Ageing People Trump Ageing Tech

May 30th, 2018

 

Why do we place more faith in ageing technology than in ageing people? The older and wiser individuals are, surely, the more productive they are in resolving problems or in raising performance levels? Equally, the inverse is true of ageing technology. Yet as a society, we are more trusting of computers than human knowledge (car mechanics), more tolerant of computer error than human error (air traffic control failures) and more aggressive in unilaterally retiring people than legacy systems (insurance companies).

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Natural Conversation

May 24th, 2018

 

 

I think of getting to know people in a business social setting (a hosted event or forum), akin to peeling an onion. The enjoyment is asking small considered questions in an arc that encourage others to reveal themselves, listening attentively, and the depth and breadth of my intellectual curiosity that is stirred by their responses. It sounds simple but how many times have you been seated next to someone, who enjoys and excels at that pursuit? There is a name for them, great conversationalists. It is not something that is taught in school or learned staring into a backlit phone screen. It is best learned watching others, who excel in a natural, not staged, conversation and building your own intellectual firepower (reading, watching, experiencing). Individuals, who are comfortable in themselves to the extent that they don’t feel an abject need to impose their thinking on others (agenda hunters, as I think of them) or to consider diametrically opposed viewpoints.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Lessons Our Kids Can Teach Us

May 24th, 2018

 

If my 8yo daughter can quickly learn from defeat in the 200m final at her school sports day, why cannot adults do the same in a competitive business situation (a bid process, an investor pitch, a career opportunity)? We read too much into single events or circumstances (poor feedback). We allow them to unduly affect our mindset (bruised ego). We set unrealistic expectations in a highly ambiguous or complex environment (a professional gambler rarely generates more than 8-10% annual return in a great year). We refuse to take accountability (seek blame not cause). We surrender the power and control we possess to positively impact future events (we give up). If you recognise any of these today in your own behaviour, if you are a Parent, look at your child’s reaction and ask “what’s the lesson for me?”.

 

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Celebrity Confusion

May 21st, 2018

If you are a success, why wouldn’t you act like a success at a high profile occasion? Looking at countless celebrity male guests at the Royal Wedding (George Clooney, James Haskell and endless others), where your “dress” is a very clear mark of respect to your hosts, there wasn’t much respect on display to the Prince of Wales and Ms Markle’s mother. Why would you let down your spouse or partner, who has gone to a huge effort to earn respect? Which is it, “I conform to no one” (ego), “I am not familiar with local customs” (ignorant) or “the airline lost my bags” (unbelievable). If “manners maketh man”, many of us watching are in a state of confusion about some male celebrities’ beliefs that inform their behaviour, or perhaps, more likely we saw the less-appealing real man behind the PR-tinted lens.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

A Very Royal Connection

May 19th, 2018

25 million Americans will arise early this morning seduced by a few hours of British pageantry,  a young Californian girl and a British prince walking up the aisle. It is a moment where fact suspends fiction. Where a powerful brand leaps out of the television set and creates a deep visceral connection with its’ audience. Pure marketing nirvana.

Investing To Win

May 18th, 2018

In a momentous week for sports betting and gaming companies in the United States and UK,  there is a lesson for all of us. Quit whining about events largely out of our control that go against us (legislative changes) and maximise our investment in innovation and readiness for events that go for us.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

The Twinkling Diamond

May 18th, 2018

What, precisely, are you doing to draw your ideal audience to you and to maximise their intellectual curiosity?  When you perfect those techniques, you have close to zero acquisition costs.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

Ideal Investor

May 16th, 2018

If you want to broaden your “reach”, access a large pool of your ideal investors fast, and start turning first conversations into serious interest, how about YOU start by clearly defining your “ideal investor” traits? I am fed up with clients constantly asking me without first doing their own critical thinking.  Yours might reasonably include a strong personal or emotional connection to us, has a need or one that could be easily created for our proposed investment, can make a decision fast, has the means and authority to invest now and so forth.  Let’s hear it first.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

Reckless Entrepreneurs

May 16th, 2018

Just because we can ski most slopes, doesn’t make us an “automatic” to successfully navigate a steep, icy couloir. We find help, take advice, practice, get feedback and make adjustments to our technique. Why do so many early-stage entrepreneurs, who have had some success raising money from mostly family and friends, forsake that adult learning sequence, and demand their advisers immediately “show them the way” to new investors? I’ll tell you, it is where their confidence has turned into blind arrogance.

© James Berkeley 2018. All Rights Reserved.

European Operating Partners in Private Equity

May 9th, 2018

I am moderating a fabulous panel at today’s pre-eminent gathering of Private Equity Operating Partners in Europe. Hosted by THE industry publication, Private Equity International. We are covering a host of “hot” and provocative subjects: the GP/LP dynamic, the myths of value creation and accountability, fee transparency, when to kill the deal in an overheated market, equitable sharing of “carry” between the deal and operational members of a GP and so forth.

My “guarantee” is that some of your beliefs will be challenged, you may feel uncomfortable but you will walk away with practical insights.

Joining me is a group of diverse Limited Partners and their advisers from MAC Assets Management (a single Family Office), Clearsight Investments, Hamilton Lane and Stepstone Global.

Here is a sneak preview:

Check back later this week for a list of key learning points from this panel and the entire 1.5 days of programming including fascinating insight from Justin King, former U.K. supermarket supremo and now Terra Nova value creator  on the future of consumer retail stores.