Friday, November 29, 2019

Foodie Friday. The Home of Ceviche.

We are en route to Medellin to give a speech on Creativity and have stopped off in Cartagena, Colombia for the weekend.

A beautiful spot – with brilliant cuisine – fish, peppers and fruits in abundance.

A UNESCO Heritage spot, Cartagena is worth a detour.

We ate at three spots I can recommend:
·       Candé – in the historic city.  Dancing, eating and drinking.  100% local Cartagenera cuisine – lively, noisy, authentic, fun.  Great fish and decent Chilean/Argentinian/Spanish wines.
·       Alma – one of the best upscale restaurants in town – in the old colonial house we’re staying in – Casa San Agustin.  Exceptional cocktails, live music, coastal Colombian cuisine.  Three rooms – the courtyard in the open air is the most fun.  A great chef Herberto Eljach, a skilful seafood master.  ‘Magic Realism’ its theme (which it delivers).
·       And finally, La Cevicheria, made famous by Anthony Bourdain’s TV programme No Reservations a decade ago, it is simply the best ceviche in Cartagena.  Go for lunch rather than dinner.  Still no reservations.  Rock up, have a cold local Club Colombian or Anguilla beer and wait for the best ceviche you’ve ever tasted.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thanks for the dance

Released today.

A post-humous album of unreleased work, full of love, arranged by Leonard’s son Adam.

A gift from a father to a son.
A gift from a son to a father.
A gift to all of us.


Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Ride of a Lifetime

Jake Millar recommended Disney CEO Bob Iger’s new book “The Ride of a Lifetime”.

A great example of Focus, Commitment, Discipline.

He started with three strategic priorities and never deviated from them.
1)   Generate the best creative content possible.
2)   Foster Innovation utilising the latest technology.
3)   Expand into new markets around the world.

Focus.  Commitment.  Discipline.

Worth a read.


Monday, November 18, 2019


Humans are changing the world.

But the cost of our ingenuity is high.

Check out Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson’s new book Ingenious – stimulating, thoughtful, challenging and provocative.

Some insights worthy of reflection.
·       The pace of change is accelerating exponentially – can we keep up?
·       The battle between man and nature is raging – especially given the rapid developments in technology being experienced by Generation Z.
·       We are winning (living longer, most people aren’t starving, diseases are being conquered) and we are losing (mental health, obesity, cyber-bullying, climate change, societal conduct, disharmony, extremism).
·       Digitalisation is limiting the ability of a democracy to be the model of survival for a nation state.  Platform companies rule!
·       You cannot unplug the internet.  We have to make people more psychologically resistant.  (Bring on Active Listening and Mental Toughness.)
·       Today’s dynamics of social media and public discourse polarise people and create tension/conflict, rather than harmony.
·       In social media, you select groups you already believe in.  It pulls people apart because you become more extreme in your views.
·       We have lost the appetite for measured, balanced discourse.
·       People think they no longer need a mediator, or expect – they feed their own biases to find out things that support their views.
·       Humans are endlessly innovative – no other species does that.
·       We are endlessly searching out new interventions to deal with the downsides of previous interventions.

What to do?  (KR views):
·       Educationally – give our young people emotional resilience, self-control, EQ skills and mental toughness.
·       Politically – move to longer term policy making which is driven by leaders and Purpose, not by social media.



Thursday, November 14, 2019

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Finally got to watch Tarantino’s 9th movie on the Manchester – Singapore flight.  2 hours, 40 minutes of classic 1960’s movies with an imaginative, fast paced 60’s sound track – think Paul Revere and the Raiders, Feliciano, Vanilla Fudge, Los Bravos.

Kill Bill is my all time Tarantino favourite, but ‘Hollywood’ has passed Pulp Fiction to become Number Two.  It features Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in the two big roles, but has great cameos from Justified’s Tim Olyphant, Homeland’s Damian Lewis (as Steve McQueen) and Al Pacino, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, Margot Robbie and Dakota Fanning.

It’s the best way to pass three hours on a plane or a cold winter weekend / evening.  Funny, nostalgic, full of clever 60’s references.  It truly captures the mood of Hollywood and the USA in 1969.

Don’t miss it.


Sunday, November 10, 2019

Learnings from a Bookseller

James Daunt opened his first book shop, Daunt Books, in Marylebone, London in 1990 at just 26 years old.  I’ve been a fan ever since.  He added five more shops in London and became a Lovemark for book lovers.  Almost 10 years ago, James was drafted in as CEO of the mega Waterstones chain which was busy collapsing under on-line Amazon pressure and the death of the mall.

This year the chain – now profitable and growing again, was sold to Elliott Hedge Fund, who then bought Barnes & Noble in the US and asked James to weave his magic.  James’ formula is one I believe relevant to every retail chain, regardless of business.  His five fixes:
Empower booksellers:
Allow them to make decisions in their own shops.  The business model works far better than identikit diktats from an overly zealous head office.
Good books:
Stock titles that people actually want to read – and make sure they have a prominent place as you walk in the door.  Ensure that displays are consistent rather than having books jumbled together.
Impressions count:
A cosy space that encourages browsing is always more appealing than a big-box feel.
Details matter:
Customers may not immediately perceive them but everything – from the space (or lack of) between books to the angle of shelves – plays a part.
It’s not just books:
Think long and hard about which products to sell aside from books: endlessly stacked piles of dross aren’t appealing.  Quality stationery will work better than gimmicky fridge magnets.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The 10 F’s.

Spent the last week or so in the North of England with 35 top Booths Buying Execs and Store Managers.  Booths is a 172 year old Northern Lovemark, famous for its find food and wine, delivered through its 28 stores in Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire with its Warm Northern Welcome.

We were working on Personal Purpose and Personal Leadership before weekending in front of four Rugby powers – The All Blacks, Springboks, England and Wales slugging it out in the Rugby World Cup.  The Final on November 2 saw a repeat of the 2007 Final between South Africa and England – and the result ended the same – a win for the Rainbow Nation.

I watched the game with old school friend Brian Ashton who was England’s Head Coach in 2007 and we spent a fair bit of the weekend talking about the Mysteries of Purpose and Peak Performance.

Brian has been teaching and coaching for 50 years or so and has developed his own list of 10 F’s to keep him focussed, learning and operating at Peak.  They are self-explanatory.  Here they are:

Food (F Number 11!!) for thought.


Friday, November 1, 2019

Foodie Friday – The Stars Come Out in Cumbria

My home county of Cumbria in the UK now has more Michelin starred restaurants than any county outside Greater London.  We have twice as many as London per head of population.

Three Cumbrian restaurants received new Michelin stars in the 2020 Michelin Guide.

My own favourite, Ryan Blackburn’s Old Stamp House in nearby Ambleside, Allium at Askham Hall near Penrith and The Cottage In The Wood near Keswick, all won their first stars.

With eight Michelin stars and seven Michelin starred kitchens, Cumbria is now the UK’s top gastronomic destination outside the capital.

L’Enclume in Cartmel – UK’s top restaurant in The Good Food Guide, retained its two stars, HRiSHi at Gilpin Lodge near Windermere, my next door neighbour Forest Side, and Rogen and Co all retained their stars.

And watch out next year for James Cross’ Lake Rd Kitchen in Ambleside – the Good Food Guide’s top 30 entrant and The Samling – they’ll be next.

And make a note of Bing at Wabi Sabi in Ambleside – one day a Star will be his.