Hanson plc bought companies, culled them, and brought them back to life. Lord Hanson was the head of the company, and a controversial character, along with Gordon White, an even more controversial figure. They had a nose for value and waste, and were good at creating good viable companies from under-performing industrial companies.
Key to the Hanson philosophy, and the reason they walked away from an opportunity to acquire Avis, the car rental company, was that they believed "never risk more than you can afford to lose."
These two guys subject themselves to the pain of giving birth.
Gregorys Coffee in New York are very cheeky. When they saw my Starbucks mug they pointed it out to me, and then after I left, I noticed the cheeky buggers had put a Gregory's sticker on my mug. Outrageous. Love it! Good for them. How can your company breed that kind of brand-pride amongst its employees?
They're the yin to Starbucks yang. They've effectively looked at the flaws in Starbucks business and out-Starbucked them. Here's the main things I've noticed.
Starbucks: Long line. Wait, kick heels, feel slightly neglected.
Gregory's: Long line, but crazy fast service. Within 5 seconds of walking in the door someone has taken my order. Definitely not feeling at all neglected here, and the people are a little more perky and happy, and enjoying the busy-ness.
Starbucks: Consistently good.
Gregorys: Consistently great!
Look n Feel
Starbucks: Green and brown. Armchairs, wood chairs.
Gregorys: Gray, dark purple, black, bright lights. Benches and steel chairs. Not necessarily better, just a contrast to Starbucks.
Starbucks: Sometimes a little tired.
Gregorys: They seem a bit more involved, fun and irreverant.
Starbucks: Caged, refrigerated and packaged.
Gregorys: Fresh baked, not packaged or refrigerated. The one on 46th Avenue and 5th even has a bakery in the back...
Here's an example of how Gregory's one-ups employee morale. Over Valentines they ran a promotion. Bring in a Valentines card or gift for the baristas, and get a free coffee. Showing the love. Nice!
Gregorys tagline is we 'see coffee differently.' I think they do.
On Sat 27th Oct Irena and I flew to Dubai for our 2nd honeymoon. We took a desert tour where we blazed over dunes and then dined under the stars while watching belly dancing and nearly having our fingers chewed off by a falcon. The highlight was sitting at the Mango Tree Thai restaurant looking out at the Dubai Fountains and up at the Burj Dubai. Later we took a tour up the Burj.
Then Irena left back to Malta, and I flew on to Sydney on Friday 2nd Nov, to speak at iDate Australia. The highlight was seeing 'School For Wives' at the Opera House, and hiking over the top of the Harbor Bridge. Tanya (CEO, Dating Factory) and I won our bet on the Melbourne Cup.
On Mon 12th Nov I flew to Vancouver to fly my mother back to the UK. My highlight was flying next to the pilot of a seaplane from Vancouver to Victoria.
On Wed 21st Nov mum and I flew back to the UK. I met up with Irena and we attended my nephews wedding at Hemswell Court. It was picture perfect.
Then on Tue 27th Nov Irena and I flew to Moscow to study AnastasiaDate. An amazing company. Our highlight was going to the Bolshoi theater and touring the Kremlin Armory where we managed to snap this shot of a 700 year old crown. ...I finally landed back in Malta on Sat 8th December.