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Luke's Columns

What is anything worth any more? What value should investors ascribe to companies, property or bonds? The ease with which seemingly solid businesses have come close to collapse in a matter of days is a vicious reminder that projections of future earnings are merely well-informed guesses. Investors suddenly find…

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Our way of life is more fragile than we thought. So much we used to take for granted is no longer possible. Perhaps most of us were too complacent. Now every sinew is being stretched in a battle to stay healthy and afloat. Whole industries are on life support,…

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The industries I know and love — hospitality and entertainment — are collapsing. Virtually all restaurants, bars, clubs, theatres, cinemas, hotels, visitor attractions and cafes are shut and taking no income at all. None of us know when these tens of thousands of special places might reopen. This has…

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The past month has been very testing for many businesses. Trading has been disrupted, employees and customers are fearful of falling ill and entrepreneurs are worrying about meeting the payroll. Some financiers are definitely preparing for the worst. A big private equity firm — for the present, nameless —…

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It seems the government plans to scrap entrepreneurs’ relief in the budget on Wednesday. This would be a damaging move that sends a terrible message to risk-takers — especially those running scale-up companies that add the most economic value. The tax break, which allows founders to pay 10% capital…

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Is business a virtuous pursuit? Sadly, there are few well-known philosophers today who write about the moral obligations of the commercial world. In the past, it was different. The 18th-century philosopher Adam Smith, who, more than anyone, invented the entire discipline of economics, also wrote important books such as…

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It is said that culture is more important than anything in determining the success of a business. A company’s culture is mostly a reflection of the character of its leader. In short, a good boss breeds good culture. I have been fortunate enough to witness such entrepreneurs in action…

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Over the decades, in my writing and in speeches, I have relentlessly promoted the idea that more people should become entrepreneurs. Some people, though, are what a friend calls “unentrepreneurs” — they work for themselves but should have stuck to being employees. There are plenty of reasons why certain…

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Every venture capitalist knows that investing is often a slave to fashion. Popular themes come and go: one year it’s the internet of things, the next it’s blockchain or autonomous driving. Right now it seems that healthy soft drinks for adults are the idea of the moment. I’ve had…

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Satire is a necessary antidote when any sphere of human activity takes itself too seriously. Business is surely such an endeavour, constantly making great claims over its importance. Consequently, it should be routinely mocked. The traditional vehicle for satire was the written word. In the corporate era, four books…

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