Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Recently I talked about an idea I liked – mental weather – after the storms, flood, hurricanes and other excitement this seems even more appropriate. The three events that have shaped my mental weather this week are these.

First I met Nick D’Aloisio. He invented an app. called “Summly” (an iPhone app which summarises and simplifies the content of web pages and search results) when he was aged 15 – attracted a chunk of investment – is probably a millionaire before doing his GCSEs and is totally unassuming and hopes to go to Oxford to read PPE. “I’d like to live a balanced life” he said and you know the oddest sensation was inside me there’s me, a 10 year old, peering out chatting to him and inside him there’s a  40 year old CEO peering out. He’s the biggest talent I’ve seen. If he has a crisis in his life like Steve Jobs had then I think he’ll be bigger than Steve. Chances are he’ll decline into comfort …or as a very young Tory MP. I hope not - he’s too good and too nice not to make a big difference to our lives.

Then I went to the new Portslade Aldridge Community Academy School in Brighton and Hove.  They were looking for mentors for all their 6th form and have a mission to inspire, advance and shape entrepreneurship. I suggested that this needed to be a highly selective process (which in modern state schools where competition has been smoothed away,  is an anathema) but what a great mission and  what a great idea. I’ll tell them that only A* mentors can apply and then we might sort this out.

Finally, a godmother whom I know sorts out her goddaughter’s  crisis, puts her up after she’s had a huge row with her dysfunctional parents at home and starts coaching her for GCSE.  She’s predicted to get an E in Physics and a D in Biology. In the first parts of her exams she gets a B and an A respectively only just missing the higher grades. “We danced round the kitchen singing the facts…we had cue cards…we made it fun…we all learned loads”.

Balance, mentors, fun….is there something about learning and achievement we’ve all forgotten?

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