What Michael Bloomberg Taught Me About Business

Michael Bloomberg is the billionaire founder of the financial services data and media company, Bloomberg. He was also the 108th Mayor of New York. He’s confident, outspoken and has strong views on how to start and run a business. I learnt about them in his autobiography. Here are the highlights:

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Starting My New Adventure: Macro Hive With a Side Of Wellbeing

Twenty years. That’s how long I worked in banking. Aside from a very brief and unhappy start in tech M&A, I’ve spent the entire time doing research. Initially, I focused on foreign exchange markets, before widening out to global economic themes and all markets.   Along the way, I’ve grown as a person, had great teachers and made many friends.

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Negotiate Like A Top FBI Hostage Negotiator

“Who has control in a conversation, the guy listening or the guy talking?

The listener, of course.

That’s because the talker is revealing information while the listener, if he’s trained well, is directing the conversation toward his own goals. He’s harnessing the talker’s energy for his own ends.”

Chris Voss

That’s what Chis Voss, formerly the FBI’s lead international hostage negotiator, writes in his excellent “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It”. His insights shatter the idea that good negotiators engage in a battle of wills against their counterpart. If there is a guiding principle in the FBI’s elite negotiating team it’s that you have to remove yourself from the equation.

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How To Prevent Catastrophic Decision Making (3 min read)

How many times do you hear of a work initiative, company plan or government project that fails and you think it was obvious that was going to happen? Think government projects to upgrade IT systems or building new transport links or think company plans to go digital or break silos. 

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How To Run an Organisation To Lose Money

Every now and then you expect one thing from a book and discover something even better. That’s what I found from the book Delivering Alpha by Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg. It was recommended by a good friend* who always provides me with new insights,  so I shouldn’t have been surprised. The book describes what she has learned over that time, and the discovery was that the book was as much about how to manage as how to trade markets.

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3 Big Structural Forces To Watch: Tech Cold War, Diesel Car Collapse, Liquidity Illusion.

I recently gave a speech on 3 key themes many investors are neglecting . Here’s the summary:

1)      US-China tech cold war. The essence is that the US establishment led by the US Department Of Defense (DoD) has deemed China’s tech development as a national security issue. The view has been publically articulated by US Vice President Mike Pence in his  Hudson Institute speech last October, where he talked about “using stolen technology, the Chinese Communist Party is turning plowshares into swords on a massive scale”. Meanwhile, the DoD’s venture capital unit, the DIUx, has described in a white paper that a key dimension of China’s technology transfer strategy is to invest in US start-ups, which had to be curtailed. On top of all of this, Congress has taken an increasingly hawkish stance to China.

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How To Create An Enduring Bestseller (6 min read)

Do you remember the films “The Flintstones” starring John Goodman or  “The Santa Clause” starring Tim Allen? How about “I Love Trouble” with Julia Roberts or “The Shadow” with Alec Baldwin? Well, they all came out in 1994 and they all made more money than a certain Continue reading “How To Create An Enduring Bestseller (6 min read)”

Life Advice From the Best Sports Coach Of All-Time (7 min read)


It was a sad day last weekend when I discovered that my local second-hand book shop, Copperfields, was closing down (see picture). The only silver lining was that all books were selling for incredibly low prices and I ended up buying books I would not normally buy. One that stood out was called “The Essential Vince Lombardi” – it cost £2! I had vaguely heard of Lombardi with his saying “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. Continue reading “Life Advice From the Best Sports Coach Of All-Time (7 min read)”

Why Business Plans Are a Waste Of Time (5 min read)

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I was clearing my stuff recently and I came across some business plans from previous years. They were all well written with nice flow charts, action points and promises of better performance. Of course, what we did over the following quarters and years had no connection to the business plan. I doubt I’m alone in this experience. In fact, I imagine most management deep down think that business plans are a waste of time. Continue reading “Why Business Plans Are a Waste Of Time (5 min read)”

My 23 Favourite Podcast Episodes So Far This Year

I’m a huge fan of podcasts. Listening to them forms part of my daily routine and I get many of my insights from them. I typically list my favourite podcasts, but this time I thought I’d list some of my favourite specific episodes. These may give you a springboard to enjoy the rest of the episodes of those podcasts. So here they are for this year (episode name first, followed by podcast name): Continue reading “My 23 Favourite Podcast Episodes So Far This Year”