1. How to win angel investment
This week saw the return, for the first time since the pandemic, of The Supper Club's Investment Day, an opportunity for a carefully selected handful of exciting new startups to pitch for some investment from Supper Club members looking for new opportunities to invest. Even though all the businesses had been selected at a first round of judging, and had made a strong case for investment on paper, when it came to the pitches themselves, there was the usual mix of the brilliant and the not so brilliant when it came to presentation quality. Stephen Sacks, founder of Funding Nav, who chaired the event, offered some post-match analysis on how to get it right.
2. Captain kirk back in space
You didn't miss this, did you? William Shatner, forever identified as the original Captain Kirk (sorry all you TJ Hooker fans, you know it's true) was blasted up into space for real as part of the latest outing for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's giant you-know-what-a-like, the New Shepard rocket. As delightful as it is that Captain Kirk was able to "return" to space, and become the oldest person ever to go there - even if it was for less time than it takes to say "beam me up, Scotty"- it's not entirely clear where this latest space game is heading. And the sensible, killjoy part of me wants to demand what else we could be doing, not only with the money spent, but with all the brains invested in the entire Blue Origin project.
3. the end of the age of convenience?
At a recent Supper Club member meet-up I got talking to a member who works in logistics. He runs a profitable delivery business which backs up its network of drivers with warehouse space, where they are able to store popular items for clients who can then ship them more quickly to the end customer. His biggest challenge was the ever-increasing demands for everything to be delivered immediately. There has, he said, been a loss of patience. No one is prepared to wait for anything anymore. He despaired in particular at the arrival in the UK of a wave of new app-based delivery services that promise ludicrous delivery times (10 minutes being the typical pledge). With absolutely no investor pressure to make a profit, they have huge teams of riders waiting outside local convenience stores. Writing in the FT with his usual wit and elegance, Henry Mance explored what recent supply chain challenges might mean for this on-demand economy.
4.truly shocking from labour
Former Labour party leader Ed Miliband popped onto my radar this week in his role as opposition energy secretary, part of which gives him the brief for Cop26. While it's fair to say that the opposition isn't firing on all cylinders at the moment, Miliband is a long-time self-declared climate policy nerd. For me, the most striking point he made was how far we still have to go,"The world on the basis of Paris commitments was on course for 53 gigatonnes of emissions in 2030. To have a fighting chance of keeping global warming to two degrees, we need to be at 41 gigatonnes of emissions in 2030 and for 1.5 degrees, we need to be at 25." In other words, to hit the 1.5-degree target, we need to cut global emissions by 28 gigatonnes in nine years. It might be time to start planning for what happens when we miss.
5. Book of the week
Despite a 360-year heritage in training, it's not very fashionable to look to the British Army for leadership advice. In a world of agile teams and digital transformation, its hard to imagine a place for the top-down hierarchy and stuffy traditions of the military. And yet, a new book suggest that quite the opposite is true. The Habit of Excellence is written by Lt Col Langley Sharp, head of the Centre for Army Leadership, part of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In it he presents a compelling case for just why the army's approach to leadership training is of a much wider application and is relevant for all business founders. He explains how building leadership habits - living a life of leadership and in turn bringing more everyday humanity into leadership - is key to be effective. As it getting a balance, between history or tradition and innovation, between command and control structures and allowing agile decisions to be taken on the front line. As he says, "leadership is best understood as a human endeavour whose central concerns are to influence the individual and mould the collective in service of the ultimate mission."