Down the Procurement Pub with Garry M, Jim H, Tradeshift and Music

For various reasons, the Spend Matters office Christmas party was postponed this year, so here is last year's picture again, with Nancy and I enjoying - probably a cup of tea, actually. Well, its hard to have a major rave when there's only two of you - but Happy Christmas anyway!

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Garry Mansell has announced his retirement from Coupa Software, some two years after the firm bought Trade Extensions, of which he was Chief Executive. It has been a very successful integration, with Garry telling me last week that only one of the Trade Extensions team has left in that time - that's remarkable retention by any standards!  He feels he's managed that period, and now wants to spend more time watching both successful and less successful football teams, collecting vintage bank-notes and a bit of light property development ... We wish him good luck; he's done an amazing job bringing complex sourcing into the mainstream and he's been an absolute pleasure to work with over the last 8 years!
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Tradeshift announced the acquisition of Babelway this week. Read more about it here on the Spend Matters US site, including Jason Busch interviewing Tradeshift's founder. "Tradeshift CEO Christian Lanng said ... that it has worked with Babelway for six years.  'We have seen Babelway grow fast as a partner, and they have quickly become one of the larger players in the space,' Lanng said. 'This is clearly a growth acquisition, and we have high expectations for the future growth of this area as part of our app platform.'"

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A couple of comments about my top albums feature (published here this week). Of the top 30, 11 are female solo singers; 3 solo male; 2 female bands; 11 male bands and four mixed-sex bands. (If you add this up it comes to 31 because I cheated and had two “joint” number 20s!)

Anyway, that reflects both my taste and the fact that so many of the most innovative musical artists of the past few years are female – Grimes, Courtney Barnett, Lorde, Charli XCX, MIA, Janelle Monae, Bjork, FKA Twiggs, Christine and the Queens, Lets Eat Grandma, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Julia Holter, EMA, Anna Calvi, and many more.  On the other hand, the boys still join bands and play guitars in a fairly predictable manner – excepting the rap, grime and related genres.

I don’t have any great analysis here, just an observation, but even the big “mainstream” female artists like Beyoncé, Florence, Taylor Swift, Robyn, Halsey, Arianne Grande, Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus have tended to be more innovative and just plain interesting than their male equivalents. It all supports my theory that basically, fellow men, we’ve had it. The women are just better than us – that’s if the AI doesn’t get us first, of course!

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Sometimes you think you know someone and then … I’ve known BBC CPO Jim Hemmington for a good 15 years. He is an excellent procurement leader, thoughtful, great with people, highly commercial but very pragmatic and sensible… however, until we were talking in the pub the other night, I had no idea he is also … an author! Yes, Jim now has two children’s books published and available on Amazon. How are they doing, I asked. “Well, nothing special, I’ve sold a few thousand of the first one” he says, with his typical understatement. A few thousand - that’s more than 95 % of published books ever manage! Anyway, I haven’t read them yet, so I can’t review, but he joins our not very long list of “CPOs with hidden talents”.

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Rather than another Christmas song, or an oldie, let's feature Sam Fender who has been announced as the winner of the Brits critics’ choice award for 2019, the industry-voted prize for a promising new artist, previously won by Adele, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding. He's a singer-songwriter from Newcastle, with a pretty classical pop-rock style, but he's not afraid to address tough issues like suicide amongst young men. We wish him good luck for the future - he's good live too.

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