March 2020


It’s embarrassing really.

Not only do I very often have no strategy at all for my own businesses.

(When I am.

At the same time.

Advising other businesses on theirs).

But if someone asked me to define the word strategy.


And in a way that is actually useful.

I’m not sure I could.


I thought I’d better sort that out.

Three Steps. 


I’ve kept it simple.

Here are three steps.

On how to get your act together.

On the subject of business (or life) strategy.

  1. Set a Goal. Describe the change you want to make – clearly.
  2. Strategy. Describe what the best things to do are, in order to achieve your goal.
  3. Tactics. Describe how you’ll achieve each thing you identified in your strategy.

That’s it.

World Changing.

The only thing I’d add is to do with the goal you set.

Make the goal big.

Make the goal worthwhile.

If the goal doesn’t sound ‘wow’.

If the goal doesn’t make quite a few people laugh at you.

And if the goal doesn’t sound world changing.

(Your world.

Or ‘the’ world).

Then don’t bother.

Because it’s not big enough.

The World.

So there you go.

Three steps to change the world.

(Well someone’s going to. 

So it may as well be you).

Time to think.

You have that now.

Do with it what you will.

But if you decide that one of the things you want to do with your newfound headspace.

Is to turn your business into a brand.

Here’s where to start.



Sit alone.


Read what I’ve written below.

Then close your eyes.

And think about what I wrote.


To be a brand is to unearth.

To stake a claim for.

And to then grow to stand for a unique and ownable perception in the mind of the consumer.

This perception will be simple.




And compelling.

So compelling in fact that.

To those responsible for building the perception internally.

As well as to those we want to attract on the outside.

It becomes impossible to ignore.

This is what it means to be a brand .


And remember.

Remember why building a brand is a fantastic thing to do.

It is because brand-rich businesses.

Are rich businesses.

‘Just heard this row.

In the kitchen.

It was scary!

First Voice:  I’ll just have 2 eggs thanks. I’m eating loads. Being in all the time.

Second Voice:  You want 5 eggs.

First Voice:  Sorry?

Second Voice:  You want 5 eggs. There are 5 eggs boiled in that pan. Eat them all.

First Voice:  Ha! No. Thank you. I’ll just have 2 eggs thanks.

Second Voice:  Eat 5 eggs. It’s OK to eat 5 eggs. And you’ll need a slice of toast as well. With butter. You can do that because eggs are good for you and because you love eggs with toast. And you love toast with butter. So eat all 5 of those eggs. With toast. And butter.

First Voice:  Look. You really aren’t listening. I’m eating loads. Being in all the time. I can’t eat 5 boiled eggs. And toast. And butter.

Second Voice:  Yes you can. Eat them all. You want to eat 5 eggs. And toast. And butter.

First Voice:  I fucking DO NOT want to eat 5 eggs warmed back up in the microwave. With salt and pepper. And toast from that brown seedy loaf. And the butter with bits of crunchy salt in that’s in the fridge so I can take my time and spread it in little slices on the hot toast.

Second Voice:  Yes you do.

First Voice:  I fucking DON’T.

Second Voice:  Yes you do.

First Voice:  I fucking DON’T.

Second voice:  Yes you…

First Voice:  OH ALRIGHT! I’ll each 5 fucking eggs and a slice of toast from that brown seedy loaf then. Spread with little slices of cold, salty butter so I can watch it melt before I eat it. Fucking hell. Are you happy now!? I’m already eating about twice what I ate before this fucking lockdown. And I’ve got you telling me to eat more and fucking more! Are you happy now?

Second Voice: Yes.

First Voice: Thank you!



Second Voice: There’s Creme Eggs on the sideboard.

First Voice: OH FUCK OFFFFFF!!!!



Just heard this row.

In the kitchen.

It was scary!

(Particularly as I was the only person in house).

If you’ve never met me.

This image will serve as a detailed introduction.


Take a look:


Izobel (aged 3) just talked me through it.

So I’ll do the same for you.

Here goes.

You have 2 eyes.

And a bald head.

You always have coffee in one hand.

And a creme egg in the other.

And your hair stands up.

Two arms.

Two legs.




That’s about it.

So if you see someone in the street matching this description.

It’s me.

Like all good stories.

It’s just a little tale to make you think.

And on this occasion.

For most of us.

It’s a story to make you think about the person or the people you’re cooped up with at the moment.

The people that are doing your head in.

Getting in your way.

Trying your patience.

And invading your space.

It’s a story to make you think about the person or the people you’re cooped up with at the moment.

Go here:


(This story is best read at the 50odd website. Because there’s a 30 second video in it:

Banks don’t get it.

Either from the perspective of What Banks Should Be Doing.

Or How Banks Talk About What They Should Be Doing.

And that is why.

(And I am generalising of course).

Why I think that banks are arrogant, detached, uncaring, ignorant and deeply shitty organisations.

What Banks Should Be Doing. 

Banks should look after people.

And banks should look after economies.

Because people and economies are interdependent.

But instead.

In the same week that the base rate was dropped.

On the first day of lockdown in 2020.

Because of Covid-19.

In the United Kingdom.

We read about banks doing this:

“HSBC raised its arranged and unarranged overdraft charges to 39.9 per cent on March 14, up from 9.9 per cent for premium customers’ arranged overdrafts and 19.9 per cent for standard overdrafts.

First Direct and M&S Bank increased overdraft fees to 39.9 per cent.

Halifax and Lloyds are due to lift rates to the same figure at the start of next month. Nationwide and Natwest already charge 39.9 per cent and 39.5 per cent respectively.


Is not what banks should be doing.

How Banks Talk About What They Should Be Doing.

And so to my second point.

How Banks Talk About What They Should Be Doing.

Let’s take a quick look at the current 30 seconds Lloyds TV advert.

This is Lloyds.

A bank.

Saying they’re a bank.

And that’s it.

This is a bank running an actual ad.

Costing millions of pounds of their customer’s money.

To tell their customers they are focused on delivering on the one first principle that all banks should be doing.

Stopping the money you ask them to look after.

From disappearing.

It’s just shit.

Other Businesses.

Let’s imagine other businesses adopted the same strategy.

Let’s imagine that restaurants did the same.

Come to our Restaurant.

We cook food.

Or a jumper company.

Buy our jumpers.

You can wear them.

Or a furniture company,

Buy our chairs.

You can.


Sit in them.

Utter fucking rubbish.


Banks have the opportunity to deliver positively on much higher order needs and wants.

Societal change could be addressed.

If they rethought how they remunerate people internally.

How much deserves they hoard.

How much they spend on refurbishing largely empty premises.

How they set themselves up as brands.

And how they build value and values into their actual reason for being.

But banks don’t get it.

Either from the perspective of What Banks Should Be Doing.

Or How Banks Talk About What They Should Be Doing.

And that is why.

(And I am generalising of course).

Why I think that banks are arrogant, detached, uncaring, ignorant and deeply shitty organisations.

Quotation Source.

If this fucking virus.

Is going to be as bad as they say it is.

(And I think that it is).

Then this is useful.


As the virus takes hold.

You are very likely to go through these feelings (see the graph):

  1. Denial. Avoidance. Confusion. Elation. Shock. Fear.
  2. Anger. Frustration. Irritation. Anxiety.
  3. Depression. Overwhelmed. Helplessness. Hostility. Flight.
  4. Bargaining. Struggling to find meaning. Reaching out to others. Telling one’s story.
  5. Acceptance. Exploring options. New plan in place. Moving on


Here’s how to ease the pain.

(A little bit).

  1. We need (to get and give) Information and Communication at the beginning. To get us through.
  2. Then we need (to get and give) Emotional Support at the low point in the middle.
  3. And as we come through, we need (to get and give) Guidance and Direction.

Good Grief.

There is no such thing as good grief.

But being prepared for the grief.

And knowing the three things that will help us and others.

At the beginning.

In the middle.

And at the end.

This will help us all.

You and Yours.

All the very best.

To you and yours.

This is going to be tricky.

(And don’t forget the get AND give bits). is 3,650 stories.

1 each day.

For 10 years. is everyday stories.

Every day.


Some of the 10,000(ish) people that have read 50odd each day.

Ask me things.

For example.

They ask me how I write.

And here’s what I say.

From a pseudo-technical perspective.

7 Points.

When I write.

(As I discovered when I asked myself the question).

I write with 7 things in mind.

  1. Confidence. When my confidence is high, this is the most powerful trigger for the creation of fluid, higher quality stories. State of mind. Is key.
  2. Not sandwiched. I write best when I am not sandwiching my writing time too tightly between additional tasks. The little stories need space.
  3. One thing. One story should be about one thing. So when a reader is asked what the story was about. They immediately know what to say.
  4. Top and tail. Tell them what you are telling them at the beginning. Then tell them what you just told them. Again. At the end.
  5. Find your unique voice. This will take time. But once you find it. Be conscious of what it is. And stick to it.
  6. Write less. Write a story. Then edit it to half the length.
  7. Write for you(ish). At least 80% of every part of your content should be for you. And the remaining little bit is born from a consideration of. And a nod to. Your audience.

That’s it.

Here’s the world’s greatest ever band.

Smoking tabs.

And singing one of the world’s greatest songs.

With no backing track.

(I also think that John Lennon’s mobile phone goes off 48 seconds in. 

In 1965. 

8 years before Motorola’s first mass produced mobile phone hit the market in April 1973.


Here we go: