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Alan Sugar

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How highly leveraged is he? Didn't they buy most of the wollsworths property before they went bust.

His top advice is to invest into property. His son that started him investing into property probably thinks he's some genious.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/enterprise/11930889/How-wealthy-is-Lord-Sugar-A-billionaire-thanks-to-clever-property-investments.html

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It's probably a good job i was never his apprentice, i would have certainly been anti property investment over the last decade and been wrong for London.

Absolutely the right advice north of Watford. If he had tried property investment in Nottingham, Derby, Birmingham or Sheffield he would be bankrupt ten times over by now. But London has been kind to that sort of thing.

Edited by crashmonitor

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he is just sold (at a large profit) a building at the west end of Cheapside (city of London). He, did a good (not superb) redevelopment and let it at a massive rent to a serviced office occupier.

The buyer is in a fools paradise, City offices rents are very cyclical (in net effective terms (ie after tenant inducements, rent frees, etc), they have doubled since 09) and initial yields (rent/cost) and equivalent yields (projected cashflow/cost (essentially an all risk IRR) are low.

Serviced offices have compound risk, as when the occupier market falls away, the serviced operator is hammered; it's a one way downside bet (as the rents are pegged to regular operators on the way up)

Fair play to Amsprop on the deal, they've played a blinder

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I know someone that knows him quite well (but really doesn't like him).

In his view Sugar is lucky that his property investments have made enough money to finance the losses he has made on almost every other business.

Sorry - a bit secondhand but worth quoting I think. Friend is an FTSE 100 MD so probably reliable.

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He was saved by QE and the bank bailouts. Otherwise the highly leveraged pocket genius investor of secondary sites would be bankrupt.

That is my recollection. Wasn't he chummy with Brown at the time? I wonder what advice, if any, was given.

Edited by Bruce Banner

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Was it Napoleon who said an essential quality of a good general is that they were lucky? Have to admit that SirAlan has milked the Beeb well.

Who has been the best British entrepreneur of the last 30 years? I'd go for Tim Martin. Or the guy at Ryanair (if he wasn't in fact Irish) despite the fact I hate Ryanair.

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I find myself watching hardly any telly these days let alone 'reality shows'. Not having a licence helps!

I remember buying Amstrad hi-fi bits and bobs and also the PCW and PC1640 stuff.

It was genuinely disruptive and at an unheard of price point back then. I think the PC1512 started out at £399 and was £600 cheaper than anything else unless you wanted to mess around with 'compatible' cards from Taiwan with flaky compatibility and BIOS. Aside from a couple of teething problems it was solid stuff until Sugar got shafted by Western Digital malware.

Now he is an old geezer so 'The Apprentice', for him, is about past glories.

In any event I am usually loath to attack self made people - there are enough toffs, crooks and corrupt crony vermin to aim my bile and schadenfreude at.

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Has there a been a more depressing quote than this:

'Lord Sugar now apparently advises other aspiring entrepreneurs to "do business for fun" and to make real money by investing in property.'

I remember when we first got sky plus and there were 3 types of box, the Amstrad box was awful, slow and buggy. When we got a box from another company it was like a new experience.

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Has there a been a more depressing quote than this:

'Lord Sugar now apparently advises other aspiring entrepreneurs to "do business for fun" and to make real money by investing in property.'

I remember when we first got sky plus and there were 3 types of box, the Amstrad box was awful, slow and buggy. When we got a box from another company it was like a new experience.

What else is he going to say? Anything else would directly affect the value his investments.

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Another out of touch millionaire.

Although one good thing he's done is stick Claude Littner into the apprentice. Seeing the arrogant corporate drones shot down in flames is good fun !

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Well done to him for making a lot of money as that's clearly what he's wanted to do and he's had a lot of businesses outside of property.

The objection to it is if he's used his friendship with Brown etc to help to influence government policy or to obtain insider information related to his own business interests - especialy property as it's so basic and fundamental to everyone's life - also apparently using his position in the media to espouse his own business interests and it might not be the best investment from this point on.

Edited by billybong

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Was it Napoleon who said an essential quality of a good general is that they were lucky? Have to admit that SirAlan has milked the Beeb well.

Who has been the best British entrepreneur of the last 30 years? I'd go for Tim Martin. Or the guy at Ryanair (if he wasn't in fact Irish) despite the fact I hate Ryanair.

It was:

I know he's a good general, but is he lucky?”

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Exactly, he has used a prime time BBC show to advertise his doomed products and now uses it to showcase property he owns. Not sure how he gets away with that.

Very questionable business sense, he said the iPad wouldn't sell and told bill gates there was no money to be made in software.

To be fair he said to Gates that there was no money to be made [by him] in software, which is probably accurate.

re. the ipad - it is clear that AS doesn't understand computers since the dos days.

I'm no particular fan of AS, but my definition of entrepreneur is someone who can succeed with several diverse business ideas, preferably with a bit of failure thrown in to show resilience - and AS has this in spades. Jobs absolutely had it (Apple, Pixar, Next, back to Apple, etc). Gates doesn't quite (well, MS basic was good, MSDOS was a knockoff which has essentially bankrolled the rest of the company for the last 30 years (happy to be flamed!)). Someone like O'Leary doesn't as although his company has been successful (Ryanair), he's only done it once and that might have been a fluke.

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emailer_3472517b.jpg

Funny product - the emailer could have taken over the oldie email market 20 years ago - but the crazy pricing scheme (essentially premium rate numbers for the modem connection to download the emails) killed it dead (apparently it could cost £100 per month to use the thing). Apparently the pricing scheme was AS, so he shows a distinct lack of market understanding there...

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Funny product - the emailer could have taken over the oldie email market 20 years ago - but the crazy pricing scheme (essentially premium rate numbers for the modem connection to download the emails) killed it dead (apparently it could cost £100 per month to use the thing). Apparently the pricing scheme was AS, so he shows a distinct lack of market understanding there...

A well meaning relative bought one of those wretched things for my Mother. She was not particularly tech savvy and the thing was anything but intuitive so it was not likely to be a successful partnership. The damn thing was expensive to run and caused my Mother nothing but grief. We quietly hid it. It confirmed my already low option of Mr Sugars products having seen his vile 'hi-fi' morph into his tacky computers. He is very good at one thing though; he reinforces the idea that successful people need to be arrogant bullies. I am not a fan!

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Think your way off the mark with Microsoft, they've had plenty of successful products.

Oh they've had lots of successful products, only each one is formed out of a couple of unsuccessful products which would have sunk any other company but which the windows/office near monopoly* (which itself was unsuccessful initially and was bankrolled out of the msdos near monopoly) could bankroll to keep things going.

The one exception was xbox, which was a success from the start. Other than that, look at the failures before the successes.

* If there is one thing that BG is good at, it is understanding the value of the dominance of windows and particularly office in the marketplace - ie, if it wasn't completely dominant then people would be able to use an alternative. And note that it isn't actually the product (which is admittedly quite good), but the file format which gives them their strength - if anyone could read/write docx/xlsx easily then then many more people would use the alternatives.

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How was the Xbox a success from the start? It bombed in Japan and was loosing billions a year? Xbox wasn't profitable from the start at all! And the latest one seems to have cost billions . unlike Nintendo who sell every console with a profit margin. I do have trouble believing anything from your post tbh.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2014/02/18/microsoft-should-give-xbox-one-to-nintendo/

Ah - OK. I'm not a gamer, just talk to them. So that makes no products successful at first try.

This is about AS, but I'll go on about MS as I'm bored. They make great products that I'm really happy to used, but if you look into the history of every product they make (now including xbox, thanks) they have several failures before they find success. Most companies couldn't cope with their failure rate at bringing new products to market. I'd be happy for you to point of the exceptions as I can't think of any and I'd be happy enough to be wrong.

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Sugar made his millions by hard work running profitable manufacturing companies. He made his hundreds of millions in highly leveraged property deals and was lucky not to have lost his shirt when the market turned circa 2008.

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surely ms only bring lots of products to market because these have huge cash reserves and can throw money until it sticks? If they didn't have the reserves they wouldn't invest so much in products. Didn't they save apple from going under?

I think that is my point - they've got vast amounts to money to throw at problems until they eventually succeed. Any other company bringing a product to market in their way wouldn't succeed. That doesn't impress me that much.

I'm surrounded by people at work that bash Microsoft all day and go on about how creative and individual they are to have apple products.

I just don't think you know much about ms. I work these days mainly with c#, .net and SQL server.

I'm no particular fan of apple products - well, I was impressed in 1984, but they're too sparkly for me these days.

MS are good at languages, and that part of the company goes back to the start, so has been no failure - MS basic on the Apple II etc was quite good, and their language division has kept up since. But even there, there are problems with their monopoly - Java could have killed the Microsoft model, so MS developed a two stage strategy - they created their own JVM which installed as default and which was almost but not quite compatible with Sun JVM - result people complained that Java didn't work very well (which it absolutely didn't on the MS JVM). Next they created their own version of OO-done-properly C++ (C#) - and tied up the market. There is no evidence that MS was going to innovate into C# before Java came along to force them.

The SQL example is the other way MS innovates - they just bought SQL Server from Sybase.

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