The City Deal is a Treasury driven stimulus for empowering local areas to drive growth by putting greater resources and financial freedoms into the hands of local leaders and it is gaining much attention in Wales. It has the potential to deliver an extra investment of circa £1billion and if used wisely might have a significant and long-term impact on the economy of a region.
But could it also have an impact on Wales? After all, we are a small country in terms of population and could, with a bit of effort and innovative thinking, develop a plan that might transform the country rather than just a single city-region. My belief is that if can but to do so we will need to think and operate differently to the way things are currently aligned. Continue reading
I met Dido Harding a year or 2 back when she spoke at the Cardiff Business Club. She made a great impact on me as someone who is an inspiring leader, willing and able to get to the heart of the action and she clearly had exciting ambitions for the growth of the company that she was so obviously proud to lead. Not often do I see people in leadership positions that I instantly want to work with, but she was definitely one of them and I’m convinced that to work with her would be exciting, challenging and great, but very rewarding, fun.
Sadly today she is suffering an enormous challenge as a result of a cyber attack on the Talk-Talk systems. Many in similar positions in the past have hidden the issues from the public or tried to downplay the risks and challenges they have faced. But to her absolute credit she is out there, working the media airwaves, as the real leader of her company. Her message is a difficult one to deliver and it will be a challenge to convince people in the long term, but without doubt Talk-Talk has a remarkably fine leader at the helm and one I would still want to work with.
I’m waiting in a coffee shop whilst my car gets its MOT done. By “waiting” I really mean “having breakfast” and coffee. It’s a nice, clean, recently opened little place with a reasonable breakfast too.
But it doesn’t have many customers, 3 in fact in the hour I’ve been here and I think I know why. The service is lousy.
I finished my food over an hour ago and have been web surfing since then. The dirty dishes are still on the table and no attempt has been made to offer me another cup of coffee. An easy upsell is just about to walk out of the door, thirsty.
Simple things make happy customers, but I guess I won’t be back next year, even if the place survives that long.
The Kings Arms, Abergavenny
I had a lovely weekend in Abergavenny this weekend, not having been there for probably 20 years or more. We stayed in a very nice pub in the middle of town: The Kings Arms and would recommend it very highly. It’s a quaint old beamed building that has creaky sloping floors, panelled walls and loads of character.
The staff were really friendly, the room comfy and the food very good indeed. There was also a lovely atmosphere in the bar, which had some very good beer too.
I remember Abergavenny as a comfortable market-town, with small independent shops giving it a real sense of character. Sadly that’s changed: charity shops, branded coffee shops and a few super markets have changed the town quite a bit. And probably not for the better either.
It’s a real shame as it was once a super market-town, whilst now it’s changed to a supermarket town which appears to have killed off some local businesses. A shame indeed, some may call it progress but I’d disagree.
This morning I had reason to query some payments from my bank account and ended up having to call the fraud team.
When they answered they took me through security, but not by using the account or online passwords or codes I normally use. Instead they asked me detailed questions like: my full name and date of birth. Not very secret at all.
Then when we had discussed the details of the possible fraud I was asked to answer a series of pro-forma questions. One of them was: have you given your account details to anyone?
When I asked what “account details” meant I was told that it was my account number and sort code.
With that account information on every cheque that I write, it is potentially a very long list of people who know my details or, as I suspect, a remarkably stupid question!