What is in a name?

Data Scientist is the sexiest job of the 21st Century, according to the learned scribes at the other HBR, which is pretty good for a title that has only been around for 8 years (apparently coined in 2008 at either Facebook or LinkedIn). However the question on everyone’s lips is why on earth scientists didn’t think of using data before that? And more concerningly, where did they get all their ideas from?

Data, after all, is defined as “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.” That sounds pretty business crucial, and like something that should have been thought of well before the 21st century! We can only be grateful to the kind folk at Facebook or LinkedIn for rescuing us from such barbarism.

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Lines going up!

Serious looking people the world over rejoiced as squiggly lines on computer screens went up for the second day in the row.
After months of the lines on the screens going down, finally there has been some movement upwards. This made men in suits very happy, and lots of numbers and percentages were talked about accordingly.
The exact cause is unclear, with some attributing the direction of the lines on the screens to comments by an Italian video game plumber, and others saying it is something to do with some different lines on screens finally going up because of something related to petrol. Despite the widespread optimism, some are worried everyone is behaving too much like male cows, which seems unrelated but is apparently a concern. Regardless, we can only hope that this trend will prove to be long lasting.

Business is Awesome: Value

It has been some time since the awesomeness of business was discussed on these pixels. One might therefore assume that business has lost its way, and is now no longer awesome.

That could not be further from the truth. Nostalgia had me browsing through some nice lines & boxes & numbers from yesteryear (2015), from the nice people of Goldman Sachs.

One number in particular struck me, right at the bottom. In 2010, World Market Capitalization was $52tn. In 2015, the hardworking denizens of the business world added over $10tn in value ($10.8tn to be precise). That’s $5.9B a day, even on weekends!

And business people get so much stick! If increasing the value of the world day in and day out isn’t important, I don’t know what is. Awesome.

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Students and Faculty were united in shock after Harford MBA student Casey Fornhum was sentenced to 20 days community service.
The student, described as a “pretty chill guy” by his contemporaries and as “amazingly literal-minded” by his Professors, was arrested after being caught on CCTV repeatedly shoplifting Hole Foodz, a hipster delicatessen.
Casey offered no explanation, simply stating that when he had been told his presentation skills needed “more conviction” he might have got the wrong end of the stick.

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WWW: Mastify

Where we Work (WWW) is a series looking at the modern day workplace, and the many new and innovative workspaces that today’s companies are using to inspire brilliance in their employees. Today we meet Mastify, a mobile WiFi hardware provider for under-served Estate Agents

I know what you’re thinking. Everyone says it when they first see the office. Incredible natural light. That was important to me, when I was choosing the space. I can’t be dealing with those terrible office neon lights, I can’t work in a nightclub!

Sorry where are my manners? Take a seat. I’m afraid it’s all pretty communal here, and lots of our engineers like to sit in primary school-style “thought circles” on the floor because – that’s right – real grass. A lot of people said I was crazy when I wanted to have vegetation in the office, but I proved them wrong.

And we don’t stop at flora, we’ve got ample fauna here too! That’s right, employees are welcome to bring their pets to work here. We’re so relaxed that even strangers come with their dogs sometimes. Just make sure you don’t leave any mess behind, that’s not the Mastify way.

I’m afraid we don’t have a room where you can make at call, because we’ve really bought into the whole Open Office culture, so much so that we have none whatsoever. It’s just so much better for team collaboration, open-ness and transparency, and that’s what we’re all about here at Mastify.

Yes when we say “no walls”, I mean literally no walls, even external walls! We were thinking, we need to be outside the box, and the ultimate box is the office we work in.

So yes, that’s Mastify, come by anytime – we’re a hop, a skip and a jump from Hyde Park. Or rather – in Hyde Park.

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Be Resolute

What is a New Year without resolutions? Here at HardlyBusiness we have a few simple rules to make 2016 a bumper year for your business.

Put your customers first: without them, you wouldn’t have a business; place their needs above all else

Focus on your people: they are the most important part of your success, your most valuable asset

Think long term: don’t let day-to-day concerns distract you from your long term goals

Always be closing: a day without a sale is wasted, sell sell sell!

Do what you do well: don’t be distracted by one-offs and fads, focus on what makes your business great

Innovate and experiment: in this day and age you need to keep running just to stand still – how can you constantly innovate and grow outside your core competencies?

Stick to your guns: concentrate on your company’s mission for the year, and what you need to do to meet your targets

Roll with the punches: it is impossible to predict the future in today’s fast-moving world, so prepare to pivot!

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Out of Office

Dear Valued Customer / Revered Business Leader / Esteemed Colleague / Grateful Report

I am afraid that I am out of office until January 4th with limited access to email. If your message is urgent, please email me with the words “Business is happening!” in the subject line, and I will endeavour to get back to you (those words allow me to transcend the requirement for WiFi). Alternatively, activate the Bat Signal (Batman and I were at business school together) or notify the Executive Coach elders, and assistance should be with you shortly.

Yours sincerely / faithfully / graciously (depending on level of acquaintance and seniority)


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Grin and beard it

Appearances matter in business. Whether it’s an investment bank or a Silicon Valley startup, there are certain expectations when it comes to how you look. Facial hair, specifically beards, are a natural stumbling block for the junior businessman; Hardly Business weighs in.

The first question you need to consider is whether you currently have a beard. If so, in lieu of any howls to the contrary, you should probably keep it. Your appearance is part of your personal brand, and if you’ve got a beard, people will know you for it. Rebranding is a minefield, remember when Royal Mail rebranded as Consignia? Exactly. You don’t, because they had to undo it. Don’t be Consignia.

If you have confirmed your lack of beard with one or two thoughtful strokes of the chin, you might consider several more, as you contemplate a bearded future.

The first thing to consider is the job you currently have. If you do not currently have a job, consider a beard. It is a good hobby to pass the time. If you do have a job, then your industry is very important. If you are a lumberjack or a general outdoorsman, feel free to grow a beard. If you work in the media, you should have already grown a beard. If you do anything else, then I’m afraid a decision lies before you.

Can you grow a beard? If you confidently answered yes, with past beards to prove it, grow a beard. You’ll probably have one in 5 days, and have a promotion in a week. You handsome son of a gun.

If, on the other hand, you answered a more tentative ‘maybe’, consider your options carefully. If it’s a ‘maybe’ borne of optimism rather than realism, then your journey ends here. You cannot grow a beard.

And so we end with those standing hairless and unsure on the edge of a great unknown. We can offer but a few pointers. If you are the most junior member of a beardless team, do not grow a beard. Do not be Galileo. If you are considered very wise by your coworkers, grow a beard, it will only add to your reputation as an oracle. If you are a messy eater, do not grow a beard. Hair-trapped leftovers undermine even the most erudite business statement. If you have a youthful face, and are often asked how your work experience is going, consider growing a beard. It will add age and distinction. And finally, if you have If you just forgot to shave, you have not grown a beard. Do not wander so carelessly into such a major life decision.

So with all that in mind, just these parting words: I moustache that you hair on the side of caution, as beards are hard to handle-bar the savings on razors and shaving foam. If you can’t decide-burns, don’t let that get your goatee – beards are a hairy issue. [That’s enough of that – Ed.]

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Christmas at HBR

Christmas is always a flurry of activity, and every year it is easy to get caught up in it, with all the activities, gifts, family and friends. With everything going on, it is equally easy to forget what really matters – economic growth, shareholder value and market share.

With that in mind, here are three HBR presents for you and yours. A graph going up and to the right:


A picture of two men in suits shaking hands:


And a diverse group of employees celebrating a business deal:

Happy Business!

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Pair go public

After weeks of speculation, Henry & Sarah have finally gone public, announcing their relationship to their family and friends. In a move that was no surprise to analysts, the former best friends explained that they had been secretly seeing each other for the last few months, and were finally confident enough to let everyone know.

“We were initially slightly worried, because we didn’t want to compromise our friendship, but now we’re going to give it a proper go,” said Sarah at the subsequent press conference.

Shares rose on the first day of trading, as mutual friends and acquaintances expressed their support for the company, and their confidence in the couple’s long term value. “We’ve always said they should get together,” explained classmate Jesse, “they could definitely go the distance.”

However not all investors are quite so rosy, with some already shorting the stock, notably Henry’s mother Janet: “She always seemed nice enough, but I don’t think she’s marrying material; she is certainly not good enough for my Henry.”

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