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Ian Jindal
eCommerce in multichannel retail and publishing.
eCommerce in multichannel retail and publishing.

Ian's posts

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Camden's U13 girls cross-country team at the London Youth Games.

Alice had a great time - massed start and mud gave it a 'braveheart' battle-scene feel, but incredibly well organised and managed by a huge and committed volunteer force. 
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London-Welsh-Indian view on Scotland's vote

As a half-Welsh, half-Indian, London-born, Welsh-speaker, with Scottish grandparents, married in Melrose, social democrat, the Scottish independence debate is a cause for questioning and concern.

Do I want the Scottish voters to opt for indepenance? No I don’t.

Do I believe in their right to self-determination? Yes, I do.

I work in London and run a business here, benefitting from the mix of peoples, cultures and skills. Our businesses is pan-European and I believe in the benefits of Europe’s open markets, regulatory and human rights framework, freedom of movement and social priorities. I believe in these philosophically and also commercially.

As a Londonder, however, I also want greater, local powers for London, even as I see the imbalance in the London:’rest UK’ economic activity. The Westminster Lens prejudices London in different ways to the North East, the South West, Wales or Northern Ireland, but it’s a flawed lens nonetheless.

Regional democracy has not ignited the voters as the Scottish poll has done. That’s a pity. An engaged population is a population ready to vote for appropriate representatives and then to hold them to account by living their ideals day in, day out. I remember as a Welsh-speaking young nationalist in 1979 the Welsh devolution referendum and feeling strongly that Wales’ voice, culture and language needed greater autonomy and self-determination, but not full separation. 

Scotland’s history is a union rather than a conquest (ouch) and the nation has retained greater autonomy, and also been given more autonomy, and the desire for a more relevant socially-democratic government is a long-held one (and one reflected in the make-up of the current Scottish parliament).

The current powers are by no means “enough”. Indeed, the local accountabilities in the UK are by no means sufficient either. The UK could logically be broken into a number of 7-million-person regions that have coherence (Wales, London, South West, South East, East, North West, Midlands, North East… surprisingly like a rehash of Anglo-Saxon times). A ‘federal UK’ would not necessarily be a bad idea, provided that the regional parliaments could harness the sense of coherence, common endeavour and strategic view that the Scots envision. However, I don’t believe that a separation will benefit either part in the medium term.

Most of the arguments on either side are bogus. Countries are rent apart by war, amplified by hatred and ill-will, and yet survive. There are solutions to all deal points. Currency? A solution will be found. Europe? there’s no provision to exile currently-European citizens and deprive them of rights… there’s a solution. Financial sector? Jobs? Oil? All red herrings and solvable.

The debate so far has been about trying to persuade Scots in advance of what they’ll lose by leaving, rather than what they’ll gain. On the other side we have an emotional “let’s do it because we can!” campaign. Neither is creditable, even as each is powerful. As couples going through a friendly-ish divorce know, sometimes “not being in love anymore” is a good enough reason to part, even as both eye a world that’s a bit sadder, less affluent and with perhaps fewer opportunities than there were before.

I don’t want Scotland to leave. But I don't have a say in the decision.  I’ll feel the UK is diminished. I’ll feel that energy, pride, ability and diversity will have been lost. The balance of proud nations, working together with teasing, overlapping histories of enmity and common endeavour, a global beacon of tolerance, civilisation and higher human aims will have been  torn apart  with nothing in its place. The UK is an aspiration to nations, regions and groups around the world. If we have the energy to break it up, surely we have the energy to improve it? Surely too we need Scotland's voters to help keep the UK engaged within Europe.

Even as I type this I realise that I don’t have the vote on ‘whether I’m being left or not’ and that my non-Scots sadness is not germane. 

I hope that there are sufficient people in Scotland who like the “U” in UK and have pride in the social democratic, caring and entrepreneurial country we’ve built - by design, by accident and by people of good faith rubbing along together. 

A “no” vote can’t be the end, though. If we’re lucky enough to remain an Island Nation on Friday morning then we are honour-bound to deliver the functional autonomy to Scotland - and also rapidly to the other regions of the UK. European law has enshrined the values for which Britons have fought over centuries - those fights being on the fields of battle, in law courts, in political persuasion, economic endeavour and social justice. Britain can afford and benefit from a more federal makeup, a closer democracy and a visionary, enlightened approach to political service.

I hope that this vote galvanises voters, makes us more engaged politically, helps us value our shared heritage and future… More than this, however, is my hope that the vote delivers this for a /United/ Kingdom, and not a late-awakening rUK whose pauline conversion to the value of the Union, of shared and inclusive social futures, has come a dollar short and a day late.

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Peter Pan virus spam 

Just in case you awoke, like me, to a set of tickets from BHLive for Peter Pan you can rest assured that this is a never-aging attempt to dump a virus on you:

Looked very realistic (mine had no attachment) and I was just wondering which granny had "thoughtfully" booked more children than I have into a matinee in Bournmouth on 23 Dec (er - thanks!) when my morning caffeine kicked in.

Seems it's not being well-detected by spam-blockers hence the repost. Had this been on my gmail account I'd probably never have seen it...

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Why would someone put black tape on /my/ number plates?

I noticed something very odd this evening. I walked to the car and was admiring it (it had its annual clean on Sunday since I was too ashamed for the French exchange to see our car as it normally is - a near-biological teeming bucket of child-detritus and lego). Something was odd. The registration number was different.

On closer inspection I saw that someone had changed the appearance of the numbers using carefully-cut and placed black masking tape. We'd gone from AV59xxx to AV58xxx.

Why would anyone bother?

If I had done it (to escape paying the Congestion Charge? Not be traced by speed cameras?) then I'd understand. But why would someone take the time and effort to change someone else's registration?

I spose there's a small evil laugh in waiting until I'm stopped by the Police ANPR cameras and asked why I'm not black Volkswagen Gold 1896cc (that the DVLA computer thinks is linked to the amended registration)? Maybe is an art 'intervention'? 

If anyone has any ideas I'd love to know.
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Congratulations to @ASOS- now back 'on screen' after what must have been a very testing weekend.

They've worked all weekend to recover the position and at 0700 this morning we had an analyst's brief setting out the fact that they were back in business, assessing the stock impact (c£23m at cost), and noting that the Police believe that the fire was started deliberately. Thankfully no staff were injured and indeed the Fire Brigade praised the orderly evacuation.

This is a blow for +ASOS on the one hand - disruption to business, an arson attack to follow the recent market attacks as investors bridle at the profit warnings (despite the ongoing, profitable growth - it's an irrational world both on the hyped "up" and the demonised "down"!). It is also, however, a positive for the brand. Not only have they had a major publicity boost, but the fear that they'd be off-air has perhaps made customers remember why they love ASOS so much! All publicity is good publicity, allegedly.

Beyond the fire, however, there are other thoughts for multichannel professionals. ASOS has shown just how much more mature and capable it is as a business - to weather such an event and be back trading in 72hours is a tribute to the team, their planning and their business resilience. 

It does though illustrate the weakness of a pure-play with 70% of their stock in one location: when that location is compromised your business is dark.

ASOS' success has not gone unnoticed by the multichannel retailers who are seeking to emulate the impressive capabilities of the pureplays (ASOS, Amazon) while also working their store estates ever-harder.

We may come to see this fire as another important milestone in multichannel's history. ASOS' first showed the challenges of growth, cashflow, resilience and single-location. This shows maturing capability and greater resilience... however it could also be a moment in which multichannel retailers pause to give a moment's thanks for their store estate!

Welcome back ASOS - best wishes from me and all at +InternetRetailing 

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BBC runs a very nice ad for Leica ;)

Despite being a fan and therefore drinker of the cool-aid, it strikes me that many more wonderful images are taken/made on many other cameras. As Tom says in the video, the images are made in the mind, not the device. 

Henri Cartier Bresson appears to have been at heart a minimalist who chose the simplest, most reliable and unobtrusive tool of the time (unobtrusive to both him and the subjects). 

I wonder whether he'd now be shooting with an iPhone instead?

Looking through my G+, flickr and other photo streams I'm struck by the wonderful, creative and stimulating images posted by friends and acquaintances - taken on many and all devices (including the pin-hole cameras). Even amidst the billions of selfies, food pr0n and obligatory holiday snaps, creativity is blossoming and visual literacy has never been higher or more highly appreciated it seems.

Fetishising the device is a glorious distraction - I love the feel of the Leica and given a choice I'd rather take a great image with it than with another camera, but I strive not to care too much. Strive, but don't always succeed ;)

Congrats to Leica on reaching 100 years on a rising level of interest and sales, and let's hope that we have another 100 years of stimulating photography rather than fetishism around male-jewellery and nostalgia...

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+InternetRetailing 's Awards are coming up on 26 June - a must-attend Party of the best in the multichannel retail and ecommerce industry. In this podcast our editors (+Emma Herrod +Chloe Rigby and +Paul Skeldon ) chat over who they have in mind for the Innovation Award.

Don't let our own views limit us though - shy/modest people should head over to and NOMINATE themselves for an Award or two. Our Research Team will then do the rest.

Don't miss out: 1) nominate; 2) vote; 3) party!

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Stoer, north of Lochinver. Wet, windy, off the grid other than pockets of broad-ish band, but what views when the sun shines, and walks that're blowing out the cobwebs...
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Berwick upon Tweed. Wonderful but empty shops, the rather lovely Richard Freeman showing the kids what barbecuing is like open-brazier-stylee, and Holy Island (Lindisfarne) in a break in the weather. 
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Two approaches to a 'photo walk'.

I like to take the kids out for a 'photo walk' since it's a fun way (for me) to spend an afternoon indulging my hobby, and the girls in particular are taking an interest in photography (especially around our old manor, along the Regents Canal, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green).

Manon was really getting into photographing the evening light glancing onto the rubbish pile under the railway tunnels, considering contrast, composition, framing and focus options. Nye, however, was utterly bored by now and decided that Manon needed to hurry up.

There's no 'next' photo from me since I was breaking up the ensuing fracas...
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