I’ve never been to England before. I was invited to be a panelist to talk about online legal services. At the London Law Expo 2014, I had the opportunity to hear James Caan give a keynote speech. It was amazing. He talked about (among other things) the need to attract and maintain top talent; the importance of building a brand; and focusing on the key metrics of your business that will lead you to profitability. I wrote a lot of notes as he was talking and became very excited. I was sharing with David Mayzel (my law partner back here in Canada) some of the new ideas that were forming in my mind. We became very excited… But I digress.
During my panel discussion, I talked about starting DMC just a few years ago with David, and how we leverage technology and particularly the internet every day to do our jobs. We use our website to inform, educate, and entertain dentists and other professionals serving the dental community. The crowd seemed a bit older and a bit skeptical/reluctant to dive into the online fray. The questions they asked seemed to hover around: does it work? Why wouldn’t I simply focus on being a good lawyer instead of doing all this marketing? How difficult is it? And the like. And the answer I gave was more or less the same type of thing I preach on this website: this is a new age, a technology age, and if you want to survive and thrive in this uber-competitive industry, you must adapt and test as quickly as possible. That was the message that I wanted everyone to take home. And that if they’re unprepared to do it, someone else (like me) was very prepared to do it.
So… now some personal thoughts… When I arrived in England, it reminded me of a lot like Toronto. Expensive, friendly people (at least the ones that I met), lots of things to do/see. Interestingly enough, I noticed that a lot of people were speaking languages other than English. I asked some locals about this. They mentioned that it’s because their government doesn’t care about integrating foreigners into the English system. Hmmm…OK… This whole theme of people being pissed off with the government permeated throughout my trip. For example, at one point, I was very excited to hear the UK Attorney General speak to an audience of a few hundred people. But right before he came out, most of the audience got up and left. I was confused. I once again asked some locals about it and they said that they don’t like him because he’s a politician. What about the cost of living in England? It’s very expensive (particularly food, travelling, and accommodation) and the average person only makes GBP30,000 (around CAD$50,000 at the current time). Who’s to blame for this? The government, locals would say. Anyway, this was something that I noticed during my travels.
So I spent some time seeing the sights, like the London Dungeon (very cool, not scary), the London Aquarium (pics below), the Eye and the Shard, Buckingham Palace (a little boring), The Churchill War Rooms (kind of cool if you’re into that stuff), Big Ben and… my personal favourite … Westminster Abbey (pics below; it’s a place of worship and where they have tombs and commemoration of Royalty, Army personnel, Artists, and other world-famous people). Westminster Abbey was breathtaking. It made me realize a few things about how we live back home… and so here are some random thoughts:
Inside this huge cathedral/place of worship, you can’t help but feel small. Particularly when faced with the grand opulence of dead royalty, poets, artists, and others. The art was breathtaking. History. The atmosphere. It was a very profound experience. I took it all in. I let it affect me. It showed me how small our worlds actually are. How we are all dust. How life is but a glimpse of light in between two dark points (as others say). And we should appreciate every single second of it now.
Life is art. But life is also fleeting. And we need to make the most of it while we are here. We need to take time and appreciate the moments.
So, I am filled with new energy and direction. To do good. To be the best human being we can be. To set an example for others. To deserve everything we get in this world and the next.
Not to be boastful. Not to show off. But to attract those who support us, need us, and want the knowledge, skills and experience we offer.
Some highlights for me were
- the places I visited (Westminster Abbey, the Tate Museum, Buckingham Palace, the Eye, Churchill’s War Room, the Aquarium, a beautiful public park, Big Ben, Parliament, etc.)
- and the food I ate (e.g. fish and chips, a lamb stuffed samosa from a Bangladeshi place in Brick Lane, and traditional english breakfast!).
I would definitely suggest spending at least a few days in London to see these and many other things. I used TripAdvisor and spoke to locals (particularly cabbies) to find out all the best places to go to eat and see cool things. And I would definitely go back if I were invited to talk about online legal services. Next time, however, I think I would try to hang out with more locals instead of just touring around everywhere trying to see the sites.