• Register
Return to: Home > Comments > Comment: The path less travelled by satnav

Comment: The path less travelled by satnav

By Græme Gordon, Executive Director, Praxity

Satnavs are a wonderful invention. Almost always (eventually) getting you to where you want to go, if not always by the best route.

They are, however, almost the definition of a moron, only doing what they are told with the information they are given. On one occasion the satnav in my wife’s car took us down what turned out to be a pedestrian street that had not yet been recorded as such on the satnav’s map. A £25 fine later, we turned around and set off in a more appropriate direction.

‘They’ try to humanise these machines with recognisably human voices, though I’m not sure I’d want to receive instructions from some of the celebrity voices on offer – I think I’d be inclined to do the opposite of what I was told.

The instructions can vary in meaning and tone too. My wife’s car is Japanese, and calculates the ‘fastest’ route not by identifying the route which will take the least time, but the one on which we can travel at the highest speed. My German car is surprisingly polite, always saying ‘please’ before issuing instructions. Even when you go in what it, or rather ‘she’, considers the wrong direction, she will courteously request you to ‘please make a U-turn as soon as practical’. When you’ve done what you’ve been asked, she’ll thank you before suggesting you ‘prepare to turn’ the left or right that she next requires.

I was thinking about the vagaries of the satnav when on a recent training run in the New Forest. (For those who don’t know the New Forest – it was set up un in the eleventh century as a ‘new’ forest and has kept the name to date.)

I was running between two villages where the main path was very straight for about two kilometres (a mile and a half) and which would certainly ensure that I fulfilled the ‘required’ training distance. However, there was also a path that wound and twisted alongside the river flowing between the villages.

Now, regular readers will know I don’t like running much but still I decided to run down the longer and less straight path. Why? Well, my run was not Pilgrim’s Progress where you’d need to keep to the ‘straight and narrow’, and the direct route was on heavy gravel which I could feel through the soles of my shoes.  Besides, the views on the riverside route were much more picturesque. So, I made my choice for reasons other than completing the distance in the shortest possible time, which is my normal intention.

This made me think about my approach to completing projects. I am a proponent of DIN – Do It Now – and usually take the shortest route between two points, a ‘straight’ line. This change of route however, reminded me that sometimes it is more effective to take a ‘river route’, where your feet are better served for the long term and you are much happier in your work.

To conclude, I will always at least try not to wear my straight-line blinkers when planning or delivering a project.  And I’ll probably give more consideration to the advantages of alternative methods first.  But once I’ve chosen the path, I’ll stick to it unless I come across an unforeseen obstacle in the road ahead.

Top Content

    The UK: uncertain waves rule Britannia

    he UK’s accountancy profession is currently in a period of much uncertainty. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has released its review into the listed audit market which could cause the biggest shake-up the profession has seen in years, the Kingman Review has described the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) as not being fit for purpose and called for it to be replaced. All the while the country remains in a deadlock on Brexit negotiations.

    read more

    Views from the Eurozone

    With Brexit looming, populist governments gaining footholds in a number of countries and movements such as the Yellow Jacket protests in France, 2018 was anything but a quite year for the eurozone. Here leaders report to the IAB on their markets.

    read more

    Eastern promise and how to find it

    With China rising as a global power, Jonathan Minter spoke with ShineWing’s Zhang Ke and Marco Carlei at the World Congress of Accountants 2018 in Sydney, to discuss the cultural challenges that occur when Chinese networks look beyond their border, and the dividends available for those who overcome them.

    read more

    Spain: looking to widen demand

    As Spanish accounting professionals prepare for new audit regulations, the Paul Golden asks what they need to do individually and at firm level to maintain and increase demand for their services.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.