The dawn of a New Year is a looking forward to what is to come and for reflection, a time for taking stock.
There are two things we know will happen during 2014:
First, a relentless, inexorable, incessant and, I hope, respectful stream of ‘content’ will mark the centenary of the First World War. For me, with luck, this will include the development of film script I have written with WW1 themes – but Harvey Weinstein hasn’t called me yet and we are running out of time.
And we know that, with every day that passes, the nearer we are to the next General Election in May 2015. And the more our politicians will be looking to score points against each other.
We know this because it has started already. Read more on Why things can only get worse in 2014…
Lord Kingsdown died last month. He was best known as Chairman of the NatWest and then Governor of the Bank of England. I knew him as Robin Leigh-Pemberton and through playing cricket on the private ground at his estate in Kent.
They were happy days and a throwback in time.
Driving into the estate, and through a field to park in the long grass surrounding the ground; changing in the musty warmth of the ‘pavilion’ which, with no running water, was not much more than a shed; ambling slowly to the wicket to inspect the pitch; buffet lunch washed down with pints of freshly delivered Shepherd Neame (in the garage); and all in an air of genteel civility and the polite behaviour that Robin himself personified. Read more on A master class in the art of chairing a meeting…
In my last post, I shared my experience of pouring hundreds of cans of beer down the drain in Vietnam due the high level of care Heineken take to ensure that every can of their lager meets their strict quality standards.
I mentioned several more of my favourite brands that, presumably, are managed in the same way: Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, Weetabix, Marmite, Heinz Baked Beans, Guinness, Laphroaig.
I am sure you have your favourites too.
Brands like this are known in the trade as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) – and the CV of anyone who is anyone in marketing is strengthened by FMCG experience. Read more on The difference between a product and a service…
Here we are again.
Great Britain, I can report, has descended to the yaboo politics of yesteryear. Inept career politicians, none of whom have ever managed a business, biff-baff each other with naïve and unrealistic ‘policies’ to the detriment of us all – especially the old and needy.
Biff. Last week the Conservative-led Coalition government privatised the Royal Mail, a move which runs the risk of devastating rural communities and which, with a bit of forethought, was completely unnecessary.
Read more on Household energy: what gas and electricity suppliers must learn from the oil companies…
These days, television programmes come round and round like race cars on a track. Gone are the days when, if you missed them, you missed them. And you can pause and rewind programmes too which means, if anyone says anything sensible, you can think about and transcribe what has been said.
This week, I have done this with an interesting interview with Max Mosley on Sky’s F1 channel.
You may not know Max Mosley but he has long interested me. I described my meeting his half brother Nicholas Mosley last year but have never met Max Mosley. Having said that, I feel I have known him since the mid 1970s – not least as the constructor of the car that Vittorio Brambilla crashed at the end of the Austrian Grand Prix which I attended in 1976 and described in my last post. Read more on Max Mosley: are you an amateur or a professional in life?…
Twice in the last week, I have watched Rush the new film about Niki Lauda and James Hunt.
James was the first ‘celebrity’ I ever met. As a schoolboy in the 1970s, not only did I meet him – but he drove me in his car!
Well, not his car but, thankfully, a hire car.
In the passenger seat was another Grand Prix driver called Jody Scheckter. I was in the back with one of James’s younger brothers, a close friend of mine at school.
This was after a Grand Prix at the Nürburgring in Germany when, after the race, we needed to get to a train station. James said he was going our way and would give us a lift.
And, boy, what a lift it was! Read more on James Hunt: enjoy life while you can…
In life there comes a time when, like me, you’ve had more than you’ve got left.
When this happens, you can look back at decisions you – and your contemporaries – have got right (and, I’m afraid, wrong).
In my experience, you have only three decisions that are really important: Read more on Work. Partner. Home. Three decisions in life you have to get right….
Watching the BBC’s The Apprentice, I am reminded of a show in last year’s series when one of the contestants endlessly repeated ‘What’s the strategy? What’s the strategy?’ to a team leader who had no answer. Quite clearly, he didn’t know what a strategy was (or is).
Read more on Strategic thinking: some people don’t get it, do they?…
When I joined the advertising business, there was a new buzzword called ‘marketing’. Few knew what it meant. At Ogilvy & Mather, where my career was born, we had a guy – yes, one person in the whole agency – whose job was to explain this new concept to our clients.
Read more on Branding: understanding the importance of trust…