Why Busy isn’t the new Stupid

London folks, we don’t have it easy and we’re somehow proud of it. Within an environment, where a filled up social and work calendar is almost a social status on its own, you may ask yourself ‘Is this vanity, lack of focus or plain stupidity?’. Our view is it’s none of that.

Perhaps triggered by Ed Baldwin’s popular article suggesting that ‘Busy is the new Stupid’, our own hectic lives and the occasional comment of ‘But how do you manage it all?!’, we wanted to share our perspective on being busy, handling multitasking, finding focus and getting that satisfactory feeling of self-fulfillment at the end of the day.

The key to balance is in your pocket. Just unzip it.

The 50-hour work weeks, the early weekend brunches, the late networking sessions, the conflicting calendar entries, the late night gallery visits, the long commutes, the demanding clients, the demanding partners – may all sound way too familiar, but you must have that little smirk on your face, because you manage all that and so much more .

busy is the new stupid

If you spent as much time contemplating your life choices this January, as did the 41% of Americans who set a New Year resolution,  then certainly the thought of self improvement tricks, making your life more exciting, finding love or finally getting fit, crossed your mind (and the pages of your newly bought 2017 notebook).

While we don’t believe in the effectiveness of New Year resolutions, we are firm believers of goal setting and keeping track of our progress. As such, balance has been an absolute priority for the last year and humbly, we think we’re doing something right.

In a previous article exploring what is it like to work in management consulting, we highlighted that regardless how junior you’re in your career, having a say in your work routine is vital for progression, productivity and to be honest, sanity too.  Whether this is saying ‘no’ to work which will overstretch your capacity and make you sacrifice your weekend or being firm about taking enough holiday, training days or regular breaks, directing the balance in your work life is a prerequisite for finding balance elsewhere.

While some may find happiness in putting all their efforts into a single activity, we find self-fulfillment in everything from investing time in our hobbies, reading on the topics we’re passionate about, spending time amongst inspirational people, taking ‘me time’ to reflect, being focused at work and the impact we have.  Does this make us busy? Of course, but we choose what to be busy with.

Beat the comfort routine – make it happen.

We have all been guilty of procrastination whether it’s that side project you had in mind for over 15 months and never started,  the temporary exhibition you were meaning to visit or that conference you wanted a submit a paper to and just missed the deadline.

Blame it on comfort zone and inertia, there are still a number of solutions that can help you avoid the trap.  Here are our top 3 tips.

  • The calendar entry

You can never be too organised, someone important once said. Creating the tangible 2-hour slot entry to explore a topic in your diary or ‘booking’ a Saturday morning just for yourself with no distractions can make the difference between having a good idea and writing a business plan. Or finally booking that holiday in the Italian Riviera.

  • Being surrounded by people who ‘make it happen’

We recently went to a fantastic talk by Eileen Burbidge, a lady who not only is the UK FinTech ambassador,  but also a world-renowned venture capitalist, board member of 20 startups, a mother of 4 and overall, an inspiration for anyone who has questioned if you can have it all. While she felt strongly that the 50 – 50 work life split is never possible, she was a prominent example that making conscious choices how to structure your daily routine, makes a difference.

  • Hold yourself responsible

You would often expect a personal commitment from the colleague you work on a joint project with, so why would you treat yourself any different? Holding yourself to a higher standard is the best attitude you can project and you might even set an example for others to follow. It also helps getting shit done.

We all wear the hats of life and often switch between being good employees, husbands, daughters, friends, girlfriends, entrepreneurs, art lovers or avid travellers. It will be a pity to leave any hat behind.

busy is the new stupid

Be busy. Be stupid.

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November in London: Lobsters, Brunches and Roaring 20s Cocktails

November in London gave us enough reasons to spend significantly more time indoors, open up the salted caramel hot chocolate box, do another round of home decorations and invest in our favourite indulgences.

Polpo, Covent Garden

We got into the most common Friday state of affairs for London – it is 11pm, you’re yet to have dinner and the promise of a 20 minute wait doesn’t play well with the time since your last glass of vino. First world problems aside, we were pleased to go to Polpo and indulge in some Italian style tapas. This Venetian inspired place offered more options than our hungry selves were ready to order, but with a vegetarian Pizette and traditional meatballs, our Friday night felt complete. Service was great, as were the prices, so we expect to come back for some more dinner endeavours.  Ben fatto!

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 Percy and Founders, Fitzrovia

Every time we stroll through Fitzrovia, we come across numerous cozy looking lunch and brunch places which we’re eager to try, so when we got an invite for Percy and Founders, we knew we were up for a treat.  

We don’t actively miss opportunities for Champagne Sundays but when brunching for the first time at the venue, we decided to give our alcohol buds a rest and spoil ourselves with some French Vanilla toast – because dessert for breakfast is what adulthood is all about. We loved the vibe, the flavors, the atmosphere and we can see Percy becoming a close Sunday friend. With brunch options for under £10, this place is a keeper.

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Brasserie Blanc, Tower Hill

Speaking of spoiling, we had a divine work lunch at the Brasserie Blanc – a French style brasserie with ambient vibe, classic dishes and the strongest espresso we have ever come across. We indulged in a grilled lobster tail with prawn butter which was a solid chef performance and by looking at the steaks on our table – there wasn’t a wrong choice on the menu.

With a single espresso which gave us the afternoon productivity boost we were only hoping for, Brasserie Blanc is a winner. Tres bon!

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The Book Club/ The Hoxton Grill, Shoreditch

What’s better than a Saturday brunch? Saturday brunch in a Book Club. We knew the venue from a hot summer evening when we visited it as a night club choice, but were surprised to see a packed quirky crowd that was ordering pancakes as if we were in the flour decadence era. We enjoyed the vibe, the coffee and the food choices, but due to the speed of service, we looked out for the next destination: The Hoxton Grill.

As a continuation of our leisure exploration, The Hoxton Grill gave us all you might be searching for on a chilly Saturday – leather armchairs, winter garden, attentive staff and hot chocolate. With steaks on the menu, triggering our curiosity, we should be certainly coming for seconds.

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Bar Americain, Piccadilly Circus

For us, true lovers of the 1920s era, there was a special high pitch level of excitement when we got invited to Bar Americain – an art deco,  dimmed lights and Aviator style décor in the heart of London –  bringing you to early past century Paris without much effort. With a Lindy Hop and Mary Pickford cocktail choices, our taste and alcohol buds were certainly pleased and the environment brought such a retro chic, I-want-to-be-in-a-movie sort of feeling, that we would be going back for more. While the bar is little upscale, drinking Champagne in the roaring 20s can never be cheap. (Yes, some dates are better than others)

november in London

november in London

This November we also brunched at the Sign of the Don which offered us delicious Eggs Florentine and immaculate service, we had the compulsory Prosecco evening at All Bar One as well as the  pornstar martini night at Be At One; all complimented by a plentiful tapas indulgence at the Meson Don Felipe.

It will be an understatement to say we opened up the festive season with a moderate number of celebrations and we can’t even describe to you our December plans. Stay tuned for Part 2 of ‘November in London’ as we’re yet to share which inspiring business events we attended or how we escaped from winter London for a few days.

This is not a sponsored post and our reviews are honest representations of the dining and wining experiences we had. Are you looking for a dining review? You know where to find us.

Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

Travel in Style: Travel Bags, Love and Size

As much as we didn’t want to be part of the platforms that bombard you with Black Friday deals on the items you HAVE to buy, we started looking what will carry our dear belongings this winter and we came across 3 travel bags that made us fall in love. Deep, probably, unconditional love.

When size doesn’t matter…

If you go on as many holidays and business trips as we do, you’d know the importance of comfort, practicality and let’s say it out loud: vanity/ style. We were casually browsing Ted Baker and we saw AMITHIA.  Then she looked back. There is no need for convincing you that this travel bag is absolutely divinely gorgeous and for just under £150, your Amex can’t stay still for too long. Regular price is £199, but as the Black Friday sale is on until Monday, 28th, we can just encourage you not to wait for too long.

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When size matters….

If travelling extra light isn’t for you and AMITHIA can’t do it all for you, then EVILLIE must be the one. If travelling is known for broadening your cultural horizons, then this beauty is certainly in the art section. We really love the detail, shape, material, you name it and at £161 (reduced from £215), you really can’t ask for more.

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When size is irrelevant…

SOPHIAZ can help.  Don’t know about your weekend plans, but we envisage regular countryside trips, city getaways, friends sleepovers and who knows, maybe even romantic escapes. (Who are we kidding, did you read this?)  Our dynamic love live aside, we can’t help but see Sophiaz becoming a substantial part of our travelling entourage (Unless she fails to text back, fit all our belongings accordingly).

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Whether your heart goes for love, size or comfort, travelling is all about the journey. So you better enjoy the bumps and do it alongside a pretty bag.

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.

 

This is not a sponsored post and our love for Ted Baker goes a long way.

Can a Work Bag be Stylish and Practical?

Dear hardworking fashionistas, the puzzle of fitting a laptop in a pretty bag has finally been resolved. Here is our verdict on the stylish work bag that will save your shoulders, elegance and fashion status. 

Stylish Work Bag N.1: Milli Millu, £475


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This sexy Stockholm bag offers soft, grained burgundy, off-white and taupe calf leather, with luxurious cotton lining in black on the inside. Features bold edges and pale gold metallic logo and hardware. Fitting a 13″ laptop must be the bonus.

Why are we placing this gorgeous Milli Milly bag as our N.1? Nothing says ‘boss’ as well as embossing does.

This Christmas, the brand is offering complementary monogramming which gets us worryingly excited. If you have followed our love (and the love of others) for putting initials on various fashion pieces, you’d share the feeling. 

Stylish Work Bag N.2: Michael Kors, £302

Michael doesn’t need an introduction, but this gorgeous cinder grey calf leather totes does.  Farfetch is now offering 10% off your first order, which must be tempting you. It’s okay – we know you clicked.

Stylish Work Bag N.3: Radley, £169

This practically pretty (or pretty practical) Radley Liverpool Street bag has it all – design, functionality and style – just as it’s named after the bustling business district in the heart of the City of London. If we were running a competition for the best value bag under £200, we have a winner.

Stylish Work Bag N.4: Marc Jacobs, £508

stylish work bag

For some of you Christmas must have arrived early as this beauty is already out of stock in Harrods, so we had to work really hard to source it. Whether America is becoming great again, we wouldn’t argue, but Bloomingdales can certainly lift up the mood (and your heavy belongings).

We absolutely love this Marc Jacobs piece – unique design, polished leather, despite the little damage to the bank account balance.

Hobbs, £249

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This little luxury is the largest of the Hobbs Pimlico collection – high quality pure leather and fab design. No doubt that for this statement piece, fitting a laptop is only a plus – we know you want it just for the compliments.

Next time you wonder if you can have it all, the answer is probably yes.

Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

This is not a sponsored post and we have handpicked those beauties after a careful selection.

October in London: Picasso, Opulence and Entrepreneurs

October in London: what a busy time for our taste, culture and fun buds it has been!

Barcelona

The month started with a weekend getaway from London to sunny Spain – Barcelona! Think rooftop bars, wrongful number of tapas, La Rambla afternoon strolls, 3am wine tasting at the Ikibana and all-night dancing at Opium.

It wasn’t our first time in Barcelona and certainly wouldn’t be our last. Whether you’re just spending the weekend or going there for a full week of tourist activities, Gaudi architecture and chocolate churros must be on your to-do list.

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Images: The Majestic hotel/ Ikibana/ Opium

Events

We were absolutely honoured that we had the opportunity to talk about careers in management consulting at Cass Business School in front of a pretty enthusiastic bunch of 48 postgraduates. Customer-centric case studies aside, that session gave us plenty of material for us to write our latest piece on City Careers: Getting into Management Consulting: 5 Questions you were always afraid to ask.

We also were very lucky to get our hands on tickets for an Eric Schmidt’s talk on Artificial Intelligence at the London School of Economics. As very proud alumni, we even wrote a full review on our key takeaways, which you can read here.

Despite our current deep corporate roots, we have always had a thing for the start-up world and founding Suits and Books was very much out first attempt to create something of our own. We went to a talk by Greg Marsh at the Runway East, the entrepreneur who founded Onefinestay – the luxury equivalent of airbnb and what a talk it was!

As avid travellers and regular airbnb users, it was fantastic to hear from someone who saw a gap in the market, gathered a small starting capital (cough, cough, not so small) and managed to build a £200m brand in 7 years time. Despite Greg’s focus on the darker side of entrepreneurship, namely the sleepless nights, stress and work overtaking your entire existence, it didn’t put us off our own entrepreneurial endeavours.

What were the key takeaways? Despite running a company, heavily utilising the booming shared economy, Greg was confident that in order to start a successful business, you don’t have to follow the latest industry buzz or focus on a world-changing, highly intellectual venture. He stressed that a unique idea itself wouldn’t bring you a fortune, but a semi professional execution would put you in an advantageous position. Greg also suggested that the really hard part of running a business is not the sophisticated strategy planning or choosing which growth accelerator to follow. It was rather the day to day operations of hiring and firing staff as well as raising any rounds of investors’ capital. Nothing groundbreaking but certainly food for thought.

Dinners and Drinks

We thought we didn’t have too much indulgence this month and then we remembered all our fab dinners.

Having visited the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg a couple of years ago, we weren’t strangers to little opulence. Bob Bob Ricard certainly offers you that. Famous for its Champagne buttons, the place offers a mix of Russian and British cuisine, an excellent service and an evening where spoiling yourself is top of the menu.

With a few guests of the restaurant certainly competing for a princess status, we would recommend to bring that suit jacket with you. Just in case.

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We also had a fabulous dinner at the Garrison, Bermondsey Street and perhaps a little late, tried for the very first time their pork belly dish. Words can’t describe how good it was so if you’re in the area – certainly make it your dinner destination for an unpretentious but classy evening.

We made a return to Rabot 1745, just off Borough Market, knowing their extensive wine (and chocolate) selection. Moments away from the London Bridge madness, this place offers a quaint atmosphere, good wine and space for your ideal after-work catch up.

Certainly a much lively (and loud) place, we visited the Bierschenke near Moorgate and what an experience it was. Think dancing on tables, singing (screaming) songs out loud, being surrounded by trumpet players and 1l beer jugs. Oh, let’s not forget about the lederhosen. For anyone missing an authentic German bar experience, head over straight away.

 

Art

One of our favorite things about London (apart from the overindulgence above) is the culture scene and the National Portrait Gallery didn’t disappoint us at all. The Picasso Portraits exhibition is on until February 2017 and we can’t recommend it enough, despite how well you think you know your Picasso. With pieces from private collections, New York and Madrid galleries, we’re certain that it is one of the biggest Picasso collections we have ever come across.

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Going through an in-depth review of Picasso’s life, the war times that influenced his style, the success and struggles in his love life, there was certainly more than just a few paintings in a room to look at!

October in London, also offered some seriously good Salsa places, Halloween dress ups and WordPress lessons, but we just can’t share all the fun with you. 🙂

Look out for our new monthly feature which will cover most of our exciting endeavors in London and abroad! November is already in full swing and we have plenty of exciting adventures to share. What kept you busy this month?

Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

 

The Christmas Party Dress Season Has Began

If there is one iconic place for your (Christmas) designer shopping, then Harrods must be a good friend of yours. As the Christmas party dress seasion is officially starting, here is the survival guide to your Associate or Executive wardrobe.

Harrods

We, at Suits and Books, love our corporate wear. But there are times when project management plans need to be put to the side to make room for some serious party planning.

Whether this party season, you will be making an appearance at a City rooftop location, Mayfair venue or on a Thames boat ride, there are some key pieces that we can’t stop loving.

Bag it

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Associates, your after night carry needs will be satisfied with this DKNY mini. Yours for £150.00
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Executives, Tom Ford can only treat you right. Yours for £2150.00

Show it

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Associates, this stunning Self-Portrait, Prairie Lace Mini Dress will certainly steal the show. Yours for £275.00

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Executives, an impeccable gown from Stella McCartney, for £3,075.00

Heel it


Associates, black suede, skinny stilettos. Kurt Geiger beauties for £150.00
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Executives, who are we to tell you that Italians make the masterpieces of shoewear. Gorgeous Gianvito Rossi, yours for £495.00

Associates and Executives – any compliments received at Christmas parties… it’s okay, they’re all yours.

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.

 

 

Getting into Management Consulting: 5 Questions That You Were Always Afraid To Ask

We have the pleasure to have worked in management consulting for more than 2 years and the excitement of sharing tips still hasn’t faded away. Getting into Management Consulting still generates a fair bit of buzz, so we thought it was high time to compile a list of all those questions you might have been asking yourself and never got the answers.

1. What do management consultants actually do?

We are problem solvers, project managers,  graphic designers, data analytics gurus, client entertainers, occasionally brilliant presenters. More often than not you will hear that a day in the life of a management consultant is never like the one before. We wouldn’t disagree.

If you think you’re ready to face ambiguity, uncertainty, demanding clients, pushy deadlines, never ending to-do lists, then the life of a management consultant would be just right for you.

If you are ready to get onto exciting projects driven by the latest regulation, economic policy, social policy, competitive forces and technology innovation, you would also be at the right place. If you expect to be challenged on a daily basis, surrounded by smart people in strong teams and able to do work on some cutting edge pieces without telling all your acquaintances about it, then we might as well refer you for a vacancy.

2. Do you have to be an econometrics whiz who can build complex Excel models on Day 1?

If you are an economics graduate, econometrics enthusiast or simply a financial mathematics engineer, then complex excel models could certainly be your pet topic.

In all other instances, we would like to reassure you that management consulting is much more than data crunching. We mean it.

We would always encourage new joiners to develop new skills, stretch their own boundaries, go outside of their comfort zone, but will never expect them to know it all.

3. Do you work 20 hours 7 days a week? 

Management consulting is a client facing industry – coming with its demands, sometimes unrealistic deadlines, stressful periods, but also coming along with plenty of adrenaline, excitement and moments, worth working for.

Having said that, regardless how junior you’re, you have a role to play in defining your working hours. Always saying ‘yes’ isn’t going to get you that quick promotion, nor it will make you be perceived as the high performer you are. Find out what works for you and for your productivity and be firm about it. With good teams and strong management around you, your attitude should be appreciated.

We are not on the trading floor after all.

4. How do you live out of a suitcase?

We don’t. But if you’re tempted by the Hilton and Avios opportunities for points collection (and free holidays), you will have plenty of opportunities to get the most of your excessive travel routine. Depending on your sector, you can guestimate where most of your clients will be based and you can focus your efforts in getting onto a project that fits your domestic or international aspirations.

We are firm believers in being proactive, focused and aware of personal priorities and if that means signing up for solely London based projects, then enjoying our own living room is a little treat we can afford.

5. Does it matter what degree I have studied?

In the first week of our first consulting job, a director told us: ‘Consulting is easy – you design and you deliver. It is all the same’. While we had a serious dose of skepticism, a few years later, we can relate to some extent to that statement.

Whether you did SWOT analysis in your grad school or performed an in-depth biomedicine research, your university experience is helpful from a skills and behavior perspective, but hardly from a knowledge one.

If you have been an organised, great team player with attention to detail, that would be transferable to all your future projects and performance. Leave the economic philosophers’ theories for your networking sessions. (Please don’t use them as a conversation starter!)

Is getting into management consulting your aspiration? Tweet us at @suitsandbooks and we might give you a few extra tips.

Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

Eric Schmidt at LSE: our takeaways

Last week we had the immense pleasure of attending Eric Schmidt’s talk at the London School of Economics and here is what we have learned.

We always feel proud LSE alumni but especially so when sitting meters away from the man who was the Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company for just about 10 years. With the audience, being a real mix of LEO engineers, MSc students and City Professionals, Eric Schmidt spoke about how technology is impacting the labour market, law making policies, society, academia and even the occasional ‘But isn’t Apple better?’

1. Technology taking over our jobs

Low skilled, manual jobs being replaced by its fully capable tech equivalent is far from a recent discussion topic. Taxi dispatchers and travel agents have been replaced with a click of a button and there are certainly many more to follow.  With a few provocative questions from the audience touching upon the gray area between law, court decisions and the possibility of AI processing ‘light sentences’ in the near future, Eric Schmidt made a couple of strong points. First, he suggested that

“The last thing that society should be worrying about is lawyers’ employment.”

Since laws are becoming  more sophisticated, he was confident that no tech solution would be able to catch up with the progress in the area. Secondly, he stressed that most people overestimate the level of AI development today and even with Google’s heavy investment in the area, he wouldn’t be a supporter of law implementation moving away from human decision making.

So criminal law students, your heavy book studies should still be worth the effort.

2. Data anticipating your choices

Starting off with a recent airport story, Eric shared experiencing a lengthy cross examination by the security team, which could have been avoided if they simply had more digital information about him. This way he wouldn’t have been profiled in the group of ‘dangerous travellers’ and security could have focused on some more prominent candidates. Following a few laughs from the audience, Eric pointed that more information online, means more transparency, which arguably should make society safer.

Many would say that if there is a single company that knows us better than our closest friends, that would be Google. Just think browsing history and searches across Google Chrome, YouTube, Gmail – the list is broad and honestly, scary. And with our phones&tablets suggesting what news to read,  which shops to browse and which apps to download, based on our interests, the predictability of our online and offline behaviour done by an algorithm poses more than one moral, behavioural or even economic problem.

Just to be on the safe side: Settings>Location monitoring off.

3. British tech scene: Why isn’t it as good as its US equivalent 

With many British academics in the audience, a prominent question was why if the UK is often seen as the pioneer in the Computer Science space, the US companies are the ones who manage to capitalise on each and every tech opportunity. In addition, with reputable institutions as the LSE and Oxbridge having a central role in the tech space, how come there is such substantial funding’s discrepancy between budgets $4.2b (Harvard) vs £1.4b (Oxford).

The answer to both questions was simple – money. With less regulated financial markets in the US, Eric suggested that the flow of venture capital towards tech companies there was incomparable even with London Silicon scene, implying that the UK government should have a say to change that. Respectively, university annual funds collected through donations in the Ivy League outdo significantly its UK equivalents and nothing much beyond culture change can affect that situation.

4. Google versus Apple

You know that you’re at a Google event when mocking Apple is a central topic. Putting the rivalry on the side, there was a great question on Google vs Apple not in the usual ‘But isn’t the iPhone the greatest phone ever?’ way but more on business strategy and structure. As Apple’s growth went through a strong hardware evolution,building an infrastructure in which software and hardware are deeply incorporated, the audience was curious if Google is too much on the ‘soft side’.

Eric Schmidt didn’t think so. With global companies relying heavily on outsourced components (suggesting Apple was using screens directly shipped from Samsung), Eric argued that tech infrastructures nowadays are too complex to be completely self-sufficient.

Google’s approach instead is to build and connect solutions which interlink and support each other effortlessly. Looking back at the Big Data and Augmented reality points, it is no surprise that that Google’s expansion is beyond our mailboxes, eyewear and usual choice of vehicles.

5. What’s the next ‘Big thing’?

With most prospective and current entrepreneurs constantly on the search for the next ‘big thing’, niche markets with huge growth potential are often scarce. While the shared economy, augmented reality and big data are growing investors’ and entrepreneurs’ confidence, Eric Schmidt had a very simple recommendation – look out for the App market.

Who are we to judge!

Stay tuned for more articles in the category 'City People' as we wouldn't stop attending the hottest London talks and share our insights. Want to invite us to an event for our review? You know how to find us.

Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

Karen Millen AW16: The Fierce, Flamboyant and Eclectic

We have always been huge supporters of celebrating style whether that’s on the imaginary catwalk, at work or at the regular Sunday brunch.  And regardless if you choose to play the Fierce, the Flamboyant or the Eclectic one, the new Karen Millen AW16 collection will spoil you for choice. 

After watching the AW16 campaign video (featuring gorgeous Eleanor Tomlinson, Karolina Kurkova and Judith Hill), the mix of wild prints, rich colours, faux fur, suede and fluid fabrics made us reconsider how much wardrobe space we’d have to clear up for some new Autumn pieces.

1. The Fierce

You work, you travel, you date. Powerful elegance is your signature look and you know well what brings that boost of confidence. You have your style secrets but you’re willing to share with a lucky few.

  • Colourblock pencil dress£190
  • Long-line coat£350 
  • Statement sleeve dress£199

Karen Millen AW16

Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark fans!), for the Karen Millen AW16 campaign

2. The Flamboyant

You write, you create and you think. You blush when you’re called ostentatious and you can’t withstand a vivacious look. You’re best friends with Fierce, but you have the arty spin. 

  • Button-front faux-suede skirt£150
  • Leopard print faux fur coat,  £399
  • Black heel suede boots£350

Karen Millen AW16

Eleanor Tomlinson and Karolina Kurkova, Karen Millen AW16

3. The Eclectic

Your elegance is admired and your boldness praised. You make Flamboyant little envious. You invest in classics because know that everything new is well-forgotten old.

  • Georgette orchid dress, £199
  • Slouchy suede boots, £250
  • Black patchwork gilet, £899

Karen Millen AW16So which one would you play?

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.

Huge thanks to Karen Millen for sponsoring this post. You don't have to choose between Fierce, Flamboyant or Ecclectic wardrobe - fabulous can be a fluid concept. 

How is the Shared Economy changing the Middle Class?

Shared Economy, Property Bubbles and Drama. What next?

There is no doubt in the increasing presence of the Shared Economy concept (or the eminent uberfication of products and services) in the context of home, car, pet, holiday accommodation and even lawn mower ownership. Whether you choose using Airbnb over buying a holiday home, renting a dog for a couple of weeks when feeling lonely, sharing a car with a friend rather than buying one independently, the behaviour and the monetary pattern is clear. Individual ownership is slowly dying out, because consumers see more value in the one-time experience rather than in the traditional asset pursuit.

Has Access trumped ownership?

Whether you believe that the consumer is making a conscious choice or the market is forcing itself onto the individual’s decision making, the Shared Economy is here to stay, at least until the next market revolt.

What we find interesting to explore though is how the traditional division of working, middle and upper-middle class in the UK has evolved in this context of uberfication. Whether you agree with the traditional definitions of the three class distinction or to the more recent and more sophisticated discrimination of seven classes in the UK, the notion of ownership is persistent, with renting, owning or inheriting property having a central role. So, the question is, if the middle class chooses to rent because they don’t believe in the exacerbating housing bubble or simply because they can’t afford to participate in it, how “middle” could they really be?

In the pre-election frenzy discussions on the right to buy, mansion tax, mortgage rates and buy to let, we couldn’t fail to observe that there have been various attempts to solve the wrong problem, namely offering to reduce inequality by helping individuals buy more assets. If in the past, escaping poverty and joining the middle class was seen as possible only through moving from agriculture to industrialisation, then in 21st century putting the development of the country in the hands of the hype-induced housing industry is simply irresponsible from the perspective of the state, the corporate world and the individual’s options.

The new middle class doesn’t necessarily need to own houses. We believe that most City Professionals can feel empowered by much more than the opportunity for an upward mobility, enabled entirely from asset appreciation. We also think that several centuries ago this type of value creation may have been a true driver for a certain social status, security and comfort, but today ownership is often seen rather as an unnecessary burden than a wealth creator. If Piketty’s argument that inequality will always be exacerbated by the simple law of capitalism is right, then tackling the problem through more tolerance for the consumerism-driven school of thought is not just counterproductive but bluntly misleading though quite tempting for the blissfully unaware.

If you have read some of our previous articles, it wouldn’t come as a surprise we don’t have a great faith in markets. We find them irrational, inefficient and a little over-dramatic. Whether you look at the valuations in the London housing market or the social media/tech one, what is more than noticeable is the huge bubble in which price valuations have dramatically moved away from fundamentals. The positive side though is the occasional innovative occurrence of new conceptual forms as with the Shared Economy, which sets an example that certain markets can evolve to what we consider to be a more exciting, authentic and consumerism-unfriendly place where success and self-fulfillment isn’t measured by the size of your duck house.

Suits and Books. Our pleasure.

Swiping Left to British Politeness, Elitism and Rockstars

Due to the popularity of Part I, we decided to extend our dating takeaways because singletons you might think you have seen it all, but how wrong you have been. Here are the 6 dating lessons we gathered and believe us: no bitterness, just edutainment.

1. You will find out there is nothing glamorous about dating a rockstar

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You might never aspire to date a <popular musician> despite the perceived benefits of music jams, arty people and glitzy venues requiring full length dresses.

Glamorous evenings aside,  the reality you can expect are hyper fans throwing away dignity, standing in the corner drinking sub par wine and excitement levels close to zero. Certainly, not our type of a rockstar time.

2. You will meet men who redefine British Politeness

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Those who know us well would know we’re surprisingly British despite our international roots. Still, we find dating British men a fairly rare and often amusing experience.  He will text you, pay you compliments, take you out, pay the bill, kiss you, suggest you get married, put you in a taxi and then, disappear. As anecdotal as it sounds, there has been a recurring pattern of British men redefining politeness. A little advice: Gentlemen, you’re overdoing it.

3. You will meet someone who believes they’re special (by default)

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Whether you read economic philosophers, take 8 holidays a year or have a social circle that speaks 17 languages between them, having high expectations for your partner is nothing short of self-respect, which we fully support.

But dealing with someone who believes they’re special by default can be a truly painful experience.

With a French self-proclaimed elitist under the arm, you can fall for the distractions of diamond flashing,  helicopter flying or Caribbean island hopping. As you can guess, after a little while,  that doesn’t impress us much. 

Putting the fabulous Shania on the side, the true dating takeaway is that manners and snobbism come in different forms and you’re simply too good to be someone’s support function.

4. You will meet the Englishman, who ‘ghosted’ you nearly a year ago, and would think it is perfectly acceptable to invite you for dinner (and specify that he’ll pay the bill) and get surprised when you reject his offer.

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5.  You will meet the corporate lawyer who would remind you why law conversations should only happen behind the closed doors of the court.

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6. You will meet the established journalist who thinks you’re too posh just because you have a great job, decent wine taste and read Jack Welch before bed (Who doesn’t?!).

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Living  and dating in London often contributes to a solid meme-worthy dating life and as long as you can see the edutainment in it, you can’t be on the loser side.

 

Suits and Books. Our Pleasure.

 

 

 

 

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