Intentional accidents

It’s around the end and start of the calendar year that you hear the most talk of growth. How much did you grow? What will it be next year? It often strikes me that when people talk about growth, especially the much-fabled organic growth, they can imply that it’s easy. That it’s somehow accidental. As [...]

Stopping the robber barons

Reading the combative words of @LukeJohnsonRCP in the Sunday Times (paywall) today, I was struck by the juxtaposition of a free market capitalist championing some sort of nationalist government intervention to throttle enterprise and innovation. He writes, “We have a huge and successful creative industry, which is being gradually eviscerated by the depredations of parasites such as [...]

Profiling your taste

I’m no foodie, but if I did want to eat at Heston Blumenthal’s soon-to-reopen Fat Duck restaurant, it’d take more than just picking up the phone. He’s apparently been vetting (potential) customers for years by Googling them. I find this interesting on two fronts: the building of a profiling dossier of patrons; and, profiling in [...]

A leader’s mindset

A small business owner I know is fed up. He’s busy, stressed and feeling the relentless pressure of being the manager-leader-CEO-strategist-operations guy. His 80-100 hours each week are taking their toll in year two of this business. I’m happy to be a shoulder to cry on, but if you’re opening up then you can expect [...]

19 ideas to think big, act small

Two small local gift shops recently asked me for some advice having just opened their doors. Here’s my thinking that may ring a bell or two with you: Keep things simple whilst striving for quality – a massively pared back John Lewis, if you like. Keep changing: your window display, your special offers, and your [...]

Download your commute

Apple is a notoriously secretive company but the Wall Street Journal revealed (behind the pay wall) this week that the company have hundreds of engineers working on an electric car known as Titan. Apple are also apparently testing a self-driving car. If they do launch a car (and that’s surely a BIG if, at this [...]

Wolf of Wall St is indicator without answers

Watching Leonardo DiCaprio play convicted stock market trader, Jordan Belfort, in The Wolf of Wall Street you can’t fail to feel his story. You admire his initial drive, his energy and zeal to win. Then of course, power corrupts and director, Martin Scorsese gives you both barrels of how utterly vile Belfort’s life gets. He [...]

High streets continue to change

PwC and the Local Data Company have published a paper showing the (obvious) demise of the nation’s high streets and it’s doing the media rounds. Despite the growing economy, our town centres are continuing to shrink thanks to our propensity for home and out-of-town shopping. The study of 500 town centres shows 3,003 shops closed in [...]

USPs are false thinking

Every time someone talks to me about their unique selling proposition (USP) I can’t help but think that the whole thing is a little overrated. Not as a concept, but as a reality. The USP found its way into our marketing lexicon in the 1940s by Rosser Reeves. Reeves, a television advertiser, coined the term [...]

Are passwords the problem or the solution?

The recent eBay hack has shown us yet again that we are on a hiding to nothing with our passwords. The clever spelling of your favourite band or that important date integrated with a loved one’s name really won’t cut it. Passwords are now recommended to be very long and contain upper and lower letters [...]

Will deliveries fly to your door?

Amazon have scored plenty of headlines with its drone delivery story, Prime Air. For the uninterested, Amazon have said they’ll be able to shorten delivery times by despatching your goods via drones rather than delivering via the postal system in the future. It’s not as fanciful as it might sound. Flirtey  are set to pull [...]

The Croudfunding Revolution

Croudfunding is revolutionising the investment business. Individuals fed up with meagre returns from interest rates or pension pots can invest directly into companies at their embryonic stage in order to seed and see them grow along their product life cycle. They don’t need to be high net worth folks either. Common wisdom would be to [...]

Google change far more than adwords

Google are continuing to tweak their Adwords offering, forcing up the bidding process for those hoping to sell products. The latest refinement can push a single product into view rather than the grids or multi-retailer listings we’re used to seeing. Much has already been written of the policy reversal to charge for these listings that [...]

Personalised ads for TV

Sky have launched AdSmart in the UK this week. The thinking is that instead of receiving generic national adverts, your TV viewing will receive more localised ads based on your postcode. This possibly sounds intrusive when you first hear about matching commercial advertising to your viewing but it’s not tracking a personal profile just serving [...]

High Street gets a new champion

Bill Grimsey, the former Wickes and Iceland CEO has presented his plans to help our hurting high streets. He’s offering pragmatic options to revitalise our town centres. He’s none too pleased with previous initiatives and hopes to persuade politicians that plenty can and should be done rather than bemoan the demise. Many voices say click [...]

Medicine unplugged

Health is universal and, perversely, so too is our deteriorating health problem. The developing world has obvious health shortfalls and problems but ‘Globesity’ has entered the developed world’s Zeitgeist as testimony that we’re killing ourselves through our own lifestyle choices. That’s one sound reason why health will be the next great tech revolution. Yahoo’s super-smart [...]

Disciplinary is communication

The disciplinary process is a very difficult task to deliver and even more so to receive, but it’s often misconstrued. Typically, you’d discipline those in your team by following a process something like this: verbal warning, written warning, second written warning and then final written warning before a concluding misdemeanour sends them down the road [...]

Online education options

There’s innovation from the private education sector as we’re seeing the first generation of online education. With such a low barrier of entry (anyone can join), take up is clearly growing but completion is thought to be around 9%. Presumably that’s people ducking out of course X as it wasn’t stimulating enough and switching to [...]

Google will win it all

Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google make up the five horsemen of the internet. I’ve written before about how they are both dominating their own and crossing each others’ fields at the same time. The media constantly frames a theory that all five are at war, each wanting to be the only tech company standing. [...]

Microsoft, the bully that cried

Microsoft is plagued by Google’s Android dominance in the mobile internet market so much so, that they’re leading a coalition of 17 companies called FairSearch who have launched a complaint to the European Competition Commission. Microsoft have also launched their third advert that tells users that Google is sharing some personal info when buying applications [...]

Connectivity is partly what’s holding us back

Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk wrote a piece in the Telegraph recently that said, “To become a world leader in broadband, we must prioritise competition as much, if not more so, than infrastructure.” Surely he’s mistaken in thinking anyone believes these factors are isolated? It’s obvious that infrastructure without business, consumers, government and charities adopting [...]

Zombie companies are altering the business life cycle

John Battelle wrote a while ago, “As a culture, two classes of animated beings populate our lives. One are living – people, pets, E-Coli, grasshoppers. The other are machines – computers, leaf blowers, automobiles.” I’m no scientist so I’ve got to agree with him, except that it could be argued companies are somewhat in between [...]

A letter to McLaren

The F1 season begins with the Melbourne Grand Prix on March 17th. Like all season starts, the preamble and build-up contains huge excitement to pique a fan’s interest in the foreplay of this spectacular international road show. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will, of course, finish victorious with both the drivers’ and the constructors’ titles returning to [...]