Down the Procurement Pub with Tungsten, 11 Downing Street Art, Procurious, Christine and the Queens

This has been quite a week, with Jason Busch from Spend Matters US in town, the Procurious event, the Management Consultancies Association dinner and awards last night, I'm presenting at the LPP health conference today, a trip to Downing Street … Anyway, Chirag Shah, previously of MarketMaker4 and Xchanging, has launched a new procurement solutions business, Simfoni, with a handful of other well known folks from the procurement world. We'll have more about that shortly but for the moment here is a picture of him and Jason Busch enjoying a drink during Jason's flying visit to London this week.

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The visit to Downing Street for the Buy Social launch (see here) was my first time in number 11. The first unexpected thing about the spectacular Drawing Room where the reception was held is the choice of artwork on the wall. The priceless antique Chinese Lacquer cabinet is not unexpected, but the room is dominated by two huge 3 x 2 metre lithographs which are mock-ups of the FT and the Wall Street Journal, with witty and clever content imagining a world where artists and intellectuals ran the place (along with some politicians). “Mozart says more rhythm and variation needed in arms talks” for example.  The artist is Conrad Atkinson and I thought they were brilliant. There was also Dartmoor Time by Richard Long, a fascinating Turner Prize winner who creates art by walking in different landscapes and a couple of Mark Walinger “jockey” oils – all very interesting!

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The Procurious event yesterday was very thought provoking, and we will have more on it next week. One take-away was a binary divide on a very fundamental question - are we optimistic or pessimistic on the future? Paul Markillie from the Economist told us about lots of exciting scientific and technology developments that could change the world in a generally very positive manner. But Nik Gowing talked about the "unthinkables" and how the world was facing very challenging issues and a failure of leadership. Half empty or half full? And what can and should procurement do about all these mega-issues?

Jason was ahead of us and published two articles yesterday on our US site - you can read them here and here.

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This week Tungsten appointed Prabhat Vira as President of Tungsten Network Finance, the supply chain finance arm of the Tungsten Network business.  He’s a big hitter from the banking world, arriving from HSBC where he was Global Head of Strategic Transformation and Regional Head North America for the Trade & Receivables Finance business. Prior to that, he headed up RBS and Citizen Bank’s transaction banking business for the Americas, leading 380 trade finance and payments specialists across the Americas.  He will be “working closely"with Richard Hurwitz, the CEO of Tungsten Corporation, to develop a radical '100 day plan' which will shape his strategy for the business. He will lead Tungsten Network’s supply chain and receivables finance offering and will build on the launch of the Early Payment service that enables suppliers to, at the click of a button, get approved invoices paid early”. We wish him good luck and look forward to meeting him.

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I bought Chaleur Humaine by Christine and the Queens last week on impulse having read reviews but not even listened to it on Spotify. And it is brilliant – subtle, quirky but tuneful dance-pop at its best. Christine (Héloïse Letissier is her real name) is a French singer-songwriter who apparently identifies herself as “pansexual”, which means she sleeps with an Andean wind instrument (Spend Matters little joke there). Well, whatever her sexual orientation, we love the album, so here is one of many stand out tracks, probably my favourite track of the year so far. Warning – this gets into your head. “I’m doing my face with magic marker…”

 

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