Nick's Notes

Merry Christmas

It is all too easy, given the relentless focus on “news” in the papers, TV and online, to get a warped view of the world. It is also all too easy to get tied up in knots about political correctness and to try and avoid upsetting others’ cultural sensitivities. I once worked in an American company, whose executives would get []

Science Fiction

I am a great fan of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction, especially his Foundation novels. Asimov started to write the books in 1952 with what was planned to be a trilogy, but subsequently turned into 14 books. You see, retrospectively it also started with his Robot novels… and again it started differently with the Empire novels. Written over the course of []

Two Imposters

Having listened to a short HBR podcast recently, I started to read a book called “Mindful Leadership” by Maria Gonzales. The subtitle is irresistible, to me at least – “The nine ways to self-awareness, transforming yourself and inspiring others”. The podcast talked about the essence of mindfulness, otherwise known as being in the moment and being present, something my colleague []

Would you pass the “fit and proper” CIO test?

Last week I blogged about the Reverend Flowers; I’d like to return, obliquely, to the same subject. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) have an “approved persons” regime. Thankfully, it is a joint scheme – if you need to be approved by both regulators, you go through a single process, but with differing emphases. The intention []

Room at the top?

Success is relative. At his retirement party my father, who was a senior civil servant, reflected that his job would never have made him rich financially, but family, work colleagues and friends enhanced the richness of his life. He was successful in his terms, and at a time that was not dominated by 24×7 always-on devices success for him was []

People Skills

I have participated in two very different discussion meetings during the past seven days. Chronologically, the first was at The Institute of Actuaries (IoA), where I was part of a panel discussion about Effective Board Governance and Evaluation; the second was the final CIO Connect Keynote of the year, where we were discussing key skills for the future CIO. At []


I have written previously about digital thinking hampering an analogue world. The rules that digital thinking requires can be too hard to fully articulate and the gap needs to be filled. Increasingly, I am of the opinion that the gap is filled by trust. As a country we are at a low point for trust. Banks and other financial institutions []

Where are the IT poets?

In my opinion there are two types of commentator – the technical and the poetical. The world of sport most clearly exemplifies the distinction. Sky Sports cricket coverage is excellent, and the commentary team is largely made up of ex-test cricketers. The comprehension of what is happening and their ability to read the game is second to none. The commentators []

Does software need to bed in?

I have updated my Apple iMac and my MacBook Pro Retina to OS X 10.9 Mavericks. I did this immediately on launch, about 7pm on Wednesday. Although I’m a member of the Apple Developer programme, I don’t download developer previews of operating systems because I rely on my Macs too much to have the risk of one being out of []

Monkey? Nuts!

Roy Hodgson, the England football manager, was involved in a manufactured row this week. Before digging into this debate, let me state categorically that there should be no racism in sport, indeed no discrimination whatsoever – other than on ability to compete. Mr. Hodgson, who I have not met, comes across rather like an amiable schoolteacher – perhaps a sports []


I had an interesting experience of working with a former boss earlier this month, at and a little before the CIO Connect conference. David Pearson was Managing Director of Sony United Kingdom when I was General Manager of IT, and left at around the same time as I did, around 15 years ago. We last met 5 years ago at []

A Tale of Two Steves

It is two months since I last blogged, with holidays in August and intense preparation for the CIO Connect Conference in September distracting me. A lot has happened in that time and I now intend to return to a regular weekly blog. Our Annual Conference was held last week and feedback suggests we hit the spot, delivering value to both []
Share this page