1. Someone once said to me that you can only really negotiate when you don’t really need the deal. At the time I dismissed his comment as utter madness, but did he have a point? In the past, when I went to buy something that I really wanted, or needed, I was far more likely to […]

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  2. The marketing community has been rocked by yet another scandal, this time concerning the ethics of data profiling and a consumer’s right to privacy. Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based data company, mined the personal information of 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge while working on Trump’s presidential election campaign in order to create psychographic profiles […]

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  3. With the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), President Xi Jinping plans to link China to Europe via investments in rail, roads, ports, dams, bridges, gas pipelines and power plants. There are now links between 66 countries across Asia and Europe, with some estimating the final cost of the project to be in the region of […]

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  4. … discontent? Perhaps, but the recent FT-ICSA Boardroom Bellwether Winter 2017 survey of FTSE 350 companies saw some early signs of improvement – at least economically. As regards the business environment, 27% of directors anticipated an improvement in global economic conditions and 36% predicted no change. Although no statistics on international growth were published in […]

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  5. At the beginning of 2018, experts predicted that Cape Town would be the first major city in the world to run out of water, and the date given for ‘Day Zero’ was 12 April 2018. This is a result of three years of drought. Residents at that time will only be able to have 25 […]

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  6. Carillion plc is a British multinational facilities management and construction services company, employing around 43,000 people worldwide (20,000 in the UK) with annual revenues of around £5,000m. Last month, as news of the collapse of Carillion filtered through, shareholders in Carillion plc must have been wondering just where their investment went wrong. To find out, […]

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  7. In the UK KFC has run out of chicken. For a food outlet specialising in deep-fried poultry this is something of a disaster! It has recently changed suppliers and the new delivery company is having “teething problems”; these are so substantial that it has resulted in a mass closure of outlets. At the time of […]

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  8. Ten years or so ago, academics were extolling the techniques of market segmentation and target marketing (not to mention the third leg of the triumvirate, ‘positioning’) as the basis of long-term competitive advantage (see Marketing course Modules 7 and 8). Recently, this doctrine has come under serious threat. Classic segmentation techniques like socio-demographics have been […]

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  9. This article first appeared in BQLive on Wednesday 14 February, 2018. According to the UK government, people, not products are the key to scaling businesses. They refer to a report by Innovate UK last year in which personality, communication and resilience of leaders are cited as the key factors investors consider when considering funding scale-up […]

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  10. In the first two blogs in this series, using the example of an entrepreneur’s expenditure on building a prototype and applying for a patent, I discussed firstly the issue of distinguishing capital from revenue expenditure and secondly whether, if it was capital expenditure, it was tangible or intangible and how to include the expenditure in […]

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  11. Hint: it rhymes with “Aragon”, “Babylon” and even “Bourguignonne”. But there are others to point at as well… Lately, I hear some of my colleagues and start-up entrepreneurs from the high-tech industry grumbling and being outraged by their employees being ‘poached’ by huge and powerful companies (or recruiting agencies acting on their behalf). A post […]

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  12. The happiest countries in the world are mainly in Northern Europe, with Denmark coming out top. The highest scores for happiness did not come from income alone, but from political freedom and an absence of corruption. Individuals also valued job security and good mental and physical health. If that is true, why do economists insist […]

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  13. One of my best bosses, ever, was Judith, a woman who over the years had made her way from departmental secretary to vice president within a major pharmaceutical company. She had many admirable traits, but one behaviour in particular has remained with me over the years: her request for performance feedback… from her team. In […]

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  14. Half a year has passed since I properly began work on my PhD at Edinburgh Business School so this seemed like a good time to reflect on progress and share some insights. I have written a substantial part of my literature review and so far I’ve focussed on exploring ideas about identity and self-concept within […]

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  15. “Praise, when given by a respected leader, motivates followers toward even better performance.” Or does it? Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck believes that, if we praise the right thing, praise is an important motivator. If we get it wrong, praise might even be demotivating. She works from the idea that we have either a fixed mindset […]

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  16. If you are an investor, you are probably keeping a very close eye on the Bitcoin phenomenon. The cryptocurrency recently surpassed the five-figure mark meaning one Bitcoin is now worth seven times the amount of an ounce of gold. Unsurprisingly, therefore, there is much speculation that the bubble is about to burst. But naysayers have […]

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  17. How many people in your country own their home? Or have a smartphone? Or diabetes? What percentage of people aged 25 to 34 live with their parents? Or are under the age of 14? These are the sorts of questions that catch people out in the Ipsos’ Perils of Perception Survey, and the Ipsos’ Perils […]

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  18. Income tax was introduced by William Pitt to the United Kingdom in 1799 to help meet the huge costs of fighting a war against Napoleon Bonaparte’s France. A later Prime Minister – William Gladstone – described income tax as ‘an engine of gigantic power for great national purposes’ despite his attempts to abolish it. Rates […]

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  19. Tangible or intangible asset – does it matter? In the first blog in this series, I discussed the issue of distinguishing capital from revenue expenditure in a set of accounts when accounting for an entrepreneur’s idea. Now I am going into a bit more detail at what the entrepreneur has actually spent his money on […]

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  20. My name is Charlie Bingham and I started the full-time MBA at Heriot-Watt University in September 2017. Over the past 19 years since graduating in Business Studies and French, I have lived and worked in the UK, Brussels, Belgium and most recently Houston, Texas. Most of my roles have been at a General Management level […]

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  21. In an article in Governance and Compliance, Dianiele Vitale, commenting on the 2017 UK Annual General Meeting season, observes that executive pay and director elections remain the focus of shareholder attention, not just in the UK but in European markets also. It was not so many years ago that small shareholders seemed powerless in the […]

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  22. Have you ever said something, only for it to be taken completely wrongly? I’ve just had a two-day argument with my husband because he picked up on something I said, took it the wrong way and ended up having a huge row about it! It got me thinking about how important communication is, most especially […]

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  23. Some time ago I went into a specialist shop in Edinburgh to buy some stereo equipment. I knew next to nothing about the technology but had forearmed myself by studying a buyers’ guide and memorising the jungle of letters and numbers that was the brand name of the Best Buy model. The sales assistant beamed […]

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  24. The answer to this is perhaps not as easy as one might imagine… Entrepreneurship can be described as a process by which an individual (or a team): identifies a business opportunity acquires and deploys the necessary resources to exploit it manages the associated risks with the ultimate aim of making a profit. If, for example, […]

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  25. One of the most often and glibbest used phrases in marketing (and other circles!) is that the key to success is ‘understanding the customer’ (see the Marketing and Consumer Behaviour courses, for example). But what do we mean by that exactly? Let me elaborate. I was at a very interesting and enlightening marketing conference the […]

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  26. Facial recognition has hit the headlines over the past few weeks for a couple of reasons. The first – as I’m sure almost everyone will be aware of – is Apple’s adoption of the technology for the iPhone X. Instead of unlocking the phone with a passcode or fingerprint, iPhone X users will be able […]

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  27. The traditional view of economics is that it is a discipline that cares little for how the income and wealth of a nation is distributed. In Module 9.3 of our own text we come across the following: ‘How efficiently an economy’s resources are allocated and how evenly an economy’s income is distributed are not related. […]

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  28. The proposed use of ‘fracking’ to increase on-shore gas production has caused considerable controversy in the UK over the past decade or so. Fracking is a long-established technique for opening up natural gas reserves in ‘tight’ formations where the encasing shale contains limited cracks and fissures. Fracking opens up cracks and fissures so that the […]

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  29. Writing recently in the UK professional HR journal ‘People Management’ Georgi Gyton and Robert Jeffery tell their readers that ‘Chatbots can already perform basic HR roles, and what’s coming next is a game-changer’. Chatbots are text-based applications that carry out a ‘natural language’ conversation by accessing a database of predetermined phrases. Lloyds and RBS already […]

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  30. I have previously written about the Olympic Games as a mega project and the unique human-behaviour characteristics that enable its scheduled completion time and time again, mostly by compromising cost. Last year’s Rio Olympic Games, for example, completed with just over 50 per cent cost overrun. There have been much worse cases in the past, […]

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