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Innovation is the key to a thriving British manufacturing industry

Innovation is the key to a thriving British manufacturing industry

There is a great deal of concern in the UK that this country’s manufacturing sector has dwindled dramatically over recent years.

The latest economic analysis by manufacturing association EEF cautiously predicts growth in the sector by the end of the year, although it does express concern about the impact of specific risks, such as a slowdown in the growth of world trade.

By Maurizio Brusadelli

7:30PM BST 18 Aug 2013

This has become particularly acute since the beginning of the financial crisis, which has led commentators to bemoan Britain’s reliance on the City at the expense of other sectors, and driving many to ask nostalgically “why don’t we make things any more?” So, are reports of the manufacturing industry’s death exaggerated? Recent data shows that all the doom and gloom is a little premature. The latest economic analysis by manufacturing association EEF cautiously predicts growth in the sector by the end of the year, although it does express concern about the impact of specific risks, such as a slowdown in the growth of world trade. And the CBI’s SME trends survey showed that last month small and medium-sized manufacturers’ optimism rose for the first time since April 2012, even though numbers of new orders actually fell in the three months to July. Read more of this post

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The Curse of the Mogul: What’s Wrong with the World’s Leading Media Companies

The Curse of the Mogul: What’s Wrong with the World’s Leading Media Companies Paperback– Bargain Price

by Jonathan A. Knee  (Author) , Bruce C. Greenwald (Author) , Ava Seave (Author)

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The media industry is facing multiple financial and operational crises on an unprecedented scale. Rampant overpaying for acquisitions and strategic investments make incompetent corporate leaders as complicit in media’s decline as the difficult economy. The authors, professors at the Columbia Business School, focus their sights broadly but home in on the usual suspects—Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Disney and an alphabet of flailing companies (e.g., TBS, CNN, TNT). They discuss the dilemma of new media vs. old, the difficulty of establishing efficient operations, mergers that worked and mergers that didn’t, and attempt to debunk any number of media myths, most assiduously the content is king platitude—considering especially that the movie, music and book industries are all floundering. An interesting subject in theory, but this treatment has the feeling of a homework assignment rather than an exposé and plods along to its meandering conclusion at a snail’s pace. Dull writing and a complete lack of human interest detail make this a tough read and a tougher sell. (Oct.)  Read more of this post

South African Naspers’ Koos Bekker Becomes Billionaire With China Media Investments in Tencent

South African Bekker Becomes Billionaire With China Media

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Jacobus Petrus “Koos” Bekker became a billionaire earlier this year after transforming Cape Town, South Africa-based Naspers Ltd. (NPN) from a decades-old print business into the world’s largest emerging market media company.

Formed in 1915 as De Nasionale Pers, the company published what became South Africa’s first Afrikaans-language daily newspaper, Die Burger, which went on to defend apartheid rule in commentaries and articles when the segregationist system was put in place, beginning in 1948. Read more of this post

Fashion cents and sensibility: Designers need commercial nous as well as creativity

August 19, 2013 6:23 pm

Fashion cents and sensibility

By Elizabeth Paton

When New York Fashion Week comes to town in the first week of September, a cadre of young designers will host exclusive catwalk shows all over Manhattan, generating a buzz for nascent brands as well as their seasonal offerings of exquisite studio creations.

Yet for many, the whole game has also changed. Today few fledgling visionaries are ever judged purely on artistic ingenuity. To secure a coveted spot at this year’s show calendar – and thereby catch the eye of those at the top – twenty-something talents need to show not just a brilliance for producing creative collections but also a commercially sharpened brain for the business that will foster their survival in this tough climate for the industry. Read more of this post

Sometimes 1,000 Heads Aren’t Better Than One

Sometimes 1,000 Heads Aren’t Better Than One

We are in the midst of an explosion of interest in collective intelligence, sometimes described as “the wisdom of crowds.” The basic idea is that if you aggregate the knowledge of a lot of people, you are likely to come up with the correct answer. If two heads are better than one, then a hundred heads are even better, and once we are dealing with thousands, a good answer starts to look inevitable. This idea has major implications for business decisions, stock markets, political movements and democracy itself.

In 1907, Francis Galton provided a memorable example. He asked about 800 people to guess the weight of an ox. None of them gave the correct answer (1,198 pounds), but the mean response was eerily accurate (1,197 pounds). Many experiments have replicated Galton’s finding, showing that if a large group is asked to make some numerical estimate, the mean answer (and sometimes the average) is remarkably good. Read more of this post

Practice Makes Perfect, If Your Genes Play Along

Practice Makes Perfect, If Your Genes Play Along

Like many others who read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” when it came out five years ago, I was impressed by the 10,000-hour rule of expertise. I wrote a column (for a different publication) espousing the rule, which holds that to become a world-class competitor at anything from chess to tennis to baseball, all that’s required is 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

David Epstein has convinced me I was wrong. His thoroughly researched new book, “The Sports Gene,” pretty much demolishes the 10,000-hour rule — and much of “Outliers” along with it. Read more of this post

Inside the collapse of ispONE: Near-death episodes and a broken partnership

Andrew Heathcote Rich Lists editor

Inside the collapse of ispONE: Near-death episodes and a broken partnership

Published 20 August 2013 11:41, Updated 20 August 2013 15:56

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Zac Swindells (left) and Chris Mochings of ispONE. The two founders started their business in a bar, but Mochings left the business late last year. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

For a business that had its genesis in a barroom argument, it may not be surprising that ispONE’s remarkable run has come to an ugly end. The Melbourne-based business built a lucrative niche as a wholesaler of mobile and internet services. It was a remarkable success story and emblematic of the opportunities on offer in the fast-growing telco sector. ispONE was turning over as much as $55 million last year before trouble struck. The administration of the business will have serious ramifications for its owners, retailers like fellow BRW Young Rich list member Ruslan Kogan, and the 280,000 customers who rely on its services. Like many high achieving businesses, ispONE had an inauspicious start. It was founded in 2002 when Zac Swindells and Chris Monching met at a Melbourne bar. The story goes that a minor altercation followed after one was caught adding drinks to the other’s bar tab. Read more of this post

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