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Matyas
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Think like a founder

Here’s a thought for you: starting a company is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. In the beginning, the founder has pieces scattered all over the table, and is trying to figure out how to fit them together into a cohesive, credible whole. There are pieces labelled ‘Innovation’, and ‘Market Penetration’, and ‘Business Plan’ and ‘Attracting Investors’, and so on, and so on. Even for a relatively simple business, there will be many pieces spread around, all of which need to be integrated so that the enterprise can become successful.

The thing that determines if it will be successful is the founder’s sense of vision. Even if they don’t know how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together, they can visualize what the completed picture will look like. Without that vision, they’ll endlessly be arranging and re-arranging the pieces, trying to figure out which part fits with the next part. In my experience, that sense of...

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The virtual haircut

The other day I went for a virtual haircut at a virtual barbershop. While I was there I was offered a delicious virtual cappuccino, which I drank from a very nice virtual cup.
Or not.

There are many activities where the virtual world can’t substitute for the world where barbers use sharp scissors to cut hair, and real coffee is drunk from real cups. Sometimes that’s easy to forget, especially at a time like this, when so much of our interfacing with the world is through our computer screens. Amazingly, many people have found that they can still accomplish a lot of their work while staying at home. Imagine describing this situation thirty years ago, and telling someone back then how whole office blocks would be closed down, and yet major businesses could continue to function, from people’s bedrooms!

Sometimes you just have to be there…


But, like my haircut and cup of coffee, some business offerings simply must happen between people, trading solid goods and...

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Read to win

I love books. I love the smell of them, the feel of them. I love adding post-it notes to indicate passages that are particularly useful to me. I love using my special Caran d’Ache pencils to make notes in the margins. I love returning again and again to favorites, old friends that I take down from my bookshelves and savor. Right, I guess you’ve got the message: Matyas is rather fond of books!

I read novels on holiday, but the rest of the time the books I read are all business-related, or from inspirational writers. It’s a habit I started as a teenager, and have never looked back. I knew then that the world was a very much bigger place than I could ever fully explore, unless I drew on the experience and talents of others. And that’s what I have been doing ever since, reading books with dedication, and thoroughly. I read books as part of my business practice, and my whole education process. Yes, I went to university, and yes I have been in business myself for...

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Re-mapping peak lifestyle

In the mid-19th century world trade relied on fast sailing ships which crisscrossed the globe. They were powered by the winds, and relied on huge sails made of cloth. If you were a sail manufacturer, you were doing great business. Then in one generation, iron steamships appeared, and the business of sail-making was pretty well trashed. Now digging coal for the steam engines was the business to be in. By the turn of the century ships were running on oil and coal was on its way out. Halfway through the 20th century, the airline industry was starting to kill off shipping.

And so it goes: constant change, the fall of old industries, the rise of new ones in their place. History offers the same lessons: That when change comes it can be decisive, and offer no route back to the old ways. The First World War (and the Spanish flu pandemic after it) brought unprecedented change. In more modern times, the fall of the World Trade Centre towers changed the way states asymmetrically combat...

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