The best conferences ever!

Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas - The Money Show. This is a photo I took at the Pool 

In the last 6 years, I've gained vast amounts of experience attending and setting up a large variety of Conferences in multiple business sectors and diverse locations; I've got good at assessing which are effective and which aren't; using both hard metrics and softer skills - the art and science of conferences. I always should justify the budget to my CEO so I must be on top of this.
At the Financial Traders Conference at the Money Show at Caesars Palace Las Vegas I got to stay in the same hotel that 'The Hangover' was filmed in, which was great. I also managed to win a thousand dollars at Poker. We got plenty of good leads but it was also the kind of crazy testosterone fueled event that you'd expect from a bunch of financial traders; think 'Wolf of Wall Street'.
The Economics forum in Washington DC was fascinating; Paul Volcker, the ex-Federal Reserve Chairman spoke. I li…

The Top 5 Forecasting Errors and how to avoid them

The first forecasting I completed at Business School was the basic measure of a companies value using Free Cash Flows. Here's the equation:

And here's how it would work using your company financial statement.

 I discovered at Business School that I could calculate some powerful forecasts using my quite limited initial mathematical knowledge. And this surely is a fairly simple, yet highly effective way to value a company. 
Perhaps if start-ups went back to this 'old school' valuation, they may begin to tone down some of their outlandish expectations of IPO's. After all, sure there are cases of companies that aren't producing profit, smashing it in their IPO or being acquired for mega-bucks, but that is a bit like hoping to win the lottery. For most companies, profits, cash flows, margins and future growth are all crucial. 
Going back into the real world for my Summer internship, I was struck by 2 key facts: 1. Most company data is not that good - In a recent stud…

Creating an Exponential Growth Demand Generation plan for your start-up in 7 easy steps

'Hockey Stick' Growth at your start-up 

In the USA, Europe, and the UK, there is a dearth of Marketing talent, particularly in red hot Software businesses like Fintech, Networking, Telecommunications and Cyber Security.

By Marketing talent I mean individuals with smarts, training, experience and drive who can take a business to 'the next level'; whether that means faster growth, more sustainable or greater revenue or higher profits. This goes for any start-up from first round venture backed to private equity invested all the way to IPO or Merger and beyond 

You also need to have a Head of Marketing who will take responsibility for success - or failure, and particularly in growth businesses, someone who is not afraid to take some risks
For this reason, Start-ups sometimes tolerate the types of personalities that the HR department of regular Fortune 500's would not accept. There are numerous examples of this in the media but I find the satirical comedy Silicon Valley is …

House of Lords Cocktail Party

Like Lord Maurice Saatchi, founder of Saatchi & Saatchi and MC Saatchi, I only applied to one University. There are quite a few Universities that are well known to be Second choices. His message on the evening and now the world's shortest poem was 'LSE made me'.

Maurice Saatchi got a first in Economics back when that was a very hard accomplishment and of course He is one of the greatest minds in advertising, author of the Iconic 'Labour isn't working' Campaign that ushered Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party into power in 1979

There were some prominent MPs, Peers, Academics and Executives from organisations like JP Morgan, HSBC, Fidelity Investments, Barclays Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, BP, PWC and Accenture, at the event, to name a few.

Microsoft's $26 Billion Acquisition of Linkedin; What it means; Meeting Linkedin's VP of EMEA

You arrive on your first day at a new job, you're ushered into the induction room for your first day of training. The first thing the HR Director tells you is that they know you will leave the company one day. This seems strange, but is exactly what happens on your first day at Linkedin. Reid Hoffman, the CEO, in his book 'The Alliance' says that the days of the 'Company man', where you could be expected to work at the same organisation for 30 or more years are long gone.
Nowadays, Reid sees a job more as a Military 'Tour of duty'. The Company needs your skills to fulfill certain problems they have. Once you have completed that you are on to the next job solving the next set of problems. Apparently Linkedin has lots of great data showing that employees leave companies!
 A few weeks ago I attended an Audience with Linked organised by Sandy Pepper, a Management Professor at the LSE. He as plenty of real world experience since prior to this position he had a …

The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe

The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe by Joseph E. Stiglitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went to see Professor Stiglitz talk at the LSE a few months ago and that's when I purchased this book, which I also got Joseph to sign for me. I've enjoyed quite a few of his books before including 'The Roaring 90's' about the boom in the Economy in that decade.

This is compelling reading. He shows that even the Success story of the European Union, Germany, has only had fairly anemic growth since the European monetary union was formed. You can see this demonstrated here:

At the other end of the spectrum, you have crumbling economies like Spain, Portugal and particularly Greece that according to Stiglitz are being decimated by the austerity measures imposed on them by the EEC and heavily enforced by member States like Germany.

The book made me feel better about Britain's decision to leave the European Union. Tho…

The Economics of Persistent Slumps

This week I went with a friend to the Philips lecture  at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with Professor Robert Hall of Stanford University, originator & author of ‘The Flat Tax’   & one of the founders of Macroeconomics (author of one of the first books on the subject and now the standard University textbook on Macroeconomics  The gist of the lecture was how productivity has declined in the USA. Areas of concern included the rapid fall in the Labour participation rate, which has now started to affect women (who previously were increasing in the labour force quite rapidly) too.

The biggest surprise here is that almost all of the decline in the Labour force is in the top levels of income and education.

Almost all the Labour participation shrinkage in the US Economy is from the richest and most highly educated sectors

 Professor Hall calculated that US GDP would be approximately 15 percentage points higher if this and a few more minor issues were addressed…