Back to student life

November 2nd, 2009

So I’m now on the full time MBA programme at Henley Business School. Some of the posts on this blog might get a bit weird for a while as the only things I am reading are scholarly management journals. Going into the third week I have to say that it’s everything I thought it would be and more. And the biscuits are good.

Echoes of Columbia in RAF Nimrod incident report

October 30th, 2009

In 2006 a RAF Nimrod aircraft exploded over Afghanistan with the loss of all crew. The UK Government commisioned an independant review of the incident, and the findings were published on the 28th October 2009. The full report can be downloaded here. Reporting from the BBC provides an overview of the incident and report.

The main subtitle of the report, THE LOSS OF RAF NIMROD XV230: A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP, CULTURE AND PRIORITIES, gives a strong idea of the thrust of the reports conclusions. The author has been very direct in his criticism of two main contractors (BAE Systems and Qinetiq) as well as RAF personel and UK Government. The reports publication has already led to the resignation of the CEO of Qinetiq.

You can browse the report yourself online, however I encourage a look at Chapter 17, beginning page 447 entitled “COLUMBIA and Other Lessons”, where the author of the Nimrod report draws direct parallels between the “organisational causes of the loss of Nimrod XV230 and the organisational causes of the loss of the NASA Space Shuttle ‘Columbia’” and quotes extensively the Columbia CAIB report. The Nimrod report author also looks at several other tragic yet avoidable incidents.

The fallacy of the ‘luxury’ hotel

September 9th, 2009

It’s entirely possible that I am late to this realisation but I am going to say this anyway. In the US at least, the more you pay for a hotel the more it costs. That is going to sound stupid. But consider that at the lower end place where the competition is most fierce the WiFi is free while at the top end it is an additional fee. The same goes for bottled water in the rooms. Free at the smaller places and chargeable at the lager ones. Not just chargeable but not even a mini bar.

And this brings me to my final point, you will be pleased to hear. In the large tracts of the US where space is free the larger hotels have put in great big palaces. But this is a cover for the fact that those same places are being run on the same of fewer staff than the smaller ones. Consider the place I am in today – absolutely zero service staff but absolutely huge common areas and rooms. Its all an illusion.

Here endeth the business travellers rant of the day.

The best side of the city

August 24th, 2009

When travelling around I try to go for a light (very light, I am in no way a fit person) jog around the city I am in, often early in the morning. Admittedly this doesn’t actually happen as often as I would like it to, but sometimes I drag myself out.

This weekend we were in London and I started out from St James’s, out through Whitehall, Horseguards and back up through Trafalgar Square. Not a long turn for sure, but really refreshing. And not just in the physical or mindset sense. It struck me that the early morning, when the city is just waking, is a great time to get the bearings of a place or remind yourself of its greatness. Which was what happened this weekend. There really is a lot in London to be proud of. Its no angel of course it has its downsides, but overall its credits far outweigh its debits.

There’s eight of us, and all we want is chicken

April 26th, 2009

The popularity of Nandos really is, it seems to me, a sign that we really have reached the depths of despair. You see, all Nandos serves is chicken. Just chicken. And maybe some sweetcorn on the side. As we walked last night past a sandwich board (oh for a sandwich!) declared “Chicken platter for eight to share!”.

Perhaps irrationally many things bother me about the popularity of Nandos. The collective lack of adventure in the nations tastes. The further manifestation of the decline of individuality. The rubbish quality of the chicken itself.

And its not a class thing. There’s enough on the Internet already about class wars around Nandos entering peoples neighbourhoods, and that’s not my point. Its about the food itself not the clientele. Class, taste and culinary adventure are not linked in my mind.

Glorious Cornwall weekend

March 24th, 2009

In the words of everyone’s grandmother it has to be said, we did “get lucky with the weather”. We spent a long weekend in St Mawes, Cornwall with our friends Kate and Hannah, and it was absolutely fabulous. The sun shone, the bubbles / mojitos flowed. We even got out for some nice walks in the rolling hills, in particular to St Just and also around Trelissick.

The photos are here (if you are a Flickr friend then login to see more).

A big mention must go to the Tresanton Hotel. What a truly awesome place, though not if you are watching the budget. Poached eggs in the morning, big balcony with sea view and cocktails on tap, I have simple tastes. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Old but pure gold

December 21st, 2008

It would take someone with no soul to ever tire of watching the Evolution of Dance. Utter genius.

How much bath salt is enough?

December 9th, 2008

So here I am in Mumbai of all places. Just for the day, off to Delhi tomorrow morning. This is the second trip to India in two weeks. This one was more unexpected, with roughly two days notice. It comes off the back of a great weekend. My sister got married and it was all good, as weddings should be. My sister was worried about my speech beforehand but she needn’t have worried.

Sadly I land on Saturday morning and after a break of about four hours am off again to Dubai – not much time to get home, say hi to Helen, wash and get back. But the time at home will be worth the trip down the M4.

And so to the main point of my post. The hotel has provided this tub of bath salts. There’s got to be a good tea caddy worth there. How much to tip in? All of it? I have no experience of this, so I’ll chuck it all in and see what happens. Does anyone have any bath salt advice?

Browsing schmowsing

October 18th, 2008

I cannot understand why anyone would go to the shops without the intention, need and cash to buy something. Browsing people – get out of my way I need to buy stuff!

The genius of the MoGo Mouse

October 12th, 2008

OK, this is a little bit of a techie post, but it has to be said. The MoGo Bluetooth Mouse is a work of genius. Often the things that are brilliant are the ones you think – “that is so simple why didn’t I think of that?”. Its the size of a PC Card (there are other versions to fit other laptop slots) and goes into the PC Card slot of the laptop, where it quietly waits for that moment when you wish you had a mouse, charging its battery. So you don’t have to carry a separate mouse around, its hiding inside the laptop! Utter brilliance. If that wasn’t enough its also an excellent responsive mouse when let out of its hiding place.