The Bullog – August 2018
Show me the business case! It’s probably the most fundamental document for any commercial venture. Something that shows, in great detail, the project revenue streams for a particular venture and how they’re anticipated to grow over time. It details the costs, the risks, an over-arching strategy and perhaps even a mission statement to boot. Yep, as someone who spent much of his time as a strategy consultant, business cases were my bread and butter.
I just bought Craigberoch Farm on the Isle of Bute, Scotland, with none of the above. It’s pure intuition – not a number or spreadsheet in sight. And when you see the pictures of this roofless ruin, you’ll probably think I’ve gone a bit nuts (and as most of you know, I have a bit of form there). But it feels right and that’s just as important sometimes as any business case.
Why did I do it? Well, it’s been an idea that’s been brewing for a while. Namely, to create some kind of business “decelerator” on the beautiful island where I grew up (as you’ll of course know if you’ve read the first four chapters of my book) . A farm that doesn’t grow crops or cattle, but instead grows and develops people. A co-working, co-living space where business people can escape the frenzy of the fast lane and be exposed to artists, musicians and indeed beautiful raw nature. The hope is to develop the right side of the brain that most MBA courses completely neglect. A place that will nurture creativity and innovation to produce a cadre of purpose driven intrapreneurs within large corporates, while at the same time incubating local entrepreneurs in the community.
I freely admit that it’s a big ambitious dream and there are a good couple of years of renovation work ahead. But I’m excited about the prospect of being involved in something very different, and hope to involve some of you too in the process if you’re interested. Watch this space for some early concept designs coming through from Colin the architect, who specialises in sustainable design. Or in the meantime, if you see something that looks cool then feel free to send a pic through.
So I suppose that’s my big news of the month. Don’t expect something quite as bizarre in September’s Bullog.
In general August tends to be a slightly quieter month as most of Europe (at least) takes a bit of a break – and this August was no different.
I did have a fun night at CERN, the gigantic particle accelerator in Geneva, giving a presentation called “Confessions of a Corporate Insurgent” thanks to an introduction from my friend Hilary Nathan, who heads up their foundation. There was a diverse mixture of older CERN staffers together with newer recruits and summer interns – more millennials I’d say. This made for a really rich and enjoyable Q&A. The fact it was in their innovation centre and next to a double decker London bus only added to the fun!
Still on my favourite subject of intrapreneurship and corporate insurgencies, I hosted a “fireside chat” for a small group of Fellows of The League of Intrapreneurs. No, there was not a fire in sight as it was done by Zoom video conference – but you get the idea. A bit of a virtual “alcoholics anonymous” meeting for corporate rebels and misfits who are looking for ideas, support and perhaps most of all understanding, as they try to drive positive change in their organisations.
On the personal front, I did manage to take some time off and am writing this on the way back from 10 glorious days in sunny Ibiza. If you think it’s an island of nothing but massive all-night clubs, drunken louts and drugs galore then you need to visit the more remote parts of the island. We were lucky to have a great guide in the form of my good friend Zahid Torres-Rahman and his wife Yvette who run Business Fights Poverty from their home on the island. If anyone is looking for tips on work life balance and getting your priorities right, then have a word with Zahid and Yvette. They’ve cracked it.
I’ll end with a huge thank you. With your help I just passed the 50 review mark on Amazon and they’re almost all 5 star. I’m incredibly grateful to all of you who took the time and am hoping this will trigger some clever Amazon algorithm that will add it to their recommended reading list for Christmas. Wishful thinking.
Next month I’ve got a bunch of events coming up in New York that coincide with the annual UN General Assembly. Hope to catch up with some of you there and will send an update in the next Bullog. Until then,
Best wishes, Gib
* Bullog = Bulloch + Blog
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