Nov 17

This is the basic equation of business and accounting but when was the last time that you thought about it?

Charles DickensW in David CopperfieldW said:


"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

What was true in the 19th century is still true in the 21st; it is not the value of the Revenue or the Expenses that matter but only the difference between them. More...

Nov 03

How much money should you spend on maintenance?

Like any other investment, and maintenance is an investment, you should keep spending on maintenance whenever the returns exceed the costs. Or, when operating with limited resources, as we always are, whenever the returns on this investment are better than the returns on the next best investment. More...

Jul 29

Recently, both of my sons have become fascinated with card tricks and most evenings I get to be amazed and astounded by their prestidigitation. Given that my youngest is only 7 and has the manual dexterity and deceitfulness common to that age (i.e. virtually none) it is usually pretty easy to see how the trick is done. My other son, however, is 13 and depending on how much practice he has put in, it can be more difficult to work it out.

When a magician amazes me, I know she is doing it with knowledge and skill, not with magic. It's a trick - i.e. the magician is doing something that I can't do. For mine, this makes it more amazing than if it really were magic because this is something that the magician has studied and practiced; magic would just be ... well, magic. More...

May 26

If you want to understand the human condition there are a range of options; you can consult psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, jurists, theologians, ethicists, politicians, journalists, psychiatrists, economists, mothers, fathers and the guy next to you in the pub. For my money though, you would be best served by consulting a humorist like Terry PratchettW. More...

May 19

As I write, the American President is castigating an oil company over the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. This is what politicians do because they and the people they represent refuse to accept that life in general and engineering in particular is inherently risky. This appears to be a relatively new social phenomenon. More...

Apr 30

While I was brushing my teeth this morning I looked in the mirror and decided that today I was going to go into work and stuff something up so badly it will take 2 weeks work and tens of thousands of dollars to fix.

Don't believe me? Good because it isn't true ... but ... I have had days where I or my employees have gone into work and stuffed something up so badly that it has taken 2 weeks and tens of thousands of dollars to fix. If I (or they) didn't decide to do it then how in hell did it happen? More...

Apr 08

A casual glance at these two maps shows that nations with the strongest Rule of lawW are pretty much the nations with the strongest EconomyW and vice-versa. Why?

While this is a highly complex question that has engaged great minds for millennia that is not going to stop me from throwing out my own off the cuff answer. More...

Apr 07

Following on from me recent posts, ABC Radio National's the Philosopher's Zone recently discussed these very issues - you can find the audio here

Mar 29

We are going to play a game.

I have three boxes, 1 contains a great prize –let’s say a 3 course meal in a 5 star restaurant. The other 2 contain something evil – let’s say cold tinned spaghetti.

You get to choose 1 box. Take your time. Got it?

I am going to assume you chose box number 2.

I will now tell you that box number 1 contains spaghetti and give you the opportunity to swap your box number 2 for my box number 3.

The question is: should you a) swap, b) not swap or c) it doesn’t matter? More...

Mar 18

Many people think that they are in business to make money and this is certainly an important objective, however, it is not the only or even the most important reason for being in business. More...