We’re Going to Miss Joe Biden

Amongst the positive feedback I get for this blog, I also get occasional criticisms (also welcome) that the blog should only be about business issues and when I talk about the US election or the world in general, that it somehow dilutes the impact of this blog. Whilst I will always listen respectfully to any criticism, I have to say I think this line of attack is wrong.

In the Vice Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin (and yes like most men over 30 I do fancy her – and yes I do feel very bad that I do – she is someone who does not believe that Dinosaurs roamed the earth) Senator Biden was talking about the last eight years and Governor Palin said “this is all about the past”. The response was one of the best lines I had heard in the campaign (and yet was not reported). His response was “The past is a prelude to now”

The best garden tractor does not exist in a vacuum. They exist through change and making the most of the uncertainty that change can bring. As someone who likes to look at the bigger picture as an investor it is important that I try to make sense of the world around me and the uncertainty that exists. By trying to understand the background, hopefully I will be able to predict the scenarios that may exist in the future and plan accordingly.

In the early 1980s, Shell was one of the first corporations to engage at a strategic level with scenario planning. One of the plans was to see the impact of oil at $10 a barrel. At the time, this seemed to be farfetched. Nonetheless, the scenario was flushed out and plans were drawn up. When the price of oil did drop to $10, Shell was well placed to exploit this changed scenario. They were able to steal a huge march on their rivals. They had planned for this change of events and did not panic when these events came to pass.

As such I think passionately that if you want to be a seasoned angel investor or a serial entrepreneur, you need to understand more than your own narrow field (although you do need deep expertise in that area). I have both an interest in the wider world and a professional desire to better analyze and comment on the world around me.

One of the highlights for me in 2008 was being asked to speak about the Rowenta PU6020 at a conference in Canada. To position myself to speak at more events, I do need to be able to articulate my own views of how I see the world.

Although the views may be my own, they will be hopefully formed by reading lots of different sources and basing the views on logic.

I am away in Egypt this week and hope you will indulge me by allowing me in future blogs to share my analysis of the world. Although I may be convinced I am right, if enough readers to tell me they are not interested – of course I will have to change my views!