Editorial: A tough time to spot winners

Compiling the MT Top 100 Entrepreneurs list this year has proved unusually tricky. The tumultuous events of the past few months and the extreme volatility of markets mean that establishing who is doing well and then ranking them is tough. Calamity can strike rapidly. The article's author, Philip Beresford, is a great stickler for accuracy and all this uncertainty makes him very jumpy. He has described himself as a 'gricer' or train-spotter, and his fear of getting a locomotive's number wrong, as he stands on the end of the platform at Clapham Junction, keeps him awake into the early hours. (By the way, the joke around the office is that when he comes to put together his other big project, The Rich List in 2009, Beresford will have to rename it The Not So Rich List.)

by Matthew Gwyther, MT editor
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The winner, Mike Lynch of Autonomy, is the sixth holder of the MT Top Entrepreneur title and a true hero of UK business. The downturn will, of course, affect him, but the doyen of European software has seen rough times before. This son of a fireman and nurse has said: 'My dad advised me to get a job that didn't involve running into burning buildings.'

We make no excuse for including several quite chewy, thought-provoking pieces in this New Year edition. Simon Caulkin's investigation 'Corporate Apocalypse' traces the roots of the crash back to poor management practice. He says it wasn't just financial services that brought us down, but a profound failure in our approaches to management.

Our round-table discussion is about stewardship and what it means to have a shareholding in a company. Will Hutton says it should be about nurture, wanting the best for the company and being committed to it - almost like the feeling one has towards one's children. Using these criteria, there have in recent years been plenty of individuals - not least the short sellers - who have been very negligent parents indeed.

After this, the feature on the business of rap offers some lighter relief. Time was when those who produced music regarded Mammon with disdain. From Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd to Kurt Cobain, it was considered crass to admit you were only in it 'for the Benjamins' (Franklin is on the $100 note). You had a higher calling. The rappers changed all that - what they do is all about money-making. 50 Cent's debut album was Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. Mr Cent has his own body spray label, a clothing range produced by Reebok and even his own brand of condoms, called MagicStick. Lead Belly and Blind Lemon Jefferson would be appalled.

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