Martin P Wilson


Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Insight, IT

Facilitation and Mentoring for Success.

A Different View of the Financial Crisis

The Big Short Inside the Doomsday MachineSome unsung traders saw through the sub-prime bubble to make a fortune. Michael Lewis uses the stories to show dubious practices by many banks and brokers.

Rarely does a book on economics and finance entertain in the way that Michael Lewis achieves with The Big Short. Not only is it a great read but The Big Short also explains how financial products and practices worked and effectively brought the financial world to brink of total collapse. Michael Lewis has pulled off a tour de force; he has created a financial thriller with a great story of greed, possible fraud and incompetence whilst clearly explaining complex financial ideas. In the end, a few small funds succeed in beating the frighteningly incompetent big financial institutions and for once, it is a true story.

Financial Crisis; Stories of Success and Failure

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Aerotropolis, The Way We'll Live Next

In Aerotropolis John Kasarda and Greg Lindsay suggest that the future lies with cities that are designed and built round airports. The airports provide a focus for business and jobs. Globalisation means frequent business travellers want easy connection between home and airport. Yet it may all be a utopian view whose time has passed.

Aerotroplis, the Future or has its Time Passed?

The ideas in Aerotropolis are interesting and challenging. They are based on John Kasarda’s extensive academic, consulting and proselytising work. The book is structured around a series of case studies of airport and city development since commercial flight began. However the principal coverage is of the period since the Second World War with particular consideration of the use of the aerotropolis model as a vehicle for economic development in emerging markets.

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The Myths of Innovation by Scott BerkunThe Myths of Innovation is an interesting and challenging take on innovation and the creative process. It cuts through the many myths associated with creativity and especially breakthrough “Eureka!” moments.

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Smarter Decisions, Better Results


Business intelligence, decision support systems or data warehousing are ideas that keep appearing. Analytics at Work is a guide to implementing the ideas in Competing on Analytics. With Competing on Analytics Davenport and Harris provided a new vision for using business data as tool for effective competitive strategy.

Now Analytics at Work addresses the practical framework for implementing business intelligence software and analytical decision making processes. It stresses the importance of leadership in making analytics work as part of fundamental business change.

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Quick Thoughts

Has Military Action Ever Dissuaded Tyrants?

Syria - flagIn his speech before the war in Iraq Tony Blair, the UK Prime Minister, argued that not intervening would send a message that tyrants would feel at liberty to act without consequence. By military action in Iraq, he argued, those who would perpetrate atrocities would think twice. There would not seem to be any evidence, before or since, that would back up that contention.

We now have David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, making essentially the same arguments – do politicians ever learn from history?


Government Spending is not Driver of Growth

Parliament Square London IC02001If more public spending is the only way to create growth then surely governments have become too large a part of the economy? Government is about spending and has little to do with creating wealth.

The best government can do is move wealth from individuals and business to those who serve government.


Capped Bonuses, There May be Trouble Ahead

Politicians do not seem to be good at imagining unintended consequences. The cap on bankers’ bonuses, however popular, may be counter-productive in reducing risk.

Dark Stormy Skys and Beauty Often CoexistIf a smaller proportion of a trader’s income is at risk if a trade goes wrong they may pursue high-risk opportunities to get that big win. If it works they guarantee the full bonus and could also use it to negotiate a higher salary (and bonus) for the following year. If it fails the downside is limited by the capped bonus to a smaller part of overall income. At the end of the day traders are competitive and gamblers at heart so will they be more likely to pursue the big win when their own risk is limited?

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