Quelle surprise

A judge has branded former BHS owner Dominic Chappell “evasive” and “entirely unbelievable” as his appeal for failing to hand over vital documents to the pensions watchdog was rejected yesterday.

Chappell, 51, showed no emotion as a judge rejected his claims that he had “done everything in his powers” to help provide the information.

The ruling could leave the self-described entrepreneur facing a fourth bankruptcy, his lawyer warned.

Fourth, eh?

So, have I understood the idea of “adserver” technology correctly?

Just a bit of technical background if someone can help me out. This.

In November, Timehop instructed some of its product engineers to begin building an ad server that focused on its own inventory, mobile-only. Leviev said they also wanted to maximize CPM and fill rate, not just choose one or the other. Currently, the system integrates with about 15 SSPs and DSP, the exact number depending on the day.

So, the mental image I’ve got is this.

Starting position, they’re signed up to, say, Google. Which just fills their space with whatever Google decides at whatever rate (and thus Google profit margin) it thinks it can get away with.

So, they take control of their own ad space. Their “adserver” now talks to 15 or more other pieces of software.

Might be Google, and Amazon, and Advertising.com – say – forcing them to compete for access to the space and thereby gaining better pricing. Or perhaps it goes up a level and connects into the Ogilvy and Mather, WPP etc ad buying operations to do the same thing? Leaps over that step of the ad networks themselves?

Presumably, the adserver then takes the best offers on space. Perhaps with some fill from the networks to cover space that doesn’t sell directly?

Have I got this roughly right? Not technically, because that’s beyond me. But as a general idea of the logical structure here?

That at some point of volume it’s worth bypassing the ad networks? That is, to do what the internet does so well, disintermediate?

This is fairly cheeky

One of the losing bidders for House of Fraser has urged its new owner Mike Ashley to “do the right thing” and pay all its suppliers and concession holders in full because he clinched the deal so cheaply.

Philip Day, the retail billionaire behind Edinburgh Woollen Mill, spoke out 48 hours after the Sports Direct owner snapped up the stores and assets within hours of House of Fraser entering administration.

In his first public statement since losing the battle, Mr Day called on Mr Ashley to “honourably” ensure that suppliers and concessionaires — who are collectively owed at least £70 million — are not left out of pocket.

Yes, you’ve got that right. The losing bidder, the one who offered less money, is asking that the winning bidder, the one who offered more, should pay even more. Even more and more, than he himself, that losing bidder, was prepare to offer.

Think it’s probably gone

House of Fraser has admitted to having just 11 days to save 17,000 jobs as the retailer scrambles to secure a lifeline before its cash runs dry.

The stricken department store chain must pull in fresh funding by August 20 or risk collapse through a failure to pay its bills.

The deadline outlined by the retailer is when a number of suppliers must be paid, including a raft of in-store concessions.

It was revealed in a statement to the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, where its bonds are listed, underscoring how little time bosses have left to save the business.

It’s the credit insurers that matter. If they’ll not insure suppliers then they’ll need cash before delivery. Not that that’s a bad thing. It’s just that moving from – say and for example – 120 days payment terms to cash before delivery swallows vast amounts of working capital.

Which is, of course, the very thing HoF ain’t got.

This isn’t to insist upon a 100% track record but often enough it’s those credit insurers who pull the plug on retail.

As to whether HoF should go. Well, department stores? Mixed retail in expensive and premium High Street locations? Entirely possible that this business idea itself is just dead.

Ha, ha, ha, that’s a cute legal claim

Four of Europe’s biggest airlines have joined forces in a fight against striking French air traffic controllers, demanding European authorities step in and help a sector that is “on the point of meltdown”.

British Airways owner International Airlines Group, Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air today submitted complaints to the European Commission.

French industrial action restricts the fundamental principle of freedom of movement within the EU, the airline quartet claim.

No lorry driver can ever strike as that damages the free movement of goods, no ISP can ever go bust as that disrupts the free movement of services…..

Facebook? Cash cow?

The Silicon Valley giant, which for years has served as a reliable cash cow for shareholders,

Normally – abut we’d not expect the Telegraph’s young shavers to know this, would we? – cash cow is reserved for shares that actually pay out cash. Facebook doesn’t pay dividends….

The secret of the under volcano base

A parasite spread by cats could be the key to being a successful entrepreneur, scientists have concluded.

The discovery suggests there may be a bizarre advantage to being infected by the organism, Toxoplasma gondii.

According to the findings, the single-celled parasite worms its way into the brain and causes personality changes associated with risk-taking.

The white cat causes the excess of entrepreneurialism rather than being a symptom of it.

Well, no, not really

Carillion crisis ‘could happen again’

It’s bust and gone, isn’t it?

At the same time the public sector has become too reliant on a small handful of big businesses which are effectively “too big to fail” as they run vast swathes of public services with little effective competition.

Carillion, the UK’s second-largest builder and a major supplier of outsourced services, collapsed in January.

And, err, that we’ve just allowed one to fail shows that they’re not to o big to fail, no? For what it means is not one too big for it to be easy for us to let it fail, not one too big for us to be happy if it fails, but one so big that we cannot allow it to fail.

Sounds like there’re some bargains out there

A cash rich investor with balls of steel could have a go:

A family who have seen the value of their London flat slashed from £600,000 to just £90,000 because of Grenfell-style cladding will sue a government agency that helped them buy their home.

They are the second homeowners in the New Capital Quay development in Greenwich to have their flat valued at rock-bottom prices.

It’s then uncertainty over who will replace, when, and at what cost, that cladding.

The company said some flats had been valued at £0. They were unsellable, unrentable and unmortgageable.

I doubt unrentable is true.

But even so, there’s an option value to those flats. Which, if you were cash rich, might be a good little bet.

In case you missed it….

I know precisely nothing about Banks’ business dealings, don’t even know how he made his pot. But meeting people to discuss whether to do a deal with them is how he will now be spending his business life. Actually running a business isn’t what he does any more. Trying to work out which business to do next – and more importantly, which not to – is what he does do.

We can translate this into Guardian/Observer terms if we wish. Cadwallader and her work will be managed by whoever it is that edits the Observer these days. There’s also a managing director there who manages things like print runs, distribution and so on – that’s how newspapers work, two management sets, one for content, the other for practical stuff. Up at the parent company level there’s GMG. The CEO of which doesn’t spend any time at all “managing” the newspapers. Their job (umm, used to be the bird who went off to run Easyjet I think?) is to think through which deals the group should be doing. Which radio stations/car magazines should the group buy via offshore tax havens, which should it sell and when?

At a certain level business is about what do we do next, what do we stop doing? And meeting all the chancers and grifters out there to find those few one wishes to consummate a cash relationship with.

Banks talked with Russians? That’s the job, as with Eric and Donald Jr.

Bleedin’ idiocy

Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, is by most accounts a mild mannered sort of guy with classic West Coast liberal views. There is one thing, however, that makes him as ballistic as one of his Blue Origin space rockets – and that’s any mention of subjecting Amazon to a break-up.

He may, on the other hand, have to get used to it. On both sides of the Atlantic, the invasive market power of his business creation is the object of ever closer political and regulatory scrutiny.

Amazon is successfully bankrupting old retail models. Therefore we must break it up.

Sodding idiocy. If we’ve a new and better way of doing something then we want to have more of it. We want it to bankrupt the old and less better way because that’s how that works, that’s how we get more better. And whether it is better is defined by how much of the old way it bankrupts.


The Germans just can’t do it

The problems came after KFC switched its deliveries from Bidvest Logistics to DHL in a deal struck last year.

DHL said “operational issues” meant several KFC deliveries over recent days had been incomplete or delayed.

It added: “We are working with KFC and our partners to rectify the situation as a priority and apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

But business is just so easy, isn’t it? Open the doors and the profits just roll in. Or so half the Guardian would have you believe.

The other half are so deluded they think the State can do it……not realising it doesn’t take all that much to cock it up.

Idiot business idea

I’m just finishing off my first draft of a trade book (ie, here’s a small flat fee Tim, give us 50,000 words) on business models.

An idea arises.

So, lots of amputees out there.

Drop shipping is becoming more of a thing. Internet sales are becoming more of a thing.

So, combine the two.

You, the customer, go around these drop shipping sites (or you, the business, sign up to every drop shipping site in the country). Order is paid for, drop shipped to business site.

Seamstress adjusts the clothing according to the specific needs of the amputee. Properly done, well sewn. The amputee having sent in pictures of the state of the limb so that proper measurements are known. Instead of trouser legs being pinned up and the like.

Then adjusted clothing is sent on to customer. Margin charged for seamstress. This should be (note, should be) lower than the cost of taking to a seamstress out in meat world, search costs lower and so on. Margin is gained on the original drop ship plus on the adjustments.

Original marketing to start at least would be pretty simple. There are various organisations aiding amputees after all.

If this actually works you can send me some money.

How absurd are cryptocurrencies these days?

Have they gone full South Seas?

There’re some 1,500 of them out there. There are exchanges which list some to many of them.

Cross exchange rates are going to have margins in them. Arbitrage.

No one wants to put actual money in of course.


Invent a new currency. Give some of it away. Get it listed on a few exchanges (for some this is a function of giving the exchange some invented money).

The retained portion is now capital to do arbitrage with.

So, why won’t it work?

Social responsibility in business

However, to those who insist there must be a crony-based explanation why government, both national and local, favoured Carillion so much, here is a suggestion: the business was a model for what politicians now demand from such firms. It ticked every box of the corporate social responsibility agenda, and then some. In fact, its chairman, Philip Green (no, not that one) had been a “corporate responsibility adviser” to prime ministers David Cameron and Theresa May.

Go to the company’s website (now a sort of accidental memorial) and you will find the greatest prominence is accorded to its virtuousness, not its profits. There is page after page of its “sustainability strategy”, under the main slogan “Making tomorrow a better place”, subheaded “Better communities”, “Better environment (tackling climate change)” and “Better business”. Underneath that divine triptych, Carillion boasts that it can make “specific contributions to at least nine of the UN sustainable development goals”.


If only the implications of this were understood

Brexit, at its heart, is a recognition that Britain has become steadily weaker since it spent much of its empire wealth fighting two world wars – too feeble in the years before the 2016 referendum to sustain an exchange rate of $1.60 and €1.40, just as it was too poor to cope with $4 to the pound in the 1950s and $2 to the pound in 1992.

Manufacturers were unable to make things cheaply, reliably or efficiently enough against the headwind of a high-value currency, forcing many to give up. An economy that boasted 20% of its income coming from manufacturing in the 1980s found it was the source of barely 10% at the beginning of this decade.

Surges in GDP growth in the 70 years since the war can be attributed (and this short list makes the point crudely) to periods when there were cheap raw materials and energy costs; or a growing population; or foreign ownership and management of key industries; or the offloading of vast amounts of state and mutually owned assets; or cheap borrowing. Without these in operation to improve the UK’s performance, a lower exchange rate became inevitable.

So, the 70 years since 1945 were years of bad economic management then? Doesn’t that mean that those years of bad economic management should not be repeated? You know, that puts the kibosh on the entire Corbyn/McDonnell set of plans?