Spent a fascinating afternoon with The Economist's Schumpeter, one of my favourite weekly columnists. What a treat! Essentially a business and management column, Schumpeter was launched by The Economist three years ago, designed to offer insights to "help people see business straight". It is named after the famous economist, intellectual and political scientist Joseph Schumpeter, who knew the power of a sound bite: in the first half of last century he coined the term 'creative destruction' - the idea that companies rising and falling would unleash innovation and in the end make economies stronger. He believed vehemently that innovation was at the heart of economic progress and he promoted the idea that business, and capitalism, could be a force for good - at a time when the prevailing sentiment was anti-business.
"Queen Elizabeth owned silk stockings. The capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens, but in bringing them within the reach of factory girls, in return for steadily decreasing amounts of effort" was one of his most famous observations.
The man behind Shumpeter is impressive in his own right. Management Editor Adrian Wooldridge is one of the most thoughtful and though-provoking journalists I know. Take a look at this week's article "Slaves to the smartphone" on the "evils of constant connectivity" and how we should all get a life. And this one from earlier in the year on "The dangers of demonology", which argues that hatred of bankers is in fact one of the world's oldest and most dangerous forms of prejudice. Now that's a challenging idea.
Adrian is also the author of several intriguingly titled business books: "The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea", "A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalisation", "The Right Nation - a study of conservatism in America", and "Masters of Management: How the Business Gurus and their Ideas have Changed the World - for Better and for Worse". This man is alive with interesting, original, often counter-intuitive ideas. If ever you have an opportunity to engage him in conversation, grab it! Lucky me: I got to spend a lunchtime and a whole afternoon with him as he talked to a number of clients for a piece he's researching on the changing fashions for organisational structures. It was utterly fascinating. Will reveal more soon...
As I post this, Nicky is on her way back to London - returning with a suitcase full of new clients and deals. Now that's how it's done!