This week we've been enjoying our yoga and learning more about XBRL, the new language that Her Majesty's Government have concluded we all need to adopt to help them control us financially. And personally I have been enjoying building real fires, and wondering why the electronic hearth has been such a draw this year!
Yoga is a lifelong discipline which helps you to breathe better, stand better and generally improve your self-esteem. Basically if you stand up straight and breathe well, things don't feel so bad, whereas if you are all hunched up and unable to move you feel down. It is quite low impact, so you can do it pretty much as easily as an 80 year old as a 5 year old. It does however require considerable ability to handle pain, because you wind up stretching all those tendons and muscles that you had forgotten about in the relentless pursuit of the next financial target or technical release. It is no surprise that it is very popular with entrepreneurs on the West Coast of the United States, a group of individuals blessed with busy work and social lives, relentless desire for self-improvement, and unbelievably high pain thresholds. It is a bit of a strange activity for a networking organization to lay on, because you aren't allowed to talk to anybody during the class and showing off will just get you a harder position (think about all the bits in Officer and a Gentleman where the poor chap has to do press-ups in the rain etc. Well, apart from the uniforms, the rain and the chap shouting a lot, yoga can get about as macho ;-) ). But given that our friends in IdeaSpace thought it would be a nice activity for their entrepreneurs too, we decided to lay on classes every Tuesday lunchtime in the Hauser Forum. We've got a great West Coast yoga instructor, Pilar Carrilo, and the class is already up to 7 people. So come on down - if you think you can take it!
Financial returns are an occupational hazard of being a small business. In their relentless pursuit of administrative efficiency savings to keep taxes down for UK taxpayers, Her Majesty's Government have decided that from 1 April 2011, UK corporation tax returns for accounting periods ending after 31 March 2010 must be filed online. This includes tax computations and statutory accounts. Even more fun, they must be filed using XBRL, a computer readable reporting language especially suited to financial data. The problem facing many companies is that they don't currently have the capability to produce financial statements in the required XBRL format. In order to comply with this HM Revenue & Customs mandate there are likely to be substantial systems and process changes required, all of which have the potential to increase compliance costs significantly. So it was lovely to get the Entrepreneurship SIG group together with friends from Ernst & Young to learn how to minimise the cost of this new compliance cost. Cambridge Network started as a self-help group for small businesses, and this is exactly the kind of practical support we are delighted to be able to offer within the community.
Lastly, I have been reflecting a lot on the joy of real fires. This year, my first activity on waking has been to pick up my mobile phone, check e-mail on a couple of different services and then see what is happening with social media on two or three more. Then I'll power up the PC and start writing my own contributions to the chit-chat that makes up the backdrop to network activity, drawing on cloud-based data sources like our own website (e.g. what audience is coming to event X) or Google (e.g. where else is this concept described in more detail that I can just link to). So this week I have tried not switching on my mobile phone, not powering up my computer, but just cleaning out last night's fire and starting a new one, and generally tidying up around the house, before going out for a run and doing some yoga. I have noticed a few changes, aside from just not tripping over stuff so often. When I finally DO hit the e-mail, I am less irritable because things are right at home. For me, this has been a good change. While Cambridge ideas are key part of the electronic hearth that is increasingly dominating homes around the world, I think we do best to keep that stuff for working hours.
Look forward to seeing you again soon in the hectic routine of Christmas parties - and hearing what YOU learned this year and how that is going to help you change the world better next! ;-)