Steve Jobs Headshot

The day Steve Jobs’ company hit the ultimate high

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2012: On the day this article was written, Apple Computer became the most valuable corporation in the world. Less than two months later, on 11 October 2011, its co-founder and chairman Steve Jobs (56) lost his long battle against cancer. Apple has continued to thrive after Job’s death, the market cap rising 57% … Read more

Garth Griffin

Maybe Absa’s troubles have only started

Garth Griffin

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2012: At the time this article was written, Absa’s share price had dropped in a week from R157 to R135. The setback wasn’t temporary. In five months since the price has remained at the lower level, marking time. At the end of August, Absa’s parent Barclays appointed Antony Jenkins as its new CEO. He has spent his first few months grappling with a group-wide review of Barclays, focusing on how to change its culture and strategy.

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Trevor Manuel

South African life assurance industry’s Hiroshima

Trevor Manuel

December 14, 2005

Her face was one big snarl. Although dutifully recording my responses her whole look shouted out: who do you think you are, you upstart know-nothing? Actuaries, doctors, other people infinitely smarter that you have calculated our commission structures. Who are you to criticize them?

This was 1984, the year of Orwell’s Big Brother. The power of life offices was at its zenith. A time before Robin McGregor sold out to the Evil Empire, when he still railed about four groups controlling 80% of corporate South Africa. And how three of them were assurance companies.

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malcolm gladwell

Leadership lessons from Gladwell, Hamel and more

malcolm gladwell

August 17, 2009

Working in the media has its benefits. By the nature of news, you get exposed to the exceptional. That uniquely positions you to think. To absorb. Pity it’s taken me a couple decades to work this out.

Only recently did the penny drop that actually understanding what interviewees are trying to communicate is more important that getting the story out fast. It’s what makes the difference quality and quantity. Especially when tackling topics where there are no concrete answers. Places where everyone has an opinion. Like Leadership.

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celebrate SA

Thinkpiece: Let’s not forget to count our blessings in SA

celebrate SADecember 17, 2010

Money was the global story of the Noughties. Mostly about making it, no matter how rudely. Since the 2008 Crash it’s been all about losing it. First playing the victim and then joining any lynch mob chasing “those greedy bankers” whose RemCos, CDOs, LBOs and other anagrams done us all in.

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Rudy Guiliani

My take on the Discovery Leadership Summit – 2010

Rudy GuilianiThe first thing greeting visitors to my studio-come-office on our Mooi River farm is a beaming yours truly sandwiched between Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger – the priceless memory of my meeting with two financial geniuses known to the world through their creation, Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett and Munger’s old-fashioned values and wisdom that only comes from the extremely well read, has influenced the lives of thousands, myself included. That photograph is a daily reminder that life should be a process of aspiring for more than material benefits.

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shark the book

Shark – Carel van der Merwe

shark the bookIt should bother all of us that many of the best South African authors ply their trade writing authorized biographies or are caught in the Struggle Era where harsh, crude imagery is obligatory.

Few seem to have realized that by far our most successful writer, Wilbur Smith, has done so by story telling. And that he has worked from a canvass where fascinating material is as plentiful as proverbial low hanging fruit.

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gone with the wind

Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

gone with the windAs a country boy raised on Western flicks, old-time values and games of make-believe, the American Civil War always had an inherent attraction.

During the first half of the 1860s the underdog Southerners – much like South Africa’s Boers four decades years later – fought against impossible odds to maintain a romanticized way of life built on honour.

Was that the real reason those under the Stars and Bars defended the apparently indefensible for four long years? And how was it possible these out-gunned, out-resourced troops, rallied only by their Cause and the brilliant Robert E Lee, inflicted casualties far in excess of those they sustained?

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One time gold guru Nick Goodwin - his reputation came to a sticky end in late 2005 when he called a bullion bust that never happened

The call that killed Nick Goodwin, gold guru

One time gold guru Nick Goodwin - his reputation came to a sticky end in late 2005 when he called a bullion bust that never happened

December 1, 2005

For two decades I’ve had the pleasure of working with leading technical analysts and gold commentators Nick Goodwin (pictured left) and Issy Bacher. Both have retained their reputations because of consistency – being right more often than wrong.

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Old Mutual's CEO Jim Sutcliffe hunted Skandia for years. Overpaying for the purchase would eventually cost him his job.

History suggests Old Mutual overpaid for Sweden’s Skandia

Old Mutual's CEO Jim Sutcliffe hunted Skandia for years. Overpaying for the purchase would eventually cost him his job.

December 19, 2005

Old Mutual’s dogged pursuit of Sweden’s Skandia has ended almost a year after talks started last December. The 800 000 South Africans who own Old Mutual shares will be hoping it’s worth the R850m in advisory fees being paid to London-based lawyers, bankers and financiers.

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