Friday, September 27, 2019

Foodie Friday: Probably the best Fish restaurant in the world …

For over 100 years the Passedat family has been combining the art of hospitality and gastronomy on the sea edge in Marseilles - their garden is The Mediterranean.  70 species of fish are brought to them directly by local fishermen and prepared in every way possible – raw, marinated, cooked, dried or matured.  From the Sea Anemone through to Octopus, Southern Fish in a Nordic caravan, Cuttlefish, Red Mullet, Sea Bass and much, much more.

With three Michelin stars for the last 11 years, Le Petit Nice Passedat is a Mediterranean gem.  Instinctive, pure, full of flavour and texture – live life to the max and enjoy the ‘Discover the Sea Menu’ – a 10 stage tasting of the simple and the exotic.

Here’s what we had:

Puligny Chapcanet 2015 Sauzet

Hermit age Chave 2011


Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Celebration of Friendship (Part III)

Eldest son Ben (Head of Talent for international media hot-shop Essence in Singapore) read Robin’s blog last week and sent me a note on what Friendship means to him.  Here are his thoughts.

The value of friendship.
Friendship is more than just the literal meaning.
We need to look deeper and understand, experience what it means.
It’s about the good times and the bad, no judgement.
Caring is reciprocal and done with not ego but with strength and love.
We all have weaknesses, but the value of true friendship is not seeing the problem but the solution.
I am fortunate to have true friends who have been by my side through right and wrong over many years.
I would not be the same person without them. Will Josephson, Dan Spencer and Andrea Ettorre.
A Kiwi, an Aussie and an Italian. And that is the most beautiful thing. They became friends with each other. And see each other without me. The true value of connections.
A cosmopolitan mix, yet we share the same values.
We grow together and we don’t grow alone.
I would not be the person today without these friends.
And I am always forever thankful.
And this is us in 2007, we may look younger but now we are wiser and godparents to each other’s children.
And that’s the power of friendship.
Every day we still stay in touch. The power of digital.
Ben Roberts

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Sporting Heaven

Saturday morning in a Manchester heatwave (somewhat of an oxymoron!!) in a great industrial apartment in Native’s newly opened (three days ago) aparthotel, watching the two best rugby teams in the Southern Hemisphere - and maybe the world (we’ll see), duke it out on day two of the Rugby World Cup in Yokohama.  The Springboks were focused, prepared and committed.  As were the All Blacks - who added X factor to the mix and triumphed in an outstanding contest 23 points to 13.

Walked on air to the Etihad, where in the ongoing afternoon bright sunshine, Manchester City bounced back from a poor performance last week vs Norwich, and caned Watford by an amazing 8 goals to nil - and it could easily have been 12.  The capacity crowd sang all afternoon as the Champions of England put Watford (who drew with Arsenal last week) to the sword.  All hail Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Bernardo Silva.

To cap it all, Wigan Athletic beat Charlton 2 - nil at home, and move up 3 places to 19th.

A perfect Saturday... now off to Pep Guardiola’s restaurant Tast to celebrate Catalan style.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

What’s Next?

“I can well remember standing on top of Mount Everest having reached the top of the world in every sense of the term and looking East toward the great unclimbed summit of Makalu.  Instinctively my eyes travelled up the mighty face of the mountain and I automatically picked out a route which Makalu could be climbed.”  Thus spoke Sir Edmund Hillary over coffee one morning in his Remuera home in January 2000.

At some stage in our lives many of us are filled with a desire or dream to achieve something great.  Then all too often the dream fades and life gets in the way.

I was in Canada last week when a young Canadian of Romanian descent fulfilled her dream.  Bianca Andreescu became the first ever Canadian woman to win the US Open Singles – defeating all-time great Serena Williams in the Final.  A great achievement in anybody’s life.  She came from a Number 153 world ranking only 12 months ago – impressive.  But what impressed me even more was how this 19 year old answered Pam Shriver’s big question – a question I consider to be the most important we can ever ask ourselves, and one we should ask every day – “What’s next?”.

Bianca answered:
“At the beginning of the year I wanted to crack the top 100, so I better start setting my goals higher.  Let’s say top 3 by the end of the year.”
“I always dream big.  I was dreaming of this day for a long time.  Visualising it every day.”
“I never give up, always want to show my best.”
“A goal of mine is to inspire Canadian athletes as so many have inspired me from an early age.”

A big answer.
To a big question.

I hope you can answer it in your own way.  What’s next?


Monday, September 16, 2019

The World’s Favourite Airline – Not!

A couple of weeks ago I was getting ready to leave Phoenix for Manchester (via London of course – British Airways should be rebranded London Airways), when Trudy was informed our flight had been cancelled – by one of BA’s partners.  Despite my BA ticket, no-one from BA told me.  We were rerouted the following day via Philadelphia – involving 20 plus hours of travel and waiting – and I missed my scheduled Booths Board Meeting.

The straw that broke the camel’s back.

I’ve had it now with BA.  I’ve been a loyal flyer for over 40 years.  I loved Concorde.  I loved the service.  I loved the innovations.  But over the last decade all that’s been swallowed up by inept leadership and a complete lack of customer focus.

I was proud at Saatchi & Saatchi of the advertising the Agency created for BA 20 plus years ago.  The World’s Favourite Airline we named it.  And it was.

Now it’s as far away from Number One as you can imagine.

55th out of 65 in a global, reputational carrier ranking published last week; 27th out of 28 for value for money.

The Airline is racked by strikes with hundreds of flights cancelled during a two day pilot strike last week, the in-flight experience is awful – hard, tight seating way behind all major competitors, terrible food, cheeseparing everywhere and a demoralised staff battling poorer work conditions every month.  (Only 56% of BA staff said they were proud to work there in a recent survey.)

Customer complaints?  Lots of them with only one in seven ever handled satisfactorily.

Power cuts and IT disasters abound.  Remember 2017 when tens of thousands of flights including three of mine were disrupted without any real explanation.

And last year hackers stole 380,000 customers’ personal data – resulting in the Airline being fined £183 million – but with no credible programme to safeguard identity protection going forward.

My trust in British Airways is now zero.

I wrote in Lovemarks – The Future Beyond Brands that Lovemarks are built on Trust and then earn Love.  BA is now a commodity.  No Trust.  No Love.  Just a corporate management who have lost sight of customers and competitors.

‘To Fly to Serve’ has never seemed so threadbare.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Celebration of Friendship (Part II)

To have a friend, you must be one.
- The Lone Ranger

A confessional from under the Jolly Roger (see Monday’s blog). No flag of surrender here. It’s in praise of the to the death commitment that sustains true friendship.

That’s an investment that comes neither cheaply nor lightly. Here’s the deal; Kevin and Trudy are our house guests this week. Looking forward to their visit I was excited yet hadn’t anticipated the actual impact of the experience of being with them at home, particularly with Kevin, this time. An aspect of taking for granted the nature of the visit had crept over me. Out of such laxness I was quickly woken!

Kevin is an influence of the existential kind, the most alive to the world and others person I know. His spirit is life lived, full force into the fray, full speed whatever the magnitude or emotional consequence. No turning back, little can slow him down in what he quickly assesses as the right thing to do. He acts. His mind, creativity and attentions to others all engaged together, relentlessly. Do, be, give it all. Rust sleeps in Kevin’s shadow.

This appreciation of the man, of my friend, is what I became instantly aware of in his presence. And in the same breath my gratitude, my fortune in having him as a best friend. His belief in me beyond my own opinion of myself. A declaration that opens me up to greater capability. A caring that connects me to an affirmation of a larger world available, and within my grasp. A nudging to engage what was always there but screened with the risk of to be.

This is commitment to friendship, a given attending to another. How critical that is at any age. The simple gesture of unconditional connection. A gift of giving that feeds the dynamic of reciprocation, taking another into your life and you into theirs. What greater voyage of journey and discovery than release from a limited perspective of inner self to a greater connected space with another. There is an honoring in the attending, which reflects back and learns in the process. It is the proof in the pudding of giving in order to receive, to give and learn at the same time.

Friendship is a leap of faith. We choose our friends, unlike our families, and we are chosen. The deep investment, time and emotional commitment must be sustained. No guarantees. You do not know how it will turn out or call on your responsibility to its expectations. Always the vulnerability, the deeper the emotional commitment the more pronounced the risk of loss. We can’t ensure we are a true friend, bound by someone other than ourselves, until we are in the situation. But always, as well, the possibility, the vitality of that special, transformational connection.

To the death, to the end of time, we fly our flag.


Monday, September 9, 2019

A Celebration of Friendship

As you know, side-kick and ex-Rugby team-mate Robin Dyke has just published his second book of poems, 64 Spurs.

I was in Vancouver last week working with Destination Canada on their new branding and Purpose – more of that another day – and we took advantage of that to spend a few days with Robin and Marline at their Cordova Bay beach-side retreat on Vancouver Island.

On Friday night, over a bottle of 2011 Flaccianello, as the sun set on the deck by the water, we got to talking about the importance of friends – and friendship.  Next morning, I asked Robin to write down some of the points he had shared under The Jolly Roger, so I could share them with you.

In today’s world we are so busy – with work, social networks, family – that we can lose sight of the value true friends can add to our lives.

He’s writing a guest blog on Celebrating Friendship today.  I’ll post it on Thursday.