I’ve thought about this for a while now.

And I’ve tested it.

In my mind.


I have worked out who should lead the world.

The world should be led only people that have these three things.

All three things.

And they have to be authentic.

They have to mean it.

Here we go:

  1. They have to be clever. Knowledgable on the vital points relating to the subject areas they lead. Deeply informed. They have to really know their stuff. Contextually, historically and currently.
  2. They must have no agenda. They must be just. They must be sincere. They really must be leading us and making decisions for us for the greater good of us all. They must know, and do, the right thing.
  3. They must be good communicators. This is just as important as the other two. They must be able to engage us. To help us to understand. Not to persuade us but to give us the information we need so that we ‘get it’. They should be clear in what they are saying. And what they are doing. Because sometimes the channel or clumsy communications gets in the way.


So there we go.

I have worked out who should lead the world.

The world should be led only people that have these three things.

If you’d like me to solve any more of the world’s most significant problems.

Drop me a line at michael@50odd.co.uk and I will let you know my fees.

Thank you.

‘Special Projects’ is a London based design and invention consultancy.

It was founded by Industrial Designer, Clara Gaggero Westaway.

And Experience Designer (and magician) Adrian Westaway.

I met Clara at TEDx Newcastle this month.


Clara showcased a 9 year old project.

(The age of the project is significant).

And how she and her team tackled a problem that older Samsung customers had.

With the unboxing of Samsung phones.


The backstory with the unboxing.

Specifically in the context off the customer’s age.

Is this.


Younger customers tear open boxes.

Throw packaging to their right.

Throw instruction manuals to their left.

Frantically press buttons.

Slide fingers over screens.

And away they go.

Their ‘unboxing experience’ manifests as a slight dip in happiness.

But they get there in the end.


Older customers unbox slowly.

They lay things out.

They begin to thumb through the manual.

From page 1.

To page whatever.

And their ‘unboxing experience’ plummets.

They hate it!

And this is the issue that the Special Projects team were asked to address.


The proposed ‘concept solution’ to this problem was really lovely.

And there are three lessons for businesses.

Firstly, know your customers.

And more specifically, know your different kinds of customers.

And be special for all of them.

Secondly, sometimes.

To achieve more.

You must do less.

Or to move forwards.

You must think backwards.

And thirdly, here is a great quote from Clara:

In every moment of frustration there is a fuzzy moment waiting to be freed.

Clara is right.

This 150 seconds explains all: https://www.50odd.co.uk/oldschool/.


One of the most impressive people I’ve never met.

Is Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

(I saw her.

But didn’t meet her.

At Ammar Mirza’s Asian Business Connexions Dinner.

Two weeks ago).

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi.

In amongst a whole host of confident and memorable narrative.

Sayeeda spoke about how she made key decisions.

Referring directly to when she resigned from Cameron’s government.

In 2014.

Because she wouldn’t support the Government’s policy on the escalation of violence in the Israel–Gaza conflict.

Two Questions.


Whatever your politics.

I like the two questions that Sayeeda asked herself.

To come to a decision about her resignation.

She asked:

Am I saying what I believe?
Am I doing what I say?

Both are great questions independently.

But side by side – they’re even better.

One follows the other.


Next time I have to make big decisions.

I’ll ask myself these questions.

And maybe you should too.

In business.

People with nothing on the back burner have two affects on me.

First, they can send me into shock and silence.

Second, they mess with my head.

I’ll explain.

 1. People With Nothing on the Back Burner Send Me Into Shock.

People with nothing the back burner have nothing to sell me.

No agenda.

No secret mission to get my money.

Or my time.

And creepiest of all.

They don’t actually want anything from me.

Yet they have the audacity to just stand there.

Being all generous and concerned.

Listening hard.

Punctuating our conversation with examples of how they or others can help me.

Asking for absolutely bloody nothing at all in return.

And as I say.

This can send me into shock and silence.

2. People With Nothing on the Back Burner Mess With My Head.

People with nothing on the back burner also mess with my head.

They know what they’re bloody doing.

They know what they’re making me do.

They’re brainwashing me.

They’re making me like them.

In both senses of the word.

They’re making me like them.

And they’re making me like them.

They’re making me want to help them too.

And they’re making me want nothing at all in return.

From them.

People with nothing on the back burner.

They’re messing with my head.


So I have developed a plan for dealing with these bloody people.

These people with nothing on the back burner.

As soon as I get the slightest suspicion that someone is nice.

That they have nothing on the back burner.

As soon as I get the slightest suspicion that they might want to help me selflessly.

I frown at them.

Through squinty eyes.

And I get in first!

I wrack my brains to try to help them.

Before they can help me.

Heading them off, the cheeky sods.

By thinking (something like):

This’ll show them.

They think they can come out here being all kind.

And generous.

Trying to out-nice me.

Well they can’t.

Because I am going to out-nice them!


People with nothing on the bloody back burner.

They turn me into someone with nothing on the bloody back burner.

Both of us just trying to out-nice each other.

Imagine if everyone in business was like that!

In fact, imagine if everyone in life was like that!

Bloody weirdos.


This story is a dedication.

To him: https://www.50odd.co.uk/back-burner/.

I went to TEDx Newcastle last week.

And I heard some really clever people.

Talking about some really clever things.

Really simply.


I have worked with brands that create Mission Statements and Value Statements and similar for years.

And they are always too complex.

So I always distil them down.

To scarily few words.

Maybe six words.

This is because people are more likely to remember simple things.

And if they are more likely to remember them.

They are more likely to do them.

The PCI Rule.


Using this approach.

I’ve distilled a day long TEDx Newcastle event.

And event with 1,000 people milling about.

And 12 or so excellent speakers.

Into 3 letters.

They are PCI.

And I’ve turned these three letters into a rule.

A rule for me


I have done this because I’m quite tired at the moment.

I am allowing myself to be pulled from pillar to post with my work.

Which is taking me towards the edge of the cliff called ‘capacity’.

And that’s not a good place to be.

Not because I will fall of the cliff.

(That won’t happen).

But I will lose something as I approach the edge.




Clarity of thought.

Something will weaken.

So I have to be careful.

And my new rule is helping me.

The PCI Rule.

PCI stands for:

  • Positivity.
  • Creativity.
  • Imagination.

It was the chap from Twitter that mentioned these words.

He suggested that when we all get trapped in The Loop.

Doing  too much work.

Forgetting to be positive, creative and imaginative.

We are worse off.

We don’t grow.

And I totally agree.

So, my new rule.

Whenever I am feeling a bit shitty.

Or that I am not doing my work as well as I could.

I move into positive, creative and imaginative mode.

And it works!

I feel better.

And I do better.

Try it.

It might work for you too.

You know that promise your brand makes, right?

The promise that makes you unique.

Unique because it is you and you alone able to deliver on that promise.

So you own that promise.

So that when I think of just the promise – you are the first thing that comes to mind.

So that when I think of you – your promise is the first thing to come to mind.


That’s it.

The promise that makes you an actual living, breathing brand.

As opposed to just a business.


That promise.


What is it?

Please read this story here (you need the photo): https://www.50odd.co.uk/doh/.

The title of this short story?

That’s that noise Homer Simpson makes.

When he’s done something daft.


Authentically contributive businesses are the best business.

They matter.

These are the businesses that care authentically about reducing waste, recycling, the environment, physical and mental health, principles as well as profits and more.


But it’s a big deal to commit to such things properly.

It’s hard.

It takes a lot of thought and effort.

And that’s why  I reference ‘authenticity’.

Because if you’re just pretending to care.

So you sell more stuff.

You’ll get found out.

Raja UK

Now, I am not saying that Raja UK are not authentic when they say:

Together let’s be more eco-responsible.

But what I am saying is that.

When Raja UK send two identical catalogues.

To two different people.

When the brand they are targeting.

Employs only two people.

That’s daft.

Take Care.

If we really do care.

We have to be really thorough.

We have to think things through.

Because if the Raja UK marketing department are encouraging me to think green and buy green.

And someone else in the same department can’t be arsed to clean the database.

Something’s wrong.

So let’s hope Raja UK are just starting this journey.

And that data cleaning is on the to-do list.

And not the to-Doh list.


Most people.

Are most happy.

At the start of their lives.

And at the end of their lives.

So if you plot this phenomenon on a graph.

A graph where the y-axis (the vertical axis) tracks happiness.

And the x-axis (the horizontal axis) tracks time.

We, ironically, end up with a smile shape.

An unhappy smile.

The Unhappy Smile.

When we are young we are carefree.




Wide-eyed, energetic and confident.

And when we are older we become increasingly aware that this life of ours is a mere visit.

That our days are in limited supply.

That days with people and projects we care about don’t go on forever.

So we embrace the days more.

We open our eyes in the morning.

Grateful that we opened our eyes in the morning.



It’d seem to me.

That if we can remember, imagine or re-imagine the freedom of childlike thinking.

Then layer that with an increasing awareness that we are just visiting.

And the focus that this can bring.

We can be happier.

And – just this once.

Wiping the smile from the face of something.

Is a good thing.

Oasis released ‘Definitely Maybe’ on the 29th of August 1994.

25 years ago.

It sold 8 million copies.

‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’ was released on the 2nd of October 1995.

24 years ago.

Some might say (see what I did there?) that it’s sold over 30 million copies.

In August 1996.

23 years ago.

Oasis played two concerts at Knebworth in that year.

Each to 250,000 people.

So half a million people in total.

In just two nights.

(2,500,000 people applied for tickets.

Meaning they could have sold out 10 concerts.

Not 2).


In the middle of the 1990’s.


Were the biggest band in the world.

Be Here Now.

‘Be Here Now’ was released on the 21st of August 1997 and it’s sold about 12 million copies.

22 years ago.

This third album sold 424,000 copies in 1 day.

Meaning it sold faster than both ‘Definitely Maybe’ and ‘Morning Glory’.

In fact, it got to 1 million sales faster than any other album in history.

A record it kept for 18 years.

Until a 25 year old Adele came along in 2015.


Most of ‘Be Here Now’ was written on a luxury island.

Jonny Depp played guitar on Fade In-out.

The cover cost 100,000 dollars.

And the songs weren’t all that.

‘D’You Know What I Mean’ was good.

Because that song is not ‘D’You Know What I Mean’.

It is ‘Wonderwall’.

(Click and have a listen to the first 20 seconds).

And ‘Stand by Me’ is OK.

And ‘I Hope, I Think, I Know’ is quite anthemic I suppose.

And ‘Don’t Go Away’ is cool.

But the other songs?


Not really.

Not the same quality as the first two albums.

At all.


Clearly my view is tainted by my own personal experiences.

For example.

I bought ‘Morning Glory’ at the airport.

On CD.

As I was flying out to Magaluf to meet 5 friends of mine who were half way through a 2 week holiday.

(Interesting flashbacks).

So I love that album.

But ‘Be Here Now’?

That’s a tricky album to love.

Here it is: https://www.50odd.co.uk/be-here-now/.

I’m going to see if.

22 years on.

It’s grown on me.