Monthly Archives: June 2011

Analysis not paralysis

There’s something about managers and business people (especially in the UK) that prizes immediate action ahead of careful, prior analysis and planning. I suppose it’s a macho thing but I find it just plain stupid.  ‘Just do it’may have been the successful campaign slogan of Nike (and the favourite phrase of a very frustrating business owner whose business I had the ‘pleasure’ of chairing some years back) but it makes a very poor management style.  I’ve noticed that, just like being studious at school will lead a kid to be labelled a ‘swot’ and be ridiculed, being even in the slightest degree cerebral in your approach to business problems can lead to a manager being labelled as not being a ‘doer’. What is it with people who can’t even imagine the value of looking before they leap?  Is analysis something that should only be undertaken in private and between consenting adults?

Image courtesy of Strategic Vision Limited

Reading the seemingly endless analyses of the situation the Eurozone leaders have got themselves into over Greece and the rest of the PIIGS, paralysis certainly does seem to have set in. It really is one the most intractable problems around and, I admit, not one I’d like the responsibility for.   But, as they say in that other wonderfully intuitive Eurozone country, ‘If I were you I wouldn’t start from here’.  Clearly, this is a situation that would have been better avoided in the first place. Rigorous analysis of the causes of a problem and the best potential solutions and their outcomes is not only sensible but essential.  Better yet is the practice of teasing out all of the potential implications (intended and unintended) of a considered course of action prior to taking it.  Otherwise, it’s like jumping into a freezing, fast flowing river to escape the snarling, rabid dog at your heels; the cure turns out worse than the disease.

One of the things that greatly impressed me working with Japanese managers was their approach to problem solving.  Before any attempt was made to address a problem a meticulous collection of all relevant facts was undertaken followed by a thorough analysis of the causes.  Only then did they start the process of seeking and testing potential solutions.  It’s much better to have taken the time to establish and solve the root cause of a problem than having to fire-fight the same recurrent symptoms over and over.  But the pathological fire-fighters still survive (and even thrive) in too many organisations.

Of my most satisfying successes, one came only after many weeks of painstaking research and analysis.  In the depths of a previous recession, and working in an industry I had just joined, I started work on a forecasting model in an attempt to predict market trends.  The result (whichever way I ran the figures or changed key assumptions) was that of a strong upturn in 6 months time.  We bet the firm on stock building and when the upturn came (exactly as projected) we doubled market share at sharply increased prices.  Competition simply couldn’t react in time to the increased demand, having previously mothballed production lines.

So, unless some unconnected physical infirmity strikes or you are one of those unfortunates that are pathologically incapable of making decisions, an appropriate amount of analysis is only sensible before major business  (or political) decisions.

No way to run a health service

In and amongst all of the fun I’ve had in business, I’ve had experience of our health service on many occasions.  Apart from boring personal ailments, I have also been through the life & death process with family loved ones (precious and humbling experiences) and was privileged to be married to a truly dedicated state registered nurse.  I’ve also had my life saved on 2 occasions by teams of dedicated professionals.  So, I can sing the praises of the best aspects of our National Health Service; but I have also seen at first hand the parts where it has never been put right from the very beginning, has gone astray and has been ruined by factional infighting, politicians and dogma.

Image courtesy of Business Leaders Learning


So, what’s this got to do with a business blog?  Where to start?  Over the second half of the 20th century business really learned to create and deal with mass markets.  It learned how to ascertain the needs of the customer and to meet those needs, invariably at lower and lower cost, whilst still providing value.  I know it isn’t always perfect but the progress that has been made is remarkable.  How is it that companies can get ever more profitable whilst selling at lower and lower real price levels?  It’s experience, constant learning and competition; if you have competitors snapping at your heels you get better or you go to the wall.

Now, consider our NHS; how many of you know that at its inception the cost of providing this comprehensive service free at the point of delivery was simply not known?  It was a leap of political faith and governments of the day have been trying to fund it ever since.  Demands made upon the NHS are growing exponentially, the costs of modern treatments are sky rocketing, people are leading more unhealthy lifestyles and simply living longer.  Not much of a business plan, was it?  And, since 1997 money has been lavished upon the NHS (more than doubling) but it has produced little or no net efficiency gains.  Not much of a management performance either.  Now, tell me about a business that was planned and run like this over 60 years ago, that still survives and is slavishly protected by government of all sides of the political spectrum?

One of the reasons many businesses succeed is that they are focussed upon a clearly understood goal; they may have a mission statement, a vision, a clearly understood strategy and a well-defined core process.  Take a look at the M & S plan on their corporate website ; fairly clear and concise, you know what they do and are going to do. Now try to find anything comparable on the multitude of NHS websites.  OK, you can find ‘NHS Choices’ which is filled with detailed information but the real key facts are opaque e.g. try finding out how to interpret Hospital Standardised Mortality Rates (HSMR).   In most businesses it is the core process that gets the attention; waste is eliminated, cost reduced, throughput speeded up, quality is improved and the customer satisfied.  Profits produce efficiency and satisfied customers

Teamwork is one of the real Achilles heels of the NHS – factionalism rules.  For example, even before the formation of the NHS, the Royal College of Nursing has been desperately attempting to raise the status of its members to compete on equal terms with doctors and consultants.  They have succeeded in part but at what cost to the patients they are supposed to be caring for?  Yes, the nurses have succeeded in raising their training, qualifications, status and salaries.  However, it has been a zero sum game with patients frequently losing the personal attention that used to be an essential part of the nursing role.

Targets are a concept borrowed from business (at the behest of politicians), clumsily applied and without an apparent thought as to the unintended consequences.  You want a maximum of four hour waits in A&E?  Simple; take resources from elsewhere where there are no targets, put patients into a medical ‘limbo’ and, if the timing is really critical, just keep them in the ambulances that are then prevented from hastening to other emergencies (and the ambulance service can worry about its own targets).

Of course, these are only a tiny few examples of what is bad in a vast organisation but our entire health system is neither operating in the patients’ best interests nor is it using efficiently the vast sums of our tax money poured into it.  It seems structurally incapable of focussing upon the needs of its customers and suffers too much from the continued central interference of our politicians.  What to do?  Outsource the lot.  Tesco Care, Your M& S Care anyone?

The 397 steps to business success

  Gotcha! Since starting this blog I’ve noticed that there are a large number of my colleagues in the blogosphere who are following the received wisdom that to attract attention you have to offer a list of rules, tips, hints or habits that you must follow to succeed in business. You’ve read ‘em, haven’t you?  The five easy steps that will make you a million in your first year.  The seven top habits of really successful business people.   The nine most effective ways to make your team excel.  Unfortunately what usually follows are the facile homilies.  And when you wander into the airport bookstall, there they are again, row after row of the latest publications offering hot tips from some of the most well known business people on earth offering you success in 5 minutes.  Seductive, aren’t they? Painting by numbers for instant success.

Now I’m not saying that these various publications have no merit. A great many are from good business people who have made many more millions than yours truly.  However, I’m going to let you into a secret, one that none of these authors are going to tell you and it’s one that certainly won’t sell a load of glossy paperbacks.  It’s one that a lifetime in business has taught me.  It’s bloody hard work becoming a success and it’s even harder staying one!

Beware the airport bookstall – there is rarely a one minute answer to anything.  Business requires a whole range of competences and knowledge most of which can be learnt but all must be practiced.  I would like to share with you two books that have taught me a great deal more than any other.  The first is ‘Marketing Management’ by Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller.  Now in its 14th edition this is a veritable encyclopaedia of the marketing art covering everything you need to know in great detail.  Yes, it’s expensive but it’s the best money you’ll ever spend.  The other book is Michael Porter’s 1980 seminal work ‘Competitive Strategy’.  If you wish to understand how to analyse markets and competition and know why some are more profitable than others, this is the book. Neither of these books could ever be described as a quick read or offering quick tips; they are packed with what you need to really understand of the art of marketing and strategy but you will have to work at them and apply what you learn.

Never stop learning; you will never know it all but each day you can add a little more.  Management is not a science and there is no formula that will guarantee success.  However, there is so much professional knowledge you can, and should, acquire.  Management technique alone will never give you the answer but it is capable of putting all of the information you need in a format that allows you to make the best decision you can.  And that’s what being professional is all about, isn’t it?

So, are there 397 habits, tips or techniques you should learn?  Maybe more, maybe less; but who’s counting?  If you don’t enjoy learning and you have to ask the question, don’t give up the day job.  Yes, business is hard work with no easy answers but, boy, is it fun.

* Image courtesy of video converter factory

Marketing’s most powerful tool?

It never ceases to amaze me how many marketing people are hazy on the benefits and techniques of segmentation.  I have interviewed a very large number of marketing graduates over the years including one young hopeful who claimed it had never even merited a mention during his 3 years of study.  Perhaps this is one of the inevitable results of dumbing-down subjects (certainly marketing and business studies are viewed as ‘soft’ subjects here in theUK).  Sadly, this lack of knowledge is also true of many of the UK MBAs I have encountered.

Image courtesy of

So what’s so special about segmentation?  Why is it such a valuable tool in businesses large and small?  Markets come in all sizes from the truly global ones e.g. soft drinks, trainers, smartphones, to the micro ones such as the local health food store, garage repair shop or life-coach.  In the national and global markets product development, brand building and advertising costs are simply huge but you succeed by targeting certain key groups of consumers with common characteristics (e.g. Blackberry targeted corporate users who needed email ease of use on the go).  The canny local businesses use similar scaled down techniques; for example a local garage set up by Mercedes trained mechanics targets owners of Mercedes cars older than 3 years and out of guarantee who are likely to be quality and price conscious.  Some examples of from my own experience:

My first move into industrial marketing was with a global manufacturer of totally non-differentiated mass market products.  We had chosen to reach users solely via the wholesale distribution channel but price competition was severe.  Using the results of a very detailed, multi-level research project I commissioned it was possible to identify precise groupings of purchasers by the national and regional distributors they used.  Armed with this unique information we were able to refine our distribution strategy, targeting only those distributor groups who were not in competition for the end customers we chose to serve.  In this way we were able to maximise price by avoiding direct competition between distributors.

In the specialist engineering group I have just sold we found when we bought the company that in our sector competition fought for a decreasing volume of business for engineered components that had always been produced using the same technique; the result was low or no profitability.  Analysis of our (at the time) very large customer base showed similar low margins on much work (it being fiercely competitive); however there were groups of customers that generated much higher margins for us.  These profitable customer groups shared two characteristics – they were higher up the supply chain (typically tier one or OEM level) and the end product had to have absolute integrity over life.  We researched many global markets for components that we could theoretically produce using our process (which offered certain unique benefits) and that were currently produced using a different technology.  Having identified certain key segments that matched these criteria (and many others), we began the slow process of reaching and influencing the key decision makers in the targets using an entirely new communications approach we developed.  Meanwhile, we made significant investments in new equipment and techniques unique to us.  The business was slow to flow but when it did, the volumes were huge and margins were very high; traditional competition simply couldn’t follow us and we became a very desirable acquisition target.

Whilst all of the above was going on, a colleague and I started a business to provide a coaching and mentoring service to the UK SME business owner segment.  Now, this was a fine example of one of the key criteria for a segment – it has to be cost-effectively reachable.  Problem; small business owners are notoriously difficult to sell to.  Research (free online from the University of Strathclyde) showed that the most trusted advisors to small and medium sized businesses were their accountants – a feasible route to market.  So, we researched, then targeted a national marketing group for accountants and sold them the concept of offering our service via their members.  Result?  We had a route to market.  This was successful and grew to be a national service but the next phase of development I have to admit was pure serendipity; we quickly found that the service was much in demand from the owners of the accounting firms themselves!

So, choose your segments with care, develop an appropriate marketing mix and you should stand a far better chance of success.

The Balls up in politics today

       The recent revelations in the Telegraph over the leadership battle for the labour party may make great weekend reading but they also demonstrate a few powerful lessons. Firstly, if any organisation, be it business, political, public or military wishes to achieve a goal it ought to make very sure that all key personnel are in agreement as to what that goal actually is. Without that clarity and common commitment you stand very little chance indeed. Secondly, if that organisation is to make real progress towards the agreed goal they must ensure that they have the right leader. And the third vital component for success is having the correct strategy.

There isn’t one style of leadership, there are many and the success of a particular style inevitably depends upon the stage of evolution of an organisation. Being the hero and making every decision yourself at the start-up and early growth stages may be necessary but later in the business life cycle a more participative, coaching style will start to prepare the team for the time when you aren’t going to be around. Did the Conservative party make the right choice of leader to match the prevailing circumstances with John Major, William Hague or Ian Duncan-Smith? Whatever your politics, there can be little dispute that Margret Thatcher and Tony Blair were fine examples of the old saying ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’ (beg pardon, Maggie) . The people (and history) have certainly spoken on Gordon Brown but even the ‘Old Clunking Fist’ did have his moment of leadership over the banking crisis.

I can’t help thinking that political parties (especially those in opposition) place too much importance on choosing the person with the greatest voter or factional appeal and too little on choosing the qualities required lead them to agree and achieve their goals. So, how about Milliband minor – has he got what it takes in terms of personal qualities and the right strategy? Has he got a loyal lieutenant in Ed Balls?

People get hired for their qualifications and experience (with the possible exception of our politicians) but get fired for their performance (or lack of it). It has been found by one of the biggest International psychometric test houses that around 40% of all employees in the UK today do not have the right blend of personal qualities and preferred behavioural style for the job they hold – result? Frustration, misery, depression and, frequently, an appearance at an Employment Tribunal – a massive cost in terms of lost opportunity, money and damage to the organisations’s reputation.

So, the frequently asked question – can you learn to be a leader? Can you improve the skills you have? I’ve worked for few truly outstanding leaders but I have been privileged to work for some wonderful people who knew how to build and use all the talents their team required. Some types of leadership do require certain innate qualities but everyone can (and should) learn how to use their own strengths. Nevertheless, each one of us should be self-aware enough to realise that our particular skill set may not be right for every situation. One often overlooked skill in a leader is that of knowing when to delegate and to whom. However, wherever you fall on the leadership continuum, there are certain things you must engender in your business and never stop leading on – ethics and morality being two of the most important.

Sadly, when we look at our politicians today, it’s the ethics and morality that’s sorely missing in so many of them.

Beware the upturn!

I was lucky enough to get my first business to run as a division of a major PLC.  One of the first disciplines I had drilled into me was the absolute need for sound cashflow planning before any other consideration.  Each business unit had to produce a rolling 12-month cashflow projection each month to the group finance director and be grilled over the numbers and every assumption.  If you had a problem, say sales had fallen way short the previous month, it would have been easy to just assume they would be made up in the next month or months.  In this way you could avoid taking drastic action to reduce production, purchases or overheads.  However, ‘gaming’ the system could get you into a great deal of trouble if your quick-fix upturn failed to materialise; you were left facing an even more severe problem and a very upset group FD (who was also very unforgiving).

Know your cash position to the last £ – every day.  These lessons have stood me in good stead over the years and have made dealing with the banks so much easier.  When the bank manager knew you took your cash planning seriously a trip to their office to gain an increased overdraft or funding for an investment was so much easier.  If they knew that your history of cashflow planning was meticulous and fairly accurate (you’ll never be 100% accurate) you usually got what was needed. It has never ceased to amaze me how many business owners never bother to project their finances and then wonder why the bank isn’t supportive.

Remember, the old saying that ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity but cash is king’; it’s never ceased to be true (even if from time to time, dotcom investors thought differently).  ‘Never buy what you can borrow, never borrow what you can steal’; well the stealing concept is a bit over the top but this was the best advice I ever received when setting out to start my own business. Conserve your cash, even if it means driving around in an old car.  The good things can come later.

So why be concerned about the upturn in the economy?  Leaving aside the possibilities of a double dip and all of the recent additional burdens that business has to carry, pulling your business out of recession can be much harder than coping with the downturn.  When sales start to slow going into a recession we can do all the easy things, reduce stocks and overheads and slow production; the only thing that costs money is letting people go.  However, once sales start to improve again in an upturn you have to find the cash to fund the growth all over again.  Financing that big new order could be very difficult especially with the banks’ continued squeeze on lending.  You may be surprised to learn that more businesses fail in the upturn after a recession.  So, if you don’t already have a cash forecasting system, get started now and when you need to talk to the bank you will have had time to get used to the process.  Never done a cashflow forecast before?  Get your accountant involved; it could be the best money you ever spent.

Don’t be a marketing drip!

After a false start in accountancy (I got bored, dear reader), I became a salesman, a very successful salesman earning a lot of money. I loved getting close to customers and the more I understood their problems, the more I succeeded in winning more business by providing the right solutions.  I then moved into marketing maintaining a continued focus on consumers from a market-wide standpoint.  It also led to my first opportunity to start a business where, by listening to the voice of the consumer, we achieved a stunning success in a couple of short years.

The definition of marketing I was taught was ‘satisfying customer needs, profitably.’  What I loved about marketing was the constant focus on the customer; researching their views on their habits, their tastes, their needs, their preferences, our competition and our offering.  The constant objective was to create better and unique value for customers whilst making a profit. I was brought up in marketing on the wisdom of Theodore Levitt, Philip Kotler and Michael Porter and was lucky enough to study with the late Martin Marshall (Emeritus Professor of Marketing at Harvard).  Nothing in the canon of marketing even mentioned confusing or exploiting your customers.  Hero companies for me were those that delivered great products, memorable advertising and always seemed to be offering something that was a genuine solution.

More than a few years back I invested a nest egg I had acquired with a certain northern building society which was advertising a great rate of interest.  Happy with my investment I promptly forgot about it until I noticed that the interest rate had dropped to almost zero; I had become a victim of what must have been the first ‘obsolete’ account trick, designed to capitalise on customer inertia.  I then started to see that this trick was being copied by almost every building society and bank.  The most outrageous aspect is that we, the now alert customers who switched to better accounts, are now being referred to in the trade as ‘rate tarts’!

Marketing seems to now have become merely the cynical pursuit of bewildering the customer.  Have you ever really tried to compare mobile phone tariffs? Gas or electric tariffs?  Do you really think that these have been designed to make life easier for you or to generate loyalty?

But the worst, the very worst trick now being perpetrated on us is ‘drip pricing’.  Have you noticed that, following the lead of the low cost airlines, it is now almost impossible to buy many categories of product or service online without being taken through a series of steps that purport to be offering us additional choice but in fact merely add to that basic price you thought was so attractive.

Whatever you do in your own company, satisfy your customers, don’t con them.   The public has a knack of fighting back; look at the success of CAMRA in rolling back the march of the brewing giants’ Euro fizz, spawning the growth of micro breweries.  If I can’t travel on a ‘full price’ airline (which invariably doesn’t cost more and often less) to a destination, I don’t go there! There are still some great companies our there, focussed upon customer satisfaction, Lakeland, Landsend and Viking Direct are some of my favourites for service.  Want a better rate of interest on your savings?  Try new lender Zopa, they are truly different.   So, don’t be a drip, you’ll only live to regret it.

Most bonuses are a waste of time…

…and they may even work against you.  There is a received wisdom amongst the great and the good in business that everyone is ‘coin operated’ (usually because they themselves are particularly avaricious).  The majority of people at work simply want to do a good job, have good work mates in a company that is good to work for and offers advancement opportunities.  They are more concerned that they are not underpaid relative to others at their grade or level than being motivated to respond to ‘incentives’.

Image courtesy of Sunseeker

There are roles that perhaps should be remunerated by commission or bonus, invariably sales roles, but high rewards should only be offered where the ‘prominence’ of the sale role is higher than anything else in your marketing mix.  Paying high commissions or bonuses where the real demand comes from long built up brand reputation and advertising is simply inappropriate.

Paying lower than average basic, with high commissions or bonuses, simply because it lowers your breakeven point is not a sound enough reason in isolation; if the role doesn’t require it, don’t do it because it may work against you (and it won’t be your employees’ fault you’re in a recession).  If you do require this flexibility, then at least be honest about it and ensure that everyone shares in the upside when you have a good year, not just the board.  An end-of-year reward can be much more effective for morale than a bonus scheme that the average employee feels too remote from to influence.

There are however no rules.  Despite all the textbooks and articles and research and received wisdom, when you run your own business you can do what you want, providing it is legal and you can get your team to fall in line; it may work and it may not.  I have seen people who slavishly followed ‘best practice’ and failed miserably.  I have also seen business owners put into practice systems that were so far from accepted wisdom that I would have bet hard-earned money that they would fail – but they didn’t (at least not for a long time).  How can this be? My view is that it’s about the harmony that comes from all elements in a system being aligned and having the leadership that works.  Thus you can even have the most (seemingly) malign culture and systems but they can still produce results.

Whatever you are going to do in your business, whether incentives or no incentives, make sure that you have all of your systems, processes and policies all pulling in the same direction.  In one multinational I worked in, key elements of their remuneration and financial systems were actually mutually counter-productive and costing the business millions in excess working capital. When I graphically demonstrated this, they still wouldn’t change.  Why? In this instance, there were conflicting functional pressures that no-one wanted to acknowledge let alone address.

What I used to simply call the law of unintended consequences has now been dubbed ‘choice architecture’.  As the Israeli nursery (described in Nudge) discovered when they introduced a penalty for parents who turned up late to collect their kids, the lateness actually increased (the parents viewing what was a social problem as a financial one)!  And as the war on drugs has just been graphically demonstrated to show, your ‘programme’ may not actually work and, instead, you get vast collateral damage.

So, is it right that board directors keep increasing their own remuneration to ever greater multiples of the lowest paid?  Whatever you do with remuneration, make sure it really is for the right reasons (in a holistic sense), not just because you have it in your power to do so.

Shun the one-night stand!

Choose your partners with care or you could end up with something very nasty indeed!  Remember that going into business is for the long haul; you don’t need to fall in love with your partner(s) but make sure that you have common goals, strategy, beliefs and standards.  Whether you are looking at a fellow shareholder-director or an external backer, do your due diligence and make rational decisions.  Would you open a joint-account with a complete stranger?

Image courtesy of 101fundraising

Unlike a marriage, you should be planning from the outset on leaving your business one day. When I decided to pursue management buy-in targets, I made the choice of venture capital provider only after the most careful due diligence, choosing the one firm that had the policy of allowing its management shareholders to choose the timing of exit.  Ultimately it transpired to be the best decision I could have made (I met owners along the way who had equity partners that forced a sale at the worse possible time).

On the whole I have been very lucky with my business partners and would choose most of them again but you can make big mistakes even with apparently glowing references.  One of the deals I did was with a business partner introduced to me by the backing VC who, (from the top of their organisation) provided the most glowing reference.  I had my doubts about the business we were buying but I was lulled into a false sense of security by my new business partner and his glowing reference. It was only after I had to fire him for gross financial incompetence (he was a CA would you believe) and ultimately put the business into administration as a result, I found that he had made a similar disaster of a previous investment.  All of the shareholders lost their equity and a large number of suppliers lost a great deal of money.

The same principle applies to corporate managers.  A short time after I left corporate life I sat down and made two lists; one was of the successes and failures I had had in each of the roles I had held and the other was the quality of relationship I had enjoyed with my boss in each role.  The result?  There was a perfect correlation between the positive nature of the relationship and my success in the role (luckily the majority).  Those roles where I didn’t see eye to eye with the boss were without exception the roles where I achieved very little.  An important analysis which also works in reverse; the businesses where I have had the best team achieved the best results.

If you don’t really know the true nature of your business partner(s) until you hit a rough patch (and you will), then trying to fix the business and the relationship at the same time is a very tough act.

Don’t do it for the money!

What is this, crazy beyond belief?  Surely all entrepreneurs go into business to make shedloads of money?  Isn’t that what we all want deep down?  Riches are the currency of success, they shouldn’t be the goal.  We’re all different.  For some people having power and being in control is what turns them on.  For others it’s recognition that they crave, or they need security or simply having a systematic and orderly life is fine for them.   Go into business because you have a great idea, because you want to make a difference or perhaps because you feel you can run a better business than others. 

Image courtesy of hishersandtheirs

What prompted me to strike out on my own after being ‘let go’ from a senior international role in a major multinational was a burning belief that I could do a so much better job of running a business than most of the people I had ever worked for.  And, yes, I wanted to be in control of what I did and when I did it rather than constantly having my string pulled.  When I then started my first business from scratch (years later with an old colleague), what drove me was an equal blend of rising to a fresh challenge and the opportunity of making a difference to the group we were targeting as customers.

Today there is so much emphasis upon wealth, with the media constantly commenting upon the salaries of sportsmen, celebrities and now bankers on a daily basis, you could be mistaken for thinking money is the ultimate turn-on. If you go into business purely for the money then you are unlikely to have a great deal of interest or understanding of your customers, employees and other stakeholders. For John Bird, founder of the Big Issue (, it clearly wasn’t money that drove him on.   And for Tim Cambell (series 1 Apprentice winner) starting the Bright Ideas Trust ( was his way of helping others.

Research has shown that money doesn’t make you happy; at least, if you weren’t happy before gaining the riches, it’s highly unlikely that you will be afterwards.  I’ve worked with many people who were avaricious beyond belief; you can see them in their scores in corporate life where they often rise to the top (before the inevitable fall).  In private firms they’re usually the ones who buy the new car with their start-up overdraft.  My experience is that they don’t make the best leaders; avarice and empathy don’t usually make good bedfellows.