Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Olympic Glory!

 watched the beginning of the Olympics in the UK and the last few days in Italy. For some reason Italian TV seemed fascinated by synchronised swimming .

 For the record I thought the only disappointment of the whole games was the closing ceremony. What a mess. And George Michael!
David Cameron has clearly jumped on the positive band wagon and is hoping for a bounce in the economy from it. Whilst I think the country was in need of a happiness boost I think the potential for growth following on from the games is thin.

 No doubt we showed off what the UK construction industry could achieve on time and within budget which must be a positive marketing message across the world.

 However it is more likely this will encourage export rather than inward investment.

Unfortunately there is no evidence that any previous games has had a positive effect on the economy or made any impact to encourage investment. It will undoubtably improve the east end and the Olympic Park will be a fantastic legacy for the area. However, unfortunately this for me is not where the greatest need is in the UK at present. The regions are really struggling and need investment desperately to encourage confidence and growth.

 For me we should use the Olympics as a positive start and look at a number of new investment programmes to stimulate growth . Housing is a good way of pumping money into the economy at every level and would be a good place to start.

 The government also needs to get off the fence with education and needs to start investing again in school buildings.

 I don't think we will ever see things returning to how they were 5 to 10 years ago but the current paralysis in the markets needs attention.

 We know about the planned cuts but I don't see a plan for growth and unfortunately a few gold medals will not be enough!

Holiday Book Review....

I've just returned from a very hot couple of weeks in Italy. With it being so hot it was a challenge to do very much meaning I could get through more books than usual.

I don't want to bore you with all of the books I read while away but there were a few highlights. Regular readers of my blog will know that my reading list is usually related to the stories of people in business.

 The first book of note was "10 words" by terry Leahy the ex CEO of Tesco. In the book he comes accross as a very humble man and really simplifies the success of Tesco over the last decade. He has distilled this down to a very clear strategy and has identified 10 simple rules for business.

 A really good story which includes anicdotes and advice. As a business leader he has to be in my top 5 and this book definitely goes into my top ten.

 The second book was a bit of a surprise. Duncan Bannatynes "43 mistakes businesses make" would not be the type of book I would normally read. It's been sitting on my iPad for a while now and with the extra time I thought I would give it a chance!
As it happens I think this is one of the best books I have read of this type. In typical Duncan Bannatyne style he gives direct advice to business. It is real no nonsense and highlights all of the very important aspects of business. If small businesses followed his advice they wouldn't go far wrong.

The final book was a great story and actually quite uplifting in a strange way. It is the story of Hilary Devey, the Dragons Den entrepreneur. Hers is an incredible story of a really tough life.

I have nothing but respect for her for what she has achieved and how she has managed to keep going through huge adversity. It's easy to look at where she is now and think she has it all and has had it easy. I won't spoil the book but you need to read her story.

Amongst these three good books there were others which were not worthy of mention and others which were frankly dreadful. I have now read too many books about apple and their culture and stories from people who met Steve jobs in a supermarket.