Friday, 29 July 2011

Smallbone of Devizes goes global!

Rescued from receivers only two years ago, looks like entrepreneur Leo Caplan, has turned things round for this local Wiltshire business.

I see reported, in last weekend's Sunday Times, that he's planning a store opening in Shanghai, hot on the heels of success in Russia, and aims to attract the affluent Chinese consumer. Apparently the brand has long been popular with the likes of Liz Hurley, Davina McCall, Oprah Winfrey and Dustin Hoffman.

It will be interesting to see which Shanghai celebrities choose Smallbone fittings to house their Aga! The latter also ventured into China recently.

Good for export, and good for the UK balance of payments, if they work.

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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Introducing Neville Gabie

I hadn't really thought about what an artist in residence did, but I found out when I went to meet Neville Gabie at the View Tube last Sunday, during the Open Weekend at the Olympic Park.

Neville is the official Artist in Residence at the Olympic Park, and employed for 15 months to record and comment on developments; he finishes in December this year; so it's less about the games than about the people who are building the park and what it takes to build it. He's also trying to make sense of the experience.

Among the projects he's creating are:

- making sense of the Olympic stadium by sitting on every one of the 80,000 seats! And providing the visual evidence.
- making sense of the volume of the main swimming pool, by drinking the equivalent number of litres of water: all 4.3 million of them!

Then there's a video montage of the characters on site, the work they do, their hopes and dreams.

He's also creating an exhibition of work and memories from the 500 artists who inhabited the Carpenters Road studios, left when the Yardleys Perfume Factory closed down. Their rubble is now providing some of the Olympic site foundations.

Previous to this position, Neville was artist in residence in Antarctica; and at Cabot Circle in Bristol.

An interesting take on career!

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Newquay here we come

If you're around Newquay this September, you might be lucky enough to check out the UK's first consumer trial of LTE, a fourth-generation mobile broadband technology that enables speedy web browsing.

Might be worth breaking off surfing to give it a go?

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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

One year to go

Just one year to go until the 2012 Olympic Games!

Attended a Central Taskforce Briefing for the 2012 Games a couple of weeks ago. An alphabet soup of speakers from LOCOG, the Met, the ODA, the GLA.
It was brilliant. So inspiring.

We're a year away and the Park is finished, trials are underway. The attention to detail is as it should be.

Five years' work behind the scenes. Proud to be British!

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Google's tax advantage

So it generates Worldwide revenue of £ 20 billion, almost all of it from advertising; and enjoys sales increases of 18% Y on Y in the UK, which accounts for 11% of its turnover, and is second only in size to the USA.

Yet Google UK Ltd is reported to be running at a loss and has only paid £ 8.2 million in UK corporation tax in the last 5 years, according to an Evening Standard investigation reported by Gideon Spanier last May.

Compare this to Goldman Sachs in London, with 2010 UK revenues just over twice Google's size, who paid £ 285 million in corporation tax last year alone.

It's all legal apparently, but is it fair?

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Monday, 25 July 2011

The new Chain Game in action

It didn't make much sense when I first read about it in the Evening Standard (16 May) but now I'm seeing it in action.

Apparently there's a new game in town for commuter cyclists. You score points every time you overtake someone higher up the food chain. And you lose points if someone lower down over takes you. The important thing I've come to realise is that scooter drivers like me are at the top of the chain; so venturing into bus lanes is a dangerous game!

The pecking order, top to bottom, appears to be:

1. Scooters
2. Road bike riders with shaved legs - like girls
3. Single speed road bikes
4. Roadies with hairy legs - like men
5. Fashion single speed bikes
6. Touring bikes
7. Fast hybrids
8. Mountain bikes on slick tyres
9. Mountain bikes on knobbly tyres
10. Collapsing bikes
11. Full suspension mountain bikes
12. Shoppers
13. Shoppers with wicker baskets
14. Electric bikes.

Doesn't say much for the image of electric bikes! Obviously room for a makeover, agency folk!

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Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Is it a verb? Is it a noun? I'm not sure... But according to Dr Andrew Cooper, Academic Director, University of Salford, it's what's needed to create the next generation of talent.

It describes the 'managed interactions' and 'unmanaged interventions' from which creativity flows. The skills blend creative businesses need for the future will rely upon 'disciplinary collisions and collusions'.

Look no further than the new Salford Uni at Manchester's MediaCity ; 200 staff and 1500 students in creative media and technology across 40 plus programmes.

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Monday, 11 July 2011

MediaCity here we come!

It's open; the BBC are moving into MediaCity in Salford Quays Manchester; the first studio production is scheduled for 11th August!

Courtesy of WorkTech11 North , I had a recent VIP tour. It takes open plan to a new level; collaborative clustering is the new buzz phrase.

ITV are the next to arrive. They'll be the other side of the river, apparently; but popping across to share studio space!

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Thursday, 7 July 2011

A new inspirational forum

I hadn't known what to expect when I signed up to attend this year's Academy of Marketing at Liverpool's Aintree race course (4-6th July).

But I found it inspirational. Future city scoping from IBM consulting; brand championship from local hero Warburton; and a raft of research papers covering topics as diverse as women in marketing; brand renaming; entrepreneurship in SMES; user segmentation in social media.

I look forward to getting the IPA involved next year.

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