Presidents, Predictions & Plans

The Future is a Promise to No One

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I think I might have just stumbled onto something new
Got a prediction for the future, I'm hoping that you
Open this envelope when you're older and it holds true

- ‘Castle’ by Eminem

It is that time of year again when anyone high profile or with a following in their area of business decides to put out their predictions for the coming year.

It seems like everywhere you turn on LinkedIn there’s a new post of predictions for 2021.

It seems like the experience of 2020 hasn’t stopped people from trying to make wild predictions about markets, bitcoin prices, etc.

My boss uses a lot of generic phrases in conversation with clients. One of his favourite ones is ‘The future is a promise to no one’.

I find it infuriating at times when he uses the same phrase in a positive way towards one client and in a negative way towards another.

He always uses this particular phrase when it comes to growth and revenue projections that early-stage companies have provided when seeking funding.

The reason it infuriates me is that I care more about the assumptions driving an early-stage company’s projections rather than the actual numbers they are projecting.

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything

Dwight Eisenhower was US President from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he became a five-star general in the Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe.

He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of Normandy in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

During a speech in November 1957, President Eisenhower used a famous saying ‘Plans are worthless, but planning is everything’.

He was sharing an anecdote about the maps used during U.S. military training before World War I in which the trainers were assessing an area of Europe, and decided that the area they were assessing was not relevant for planning exercises.

Sure enough, a few years later, US troops were deployed and fighting in that very region.

Eisenhower’s view was that when you are planning for an emergency you must start with one very important idea: ‘the very definition of “emergency” is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning.’

Why Should You Care?

Planning is one of the most important things you can do at any stage of growth.

Even if you are an early-stage company, the thought process behind putting together a detailed plan is extremely valuable and will serve you well in the long run.

The details of a plan which was designed years in advance are often incorrect, but the planning process demands the thorough exploration of options and contingencies.

It is also useful to remember that predictions and plans can also be self-fulfilling prophecies.

As the saying goes, the future is a promise to no one so the best way to predict the future is to make it.

Tell me why I’m wrong…

- Eoin

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Left Field

How do I describe ‘Left Field’? It’s a place to put the content (newsletters/articles, etc) that we have amassed over recent weeks or previous years that really make us think or change our thinking on a particular topic. All the content will offer an alternative view of some topic in financial services, technology or sport (or a combination of all three!)

Death By Coconut: A Story Of Food Obsession Gone Too Far

This is the fascinating story of August Engelhardt, a sun-worshipping German nudist and history's most radical fan of coconuts.

Engelhardt lived on a beautiful South Pacific island, eating nothing but coconut, which he believed was the panacea for all mankind's woes

Anyway, I won’t give away too much. Enjoy the article and feel free to get in touch to discuss more!

- Eoin


Can’t Sleep?

MoneyNeverSleeps podcast episode from this week:

  • Episode 118: Words of Advice | Brian McDonald and Bay Advisory

  • Brian McDonald from Bay Advisory joins the show for Part 1 of a 2-part series on M&A and raising capital for SMEs and talks through the intersection of experiences that drove him to launch Bay Advisory, market trends impacting early-stage entrepreneurs in Europe, and helping entrepreneurs think about their options in taking money off the table.

  • Audio version on Apple and Spotify

Book Recommendation: Highly recommend checking out ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ by Tony Robbins. Tony is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist and this book shows the reader how to take immediate control of their mental, emotionalphysical and financial destiny. Loved it!


This newsletter has been written by Eoin Fitzgerald and Pete Townsend

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