Friday, 28 December 2012

Gun sales surge

After the despicable act in New town Connecticut where children and teachers were needlessly killed, there have been calls for the tightening up on Gun ownership, with many places such as Walmart taking certain weapons off their shelves. It is only a matter of time before more new rulings about gun ownership are introduced, causing sales for weapons and ammunition to rise. See article 

This is a classic example of supply and demand and panic buying. If there is going to be a shortage, sales increase. Next time there is going to be a fuel or water shortage, have a look at the queues. remember whenever there is an Action. There is a Reaction and a Consequence (ARC).

It is very easy to blame the guns, but shouldn't we be looking at the cause. Why was the trigger pulled in the first place? Was the reason mental health? The Gun is a small part of the problem.  Do we blame cars for deaths when a drunk driver is behind the wheel, fertilizers companies when some nut makes a home made bomb?

When fashion makes no sense

There will be some of you that have been bought a hideous sweater this Christmas and many others who have received one in the past. You open the present and hold up the jumper and reply -"Just what I always wanted".  You are then made to wear the sweater while all those around you shake their heads. Well the shaking of heads can stop and in exchange be greeted by the thumbs up sign. Fashion has come to the rescue and it is now trendy to wear these sweaters with pride. Read the article for yourself.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Traits of and Entrepreneur

I'll be honest with you, I generally buy biographies of people to find out what makes them tick. Why are they successful and what do I need to be successful. I think it is human nature. We are led to believe that by buying expensive sports shoes, we too can emulate that persons success but it never once refers to the fact that there is hard work attached.  As some of you might know or have worked out, I was a Business Studies school teacher who really loved his job, but felt it was the right time to set up my own business and run with it. I could Talk the Talk, but can I Walk the Walk?
I guess over time I will find out. I found this article that might interest you on the traits that an Entrepreneur has.

Tough Love

 As a teacher, it is our job to teach a class of students a certain amount of information in a specific period of time. This information is generally needed in some form of assessment but is also a building block for students to use in the future. Unfortunately, in class, there are always students who play up for a number of reasons and I am sure you can figure those out when you have been in class. Bottom line is the disruptions actually ruin everyone elses learning opportunities as they have the right to learn as much as everyone else. Rudeness and the general lack of manners is not something that should be embraced. Manners go a long way and this is the basis of how respect and how you expect to be treated occurs and this is something you should take notice of. This story was a refreshing sight to see. Tough love, but a lesson well learned.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The secret to success

There are literally thousands of business theory books on shelves worldwide, sprouting about the 4Ps, cash flow, budgets, distribution, human resources etc....  More often than not the real reason why there is success in any venture is the commitment and hard work. I am not saying that the other areas are not relevant as they definitely are, but having the commitment to see the idea through, showing strength and determination in terms of time and effort is the real secret to the success of a business.So combine that with working Smart in terms of being determined, focused and using the knowledge gained in text books should increase the chances of success. If you are thinking about setting up your business and you want inspiration, then read this.

Eshops and Physical stores

E shops and Physical Shops

There is a big thing about companies only having a web presence. For a lot of businesses this is all that is needed. But what about when you are buying clothes, shoes etc and you want to have more of an idea about size, fit and quality. How many times have you bought something online and it has not lived up to expectation. If that has happened to you, then read on.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Who stole my phone?

Where phones are becoming more and more powerful,more personal information is stored on them and their  is a demand for these phones, they will always be worth something to someone. I have had a phone stolen in the past, the actual phone wasn't really the loss to me, I could live with that, it was more the lost contacts that were the inconvenience to me. A while ago one of my students had their phone stolen while playing a sports fixture at another school, unfortunately it was very hard to prove who had taken it. For those who value their phone, please read on, this is probably the most important and valuable article that you will get to read.

Net Flix and Red Box

A while ago Net Flix was launched, it allowed you to rent the latest movies on DVD. Now you are able to stream them into your home whenever you like. The world of cinema must have quaked in their boots when this was brought out as more people are probably staying in and watching movies in their homes with surround sound etc and saving money. Net Flix now has a rival and I am sure there is going to be a price war as Red Box strives to gain market share and Net Flix will do their up most to defend it. The immediate winner could be the consumer as introductory offers are there to be used and the loser in the short term might well be the cinema, as people may take advantage of these offers and not venture out of their homes. So with every action, there is a reaction and a consequence. Net Flix and Redbox

Ethics and Business Opportunities

At what point do you say enough is enough or I wish I had been a part of that. If there is a need, there is a product. More and more loan companies are setting up to offer loans over a short period of time so that people can survive between paydays. Some would say that's nice of them, but the cost could be a whopping 4000%. So you have to ask yourself, should this type of loan company be regulated, outlawed or ignored. You also have to ask how people have managed to get to this stage of needing these short term loans. Some borrowers may have to use these companies due to bad luck or through an emergency, whilst others have not learnt how to budget or grasp the concept how dangerous a store card or credit card actually are if balances are not paid off and credit limits are continually increased. For examples of calculations click here, but please ignore the loan advert. For more information about the current market place and what is happening, please read this article. it is very important to all.

Thursday, 13 December 2012


Careers websites

I have been looking over the careers advice available to you. No doubt there are provisions made in schools and colleges. However, I believe that there can never be too much guidance or too many resources out there. I can guarantee that at college there are very few students who actually know what they want to do with their lives. I have known people at University completing a course of interest, knowing that when they graduate, they are still no closer to deciding what they want to do. It is not uncommon now for people to change careers due to circumstances, pace of life or the need for fresh challenges. This is not a decision to be made lightly. Someone once quoted that you spend 80% of your life working. If this is true, you might as well take some time to make the right choice and choose something you would like to do for the majority of your life.

Below are three careers websites that are definitely worth a look. allows you to do a personality test and browse careers that suit your personality results and skills. Persevere with the questions as the end results will give you a good basis to start your career search. There are searches based around interests or current career headings. has a lot to offer. It has statistics on new jobs and pay, but I recommend the interview section which gives first hand experience accounts from candidates on their interview process for different jobs at different companies. It allows you to get an insight into the type of job and preparation needed to get the job. A government website that gives a very basic description of each type of career, the level of education required and level of pay. On this website there are a lot of facts and statistics based around the economy which might be worth keeping on your favorites tool bar as you go through college, university and life as it is the website for Bureau of Labor Statistics and the United States Department of Labor. Featured occupations are worth browsing once you know roughly what careers would suit you. This website provides a great resource for legislation, pay, work trends and many more areas that will be helpful.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Fragility of Share Price

Share prices drive a Public Limited Company. A strong share price that is constantly rising, shows that a business is growing and it becomes more attractive to investors, because it shows that the business is becoming more profitable and therefore the investor will get a better return through a dividend. This share price is dependent on a couple of things such as the health of the market, competitors, confidence in the business, direction of the business, the ability to bring out new products and so on. Apple is richer than most countries. It has no debt and is globally recognized. It is the main innovator in the market place with everyone playing catch up. Apple had $35billion wiped off the value of its business due to a fall in the share price. This is mainly due to its competition in one of its markets using a different phone over an Apple product. If you are ever thinking of investing in shares or want a greater awareness of the corporate world, you should have a look at the Footsie, London Stock Exchange, Nasdaq or equivalent. Choose some businesses of interest and monitor their share prices. Collect articles on the news in that particular type of industry relevant to your chosen business and see what happens to the share price. By doing this, you will get to see the true value of the share prices and whether the share prices are high or low. I am sure Mr Buffet may buy more of these shares today as the price is lower than it has been for a while. Apple article.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Gangnam Style

Its catchy and it has been copied and watched. Gangnam Style has been a phenomenal hit making Psy a millionaire, but not from the actual song, but from downloads on Youtube and the like.As previously mentioned with flashmobs, if you get an audience and the videos are watched, huge revenues can be earned from advertisements. Read for yourself.

Making of a flash mob

In my previous blog, I mentioned one of my all time favorite adverts which was in the form of a flash mob TMoblie Welcome Home. This video shows how it was made. Enjoy.

Fliers to flash mobs

Getting a message out there through the various marketing channels has changed over the years. I am always fascinated by the adverts and the process of getting a message across. Quite often on TV or the radio I actually take notice of the commercials just to see how things have changed. There are some really lame adverts where you know you could have written the content in 10 minutes and the original format of how the message is conveyed. I know budget has a lot to do with it too. Are they purposely bad to that you remember them for being bad and therefore remember the brand? However over time, there have been some absolute beauties. Flash mobs are a relatively new thing. With the use of social media and being able to make a video go viral instantly, more businesses are turning to this. Its a change in technology and marketing is changing with it. Before the England and New Zealand rugby game, a flash mob was organised in Trafalgar square. It wasn't necessarily selling anything other than highlighting that the Kiwis were in town and that there was a rugby game on today. One of my favorites has to be the T Mobile Welcome Home. Definitely memorable. Whats your favorite commercial?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Holiday jobs in doubt

The days of being at school and getting a part time job could be disappearing fast in some industries. In my last blog I had mentioned how technology is changing in terms of our behavior, interaction of others, fixation on efficiency and power at our finger tips. Well the burger industry is getting in on the act with a machine that can produce 360 burgers per hour. Will the fast food burger restaurants be needing more staff or less? Or do you think it is a fad. Will it improve efficiency or end up costing more? You decide.

Monday, 3 December 2012

10 things in Economics that everyone should know

This is a great article for anyone studying Business or Economics. The diagrams and explanations are really clear. Highly recommended. link

iPod cannibalizing its own!

Technology is a scary thing. I have been reading how over the years technology has changed how we work and interact with others. There are apps that test you on logos, set your burglar alarm,turn on the heating, work out how long you have left to live, how many calories you consume and the list goes on. I watched Apollo13 yesterday and it was staggering to think that there is more technology in an iPhone or smartphone than there was when NASA sent up the space rocket. When computers were first introduced, the monitor itself was the size of your desk. Computers are getting smaller to the point that you could run your office virtually from your phone in the palm of your hand.

Apple are now working on changing this through developing computerized glasses. Where will it end?

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Credit Scores

Whether you are applying for a loan, trying to buy that car using finance, renting an apartment or using a store card, the most important thing going for you is your Credit Score. This is the first thing that is checked to see whether you have the tendency to pay your bills. If you have a history of not paying bills, would you let someone buy something off you on credit, knowing that there is a chance that you might not get your money back? There are ways to build your credit score up, but unfortunately you can lower your credit score just as easy. Read the following article.

Real or Fake?

David Copperfield,  Penn and Teller and many more make their money out of magic. The majority of tricks performed are based around illusions.Another type of illusion is based around drawing in a distorted way which you may have seen on pavements / sidewalks around the world. Take a look at this video. The word of the day is Anamorphosis.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Black Friday

Black Friday, shoppers heaven to some but not to others. Black Friday occurs the day after Thanksgiving and it is comparable with the Boxing Day sales in the UK. Retailers offer stock on that day at really low prices, which tempts people to go shopping. More deals, more shopping, same amount of floor space and parking spaces. You work out the equation. It is called Black Friday because it has been said that this is the day that the retailers go into the black, meaning they are making profit. It also allows retailers to clear end of the line stock, ready for the new products coming in. In the past as you will read in the attached article, there have been "incidents" occurring in shops due to the frenzy being stirred up for the latest deals and last remaining items on the shelves. Retailers such as Walmart are now saying that if the product is not on the shelf on that day,not to worry, pay for it and the product will be delivered from another store or warehouse and you can pick it up on another day. Go one step further, why focus on one day a year, spread the savings out over the year. Article

Customer Service at its Best!

There is a guy in Texas on a mission. He is writing a blog on rejection and has set himself the task of 100 requests and 100 rejections. That is until he went to Krispy Kreme. He asked for some donuts that are linked in the shape of the Olympic rings. The request in the first instance is not on the menu and therefore a quick and easy no would have been suffice. However the member of staff took on the request and produced the donuts. One happy customer and great customer service. See video.

Mind boggling partnership

We have all been reading about Samsung and Apples little but costly tiff which has cost Samsung $1bn. It has all been about the infringement in patents and being enforced to protect market share. Samsung have now got a new ally in Microsoft where it is able to use the Windows 8 and 7 operating systems on their tablets and computers. Samsung will be shipping 16 million of their tablets and computers worldwide in one year. This partnership should gain ground on Apple and Google in time. When you next upgrade your phone, who will you go with? Are you about the brand, functionality or price?Article

Friday, 16 November 2012


You have no doubt heard about Trade Unions. They have featured quite heavily in the news. They were once formed to protect employees from unscrupulous employers. These days a lot of the protection is mandatory by law in terms of Health and Safety at Work, minimum wage, sex discrimination, age discrimination etc. On your syllabus in schools and college, you will cover Unions. Unions are generally a good thing if the system in general is both outdated and unrealistic i.e. layers of bureaucracy in education are being created, thereby stopping the teacher from teaching due to paper work. However, I feel that sometimes the greater picture is lost. The world is in a recession, there is less demand for products due to there being less money in the economy and in the world for that matter. Companies worldwide need to remain competitive if they are to remain in business and therefore have to make some difficult decisions. An analogy if you will. If there is a food shortage, people ration themselves.Its common sense! This way the food lasts longer and people live longer. However you could have one great feast and then die quicker. Think about that analogy and then read this article.

Great Videos

I came across these great Videos on Yahoo (Who Knew?), which are sponsored by Toyota. A great way to advertise the Toyota name and learn facts about both general and business world. Famous Brand names and their name changes, childrens nursery songs etc. Well worth watching, even if it is just for a bit of trivia knowledge.Video

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Google V Apple

In the past and to some extent in the future, whenever apps were mentioned in a conversation, Apple would nearly always be mentioned exclusively. I have been mulling over getting an app done for Fortune and Venture and initially when I contacted app developers, it was nearly always the same response. Get it done using the Apple operating system. Fast forward a year or two and now Google, Android and Windows 8 are making their way into the mix. The choice is vast, however, there seems to be one operating system that will eventually come out that when used to write apps can be used on all of the different Smart phones. Will people still stick with Apple or move to another brand? The article attached is well worth a read. If you are a potential app developer or want an app making, this is a must read. Article

Monday, 12 November 2012


RIM is about to launch 2 Blackberry10 devices and a platform to run them on in January. The days of the Berry are numbered, but could these latest products be the savior for them? I personally liked the QWERTY keyboard of the Berry and therefore haven't gone onto the Android or iPhone. Now they have done away with the keyboard and made it touch like all the other phones, will they still be here next year? Will I stay with Berry, get a Samsung, iPhone or hold out for the Windows8 phone by Nokia. Choices, Choices, Choices. To be a consumer is not a bad thing. See article.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Apps for Driving

In the UK, there is a huge crack down on texting while driving. 3 points and a sixty pound fine to start with. As you only get a maximum of 12 points, this is a huge consequence when you are simply replying to a text. It is only a matter of time before the police in the US crack down on the number of people using their phones without hands free or texting whilst driving. In fact if the government cracked down on this offence and issued fines, cuts to education etc probably would not be needed. It almost becomes a game now to see who is using their phone whilst out on the road driving. A new App is being launched by AT&T. Just like the drunken app which stops you sending texts, AT&T are launching an App that does not allow you to text whilst driving. When on the road, the text feature of your phone is disabled and all incoming texts are instantly replied to with the message -Sorry I am driving. This service is only available to current AT&T subscribers at the moment but hopefully it wont be long before there is a version out there for everyone. Apps for Driving.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sandy is getting expensive

With the superstorm Sandy causing havoc across the East Coast of America, it got me thinking about the winners and losers from this storm. I heard that Netflix's subscription levels spiked and a steel production company claimed to be losing $4million a day but the CEO wasn't too worried as he thought he would make the money back through sales of steel girders which will be needed for structural repairs.Can you think of any winners and losers from Sandy? See article

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Another Iconic Brand Gone!

Business and sentiment rarely mix. Cash is King, bills have to be paid and therefore decisions have to be made which will always upset someone. Mostly it is about the bottom line, balancing the books, reducing debt or even refinancing.  Branston Pickle is one of those British Brands that have been around a long time and is part of the British furniture.I do love a sandwich with Branston Pickle on it. But unfortunately Premier Foods has a lot of debt and it is reducing its debt to live another day by selling various brands of theirs. A Japanese company has now bought the Brand and will resume production in Japan. There have been other Brands off loaded with further ones being considered. Further jobs lost, reliant businesses such as suppliers and services will lose business which could mean further job cuts along the way and another Brand made in Great Britain has gone. Read article

Be careful what you wish for.

If you have been watching any news, you would have realised that Apple and Samsung are having a disagreement. The result being a Billion dollar payout to Apple due to patent infringements. The result of the further spat could mean certain Samsung handsets being banned from being sold in the US. The problem being that Samsung makes the processors for the iphone and ipad. This could be a script from Hollywood in terms of what happens next. You decide. Read article.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Bigger is not always better!

When I was growing up, I had aspirations of earning enough money to buy a big house, fantastic car and all the trappings of success. I had thought, if I became a millionaire, life would be good and very easy. The more I think about this, having a bigger house does not necessarily make you more comfortable as there are more bills associated with maintenance, heating, furniture to fill the house, security etc. Being a millionaire still means you have problems but I guess you can pay someone to take care of them for you. Here is an article about the associated costs of upgrading. Is bigger better? Whats the opportunity cost? Only you can decide.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Spend, Spend, Spend

I came across this article about how status is balanced out with spending. The opportunity cost of debt versus the potential to better yourself. If you think about it, to truly benefit the next generation, the current generation must suffer. Fashion and the best comes at a price or does it? I think you need to decide. Here is your starting point.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Party anyone?

We hear about these stories from time to time. Girl has party, posts invite with time and date but does not make it a private message. Private message is not private, message is open and available to the masses, word is passed on about the party and loads of people, a heap of damage, police and riot gear follow. Have a read for yourself and think about what you post online. Article

Grain Prices and knock on effects!

There is a shortage of Grain, prices have gone up. Farmers cannot afford to feed cattle and make a profit after sending them to market. Farmer slaughters cattle to minimize losses, thereby flooding the market with meat. Meat prices drop initially but are due to surge next year when there is a shortage. A great example of supply and demand, market forces and external forces. I suggest you do your own research on this one and see where else may be effected. Grain Prices

Monday, 24 September 2012

iPhone and wider issues

The new iPhone 5 is out, demand is high, but could there be problem with the Supply? This is a great example of how something can trouble a company due to external influences. Read what it is.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Leadership Styles

Apple is a phenomenal company, churning out much rated products that are woven and integrated into many peoples lives worldwide.  Steve Jobs did a fantastic job of elevating Apple to the heights it is now and overtaking Microsoft as the largest earning company. His leadership style was fierce, he had vision and attention to detail, but intimidated and berated his staff on a regular basis. Some would say that this is not the way to run a company, but he got the results. Tim Cook is now the new CEO of Apple and as with anything people will always try and compare the new with the old. They are different leaders with different styles and focus. Where Steve Jobs was the visionary in terms of products and perfecting the products, Cook is about the operations of the business, the logistics and manufacturing and the motivation of his staff. Faster roll outs and distribution means even more revenue through sales. An interesting comparison.Read article on Jobs versus Cook

Monday, 17 September 2012

Intellectual Property - Man of the Match!

In setting up Fortune and Venture, I have now Trademarked the name Fortune and Venture in a specific category and it is now protected from others using it to sell other educational products and games. Patents had been considered and Copyright is in force. There has been a huge court case with Apple and Samsung over the infringement of Patents which resulted in a billion dollar payout.

I recently applied for various email addresses for my business and the one I wanted had been registered by someone who wanted $5000 for it. It is not been used, but simply being held to be sold on for a profit This is not new. A lot of money has and is being made out of people registering  domain names etc and then selling them for a profit. Enterprising and definitely a niche. But how far does it go?

In the news today it was revealed that an intellectual property company have trademarked the phrase Man of the Match. This meas that if it is used in a commercial sense i.e. the Man of the Match in this game or the Man of the Match award goes to. A royalty will have to be paid this company. Clever but should it have been allowed? Read the article and You decide.


Next time you think you are hard done by and want to complain, have a think about this young lady who has overcome adversity and is embracing life. She was born without arms and has since adapted and got on with her life. It is easy to find things to complain about, but in all honesty, do people really want to hear about your complaints? I used to have a house mate years ago, that when you asked (being polite) how he was doing - he would break into a big complaints session. Conversations were very short and to the point after that!! Clive Woodward ( a World Cup Winning England Rugby Coach back in 2003) did not pick players who were complainers. He labelled them Sappers as the negativity detracted from the positivity that he was trying to build in the squad. Think about your complaints or whether your friends complain? Article Tisha unarmed

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Pink Lego?

I remember playing with Lego as a child. In fact when I was supposedly studying for my finals with a friend of mine,  his mother found us playing with his old Lego set that he was going to donate to a neighbor. We built airports, garages, houses and many other things that afternoon. Lego has recently brought out a nontraditional color Lego set which is aimed at girls. The colors include pink. There have been mixed reactions from the launch as there are some feminist groups saying that children should not be stereotyped and therefore the different colors are a bad thing.  

I have thought about this and yes there is merit in both sides. However if by the Lego being a different color gets girls more interested in the building side, then why not. Also Lego would not have done this unless their Market Research supported the launch. This could have been a risky product, but as it turns out their revenue has increased by 24%. to $1.5 bill, when the rest of the toy industry is in a slump. For more information read Girls Lego.

Apple Versus Samsung

I have been following the Apple Versus Samsung saga with regards patents and infringements. I have had quite a few discussions with people and watched various movies while also dealing with lawyers vicariously. At times I find the law extremely frustrating as it does not always take into account common sense. At times even though you are right, it does not necessarily mean you will win in court. There are times when the law does not protect the intended as there is a loophole or the law is either so vague or too specific and the common sense element does not come into play. I watched A Time to Kill the other night, and somehow common sense should have come into play and put something into context but it could not be discussed or entered into evidence during that movie, due to a technicality. Watch the movie - it stars Samuel L Jackson, Matthew McConaughey and Sandra Bullock and you will fully understand what I am saying.

I also find it absurd that a court case, back to Apple Samsung, that has so much at stake is not being held in a neutral place. Apple is based in California, where the court case was heard and decided upon and Samsung is not. $1 billion will have to be paid out in damages and now certain phones may not be potentially sold in the US due to this "infringement" which ultimately leads to less choice for the consumer. To put this further into perspective, Xerox had the original designs that Apple used. If Apple can do that to Xerox, why not Samsung to Apple?

One thing that I cannot do is blame Apple for seeking damages awards as they are simply playing by the laws that are in place regarding infringement. Samsung would do exactly the same, if roles were reversed, because that its the law.

We are quick to blame the bankers for lending to people who had no chance of paying the money back as it was all about hitting targets. Were the bankers greedy? - to a degree yes -were they allowed to do this? - to a degree yes. If you were paid for hitting your targets, with no consequences of how you got to those targets would you have done the same? Hopefully, no. Are traits of integrity and honor and "doing the right thing" overridden by making the bottom line look good?
 The system is at fault and therefore needs reviewing.

I found an article in the LA Times and is definitely worth taking the time out to read this. Apple Versus Samsung

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Olympic and athlete success

The Olympics have been fantastic to watch. Competitors have been working towards their moment in the Olympics and for some it is the pinnacle of their career.Some have excelled whilst others have crumpled under the pressure. The outcome from their events will determine their profile and earning potential once the Olympics have gone.

There are a number of athletes that have caught the imagination of the world with Michael Phelps winning the most number of medals in history in the Olympics, the South African Oscar Pistorius, Usain Bolt breaking the world record in the 100 metres and so on.

One of the athletes that I cannot help but admire is Jessica Ennis. The pressure can only be imagined, a little like Jonny Wilkinson in the World Cup back in 2003 where the planned move to win the final was by a drop kick or Cathy Freeman from Australia running and taking Gold. Not only has she trained for those moments in the Olympics but the public had come to expect that she would win gold and therefore the pressure to perform on the field, work with sponsors and complete public engagements must have been both physically and mentally demanding. More so than the other athletes as this is her home patch.

However, there is an upside to the hard work and dedication and that is the earning potential that will follow her success. Millions should follow her and I truly wish her well. To become an elite athlete takes more than simple skill, but dedication and more. That is the difference between a winner and a loser. It has not been handed to her. The same could be put across to you in school and life. It is down to you to make the difference between success and failure. How do you deal with the pressures and tests in life. The benefits of winning gold. See article

Friday, 3 August 2012

Largest surf contest

Having lived in Huntington Beach California since January I am getting used to the way of life, festivals and various events that happen year round. Being in the US for the 4th of July was an eye opener with all the fireworks and celebrations. Going to watch a soccer game at La Galaxy was fantastic. The US doesn't do things by halves and the latest thing to hit Huntington Beach is the US Open Surf Championships where in excess of 100 000 people a day visit the beach to watch the surfing.Along with the surfing, the organisers have created a carnival atmosphere with hospitality tents, different competitions and involvement from the local communities too. It got me thinking to how much planning has gone into this week long event. From the actual location and putting up the stands, gaining sponsorship, advertising the event. Inviting the surfers. Getting the Police and fire service on board. Recruiting staff to work the event and etc. Is the event a positive event for Huntington Beach? Some say yes, others say no. The vast majority of the no opinions is purely down to inconvenience for that week. Have a read of the article and make you own mind up.

Is it you?

Facebook has been a phenomenal success and has changed the way a lot of people interact with one another. Many of you no doubt check your Facebook pages on a daily basis, some spend hours each day reading one anthers status and putting your lives for others to see on your pages. Businesses are now expected to have a Facebook page too. Unfortunately like all good things, eventually the gloss begins to wear. When Facebook was floated on the  stock market, it made a lot of people wealthy (the ones selling the shares) and the one buying the shares saw the value of their investment in the initial stages fall. Unfortunately, the value is likely to fall again. In an article published, it has been recorded that there are 83 million extra accounts. This could be due to people having more than one account, setting up pets pages and others for sending spam.With 83 million less accounts, Facebook's advertising revenue is likely to fall which means that it is less profitable, therefore the company's market value lowers and it is less desirable for investors. For more information read the article. On the other hand the latest bright light is Linkedin and its progress would be a good company to chart. Will it go the same way as Facebook?

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

To Blog or not to Blog

I have been enjoying the Olympics and I cannot help but admire the dedication and hard work that has gone into these Athletes training, getting ready and competing in their chosen events. The athletes come from different backgrounds with a burning goal to represent their country in what can be described as the pinnacle of any athletes career. Behind the scenes, thousands of hours are spent perfecting their technique, mile on mile is traveled between events, equipment being repaired or bought and many other sacrifices being made. Without sponsors, a lot of the athletes would not be able to attend the games and without the sponsors money, the standard of participation would not be as high. On the other hand, the Olympic committee has signed huge sponsorship deals to offset some of the cost of hosting and running the Olympics and therefore maximum focus should be on the chosen sponsors. Who is right? Read the article and make up your own mind.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Bloggers Success

I love a good success story and Pete Cashmore is one of those stories that should be publicized in order to inspire others. He took something like being in hospital and using that situation for his own gain in terms of making his time spent there work for him.

He began blogging about his interest which is technology and wanted to explain to others how to use the technology such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and YouTube. His company is called Mashable and it has 50 million page views and 20 million different visitors a month to his site. He is now worth in the region of $100 million and his business Mashable has been valued in the region of $300million. He and his company have won many different awards and is definitely someone to watch in the future.

Entrepreneurship is about interest, passion, using the skills you have and being determined. Pete Cashmore has this in buckets. Read more about Pete

Friday, 13 July 2012

Chips and Gravy please!!! Not on your Nellie

While watching the Olympic games in London over the summer and you fell peckish, a great filler would be a portion of chips from the Chip shop. Unfortunately the only way anyone can get a portion of chips is to buy Fish and Chips together or go to McDonald's.  Only McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Heineken are allowed to sell branded food at the Olympics. Article

Fastest growing companies in the US

Here is a list of the fastest growing retailers in the US. When looking at the list I got to think why they were the fastest growing. Is it due to the economy and people are buying cheaper alternatives? Are more people shopping in a different way now or are there simply great marketing departments within the business? There are endless other reasons I am sure. List

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Half a million pound can of Coke.

In the world where absentmindedness can literally cost you a fortune. Ronaldhino is surely counting the cost of this -or maybe he isn't? He recently angered Coca Cola bosses by turning up to a conference drinking their rivals brand Pepsi. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but Coca Cola had actually sponsored him to endorse Coca Cola. Will Pepsi jump on this opportunity - we will have to wait and see. It would be interesting to see who else has been dropped over the years buy their sponsors. Read article

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Made in the USA

The world is getting smaller. Communication is getting faster and international barriers are coming down. Many countries have lost their industries to countries that can produce quicker and cheaper. The bottom line of the profit and loss account mostly says it all, especially with the pressure on businesses to give shareholders their dividends. Therefore with Unions being in place, legislation and many other obstacles, it is with regular occurrence that businesses either set up their production plants on foreign soil, sold off or competitors take over the market place with cheaper priced products.  With all this activity it was interesting to see what iconic brands are still being manufactured in the USA. An interesting read.

McDonald's Uniforms

McDonald's and their uniform. Wayne Hemingway has been set the task of revamping their uniforms. An interesting assignment. Baseball caps and the traditional clothing are seen as too casual. It has got me thinking about where McDonald's is going with this? Their menus are constantly evolving, bringing in a wider product range aimed at all target segments. Burgers being the cash cow of the menu, mango smoothies, chicken nuggets, salad and before long I wouldn't be surprised to see pasta being sold too. As McDonalds is a global brand, are they trying to create a global image that is less American and more cosmopolitan?Have a read of the article and you decide. Article

Tuesday, 19 June 2012


A merger between Boots Alliance and Walgreens is set to become the worlds largest healthcare retailers. The synergies between the two companies is set to or should I say hope to equate to more than the 2 separate companies. This should result in increased market share, higher turnover and profits. A greater number of retail outlets, sharing of products resulting in a wider product range, shared development costs, distribution costs and many more. This could also mean diseconomies in scale with regards  to communication and job losses as restructuring takes place. Could there be potential derailment if the culture and leadership of these two companies are not aligned. Article

Adidas and Slavery

Adidas and Slavery?

Adidas have ditched a new design of show that was going to hit the high street. The price of the shoes were going to be around the $350 mark. The design was going to be shackles from your shoe to your ankle. One interpretation was if you were going to buy a really expensive shoe, you want to do your best to keep them it was a symbol of security for your shoe. Another interpretation was that it was a simply high fashion by a controversial designer. There have been a lot of complaints that this shoe represented slavery. Make your own mind up.Article

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Starbucks go into Bread

For all students studying BUSS4, this is a great example when quoting the Ansoff matrix. Starbucks is diversifying its interests through an acquisition of a bakery.It seems like Starbucks has been quite busy at the moment, spending heavily on undervalued businesses and taking advantage of the world recession.  Lots of implications, that no doubt could be brought out in a discussion. With these acquisitions, will they be a huge player in the future, or is this conglomerate going to lose focus? Article

10 Most Dangerous Jobs

Just thought this might be of interest. An article has come out listing the 10 most dangerous jobs in the USA.  Some of these you will never guess. Remember it is based on statistics. Jobs

Monday, 4 June 2012

Eric the Eel

This is a great story about the Olympics. Back in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics a young swimmer from Equatorial Guinea entered the 100m freestyle. He is remembered in the swimming world for all the wrong reasons, but does embrace the spirit of the Olympics. Article

Culture or Kulcha?

In the world there are so many differences with regards to peoples outlook, attitudes and actions. In Spain you can buy a can of beer from a vending machine in the street. You can drink wine under adult supervision in France. You have to be 18 to drink alcohol in the UK and 21 in the US. You have to be 16 to drive in the US, whereas in the UK it is 18. The list goes on. I have come across this article where a gun range in Texas is allowing children to have parties at their gun range. You could say that guns are a large part of the culture of Texas. This gun club allows the children to learn crucial gun safety and it is trying to increase revenue for its club. I am sure there are quite a number of pros and cons. Will this be a success or will there be a minority that end up abusing this and someone dies. Article

Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis is practically a household name. In my opinion , he was one of the first to get consumers on mass to stand up for themselves and seek out the best deal on, whether it be for gas, electric, credit card rate, savings etc.  With his constant appearances on TV, radio and in the newspaper, he has become a  trusted brand and a first choice stop for easily understood advice and the best deals on the market. He has since sold his website to for 87 million pounds.To read more about the sale read both articles. Article 1 and Article 2 For those learning business, this would be a good example of a business buying another business for its brand, foot traffic and market awareness.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Surfing in the countryside

Imagine being able to surf in the middle of the countryside. You don't need to go to the ocean or on a cruise ship to surf (wave machine). A new wave machine has been invented, albeit in a prototype format that produces waves that potentially could run for as long as 2 miles if there is enough space. I am just imagining the business potential. They are currently looking for investors to set one of these wave machines up. I can imagine a water park or skateboard park with a wet side so people can surf. Mr Hurley should seriously look into this, imagine selling surfboards and surf gear in Nebraska. Watch the video and make up your own mind. Click to watch video

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Source of Finance

Just when you thought that you have covered all sources of finance, this story surfaces. You have been taught in class that Entrepreneurs usually start up their businesses through the Bank of Mum and Dad, the help of friends and family, loans, selling of assets, equity, credit cards and so on. Well a new concept has been doing the rounds where people pledge money to the business for a a non financial return or equity. This could include access to the various development stages of the product, one of the first to be produced and therefore a collectors item, VIP passes etc. Read article

A great read

I love to read business style books and this is one that is by far the best one I have ever read. It offers insights into culture, leadership styles, the dos and dont's, good decisions, bad decisions and much more. If you are a Business Studies student then this is a book for you. There is so much material in it that you can add to your exam questions, especially with regards to Leadership and Culture.

Business Stripped Bare

Combining invaluable advice with the remarkable and candid inside stories of Virgin's greatest achievements, as well as some of its setbacks, Business Stripped Bare is a dynamic, inspirational and truly original guide to success in business and in life. This book is aimed far and wide and whether you are an executive, an entrepreneur or are just starting out, Richard strips business down to show how you can succeed and make a difference This entertaining read will be an invaluable business guide for years to come. For more information click here.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Angry Birds

Angry Birds has become a phenomenon. I remember first seeing it been played on my friends iPad, it was addictive and a lot of fun. Since then it is everywhere. There are so many different version of the game, merchandise - tshirts, lunchboxes, stationary and now there is talk of a TV series. With 200 million monthly users, the numbers and potential is simply mind boggling. The company and concept was set up by 3 students who entered a competition hosted by Nokia and Hewlett-Packard CO. Are you a subscriber and if it was your company, what other opportunities would you be considering for Angry Birds? Read here.

Patent war

This is a great story for those studying Business Studies. Two massive companies (Samsung and Apple) going head to head due to patent infringements and licenses. The ruling could effect the companies and potentially our choices of handset in the future. This story is worth following and reading around. To all entrepreneurs and businesses, it is worth taking note of Intellectual Property and the like. Read here.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Fashion, practicality or innovation?

Apple are a great brand. They are trendy and innovative. They have a huge following worldwide and in a way I am  but not totally surprised when I saw this story in the news.  A man loves his iPod to the extent that he has incorporated it into him through having magnets surgically implanted into his arm so that he can wear his iPod like a watch. Thereby having his iPod with him at all times amongst a back drop of artwork. It is different, it does look pretty cool and iPod will get a lot of exposure out of this. No doubt the tattoo artist will get a lot of exposure for his work and lots of goodies from Apple. I would like to see how he gets on with security when he decides to fly somewhere, or puts his hands in his pocket near his credit card. Will these magnets ruin the magnetic strip in the card thereby ending up with a useless card? I have read somewhere that people are having logos tattooed or painted on themselves for cash. marketing is getting creative, if you get chance read the blog about the houses being painted bright colors. It will be interesting to see what deals this guy will get. Have a look for yourself.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Carroll Shelby

Since moving over to the USA, I have seen a number of Mustangs and have heard the name Shelby.  An interesting man with a great story and legacy. I am sure he will be missed. Life is so short. What are you going to do with your life and how are you going to be remembered? Read about Carroll Shelby.

Entrepreneurship at its best

I saw this article the other day and thought, Wow!. I applaud this guy for what he did. He spotted an opportunity and took risks. He was willing to make it work and therefore put in a lot of effort. This story shows you that there are opportunities everywhere and if you have a little vision, are prepared to make a go of it and be tenacious - the world really is your oyster. And he is school leaving age!!! Please take the time to read this article and research other stories about him. It may even inspire you. Read about Dominic Mcvey here.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Cell phones

Mobile phones or cell phones, different terminology depending on what continent you are on, but ultimately mean the same thing. Its big business and things have changed so much in the cell phone world. I remember having my Nokia 3310 in metallic blue, then a Motorola Pebble and now I have a Blackberry. It used to be really expensive to have a cell phone, but now you can buy a phone for $10 and talk time for $20 for the month in some outlets which is ideal for holidaymakers traveling in groups etc as my cousin found out when he recently came over with his 3 friends for a trip around California. Going back phones were simplistic in their use. Talk and text. Now we have cameras, music, blue tooth, internet roaming, games and much more. This market is huge just in terms of users, their usage and different demand and therefore market segmentation is wide and varied. Ringtones, phone covers, screens pics etc - it is just mind boggling. I have the opportunity to upgrade to an Iphone 4  for $100 or do I look at other competitors. The Samsung has just launched its new version which in turn got me thinking about how much the cell phone has come in the last 10 years. Will we need iPods, mp3, mp4 players, cameras, laptops in the future - where is this development of the cell phone going. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Vericle Integration

A great article for Business students, whether it be at AS or A2 level. Businesses are always looking to cut costs in one shape or another. Cutting costs can be a short or long term plan. One of the ways is to merge with other companies and therefore cut costs and share the marketplace and expertise.
Delta Airways has just done this by buying a refinery, thereby providing themselves with stable priced fuel. It will cost in the short term but in the long term it should be a win win. Opportunity cost, investment appraisal, cash flow and many more key terms can be brought out of this article. A great example of strategy. Read article here.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Intellectual Property

Whether you are starting up a business, watching Dragons Den or sat in a Business Studies lesson learning about Entrepreneurship, patents, trademarks and copyright are nearly always mentioned. Intellectual Property is a complex thing which is set up to protect the owner of the innovations and processes but unfortunately does not always work. In some countries in the world it is not enforceable and in other instances it is really expensive to guard against. Just look at all the counterfeit goods sold on markets -fake football tops are one really big example.Counterfeiting is really big business but I always thought it was a low level thing, but when I read this I was shocked. I had heard that there were fake Apple shops but setting up a Primark in Dubai which is actually a fake shop had me shaking my head in disbelief at the brazen attempt to defraud Primark and its customers. Read for yourself

Friday, 20 April 2012


Its Spring break in the US and approaching the summer in the UK, holidays will be planned and foreign destinations may well be visited. Whilst on holiday, people like to stay in touch with their friends and family back home and therefore take their phones with them. Not many know about the pitfalls of leaving their phones on roaming and switched on whilst traveling. I watched an episode of The Idiot Abroad featuring Ricky Gervais. He had sent "the Idiot" to India and if memory serves me right, he sent a message and all it said was 67p. This was the cost of him receiving a text from the UK. Please read this article and save yourself some money.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cat cafe

I had heard a while ago that in Japan, a study was undertaken proving that patting dogs in an office was a good way of de-stressing. Fast forward a couple of years and a little bit of extra thought on that idea and there are cat cafes where people go to drink coffee and pat the cats. Animal rights have now jumped on board and the end may well be near. Make up your own mind whether this is right or wrong. See article

Supply and Demand

This is a great one for Business Students. Marks and Spencer have advertised, proven their worth and predicted their sales. The staff know the product and the message has got across successfully to the consumer. Only problem is that they were short of stock on one of their main lines and thereby undone all their hard work.This causes takings to be lower than like for like sales and as a result the share price has dipped. See article

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Foie gras

Over the years there have been many debates amongst my circle of friends about Veganism, Vegetarianism and every other ism out there. We say we need protein in our diet and I will never turn into a Vegetarian simply because I love the taste and smell of Beef. Having said that the process of slaughtering is far more humane than it has been in the past and there is pressure to ensure that it stays that way.

One thing that I cannot get my head around is the manufacturing of foie gras and how it is reaped. I have seen videos of it and I am appalled by how it is done. Top chefs like to serve it in their restaurants and we often go on about ethics. Where are they now?

In order to manufacture foie gras, tubes are inserted into the ducks and geese throats and force fed. For more information read here

Friday, 13 April 2012

Pound shops

Whether in the UK, shopping at Poundland or in the US shopping at the 97 cents store I have often wondered how they manage to make  profit. I had often thought that it is all about buying in volume, thereby experiencing and benefiting from economies of scale. It also made me think about the mark up of comparable goods being sold elsewhere. Whilst thinking about this I had realised that the shops had huge amounts of stock, a narrow product range, very little room in the isles, products generally poorly displayed and not many tills at the exit.

After reading the article it also made sense that there were other savings in the one price for all strategy, thereby not having to individually price which means you basically need shelve stackers who double up as checkout cashiers. Other similar stores don't provide carrier bags as you are expected to bring your own thereby keeping costs down. For more information, read here.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Smartphones are the way forward. You can keep in touch with your friends via Facebook, watch YouTube, operate your burglar alarm and read through your PowerPoint presentations whilst checking your share price.
You have a QWERTY keyboard and a vast array of functions and options available for use on your phone. Computers are potentially on their way out. Tablet sales are increasing. Does this mean the end of the computer? Blockbuster are struggling - should they have invested in a Netflix style company as DVD rentals become a thing of the past with cloud computing and live streaming.

Facebook are in the process of purchasing Instagram, which is an app for your Smartphone which allows you to take superb pictures with different effects jut like you would take with a traditional camera with different lenses and shades. I have used this app and it is fantastic.

I think this is an excellent purchase by Facebook. Technology is moving on and new trends are occurring. Kodak should ave realized this years ago and moved into the digital era. Read all about Instgram and Facebook here.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Commercialism and persuasion

I have just seen this lawsuit which involved a mother taking McDonalds to court saying that the toy in the Happy Meal was persuading kids to eat the "unhealthy food" which leads to obesity.  The judge dismissed the case.
Should parents simply learn to say no? Read article here.

Money or Tradition -a great dilemma

As a golfer in my spare time I have taken an interest in the Masters being played this year. A truly great competition with the best golfers in the world playing for the coveted Green Jacket.

Apart from who will win the competition there is a debate brewing about whether women should be allowed to join the Augusta Golf Club which is all male. I had heard that that the word golf came from the accronyms Gentleman Only, Ladies Forbidden. Whether this is true or not it seems quite apt for this debate.

The problem is that IBM, one of the sponsors has got a female CEO and in the past all CEO's have been given free membership to this golf club. A pure dilemma. Do you let a lady in and break with tradition or do you spurn a Sponsor and risk losing their support? A tough one. What do you think? Read the article here

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


After Hurricane Katrina, Tulsa and the surrounding areas are reeling from the destruction of a tornado. Nature really does have the upper hand! Watch this video and have a think how this tornado could affect your town if it came to you. Personal life, community and commercially!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Product Lifecycle - extension strategy

I just saw this on the Yahoo website and made me think about the Product Lifecycle. There have been one hit wonders and there have been products that have been reinvented and around for a long time. Playstation has the PlayStation, PS2 and PS3. Iphone 1,2,4and the 4S.

Here is an interview with Paris Hilton. She was asked what would she do if she was no longer famous. Watch the interview and make up your own mind. Click here.


Blackeberry have announced that they have sold 11.1 million in the first quarter which is a drop of  21% from the previous quarter. Iphone on the other hand sold 37 million handsets in the same quarter. Blackberry  (RIM) are planning on going back to basics and focusing on the business market.Their USP and target market.

For the articles click here and here.

So how much of this is about shareholder pressure and dividends? They are still making money. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bamboo Smartphone

Phones are very much a part of our lives.Like everything, there are those who buy the product for function, fashion or both. When we buy a phone there are many considerations and it is not new to customise our latest purchase.  Ringtones, phone covers and jewellery have all been used. But how about a Smartphone made from wood? A designer called  Kieron-Scott Woodhouse, a final year Product & Design student at the Middlesex University in London has done such a thing. He is someone to watch who clearly knows what he wants to do and how he is going to do it. Wannabe Entrepreneurs need to take note. Will you be a new owner of one of these phones?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


As someone who has always taken an interest in business and the wider world, I had often wondered where advertising will go next. It has amazed me how the messages have been delivered through the changes in technology, perception and attitude. I found some adverts from the 1960 for shirts and blenders which in todays world would not be acceptable due to the overtones of pure sexism.

I have seen viral adverts and various others: one of my favorites being the T-Mobile advert . I have seen stories about people selling space on their bodies for advertising space and just yesterday I saw on the news that there is a company who will pay your mortgage for a year, if they can paint your house in bright colors and hang banners of prominent companies on it.The contract is for a year and then the house will be reverted back to its original color. This has caused mixed reactions from people embracing the idea that they will have a mortgage free year to it being an eye sore in the community. You decide.Green and Orange

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Consumer surveys

A new survey had just come out highlighting the best and worst retailers. With this in mind I started to think about how much a survey like this could change buying behavior and habits. Would revenues be affected? Have a read for your self. Consumer report

Friday, 27 January 2012

Gone Viral

I was looking on the Yahoo website and saw this video clip from the Federer and and Nadal match from the Australian Open. An impressive catch by the ball boy. Well worth a watch. Click here to watch it.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Baby games

I have just come across an article where a mother wanted to buy tickets for a horse riding event during the Olympics in London. She was told that she would have to buy a ticket for herself and her newborn baby at a cost of 95 pounds each. This would make a classic debate in the classroom. Should she or should she not have to pay for a ticket for the baby?  Have a read of the article baby games plus the comments below and make your own mind up.

Secrets of McDonalds

The health, eating habits, lifestyle and many other things change in time. Sitting at the dinner table for dinner, but being allowed to sit in front of the tv on saturday whilst eating was a treat. Going out for dinner or having fish and chips on friday was a welcome family outing. The age of writing letters to people has changed and now we are exchanging emails and texts constantly. I challenge the younger generation to remember your friends phone numbers since you got mobile phones.

So , how does this relate to McDonalds - well my though process goes along the lines of that as we as a nation, and human race changes, McDonalds is also changing with us and in doing so, winning. Where the recession is cutting in and competition is becoming greater McDonalds are gaining market share and intertwining with our lives. Have a read of the article for yourself. For those studying Business Studies and franchises, market share, market trends and "knowing your market" this is definitely a read: 10 secrets to McDonalds success

Websites and apps

I have recently started looking at getting an app made for my game Fortune and Venture and there is a minefield of information from flash, html5, android etc. I also have to make a decision on whether I should get the app made solely for the I phone which has its own platform or for the rest of the app users who don't use Apple products. When I do talk to the app makers I have also got to think how it will transfer across in terms of functionality etc. I cam across a great article for those of you at school / college who make websites and are thinking of making app  - the dos and donts of web and app design. Let me know what platform you would choose if you were me.