Letter from London - Tuesday 25 February 2014

Bankers pay themselves too much - that's the gist of today's opinion from London UK.

The front page headline in Metro "the world's most popular free newspaper" (strap-line) says

"Dear EU, here's what we think of your bonus cap. Love, HSBC - £8m for Britain's best-paid banker".

And it's raining too.

The good news is more to do with catering & restaurants.

On an Aer Lingus flight from Cork to Heathrow I was admiring "Cara" inflight magazine. Variety, balance & quality of writing...

When I struck up conversation with the woman next to me, it turned out she too liked Cara - better than the RyanAir mag.

"They replace them more often - RyanAir one's are usually well thumbed & old-looking" said she.

Our chat took off & lasted until she got off the Piccadilly Line at Acton Town. It turned out she's a catering manager in charge of several establishments. We agreed that being a catering manager was excellent training for general management: you have to hire, grow & fire people - find, nurture & replace suppliers - control cash, portions & waste - attract, welcome & serve customers. Plus - you have to get hot & bothered in the kitchen too - character-building now that you must prevent knife-throwing by chefs.

What a good thing it is to chat with strangers.

Especially when one such chat is followed by another chance meeting with the owner of a new brand : Jackson & Rye (her new restaurant on Waldour Street off Oxford Street).

She's hoping to build out from that home base. But - as if that wasn't enough of a challenge in the "mature" UK market - she arrived at our table hot from her other new venture.

Serial entrepreneur - it was a blast to chew the cud with her so soon after the "catering" woman on the Aer Lingus flight.

Especially to compare her American-style restaurant with Nando's...

Also to hear her perception of Nando's brand as down-market & serving hamburgers. A travesty in my view (but my Nando's experience is limited to one in Mahon Point Shopping Centre Cork).

Writing to you from London UK (not London Ontario) is an opportunity to tell you how mind-expanding it is to hop on a train, boat or plane (Bert Bacharack song reference).

You don't have to go far to increase your business intelligence.

You don't have to spend a fortune to build brand awareness - expand your circle of contacts -win friends & allies - enjoy yourself.

Travel on behalf of your business, your project, your career prospects.

As I tap this blogpost to you on the Squarespace App on iPhone - riding this Tube train leaving Earl's Court for Heathrow - I assure you if you stay all year in Limerick, Waterford, Cork, Galway or even Dublin - you'll be dull as ditchwater, self-opinionated, unwise & not worth investing in.

London may have had the Olympics, an Empire, Ken Livingstone & Queen - but you can have your own London experience tomorrow.

Go travelling - chat with strangers - have more meaningful conversations.

All the best from
the Underground.