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Dave on drones, divorce, and service desks

Animal magic

As a visionary and forward-thinking CEO, I’ve always taught Dodgi’s staff to mimic the nature of various animals. I hold seminars on how my salespeople should be like blood-thirsty jackals, and regularly drill my technical team on how to operate like a well-organised ant colony.

So imagine my delight when into my inbox popped an email alerting me to the fact that many technologies have also been inspired by nature.

Who knew, for instance, that the US Navy has invested in coatings similar to that of a shark’s skin, whose scales are like tiny teeth that can create vortices in the water that cut drag while also preventing the attachment of barnacles?

Meanwhile, engineers at Cornell University have developed camouflaging material inspired by octopus skin, while a US firm has adapted the swarm logic of beehives to improve the efficiency of energy grids (thanks to RS Components for the tip!).

Apparently there’s a whole field devoted to technologies that have been inspired by our furry and scaly friends, namely “biomimicry”.

I can only imagine that the inventors behind Dodgi’s fleet of creaking desktops took their lead from the behavioural patterns of a particularly dazed three-toed sloth.

What’s in a name?

The Venn diagram overlap between people who are interested both in mild social media spats on the one hand and IT helpdesks on the other may be miniscule, but I’m proud to be in that exclusive club.

I was therefore happier than a swine smeared in its own faecal matter when a minor disagreement flared up between two MSP aficionados on LinkedIn the other day.

The first was promoting the launch of his book, entitled Helpdesk Habits.

But the tome’s title earned the ire of one MSP boss tuning in, who questioned why the industry continues to employ the term ‘helpdesk’. ‘Service desk’ is now the preferred nomenclature, the head honcho argued, because mature MSPs “are a value proposition not a cost centre” with “skilled techies not call centre operators” (although to be fair to the author of Helpdesk Habits, the book’s stated aim is to help eradicate helpdesks from being an overhead).

Dodgi’s own external ‘helpdesk’ consists of our graduate trainee Paul advising any client who calls to turn their computer off and on again. What do they expect for £9.99 a month?

In sickness and in wealth

Unpaid debts, the collapse of a large client, cut-throat competition, squeezed margins.

These are all common reasons why a reseller might go under, but to this list we might now have to add ‘Divorce January’, if a press communication I received from Ansons Solicitors is anything to go by.

It’s sad enough on its own that divorce enquiries spike threefold in the year’s opening month, according to the law firm.

But this matrimonial carnage also has a knock-on effect on family-run businesses, of which there are 1.4 million in the UK, Ansons points out.

“While all divorces are difficult, there can be a lot of additional complications for those couples who are in business together,” burbled Ansons’ head of family law, Mark Buttery.

“Many business owners remain unaware their partner may be entitled to some share in their company, even if the partner has never been involved in the day-to-day operations, and this can lead to bigger issues should a divorce occur.”

Her Indoors is a silent partner in Dodgi, but you wouldn’t know it from the loud cackle that can be heard reverberating through the building every time she pays a visit to the office.

Game of drones

Drones may have had something of a bad rap in recent months, but I was intrigued to read that these flying, unmanned robots appear to be mounting something of a PR counter-offensive.

An awards ceremony honouring organisations and individuals that have “used unmanned technology to serve in humanitarian or philanthropic efforts around the world” will be held in late April.

Last year, the inaugural AUVSI Xcellence Humanitarian Awards went to five organisations that flew drones on critical, life-saving missions around the world, including hurricane recovery, search and rescue, hazard mapping and medical deliveries.

Next time you spot a shiny metal object hovering dangerously near an airport, just remember that one of its cousins is out saving lives. More power to the drones!

■ Dave Diamond-Geezer, director of Digital Online Deals and Global Integration (Dodgi) of Dagenham Ltd.

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