Meeting those that own the UK

From private jet’s to those owning houses that are national treasures & how it links in with you.

I wrote this with the attempt for it to be simple to digest & honestly I’m quite a nervous writer which I hope to overcome one day so please excuse me if this isn’t too clear, weirdly I’d happily publicly speak to thousands & should probably share this through video but here we go!

So reader advice- there’s 3 parts to this. The (How) part is about how am I meeting such people which is work related so feel free to skip. The (Why) part is why am I writing this which again maybe of no interest. The (What) is some of my first interactions of those that own planes, islands, you name it, what these experience have been like and really what I’m hoping to achieve with this blog post lies within this section. Feel free to skip to what interests you most.. I’ll be chuffed if more than my mum reads this so thank you in advance if so and feel free to give feedback, no matter how rough in the comments section.


:) Bare with me, this blog has a bit of a title I know, but well, I am, in the context of that I’m currently meeting the major landowners/landlords of the United Kingdom given we’ve created an internet service provider, which is growing as quick as we’ll allow it to for a bunch of reasons (latest hardware & software is one reason) that I’ll spare you from full details why here but importantly we’ve also created an additional product that big landowners are very much wanting in all their buildings given we’ve listened to them & also thought a lot about how to create the last internet connection you’ll ever need being mindful of the internet of things on the horizon & that.. well my team doesn’t like me to say or share this but I think most people (I realise I’m generalising) don’t really care re connectivity and we should design our products in accordance with this and perhaps even speak up about connectivity in a more holistic sense re how this all fits with all our lives… :) someone in my office will be really unhappy right now as they read this (“DOUG! Stop saying this! We’re a connectivity business!!!!!).. well I know connectivity is important, very much so, and I’m really proud of the impact our company has & it’s ever growing as a business but my guess/gut feel is people care much more about what they can do with connectivity and just want the whole process of who to have as your provider out of the way. So thankfully after 10 years of trying to create a business (my big bro led in creating this one), this is the how, we have something that will increase their property value by x% and helps attract the best tenants given wherever this Node product is, they don’t have to worry re connectivity again along with our background that was from nothing to being in similar circles by accident. (Simplified explanation without overly techy speak but think works for the purposes of this blog, hope so!)


Personally I’m writing this for a bunch of reasons, one I can’t dismiss is selfishly to look back on all this one day & even now have chance for it to soak in, in the moment, as I don’t do this too much but I think the main reason that I’m writing this is because I was born and raised across Salford/Manchester, UK, which I love dearly and I’m very proud of it’s social DNA and believe with all the recent politics taking place nationally and globally that seem to have surprised me significantly less than my peers, social thinking (surely, undoubtedly) has a key role to play in our shared next chapters which this blog post ties into… I want to share this blog as I think, maybe, I might be in a weirdly unique place to pass on a certain message that I’ve not come across yet which I can see why I might get criticised for, partly given 5 years ago I was on the dole (state welfare to those who don’t know) having failed on a tech startup back in 2008 before it was cool & struggling to bounce back (pretty much written off by all) and from there have had the mad/bizarre experiences of having audiences with so many remarkable people from across the UK & around the world inc royalty, heads of states, world class technologists, leading tech entrepreneurs & coverage on internationally renowned press/media institutions, along with finally owning a part of a business that could make my selfish material dreams comes true. (Obviously lot’s to do but it’s looking more & more likely we’ve a real winner.)

(Dismiss/ignore this part if you know me. :) I’m shooting for the goal that this blog gets past just the eyeballs of my mum. Short version to how I went from on the mum’s couch to UK Gov advisor with successful tech business, well today that means a team of great people to be clear, that I’m the worst member of, but for abstract, I created a long term plan that had give back at it’s core being inspired through the internet to think differently, I couldn’t of believed that I’d end up at number 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace etc but it did so.. well most people don’t think I’ve had the experience of meeting The Queen, lunched with the head of China- it’s all a bit mad for me to even think about/be my normal but is something I now see as a responsibility to use for good.)

(What) (Meeting the very well off)

Ok so 2012 I had the privilege of meeting a lot of successful tech entrepreneurs but this whole meeting property people type feels very different given they are less inspired by/ indoctrinated by the likes of Steve Jobs talk of “remember you’re going to die, tell those that you love that you love them & act accordingly” (Love that!). Anyway so going straight into this whole meeting & getting to know the rich land owners, last year I received my first invite to go on a private jet to a property conference in the south of France ( I declined as personal matters meant I couldn’t go but) I thought “Did that just happen!?” when casually it being suggested that I should ride with their family on their own jet. Another major landowner recently shared re them giving their home to the national trust (admittedly slightly bashful), or another who shared about his family finding a painting in their attic worth at least £100m (I nearly spat my drink out).. the surprising thing I wish to share regarding those I’ve met so far in the significant land ownership space is that I have not yet met one and thought they are a bad person (the contrary in fact, though yes I can think of a few property people I’ve come across whose past business practices would make your skin curl but the very top/more wealthy don’t seem to have been this way so far in my experience). Another notable point is that on the basis of hours of conversation, I have no reason to believe they think maliciously towards the masses (the opposite it seems), perhaps my opinion will change as I continue to meet the whose who of UK landowners.. maybe I risk them even being willing to meet me by writing such a piece (I really hope not! Though to be clear, I’m going to commit to not sharing names given they trusted me with such shares & will do all to defend my word) but embracing that the internet is what enabled and changed my life & thinking, I feel it would be too hypocritical if I didn’t when I think right, give back my experiences if I ever think they may be useful to more than I (, I recognise I should share more but prefer to do taking as long a term view as I can), and I just thought somewhere inside of me that I should share this. I think the younger me would have wanted to read the next part and I’m curious to see how many of my socially focused mates will respond to the following.

Here’s what I want to share the most- What is striking in meeting such people, there seems a clear awareness that we’re all in this together… I thought perhaps wrongly/defensively/imposter syndrome that they would be thinking F**k the poor or not caring about such social issues such as homelessness… ( 1 second, my conscience is kicking in- Doug they own assets to help with this)… well I think so far, with those I’ve met, I think they don’t think they can or know how to fix/solve major social problems within our society from their own position/world view as bizarre as that may sound at first to process. I think we need leaders in the land ownership sphere to step forward and create case studies to get us started from a designed system process, new models that give back rent (10% I’ll suggest) into society for those that are in need (more qualified than I to define who or exactly how to use the money), for a fairer, more equal & inclusive society. I think this is not only a cure to many of the problems we face but also a needed approach for the rich to maintain their positions without major social unrest over a long term period (think a 100 years).. I think many can accept the rich being rich but given the technological rise and the wealth it generates, I see the potential scope for victorian like times between the have’s and the have not’s if we’re not careful.. this is why it is my hope that those I will meet over the coming months are open to injecting social DNA into their land ownership models taking a long term view which I think can equal a win win for us all. Perhaps they won’t today, next year, or next decade but I think this will be needed within my lifetime if I’m blessed to live a long healthy life to see a needed change in society.

I think we’re incredibly blessed to be in a nation where the majority have shelter & enough food + drink to survive but I know it could be so much better, I dream of a new normal where our national health service is under way less pressure, homelessness has many solutions activated, our education is globally remarkable as is our industry, scientific research, transport, connectivity (working on this one!), how we treat the vulnerable, global aid and so much more is globally renowned/the benchmark for a new chapter in history where it was clear we collectively reached a mental place where we knew we share one home, Earth, that we look after and we put looking after our fellow man on par with protecting Earth and pushing mankind into the next chapter of searching across the galaxy (i’ll pull it back here as I can imagine many are thinking where did I just go #SpaceGeek!).

I actually believe the people I’m meeting over the coming weeks and months have the ability to change our nation much more than they realise or than some of us do, maybe do or even want to acknowledge. I’m not trying to push a political view (ouch, maybe I am!?!), I’m partly wanting to share to those who may never meet such people that from what I can sense with my initial batch of those i’ve met, they’re not the Evil xyz’s that my younger self/if I hadn’t had the experiences I’ve had might have easily labelled them as. Perhaps it’s an inconvenient truth, maybe i’ll be lambasted for defending the rich! lol I’ll understand that and I’m not taking away their responsibility given the position they’re in. Maybe though, maybe we’re all scared, maybe we all want to do the right thing/help others but we genuinely don’t know how to as a collective. My gut tells me, leadership will be the cure and I can’t think of a better city on the planet than Manchester (birthplace of the Industrial revolution) to lead the world towards a new normal given it’s social heritage and daring to think differently. We need a new normal for land ownership, one that society benefits much more from. A global case study that can scale is what I see could enable & empower so many… we don’t have to hate or point/blame towards the have’s, we all collectively make the whole and need each other for all our various skill sets… but for sustainability, we need a fairer, more inclusive system designed from the ground (pun intended) up. I think this starts with the DNA of land ownership.

I’ve co-created a co-working space in Manchester’s city centre for over the past 4 years, I successfully lobbied the UK Gov for £4m towards a large building/tech campus, though my team won’t receive the funds which is not for here but I feel I’ve had quite an introduction to the property world accidentally through tech community aspirations and the 100 pound gorilla in the room re politics seems to root cause be at land ownership (has it not always!?). That shared, I am incredibly positive that with some careful positive iterations, we can create and live in a much better world through leveraging this power/responsibility that land owners have. Which land owner is going to step forward and lead with a business model that focuses on people, the planet & profit… time will tell but I do believe this will happen, I think it benefits us all if it does and I believe in all of us that we’ll find a way to thrive collectively.

I wrote this as I watched my social media split between the have’s and the have not’s and their difference in view of the world was clear… the upset and excitement of both sides from national and global happenings in politics, many I care about have been affected in many ways with recent happenings but fundamentally I see the good in us all that we share & that the problems we face, I think are solvable problems if we take the time to understand another’s fear and dig deep for the collective leadership to solve our biggest challenges, perhaps we need someone to step up first so the other(s) feel safe(r)… If only I could apply this approach to my personal life! That’s a blog for another day.

To end, here’s some light music I’m enjoying while typing this to lighten the mood & wishing you the very best wherever you are, whatever challenges you’re facing (I believe in you) and no matter how wrong you may think I am , I secretly love you all regardless and welcome your views re this to debate it out & thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed it… hoping it sparks some thoughts & good conversation.

With Love from Manchester



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