Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Entrepreneurial Wisdom

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Would you seek to cross the Atlantic without a substantial support system? Might bet is you’d loudly shout “no”. Yet there are daily, entrepreneurs, some having early success, who insist on taking even more perilous risks with their own business ventures and won’t take advice from anyone. They intuitively know better. That is fine until the seas get so rough that faced with imminent capsize, they scream “help”. Why be so churlish? Get the best qualified help you can afford, pay them on equitable terms and that them as a partner in your future success. 

Something For Nothing

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

If you are seriously confident about the prospects of your business growth, and the impact of our potential collaboration, why do you insist on asking me for “free” help and to assume the overwhelming risk? Is it that you are “cheap”, don’t trust me, fearful of the future or broke? Those are the only viable conclusions. 


Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

If you ever wanted to confuse someone’s title with talent and judgement take a look at Woody Johnson, US Ambassador to London. Watching a British fly-on-the-wall documentary “Inside the US Embassy”, the heridetary billionaire is pictured so far out of his depth on complex issues and surrounded by people of questionable ability. Who puts someone in this position?

Excuse Me

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

I am standing at a cocktail event in the Irish Embassy talking to various tech entrepreneurs and investors. To my right marches up “Alan”, a sixty year old silver haired man offering canapés on a silver salver. When we are done, he insists on scattering us when he marches between us to his next “prey”. I don’t presume at first there is anything untoward until he does the exact same thing four subsequent times during the night.

It is easy to presume in business someone is “damaged” when we experience a bad first impression. We are wrong to jump to conclusions about a single instance. How do I know he wasn’t tired, poorly trained or distracted momentarily? What we need to zero in on are patterns of reckless or bad behaviour and the probable cause.

To have the courage to confront it, if it is serious enough, and to let it go, if it is a minor irritant. Too often I witness people, who cannot remove the emotion from their judgement, screaming at ticket attendants or absolving slovenly behaviour when addressing their clients. Let’s move on.

Risk-Free Money

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

As many global fund managers, advisers and businesses are finding out this week with their Saudi ties, there is no such thing as “risk-free” money. No risk attached to accepting money is more parlous than your reputation. Your reputation is a function of the trust you place in others and they in you about “character” (wisdom, ethics, sociability, reciprocity and so on). Here is the irony, we have made quantum leaps in our ability to sift through huge amounts of data and processes that don’t require human judgement (artificial intelligence) and baby steps in our ability to assess human character and risks that do require human judgement. “Go figure”, as my American friends say. 

In Good Company

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

If you are an entrepreneur wanting to attract the highest quality investors,  people, business partners and so forth, think about the company you are keeping. Am I spending time with gatekeepers, window shoppers or real buyers/investors of my product, service and relationships? Does the event or platform put me in rarefied company or am I circling around with a largely undifferentiated crowd? Will my presence and affiliation with the audience dramatically build my brand or have a negligible impact?     

Where is the hard evidence or observed behaviour to validate my judgement?

It is myth that any “exposure” is a valuable use of our time. That is rubbish. If you are not in front of a high proportion of your target audience, decline the invite with a simple “No”. You don’t need to explain yourself, you do need to avoid wasting time talking to the wrong people.


Monday, October 8th, 2018

If you are a 50 year old man or woman and you cannot hold a knife and fork correctly, irrespective of culture, in polite company, why should you and your views be taken seriously? I don’t care about your wealth, your “past” or your approach to standard behavioural norms.  

Conspiracy Theorists

Monday, October 8th, 2018

For some people, there is a conspiracy theory behind everything today (Kavanaugh, Trump, the crooked jockey). The Oxford English Dictionary defines a conspiracy theory, as “A belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for an unexplained event.” Have you ever heard any hard evidence or observed behaviour supporting 99% of these theories? If, like me, you see it as a “cop out” by the uneducated not wishing to invest time educating themselves, we do an injustice if we don’t simply walk away.


Uncommon Communities

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “Community”, when used as a mass noun, “the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common”. Here is an unpalatable truth for a great many businesses, events and professional associations, who talk about building or nurturing a “community”, they really don’t have one. Why? They never have or no longer possess the right conditions for sharing (reciprocal value) and/or the community members have little in common with each other’s lives. Some falter after a brief life, others struggle on into a mid-life crisis or they reach a natural death. It is incredibly hard to sustain a community and build a powerful brand. Because it is easy start in a low-cost technological age, we shouldn’t kid ourselves it is the smart thing for us to do.

Copyright James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Irrelevant Media

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

When the New Yorker magazine consciously rescinds an invitation to Steve Bannon to one of its’ high profile events, ostensibly for commercial and editorial reasons, why should the publication be taken seriously in future public discourse?

These invitations to polarising figures aren’t proffered on a whim, they are extended because someone at the top of the media organisation thinks Bannon will be an object of serious interest to their audience. That the other liberal-minded speakers don’t agree and won’t be seen on the same stage, says more about them than Bannon.

Perhaps the publication is seeking to return to its’ roots, a “fifteen-cent comic paper”, not the self-styled, “most influential magazine in the world….that stands apart for its commitment to truth and accuracy, for the quality of its prose, and for its insistence on exciting and moving every reader”?