Come dine with me: Quid's Gourley takes on SAP's Graf (right)
“I refuse to accept that small companies innovate and disrupt and large companies don’t, because that’s fundamentally wrong.”
That was the response of Peter Graf, Silicon Valley-based chief sustainability officer of SAP, to some sustained needling from Sean Gourley, co-founder of Quid, at a debate I chaired last week at the FT’s Innovate America conference on the Stanford campus. (The full video is here – things really start to kick off about eight minutes from the end). Read more
The next prize in my Golden Flannel Awards 2013 is the COMMUNICATIONS CUP.
This is awarded for the most awful way of suggesting that two people meet, email or talk. As I explained yesterday, I’m asking you to cast your vote below: this year’s awards are truly democratic.
As a renowned thought leader in the jargon space, I am intrigued by this category. Meeting, talking on the phone and emailing are all pretty straightforward, so you wouldn’t have thought new words were needed to describe them. But evidently they are, which explains why this category continues to dazzle and amaze year after year. Previous winners have included: to reach out, to circle back and to revert. All three are terrific, and all are still in use. However, in 2013 there have been many additions of which the best (worst) are: Read more
Firing with finesse: George Clooney played a downsizing expert in the film 'Up in the Air'
Every year at around this time I hand out prizes for the finest examples of corporate drivel written or uttered in the last twelve months. The point of my Golden Flannel Awards (now in their splendid 8th year) is to celebrate business leaders and companies that have gone the extra mile to push the envelope when it comes to creovative, best-of-breed drivel. As I’ve often pointed out, the great thing about the bullshit market is that it only has a bull phase, which means that every year the awards go on getting better (or worse).
This year, in recognition of the sheer scale and maturity of the bull industry, I’ve decided to conduct the Flannel Awards in a more organised way. In the past I’ve chosen the winners myself. But this year I want FT readers to help me. Every day until Christmas I’ll be posting shortlists for a different category on this blog and I would like you to tell me which you think deserves the prize. The shortlists are short, as I’m only putting forward things that I think are a) new b) excruciatingly awful. However, if anyone has come across any more worthy examples, let me know. The glorious winners will be announced in my first column of 2014. Without more ado, here is the first category: Read more
GM's off – and Barra's driving (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Of two immediately obvious facts about Mary Barra, chief executive elect at General Motors, the more interesting is not that she is a woman but that she is a company “lifer”.
To my mind, GM looks as though it is signalling that it has turned the corner following the trauma of government bailout, just as Citigroup did when it appointed career insider Michael Corbat as chief executive last year. Read more
Before long, “everything that computes will connect, and everything that connects will compute”, Abhi Ingle, who spearheads innovation at AT&T, told last week’s FT Innovate America conference in Silicon Valley.
EADS closes Paris: "Someday you'll understand…" ('Casablanca', AP Photo, Files)
If corporate headquarters always have a symbolic as well as an organisational function then EADS’ arrangements symbolised the political complexity of the pan-European aerospace and defence company.
The group’s website lists three “head offices” – in Paris, Munich and Madrid – and one “headquarters”, in Amsterdam. But since an April reorganisation, the group has referred to Toulouse, where chief executive Tom Enders and the important Airbus business are based, as its “single operational headquarters”. That should have been a clue to staff elsewhere that their future might not be so stable. If you’re not operational, you are probably an overhead. So it has proved: EADS is poised to close the Paris office, next to the Bois de Boulogne. Read more
Sitting in the Sunken Overlook amphitheatre on the High Line – the public garden that runs along a former elevated railway on the west side of Manhattan – is like being in a museum of the 20th century. The work on display through the plate glass windows is Tenth Avenue (People Driving Cars).