News: Business

Cyber and Tech the Landscape Ahead in 2023 for Business and the Community!

by Alastair R Agutter (Publishing Editor) 3rd January 2023

Next year, Pineapple Blue celebrates 30 years, I founded in 1994. As one of the World's very first Digital Electronic Media Design Houses back then for the World Wide Web. And whilst being on this journey, I have seen many changes, ups and downs, in the world of Online, and Technology. Just last night, I was reminded that I was an honorary Member of the Silicon Valley Veterans Club, when I fell off my chair, as a result of a lack of sleep again. Back in the 1990's when custom building Netscape

Browsers Suites, it was the norm to fall asleep in the chair after 3 to 4 days on the go non-stop. Well Folks, if I am honest, to which I always am, those days are back again I fear, if Folk in Business want to face down the storms ah head. Elon Musk's demands at Twitter, about working around the clock, may of sounded to many unreasonable, but that was the life in Cyber Space back then. It is clear to me, as I can see it, and Elon can see it, things are going to get tough, really tough in Business!

I am sure like many in business, I had been working over the Christmas Holiday non-stop, planning out the future with a coherent strategy, and also deploying new features, services, and products, to combat what's to come! I cannot say I am proud, or have I enjoyed recessions, along with the financial crash of 2008/2009. But I can say, hand on heart, since 1979 I have gone through a good few, and non-of these recessions were pleasant, and each one took on an entirely different landscape and series of business challenging events.

On one brief very cherished moment and few hours over the Holiday, I did take a break with my Daughter, treating me to a Christmas meal out, just after Boxing Day. And one of our main discussions was business, as Ellenna is a new young entrepreneur in her own right, with a successful salon partnership. And it should not be surprising to know, but we exchanged positive advice to each other. I with the concerns I have moving forward and what I see on the horizon, being prepared to meet the challenges ahead. But also very keen to get Ellenna's experienced advice on Social Media, for it's her generation that are the Kings and Queens of such an environment.

The picture of 'Live Online Radio' surrounding this article is relevant, for it's about pulling out all the stops to press forward through a coming storm. And I can certainly see the synergy in Radio and the term 'Podcasts' as a new styled broadcasting medium in recent years. And, as you can guess, being a songwriter and musician, as part of my life's knowledge and experience, an environment I love and adore, being; rich media. And the fact it was in the late 90's as a partner with Microsoft for Web TV, Netscape for Netcaster, and Real Networks as a Program Partner Producer, I created and developed 'Live Online Radio' and also 'Active Vision' launching one of the world's very first streaming web radio services, and also the latter 'Active Vision' for the beginning of on demand Video, Film, and TV. It was an exciting time for us, as I designed and developed with others Web Radio and Web TV, and watching with amusement at the time, Murdoch's Sky crew spying and watching our every programming move and development. But sadly for others at the time, it was a very tentative and dangerous period for many online in business. For this was the era at the very beginning of the Dot.Com crash in the late 90's around 1998/1999, just a year or two before the crash!

Active Vision iTV, Web Radio and Podcasts

A few days ago, I sat reflecting on things, and planning ahead. And you know the feeling after you've made a decision, you get that moment later, where you reflect on the decision you've made. On this occasion, the little voice in the head agreed with me, to push forward with 'Podcasts' and 'On Demand Web Radio Streams' and also 'Active Vision iTV' technology services, without doubt our very own nuclear option in these grave uncertain times times ahead! And so, very importantly, something my Daughter Ellenna said to me and honed in on, was regarding her and her friends salon success on Social Media.

And this was especially achieved by making their communication between the Salon and Clients, a personal Social Media experience! Ellenna pointed out to me about the importance of making more personal contact with Folk was the successful answer!. Honing in on what Ellenna regarded her and her friends salon success on Social Media, was by their achievement of making their communication designed to be between the Salon and Clients, a personal Social Media experience!

I very much doubt if you know this, but after leaving the forces, I landed a very tough but dream job in 1979, as the youngest Sales Executive for Abbey Life Assurance Internationally (Wikipedia Reference Insight), owned by the ITT Corporation in the USA and a former member of the FTSE100 Index, eventually becoming Lloyds Abbey Life in 1998. Now, if you wanted to learn the art of selling, these Guys were the Kingpins. And if you are a student of history, covering the vast plethora of areas in business evolution success. You would know, even the World of Country Music success and Radio was down too, and evolved by the big bucks of Insurance. Namely; National Life and Insurance Accident Company Inc (History Reference Insight), known as WSM Radio Station, developing their first Country Music Show from the Grand Ole Opry on the 5th of October 1925. Folk use to listen to these shows, and then come Monday and Tuesday especially, Insurance Salesmen would be knocking on doors asking Folk if they listened to the show, and then proceeding to tell them their association with WSM and selling Home and Accident Insurance.

We at Pineapple Blue are certainly not going to conduct ourselves like WSM (Wikipedia History Insight Reference), or the National Life and Accident Insurance Company. But again both history, and modern, referring to my Daughters advice recently, helps us join up the dots on the best way ahead in difficult times. For it is clear to me knowing what we offer is of great importance and value to society, especially Early Learning Educational and Reference Books for Hobbies, Interests, and Pastimes, getting the personal message and approach via Radio and Podcast can therefore only be a good thing, as Folk can also discover from the broadcasts a genuine service and our sincerity, as a noble Safe Harbour Green Enterprise.

When these recessions and events come, they truly are daunting periods, both mentally, and physically, when running a business of any size, as the bills and wages still need to be paid. Unless like announcements by our friends at Amazon and other businesses I might add, have to start making redundancies and lay-offs!

I think this recession this time is going to be the Mother of all recessions, not only are sales going to fall and drop through the floor, but the cost of living and energy is going to be a real nightmare. And if you are a retailer, already today Councils as I warned in the following article, written in November last year, are away with the fairies and talking about putting up the rates not only for businesses, but also upping the cost of rates to the general public. And so, your clients, customers and patrons are going to get shafted yet again!

And so regarding your customers, we all know when the money runs out at home, and a financial squeeze is on yet again big time! Things in our industry on the retail luxury goods side like Books, Music, and Merchandise suffers (Pineapple Blue Shop).

Retail Business Death Nail

by Alastair R Agutter (Publishing Editor) 21st November 2022

Landlords and Councils just don't get it, when it comes to rents and business rates. The retail and service sectors in Great Britain (UK) are no longer sustainable, and will no doubt receive the final death nail this March April 2023, as rents and rates go up yet again. I just don't get it, every Councillor complains about shop closures in High Streets as they die. But Council rates and extreme rents still rise!

Still now 12 years later after the financial crash Retailers are still closing, and the High Streets last few remaining stores in most parts of the UK are Charity Shops or Bookmakers. We see them come, and we see them go. How often do we see a store open, only to close three to six months later. And these events are not rare one-off occasions. All too often we see this and why?

The real truth to the matter is, it amounts to greed and not living in the real world. And this includes both Local Councils and the Property Landlords. The Rents and Council rates are extortionate. But there is far more, and I cannot remember the last time I drove down a High Street, easily parked, to grab a few items from a store. Today as a result of architectural vandalism, for this is what it amounts to, trees in High Streets have been cut down, roads removed, and the entire High Street paved and pedestrianized. So where do you park, normally a long and very inconvenient way from the store you wish to quickly visit in some God forsaken multistorey car park, and finally for all the trouble and aggro, you are clobbered with another extortionate parking fee!

Sadly today, High Streets to many families have become hostile, and they are not user friendly. But as pointed out now before, this is as a result of greedy landlords, and willful negligence by the Councils delusional staff, thinking businesses of any type have a bottomless pit of money to waste on Council Rates and Rents. But that is so far from the truth, for these poor souls businesses have to shut down, and normally just after about 3 to 9 months, about 6 months on average going out of business with their lives ruined, and normally inheriting a mountain of debt.

And what does the local community end up having as a High Streets? Yes you've got it, a handful of charity shops and bookmakers.

Finally, online is not the enemy, the facts of life are; these online services have become a raving success as a result of ease and convenience. As opposed to today's High Streets and environments, that are not user friendly at all. It also seems to be too hard for Council officials and staff to grasp the reality caused by their negligence to the situation over countless years.

The great tragedy to all of this is; this year Councils have been given the green light by the Government to increase the rates by up to 5%.

Facts: If you are netting off a profit of just 10%. You need to turn over in one week just to pay one member of staff, the rent and rates around £10,000. You tell me how many little retailers turn over that amount of money, and each week constantly, and this is based on just a £300 a week wage for one member staff.

The entire system is morally bankrupt and criminal, it's extortion at the end of the day!

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