The New Office

Five minutes on Google tells me it is a Grade II listed building, completed in 1969. Lionel Bret, the design company’s chief architect, was President of the Royal Institute of British Architects in the 1960s. It won a RIBA prize on opening.

It has 11 floors and “was an outstanding building in its day for its bold use of square boxed bronze framing and all darkened bronze glass walls suspended on an internal steel and concrete skeleton”. Nice, but the walls are thin and it’s gloomy when the sky darkens.

Ivory Towers/Glass Skyscrapers

For a party that is hoping to be re-elected in five years time, up against a nasty Coalition that promises cutscutscuts, you’d think they’d try to be a bit more populist. Labour are in town and roads are closed, Manchester Central sealed off and there are scores of police on the streets. Major cost and inconvenience.

Overkill? The entire conference could fall down a crack in the Earth and I suspect the UK would still be able to function. But the lock down must serve a purpose: it tells us Her Majesty’s Opposition is important enough to require protection, and that the police do a good job – so please don’t cut their budgets.

With ‘tough decisions’ (copyright: every politician) on public spending ahead, a little humility might not go amiss.

Yesterday morning, Labour’s newly elected leader Ed Miliband was interviewed by Andrew Marr in a suite at the Hilton, 20 floors above the people of Manchester. The symbolism is obvious.

The Trouble With Conferences

Would you pay to go to a work-related conference out of your own pocket? If you wouldn’t, would you expect your boss to pay for you?

Hubbub, a new media and marketing show planned for Manchester next month, has had to cancel. How Do, industry news source and one of Hubbub’s partners, reports that, with three weeks to go, it was clear the event wouldn’t cover its costs. Tickets for each half-day session costs £180 + VAT.

Hubbub appeared to have the support of industry and its speaker line-up ticked all the right boxes. The theme of each session was clearly defined, there was an exhibition component, and visitors would have the chance to network.

Perfectly competent. But is this enough when times are tight? Are two speakers, a panel discussion and a bit of Q&A worth £180-plus?

There are plenty of free networking events in Manchester, expert comment is not hard to find online, as is discussion. It’s not that difficult to arrange a coffee with someone. Paid-for live events, particularly ones that trade in ideas, need to offer a compelling reason to attend or price themselves accordingly (this week’s Insider Media morning at the Lowry was £55, if I remember rightly).

They might also want to ban Twitter; it’s easy to follow for free the key headlines from those inside the room. Time for a rethink.

Things I’ve Enjoyed: 23 Sept

1. I like Pictory and I’ll be interested to see how it might develop (as a content provider for online newspapers?). User generated photography off a given theme: the latest is Summer Jobless. Also, not sure where fiftypeopleonequestion is going (similar, but video).

2. Simply Breakfast. See daily versions of The Most Important Meal of the Day. Fyi: Tiny Tip raspberry jam on multigrain toast, mint tea & apple juice at ours.

3. “In a start-up, absolutely nothing happens, unless you make it happen.” Inc on a new website which collates quotes, maxims and insights from successful entrepreneurs.

4.  Wolf, Bad Boy, Child Eater and Shorty: analysis of the nicknames of Mexican drug lords.

5. This guy can drive. Serious.