Posts Tagged 'Business'

A whinge

Often information comes your way that provides an interesting juxtaposition. So on the same day that the Law Society reported that small businesses have to wait for 71 days on average for invoices to be paid, a survey from Unum claimed that yer average UK employee could survive for only four weeks without full pay. Only around a quarter of those surveyed thought they’d get through for longer without having to seek help.

Now this is interesting, because assuming that accountants were represented in the Unum survey, it would appear that they believe it is OK to impose conditions on small business owners way beyond what they themselves would find tolerable. Ask any small business owner what is their biggest challenge and they’ll tell you it’s getting paid. It’s clearly time for the Government to stop ‘encouraging’ prompt payment of bills and start enforcing it.

What is Adam Crozier for?

The famous journalist James Cameron once wrote that each day as he sat at his typewriter he thought: ‘Today is the day they are going to find me out.’ He needn’t have worried, not just because he was a talented writer but also because apparently we all feel that way a lot of the time.

One person who I’ve always felt had more need than most to feel that way is Adam Crozier. He is one of the many people I’ve picked up as an irritant like a hedgehog acquires fleas. I first became aware of him in 2000 when he joined the FA as Chief Executive (a friend of mine knew him slightly). Since then I’ve followed his career with growing incredulity. His CV runs something like this:

1995 Joint CEO Saatchi and Saatchi – Joined in the wake of the departure of the eponymous brothers overseeing a period of turmoil for the agency.

2000 CEO Football Association – Oversaw the Wembley debacle, the National Football Centre Debacle and the reorganisation of the FA that has been oh so progressive for the game in this country.

2003 CEO Royal Mail – Did actually return a profit in one of the years he was in charge but only by ignoring Ofcom targets. Sold off hundreds of Post Offices, alienating customers as he did, returned the business to losses, presided over two major strikes.

2010 CEO ITV – We’ve yet to see. But I think given the state of the advertising market and Crozier’s own propensity to wind up his own staff, it might not end well.

Now you could argue that each of those jobs represented a poisoned chalice to some degree or other, but you could also argue that this is what happens when your going rate is £3million a year or whatever. You could also argue that not one of those organisations was in a stronger position post Crozier than it was pre. And you’d be right about that. No question.

So why does he keep getting hired? Maybe it’s because in each case he actually made things better than they might otherwise have been? Maybe because he doesn’t mind being the figurehead for difficult changes? Maybe because he’s got that look that people seem to find so appealing in our politicians nowadays? Or maybe he just comes across in the right way?

Crises of Capitalism

How the media works part 31


More from the feed my company gets from magazines looking for stories. This week – FHM

MEDIA OUTLET: FHM (spokesperson or expert request)

MEDIA TYPE: Consumer Press

JOURNALIST: Ben Wilson (staff)

DEADLINE: 28-May-2009 12:00 

QUERY: I’m very keen to interview experts on the following subjects:

1) How to eliminate stains from chino trousers

2) The science behind building a decent rope swing

3) How to build a homemade barbecue from an oil drum and a Sainsbury’s trolley

4) A legal expert to tell me five surprising summer laws

5) An agriculture expert to tell me the top 8 smelliest roads in Britain (to do with drainage, manure, etc)

6) A surfer to explain how to successfully surf a lilo

7) A hat tailor or stylist to describe how to wear the following hats correctly: a chef’s hat, a straw hat, a baseball cap, a Trilby, a fedora

8 ) A fashion expert or stylist to describe how to choose a beach towel that doesn’t clash/ flatter with your complexion or body composition.

 Thank you.


I’m sure that the readers of FHM do have to worry a lot about stained trousers, but I’m not sure about the rest.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear. Squawk


We are all under pretty much constant surveillance nowadays. But while we may worry (unless you’re a NTHNTF parrot obv.) about the most obvious manifestations of The Great Eye such as CCTV, we face a world that never stops finding new ways to get inside our heads.

Here’s a new one. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Google has come up with an algorithm to work out which of its employees feel most ill at ease and are most likely to quit. The firm has been crunching data from appraisals, pay histories and so on to come up with a mathematical formula which can identify those of its 20,000 employees who feel most unhappy at work and are likely to leave.



This is Hopper at his best. Office in a Small City may have been painted in 1953 but his isolated and daydreaming worker is a timeless and universally understood character. The telling detail for me is the ornate false front to the utilitarian building and furniture.

Piggin’ marvellous


One of the many things the Internet was supposed to kill off was the printed word. Books, magazines and newspapers, all screwed apparently. Yet while the growth of online media has had an impact – especially on newspapers, which do look pretty screwed – the media still has a tendency to proliferate, to evolve and learn how to thrive in niches.

That is why there is such an amazing diversity in British publishing. David Attenborough may become breathless describing the biodiversity of the world, but even he might raise an eyebrow at the scale of life either thriving in the fertile canopy of British publishing or grubbing around for an existence in the dank leaf mould on its floor.

The top level figures are intersting for analysts but it’s only when you get into the detail that things get really interesting. So, while a well-known media database impressively lists some 25,000 editorial contacts and around 11,000 titles, a quick search through it identifies that 65 of these are devoted to livestock farming. Drill down further and you see there are three of these dedicated solely to breeding pigs. There is only one for ostrich farmers but that may be because you can only write so many headlines featuring the words ‘head in the sand’ before you lose the will to live.

Everywhere you look there are similar evolutionary branches. Six magazines devoted to potatoes – growing them, not cooking them. Forty-two aimed at dentists. Three devoted to pigeon racing.

And it’s no good sneering at these titles and industries because you work in a different field. We all look the same to outsiders. For all I know, in the parallel universe of swineherds there is an editorial in this month’s issue of Pig International questioning the need for quite so many office design and facilities management magazines. So don’t mock. Because if you get involved in any industry, if it earns you a living, it will quickly become interesting enough for you to read several magazines a month about it.


Why politics and religion don’t mix

This video is taken from a hearing of the US Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. The man speaking is John Shimkus, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives representing Illinois.

No further comment.

How the media works pt 83


My business subscribes to a service that allows journalists to float ideas and requests for information onto the PR-osphere, the place where we exist. Below is a typical example of what we get to see. What is interesting (and very common) is that the article starts with a premise for which the journalist then seeks evidence. This is clearly the wrong way round.

PS If they can write this feature without mention of Amy Winehouse, I’ll be impressed. 

MEDIA OUTLET: Glamour (editorial request)

MEDIA TYPE: Consumer Press

DEADLINE: 21-April-2009 18:00

QUERY: I am looking for facts and stats to support a claim that, in many cases, rehab is unsuccessful.

The secret of good PR? Know when to shut the fuck up


We all pretty much know the full story of incompetence, greed and complacency displayed by the Government and board of RBS. What has come to light over the last few weeks has been nothing short of astonishing.

On Friday, following what could generously be described as a fractious shareholders meeting, the RBS  Chairman Sir Philip Hampton made a call for an end to the ‘public flogging’, as described on Robert Peston’s blog.

The gut response of the majority of people to the call was predictably blunt over the weekend. Things were hardly helped today when the board announced another 9,000 job cuts. Although this makes sense from a business point of view, it could also quite reasonably be interpreted as a bit rich given that some of the people responsible for taking the decisions that led to the whole mess are still comfortably in jobs.

You know the arguments.

What I find breathtaking is that nobody either at RBS or in one of the PR firms that they presumably employ has told Sir Philip Hampton to just shut his mouth.  There is a temptation for firms to try to manage their image through statements and proclamations. Whatever he says at the moment to explain, justify or defend will merely confirm the perception of the public that this is an organisation that is lucky to still exist, owes a debt to them and has displayed very little morality. Lack of self-awareness is not a pretty characteristic of individuals and no more so in companies.

July 2020

Desk Jockey