Rab McNeil’s Week:
British Airways fell victim to the former, or at least to a power surge, which knocked out its computer system, causing the cancellation of flights, chaos at airports, and angst among the unwillingly grounded.
The real cock-up came in communication, with punters complaining in subsequent days about a lack of information, which is as good a definition of Information Technology as any.
Little PR tip here, folks: always say something, be it ever so pithy. In lieu of a new press operation, however, BA (which is still quite A but not very B these days, with its holding company now registered in Madrid) is believed to be looking to recruit a new Head of Panicking to deal with similar events in future.
Beyond BA, many companies are now looking to hire a CISO. If you’re not in with the groove, a CISO is a Chief Information Security Officer and, according to global executive search firm DHR International, these are now commanding salaries of over a million euros (about £850k in old money).
That could rise even further after the recent conspiracy when hackers brought digital turmoil to organisations across 150 countries with their “WannaCry” cryptoworm. Damned cryptoworms: always knew they were trouble.
You know, it wasn’t so long ago that company security meant a wee man in the foyer with a badly fitting uniform and optional halitosis. Now we’re talking about highly focused fellows with digitised brains and heads that stick out at the back, who can now even expect a seat on the board, as that’s where shareholders and regulators attribute responsibility for cyber-breaches.
As HR Director website points out, the new EU General Data Protection Regulation means companies could theoretically be fined up to 4 per cent of global turnover for data protection breaches.
So, of course, you get the usual suspects saying a million euros is cheap at the price. I’m not buying that. All the same, not for the first time, I start to wonder if I am in the wrong job, and to consider that my career hitherto has been a complete cock-up.
Booze news – yes, that made you sit up – and the onward stagger of craft brands to the supermarket shelves continues unabated.
As this site reported, five more Scottish breweries secured listings with Asda in deals worth £875,000. Meanwhile, Glasgow brewery West – motto “Glaswegian heart, German head”; an explosive combination if ever we’ve heard one – launched its first new brand after a £5 million expansion of its production facilities last year.
Bavarian-style wheat beer Heidi-Weisse – named after founder Petra Wetzel’s much missed brewery dog, Heidi – will initially be available at selected outlets before joining its sister, St Mungo lager, on the bigger shelves next year.
(Operational note: if, in researching this epistle, I have to read any more about West, Wetzel, Weisse and Weizen, I will get vewwy confused indeed).
Meanwhile, BrewDog co-founder James Watt has defended the famous IPA producer’s punk credentials in the face of flak that followed a £213 million cash injection from US private equity house TSG Consumer Partners.
Watt told The Herald: “If we’d sold out I’d be sitting on a beach somewhere. In a way it’s the opposite of a sell-out because I remain the largest shareholder in the company.”
Misplaced allegations of corrupted punk ideals notwithstanding, the company has come a long way since it first erupted on the market ten years ago. And, as we all know, punk erupts and absolute punk erupts absolutely.
A load of balls
It’s difficult to get a handle on China. Is it socialist-capitalist? Capitalist-socialist? Yin-yang?
Yin thing that has become clear of late is that its “sharing economy” is really starting to take off. This is a reference to the burgeoning business sector that rents out car rides, bicycle hire, umbrellas and, er, basketballs.
The first two aren’t so hard to understand, as they even happen in the wicked West. It’s the second two that have occasioned surprise. The hired umbrellas have taken off, so to say, in the wet South, where they can be rented for half a yuan (about 6p) for half an hour.
Basketballs are dearer, at 2 yuan an hour. And, while these have a certain novelty value at the time of going to web, investors have been shy, believing the whole thing to be a bit niche. Still, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Chinese economy has been buoyed up by a load of balls.
Room with a view
In shock – or shocking – news, it was revealed that having a nearby Waitrose can add £36,000 to the value of your house. That was the story in England and Wales, at least, though I can’t imagine it being much different here in Scotland.
Personally, I always look for a good chippie nearby. Actually, when I bought my house, the only communal asset adduced was a bus-stop.
Earlier, while I was looking at another house in the bus-stop’s catchment area – a property that was in a bit of a state – the estate agent tried this angle: “Well, while this property may not be ideal, you would have a lovely view of these nice houses opposite.” Priceless.