That name!

How about that! Choosing Sinnerman as your professional alter ego. Now that you know, do you feel different about me? I could have chosen a more professional sounding domain like, which i registered, but overall found a bit boring. To survive in today’s business environment you need something with a bit more venom: Sinnerman!

Having visited Afghanistan in the summer of 2014, jumping in and out of taxi’s in Kabul – something most people consider beyond the definition of ill advised – and currently dreaming of a trip to Iraq, I know I’m a wild one. But also remember, opposites attract. Most of my friends simply don’t understand how I enjoy pouring over reports for hours on end. The devil is in the details – always –  I’ve scored several coups, which helped to solidified my reputation as a finance professional who gets to the heart of it. Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Gulliver’s Travels said: “If a man loves the labours of his trade, apart from any question of success or fame, the gods have called him.” Guess that’s me. All safety and no risks makes Johnny a whimpy boy.

To me Sinnerman is simply one of many beautiful songs. I came up with the name while typing up my Rio Carnival (highly, highly recommended) trip notes for my Dutch website, when I found out my home town of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, ended up in the top ten travel destinations of several publishers. Of course I’d say! One of those entries has Nina Simone playing in the background. As I was writing it hit me. Surprisingly the name was still available, almost two decades after I went online in 1996, nobody claimed it. So there you go: a presumptuous yet intelligent blog mainly about business, finance and economics, but also one that strays more than occasionally from its core interests.

Creativity is the cure

Creativity is what moves any business forward, that is if you are not a rock solid monopoly like HRM’s Taxes. A university graduate with a degree in business or economics/MBA clone makes a nice addition to the team, but the first thing you have to teach them is to think out of the box, that is, if you are lucky. The only rule of business is making money day in, day out – meaning until the end of time, for every single month you have to sell more stuff than you pay in expenses and collect!

The painful, yet irresistible charm of a positive free cash flow makes any initial discussion with a newly hired millennial interesting. Usually it ends something like this: “OK great investment scheme, brilliant rate of return. Can’t argue with the NPV of your project, but how to fix that cash flow problem next month? Given your dedication to this company, you surely won’t mind postponing getting paid until our cash flow turns positive” Just make sure you have something to help them regain their consciousness at the end of the conversation. Yes I’m naughty, don’t you just love it?

I know I sin against many things I’ve been taught. University is nice, but like they say: those who can, do.  We all know business models are written with hindsight – which (witch) from Academia’s point of view is often still considerably less than 20/20. Then again, they don’t have to take it to the mattress (yes, that’s from the Godfather!)

Henry Ford famously proclaimed how the customer is always right as long as he wanted black. Steve Jobs had a similar vision almost a century later. Business crucially depends on those who think out of the books – oops I’m sinning against the English language now – because at the top there is only room for one, perhaps two firms (Jack Welch). Nobody wants to be best of the rest unless the profit margins are so fat from the day you sign on you never have to show up for work (oil-rich countries excluded).

It is obvious: I’m a sinner, but aren’t we all? Yes I like to sin against a number of accepted practices, but so far it has served me well. Those who know me will nod in agreement and think: well-chosen nom de plume! But don’t worry, sometimes I erupt into highly erratic bouts of rationality – one of my less convincing traits – but it passes. In the end all good things come to an end.

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