A few months ago, I was walking past my local curry house when I saw that their neon sign was on the blink. It made me smile: now that, I thought, is some serious targeted marketing. Not only do they recognise that my name is Ian, but also that it’s late so I’m probably hungry... and they have created a whole new cuisine just for me! If only all small merchants had marketing that was as focused as that.
In September, one of the great pioneers of computing, Sir Clive Sinclair, died. Despite the sniffy obituaries in many of the British papers about his less successful ventures, for many Brits of my age, he did something heroic; changing our lives by making us realise that computing is something open to everyone. Sinclair’s home computers took the digital world out of the academic and banking domain and put it in the hands of the masses. It’s hard to overstate the impact it had on the lives and careers of many of my generation.