Picture the scene. It’s the first night of your honeymoon. You’ve just married a beautiful Italian Signorina called Marianna. You’re Italian and Italian men have a reputation for being some of the most romantic men in the world.
Now, even though some may say this reputation has largely been self created, there are still certain things you should do on your honeymoon and certain things you should definitely not do on your honeymoon.
Due to Italian privacy laws the individuals concerned can only be identified by their Christian names but what did Stefano do on his honeymoon that led to his new wife divorcing him one month into their marriage?
From a project management point of view there are various tools and techniques that can be used to ensure a project runs smoothly. One of these is to ensure that the team is made up of the right type of person as well as the appropriate number of people.
A well known theory behind what makes a good team is Belbin’s team role models.
In simple terms, Belbin’s theory says that people are born with certain characteristics. Belbin gave names to the different types of people. For example, a “plant” is a person that likes to come up with ideas and is usually quite creative. A “Monitor Evaluator” is somebody with a logical eye who can make impartial judgements.
Back to the one month marriage though and Stefano decided that rather than the traditional 2 person project team that goes on the majority of honeymoons he would make his a 3 person team.
To his wife’s understandable annoyance, Stefano’s 3 person honeymoon team included himself, his new wife and his mother.
The project team first started showing signs of a split when the mother-in-law turned up at the airport for the flight to the honeymoon destination of Paris.
A honeymoon in Paris sounds great until you realise that your mother-in-law is staying in an adjoining room at the hotel you’re staying at and accompanying you to every meal and romantic boat trip along the Seine.
One month after the wedding and Marianna left the marriage home they shared in Rome and returned to her home town of Naples leaving the 39 year old Stefano without a wife.
Maybe Marianna is more of a Belbin’s “Completer Finisher” than Stefan and his mum may have thought.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/belbins-role-models.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2021-01-20 09:24:282021-01-20 15:43:37The 3 person honeymoon and Belbin team roles…
Do you wish you had a better memory? Perhaps you do but you can’t remember whether or not you do.
If this is the case then help may be at hand.
University researchers have suggested a simple technique which could improve your memory.
Dr Mark Moss from Northumbria University led a research study which found that students studying in a room with the smell of the herb rosemary (in the form of essential oils) achieved 5% to 7% better memory results than students undertaking similar studying in a room without the smell of rosemary.
Dr Moss reported that the sense of smell in humans is highly sensitive and sends messages to the brain which can set off reactions and responses.
In the case of rosemary, the smell could well result in a better memory.
This view isn’t new though as ancient Greek students used to wear garlands of rosemary in their exams and Ophelia, the young noblewoman in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet said “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
So, in conclusion, the next time you are studying hard for an exam it may be an idea to buy some rosemary essential oils to help your memory.
That is of course, if you can remember to buy some in the first place…
(Details of some of the work done by Northumbria University can be found here).
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/rosemary_memory.jpg32095705Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-12-01 22:27:222020-12-08 22:15:48Remind me – what was I going to buy?
At the start of the year zoom calls were relatively uncommon. Now though, with the global pandemic, they are a common feature of business life for most of us.
Whilst some people will creatively claim that their video isn’t working so that they can scroll through their phone whilst half listening to the meeting, most people will have their video on so that the rest of the people in the meeting can see them.
This has had a bit of an impact on fashion. After all, if the lower half of you isn’t being seen why worry too much about what shoes or trousers/skirt you’re wearing.
The London and Milan fashion weeks which took place last month had a definite “waist-up” focus.
For example, the leading fashion house Prada had its logo near the collars of its top. Prada reportedly said that this was not inspired by zoom but rather by the “contemporary human relationship with technology”.
As anyone who has met me will confirm, I’m clearly not an expert on fashion but the cynic in me feels that some people who spend a lot of money on designer clothes will want other people to know what brand of clothes they are wearing.
What better way of highlighting your expensive clothes on a zoom call than to have the logo just below the collar. A clever move by Prada
Other changes which have been reported in women’s fashion recently include an increase in the popularity of jewellery whilst sales of handbags and shoes have fallen.
In summary therefore, it’s important how you look on a zoom call but only if it’s visible…
New product innovation is vital for lots of organisations. Sometimes though the idea for a new product can come from unusual places.
VELCRO is a type of hook and loop fastener which we’ve all seen. It has that characteristic “rasping” sound when you pull it apart and will stick back together with the minimum of fuss. It’s commonly used in clothing and shoes to replace buttons, zips and laces.
So, who came up with the idea?
George de Mestral was a Swiss engineer and in 1941 he got the inspiration for VELCRO whilst out with his dog in the Alps.
He noticed that as his dog ran past Burdock plants, the burrs of the plant (a tiny seed covered in hundreds of microscopic ‘hooks’) would catch onto his dog’s fur.
That was his “eureka moment” and he spent the next 10 years investigating how he could get “hooks” like those found on the plant to engage with the “loops” found on materials.
The key thing was to be able to secure it together but then pull it apart (and then keep on repeating this without it breaking!)
Luckily, he had friends in the weaving industry who helped him work on prototypes and the end result was that in 1955 he filed his first patent for the hook and loop fasteners.
He also needed a distinctive name to go with his invention and he came up with VELCRO.
VELCRO is in fact a combination of the French words “velour” (velvet) and “crochet” (hook). VELCRO therefore in effect means “hooked velvet”.
Since it’s launch it has gone on to become one of the most used items in clothing and all of this came about as a result of a man walking with his dog in 1941.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Velcro_Blue.jpg9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-10-09 22:08:382020-10-09 22:08:38I’ll stick to that…
Getting professional photos taken for advertising can be expensive but this particular photo shoot for Estee Lauder is expensive.
Very expensive in fact.
4 hours of photography will cost USD 128,000.
That certainly is expensive for 4 hours of work but to be fair it’s a very unusual photoshoot as it will take place inside the International Space Station and the photographers will be the astronauts.
In what will be a first for advertising, Nasa is charging Estee Lauder USD128,000 for Nasa astronauts to take photos and to film some shots of Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair serum face cream in various locations around the space station.
The total fee includes the astronauts’ time at USD17,500 per hour (which is a pretty impressive charge out rate!).
A Nasa spokeswoman said that Estée Lauder was “paying for the astronauts to be the photographer, not to use the product, not to put the product on themselves, not even to open the product”.
Estee Lauder obviously think that the advertising will pay off but some people will no doubt argue that the cost of such photoshoots ultimately has to be recovered by the company and the way they do that is in the price of their products.
The counter argument to this though is that it’s more than just being about the photos in the adverts. The general publicity that Estee Lauder will get from being the first cosmetics business to have their products in space will also be valuable for the company.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/space_station_advertising.jpg6441142Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-09-23 15:40:592020-09-29 06:51:50Out of this world advertising…
Whilst a lot of companies around the world are struggling or going out of business due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some are doing very well.
Apple is currently the world’s most valuable company and it’s share price has shot up during the pandemic. Like a lot of tech companies, Apple’s valuation has increased as it’s expected to do well in the post Covid-19 world where people are more reliant on tech as they work and shop remotely.
Apple’s valuation is pretty spectacular and at the time of writing the value of Apple is $2.3 trillion (or to write it in it’s full glory $2,300,000,000,000).
To put that into perspective, the valuation of Apple is now higher than the value of the 100 largest companies in the UK – the market value of the FTSE 100 (the 100 largest companies in the UK) is $2.1 trillion compared to Apple’s $2.3 trillion.
Apple’s shares also recently rose by 3.4% due to a four-for-one stock split.
As the name suggests, a stock split is where the shares are split into more shares. The underlying value of the company doesn’t change as it is merely dividing the shares into a larger number of shares.
For example, if you held 1 share before the split which was worth $8, after the split you would hold 4 shares which (in theory) would be worth $2 each so your total holding would still be valued at $8.
Each individual share in Apple though was trading at over $500 before the split and after the split the equivalent value of the new shares was up by 3.4%.
One of the reasons share prices can increase when there is a stock split is that the shares are now within the reach of a larger proportion of individual buyers.
Some individuals who may not have been able to afford to spend $500 on a share may instead be able to spend $125 on a share.
This “opening up” to a wider range of shareholders can cause the share price to increase.
Either way, I’m sure that shareholders of Apple are pretty pleased with the performance of the company.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Apple_valuation.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-09-03 16:03:262020-09-03 16:03:43An Apple for 100 Companies..
Things are changing in the milk business. Or rather, I should say things are changing in the dairy milk and vegan milk business.
Over the last few years, the number of people who have switched from cow milk to vegan alternatives such as soya, oat and almond milk has soared.
In the US for example, over 40% of households purchased vegan milk last year according to a report by the Good Food Institute and Plant Based Food Association.
This switch in consumer habits hasn’t gone unnoticed and one of the biggest oat milk producers recently secured a significant investment.
Oatly is a Swedish company who arguably led the movement to Oat milk. They are doing very well and their products are now available at over 50,000 locations in 20 countries.
Last month they announced that a group of investors including leading global investment firm Blackstone Group and celebrities Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z and Natalie Portman had purchased a 10% stake in the business for $200 million.
That valued the business at $2 billion and for a company which reportedly had about $200 million in sales last year that’s a pretty decent valuation.
The investors are no doubt anticipating further growth as the demand for non dairy milk and oat milk in particular increases.
One thing though that could make it challenging for Oatly is that there are limited barriers to entry for potential Oat milk producers so increased competition is likely to be just around the corner.
One of the attractions of Oat milk is its simplicity. Oats and water are the main ingredients so nothing too complicated there.
Oats are a very easy crop to grow so there’s little to stop companies entering the market. Recently, for example, PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats have launched their own brand of oat milk and it won’t be long before the supermarkets have their own brand oat milk.
When it comes to the consumer, will they be prepared to pay a premium for Oatly milk or will it be a very price sensitive market similar to that faced by the dairy milk industry?
My guess is that prices may be on their way down as competition heats up.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Oat-Milk.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-08-24 20:39:362020-08-24 20:42:39Cows vs. oats
We blogged last year about the former boss of McDonald’s being fired due to a relationship with a colleague but it turns out, there may be more to the story.
Steve Easterbrook used to head up McDonald’s but was fired when he “violated company policy” by having a relationship with a colleague.
The relationship was consensual but it was against company policy which prohibits “any kind of intimate relationship between employees in a direct or indirect reporting relationship”.
McDonald’s agreed to terminate Mr Easterbrook’s contract “without cause”, which in effect meant that he was let go, but not for significant workplace misconduct (ie he didn’t do anything seriously wrong). His payoff at the time was reportedly worth $40 million.
However, things have moved on and it looks like Mr Easterbrook shared a happy meal with more than one colleague.
McDonald’s have said that they have uncovered “undisputed evidence” of three other sexual relationships with staff. Investigators also identified that he had approved a grant of company shares worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to one of the employees he was in a relationship with and this grant took place “shortly after their first sexual encounter”.
When the first relationship was uncovered last year, investigators reviewed Mr Easterbrook’s phone and nothing untoward was found. Further investigation since he left however identified that he had sent nude photos from his company email account and whilst they had been deleted from the phone, they had not been removed from the company’s servers.
As a result of all this additional information, McDonald’s are now suing Mr Easterbrook to recover his $40 million payoff. They are claiming that if he had not withheld this information, they would not have approved his payoff.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Mcdonalds-structure.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-08-14 19:27:522020-08-14 19:27:52Big Mac with 4 sides
Which of the following two motor manufacturers would you say is the most valuable?
The first one produced 2.4 million cars whilst the second one produced 103,000.
This isn’t a trick question but an illustration of how market valuation is very much based on expectations of future rather than historical performance.
The car manufacturer who produced 2.4 million cars was Toyota and up until yesterday was the highest valued motor manufacturer in the world.
The company that only produced 103,000 cars was Tesla and yesterday it’s shares increased to above $1,000 for the first time. This valued the company at £207 billion which was over $6 billion more than Toyota was valued by its investors.
So, despite only producing approximately 4% of Toyota’s production, Tesla is currently the most valuable motoring manufacturer in the world.
There are views that the market sees Toyota as a lumbering giant who is being slow to get into full electric vehicles whilst Tesla is leading the way in terms of the future of driving and electric vehicles in particular.
Tesla certainly seems to have turned the corner. After years of making losses, Tesla has reported 3 straight quarters of profits and is now worth more than Ford, General Motors, Honda and Fiat Chrysler combined.
As well as being pretty innovative in terms of their car designs, Tesla have come up with an impressive idea for their car names.
Earlier this year, Tesla’s Senior Director of Artificial Intelligence Andrej Karpathy gave a presentation on the use of artificial intelligence for full self driving.
During the presentation it became clear that the names of the cars spelt out a nice marketing message.
Their current car models are the Models S, 3, X and Y which near enough spells out SEXY (they couldn’t have the Model E as Ford had already trademarked that so Tesla called it the Model 3 but stylised the 3 so that it looked like E).
They also have 4 vehicles in the pipeline.
Namely, the Cybertruck, the All-Terrain Vehicle, the Roadster and the Semi.
The first letters from the names of the 8 Tesla vehicles spell out SEXY CARS…
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/tesla-car-range.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-07-02 14:19:242020-07-05 12:53:35The most valuable car company is…
Sometimes a little bit of creative thinking can go a long way. This bit of creativity though went a very long way indeed.
Creativity can add value to all types of businesses and this particular project involved technology and one of the largest sea birds.
There are 22 species of the albatross bird. With a wingspan of up to 3.5 metres, the wandering albatross species has the largest wingspan of any living flying bird. Importantly for this project though, they are also capable of flying long distances out to sea.
Illegal fishing by trawlers can seriously impact on fish levels. Organisations tasked with protecting fish levels can find it almost impossible to prevent this illegal fishing. In simple terms, the ocean is very large and the boats are pretty small so keeping track of them and what they are fishing for is very difficult.
In an innovative project led by the French National Centre for Scientific Research, 169 Albatrosses have been equipped with sensors. If the birds are in the vicinity of a boat, these sensors are able to tell whether the boat’s Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) are switched off.
Having the AIS systems switched off on a boat is common when the boat is fishing illegally.
The beauty of this project is that the albatrosses can cover huge areas and when the sensors identify boats with their AIS switched off, the enforcement boats can head to that location to investigate further.
The initiative is currently being trialled off the coast of New Zealand and over the last 6 months the birds have located 353 boats, 37% of which were not emitting the AIS signal.
https://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/albatross_fishing.png9441678Stevehttps://www.theexpgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/styleguide-EXP-4.pngSteve2020-06-25 14:02:292020-06-25 14:02:29Flying high with creativity.
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