The Remains of the Day is a well known movie based on a book. I have to say I didn’t see the movie, but I read the book during the winter holidays, after finding out it was the book Jeff Bezos from Amazon considered one of the best (and mistakenly considered the reason he started Amazon as a bookstore).
The thing is… I don’t have too much to say about it. The subject is quite simple: a 50-60 years old butler remembers his life while driving across UK to meet a co-worker from 20 years earlier. He reminisces the history (he was the butler of a British Lord that was involved in negotiations with Ribbentrop during the years before the start of the Second World War) and looks over the decisions he took in his personal life that lead to that particular moment.
I enjoyed parts of the book, but I didn’t really enjoy the entire book. I probably don’t have the feeling of something big missing in my life – I’m not 60, you know – to be able to make a connection with the character, I really don’t know. Also, the rhythm of the book is quite slow and deliberately paced.
Another thing I found weird initially is the way the book is written. The language used is very protocolar, which is the exact way I would think a butler like Stevens would use, but it was really difficult to read for the initial 20 pages or so.
Finally, would I recommend the book? I enjoyed the 4-5 hours it took me reading it, but it took me a conscious effort, from time to time, to continue reading it and not choose something else in my Kindle library. I actually enjoyed the understanding of the management skills necessary for a butler (it felt like a COO combined with the HR person), but I don’t think it makes the book more enjoyable if you don’t really like the style.
Indeed, I can say I am in agreement with those who say that the ability to draw up a good staff plan is the cornerstone of any decent butler’s skills. – as I was saying :)
Indeed, the more one considers it, the more obvious it seems: association with a truly distinguished household is a prerequisite of ‘greatness’. – I was thinking of ways to grow as a startup (partnerships with better known companies and similar things)
An interesting thing: the book is written by a Japanese born person (Kazuo Ishiguro), which was really confusing initially. After that I found out that he moved early in life to UK, so it made more sense.
Bill Liao, the partner that we work with at SOSventures, just published an interesting blog post about the relationship between an investor and the companies they invest/want to invest in. It’s called Road to Investment.
The interesting thing is that part of this article is the opinion of MavenHut’s lawyer, David Ryan, the guy that helped us raising investment and advices us around a lot of issues (along with our Romanian lawyers, obviously). David actually evaluates SOSventurs’ documents from the point of view of “the other side’s” lawyer. And it’s good.
As an established Series A investor it was clear that the deal we were doing with SOSv was the same consistent approach they had adopted with others.
Our advice is to have the tricky conversations at the heads of terms/LOI stage and beyond that it should be streamlined otherwise it’s not a great start.
Once the start-up is properly advised and understands that certain things are a fact of life with Series A investors (Liquidation Preference, Vetoes, Anti-Dilution, Limited Warranties and Reverse Vesting of Founder Equity) then the process will run smoothly.
There is no real need to waste money negotiating for the sake of doing so and at FOD we avoid getting into this trap. Get good commercial legal advice and get the investment in so that you can start to shift the needle and this is exactly what has happened with Mavenhut.”
Read the article here, it really is worth reading it.
Photo: that’s me and Bill Liao (photo taken from ComputerBlog.ro)
“I suppose I can justify the variety of my readings and entertainment this way. Every week I read The Economist and New Scientist cover to cover, which I complement with Forbes, Time, Fortune, Business Week, but also Entertainment Weekly and Premiere. I love movies of all genres, be they artsy foreign movies or the latest blockbuster, books of all genres from Ron Chernow biographies to the latest Dan Brown thriller and love playing video games.”
I need to have these in one place, online, and I thought they might be good for you, also.