Luke's Columns

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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I am not a friend of Vernon Hill, ex-chairman of Metro Bank, but I am an admirer of his energy and ambition. I got to know him when I served as a non-executive director of his business from 2011 to 2014. Vernon and I did not always see eye…

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These are strange times for investors — especially in American equities. US stock indices are at all-time highs: over the past 10 years, the total return from the Nasdaq index is almost 350% and the S&P 500 250%. And as with culture, we have copied our friends across the…

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