equity or venture capital funding – and where the banks prefer to look the other way.

Despite the existence of UK angel funding, Dyson notes that over £3.5bn would have been invested if the UK kept parity with angel investment in the US – actual investment in the UK was a disappointing £1bn in 2007.

Tax incentives are available to encourage private investment in UK fledging companies including EIS which provides 20% income tax relief subject to qualifying holding requirements and company types. Dyson calls for an increase in the income tax relief to 30% which should be welcomed, although how far this would go in encouraging wealthy individuals to part with their cash to invest in start-up tech companies remains debatable – unless they have a deep understanding of the sectors.

Overall, James Dyson calls for a change of perception towards science and technology from grassroot levels with greater focus on such subjects at school. He cites a frightening statistic that:

4% of teenage girls want to be engineers

14% want to be scientists

32% want to be models

There is clearly much work to be done!

Welcome your views. You can download the Ingenious Britain report here.

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