Archives for category: Bob

Interesting article in the Economist about business creation in Germany this week with stats about the percentage of new entrepreneurs in 2012 according to a Deutsche Bank survey: almost 8% in US, almost 7% in Holland, almost 4% in the UK, and then less than 3% in France and Germany.

Now what I found interesting is that actually the issues relevant to these 4% are rarely newsworthy. The topic dominating the discourse will be home ownership. Or benefits. Or immigration…Yet what these 4% are facing up to should be of great interest both because they affect a big enough group if folks and also because their energy to extract value out of investment is more rare and more important in the long term to an aging country.

Il n’est de richesses que d’hommes.

Another weekend, another loaf… Or two. I wanted to play around with shaping different looking bread and I really like the look of the double-round-crossed one. What do you think?

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Good looking loaf, in fact maybe the best looking one I have ever baked. I went free form on the measures once the mixing started. The fat in the dough came from good rapeseed oil and I wonder how much that played in the nice golden shine of the end product. I am still struggling with the bottom: it ain’t soggy but it ain’t crisp and hard either. As a Frenchman the crust is 80% of a good loaf. I am not sure how to get the bottom to cook more: do I need a stone? Can I use slate for that purpose?

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When Xavi Hernandez, celebrated Barcelona footballer, described his coach Pep Guardiola to the press he used the word “pesado”, heavy, intense. Now Pep was an idol of mine growing up, the best passer and football mind rolled into one. As a coach he has won everything in just 4 years, and with style.
I love the expression: “pesado”. It’s not really something that would be considered a complement at the best of time. But it is probably the best accolade for the genius of Pep Guardiola. The best or maybe perhaps just the most interesting people are the ones that are pesados about their job. They are so passionate and involved and perfectionist about it, that their unblinking focus becomes heavy. And contagious. And that focus reflected and amplified makes for a better team all around. It makes them not just good but great.

  1. You can convert one currency to another from Google search box and that’s incredibly convenient.
  2. How to tie a bowtie: it does look so much better than a pre-tied one but darn does it take a while to make it work! <insert loads of french expletives> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjI-58KrBmM
  3. Random facts, always a conversation starter no matter how obtuse they may be. Like for example England used to have a saffron cottage-industry back in the days, who knew? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffron_Walden#History
  4. How to iron a shirt super efficiently: wet the hell out of it, then collar-shoulder-arms-side-back-side, done (as Gordon would say). I trawled the net for some time to make sure this is the most efficient, probably slightly autistic of me.
  5. I learn tons about pricing frameworks and strategies starting with  the best introduction to the topic I found from Eric Sink: http://www.ericsink.com/bos/Product_Pricing.html

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Just last weekend I finished two books I was reading on parallel: one about the legendary composer Gustav Mahler (Why Mahler from Norman Lebrecht) and the other about the jazz legend John Coltrane (Coltrane – The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff). What struck me was the similarities in the story of these two musical geniuses. Their respective approach to their Work mirrored each other some 50 years apart, and in different worlds and circumstances. Both of their genius was revealed through a tremenduous amount of practice: Gustav used to drive nuts the various orchestras he directed with the level of excellence he demanded in rehearsal, the musician that worked and collaborated with Coltrane were in awe of the amount of practice he got through right till the end of his life. Both Mahler and Coltrane were constantly working to adapt, incorporate and innovate in their pursuit of a music or sound like life itself. There is almost a religious zeal about them. Both musicians demonstrated prodigious physical feats to get their music out, and the response of their audience is described very vividly as creating a deep level of connection.

But the point is that both books are really inspiring whether or not you are a musical buff. And genius is nothing without a huge amount of hard work.

Now I am off to start my Mahler record collections in earnest… and to listen again to “A Love Supreme”.