Are crowd sourcing community sites failing because the projects are too sucessful?

I have been a very strong supporter of crowd sourcing community sites to help innovators develop their dreams.

I have supported many projects for over five years now. My first pledge  was a fantastic success,  6,500% of the initial goal. Over the last five years I have backed many, many projects but now come the challenge when these projects have been over successful.

When you are planning for the project , you need to decide up front how many models you are prepared to make, describe and plan the production process (a lot of these projects use China as their production base).

Lets take an example, if you have planned to build 1,000 units with a contingency plan for  2,000 units. You start the project and it becomes very successful and you have pledges for 20,000 units. All your  plans are then wrong, the production capacity is wrong, the negotiations in China are all messed up and the production project quickly extends out by months to even years.

This is happening to many of the projects (that I have backed). Most projects are delayed but lately these projects are delayed by 9 months to a year to a number that are over 2 years delayed.

What happens is that the project turns from a great idea to a massive negative campaign , where all the backers ask for their money back and / or give the  project owners a lot of negative press and hassle.

Last week i was invited to look at a project on the day of its launch, a brilliant idea, a pledge of 2,000 $. Within the first hour, the project was 75% funded, Day two the project was already 300% funded. Today, day 7 the project is 4,824% funded with 23 days remaining before the project is closed. I decided not to back the project on the first day because  the chances of seeing this product is zero, which really does not feel good.

I feel that the crowd sourcing sites need to take a bigger responsibility and govern the projects.

What i mean is that when the project is funded by more than 100%, the project shall close for more funding. These crowd sourcing sites are making money in a big way too, therefore they should also take responsibility for a “no show” and provide some of the original funding back to the people who made the pledge.

As a true supporter for innovation and crowd sourcing sites, I really think that we need some form of governance to ensure that these crowd sourcing sites will be successful , sustainable and that the backers do not get disillusioned (like i am) so that we all can continue to back crowd sourcing projects.

George Muir

Christmas had already started in the middle of September!

Christmas creep, a phenomenon in which retailers exploit the commercialism of Christmas.

I could not believe my eyes!  September 19,  Dunfermline Scotland,  I had taken my mother to  Dobbies Garden Centre, a place where you buy bulbs,  plants and other gardening accessories.  There it was, as you walked through the door,  Christmas decorations,  Santa Claus figures and artificial Christmas trees! What has happened?


In the UK,  the Holiday season / Christmas season starts mid November, in the USA it starts  after Black Friday (the day after thanks giving), so why have they started to push Christmas in September?

I know that there something called Christmas creep, a phenomenon in which retailers exploit the commercialism of Christmas.

 But what I see is not a creep this is an imposition!

This is really down to the economics of the Holiday season to the decrement of the enjoyment of the holiday season. There have been occasions where Christmas was celebrated in July, during the World War II, and was a campaign designed to gather Christmas cards, letters, and gifts from American families in time to ship them to troops overseas.

If we continue this way , we will have Christmas 365 days per year and in fact we could celebrate Christmas whenever we want to !!

With just under 100 days left until Christmas, I really think it is offensive for the retailers to push Christmas!

Technology addicts at the age of six.

How much time does your child spend on the internet or the game console every day?

This is a question I have been pondering with for many years! I have been watching my children grow up with the internet.  I also have studied students at school and the university who are  totally connected and integrated  to the internet. It has not been until now that I have evaluated how much of this digital lifestyle has/will totally changed the world.

A recent study in the UK has shown that 38 percent of 2-5 year olds own an Android tablet, and 32 percent own an iPad; almost a third (32 percent) of these children  also have a mobile phone.  This study also found that 37 percent of parents said that their child spent between one and two hours a day playing with technology and the internet , and 28 percent said between two and three hours playing with technology and the internet .

In China, the average amount of time of 8-10 year olds spend on the internet every day is eight hours, with children over the age of 10 spend an average of eleven hours every day on the internet.

In the USA, the average time of 8-18 year olds spend on the internet every day is over six hours.

In South Korea, 10 percent of 5-9 year olds spend on the internet every day over ten hours.

This is a world wide problem!

Two million of the youths in South Korea are classified as internet addicts as well as an amazing one hundred and sixty thousand 6 year olds now classified as Internet addicts,  In the USA, 23 percent of the youths are classified as video game addicts with the numbers are rising every day.

South Korea have recognised that they have the highest rate of internet addiction in the world and has decided to set up a network of boot camps across the nation to offer their children a digital detox.

Digital Detox Centres are starting to appear in many countries across the world, designed mainly for adults addiction but the will soon be filled to capacity with children.

There are so many consequences on today’s society with regards to the digital lifestyle. We need to reconsider how we should adapt to this, and we need to reconsider it now.

My questions are around how to be a parent and lead you children in this new addictive digital lifestyle. For example, Professors often make comment that ‘Multitasking is for adults and not for children’ but we can see that the children’s lives are dependent on the ability to multitask.  Another example is how to handle our children when there is no internet connection ,  when the technology fails or the battery is running out. Finally, how do ensure that our children brains and ability to learn will not burn out by the age of fifteen and that they mentally burn out by the age of twenty five?

The answer is that nobody knows, we must learn and adjust at the whilst the new digital lifestyle evolves and takes over our lives.

The children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, it is up to us as parents to secure that our children will have a safe environment to live in so that they do not  just end up as internet junkies!

george e muir

I cannot survive without my smartphone.

A few months ago, I was travelling home from a trip where I needed to transfer from one flight to another via Dubai airport. When flying it is always necessary for me to have noise cancelling headphones and an iPod, to listen to my music and to be able to disconnect from the boredom of the long distance flight. Normally, my iPhone and my iPod is placed in a pocket in my headphones bag.

Not this flight, I had placed my iPhone in the extra seat pocket on seat in front of me as I was listening to the iPhone instead of the iPod.

Anyway, on arrive in Dubai, I collected all my belongings and as I stood up, my foot was snagged by the headphone cable and everything went flying around. In my haste, I picked up everything and exited the aircraft.

When I arrived at the terminal to go through security, yes you guessed it, I realised that my iPhone was still in the airplane in the front pocket of the seat I was sitting in.

Panic struck!! I ran to a security guard and asked if I could go back and collect it? He said it was I could but would need to ask the security guard on the other side of security! In my naiveness  I went through the security gate. The security guard at the other side then informed me that it was impossible to go back to the airplane and that needed to report  to the airport police.

Dubai airport is a rather large airport and find the police station was a real challenge. Once I reached the police station my stress turned into sheer panic. The police did not really care , it was not important for them and sent me to the Lost and Found office!  Off I went, this office felt like it was 10 miles away under the airport.

Arriving at lost and found, I met a Japanese gentleman in tears, who had lost his Samsung phone with no hope, getting little help from the people there and he left empty handed.

After waiting another 20 minutes, I started to explain my story, the exact position of the iPhone, the serial number, etc. Their relaxed reply was that they would have to wait for the cleaning team to collect the phone and it would take about three hours. This room was around 15 m2, contained 5 personal and 10 huge crates full of phones and tablets.

The feeling of loss was enormous, I know that it is only a piece of technology, (fully backed up and replaceable. BUT it was mine, my photos, my detail, my music, my configuration, mine, mine, mine!!

I was given a ticket with a lost and found serial number and was asked to complete a lost and found questionnaire so that the could contact me when they found it! I proceeded to one of the many computer retail stores and logged into this site.

My next step was to contact the airline I was flying with, with apparent nonchalance , they took some details and informed me that this happened all the time and they would fix this without any problems.

Frustration and anger with my self started to build up.

Whilst sitting in the airport and realised that one of my friends was flying through the same airport later on that weekend! I contacted him, explain the situation and asked if he could go to lost and found and collect my phone.

I arrived at my destination around 12 hours later and went to the desk of the airline company. Again with a nonchalant reply, they asked for details and promised to call me later on once they found the phone.

A few hours later on, my friend called me from Dubai airport! “They have found your phone!! Can you send an email with a copy of your passport allowing him to collect it!” 

 My precious is found!

But how would he be able to get the phone to me? He lives nearly on the other side of the world! During the following days, sending emails backwards and forwards to the airline company, the shipped the phone to the destination airport where I collected it, three days after I left it on the airplane.

I must therefore thank Emirates for their handling of this matter but I really wished that their staff would go through the same experience. Also I must thank Jon for all his help during my panic!

Loosing your passport or credit cards / money is really not a great feeling!

Loosing your iPhone is 1000 times worse!

As a footnote , today, three months after the incident, lost property from Dubai airports informed me that they will be closing the case since the have not received any response!

What a wonderful world!!

george e muir

A need for a Citizens Digital ID

Are you tired of having to create a user account every time you access a web site or an app on your smartphone. Not to mention  trying to remember all your passwords for every account! Often you are asked to use your Facebook account or Google+ account or a twitter account since these sites allow a loose connection to an email address.

Would you realistically then book a flight using your Facebook account or login to you bank account using you’re a twitter account or login to your workplace computer with your google+ account?

It is pretty clear that the answer is no!!

The thought would never cross your mind because it is not safe, it does not have enough personal information and your employer would never allow it. What we need is a Trusted Digital ID for all citizens and some countries have already started to explorer this idea.

For example,  Estonia has a highly-developed national ID card system. Much more than simply a legal picture ID, the mandatory national card serves as the digital access card for all of Estonia’s secure e-services. The chip on the card carries embedded files which, using 2048-bit public key encryption, enable it to be used as definitive proof of ID in an electronic environment.

In Barcelona,  they promote a Digital ID for the citizenship of Barcelona, a digital identity that is saved on their smart phone..

Canada’s Governments and businesses have declared to secure their digital future by developing a Digital ID, and I guess there are other countries or governments with the same intent.

Sweden provides a solution called Bank-ID that can be saved on the computer or their smart phone that is a trusted digital ID provided by the banks.

Any there are probably many more solutions.

The challenge is that we need to have a world-wide solution to allow this to be ingrates and trusted around the world.

An ability to have a TRUST model where governments, businesses and standards committees can work together to allow YOUR DIGITAL ID be valid across many counties, exactly the same way as credit cards are trusted.

I strongly believe within the next five years, we will all have some form of Citizens Digital ID, a digital passport, that is you one and only trusted ID account. The Digital ID will be valid for the country you live in and I expect it will take another 5 year before it can be used freely outside the country you live in.

Who do you think will take the lead and drive this?

Facebook / Google / Twitter / Our Governments / Non-Governmental Organisation / Institutions / The Banks ?

george e muir

How to stop people shouting on a mobile phone!

imagesBWG8A7Z2Have you every been in at work or on in a train or a public place and somebody receives a phone call and then start to shout!!!

Is it because we use technology or is it because we always raise our voice when somebody does not understand.

I have an idea to be able to help this situation. We are all used to noise reduction windows or noise reduction headsets, the process of removing noise from a signal.

Why can’t we do that when people are talking on a phone?

I don’t mean noise reduction microphones as such, the ability to get a clearer voice message.

What I mean is a human voice reduction so that when someone speaks on a phone, the noise reduction removes the voice from the human.

My first idea was to use an old hair dryer as such a device, so that you can have hands fee and also a 3D screen on the inside.

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But this would not be so portable.

What I would like is a phone headset that emits a signal so that when one talks then only the microphone can recognise the voice and everybody else would hear nothing ……

Is there anybody out there with solution for this idea????

george muir


Increase your productivity by 50% and have a better work life balance.

I have read a number of different blogs timeblockingand links about time blocking but I feel that we need to simplify this mysterious world of TIME blocking. Here are 3 easy steps to increase your work productivity by 50% and have a better work life balance.

What are we talking about?

After coming back from my vacation and meeting a number of my colleagues some of which have worked during the parts of the vacation. The message has been unanimous “It has been fantastic to be able to do productive work whilst everybody has been away”.

So how can we all benefit from this?

By using a system of scheduling segments of each day in a work week for specific tasks, scheduling time to read e-mail, perform follow-ups from meetings and identifying what really needs to be done in a working week.

Lets start

Start by sitting down, own your own, for 30 minutes on a Sunday evening or even better Monday morning and start to prepare.

1. Identify what is important (tasks) to do this week into these categories:

  • Important tasks, i.e. tasks that you must do this week, need to be prioritized where these need you be fully focused.
  • Tasks that you be good to do but must not be completed this week.
  • Meetings that you must attend.
  • Tasks that can be delegated.
  • Tasks that need not be done at all.

2. Schedule time in your digital calendar – “TIME BLOCK”

  • Plan your important tasks in your calendar exactly when you are at your best to perform fully focused tasks. Block time in your calendar for at least 30 minutes per task.
    Remember to find a workspace where you can have your focus fully on the tasks. Switch off your telephone, your email and any other distractions that you have around you.
  • Schedule reactive time after your meetings. Often you are assign work to do / follow-up on after a meeting. Schedule at least a 30 minutes block after a meeting to complete these tasks.
  • Schedule at least on collaboration / mingle / fika blocks per day, just to able to discuss over a (virtual) coffee your thoughts with some other than yourself.
  • Schedule reflection time. Block time to be able to reflect on the work you are doing, analyse what has been good and bad, identify what you should do to be a happier person.
  • Block time in your calendar for your private life and leisure time. It is normally the easiest time to neglect and to give away when stressed. It is the most important time for you to plan to be able to have a life work balance.


3.  Be honest.

  • Being honest is defining and prioritizing the tasks correctly, delegating the right tasks, keeping a record about the task that you have not complete, not cheating by using more time than you have allocated and throwing away your private time and leisure time.
  • Being honest is not taking one other tasks that you have not planned for, either because you have forgotten or have been delegated to you, without re-planning your week.
  • Being honest is making sure that when you are in a fully focus block, to remove ALL distractions. It takes around 20 minutes to re-enter a fully focus mode if you have been disrupted by an SMS, phone call, tweet, email etc.
  • Being honest is placing yourself in the right environment to perform your tasks. Accept that you need a meeting room or a quite spot or a private space or a coffee-house depending on the task that you need to perform.

Your calendar should change from being nose to tail meetings or focus work to a fully focused blocks, meeting blocks, reactive time blocks, reflection blocks and private/leisure blocks, very quickly. Directly you will find that you have the ability to deliver more, be more efficient and productive and of course have a better life work balance.

Will my daughter need a driving licence?

This weekend my youngest daughter will turn 7 years old and over the last year whilst I have be travelling around the world on business and giving speeches on the future., I have received the question about the need to take a driving licence.

My point of view is that in 10 years time, I think that she will not need to take a driving test as most of the transport that we will use is automated by robots (just like in the minority report).

This will not be true throughout the world, especially in places like India the infrastructure is not in place, just it will happen before we know it.

The main challenge just now is that the majority of this research is trying to make today’s transport devices (i.e. cars) into automated cars, instead I believe that the will be a quantum leap is to devices such as hover drones