I casually checked by phone last Wednesday afternoon about 230pm my time. It had been on silent for over an hour. Three missed calls; two Twitter direct messages and then an urgent email – all from the same person. What could be so urgent? It was the producer from Eddie Mair ‘PM’ programme on BBC Radio 4 asking if I’d go live at 5pm that day to discuss the new parliamentary report into abuse in the aid sector. Why me? He’d read a slighty controversial blog I’d written on Huffington post called “Don’t Cancel Your Donation to Oxfam. Double it”, which I’d written back in the heat of the Oxfam scandal in February. The Producer asked if my views were still the same and would I be willing to go head to head with Gina Miller (famed for anti-Brexit stance) on the show 5pm that afternoon? So it was partly out of with a sense duty to speak up for what I believed and partly a masochistic streak that I agreed to go on the show and dashed up to a little BBC studio outpost within the UN. You can listen to the replay here (5’48” to 16’42”) so I won’t repeat my arguments – suffice to say that if we want to have an aid sector we can trust and be proud of then it might mean we have to invest in it. No Gina Miller – nobody is in favour of waste, overheads and inefficiency in the sector. But I’ve always described overhead like cholesterol – some of it’s good and some is bad. “Good” overhead is investing in training, technology, audit/ financial controls etc and yes, safeguarding of staff. So let’s accept that some of our donations should be used for these purposes and hold the sector accountable for results on the ground – not who can boast the smallest percentage of overhead.
Moving on. Did any of you read the news that Apple has just become the first trillion dollar corporation? It was only a matter of time. New York, with a GDP of $1.33 trillion can still claim to be the biggest ‘Big Apple”….. but for how much longer? I mean, that’s equivalent to the size of the entire South Korean economy! Which raises the question of the lack of democratic accountability in how these de-facto ‘super states’ are run and for whose benefit – yes, one of the key themes I raise in my book.
The book! You thought I’d forgotten to mention it. You were wondering why I’ve not been nagging you for more glowing Amazon reviews (of which I’m now at over 40 and 93% are 5 star – woo hoo! Please keep them coming and let’s go for 50 reviews by next month’s Bullog). No you’re not getting away that lightly. Promoting the book continues to be my main focus and will continue to be for some time. Last week I was invited to give a talk on the themes from The Intrapreneur at an event especially for Intrapreneurs in the pharm company Boehringer Ingelheim, which took place just outside Frankfurt. It was a really fun event and I was delighted by the discussion that was generated and interest shown. What’s more they bought a bunch of books, paid my airfare and give a little honorarium to boot. Nice, eh? If any of you want to discuss doing something similar then I’m of course all ears. For the masochists or podcast addicts amongst you, two recent interviews just came out in July. Keita Demming’s Disruptive Conversations which is on audio and “Intrapreneur Stories” on Bundle which is a video interview. Hopefully they’re all a little different so grateful for any help you can give to promote these on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook to help get word out there.
What else has been going on in July? Well I was delighted to join a panel with Professor David Grayson, Anita Hoffman and Harriett Lamb (ex Fairtrade Foundation CEO) at the Business Fights Poverty annual event in Oxford. David and Anita both have new books out which I’d highly recommend – “All In: The Future of Business Leadership” and “Purpose & Impact” respectively. It was a fun debate and there should be a video replay available on their site soon.
Regular readers know I like to end on some personal happenings. Well, Arianna and I attended not one but two weddings in July both in stunning locations; Murrin in the Swiss Alps and Skelmorlie on the beautioful west coast of Scotland looking across to the Isle of Arran. I’m heading back in Scotland for Highland Games on my native Isle of Bute and also to do some personal property related business that I alluded to last month…. but I’m going to keep you on tenterhooks for the details on that one more month.
Until next month then, hope you continue to enjoy the long hot summer wherever you and hope you manage to take some holiday.
* Bulloch + Blog = Bullog