Tag Archives: New Year

The one with the cracked crystal ball

With many people, including the Queen, advocating looking back at 2013, I am yet again jumping on the bandwagon of looking forward and having a tongue in cheek crack at a few predictions for 2014. Caveat emptor!

1. Confidence will continue to increase

In 2013 the 5 or so years of austerity and the watering of green shoots finally seemed to start to have some impact and the data finally started to swing in the favour of growth (and George Osbourne). Whatever the reality of the situation, confidence in the economy will continue to grow and people will start to feel better about it. The banks will ignore this and continue to charge exorbitant lending rates for mortgages relative to the base rate.

2. The Chinese will be to blame

With George and the bankers seemingly being let off for the last 5 years we will of course need someone new to blame for the things that aren’t working. Increasingly this will become the Chinese. The blame will take many forms – the impending spectre of their economic supremacy (latest predictions are 2028), their over-investment overseas (China apparently now owns most of Africa), their interpretation of international trade and copyright law or maybe just their overuse of MSG.

3. We will be told our lot is better

With a general election due at the latest in the UK in 2015 and a certain Mr Obama becoming a term limited lame duck President with only 2 years on the clock electioneering will begin in earnest in 2014 (does it ever end?) In service of this we will be told what we have is better and who is responsible for that (they won’t be) and what we don’t like is the other guys fault. Very little will actually change but the manifesto promises will be corkers.

4. Vince Cable will further distance himself

With said election looming Mr Cable will bid to further distance himself from Mr Cameron (and Mr Clegg) anticipating an Ides of March moment and the inevitable “Et tu, Dave?”. This will take the form of lobbing, smearing and general malcontentedness. Mr Clegg will wake up to the fact he’s got a marginal constituency and that a TV debate ain’t gonna help

5. The job market will flip

With confidence increasing companies will become marginally less risk adverse and start hiring more people. More importantly confidence will mean more people are comfortable to change job. The job market will flip from being driven by companies and vacancies to being driven by candidates. McKinsey will dub this with some title. Recruiters will use this to try and negotiate better rates. Very little will actually change and companies will still want the best people to hire.

6. We will continue to worship false idols

Whether Beliebers will still be Beliebers at end of 2014 remains to be seen but whether it’s Justin, the CEO of Snapchat or someone else enjoying their 15 minutes we will continue to be overly impressed with those who enjoy short term large scale success and have lots of Twitter followers.

7. Big sporting events will compare unfavourably with London 2012

2014 will bring the Winter Olympics, the Football World Cup and the Commonwealth games. Coke will spend a fortune, McDonalds will have specially printed cups, some people will win, others will lose. Whatever happens nothing will be as good as the Olympics in London and no cauldrons will feature in opening ceremonies. Danny Boyle will make a new film

8. The next big thing will arrive

Facebook will continue to flog it’s dying horse, Google will continue to innovate more broadly (personally I like driving my own car), people will continue to post too many selfies (shame on you Barack) and I’m sure there’s a start up somewhere for an app that will only post pictures for 6 seconds. Whatever the next big thing is, it will arrive in 2014 (or has already arrived and will now come to the fore). Whether it has any impact is quite another thing…

9. Social will continue to be over hyped

Since Cain defriended Abel and man came out of his cave and ask his friend Terry if he had a light, people have been social. Recent technology has of course evolved how people have socialised but didn’t introduce the concept. Social will continue to be bandied around as if it is was something invented in Silicon Valley or a in brainstorm at PWC. People will continue to go to pubs.

10. I will conclude the most complex recruitment assignment of them all

The assignment began in the late 1980s and I confess the spec has evolved and been revised a great deal in the ensuing time. There have been some promising candidates along the way – some didn’t apply for the role and others were rejected during the interview phase. I can’t discuss the assessment centre but in Spring of this year I will finally appoint Mrs. Jones. Herself will be issued with a permanent contract and I think I will be told where to stick my ideas for personal development planning.

Whatever 2014 holds for you and yours, I trust it will be everything you wish for and more.

Happy New Year!


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The one with the smudged crystal ball

A year ago almost to the day following some Twitter banter I published a post with my (tongue in cheek) predictions for 2012. It turns out I was pretty spot on except for the fact that London’s transport infrastructure held up beautifully during the Olympics thwarting the Daily Mail’s opportunity to bash it.

In the same vein I thought I’d have a crack at 2013, so here goes:

1. People will continue to bemoan things they get for free

With so many of the tools and apps that become part of our daily lives based on a free or freemium model it’s easy to forget they are offered by businesses….who need to make money. Next year will see more column and Twitter inches wasted on complaining about things that if you don’t like you can stop using – or even pay for (must credit @CallumSaunders for helping me realise this!)

2. Bookshops will continue to deluged with 50 shades of Rip-Off

Publishers need to make money too and when they see a gravy train, bless them they ride it just like everyone else. We seem to have moved out of the Scando-crime wave stirred up by that girl and her tattoo and it’s all artistically photographed belts and ties these days as the 50 Shades wave continues tsunami-like through popular culture. I’ve got a great idea about an aloof, womanising MI6 agent who drives fast cars and saves the world – I think it could be huge

3. The Germans will be OK

Whichever list you read Germany is the 4th largest economy in the world by GDP. It has a highly educated and skilled population, some world class companies/brands and is a very powerful player on both the world and European stages. Whatever happens to the Eurozone (Greece won’t have a good year) Germany will be OK and although they may end up bankrolling some of their neighbours in the medium term – they’ll be fine. Bless

4. George Osborne will be to blame

Whatever your political views there is something fundamental about George Osborne that makes him easy to dislike. The fact that his austerity measures will be affecting many people and that the economy has not bounced back into sustainable growth yet are all easy reasons to blame George for your lot but even if it wasn’t for that I still don’t think many people will be uncomfortable blaming him for something in 2013

5. Banks will ignore the base rate

I’m no economist (you should see my overdraft) but it seems to me the Bank of England (or the Fed etc) can’t do much to the base rate of interest at the moment without doing even further damage to the possibility of economic recovery. That should mean happy days surely? No it seems not. Whilst I appreciate the cost of borrowing money wholesale has changed and continues to change there seems to be some unfair dislocation between the base rate of interest and the cost of consumer borrowing (I believe this is referred to as profit margin). This will continue. I will continue to resent it.

6. Lawyers will benefit from the mobile wars

Apple will sue Samsung (again). Samsung will sue Apple (again). Nokia will continue to try and convince everyone that THIS is the phone they’ve been waiting for. RIM (Blackberry) will have a tough year. Lawyers will bill – lots. Apple fans will continue to buy Apple (and download the Google Maps app). People who resent Apple will continue to buy Android phones. Not many people will believe Nokia.

7. Freedom will be the new black

With information technology and mobile making the world smaller/more open/less controllable the impetus for freedom (in all senses) will continue in parts of the world that haven’t experienced it for some time. The dam has burst – there’s no going back now. For those who already have it (and get it recorded on CCTV) they will continue to take it for granted, the Daily Mail will continue to try and make mountains out of middle class molehills and in reality black will continue to be the new black.

8. Kate will have a baby

I can’t reveal my sources but come Spring of 2013 Mrs. Wills will produce the third in line to the throne. My prediction is it will be….a baby. The nation (or at least those that read The Daily Mail) will rejoice. Harry will throw a party at the Wynn and hand back his “Spare On-Call” kit.

9. Celebrities will do lots of stuff that gets heavily reported

Ashton will marry. Tom will divorce (and likely remarry). X-Factor rejects will get photographed on beaches. Katie will dream up another high concept TV show etc etc etc. The real impact of all of this will be Pi x radius squared of bugger all. Advertisers will love it.

10. The sun will rise in the East and set in the West

Whatever happens in the coming year some things will remain the same. I think it’s easy to focus on the daily peaks and troughs and forget the bigger picture. If life isn’t great right now, what’s your plan? If it isn’t working either get a new plan or find somebody to help you with some options. If life is good then stop and smell the roses and maybe tell the people who are important to you how important they are. Whatever 2013 holds we’ll always have Paris…

Happy New Year!


Filed under Uncategorized

The one with a lack of achievement

There’s a line from the song ‘Sit Down’ by James which is “if I hadn’t seen such riches I could live with being poor”. When the song was first released I never really paid much attention to the line (I was usually in a club far too full of alcohol at the time) but over time it has come to have more and more resonance.

When I was 18 years old the idea of owning a car, any car was something to dream of and a definite goal but by the time I was 35 I wanted an Aston Martin. And not some second hand DB7 but a relatively new DB9 (we can all dream). The cars that seemed like dreams when I was 18 would now be discarded as ‘less than’ and the fact that I own a really nice car which in itself is far more than what I need isn’t the point – I always seem to want the next thing. Whether this is keeping up with the Joneses (or another surname in my case) or the want to have some kind of badge of achievement I’m not sure but it’s there in my head in several respects not just with cars.

I read someone’s Twitter bio earlier and it went something like “I’ve failed lots of times along the way which is why I’ve been successful”. Which from my perspective seemed a bold statement – not that I know anything about that particular person’s achievements but it seemed alien to me to consider one’s self a success to the point where I began to envy the individual concerned that they felt that sense of achievement. The idea that someone felt comfortable enough to self validate themselves as being successful was something that really has me curious.

In the spate of end of year conversations and those looking forward to a new year it does seem that some people (including some i’ve talked to) don’t consider what they achieved last year to be up to scratch or worthy of the investment of their 365 days which begged the question what were they comparing it to? Was there some cosmic score chart that allowed you to sit, reflect and say “yes I did well that year” and if there is can someone please send me a copy?

Success is a delightfully subjective word and in saying that of course I realise it has very different meanings to different people. I suppose where all this is coming to is have I (and we) got to a point where enough is never enough? Will I (and we) always want the next car, the bigger house, the better job? Are we destined to always look back at last year and think that we could have done more with it?

The film “Jerry Maguire” has a character in it called Dicky Fox – apparently the first great Sports Agent who appears at intervals during the film and has some natty motivational quotes but in ending the film he says this “Hey, I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.”

But what was his kind of success??!


Filed under Uncategorized

The one with the crystal ball

So as the New Year comes ever closer, the reviews of the year are in full force and the predictions for 2012 have begun in earnest.

Whilst having a rather relaxed start to the day I was reading my Twitter stream and saw a tweet from @leighanne_m bemoaning everyone looking back at 2011 rather than forward to 2012. At that point with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek I tweeted that in 2012 the days would end in Y.

A few people played along (thank you Michael and Kate!) and so in the same spirit here are my 10 predictions for 2012 (infographic to follow):

1. Facebook will change privacy settings

It’s a sure thing that of course Facebook will change its privacy settings. Outrage will follow. From lots of people who don’t close their Facebook accounts. Not much will actually change although a few people may actually realise it’s REALLY open and expecting privacy is something they should have given up in 2009

2. Daily Mail to publish headline “London Transport chaos”

So after years of build up the Olympics will finally arrive in London in 2012. Despite huge investment the challenge of running a global sporting event in a living breathing city will mean some things go wrong. The world will continue to turn but a few people will get a lot of flack.

3. People will expect more

That’s pretty much human nature isn’t it? People will always want more. The difference this year may be the “we need to tighten our belts” rhetoric may have expired and giving people more when budgets can’t stretch further may see some businesses wake up to the whole leadership/engagement thing!

4. Demand will continue to outstrip supply

Full employment is a myth that is spoken of with wry smiles but with unemployment approaching 1980s levels this one is a dead cert. That said organisations will continue to hire good people who can add value to them. The other good news is there will be innumerable infographics and top 10 lists of things you should do to get a better job

5. Politicians will handbag each other in favour of governing

With the world in unprecedented economic circumstances what we really need is a load of pointless point scoring at the expense of real solutions and decisive action. Our politicians will oblige.

6. The American General Election will consume a LOT of money and not elect a magician

The 2008 US General Election cost around $5.3billion elected the first black President and created the character Joe the Plumber. Whoever ends up winning they will continue to face the economic challenge and it certainly is a poisoned chalice. If I were Mr O I would be thinking about the lecture circuit, another book and the fact that Mr. President is a title for life regardless of remaining in office!

7. Lifeboats will continue to be useful in case of the ship sinking

Irrespective of circumstances it will be those that don’t require a trip to the umbrella shop on the rainy day that will come out best. Regardless of protestations of safety and security, anyone who hasn’t thought about the rainy day may find 2012 a grim year.

8. Twitter will continue its role in the 3rd person

With even the laggards making it to Twitter it will continue its role as commentator and disseminator. Stephen Fry will amass more followers and Twitter’s journey towards being the social networking equivalent to the Borg will continue (Please don’t RT that!)

9. Black will be the new black

Some things will become less useful; others will be the next big thing but throughout all of this most of things that make life plod along will continue to be the things that make life plod along

10. The world will not end

This is where I could be very wrong but the joy is that if I am, who will hold me to account? I think it’s going to a very tough but very interesting year where we may finally adjust to the new norm that will be austerity. Irrespective of austerity the people who make life worth the daily grind will still be there and should be appreciated to the fullest. As I said on Twitter a few hours ago, days will end in Y and as Sean Connery says in ‘The Untouchables’, “make sure when your shift is over you go home alive. Here endeth the lesson.”

Whatever your plans in the coming days, Happy New Year and here’s to 2012!


Filed under Uncategorized