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Moving away from Apple altogether… July 7, 2010

Posted by Paul Walton in Personal.
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I’ve decided to move away from Apple altogether. I was running with an Apple iPhone 3G and HTC Hero.  Since the dreaded IOS 4 came out on my iPhone, it has been running like a dog.  Yesterday I was offsite and I was relying on my phones for connectivity to emails etc.

Both phones let me down, not completely but almost.  Very frustrating.  I wasn’t sure if it was down to bad network connections or just slow phones!  But can it be the network.  Christ sake, I was in central London!

So last night I bought myself a new HTC Desire.  Cost my just shy of £300 but I am pretty sure it will be worth it.

My HTC Hero phone.  Well I continue to be frustrated at HTC for not issuing the official upgrade to my phone, which may be a factor!  Fingers crossed they will not show the same traits to the Desire as they have done to the Hero.

I also find it massively amusing the official responses from Apple on the issues all iPhone 4 users are experiences.  Don’t you just love it – “please don’t hold the phone like that”


Poll – Do you use Social Media e.g. Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin for business / professional purposes? May 12, 2010

Posted by Paul Walton in Business.
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Well do you?



Updating my Hero to Android 2.1 May 3, 2010

Posted by Paul Walton in Personal.
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So I am a big fan of mobile technology, therefore the handset I have is important to me.  Smartphones really are changing the way we communicate with each other.  The launch of the iPhone back in summer of 2007 radically changed the way we interact with each other and the way we think about our mobile phones.

After very frustrating news that HTC are continuing to hold back the software update to all Hero phones, I decided to look into the process of “rooting your phone” and installing a non official ROM update.  Most normal HTC Heros run on version 1.5 of the phones operating system.  Version 2.1 and even talks of 2.2 are due out in the coming months.

You have to go through a process of “rooting” your phone and uploading a “ROM” update.

Don’t stress about it, it is all fairly straight forward.

I done this and it took me a few hours.  I have to say that it has put new life into my Hero phone and I am loving it.  The look and feel to Android 2.1 is more polished.  My biggest complaint about Android was that the apps were not (and currently are not) polished like the iPhone apps.  But with Android 2.1 it looks much much better.  The quality of the apps will eventually come to Android, which can only be a good thing.

Why Android over Apple – the main reason for me is that this is all open.  I don’t believe there are as many restrictions to the development.  Plus buying an Android phone is cheaper than buying an iPhone – see my previous blog on that!

Though saying that on cost, it does annoy me that HTC have withheld the 2.1 update.  There is no clear reason as to why.  In my opinion it is because they want the user base to go out and buy new hardware.  Users will do that eventually but don’t force them to.  Customer loyalty in my mind is a key to a great success story and I don’t believe HTC have that opinion.  The lack of public communication has upset many HTC owners and I get a strong feeling they will walk away.  Another competitor could take advantage of this (come on Sony Ericsson or Samsung).

The mobile market is a very fast moving sector and you need to keep the users happy.  I can see why this is difficult, but it is something the sector has created, which in my view is a good thing for the end consumer.

Anyway, if you want to update your Hero as like I, then do the following –

step 1 – back up your phone! Copy all your pics etc to your computer
step 2 – download this ROM http://htcpedia.com/behero-2-1-sense-rom-hero/soft/htc-hero-rom.html – store it in a temp directory or something
step 3 – go here and follow the instructions – STEP by STEP!  – http://theunlockr.com/2009/08/27/how-to-load-a-custom-rom-on-your-htc-hero/

Big RED flag!!!!! YOU LOOSE all your data on the phone and have to download all your apps again.  So before you start it make sure you back up those precious pictures and your much loved music.

New challenges……but a few thoughts on the old……. February 22, 2010

Posted by Paul Walton in Business.
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So last month I resigned from my current position within a global commercial real estate consultancy.  I’ve been in the Real Estate sector for just over 2 ½ years and I have found it very interesting but more importantly very frustrating!

Overall in this sector, I believe that there has been a massive under investment within technology (with no sign of it changing).  Most of my time I have found it frustrating as the business streams know that they need something, but not quite sure why.  They know that they need to have the right tools in place to make them more efficient, but not willing to spend the money.  A large challenge in this sector is people understanding the value in IT.  I have spent endless hours trying to explain the benefits of implementing CRM as a process for example. 

Just over 12 months ago, we selected the tool of choice Salesforce.com (SFDC) and initiated a pilot.  To date after many people including 3rd party consultants helping out, the company still asks “what is CRM?”.  I once heard from a senior CRM Director – “ we have never had to develop our customers – the money was just rolling in, so why do it”.  Well recession hit and everybody is and continues to be in trouble.  Maybe developing your clients for the long term, things may have been a bit better?  Basic principles of opportunity management as part of the CRM process continues to be a mystery for the majority of the company.  Continuing my theme of change, I implore the people I have been working with to be open to doing things differently and look at things from another perspective.  Research client development within other sectors and work together on how you could adapt other methods within your own company.  Be open to the change CRM can bring and the many many benefits it will bring to the company and eventually you.  Whilst working through the pilot, I could strongly sense that staff were worried about being more exposed to what they actually do on a day to day basic.  I would suggest that they should embrace that with opportunity and work out how that could benefit you within your role.  New people from other sectors and other organisations are being brought in to try and manage CRM as a process.  It has been interesting to watch them and see the same frustrations grow.  I just wonder how long it will take to get the company thinking differently?  In my view, what it needed is for remuneration(s) to be harmonised and structured differently.  Ensure that there is benefit from cross selling and that people are remunerated accordingly to their activity with the clients.  Make people accountable at all stages and at all levels.  Make the staff aware that they are actually selling services (once got a quote from another CRM manager that the company did not sell, but focused on the relationships).  When we started the deployment of SFDC, I spoke with a very large laptop provider who introduced SFDC.  They had a very big stick approach to the implementation – if it’s not in SFDC you won’t be paid for it.  After a few months of people dodging the system, after this big stick directive was sent out via email, usage went up 98% literally overnight.  I like this approach – harsh but it works.

From speaking with all levels of people in my company, through man and boy they have been in the real estate sector.  Is this a good thing?  For specialising in their industry yes.  For running a company like a business – in my view no.  Senior guys are struggling to run the business as a business.  Not once have I ever seen a business case for any investment made.  Not once has anybody and I mean anybody tell me the profit margin for XYZ client.  The guys always talk about revenue.  It has been very rare for me to come across someone to actually understands profit!  Why – well I would think it is because the way they are remunerated.  Again this needs to change if companies like this are to survive in the new world.  Not a good business model when one of the biggest pitches of the year to a major global UK based bank is going to cost them money.  All done just to save face within the sector.  Not good.com!

Anyway all of that behind me.  I really do wish them the best of luck.  With a complete new senior management team on board from a different sector after another 18 months or so, I think change will be made.

Going forward.  I am starting with Xerox as an IT Relationship Manager for their Developing Markets.  I am looking forward to that very much.  Change to me personally and I am really looking forward to the change and challenges it will bring.  Really looking forward to being part of a major global organisation again………

Continuing to change….. January 7, 2010

Posted by Paul Walton in Business.
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So in the summer of last year, I wrote about how change is good and how I came back from holiday to find my boss to have moved away from my current employer by “mutual agreement”.  Between the summer and present-day, the management team have got on with things, which has been interesting and slightly challenging.  Though saying that, with the company being as it is i.e. no investment in technology etc, a CIO wasn’t really needed.  I can see that looking back, which has been interesting and has given me good insight.

Looking forward though, going forward, I have a new CIO joining on the 18 January.  This will bring more change to my role.  Good or bad it is change and I am sure I will learn from the experience.  Being open minded to it I am however very aware of new management coming in and doing his own thing.

So plan B?  Well I am trying to think of a decent name of a company for myself.  I find doing such things very hard, I suppose I’m just not creative enough.  Will need to do some research for that.  But the reason why?  Well one day I actually quite fancy doing stuff for myself and running my own business.  I have never done that before and I am intrigued by it.  Something to aim for!!!!

Roll on the 18 Jan and lets see what change that will bring.  Will I continue in the role for another 2 1/2 yrs or will I be working for someone new, or will I do my own thing……

Lets see…..

So I’ve moved away from the iPhone to the HTC Hero August 27, 2009

Posted by Paul Walton in Personal.

A few blogs back, I was going on about how bad the iPhone was as a phone.  Great gadget but a shocking phone.  Always just not getting a signal on the O2 network.

So with my contract coming to an end, I was able to move.  After a swift look on the web, it became clear that the HTC Hero, which has the Android OS (made by Google) was a good option.  Great reviews from many sites.

I went to see the phone before I bought it online (thank you Carphonewarehouse for your public service of showing the phone before I purchased it online!)

So I ordered my phone with dialaphone.co.uk.  Great service and I got a good deal.

The phone itself – well it looks great.  I was really impressed by the build quality.  The Teflon coating on the back is great.  The phone does pretty much everything the iPhone does.  The screen is slightly smaller than the iPhone.  The quality of the screen though is amazing – very high quality.  The icons and your pics look great on this screen.  My phone did come with a 2Gb micro SD card, which is nice, but I would have preferred a 8Gb as standard.  I’ve found the phone intuitive to use and the different scenes to make it more personable is just fantastic.

A real big positive for me on this is how personable you can get this phone to be.  For example, linking your contacts directly in with their Facebook accounts so the phone uses their FB profile picture on your phone – great touch.  It also uses the FB birthday details and reminds you.  Yet another great touch.

There are loads of really good apps out there to which I have just started to play with and overall I am impressed.  The only app I can’t get which I would love to get is Fieldrunners (I had this on my iPhone)

Now financials – this is a big big positive.  On my O2 contract, I was paying £35 per month for 600 minutes talk to any network and 500 text messages.  This included unlimited internet usage.  My new deal, well for my £35 per month, I get 1200 minutes talk to any network, unlimited text (fair usage policy of 3000, yes 3000 per month – wow!) and unlimited internet usage (again fair usage policy of 500Mb, which is plenty!!!!).  Plus this is the big positive, the phone was FREE.  If I wanted to upgrade my iPhone to the new iPhone 3Gs, it would have costed my £284 plus the £35 per month.  Just way to much O2 – you need to listen to your customers!!!!!

Overall the HTC Hero is a great phone.  In my view I struggle to see why you would actually buy an iPhone.  Now there are other reviews out there by the professional journalists who talk about lag on the phone and the camera isn’t that great.  I personally think they are being far too picky and critical.  I’ve not really noticed the lag on the phone and I think the camera is great.  Much much better than the iPhone.

In my view – if you want to spend loads of cash to be a sheep with the in crowd, buy the iPhone.  If you want to save cash and have a more fun experience buy the HTC Hero.  I really don’t think you will be disappointed.

Returning to work to find it’s all change…. August 7, 2009

Posted by Paul Walton in Business, Personal.
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So coming back to work after 3 weeks off visiting family in California, to find my boss has “mutually” agreed to leave the company.  Now this is a very interesting move since the whole Exec of my firm has been changed and they are all bringing in their trusted soldiers from their last employer.  This time though it has direct impact on my good self!!!

I like change.  It keeps you on your toes.  It keeps you top of your game so to speak.  If you can accept change, ride the wave, go with the flo what ever phrase you wish to use, I think it is a good thing.

It allows you to be ready for when you are made redundant, which in the current markets can be anytime or if you personal life for what ever reason takes a turn good or bad, you are more prepared for it and can deal with the more difficult complex situations life throws at you.

I struggle to understand people who are long time employees of a firm.  They have usually done about 5 or 6 different jobs within their organisation, but over time and as they become near the end of their working life, I tend to find them quite cynical and generally unhappy.  I’m sure there are happy people out there, I’ve just not came across them that’s all.

Although I don’t believe in job hopping all the time, I do believe working in different environments and industry sectors, your experience can grow and you become a better person all round due to your experiences.  Being able to apply your professional experiences at work can help ensure win win scenarios, which is always good right?

So the purpose of this blog?  Well to really get my message across that change is good.  Be prepared in this ever changing world and don’t be afraid of what life throws at you.

Change in my work life is great, though I appreciate it might not work out for me, I’m not scared!  Who knows I may also “mutually” agree to move on……..

So is the iPhone any good? Great gadget, shocking phone…….. June 19, 2009

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Well since a corporate event held by Apple and O2 trying to get the corporate world to buy into the iPhone as a business device, I have had my iPhone since November. I have a very much love hate relationship with it.  At the moment I couldn’t give it back because I love the UI (user interface), all the apps and the sheer simplicity around the device.  I am never off the damm thing, which is a good thing right?


It seems other suppliers are fighting back.  I am interested in new models of the Blackberry Tour for example.  My phone is due for renewal and I am tempted to move away from the iPhone.  After all I find myself only using a few apps which are available on other devices, which seem to have richer functionality but don’t have the simplistic UI that I love.  Version 3 of the iPhone has just been released and I love it.  All basic stuff that should have been part of the original offering?

It has to be said though that the iPhone as a phone is SHOCKING.  The phone for the transfer of data is SHOCKING.  I often get cut off or voicemails just arrive days after it was left etc.  Also I use my Blackberry 8800 for my works email.  I set up my iPhone for my works email also to compare the 2.  Both on the O2 network.

The BB wins hands down for the transfer of data.  Standing opposite platform 5 and 6 of Waterloo Station waiting on my train, I get my 2 devices out to compare.  My BB is transferring my emails with no issues.  My iPhone does nothing!  Now if I were solely reliant on the iPhone I would have alot of dead time!  Not good.  I did feedback to O2, got some info back but overall I get this with the iPhone all the time!

Should I move away?  Hmmm just not decided yet…….

Implementing Global CRM….a challenging task…… June 16, 2009

Posted by Paul Walton in Business.
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OK, I’m working in a sector where technology is not embraced in any great way, in fact, I would say that compared to other Professional Services firms, it is about 10-15yrs behind the game.  This can be massively frustrating, but also present itself with great opportunity, a real chance of getting ahead of the game (well competitors)….

Currently I’m trying to start a pilot of Salesforce.com.  Whilst the company I work for are fantastic in relationship management, CRM as a process in my view isn’t really understood. 

Long sessions in discussing basic principles such as opportunity management, which can turn into your pipeline and eventually help with your fee forecasting.

Big questions like, what is the definition of a client?  Someone (or organisation) we interact with or someone who we have billed within x amount of time?  What about clients you have billed over x amount of time, but not recently and you still want to keep in touch.  Are they clients or opportunities?

Another massive challenge which is never to be under estimated is the cultural challenge of organisations which have not invested or embrace technology.

The struggle continues.  I am seeing glimmer of hope with a few “new bloods” within my organisation, but it remains a struggle.  Very much up against the cultural barrier.  People in my sector are slow to change, but the slower they get, the more our competitors gain traction and over take!

Worrying about schools for the weeman……. June 16, 2009

Posted by Paul Walton in Personal.

So my girlfriend and her son are planning on moving in with me.  So that means we have to find a suitable school for the weeman.  Not having children myself, this is all very new to me and I’m starting to stress about finding the right school for him.

You hear various stories from friends etc on their trial and tribulations in schooling.  Bloody hell they are right!!!

Any advice gracefully received…..