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Tue, Feb

The late Leonard Cohen still makes me smile. On my favourite of his albums, ‘I’m Your Man’, is a song in which he grumbles “Now I’m in trouble with the jazz police.” It’s a daft song, not one of his greatest, but it resonates with me because I often find myself in trouble with the brand police.

Comedian Rufus Hound said 2016 was the answer to the question: what’s the worst that can happen? It can feel like that. The words ‘President Trump’ still sit oddly on the tongue. Every time I see him, I wonder, as somebody said of John Major, “If you were a self-made man, would you make yourself like that?” Presumably, the Pentagon people aren’t dumb enough to give him the real nuclear codes.

I don’t want to be the next Steve Jobs, Richard Branson or Alan Sugar. Just thought I’d put that out there because, after attending a seminar the other day, I learned something - but what I learned was the exact opposite of the lesson the seminar was supposed to teach us.

What would your ideal finance director be like? It’s not a question I ever asked myself until the other day when I got a PDF on the topic from one of those double-barrelled super accountants.

In my younger, more impressionable days, I was an avid reader of books that promised to tell me how I could manage my business better. I was a particular fan - and this will date me - of Tom Peters, the outspoken American business guru and author of such bestsellers as ‘In Search Of Excellence’, ‘Liberation Management’ and ‘Thriving On Chaos’.

News of the fire spread through Drupa’s exhibition halls like, well, wildfire really. Turned out it was not in the exhibition centre itself - so none of the 300,000 visitors tramping through the halls in search of enlightenment, excitement or a coffee were in any danger - but in a building full of migrants nearby.

The Russian government insists that Vladimir Putin has no opinion about Brexit. If so, he must be unique. I suspect that, like me, you have long since stopped listening to the posturing and pontificating on either side of the campaign – although the celebrity endorsements can be quite amusing. For every Sir Michael Caine who wants us out, there’s a Paul Cook, the Sex Pistols drummer who insisted that Brexit isn’t “punk”. Glad we’ve got that cleared up.

Noel Coward put it best: “The customer’s always right, my boys/The customer’s always right/The son of a bitch/Is probably rich/So smile with all your might.” Sometimes, it can take a lot to smile. Like the other day, when a customer phoned me just after we’d done a reasonably complicated rush job for him at a nanosecond’s notice and complained that he thought our prices were a bit steep.

Word of the year for 2016 seems to be ‘smart’ - five letters that when put together means something incredible, intuitive and beyond all other normal things.

At this time of year I like to spend some time talking to friends and foes in the industry and catching up on what everyone’s been up to. General consensus is that it’s been a busy year and I’ve yet to speak to anybody that isn’t happy with how things have been recently. Even the “stack it high, sell it cheap” brigade have been increasing their print prices over the last two years.

As the managing director of Mole Enterprises Plc, I would do – and I must apologise to Meatloaf and Jim Steinman for the plagiarism – anything for my business but I wouldn’t do the following …

It’s happened! For the first time I have been stopped in my tracks with the loss of an internet connection. No Wifi, No 4G. Not even 3G!

For the first time in over 20 years of working within the large-format graphics industry I am starting to feel that I'm not just a printer anymore. This moment came when I was on a night out with other parents from our kids’ school. Chatting away to somebody I'd just met for the first time I was asked the inevitable question: "What do you do for a living?".

Having operated a bank of solvent printers for a number of trouble free years, mainly printing onto self adhesive film, we were approached by a reseller representing a very large, worldwide manufacturer of inks and offered a compatible ink for our machines. The cost savings were potentially huge, the colour gamut as good and maybe even better than the OEM version, it was low odour and everything seemed to stack up.

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