Luke's Columns

My private equity firm last week announced its second investment since the pandemic started — Curious Drinks, the beer and cider business of British wine-maker Chapel Down. In theory, there should be a lot of assets going cheap given the economic chaos caused by lockdowns, but the reality of…

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It would be hard to deny that we are an inventive nation. Take sports. Billions around the world are obsessed with them — playing and watching. The British invented and formalised football, rugby, cricket, tennis, golf, table tennis, netball, badminton, snooker, squash, darts and bowls. Others helped to develop…

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Every profession has its terminology: law, accountancy, medicine, IT, economics, even management. The intent of such nomenclature is to provide precision yet too often it descends into jargon — technical nouns, verbs and adjectives deployed merely to show off. Instead of delivering illumination, the words help to obscure, which…

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Britain’s business community has plenty of challenges ahead. Companies need to rebuild their battered balance sheets and win back customers. Taxes and inflation are likely to rise. Among the tasks leaders must address will be their diminished corporate culture. I suspect that a year of lockdowns and pandemic-driven fear…

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One of the defining decisions of our careers is whether to specialise or be a generalist. In the early 18th century, it was possible for a diligent and clever individual to have a good grasp of almost all learning: the humanities, science, technology, commerce and so forth. In the…

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Only two industries really did well last year: healthcare and e-commerce. Many others — travel, hospitality, aviation, entertainment, general retail, commercial property, automotive, transport, oil and gas — suffered very badly. One other big sector did hold up: food and drink production and retail. Locked down in a pandemic,…

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Civilisation is built from institutions that provide order, innovation and structure. These are the companies, charities, universities, foundations, hospitals, associations and other hubs of human activity that provide jobs, technology, funding, education and the public and private goods on which society depends. These institutions do not spring from nowhere….

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I have one piece of advice for ambitious twentysomethings wanting to advance their careers in 2021: Be in the room. Unfortunately, for many so-called digital natives, conducting their entire life online feels natural. So working from home may appear to be a favourable development. But Zoom, Teams, FaceTime and…

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Expectation management is an important skill for every entrepreneur. Customers need to know when their goods are arriving; staff need to know whether or not they will receive a bonus; and shareholders need to know that budgets are going to be met. Some would argue that setting expectations well…

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Reactions by governments and scientific advisers to Covid-19 fall largely into two categories. The first set of interventions — lockdowns and physical distancing — are medieval, and almost certainly lead to a greater toll of net harm caused than benefits gained. The second — developing new vaccines at breakneck…

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