Defying conformity with a glass of wine

29 September 2023|

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman offers several insights into human cognition. Perhaps the key theme of the book was his portrait of the two characters that reside in our minds: System 1, which is quick, instinctual and reaches conclusions fast; and System 2, more methodical, analytical and takes its time to ponder. It is possible to extend this insight to companies as well. On a typical working week, depending on the efficiency of System 1 is

Catching the tide

22 September 2023|

Was Paul Volcker the greatest Fed chairman, the GOAT of the Fed? He put the inflation genie back in its bottle. Or was it Ben Bernanke, who hauled the economy out of the GFC? Or Alan Greenspan? He oversaw the longest period of sustained growth and low inflation. Perhaps it was Janet Yellen: she navigated the economy back to stability after the turmoil of the GFC and its aftermath. Or maybe it’s Jay Powell? It looks like he’s going to

Coffee with a different kind of Perk

15 September 2023|

Having grown up watching zillions of re-runs of Friends on TV, I always felt that every coffee shop in the world ought to have a nice big leather sofa like the one in Central Perk. It’s somewhere for all those zany best pals to laze about, joking, teasing and simply goofing around. That sofa and armchairs are central to what the best coffee houses are all about, aren’t they? But wait a minute — maybe not! Earlier this week, I

Decarbonising Formula One

8 September 2023|

Formula One’s global popularity is undeniable. With the cumulative TV audience peaking at 1.55 billion over the course of the 2021 season, it is no surprise that the premium motorsport has become a multi-billion-dollar business, bringing in fans from all corners of the world. Forbes estimates the total value of all ten racing teams to be around $18.8 billion, and global media rights are expected to be worth $1.4 billion by 2029. However, as the sport continues to flourish, one

We are Brighton, super (unpredictable) Brighton

1 September 2023|

I’m not a big football fan, though I do follow Brighton, to a degree. They are my local team, and back in the early 1980s, my dad used to take me to watch the odd game at the old Goldstone Ground — now a retail park. I also take a passing interest in statistics. It’s part of the job. And I have long had a suspicion that Brighton’s results are somewhat erratic. I think I can date this back to

Beer money

25 August 2023|

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending day three of the final Ashes test match at the Oval. The sun was out, the conversation was flowing and the cricket was good. The only problem was the price of the beer (or cooking lager, as some describe it) — at £7.60, the venue’s offering is no longer the kind of thing that you can pay for with the loose change in your pocket. I’ve previously used this blog to explore

The inexorable fall of the suit

18 August 2023|

Back in 2018, I started my first work experience at a large Spanish insurance company. One day, a group of outsiders came to our floor to lead a conference about new ways of working. I will never forget the moment the presenter approached me and a colleague, both impeccably dressed in our smartest suits, looked us up and down and said: “You guys don’t have a clue what the movie is about — digitalisation has arrived!!” Not so long ago,

Irish pub

11 August 2023|

During a recent birthday trip to County Mayo, I spent an afternoon in McDonnell’s. The locals know it as ‘The Lobster Pot’, given the difficulties some face in leaving once inside. Newcomers are shaken by the hand and welcomed to Belmullet by Padraig, the affable owner, and the regulars ensure no-one stays a stranger for long. Like any honest boozer, there is no food menu. But there is food. At the end of the all-Ireland Gaelic football final,[1] fresh sandwiches

Maple syrup-flavoured synchronicity

4 August 2023|

The world of economics and finance runs on equations, models, statistics, backtests and predictive analytics. It seeks out objective causal relationships that can be quantified and verified. The mantra “correlation does not imply causation” has been drilled into my head from an early stage. One of my first memories from undergraduate studies is learning about spurious correlations, like the relationship between stock returns and sunny days. [1] No prizes for guessing I was at a British university. Yet over time,

The taste of summer

28 July 2023|

I recently went back to my hometown in Norway on holiday. Growing up in a country which is relatively cold, you’re not guaranteed warm weather for any length of time, so you need some other focus for the summer. For me and for most of my friends back home, the definition of summer is: strawberry season. For about two months of the year, Norwegian strawberries are sold at markets and stores all over the country. For these two months, it’s