Book Review. An Everyday Entrepreneur by Paul Bassi

As I mentioned in an earlier post one of my goals this year was to read 12 business books in 2016. It is now March and I’ve only just finished the first. Not a good start.

January and February were really busy. I had a couple of small projects on, a larger development project and I’m also working on a new commercial product that I will be releasing over the coming months, as well as significant updates to both R10Cipher and oneSql!

Along with Reading, my Guitar Playing, Archery, Shooting, Family, Wildcamping, TV and Biking have all taken a recent back seat in order to get work done.

I’m not complaining though 🙂  It does however explain why I took so long to read my first business book of 2016 and brings me nicely onto my review.

An Everyday Entrepreneur by Paul Bassi


Firstly I should say that although the first few chapters didn’t really grip me, the latter two thirds of the book had me highlighting passages, making notes, grabbing screenshots (I read it on my Tablet) – It really is very readable and full of good, old fashioned common sense mixed up with a refreshing and enlightened way of looking at the business, learning from mistakes and moving forward.

Paul takes a practical approach to building his business and the advice he imparts is all the better for it. He is not going to tell you how to go from £0 to £1M in 21 Days, but he is going to tell you how he grew his business and how his simple, methodical methods and systems could also work for you.

As a Software Developer I am always into something deeply and Paul’s book really did motivate me to put my head above the trenches, smell the coffee and investigate my time more wisely on working on my business not *in* the business.

All in all, I recommend it highly for well written, everyday, practical advice on how to be an Everyday Entrepreneur. 5 Chollies Awarded 🙂FiveCholliesSmall

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Funniest Review Ever :-)


After having been told my danglies looked like an elderly Rastafarian I decided to take the plunge and buy some of this as previous shaving attempts had only been mildly successful and I nearly put my back out trying to reach the more difficult bits. Being a bit of a romantic I thought I would do the deed on the missus's birthday as a bit if a treat.

I ordered it well in advance and working in the North Sea I considered myself a bit above some of the characters writing the previous reviews and wrote them off as soft office types...Oh my fellow sufferers how wrong I was. I waited until the other half was tucked up in bed and after giving some vague hints about a special surprise I went down to the bathroom. Initially all went well and I applied the gel and stood waiting for something to happen. I didn’t have long to wait.

At first there was a gentle warmth which in a matter of seconds was replaced by an intense burning and a feeling I can only describe as like being given a barbed wire wedgie by two people intent on hitting the ceiling with my head. Religion hadn't featured much in my life until that night but I suddenly became willing to convert to any religion to stop the violent burning around the turd tunnel and what seemed like the the destruction of the meat and two veg. Struggling not to bite through my bottom lip I tried to wash the gel off in the sink and only succeeded in blocking the plughole with a mat of hair.

Through the haze of tears I struggled out of the bathroom across the hall into the kitchen, by this time walking was not really possible and I crawled the final yard to the fridge in the hope of some form of cold relief. I yanked the freezer drawer out and found a tub of ice cream, toe the lid off and positioned it under me. The relief was fantastic but only temporary as it melted fairly quickly and the fiery stabbing returned. Due to the shape of the ice cream tub I hadn’t managed to give the starfish any treatment and I groped around in the draw for something else as I was sure my vision was going to fail fairly soon.

I grabbed a bag of what I later found out was frozen sprouts and tore it open trying to be quiet as I did so. I took a handful of them and an tried in vain to clench some between the cheeks of my arse. This was not doing the trick as some of the gel had found its way up the chutney channel and it felt like the space shuttle was running its engines behind me.

This was probably and hopefully the only time in my life I was going to wish there was a gay snowman in the kitchen which should give you some idea of the depths I was willing to sink to in order to ease the pain. The only solution my pain crazed mind could come up with was to gently ease one of the sprouts where no veg had gone before.

Unfortunately, alerted by the strange grunts coming from the kitchen the other half chose that moment to come and investigate and was greeted by the sight of me, arse in the air, strawberry ice cream dripping from my bell end pushing a sprout up my arse while muttering “ooooohhh that feels good” Understandably this was a shock to her and she let out a scream and as I hadn’t heard her come in it caused an involuntary spasm of shock in myself which resulted in the sprout being ejected at quite some speed in her direction.

I can understand that having a sprout fired against your leg at 11 at night in the kitchen probably wasn’t the special surprise she was expecting and having to explain to the kids the next day what the strange hollow in the ice cream was didn’t improve my status…so to sum it up, VEET removes hair, dignity and self-respect ~ Cerys

Harley Night Rod Special

Review From the Archives, originally published: 4th April 2007

This was the picture that convinced me I had to have a Harley Davidson Night Rod Special. The black, lowered, stretched look combined with the Porsche designed Revolution V-Twin and the 10 inch wide back tire – I was smitten.

Harley VROD stevechol

I picked up my 2007 Harley Davidson Night Rod Special from Robin Hood Harley Davidson on a Monday afternoon. Cheers to Alain for a smooth and easy buying experience☺ I had seen this actual bike 8 days previously and had managed to wait until the following Tuesday before ordering it. So, in great anticipation I arrived to do do the deal and pick up the keys. 

What Keys. This bike just has a small circular plastic device that you keep in your pocket. As you approach the bike it disarms the alarm and immobiliser. You turn an ignition switch on and hit the ‘Start’ button. When you get off the bike, switch the engine and ignition off and walk away, the keyfob device works on proximity and will arm the alarm and immobiliser for you. No keys involved. A good start for a bike from Harley, a company many people dismiss as producing ‘agricultural’ bikes.

The Handling

The first ten minutes of riding the bike were … interesting … the bike feels very alien, it’s long length and massive mismatch between the slim front tyre and giant rear type (the largest of any production bike) make for an interesting experience. It grows on you though as you re-learn how to go around corners, it then becomes incredibly stable in the bends and very confidence inspiring. It is however a nightmare on a backroad with lots of repairs and holes, the small front tyre tries to steer the massive rear through and around them which is a nerve racking experience. The bike is heavy, but never feels it when upright, unless maneuvering it backwards, the low centre of gravity helps enormously in giving the rider a user friendly experience.

The Engine

The bike feels powerful but not scary. The superb fuelling and fuel injection setup means that you won’t ‘accidentally’ give it too much throttle and do anything dramatic. If you want to ride it quickly it is allegedly capable of keeping up with most litre sports bikes up to 100mph, when aerodynamics start to take their toll, and a low 11 second quarter mile, I say allegedly because I haven’t raced any sports bikes, or been down a drag strip ! The engine sounds and feels superb in the way that only a twin can, it is full of character and torque and I find it excellent. It has as much power (around 125bhp) as I will ever need.

VROD stevechol

The Riding Position

This also felt very alien for around ten minutes, however I find I prefer it. It is a slightly more aggressive forward leaning position than the standard VROD and with the feet forward controls it looks uncomfortable, but as I’ve said I now love it and find it very comfortable and natural.

The Build Quality

Superb. Beautiful. Thick paint, lovely machined parts. It reeks of quality. I have a Swedish car and another bike, Japanese. Neither of these is a patch on the quality of this bike.  Update: It didn’t like Winter … having furry nuts is not nice !  My fault I guess I should have kept it cleaner 🙁

VROD stevechol

The Image

The Image … not sure … not the traditional Harley that’s for sure, but neither does it fit in any other traditional category. What I do know however is that people can’t stop looking at the bike and coming up to talk to me about it. From a little old woman with her shopping bags, to a Kawasaki sports bike rider who turned around, parked up and came over for a chat – it seems to be (almost) universally admired !

The Pillion Experience

On smooth roads both the rider and pillion have easy, comfortable experiences. On anything else the very low and very hard suspension can be painful. I may be able to adjust this to compensate in the future though. Update: Nope, not really 🙁

The Practicality

The bike holds around 5 gallons, the tank accessed by lifting the seat. A digital ‘miles remaining’ gauge is built into the speedometer. Being mainly black it is be relatively easy to keep clean, and there is space on the handlebars to easily fix my Garmin Zumo satnav system. So far, so good.

stevechol VROD


I love this bike. It needs to have my babies. I’ve just ridden 15 miles or so in the dark on some country roads and loved every minute, not pushing it, but not hanging around either as the guy in the car attempting to keep up will testify … it was comfy, stable, responsive and great fun. Judging by people’s reactions it’s the kind of bike that makes people want to ride. And that is a good thing.


Yamaha XT660R: Review

From the Archives, originally published: 13th January 2008

The Yamaha XT660R, and it’s supermoto sister the XT660X were released in 2004. The model reviewed here is a 2006 model I bought and registered in May 2007. 

Steven Cholerton

The XT660R is not a real ‘offroad’ bike. It is too heavy and unwieldy to be your first choice if you need to regularly hustle quickly through severe terrain. Having said that it is more than capable of tackling green lanes and gravel roads. In fact I think it would be the perfect bike for some overland expeditions due in no small part to its simplicity, comfort and reasonable build quality.
In my eyes the ‘offroad’ styling is also very attractive and looks a lot meaner and meatier than many bikes, it’s more Mad Max than World Superbike but all the better for it in my opinion. Not everybody is a fan of the styling but in my eyes, especially on the model shown, with some additional modifications fitted, it looks great.
Where this bike excels is as a day to day bike for commuting and generally having fun. It features a single cylinder engine which although only giving around 45 bhp, is very torquey and capable of propelling the bike up the motorway autobahn at an indicated 110 mph.

Steven Cholerton

On the motorway with the standard screen it is hard work at anything over 80 mph. The addition of a larger screen and hand-guards makes it much more bearable at speed and in wet weather conditions. 
Being a big single it does vibrate quite considerably but this is only really noticeable on longer trips and I don’t find it unacceptable.
The seat is high and the riding position is very upright giving a commanding view of the road. Even with my 6ft and 200 lbs this bike still feels quite large and comfortable, and although the seat can feel slightly hard after 50 miles or so, I have easily completed several 330 mile runs, only stopping twice for fuel.

Steven Cholerton

The bike shown averages around 57 mpg and around 120 miles can be done before the fuel light comes on and the digital display starts counting up the miles you are doing on your reserve fuel. Approximately another gallon is available after the fuel light comes on.
The instrument cluster is pretty good, especially for this type of bike, and features two trip counters as well as a digital speedometer, a clock and all the appropriate warning lights. What would be nice is a rev counter and gear indicator, it’s probably just me but I often find myself trying to kick it up into a higher gear, even when running in top !

Steven Cholerton

The single biggest fault of this bike is the low speed fuelling. At low speeds around town the throttle is very much either on or off and a lot of clutch slipping can be necessary to make smooth progress. Wet roundabouts are not much fun either. This is a well documented fault with this model and the guys and gals on have come up with some simple modifications that can help with this problem. Ultimately though I think it is necessary to invest in a Power Commander and some dyno time to cure this properly.
Speaking of the forum, this is a great, informative, international and high volume forum that is almost worth buying an XT for. Highly recommended for anyone who has either of the XT660 models.

In my opinion another area in which the XT660R suffers is the front brake. This uses standard rubber hoses mated to a single disc. It seems to stop ok although the brakes are not at all re-assuring, with a lot of lever movement and suspension that seems to sink to the floor with only the slightest pressure on the brakes, no kidding this suspension is softer than a blind man in a porn shop.

If the front suspension wasn’t so weak then the brakes would not feel so bad. Braided Hoses, decent pads and upgraded front suspension is on my list of upgrades as the bike is so much fun to ride that not having confidence in it’s stopping abilities is a bit of a downer.

Steven Cholerton

The bike is a lot of fun to ride. The high position, wide bars and responsive motor mean that it is difficult not to thrash it point to point, especially on the nice bendy B roads that are so often seen in Derbyshire. The suspension means that it will handle the worse roads without too much trouble and as long as you don’t expect sports bike cornering abilities you will have a whole lot of fun