March 2, 2022

Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast

With all the emphasis on hard metrics and financials, it's often easy to overlook the culture of companies and the role it plays in their success (or failure).


With all the emphasis on hard metrics and financials, it's often easy to overlook the culture of companies and the role it plays in their success (or failure). Transcripts and more at http://bubbletroublepodcast.com

Transcript

Will Page: Welcome back to Bubble Trouble, conversations between the economist and author Will Page, that's myself, and the independent analyst, Richard Kramer, where we lay out some inconvenient truths about how the financial markets really work. Say with Bubble Trouble speculation in the markets rife right now, we're gonna flip it and leave their economic department and go and look at culture instead, the culture of the workplace and how that might help navigate the current turbulence. More in a moment. Richard, welcome back to Bubble Trouble. Just me and you in this episode.

Richard Kramer: As long as you don't call me king K, I'm happy.

Will Page: Okay. The Duke of K. Well, this time we just wanted to do what I think all economists should do, just ditch their discipline and look at culture and psychology instead. And to kick this off, just a recollection from my first month at Spotify, way back when we didn't have an HR department, we had cultural and diversity training, which was to teach everybody around the world at Spotify, how to be more Swedish. Now as an American and as a New Yorker, I want you to think about this for a second. Under Swedish culture, the way it was taught to me, if you have a meeting between three people, me, you Richard, our producer, Eric, and let's say me and Eric get our way and you are screwed over, you're supposed to have a second meeting to keep Richard on board. [laughs] Can you imagine introducing that type of culture to that of Wall Street, where last one out the barrel gets it? Just a very consensus driven culture in Sweden versus a very capitalistic structure in America. And it's those observations I wanna tee out here on this podcast.

So we've called this podcast culture eat strategy for breakfast. It is closer to dinner time here in the UK, but let's start off with a good read, read that you've told me about for months if not years now, The Seven Cultures of Capitalism. There's a lot of cultures in the world. Tell me about this book by [inaudible 00:01:56] Trompenaars, The Seven Cultures of Capitalism. How'd you come across it, why is it seven, and why does it still resonate?

Richard Kramer: So Alfons Trompenaars was a Dutch business professor who had the idea to ask similar survey questions across a number of countries. And he asked them to managers in Japan, the US, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Singapore, et cetera. Questions like if your boss asks you to help out on the weekend to clear out his garage, would you do it? Or one of your senior, very senior leadership team has been very poorly performing for a long time, would you fire him, move him into a different job, or reassign him to the HR department? And what he learned from looking across all these different cultures was some very distinct differences in how people dealt with hierarchy, personal relationships, responsibility, and all of those sort of softer aspects of the workplace. And there were naturally some real stereotypes that came out from it, but also it was a fascinating approach to how differently different cultures looked at capitalism and looked at the, the manner of working in large organizations.

Now, since that book was written in the '90s, uh, certainly it's been become much more common to work in smaller organizations, the, the number of SMEs and small medium sized enterprises in the economy has risen dramatically. Certainly one of the things we saw in the pandemic was alongside the great resignation, many people setting themselves up as sole proprietors of their own businesses. Our producer Eric is running his own small business. He previously worked for a large organization. Uh, Will I think right now you left Spotify and you're now as an independent consultant, you're doing a lot of different things. So it was just a great insight at the time in just how differently companies could behave or people could behave in companies in different markets.

Now I came across it because I was working at the time for a Canadian telecoms company that had just made a major acquisition in the UK and then one in France. So here was a North American company that need to learn to get along with managers in the UK and managers in France, and get them all effectively pulling in the same direction. And as you could imagine, that one acquisition or other didn't go very well, and some of that really, you could put down to culture.

Will Page: And then we have to remind ourselves, as I mentioned on Brick Masters last week when George W. Bush said the French don't have a word for entrepreneur, there is perceived cultural differences, as well as some dumb things you can say when you're the US president. But let's come back to this for a second, because one of the mantra I pull out in my book, it's what matters most is being measured least. And when Wall Street analysts are, you know, studying companies, they're studying metrics you can measure, their profit and loss, the cash flow, the balance sheet, is harder to measure culture, right?

Richard Kramer: So one of the things I really sought to do as an analyst is to understand the cultures of companies as if I was an ethnographer or a cultural anthropology. So when I first became a financial analyst and I was covering companies like Nokia and Erickson, I read a book called the Unknown Soldier by Gustav Linna. Now it's the second sold book in Finland. It's a national treasure, by the way, the first most sold book is the Bible, so it tells you how popular it was. And it is this story of the Fins repelling the Russians in the second world war with hunting rifles in the middle of the Finish winter. It's a story of resolve and, and determination, that's really central to the Finish character and also tells you how a country that repaid its war debt in cash and bankrupted itself, and went through a terrible financial crisis in the early '90s, was able to generate business like Nokia, which for a long time, for over a decade, was the global leader in providing mobile phones to the world.

And it really helped me understand that I needed to situate the companies, not just in the profit and loss numbers that you said we can all see, but how they operate and, and think, and what the cultures of the companies told you about their long term strategies and approaches to different business problems.

Will Page: I'm not asking you to blow your own trumpet here, but did you feel like the one eyed man in the kingdom of the blind analyzing companies with this type of cultural enrichment, as opposed to just a straight up balance sheet and profit and loss account analysis?

Richard Kramer: Well, I think what it helped me see was the way in which companies would either behave in the short or the long term. And I think it's a bit of a cliche to talk about American companies and say that they're very short termist and focused on, on hitting numbers for the stock market, and making as much money as they can, profit maximizing, so to speak, because there's certainly a lot of US companies that have long term visions, but there are also a lot of European companies that have very important stakeholders which might not have the same financial incentives that some of the other investors, uh, sitting alongside them at the boards would be. And you think about German companies, for example, they have something called co determination where half the members of the board are employee representatives. So they have a very strong...

Will Page: Right, true.

Richard Kramer: ... Uh, influence of the employee base as stakeholders at the table, whereas I think a lot of US companies have done everything they can to avoid, uh, unionization and silence that voice of the worker.

Will Page: Now, it's evening time, I'm gonna get ready for my evening meal. But you wanna talk about, about breakfast, you wanna talk about Culture Eat Strategy for Breakfast, that's the name of our podcast. Sounds a bit click [inaudible 00:08:00], unpack this one for us, please.

Richard Kramer: Sure. Uh, that was a phrase from, uh, management consulting guru, Peter Drucker. And for me...

Will Page: A legend, a legend.

Richard Kramer: A legend. But for me, it really means that culture is sort of lasting, it's enduring inside companies, it takes years to build up, and it's expressed in behaviors that happen every day. And it reflects national tendencies, it reflects the environment. There's this right or wrongs type of, of Southern European companies of having this manana culture. Well, it's warm, it's beautiful weather outside, they'll get around to doing something tomorrow. Strategy, however has to be fluid. It has to be dynamic. It has to be constantly reacting to changes in the market environment. And well, you can have long term strategic goals, you have to constantly revisit those, whereas company cultures, no one talks about revisiting them unless they go terribly wrong because of some sexual harassment scandals, or bullying, or something, some other sort of malfeasance. So you don't just sort of decide to change your culture, uh, but you can really frequently decide to change your strategy.

Will Page: Is there a company you wanna pull out from under your sleeve there, an example of a company our listers are familiar with where culture is eaten their strategy for breakfast in recent times?

Richard Kramer: Will, I'll throw it back to you because I'm gonna raise a company name that I know you hold in high regard and you've read the books and looked at detail, which is Netflix. How would you describe the Netflix company culture and what they say in their employment contracts?

Will Page: Well, there is a, if you're ever interviewed from Netflix, there's a quite a detailed deck or a memo that you have to digest and fill again and again, to understand how this company works now. I could bore you senseless going through that deck. But rather than that, what I'll do is I'll read you the first sentence for Netflix employment contract, which says, "Adequate performance can expect a generous severance package." Making it quite clear that you're here to perform. And if you fail to meet those performance targets, we will look after you as you, we show you the door. And I, that's a very interesting culture because, you know, if friends say to me, "Hey, I just got a job at Netflix." I'm like, "Congratulations, speak to me in six months time. And we'll see if you still have that job." Because the level of churn is so rife.

And that's a very interesting culture, which arguably has been a success story. There's a wobble in the market just now, okay, but you know where it's coming from and where it's going, you have to wonder about whether that culture has contributed to it. And I think that flows back to the work from home, work from office ethic as well. I think it'll be very interesting to see those companies like Netflix, which want to get you back in the office as soon as possible, whether they jam the creative juicies way faster than those who are still gonna stick on Zoom calls. I think we have almost like an AB experiment at scale happening around us right now.

Richard Kramer: Yeah.

Will Page: Is exciting from that perspective.

Richard Kramer: And, and let me throw one back to you in talking about hiring and firing in the context of culture, in your experience, as you saw it at Spotify, and as you think of it at companies like Netflix, how would you characterize that hiring and firing that happens all the time in these big companies but may work very differently depending on the culture of the company.

Will Page: Well, the jockey is only as good as the horse in a sense that you're only as good as the labor laws allow you to be. The way that you operate a company in California is gonna be different from the way you operate in Texas. And there is a huge migration now from tech in California, moving to Texas is Daryl Fairweather discussed at length in our, our earlier podcast. But the one example, I think, which is interesting, and it's a very local one, but it's just the fact that the city of London has become the sixth biggest borough of Paris. And in Kentish Town where I live, the biggest, we have a school in Kentish Town, which takes 1,800 Persian kids. They're all middle class families, lawyers, bankers, IT consultants. And I think the reason why they're in London and they're not there, if you think about countries competing for human capital, is because you can't fire in France, labor laws don't allow you to fire, which means you can't hire.

Now, long story short, the [inaudible 00:12:19] revolution in Britain made it very easy to fire, but also very easy to hire. So if you're ambitious in Paris or France, and if you want to get ahead, you might wanna get yourself to London because of that cultural distinction and Europe, the European model, hard to fire, hard to hire. The Anglo American model, very easy to fire, very easy to hire. And, you know, standalone examples, you might say, "I prefer labor protection system." But when you compare one against the other, there's been barely any net job creation in France over the past 20 years. Here in the UK, it's been growing rate of knots. And that for me is an interesting takeaway when you compare cultures and countries, nevermind, when we get into your area of specialty Richard cultures within companies.

Richard Kramer: And just to wrap up this first section of our Bubble Trouble podcast, something that resonates with Daryl on that podcast, which was in Europe, you get asked, where are you from? It's assumed that your culture and everything about you is determined in a hyperlocal way by the neighborhood than the, the region than the country you grew up in. Whereas in the US, people routinely move around all the time. And the question you get asked is, what do you do? Which of course is in many respects, a shorthand for how much money do you make [laughs]. Also, it's assumed that you're not determined by your region, your city, your neighborhood, as much as you are by your occupation.

Will Page: I'm also thinking that wonderful point in our discussion with Daryl, we should get her back on the podcast, Richard, she was brilliant, but just, with great inflation culture in America, perhaps the next opening question in America is, what are you the vice president of? [laughs].

Richard Kramer: Yeah. With that notion of having clear and stark differences between Europe and the US and not even getting into the rest of the world, let's wrap up this first half of this Bubble Trouble podcast about culture, eating strategy for breakfast and move on to the next section where I'm gonna grill Will on some of the economics around culture and strategy.

Welcome back to the second half of Bubble Trouble, talking about how culture eats strategy for breakfast. And I'm here with Will Page talking through this issue that doesn't get raised often enough. I think we both agree. It's pretty easy to look at those hard metrics, the numbers that come out in quarterly earnings, the financials that everyone breathlessly talks about on CNBC and miss out the cultures of companies. And Will, I'd like you to pick up on some stuff from your book, Tarzan Economics, where you talk about builders and farmers. And there's obviously two very different cultures there. One that's piling things up and putting things together. And the other that has to tend to those crops every day, every year, and keep going back to the same well, not moving on to the next house or next project. Can you talk us through how those two different cultures of builders and farmers matter and how they get expressed in companies.

Will Page: That term came from a conversation with Spotify's earliest investor. And I just dropped it in a meeting over coffee and cigarettes, not thinking much about it. But he just said to me, you guys are coming up for your IPO, what's happening in that [inaudible 00:15:48]. And I, I simply said, "It seems to me, the builders are leaving and the farmers are coming in. That is all the people at that entrepreneurial spirit who design a plane [inaudible 00:15:58] in flight. They're jumping off ship. Now they're going right back to the bottom to start new companies. Whereas the people coming into the company are more operationally driven. They prefer the knowledge and the security of knowing how a plane needs to land as opposed to designing it when it is in flight. And they're the farmers they're coming in to do all the compliance and the career development frameworks, and they're taking over the company.

And I just passed into a conversation. And three months later, he told me that expression had really cau- caught a fuse in Silicon Valley. And I was like, "What expression?" Builders and farmers. What's so special about that term. And he said to me, "You've beautifully captured where you belong in a lifespan of a tech company." This is where for me, it gets really interesting because you don't belong forever. And it's not just a tech point for our listeners, this is so persuasive across the workplace, which is, you constantly see people frustrated in their jobs. Not because the job is wrong is because they're in the wrong position in that job. They're in the wrong period of the life cycle of that job. So I took it to a very famous organizational psychologist, Adrian Farnham, somebody who we will have on the podcast in the next couple of months as well, look out for that.

And we thrashed it out and you have things like the Myers-Briggs analysis, which academics are very dubious of. You have the, the Hogan Assessments. I want to build my own taxonomy, which allows you to identify who you are in tech. Are you a builder or are you a farmer? And if you're a builder and you're agitated, get out, get back to the bottom, start a startup. If you're a farmer and you feel insecure, get out and get into a company where there's much more security and stability, but don't mix the roles up. What creates a lot of problems in the workplace is people being in the wrong jobs.

Richard Kramer: But Will wouldn't you say that companies need both. They need someone who's gonna provide the food that the farmers are able to, to till out of the ground every year, uh, with regularity. And they need people who are in product development that think about all the DIY they can do in their own homes to make them happier places to live. Don't you need both types inside a company. Is that too simple of a dichotomy?

Will Page: Well, [laughs] I, queue this one, because I'm about to state some fantastic work that you and your colleagues [inaudible 00:18:12] research did for the book here. But let me first say that if you do believe you need both. Quite often, the way you do it does more harm than good. I mean, how many companies have you seen Richard, where you have a, a digital disruption department, which is nothing short of a cul-de-sac to put the time wasters that you can't fire to have a little pet project that everyone ignores. I mean, that's common in businesses. That's not digital disruption. That's like behaving like an ostrich. That's not dealing with the problem that's in front of you. But yeah, you, you, I guess for a lot of companies, you can think about Microsoft buying a huge gaming company, you know, is that a farmer buying a builder, discuss, you know. You could buy acquisition and strategies that trying to buy in the entrepreneurial spirit that you can't grow organically.

But the example you give in the book is Uber, a company, which is not short of controversy, but your team did this beautiful chart, which has been picked up by numerous policymakers, I have to say, very senior policymakers, which showed how Uber makes money when you get a lift home, but lose this money when they delivered you a meal. And the way I took that observation was the farmers are running their car lift business, but the builders, the entrepreneurs, the disruptors, are burning cash, running the Uber Eats business. So you can see in your accounts where you have your builders and where you have your farmers as well. So yeah, that's a good example of trying to solve straddle booth plates.

Richard Kramer: There's a bunch of different strands I could pick up on. And one thing I will say is that when we look at companies, oftentimes there's one business, which is the cash cow, which is generating all the profits and they simply can't disrupt it. They can't throw it over the side of the, the boat. They need to keep that business going even if they realize it's eventually going into a dead end or that plane is gonna fly into the side of the mountain. Now, HR departments inside companies, I, I tend to get a bad rap. I don't know how many of them create titles inside their companies that say serial entrepreneur or just a, a right pain in the ass, someone who comes along and expresses contrary opinions [laughs] in meetings. But you know, how do companies make sure that they still capture the enthusiasm and the drive of those builders that you need to constantly make your products better while not denying the absolute necessity of having the farmers without which we wouldn't have food on our tables?

Will Page: Well, we mentioned a word, the French word entrepreneur in part one. I have to mention it again. I, I do really believe that what makes America such a fascinating entrepreneurial case study is when an American says, "Yeah, I did this startup and it crashed and burned." Their American colleagues will say, "Great, what are you doing next?" Here in Europe, when you say, "I tried this start and I run out of cash and burned out." Oh, I'm really sorry to hear that. What, what went wrong? It's almost like failure. And I'm gonna use the term American dream in front of an American. Please don't reach for the bucket here. But the American dream almost celebrates failure. And that's something which I think companies in Europe struggle with, which is just get back up and running and try something new. Travis Kalanick tried many things before he tried Uber and he's trying many things now. He's a serial entrepreneur. And I think that's something that you just can't teach in business school. I think it comes from somewhere far deeper.

Richard Kramer: Yeah. And I would say from my perspective, that is a very outdated view because I think this veneration of the vanquisher that we talked about in previous podcast, this, this putting the entrepreneur on a pedestal, the fact that more young people will know who Elon Musk is than Tim Cook necessarily because one of them is a-

Will Page: Wow. That's a thought.

Richard Kramer: ...One is, is a disruptor and, um-

Will Page: A builder.

Richard Kramer: ...A builder, and makes a lot of controversial statements all the time or smokes pot on Joe Rogan's podcast. And the other is going to do whatever he can to deflect that controversy because he happens to be running a company that generates $300 billion of sales. And obviously doesn't wanna jeopardize that

Will Page: A wonderful farmer, but definitely a farmer, a brilliant farmer, but a very clear farmer [laughs].

Richard Kramer: So celebration of the entrepreneur, and if it was Elon Musk this last year, it was Mark Zuckerberg five years ago. And Steve Jobs, 10 years ago, that celebration of the entrepreneur has enabled or has given permission to all those young people to try and fail. And I think the, the prevalence or rise of, of venture capital, of angel investing, a function of all this capital sloshing around the system has also given permission or enabled young people to try and fail in places where that would've been frowned upon a decade ago. So I think that view of the European as, as being so risk averse and cautious as to not want to try, uh, ideas out in the market is very outmoded.

Will Page: I wanna push back there a little, I think you're right, but I, I, I wanna twist it a little bit because I think that the American business model, low tax low regulation is very conducive. It fosters that entrepreneurial culture, whether it's nature, nurture we're discussing here, the lay of the land helps in America. If you have a great idea and you live in Phoenix, Arizona, you are now having a great idea with a potential market of 338 million people. Europe doesn't offer that.

Richard Kramer: Yeah.

Will Page: Estonia doesn't offer that. Spain doesn't offer that. If you have a great idea in the province of Valencia in Spain, you register your business for Valencia in Spain. If you want to roll it across Spain, you have to register in each separate province.

Richard Kramer: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Will Page: In Catalonia, in Madrid and again and again and again, Galicia. So you could have the nature of the entrepreneur, but the regulatory conditions, the policy framework in those countries, don't help nurture it. I guess that's my point. I think you're right on, on the nature, but you're wrong on the nurture.

Richard Kramer: And I- if I were to put a less benign spin on it, you might say that having effectively zero social safety net in America means that there's perpetually a gun to your head, in some cases, literally in America, that don't, you know-

Will Page: [laughs] Let's [inaudible 00:24:37].

Richard Kramer: ...If you don't, there's nowhere to fall back on, if you're not gonna behave like an entrepreneur. So you've gone to have a go because there's, there's no welfare system that'll look after you for a year while you're trying to bootstrap your startup. You know, there, there's not the, the support structures in place for people who might take a bit longer to get that entrepreneur idea off the ground.

Will Page: Okay, let's take this to the bridge with our favorite closing point of getting Richard Kramer, smoking something that's legitimate and allowed. We've seen the market take a wobble in the past couple of weeks for certain tech stocks, quite a big wobble. And we've been discussing how culture can eat strategy for breakfast. So let's try and join the two up here at the hip, which is, can you give us a smoke signal on a positive note about signs of culture, which suggests the captain of that ship, the CEO of that company, can steer a course through this current turbulence that we're seeing right now. And then can you also flip it and give us the warning sign that uh-oh, which is cultural signals, which is yes, you should just abandon ship and offload that stock right away. Give us a couple of companies as examples if it's possible, but what are we looking for in terms of steering through the turbulence and what are we looking for when we think you ain't gonna make it, you better jump ship right now?

Richard Kramer: Well, certainly a few of the things that we track closely in our role as analysts is for example, executive turnover. It's extremely hard to run companies when your management team is a revolving door, because not only do you have to replace all the experience that leaves when someone talented walks out the door, but it takes you some months with a head hunter to come up with a short list of candidates. If you hire those candidates and find them to be just as good as the person they replaced, they will come in and say, "Let's look at what that last person did for three to six months." And then they'll come in and say, "Let's do something completely different." So before you know it, when you've lost a talented senior executive, it's not simply a matter of next man up. If you want to replace that person, it'll often set you back six or nine or 12 months to the plans that you had in place.

And so one thing I would look for is stable management teams with deep benches of talent. So when you see one executive who might depart for whatever reason, maybe they want to join a startup, or maybe they, they had some other issues in their personal life, that there is someone just as competent and well respected in the organization that steps into their shoes, or if they have to bring in someone from the outside, it's someone who can hit the ground running. Because too often I've seen companies falter in that transition of leadership one or two or three layers below the CEO rank. Because we all know most companies are run by the middle management.

Will Page: So it reminds me of a, a great adage in business, which is in the public sector. They have an expression which goes, I meet, therefore I am, 'cause all you do in the public sector is have meetings. Whereas in the private sector, the adage goes, I reorg, therefore I am. 'Cause all you do is reorg your company. And I guess too many reorgs is bad for business. Fair comment.

Richard Kramer: Absolutely. And uh, another smoke signal we look out for is the way in which as we've talked about in previous podcasts on adjusted earnings, companies give themselves excuses or free passes or not. What you really wanna see in a management team is someone who owns up to their mistakes and appreciates when capital allocation decisions were misguided and they cut and run. So rather than sticking after something that they weren't doing very well, they say, "You know what? Let's sell this business or shut it down." Rather than pursuing a business where they're the number five or six player in the market. They retreat. And that's a good sign of discipline inside companies. And too often you have companies that if a competitor of theirs is doing something, they'll feel compelled to try to do it too. Even if it may not be something that's really within their scope of expertise. So I think that there's something to say sticking to your knitting [laughs] is, is wise. And one thing to watch out for is companies that make glib comments about how they can address another market. Remember that total address [inaudible 00:29:26] market comment.

Will Page: I wanna, I wanna slice of that pie. I wanna-

Richard Kramer: I wanna, I, I-

Will Page: ...That's a big pie chart. I'm gonna take a slice of it and the pie will not respond.

Richard Kramer: Exactly.

Will Page: That's, that's the weird bit [laughs].

Richard Kramer: And, and so if you look at the best companies in the world, the ones that come up on these fortune, most admired, best managed companies, they will take very deliberate decisions to enter into a field. And they will typically do something that's if it's not directly in their wheelhouse, it's the building next door. So they're not gonna fly off into a completely new venture in which they have no business. Now you look at the number of companies that have been rumored to launch themselves into the car market because electric or autonomous vehicles are gonna be the next big thing. And you look at the number of companies that have failed there or have struggled to make returns in the autos market and it tells you, "Hey, it's a little bit more than just putting out a clever press release."

Will Page: Richard, before we wrap it up. I, I, this conversation's been enlightening for me. I love getting away from economics and getting into culture and psychology. It, it's where economics needs to find itself these days. Could you maybe just offer a quick comment on blame culture? I mean, when you look at a company where things have gone wrong and there is a blame culture, what does that make you as an experienced analyst think? I'm interested in this idea of blame. Does that make the job better or does that make the job worse?

Richard Kramer: One book that I think is required reading for any student at any age is-

Will Page: I, I'm on Amazon right now. I'm on Amazon right now, tell me [laughs].

Richard Kramer: ...Now hang on. So one required reading book for students of any age is the book around the growth mindset, which is really about learning from your mistakes. The opposite of the growth mindset is, is the blame culture. It's someone else's fault. The teacher was bad. The test was too hard. My pencil broke. There's all these excuses why I didn't do well on my exam. Well, a student with a growth mindset will say, "Let's look at all the problems I got wrong and try to figure out what mistakes I made and what I can do to correct them the next time." So I think companies that succumb to that blame culture aren't going to go very far because they're not willing to take a hard look in the mirror and say, "Well, that didn't work out. What are we gonna do about it next time? What are we learning from the experience?" And you, you hear companies talk about learnings from experiences. It's very hard in a large organization to codify those learnings, to capture them in some sort-

Will Page: True.

Richard Kramer: ...Of knowledge management framework. It's typically captured in the scars and bitter experiences up for the management team that figured, "Hey, that didn't work out so well, let's not try it again." So I would say the blame culture is anathema to that growth mindset. And I think the really good companies are willing to look at their failures and try to draw lessons, not to have them be repeated again and again and again.

Will Page: Loving it. This has been a great podcast. I am grateful for your contribution, Richard. This is something I think we should be going more and more into. The more markets wobble, the more we should be discussing culture, the less we should be discussing profit and loss. And then just to wrap it up, it does bring back a memory from a, a long time ago when I worked in government and I was at the treasury, the UK treasury, and I learned a story about the chancellor of the exchequer, which is whenever a chancellor of the exchequer, enters government, he is presented a withdraw with three envelopes. And you're told that when things go wrong, you should open the first envelope. Uh, let's say, inflation is up, unemployment is up, growth is down. You open the first envelope and it says, "Blame your predecessor." [laughs].

And then if inflation keeps on getting worse as it is today, if unemployment really gets bad, which is, beginning [inaudible 00:33:33] [laughs] today, I mean, growth really slows, which is actually doing right now. You open the second envelope and that says, "Blame your civil servants." And as things get really bad and you have stagflation, the economy is contracting, inflation is out of control. Everybody's asking to clean your window, 'cause nobody's got jobs. You open your third envelope, that says, "Wish the new chancellor good luck." That's a really [laughs] nice way of capturing blame culture. So that's been it. That's been a great episode of Bubble Trouble. I've really enjoyed this conversation. You've been with myself Will Page and the independent analyst, Richard Kramer, and we are gonna see you next time.

Richard Kramer: If you're new to Bubble Trouble, we hope you'll follow the show wherever you listen to podcasts. Bubble Trouble is produced by Eric Newsome, Jesse Baker and Julia [Nat 00:34:18] at the Magnificent Noise. You can learn more at bubbletroublepodcast.com. Will Page and I will see you next time.