Category Archives: Business

Incentives matter, so best not ignore them.

A story was doing the rounds last week that was drawing praise and admiration from various quarters: The idea began percolating, said Dan Price, the founder of Gravity Payments, after he read an article on happiness. It showed that, for … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Economics, USA | 3 Comments

This will have Ronald quaking in his boots!

Michael Jennings alerts me to a new business idea in Russia: Russia has a grand plan to launch its own, patriotic fast-food chain to rival Western burger joints like McDonald’s and rescue its struggling farmers. The $18-million initiative stems from … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Russia | 8 Comments

The Failure of Russian Projects

The Streetwise Professor writes about another ambitious Russian state project which has gone badly off the rails, this time the Vostochny Cosmodrome project.  As usual, the project is way behind schedule, way over budget, and workers haven’t been paid for … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Engineering, Russia | 11 Comments

Meetings in France

Over at Tim Worstall’s gaff, reader Andrew M alerts me to this piece in the New York Times on the subject of French, English, and American conversations.  This bit had me nodding along vigorously: But many modern-day conversations [in France] … Continue reading

Posted in Business, France | 12 Comments

Où est la Thatcher française?

This article speaks volumes about the French government’s understanding of global business practices: French President Francois Hollande has met the boss of General Electric’s (GE) to discuss his firm’s interest in buying part of engineering firm Alstom. It follows reports … Continue reading

Posted in Business, France, Politics | 7 Comments

Managing Contractors in the Oil Industry – Part 2

Part 2 – Respect your contractor’s technical knowledge. There are two reasons why oil companies subcontract work. The first is when you know how to do a job, but you don’t have the manpower to carry it out.  For instance, … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Oil & Gas | 3 Comments

Managing Contractors in the Oil Industry – Part 1

One of the main tasks in my current position is to manage contractors, i.e. companies to whom we are outsourcing work, on behalf of my employer, a major oil company.  In fact, this is pretty much the main role for … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Oil & Gas | 7 Comments

Why Some Countries are Poor

“Why do some places prosper and thrive while others just suck?”, asks P.J. O’Rourke at the start of Eat the Rich, “It’s not a matter of brains.  No part of the earth (with the possible exception of Brentwood) is dumber … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Economics, Nigeria, Russia | 15 Comments

Nokia’s Demise Unsurprising

There has been a fair bit in the news lately of Nokia’s troubles, and the likelihood of the company having to lay off several thousand people as they try to arrest what looks to be a terminal decline.  Whereas folk … Continue reading

Posted in Business, Customer Service | 8 Comments

Great British Retail

First shop, advertising itself as a “diamond and watch specialist”: Me: “Can you stick a new battery in this watch (an ordinary Seiko) and replace the seal?” Assistant: “No, we’d have to send it away for 6-8 weeks.  We don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Business, UK | 4 Comments