Supply, Demand, Fear And Loathing in the UK Software Industry

Fear And Loathing

John and I have worked together a few times over the years.

The first time was back in 1998 during the halcyon days of deregulation when the government was throwing money at the utility companies in an attempt to open the energy and telecom markets and make buying electricity, gas or telephone services more competitive.

That was the party-line anyway but the real reason was in making money for the people who already had the money to invest, i.e. the Tory Party demographic and the banks, pension companies and institutes which could make huge profits buying the UK infrastructure at bottom-dollar prices and their share prices doubling over night.

As individuals working in software development, there was lots of money to be made on that gravy train and even although John and I were comparative bottom-feeders, we still made a relative fortune on obscene hourly rates, but that’s supply and demand for you.

Deadlines were tight, the date at which the market was set to open was fixed in stone and our employer Scottish Power was desperate to be one of the first PES’s with its foot in the door and it’s grubby little hands in your wallet.

Of course the reason that deadlines were tight was because the early days of analysis and design had been undertaken by some of the major consultancies of the time, IBM,. Logica, Cap Gemini and they were too busy lining their own pockets with the freely available money directed from the public purse to actually give a t0ss about getting the job done.

They talked a good game, as they always do, the project managers and analysts were the kind of guys who were good at drawing boxes to represent systems or data sources and then drawing the lines between them to represent processes and data flows.

You know the type, all talk, all confidence and delivered nothing.

I hear on the grape-vine that these guys are still out there now, 20 years later working in banking and the privatisation of Scottish Water, the latest gravy train to come along offering free money to those who talk a good game.

It’s not really strange to find that these guys all know each other, a cabal of frauds masquerading as leaders when all they are good at is leading any unsuspecting PLC up the proverbial garden path.

Of course by that time, budgets have been agreed and half spent, lots of documents have been produced with diagrams of boxes and lines but not a lot of actual detail and no infrastructure or software architecture which will implement the new business requirements.

That’s when they call us bottom-feeders in, the mercenaries who drift from contract to contract getting the work done on a decent daily rate extending the contract as long as we can to keep the dosh rolling in as long as possible or until someone else makes us a better offer.

1998 and Scottish Power went live with half-@rsed systems that didn’t work, that had been badly designed and sparsely data-populated.

Let me elaborate, some @rsehole who will remain nameless had been so focused on the data flows to communicate customer comings and goings with other market participants that he had completely missed any changes to the customer service screen to deal with the new data flows and the changes.

Another @rsehole in charge of data population decided that half the customers weren’t in scope for initial population. So on day-1 when these customers decided to get their electricity elsewhere, their data content fell down the cracks between the systems never to be seen again.

Yeah, of course it caused a stushie, there were customer complaints, OFGEN were involved, but the consultancies didn’t care, the @rseholes didn’t care and the bottom-feeders like John and I aren’t weren’t paid enough to care.

If the truth be told, what John and I did, with most of the development team was party hard on the money we earned on the gravy train that seemed that it was never going to end.

Every time our contract was renewed there was another £200 per week thrown on the deal, a sweetener to keep us motived and interested, sticking with the project to get it over the finish line even although we knew that it was fecked. We were paid to fix the bad software, write the missing parts and cleanse the data, all of which should have been complete before the system went live.

Here’s a unobvious truth, a software developer will earn more money from a bad project than a good one and I can assure that we made a fortune.

There were quite a few marriages ended in that period. But that’s another story for another day.

That was then, this is now.

But back to John, he’s a good guy for a hun. ( Rangers Supporter )

Continue reading “Supply, Demand, Fear And Loathing in the UK Software Industry”

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The Rebels Have Won … The #SPFL Is Dead. 


The SPFL premiership started a few weeks ago and Celtic are already on top on goal difference from St Johnstone and Aberdeen. 

In the same period, our closest perceived rivals Rangers have lost more points than they have won gaining a poor 4 from 9. 

Last weekend with last nights Champions League match pending,  Celtic played a largely second string set of players and still comfortably overcame Kilmarnock by two goals. 

Does anyone doubt that this Celtic juggernaut will continue?

The bookmakers certainly don’t and have reduced their odds on Celtic winning the league accordingly with best odds dropping from 1/8 on to 1/33 on.    In percentage terms,  a poor 12.5% return has now dropped to meagre 3.33% return and not worth the money. 

Essentially,  the bookmakers are saying that it’s all over already. 

What is worth noting in the numbers that Aberdeen are now second favourites,  with Rangers best return increasing to 25/1 from 20/1 before the league started. 

To put things in perspective,   I’m a Celtic fan,  I love my club for more than football,  it’s not about 22 men chasing a ball round a park,  it’s bigger than that.  

It’s about rivalry,   about historic repression, being the underdog, standing up to bigotry and not letting the establishment club or its supporters regard us as second class citizens. 

Football is just the medium in which that message is expressed.    
And bhoy have we expressed it. 

Celtic are better run, better managed, more financially astute and generate much more revenue than any other team in Scotland. 

But let’s not be arrogant,  it’s not our way.    20 years ago that arrogance eminated from the other side of Glasgow.   They thought they were untouchable,  they spoke of floating pitches, world class hotels and casino complexes. 

It was all moonbeams. 

They reality was that they refused to pay their social taxes and look where they are now,  in a box in a liquidators office going through the process of stripping the last flesh from their rotting carcass. 
It’s quite sad really. 

Even worse is that the new entity which purchased those assets are a shadow of the former club. 

My Rangers supporting friends don’t care about administration, liquidation, assets etc.   They just want to put their fingers in their ears and support the team in blue that plays out of Ibrox.   

I get that,  they want the joy,  they pay their season ticket and support their team.  

But they don’t  want to think about finances, management or governance.  That’s someone else’s responsibility. 

That attitude is why their club was liquidated and why they are in their current predicament. 

Meanwhile,  I miss them,  I don’t miss their songs of hatred,  but I miss a genuine rivalry.   I miss the banter with my mates and the excitement of playing our closest rivals knowing that we could lose. 

Actually I don’t miss them,  it’s the genuine challenge that I miss. 

Sport is meant to be competitive and winning the SPFL without it is pretty dull and not good for Celtic or the other clubs who are more restricted financially. 

Do I have a solution?

Not really,   Celtic is a big club in a small pond but we can only play what’s in front of us.   

The EPL would provide a challenge but they don’t want us. 

The Champions League provides our only real challenge and we look like plucky minnows compared with other giant clubs with huge tv revenues. 

Thankfully we made the group stages again this year,  generating an additional £35 million in revenue and increasing the gulf between Celtic and the other Scottish clubs. 

That gulf is only going to keep getting bigger and the following thought occurred to me. 

Back in March 1994 when Fergus McCann, John Keane and others saved the club from being foreclosed by the Bank Of Scotland,  Brian Dempsey famously stood on the steps at Celtic Park and proclaimed that “The Rebels had won”. 
The rebels have won,  but at what cost when you’ve outgrown all other clubs and killed the SPFL as a competition. 

For Celtic and for the good of Scottish Football we need to find a different challenge. 
Original Stats 

https://dancingbhoy.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/more-free-money-celticfc/

Current betting

More free money? #CelticFC


It’s almost time for the Scottish Premier Football League to kickoff for season 2017/18. 

This Saturday last seasons league winner flag will be unfurled and currently managerless Hearts will visit Celtic Park for their regular hiding.     

Or will they?

Is there any foregone conclusion to be made when 22 grown men don shorts and chase a ball around a football field in what passes as sport in this little corner of the globe?

Let’s keep it in perspective.   Anything can happen in an individual game,  the plucky challengers might get lucky.     But winning the league is a marathon not a sprint and class and more importantly budget counts. 

Take a look at the numbers above which give a clear indication that the bookmakers are backing Celtic to win the league at a canter with odds ranging from 1/8 against to 1/20 against.  Which to us non gamblers means a return between 5-12.5% dependent upon which institution you let borrow your money. 

Compare and contrast with the nearest challengers and predicted runners-up Rangers,  aka Sevco,  with returns of 700-1200%. 

Basically the bookies are saying that it’s a foregone conclusion. 

But here’s a few interesting observations. 

Rangers were not Celtics closest challengers last season they finished third and an extremely poor 39 points equivalent to 13 wins behind Celtic.   The nearest rivals were in fact Aberdeen who finished a pish-poor 30 points behind Celtic. 

So why do the bookies seem determined that Rangers are Celtucs closest challengers?

Is it because Sevco strengthened their team?

What with a cowboy manager and a bunch of unknown journeymen and the addition of headline signing Bruno Alves who at 37 is well past his best.    

Is that it?    Is that the best they can come up with?

Reminder – the bookies aren’t often wrong and perhaps this “strengthening” will allow Sevco to claim second place but they will only ever be runners-up. 

Would you like more evidence in support of that conclusion?

This time last year,  I had a looks at oddschecker.com where the bookmakers had Celtic at 1/3 on to win the league and The Rangers at 7/2. 

https://dancingbhoy.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/money-in-the-bank/

So, despite our closest rivals strengthening and Celtic not adding any headline players, which I think they should in preparation for the Champions League campaign. The bookmakers have cut the odds on Celtic to win the league by a two thirds and increased the odds of Sevco by an equivalent amount. 

It’s a foregone conclusion.  A certainty if you believe the bookies. 

But would you bet on it?

At best odds of 1/8 against returns 12.5%.   A £1000 stake returns a meagre £125,   

Personally I wouldn’t be bothered with earning £125 over a year.    But a  A £10,000 stake returns a healthier £1250.   

It’s a risk like any bet.     But still better than money in the bank which is earns nothing and in real world terms is deteriorating. 

Not as good as last years return of 33%,  which for my “investment” of £10,000 returned enough for me and my grown up kids to look forward to our free holiday in a few weeks time. 

Cheers Bet365. 

Old Gold Dream? … #SimpleMinds


New Gold Dream
She is the one in front of me, 
the siren and the ecstasy
New Gold Dream
81 82 83 84

Simple Minds played the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall last night,  a relatively small venue for them as they are normally sssiciated with stadiums or arena venues. 

The gig was a stripped down acoustic set,  no synths,  three guitars, percussion,  Jim on lead vocal and the gorgeous foxy Sarah Brown on backing and occasional lead vocals. 

The band have just released an album Simple Minds Avoustic and the tour is obviously to generate sales. 

But what came first?   The music or the marketing?

The music obviously.  But it’s a business,  no one gets to keep producing new music unless it sells.   

Jim mentioned last night that the band had recently had a few tough years.   

I expect that their new material doesn’t sell as it’s just not as popular as it was except with those rare die-hard fans. 

Their tour a few years ago at Glasgow Barrowlands was pushing their 5 from 5 allbum with 5 tracks taken from each of their first 5 albums. 

Their last tour which took in the Glasgow Hydro was mainly a greatest hits tour with a few recent tracks thrown in for toilet breaks. 

But they were still better than U2 or New Ordervwjo were both touring within weeks of each other. 

https://dancingbhoy.wordpress.com/tag/simple-minds/

Last night,  they rocked the place. 

In all my times at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall,  which is quite a sedate venue for a rock band as it’s all seated.   This was the only time that everyone was on their feet from the start. 

The hits came one after an other at a blistering pace.   But what made this for me was Jim chatting and joking with the audience.    

As a guy he’s mellowed and I’m sure he appreciates what he has now more than ever.     His dad was in the audience and Jim played tribute to him and a few other family members of the band for giving them the money to get started 40 years ago. 

There were a few surprises along the way, a tribute to Bowie playing his song Andy Warhol from Hunky Dory was for me a bizarre choice when there are so many more well known Bowie songs to choose from which would be more accessible to the audience. 

The final encore was a nice touch were Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel joined the band for a rousing rendition of Come Up and See Me ( Make Me Smile)

You certainly did that. 

My brother and I went home .. or back to the pub as high as a kite and wishing we could do it all again today. 

The Minds are part of the soundtrack of our youth,   A time when we had our full life’s ahead of us and everything was possible. 

Now call me an Old Gold Dreamer,  but I like to think it still is. 

What a weekend I have ahead?

The Minds last night,  my bestie for a curry tonight, a Bowie tribute band at Oran Mor tomorrow night and going to see the Celtic finish the league unbeaten and pick up the title again. 

Life is good. 

Because we make it that way. 

We Hate Catholics?


Did you see the fitba last week?

What a doing that was .. 5-1 to the famous Glasgow Celtic over that team in blue that play out of Ibrox.   

A complete humiliation and even better that it was at their own stadium in front of 48000 home fans. Many of whom had left with 25 minutes to go. 

Nothing like supporting your team! 🙂

Actually nothing like supporting your team, These people aren’t football fans. They are an outdated sectarian underclass who gather to sing their songs of hatred and bigotry with impunity. 

Their latest charming ditty “We hate Catholics” passes without comment in the compliant Scottish media indicating where their loyalties lie. 

Imagine swapping Catholics for Jews or Moslems and there would be an outcry in the presss. 

They are indeed a stupid, contemptible group of Neanderthals. 

But worse ….  as the Rangers quarters of the stadium emptied while the game was still in play and the Celtic fans were in full voice joyfully singing about winning 10 leagues in a row,   This poor kid above was standing dejected with his fingers in his ears. 

I’m sure he’s a lovely boy,  he reminds me of my own son when I started taking him to see the Celtic  20 years ago.  

He is the future of the Rangers support and more than likely follows the team that his dad and grandfather supported. 

I wonder if he had his fingers in his ears while his own support were singing “We hate Catholics” or did he gleefully join in?

That kid is their future and he has a choice between right and wrong,  football songs or religious bigotry.  

If he was my son,  I wouldn’t expose him to such bile.   It’s a game if football for heavens sake and the team in green has never cared about anyone’s religious allegiances so singing about Catholics is not about Celtic,  but rather about the Rangers supports twisted hateful mind-set. 

But I fear that the kid probably doesn’t even understand the significance of their hatred and joins in because that’s what he’s learned at home where there has been generations of religious intolerance. 

Poor kid,  born into hatred,  I can only hope he sees how unacceptable it is. 

For the record,  I’m a well lapsed Catholic.  Many of my friends are Rangers fans  but I’ve lost a few over the years when they’ve made derogatory remarks about Catholics, Taigs or Fenians. 

It’s the equivalent of calling a black guy a Nigger,   Completely unacceptable. 

Celtic v Rangers 12 March 2017 – Safe Bet?


At noon today Celtic play newco Rangers at Celtic Park.  

This will be the fourth time the clubs have met this season and the third in the league 

Previous results are 5-1, 0-1, 1-2 with Celtic winning on each occasion. 

Looking at the results above it would appear that after the early “doing” the games were evenly matched with Celtic having narrow victories by single goals. 

That wasn’t the case.  In fact,  although the later results were closer,  Celtic were in control on each occasion and didn’t look like losing. 

The odds offered on today’s game  by the various bookmakers reflect that gulf in class between both teams with best odds of 4/11 Celtic win and 10/1 Rangers win. 

These pay winnings £36 and £1000 respectively on a £100 stake. 

A win ratio of 1000/36 = 28,  i.e. The bookmakers believe that it’s 28 times more likely that Celtic will win than Rangers. 

On today’s offerings and current form, Celtic look like a dead cert winner. 

However,  games aren’t played on paper and there is always a risk,  particularly as today’s referee is Bobby Madden who is a Rangers supporter and former season book holder at Ibrox. 

Not that I’d accuse anyone of being unprofessional in their decision making process.  

But if my house was on fire and I could save either my child or yours,  you’re going to receive some really sad news.  

I’ll be gutted for you,  but that’s the reality of the situation in the heat of the moment and faced with a 50/50 decision any indivudual is more likely to be predisposed to an outcome which favours their fundamental loyalties. 

I personally think that any referee with any leanings to any team should be prevented from refereeing games involving that team. 

I’m not a betting man,  I rarely bet and I don’t throw money away.   Random betting is for mugs,  or a bit of fun,  depending on how serious you take it. 

But money in the bank earns nothing and I have a significant bet placed already on Celtic winning the league. 

https://dancingbhoy.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/money-in-the-bank/

That’s a professional bet made as I considered it zero risk.    I’ll make the same bet next season as it will pay for a great holiday for the family. 

Theres a huge difference between betting on the league over the season and an individual game.  Over the season,  individual losses become insignificant and class counts. 

In contrast,  today’s bet,  a grand to make it interesting is just a bit of fun and pays winnings of £360. 

Now here’s a thought . Would it be worth also putting a ton, £100,  on Rangers paying a £1000 to mitigate the loss of the primary bet?

Sensibly yes.  These games rarely end in draws. 

But I can only see a Celtic win and I’d never ever ever bet against my team. 

Enjoy the game. 

Prediction – Celtic to win 4-1,  or 2-1 if we lose a man through some dodgy decision. 

Mon the Hoops!

The Games a Bogey! #CelticFC

img_7731

A few months ago,  before this years Scottish Premier Football League started,  I blogged that Celtic were a sure thing to win the league and were worth investing in as at a win-ratio of 33% after tax were much better than money in the bank at 2%.before tax.

https://dancingbhoy.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/money-in-the-bank/

At that time,  the odds were 1 to 3 on .. ie put on £1000 and it gets you £333.

Our apparent nearest rival newco Rangers,  were best priced at 7/2.

A relative ten-fold difference and an indication of who the bookies thought would win the league even before a ball was kicked. Continue reading “The Games a Bogey! #CelticFC”