What do you consider to be the greatest feat in business and why?
It’s probably obvious but it has to be the Apple iPhone. As well as how innovative and slick the product itself is, the way Apple have so cleverly convinced so many millions of people that they not only need to have an iPhone but also that they to spend big money every year to update their IPhone to the new model is an incredible example of marketing. I am a total Apple sheep, by the way.
What is the greatest physical feat you’ve witnessed by an individual and why?
I have a vivid memory of British skier, Konrad Bartelski, coming 2nd in the World Cup downhill race at Val Gardena in 1981. It was the best result by a Briton on the Alpine Skiing World Cup circuit and he came within 0.11 seconds of winning the World Cup race. I was 11 years old at the time and obsessed with Ski Sunday even though I had never skied and never expected to. I’m a keen skier now and love being in the mountains.
What about by a group or team?
Aston Villa (my team) winning the European Cup in 1982. I was 12 at the time and a season ticket holder. It is a real example of victory in adversity. It came after a turbulent period for the club and the anticipation just grew and grew with each game.
We had won the First Division (the Premier League of today!) in 1981, for the first time in over 70 years, with the legendary attacking trio of Tony Morley, Gary Shaw and Peter Withe. There was lots of optimism at the start of the 1981-82 season but we made a slow start to our title defence. We were all gutted when our manager, Ron Saunders, resigned before our European Cup quarter-final and I remember everyone feeling doom and gloom.
Our Chief Scout Tony Barton took over from Saunders and steadied the ship in the First Division before leading us to victories over Dynamo Kiev and Anderlecht through to the European Cup final, where we faced the mighty Bayern Munich. Ten minutes into the final our goalkeeper, Jimmy Rimmer, had to go off but his replacement, Nigel Spink (Spinksy), who went on to become a club legend, played superbly to keep us in the game, and one of my footballing heroes, Peter Withe, scored the only goal of the game.
To this day Villa are one of only five English clubs to win the European Cup and, whilst we have had our problems since, it’s a great memory to have.
Which demonstration of intelligence/mental strength has most impressed you?
I will always be impressed by those who overcome adversity. Martin Luther King’s fight for civil and economic rights for African Americans was incredible.
Martin Luther King’s famous speech during the Washington March on August 28, 1963 said it all: it’s not only for the words themselves that impress me but the incredible levels of humility and compassion he showed throughout his struggle for equal rights. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” are amazing words to have spoken at such a time and are as relevant now as they were then.
Which act of generosity has inspired you the most and why?
I come across many inspiring people who give so much of their time and energy in trying to help those in need. In many ways, I think it is much easier to throw money at something to make you feel better and less guilty about what you have so I am much more impressed by those people who, under the radar, dedicate time and energy to worthwhile causes. We have many people at Muckle LLP giving up a lot of their own time to help those in need and this inspires me most.