Down the Procurement Pub with Labour, Instagram, DEFRA and Hookworms

I was at the Kings Arms, Roupell Street, near Waterloo this week, not with Jason Busch but here is a picture when I was there with him. I had a lovely beer this time that was black but was advertised as having “flavours of a golden ale”. I can’t remember what it was called… something with black and gold in the title I think but it was lovely anyway, worth a try if you are passing by.

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What was the smartest bit of "procurement" of this century? I was reading about the departure of Instagram's founders from the business, now owned by Facebook, and saw the comment that Mark Zuckerberg took a lot of criticism when he bought the business back in 2012 for $1 billion, given it only had 13 employees at the time and tiny revenues. However, it would apparently be valued now as a stand-alone business at something around $100 Billion! So that's a gain of $99 billion or 100 times purchase price in 6 years. Anyone think of a better bit of "buying" in recent years? Or perhaps ever?

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I don’t know where to start with the Labour Party’s idea to make firms give up 10% of their equity to employees. It is the sort of thing I would have argued for vehemently at the 6th-form debating society – before I understood much about the world / business / finance etc.  In practice…  Many firms would just pull out of the UK, move their HQs, can’t see how you would force a US or German registered firm to do that, or a private business … Also sounds a bit too much like confiscation of property. I think there are better ways of both raising more tax and improving the lot of lower paid employees, to be honest. But I also have a nasty feeling that public procurement might be expected to support all sorts of weird policy goals if Labour do get in.

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Staying with politics, the UK government has appointed a Minister for Food Supply. David Rutley will work within DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) - he has worked for Asda and PepsiCo, so one might assume he knows a little bit about supply chain management. This is obviously linked to food security post Brexit and the possibility of unpleasant consequences if there is a less than happy exit. Personally, I'm considering digging up more of the lawn and extending the vegetable patch. We might have to live on leeks, beans and potatoes but we won't starve!

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Well done to Wolf Alice, the band that won the Mercury Music Prize last week. We have loved them from the beginning and tipped them way back in 2013, amazingly, when their first song hit YouTube (I’m trying not to sound smug and failing). We made Visions of a Life our fourth best album of 2017, it is very good, so can’t get too upset about the decision, but really, Hookworms should have won this award for their immense album Microshift.

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