The Bickley Blog: Egg Shaped Balls

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Chris Bickley

“All the world’s a stage

And all the men and women merely players”, so wrote the Bard.

Right now, that stage is in Japan where the rugby nations of the world are battling it out to lift the Webb Ellis Cup on November 2.

Japan’s rugby team, the Cherry Blossoms, are currently 150/1 to lift the trophy.

But strange things can happen in sport in the Land of The Rising Sun:

In Tokyo, 1990, Buster Douglas KO’d Iron Mike Tyson.

And talking of sporting upsets, let’s not forget that closer to home, Leicester City were at one point quoted at 5000/1 to win the Premier League in 2015.

In economics, lots has been written about Japan’s Lost Decade. Apparently lots of valuable lessons were learned (although Not Piling Up Massive Debt and Trying to Spend One’s Way Out of a Tight Corner seem to have been overlooked by some governments since).

The main theme of the commentary however, has been to write off the Japanese economy.

It wasn’t a total shock therefore when last Wednesday Japan’s Ministry of Finance published their provisional export data, showing a YoY decline of 8.2%

The Bank of Japan’s Statement on Monetary Policy, released last Thursday, acknowledged that exports are “likely to show some weakness for the time being”.

But the statement also painted a rosier picture of domestic demand, with a virtuous cycle from income to spending constant across both the corporate and household sectors.

And the authors weren’t ambiguous as to where they saw the triggers: US-China trade war, global rounds of QE, and Brexit, funnily enough.

What’s interesting about Japan’s odds for winning the Rugby World Cup are that, excluding New Zealand, they fall to 66/1.

It would be foolish to suggest that is a sensible bet, even if Matushima’s hattrick of tries against Russia in the opening game has made their fans think anything is possible. And who can forget 2015 when they beat the Springboks 34-32 at the World Cup in England?

But look at the odds for all competing teams at the tournament, with and without the All Blacks: there is a clear favourite here.

As a neat metaphor, in economic and population terms, NZ would be a mere SME to Japan’s, (or any of the other five G7 nations represented at the tournament – Germany being the only absentee) ‘Blue Chip’ status.

But it is often the SMEs that, with their pioneering, adventurous spirit, their agility and their ability to stay focused their areas of expertise, outperform.

At Cooper Golding, we help many pioneering experts, who also happen to be SMEs, build their squads and develop their bench strength.

Get in touch to find out more – you can reach us via phone, email, social media, or pop in to our office for a chat: as you like It.