What Amazon’s Bezos Told Us In 1997

Remember 1997?  The year of Titanic, the first Harry Potter book and the best-selling Nokia  610. It was also the first year Jeff Bezos wrote a shareholder letter for his three-year old Amazon.com.

It makes fascinating reading. He talks about expanding staff from 158 to 614, having cash balances of $125mn and establishing strategic relationships with Yahoo, Netscape, GeoCities (I vaguely remember them), @Home (?) and Prodigy (?). He was especially proud of increasing sales from $16 million to $148 million. Continue reading “What Amazon’s Bezos Told Us In 1997”

How Men See Women Differently and Put Them Down At Work

55-year old Tom Cruise with 33-year old Sarah Wright

I’m a man, yet I’d like to think I see beyond gender, especially at work. Moreover, I have females in my family, so I’m “incentivised” to be fair. I’m sure many of the men recently engulfed in sexual harassment and abuse scandals form Harvey Weinstein to Roger Ailes probably told themselves that too. So, am I really as “unbiased” as I think I am?  Continue reading “How Men See Women Differently and Put Them Down At Work”

Enter the Way Of Bruce Lee (3 min read)

Growing up I loved Bruce Lee. His fighting skills, elegance and wit were unique. But beyond that, he showed that someone who looked different from the conventional superstar could become a global icon (a bit like Muhammad Ali). I wasn’t alone in thinking that. In a strange mash-up, the American rap scene took him up as an icon most notably with the American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan. Continue reading “Enter the Way Of Bruce Lee (3 min read)”

How Bankers Can Save the World (8 mins)

Purpose

What is the purpose of our life? We don’t often think of that question, especially when at work. Many of us will say that it is to be happy and healthy. Others may say to have a fun time. For me, it would have to be leaving the world in a better place than when I entered it. This would be at every level from family to work to community to the world. Another related question, then, is what is the biggest problem in the world? Some may say climate change, others income inequality, yet others war and terrorism. For me though, when I think about this I think is the lack trust that pervades our culture. Continue reading “How Bankers Can Save the World (8 mins)”

Learn To Lead…Navy SEALS Style!

Many political leaders like to surround themselves with military men, but what is it about military men that can help political leadership. Well, I came across an impressive character called Jocko Willink. He spent 20 years in the US Navy and commanded SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, the most highly decorated special ops unit from the Iraq War. He later ran the training of the West Coast SEAL teams. He’s now retired from the Navy and runs a leadership consultancy, Echelon FrontContinue reading “Learn To Lead…Navy SEALS Style!”

Celebrity Apprentice President (3 min read)

sweet-micky berlusconi-vanity-fair

I can’t help but write about Trump! This time I’ve looked into other instances of celebrities that have become leader of their nations in their first elections. I can only find two cases: Sweet Micky of Haiti and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy. If you know of any other, let me know, but here are the details of how they did it and what happened during their leadership:

Continue reading “Celebrity Apprentice President (3 min read)”

The Real Trump In His Own Words (5 min read)

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The one thing we have learnt from the US election campaign is that social media (and regular media) can easily paint a one-sided picture of the “other side”. Donald Trump exploited this to his advantage to ensure he was able to get the coverage needed to become president. But using the image of Trump seen in that medium would then by definition be distorted. To get a better handle on who Trump really is, I thought it would be better to trawl through all  his views and show them in his own words. Thankfully I came across a book called “Trump on Trump” by George Beahm that collated much of his speeches and interviews since 2015. I’ve picked out the bits I thought most relevant for us all, and  you’ll find Trump is not who you imagined to be: Continue reading “The Real Trump In His Own Words (5 min read)”

My Reading List For Success At Work (Part 1)

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I often get asked what the best books are to help one at work. As it turns out, I give reading lists to whoever works for me. One list is focused on developing good character and “soft skills” and is relevant for whichever line of work you are in. The other list is on more technical knowledge related to the finance industry. Below is the first list, I’ll post the second one next week: Continue reading “My Reading List For Success At Work (Part 1)”

The Revolutionary Speech On Race

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Targeting people for the colour of their skin, unfortunately, continues to this day, whether it is racist attacks seen in the UK following the referendum, black victims of police brutality in the US, or violence against refugees in continental Europe. But things can change for the better.

In 1963, the US National Guard had to be sent to protect  two African American students Vivian Malone and James Hood as they enrolled at the University of Alabama. Continue reading “The Revolutionary Speech On Race”

The Intoxication Of Power (2 mins)

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After this week’s UK and European political developments, I thought about Machiavelli, Shakespeare and Sun Tzu. The latter wrote in his “Art of War” that all warfare is based on deception (how true!). He went to describe this in more detail (as did Charlie Sheen in the 1980s classic “Wall Street”):

“Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable;

When using our forces, we must seem inactive;

 When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away;

 When far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

Another more controversial Chinese classic was written around the same time in 500BC, it was called “The Master of Demon Valley”. It was associated with Continue reading “The Intoxication Of Power (2 mins)”