Down the Procurement Pub with Per Angusta, Tradeshift, VW and Ryan Adams

Here is Pierre Laprée, our new friend and founder of Per Angusta, at the St Stephens Arms in Westminster the other evening. More about his firm to come, but a warning – there’s a pub that has changed - and not in a good way. I chose it, I used to like it, a nice mix of tourists, civil servants, even politicians but it is now 90% tourists and the archetype tourist trap - and when did it become staffed entirely with young , unsmiling, black-shirted, fierce Eastern Europeans (including guys on the door, like it is a nightclub in Ibiza, for goodness sake)? They specialise in saying “upstairs is just for eating”, and “you can’t sit there”, and clearing your beer glass two seconds after you finish whilst giving you the “are you going now” look. The beer is OK but the pub is now awful – a black mark for Hall and Woodhouse.

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At the Commissioning Academy session I was chairing this week, several of the delegates were Spend Matters readers which is always very gratifying, but one told me that he could no longer access the website at work, because his local authority employer's firewall classified our site as "Shopping and Lifestyle". I wasn't sure whether to take that as an insult or compliment... I mean, shopping and lifestyle pretty much covers everything really, doesn't it?!

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Tradeshift and Selectica announced a strategic partnership the other day. "Available soon as an app on the Tradeshift platform, the technology integration will bring Selectica’s SmartSource® strategic sourcing capabilities such as RFX, bidding, reverse auctions, and contract awarding to Tradeshift’s rapidly growing network of suppliers and buyers for increased simplicity and visibility across all interactions".

Selectica is now the parent company of spend management software provider Iasta of course, and this is another sign of how Tradeshift is positioning itself to be a genuine platform, open to other providers and "apps", rather than "just" the e-invoicing firm which is how the market originally saw them. If that strategy succeeds, we will be hearing and seeing a lot more of them in years to come, without a doubt.

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It's been a big week for news stories that have a procurement and supply chain angle. I'm sure we could work pigs' heads into our field of interest somehow, but certainly both the VW emissions scandal and the issues at Addenbrookes hospital will be topics that we plan to cover in more detail next week. And seriously, we were just talking about trading in our fairly ancient Saab for a Jetta or a Passat the other day ... maybe not.

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The big musical event this week was a very odd and rather wonderful . 41 year old flawed Americana genius singer-songwriter, Ryan Adams, responsible for two of my top ten albums of all time, Whiskeytown’s Strangers Almanac and his own solo album Heartbreaker, launched his new album. It is a non-ironic, track by track cover version of Taylor Swift's best-selling album 1989.

Sounding like Springsteen, U2, the Smiths, and various Britpop bands at times, it really has no right to work. But it does, brilliantly, making you realise how great Swift's songs are under the glossy production and showing Adams to be a great interpreter as well as a superb song-writer himself. He brings a sadness to the songs that contrasts the world-view of a 40 year old bloke with a semi-successful career and some disastrous relationships behind him, versus an insanely successful, talented (and beautiful) 26 year old. Compare and contrast.

 

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