Archive for December, 2017

A Season Of Goodwill

Friday, December 22nd, 2017


To all of you reading this a merry Christmas and a flying start to 2018.

A single act of kindness is the most lasting memory. What are you going to commit to do to spread the goodwill amongst family, friends and the communities you live and work in? How will you reward yourself?

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.


Poverty Advice

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

There is a word for entrepreneurs and small advisory businesses that insist on only rewarding their employees with hard dollars for successful business they can touch, “sharks”. There is a word for employees, who voluntarily accept those terms, “plankton”. You might enjoy, as I do, recreational gambling (horses) for intellectual interest and fun but why would you commit to that bargain when seeking to feed your family? Unless of course, you enjoy living with a constant fear of falling over the cliff edge, are desperate or are merely seeking to find lifestyle work (substantial means). As an entrepreneur, why would you think that is a fast track to building a powerful, sustainable and profitable business? Clueless.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Capital Reality

Friday, December 15th, 2017

I just finished reading a quite brilliant book, Lifestorming by Alan Weiss and Marshall Goldsmith. Marshall reminds the reader of one of his most powerful learning points from arguably one of the smartest minds over the past century, American businessman, Peter Drucker. I smiled when I reflected upon how frequently I am asked to correct this behaviour in my own work, particularly amongst entrepreneurs and private equity investors building businesses.

An excessive amount of time is wasted

  • Trying to prove how right we are (brilliant idea, investment decision-taking) and how good we are (vanity) with ourselves and our key constituents when the real objective should be to maximise the positive difference we are able to make in the life we choose to lead, and the world we live in.
  • Trying to control events or issues where we have ceded or have zero power over the outcome.

The private equity or venture investor doesn’t have to invest. The entrepreneur doesn’t have to accept the investment. When they do accept majority investment, the entrepreneur ceases to have the ultimate decision-making power. Don’t whine or somehow think you retain superpowers, you really don’t, concentrate on making a positive difference within those constraints. If you don’t like the constraints, let it go and move on. The same applies to capricious General Partners feeling that the private equity model is underappreciated in the wider world or when power has shifted from their investee businesses to their customers or competitors.

A case in point, yesterday’s headline sale to Disney of large chunks of the Murdoch empire, is just that recognition that the Murdochs cease to have the power to positively impact their family’s and their assets’ future within the constraints laid down (market competition). Letting go is a common sense response, nothing more.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Blockchain in Soccer: A Solution Chasing A Problem

Thursday, December 14th, 2017


Last week, the gregarious Ian Stafford, a colorful figure in global sports, hosted a US sports agency pitching the merits of blockchain in soccer to industry figures and investors at the London Sporting Club. The power of tech to unpick the corrupt, opaque and obscure world of nefarious player contracts, agents and clubs is the premise. Yet like many articulate promoters of distributed ledgers and their  transformative value, the sports agents are visibly overcoming by the tech euphoria but are guilty of overlooking the “cause”, naked avarice. A human condition that first and foremost, is about a warped belief system, “I can take out of the system, more than I put in and no one will nail me for it.” Perhaps that worked for Buggsy Malone but blockchain isn’t the answer. It is publicly naming and shaming those villains, who transgress the rules, imposing huge financial penalties and prison sentences.  Then and only then, will soccer earn the trust and respect from those inside and outside the industry.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Hot Bitcoin

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

If the intent of bitcoin is to create a currency free of manipulation and central bankers connivance. One that is built on implicit trust. Am I alone in concluding after recent events that its’ sole purpose is to create a speculators paradise and a mortuary for mug investors? Well done to those, who have ridden the “wave” but to think serious investors and organisations will cash out of greenbacks, euros or yen in significant volumes anytime soon, is just ridiculous.

© James Berkeley 2017. All Rights Reserved.