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Richard.curran's Avatar Richard.curran Richard.curran is offline
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Hi Y'all,

There are a couple of wee things that I would like to change about the Shell Website so I could enjoy my user experience a little more, and there are one or two things I'd like more info on so I can know for future reference.

I maybe should just PM Paul and as him about these things but that might not benefit the wider community and maybe by starting this thread we'll all contribute to making this site a bit better. Synergies are what I'm looking for!

On the other hand, what things might be an issue for me are not for others and vice versa, its good to talk about things with you guys rather than just hassling Paul privately. This was the case when the Shell facebook app didn't work for me, I thought the App had a problem but it was my pc, wouldn't have found out by asking privately though..

Right, enough preamble.

What I'd like to change would be the log in - it takes toooooooo loooooooonnnngggg. When I'm on the home page it is great, my log in details are right there. I click to sign in then I begin my wait, maybe 30 seconds or more will go by before I can then continue.

Why is this frustrating? 30 seconds is not a long wait? Well it is, actually. And what's more when I come to the homepage it is generally just a stopping point on my way here. Maybe if I log in directly on the forum it is quicker but this is just how I use the internet rather than what I aught to be doing.

I go to my navigation bar, type 'sh' and it auto fills in the ell-livewire.org part. I am a lazy typer. I use the auto filler on the homepage as I hate hitting the @ and I hate remembering usernames.

Could it be that there is a Https / http security thing going on, you make log in secure yet it takes ages, would it be possible to speed it up? Is it just me again and is it super speedy for everyone else?

What else I'd like to change would be that when you click discussion forum or social network from the main shell site then you get taken to the chit chat splurge page for the discussion forum - which I've now seen a hundred times. Would it be possible to use cookies or something so that I don't have to see that?

Again, this is very likely to be something that only I want. I might be the only person to come to the shell site that wants to go direct to the discussion boards when I hit the option on the menu bar, others might love the page that shows you a picture of what it is you are trying to get to and informs you using /discussion-forums that the forums are located at /forums!! Same goes for Social network..


I'd like more chatter on the forums, just general chatter about stuff like what it is that makes us all tick. I'd like to log in and read about how someone here loves techcrunch other than me and my brother! I'd like to log in and see someone talking about things like how they don't think we're out the recession yet as their local sarny shop still shrimping on the shrimps.

I put a post up recently about "Red in the Red". Some of you might have seen it and thought - "ah this guy is just trying to get us to vote for him on the grand ideas award" or "he's wants me for my bloggy" but what I'd have liked is a bit of chatter about how I'd used a pun and how indeed its amazing that large companies can go under still. Then for someone else to come along and tell me that my blog post was maybe a little over the top since the reason it happened was because Barclay's withdrew financing for the guys who want to learn to be instructors.

This sort of chat happens here all the time but it is often swamped by posts like "starting a website" which is just great, I love helping people out with their websites, but it gets in the way of chatting about business and I really enjoy talking about business.

Maybe we could split the forums up into
New Business Advice
General Chat
Website Reviews - Help me with my website
Website Reviews - great sites to help you with your business


I imagine that over the years this is the sort of thing that you Shellies will have tried again and again, its not easy to maintain a board like this with so many members coming and going and so many members who want to use the board in different ways. Often it probably comes back to the simple idea of one main forum as being best, and I totally understand if the first reply to this is from Paul along the lines of "Tried it all before, one forum is best" but its worth talking about.

This is a mammoth first post for a new thread so I'll leave it for now and see if anyone can actually be bothered reading this whole thing. It would be great if you could suggest things you would like to change and if someone suggests something you would not like to change then tell them so we can have a debate. Through debating these issues we'll make progress. Then when we log in here we will enjoy it more, hopefully other people will enjoy it more too and the future will be bright for us all.

Cheers,

Richard
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Richard.curran's Avatar Richard.curran Richard.curran is offline
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I'd also say that there is an article here
http://www.shell-livewire.org/busine...h/knowyourusp/
which is very much along the lines of what was written in a thread just a few days ago by me and a few others. If I'd have known that you can submit articles to be published as is the case with this one I would have taken my post and made it into an article, I spent about half and hour or more writing that one post and using all my business acumen from my experience and my degree to come up with it so I was pretty proud by the end of it. I'd have been even prouder to be able to say "read my article on the main site about it" and given a link.

Is it possible for members of the site here to submit articles to be featured in the way that this one was?

Is it possible to integrate these articles with the social side of the site, have comments and forum threads about them? Or about the site in general? Is this a community driven thing and rather than asking about it should I just be doing it?

I have a very cheery attitude - but if I did find out that the article on the main site was published after my post then I would be very very very disappointed. For anyone interested here is a link to my post as you will no doubt be able to tell they are very similar. I didn't copy anyone when I was writing my thread and I am sure that if the person who came up with the article knew about the thread they would have found it significantly easier to write their article. For one thing my post (which did actually take longer than half an hour to write) is probably a longer article if you take out the introduction to the one on the main site.
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tristanwatson82 tristanwatson82 is offline
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Hi Richard,

I was just thinking about similar things coming into the forum today - how much easier it would be if the site remembered my login and if I could jump straight into the forum.

In fact this morning I was trying to send someone a link to the awards videos, and although I understand that people have to register before voting, it would have been very useful if they were viewable to anyone.

Looking at the article about USP and your forum post I can see that there are several similarities, but looking back at that thread LordLancaster had actually posted a link to it before your post. Easy to miss I know, but at least it clarifies that there wasn't anything dodgy going on there.

Anyway, would certainly be interested to hear what other members think about your this.
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Richard.curran's Avatar Richard.curran Richard.curran is offline
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Cheers Tristan!

I went on about that post I wrote for quite a bit there and I should not have spent that long talking about it. The thing about it is that there are plenty of threads on these forums which do not get celebrated in a similar way. For instance JonathanB (sorry if I get the name wrong) wrote "Ten business Tips" or something to that effect. I didn't agree with them but posted afterwards, however, it would be great if people like Jonathan were able to post that on main site and then talk about it here in the forums. Or if he was wanting to submit it then he was able to post it here and then revise the list then submit it to Paul for the main site.

In any case, that's a moot point now.


Cheers for the reply to the thread, I was worried that it would get buried under my own responses to other threads! A link to the videos would be great and then "log in to vote" system could be necessary thereafter.
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Richard.curran's Avatar Richard.curran Richard.curran is offline
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Hmm, logged in a lot quicker that time, just came back to check.
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markocosic markocosic is offline
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Quote:
a post up recently about "Red in the Red". Some of you might have seen it and thought - "ah this guy is just trying to get us to vote for him on the grand ideas award" or "he's wants me for my bloggy" but what I'd have liked is a bit of chatter about how I'd used a pun and how indeed its amazing that large companies can go under still
Given the rate they chose to expand at, and the way the chose to finance it, was it really that "amazing" that they went to the wall? ;-)
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Joshua Mason-Allen Joshua Mason-Allen is offline
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Richard,

I agree that a more "general chat" style section would certainly liven things up around here. While I do value the point and purpose of this forum, it certainly gets tedious when there's a new thread every single day from someone who needs a website.

Perhaps if we had some sort of 'LiveWire Directory' wherein members could insert information about what services they or their company offer and then members could contact one another accordingly. An address book style thing I suppose is what I'm referring to.

I don't agree with anyone being able to submit an article for the main page: afterall, that's what we have the blog function in the Social Network for. Discussion can follow on there.

Conversely, however, it certainly would liven up the forum if discussion surrounding the blog posts took place here. I'm not entirely sure what I'd do about this, perhaps if someone is looking for comment and critique on a blog post: they could start a thread with a link to the blog post in question?

Like yourself, I love to talk business but I haven't found that this is the platform on which to do it and my business chatting tends to take place more in the not-so-virtual world.
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Richard.curran's Avatar Richard.curran Richard.curran is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Mason-Allen View Post
Richard,


Like yourself, I love to talk business but I haven't found that this is the platform on which to do it and my business chatting tends to take place more in the not-so-virtual world.
Likewise, I also do most of my business chat in the analogue world.

Today I logged in very quickly so that is no longer a problem for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco
Given the rate they chose to expand at, and the way the chose to finance it, was it really that "amazing" that they went to the wall? ;-)
Not at all, which was one of the points I made in the thread. I knew that there would be someone out there with an opinion on it.

They grew so fast for a few reasons, one of them being that they bought over large driving schools, for instance. A lot of their growth was inorganic.

The reason they went bust was because Barclays withdrew the funding for their instructors. It costs 3000+ to become a driving instructor, they were making a profit of millions of pounds then this went immediately into a loss as Barclays withdrew their financing. This seems like a bit of a rubbish way to run their business, essentially just taking money from the bank via an agreement set up in advance that Barclays would give free financing to instructors. Most people don't pass the tests, but since its only 3000 the bank can be fairly confident that the person will pay them back eventually.

Anyway, it is pretty shocking that large companies just suddenly announce that they've gone into administration as if they don't care. There has been no apology to their students who booked and paid for lessons but will not receive one. Its as if going into administration is a regular business decision.
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KyokoHunter KyokoHunter is offline
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I'd just like to add a couple of comments about the Livewire website. As already mentioned, single sign-on between the elements of the Livewire website such as the forums and the social network would be great. It looks like some of the account details are shared, but not the sessions.

Also, I find the social network a bit tricky to navigate - it's easy to find my items and information, but not other people's stuff. I ended up finding the events listing through the page for my own listings.
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lordlancaster's Avatar lordlancaster lordlancaster is offline
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Thanks for the feedback

Hi Richard,

Firstly, thanks for posting your original thread. Myself and other members of the Shell LiveWIRE team do actually try to read most (if not all) new threads on the Discussion Forum so it is a good way to grab our attention, offer feedback and suggest new ways to do things.

However, it's just as easy to send me a Private Message (PM) through the Forum as that will automatically send me an email alert direct to my inbox, or you can always email me at paul.lancaster@shell-livewire.org or enquiries@shell-livewire.org

Some of the things you have suggested have been brought up by other members before. For example;

Quote:
I'd like more chatter on the forums, just general chatter about stuff like what it is that makes us all tick. I'd like to log in and read about how someone here loves techcrunch other than me and my brother! I'd like to log in and see someone talking about things like how they don't think we're out the recession yet as their local sarny shop still shrimping on the shrimps.
I'm afraid the answer is no. The Shell LiveWIRE Discussion Forum is meant to be a place for young entrepreneurs to ask for business help and advice, or to answer queries based on their own experiences of starting or running a business.

Anything else is just noise and there are plenty of other places to do this, including your Social Network Blog. We've done lots of surveys, polls and focus groups on things like this and the vast majority of people like it just the way it is.

Quote:
What else I'd like to change would be that when you click discussion forum or social network from the main shell site then you get taken to the chit chat splurge page for the discussion forum - which I've now seen a hundred times. Would it be possible to use cookies or something so that I don't have to see that?
This 'chit chat splurge' page was added fairly recently to explain more to new users / visitors to the site. I can see why you might find this a bit tiresome if you're on here a lot (you have been posting on here a lot lately since being shortlisted for the Grand Ideas Award) but you can always go direct to this Discussion Forum by simply typing (or bookmarking) www.shell-livewire.org/forums and the Social Network at www.shell-livewire.org/network

Quote:
I'd also say that there is an article here
http://www.shell-livewire.org/busine...h/knowyourusp/
which is very much along the lines of what was written in a thread just a few days ago by me and a few others....I have a very cheery attitude - but if I did find out that the article on the main site was published after my post then I would be very very very disappointed.
"Very very very disappointed"? Richard, the article you are referring to was actually added to the Shell LiveWIRE Business Library on 3rd December 2009. It's great that you've written something similar on your blog, but it's pure coincidence and actually quite a common business topic for people to talk about. We have only just started asking people to submit content for our site, but I am quite keen to get more LiveWIRE members to write things for us as we are in the process of updating the Business Library. However, this won't be a free for all and we will probably be putting call outs on the Forum or contacting people direct to see if they would like to write something for us.

Quote:
Perhaps if we had some sort of 'LiveWire Directory' wherein members could insert information about what services they or their company offer and then members could contact one another accordingly. An address book style thing I suppose is what I'm referring to.
Joshua, the Social Network (www.shell-livewire.org/network) already works as a directory for people to search for different types of business and is a much more effective way to find people than a simple list. However, it's down to each individual member to ensure that their Social Network profile contains up-to-date info about their business, including a description and keywords that people can search upon.

Previously, the Social Network was the only place that people were allowed to advertise their products and services, but at the end of 2010 we added a new 'Shell LiveWIRE Exchange' sub-forum at the top of the main Forum page where people could post details of any special offers, discounts and promotions for other LiveWIRE members. (See http://www.shell-livewire.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=41)


I'll look in to some of your other things like slow logins but Shell LiveWIRE is a very busy site and so there are bound to be times when it can be slower than usual, but thankfully not that often.
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markocosic markocosic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard.curran View Post
The reason they went bust was because Barclays withdrew the funding for their instructors.
Sort of - that's the equivalent of saying that the credit crunch happened because people stopped buying junk debt. I'd argue that Barclays cessation of buying learner-instructor debts was merely a symptom of an underlying cause, and symptoms aren't really reasons.

Barclays withdrew the financing to instructors because the instructors were defaulting. The instructors were defaulting because they didn't have the money to repay the loans. They didn't have the money to repay the loans because Red had mis-sold them driving instructor training (and related products).

In part this was because they "went large" - chose to expand by selling to people who couldn't afford the product and chose to expand at a rate where the value of their product plummeted due to excess capacity.

In part this was also because they financed their business in a really "under-hand" way. (outsourcing the debt to the customers to whom they mis-sold the product)

If they hadn't "gone large" then they wouldn't have had the problem of customers defaulting, and if they hadn't chosen to finance their business in an "under hand" way then they wouldn't have been exposed to the risk of their partner-lender withdrawing the loan facilities.

I do feel genuinely sorry for a lot of the folks on the Red courses - who wanted to better themselves/work as an adi for a living but were instead taken for a ride by salesmen backed by buyers of debt. Red themselves got exactly what they had coming - and its no surprise at all when growth fuelled by a mountain of debt comes crashing down. (the "business model" does not care whose books the debt is on when it comes to evaluating exposure to the debt markets - and Red had mountains of debt by that measure)


Quote:
Most people don't pass the tests, but since its only 3000 the bank can be fairly confident that the person will pay them back eventually.
I wouldn't be so sure about that - all those who needed to borrow the 3k needed to borrow it as it were. Without the work from the adi qualification and with other income thin on the ground I should imagine an awful lot of those folks will be defaulting. Recovery costs aren't such a big deal on 100k of debt, but on 3k they're a real problem - as soon as you involve a human in the process you may as well write off that loan, and AFAIK the debt is unsecured too. I'd expect Barclays to offload the debt onto bailffs in pretty short order - recovering what they can whilst they can...


Quote:
Anyway, it is pretty shocking that large companies just suddenly announce that they've gone into administration as if they don't care.
Charlatans are charlatans regardless of their size. I'd agree that Brown & Co flogging the family silver to keep up the false pretences has allowed them to get larger than ever before, but its never shocking when a bunch of charlatans are exposed for what they are! ;-) (that'd apply to Brown & Co and Red in equal measure...)
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