Author and forecaster John Naisbitt, in the UK to publicise his latest best-seller, Global Paradox, finds it hard to convince the reluctant British how well placed they are to profit from the eponymous puzzle: the larger, more global the world economy, the smaller, more entrepreneurial the important players. 'Look,' he says earnestly, 'you've had growth every quarter for two years so why do people still talk about recession? It causes a lot of mischief.' In addition, Britain, like the US ('which hasn't been so favourably situated for 50 years'), is better equipped to exploit the new, bottom-up entrepreneurial realities than Continental Europe, which is still mired in 'the mainframe mindset' that brought down both IBM and the former USSR.
To prove his point, Naisbitt brandishes a copy of the UK edition of his book. He relates that when he discussed terms with publishers - 'a large established' one and upstart Nicholas Brealey - last December, Brealey promised to have the book in the warehouse by the end of January. The big publisher could only manage late autumn. Naisbitt was delighted - not just by the date. By outsourcing everything except marketing, 'Brealey epitomises what I'm saying about small businesses being larger. The medium', he concludes triumphantly, 'really is the message.'.