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THE CHAINS OF FREEDOM

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

THE CHAINS OF FREEDOM

There is a tendency to believe that individualism is the product of the last century, or of neo-conservative ideology, or of the consumer society.  But that’s wrong.  The truth is that individualism evolved slowly over more than two thousand years.  It is the complex product of Greek, Jewish, European and American thought and history.  It is also a most noble and ethically demanding concept, and, alongside democracy, with which it is deeply associated, one of the best ideas ever. I may become unpopular for stressing this other fact –...

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THE STAR PRINCIPLE – SIMPLIFIED

Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 in Blog | 2 comments

THE STAR PRINCIPLE – SIMPLIFIED

Given the popularity of my last two posts – the 80/20 of 80/20, and SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFIED – I’m having another go, this time with The Star Principle. What will make you successful? What will make you rich?  Preposterous as it sounds, there is a magic formula. There is a way to get several times more money and fun out of a business. By finding a star venture. What is a star venture? It has two qualities.  One, it operates in a high-growth market.  Two, it is leader in that market. When I wrote The Star Principle I thought it was...

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THE 80/20 OF 80/20

Posted by on Aug 21, 2018 in Blog | 3 comments

THE 80/20 OF 80/20

My last post simplified my (and Greg Lockwood’s) book Simplify – I’m pleased that it was thought useful to many of you.  This time I’m going to give the essence – if you like, the 80/20 – of 80/20.  Here are the 27 things you absolutely need to know about the 80/20 principle: The universe is wonky! The 80/20 principle tells us that in any population, some things are likely to be much more important than others. A good benchmark or hypothesis is that 80 percent of results flow from 20 percent of causes – and sometimes from...

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SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFIED

Posted by on Aug 7, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

SIMPLIFY SIMPLIFIED

I’ve just received copies of a new pocket edition of Simplify by Greg Lockwood and myself.  It comes in a fetching green cover and naturally I started re-reading my own book.  For those of you who want the essence of the book in a few words, here are the relevant extracts, slightly modified to make the message even simpler. Key Points from Part One There are two reliable strategies for successful simplifying to create a very attractive star business – but they are very different. Price-simplifying focuses on simple to make, relying on a...

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THE BRUTAL SIMPLICITY QUIZ

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in Blog | 1 comment

THE BRUTAL SIMPLICITY QUIZ

This week I was reviewing some of the simplest and most useful breakthroughs in business thinking. Then this morning I happened to pick up a beautiful book called Brutal Simplicity of Thought written in 2011 by Maurice Saatchi, the thinking person’s advertising guru.  It’s really a long list of brutally simple breakthroughs, with one page of a few words, and the opposite page a simple illustration. So I thought I would present you with a quiz, based on some of Saatchi’s idea and some of mine.  At the end I suggest how you might get...

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AMAZON & AIRBNB – CONTRASTING ATTITUDES TO CUSTOMERS

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in Blog | 6 comments

AMAZON & AIRBNB – CONTRASTING ATTITUDES TO CUSTOMERS

Amazon has always had exceptional aspirations about customers, which marks it out from that of ninety-nine percent of companies, which if they are honest regard customers as a necessary evil – a damn nuisance, always expecting the earth, and not appreciating the niceties of company policies and procedures which sometimes get in the way of decent customer service. “One thing I love about customers,” says Jeff Bezos, the founder and boss of Amazon, “is that they are divinely discontent.  Their expectations are never static – they go...

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TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK, LOOK AT WHAT YOU DO!

Posted by on Jun 26, 2018 in Blog | 10 comments

TO KNOW WHAT YOU THINK, LOOK AT WHAT YOU DO!

When I was coming back from Cape Town to Europe in April I browsed, as I always do, in an airport bookshop, and picked up Jordon B Peterson’s tome 12 Rules for Life.  It wasn’t what I expected. The book’s back cover prejudiced me against it: “He is becoming the closest that academia has to a rock star.”  When I saw Prof Peterson on a TV clip talking about gambling terminals in betting shops, he seemed less like a rock star than an embarrassed middle-aged man who had been put there by his publicist, yet had the decency to admit he...

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IN PRAISE OF OUR LIMITATIONS

Posted by on Jun 12, 2018 in Blog | 2 comments

IN PRAISE OF OUR LIMITATIONS

I was struck this week by the juxtaposition of two quotations which are more profound than they appear.  “The difference between genius and stupidity,” said Albert Einstein, “is that genius has its limits.”  “Being of any reasonable sort,” says Jordan B Peterson, “appears to require limitation.”  Despite the intimidating company, I will add a third – “our limitations define our humanity and help to define our greatest strength.” The God Problem I think God as conventionally envisaged suffers from lack of limitation,...

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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARGARET

Posted by on May 29, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARGARET

Memoirs by politicians usually send me to sleep.  Imagine my surprise in finding an exception – and in an unexpected place – Margaret Thatcher’s The Downing Street Years. Oddly, the best, most revealing bit is the Introduction, which stunned me with its non-partisan clarity and audacity.     A Hundred Years of British Decline According to Thatcher, time in Britain may be divided into BT and AT. Before Thatcher, in 1979, Britain was widely derided as ‘the sick man of Europe’.  “Britain”, she wrote, “was a nation that...

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THE 80/20 WAY TO READ A NON-FICTION BOOK

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Blog | 7 comments

THE 80/20 WAY TO READ A NON-FICTION BOOK

My tutor at Oxford used to set me weekly essays and give a long reading list of books and articles.  My first reaction was “how can I read all this in a week?”  His reply was smooth and fluent: “Read the Conclusion first, then the Introduction, then the End again, then flick through for interesting arguments or examples.  For goodness sake, Richard, don’t read the whole bloody thing, except for enjoyment.” That’s an important caveat.  If you’re reading for pleasure, read away.  But if you main purpose is to learn something,...

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