Monday 19 March 2018

The Punt: A haircut for Yanis Varoufakis

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

There has been much talk of Yanis Varoufakis and the need for a Greek haircut.

Arguably, a haircut shouldn't really be that big of an issue for the Greek Finance Minister nowadays. But 20 years ago he gave an interview to an Australian news channel, and it was evident it was more of a pressing issue then.

Footage has emerged of the interview with the unyielding minister and the news channel in which the state of the Greek economy and Greek politics was discussed.

A young Varoufakis, sporting a bright red shirt and a head full of dark hair, was an academic at Sydney University at the time.

In the interview he pontificated in that same commanding manner for which he has become so well known in the last couple of weeks (and very much beloved, ironically, among some Germans who have deemed him a heartthrob).

There have been lots of jokes doing the round about haircuts recently. Just last week, when Varoufakis met German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schuable, somebody tweeted "history's most important discussion of haircuts by two bald men".

A haircut for Greece has been ruled out. Varoufakis ruled one out for himself a long time ago.

Doctor in the house

It seems there is no shortage of doctors in the house, not if it's in Limerick anyway. 

We're not sure if it's a sign of qualification inflation or just that the mid-west is a hot bed of brainboxes, but Limerick Chamber of Commerce has named the second chief executive in a row able to boast a Phd.

Dr James Ring takes up his new role as the chamber's most senior executive this week and succeeds the equally hyper-qualified Dr Orlaith Borthwick, who had been interim CEO since September last, following the departure of Maria Kelly.

Dr Ring was previously CEO of Limerick Civic Trust, a heritage and environmental agency based in the city, for four years.

Before that the environmental and analytical chemist was a project manager at the University of Limerick (UL) where he was involved in improving education attainment rates in disadvantaged communities.

He was also previously an environment and public affairs executive with employers group IBEC, and is in the process of completing an MBA at UL.

An intoxicating survey by Punt

Proof, if proof were needed that what is good for technology startups might not work for pubs. Research published in the prestigious journal 'Science' has found that startups named after their founder are a whopping 70pc less likely to be successful than their rivals.

Start-ups with short names are far more likely to thrive, according to the study "Where is Silicon Valley."

That's good news for the Irish entrepreneurs behind the likes of Bing and Stripe, who have kept their names off their businesses, and their company names simple.

Mind you, to be honest we're not convinced there is much more than coincidence at play.

The same research found that businesses set up in areas where there is already a thriving industrial scene are more likely to survive and thrive.

That does seem to make a bit more sense, although a study about Silicon Valley was always going to point in that direction. Research undertaken by the Punt found that few of the findings are true when applied to pubs.

According to our totally unscientific study, pubs are a whopping 66.66pc more likely to be worth a visit if they have nothing more elaborate than a family name over the door. Pubs often trade well in clusters, just like startups, but unlike tech wizards, boozers don't do well in industrial parks. And while hi-tech starts ups may struggle if they have high number of heavy drinkers on the premises, pubs tend to thrive in such conditions.

Irish Independent

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