Daily Archives: November 25, 2007

Missing HMRC CDs

Here’s a thought.

Did those lost CDs with details of 25 million people ever really exist? It’s now reported that the delivery company TNT denies any knowledge of them.

Plausible scenario: someone was asked to produce the data, but couldn’t or didn’t, perhaps for reasons outside their control like not having access to it. Under pressure, and expecting it soon to be sorted, someone told a harmless little white lie (as it seemed to them at the time) about it being in the post. Things then escalated from there.

Any Dilbert reader should have no trouble filling in details.

Open source farming

The Beeb’s early morning farming program[1] today featured a finalist in their “farmer of the year” media event. Today’s finalist is someone who makes a business growing herbs in Scotland, and I found it genuinely interesting.

The Beeb’s farming coverage is mostly in the vanguard of the propaganda effort telling us that farmers are good but hard done by, and supermarkets (especially Tescos, the biggest and most successful) are evil. Today’s herb grower is a clear exception: he’s spent twenty years not whinging, but building a successful business instead. His biggest customer is Tescos, but rather than tow the usual BBC line, he explained that they shared the common goal of selling fresh herbs to consumers, to everyone’s benefit.

That positive attitude to cooperative marketing will look familiar to open sourcers, but doesn’t of itself make an open source style of business. What provoked me into blogging was the additional information that this farmer has spent a lot of time travelling the world in search of best practice and ideas, and shares them freely with whomsoever is interested. That sounds like a genuinely open source style of business model.

[1] no link – the website is wrong: either it’s featuring another day’s (week’s?) program, or they changed their minds. UPDATE – this link now works, but will probably change again.

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