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Published: Nov 08 , 2018
Author: David Bannister

I wonder if, like me, you have recently followed the story of a shoplifter who stole a tray of cans of beer from a supermarket. This was no ordinary shoplifter, he looked like the actor David Schwimmer and his CCTV photograph was shown widely in the media. David Schwimmer showed his sense of humour by posting his own photograph on social media showing him clutching a similar looking tray of beers and taking a furtive look at a shop camera. This reminded me of...

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Published: Aug 16 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

Power is a funny thing. Inexperienced negotiators often make the mistake – and it can be a commercially ruinous error – of looking at it rather as competing nations might

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Published: Apr 12 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

Regular readers may recall the story I told about pitching up at a hotel with my wife and young family in tow and admitting my desperation to them; I needed a bedroom and I needed it badly. My subsequent request for a discount fell on deaf ears – the words “desperate” and “good deal” rarely appear in the same sentence. My colleague,...

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Published: Mar 22 , 2018
Author: Robin Copland

So, there I was in the hotel lobby telling the team behind the desk all my woes. This was about the fourth hotel I had been to; no, I didn’t have a booking but I had my wife and three children outside in the car and I was kind of desperate; no, I didn’t know that there was a major conference in the town that we were visiting and yes, had I known about it, then I would probably have either avoided the place altogether or, at the very least, booked a family room. “Oh, you have...

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Published: Mar 01 , 2018
Author: Alan Smith

A subject that often comes up is how to deal with situations where we have limited power or where the other side seems to have no interest in negotiating with us. Memorably, one client asked me to give them the precise words or phrases that would make the person on the other side of the table say ‘yes’ to whatever they were proposing. They were asking for the equivalent to a negotiating Jedi mind trick...

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Published: Mar 09 , 2017
Author: Stephen White

In the world of internet start-ups and disruptive technology the valuations placed on popular new entrants into a market continue to be completely out of whack with their profitability, as they were in the dot.com boom and bust 20 years ago. Companies with a market valuation of $1 billion or more, known as tech unicorns, include Snap Inc. the owners of Snapchat, Airbnb, and Uber. Snapchat is currently valued at between $25-35 billion. But it has never made a profit and its net worth, assets less liabilities, is only $1.5 billion. Airbnb has a market value of around $30 billion, about $7 billion more than physical competitor Hilton, but turned in its first profit only in the second half of 2016. And Uber, currently valued at between $60 -70 billion, made a $3 billion loss last year according to Bloomberg...

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Published: Oct 01 , 2015
Author: John McMillan

A story in the British press reads that oilfield services provider Halliburton has made an offer to swallow rival Baker Hughes for $35 billion; Schlumberger has weighed in on equipment maker Cameron International in a $14.8 billion deal. Companies that specialise in one part of the services market, for example offshore drilling, are in a difficult situation and are finding themselves squeezed by their customers to such an extent that, in order to survive, they are having to accept takeover deals from bigger rivals or risk going out of business; takeover deals that would not have been countenanced 18 months ago are suddenly now acceptable – even welcome...

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Break In

On August 30th, mid-evening, our home was broken into. We were away overnight. Fortunately, we had recently installed a video doorbell which alerted me about the activity via my mobile phone, and which recorded footage of the offender trying to jimmy open the front door, failing, and then disappearing around the back of the house. He climbed onto...

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