“Mostly estate agents play no more fast and loose with words than other professions.” Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Over the past month or so I have been spending a lot of time with everyone’s least favourite professionals. Our house is up for sale and alternative h(...)

‘Shoe-shining, in marked contrast to banking, gives its customers pleasure.’ Photograph: Antonis Liokouras/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Last Thursday, for the first time in my life, I had my shoes shined. I sat on a stool outside St Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside and a man crouched at my (...)

Tim Armstrong: see him on YouTube for a masterclass in how not to talk to staff, how not to motivate and not to lead.  Photograph: Victor J Blue/Bloomberg

Tim Armstrong is my favourite chief executive. I can’t think of anyone else who has provided me with such rich and varied copy over the years. Since h(...)

Every time we write an email we are in the dark as to what is going to work best. Photograph: PA

‘Lucy is a gifted communicator, makes occasional gut decisions against logic and prefers big ideas over details.”As a description of me, this is prett(...)

Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo: “As we iterate on the logged-out experience and curate topics, events, moments that unfold on the platform, you should absolutely expect us to deliver those experiences across the total audience and that includes logged in users and users in syndication.”  Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Twitter’s first-quarter earnings were a washout. It is not just that the numbers were poor or that they were leaked – there was another thing wrong wi(...)

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, who have been married for 21 years. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

To be a billionaire, the first thing you need is a personality disorder.That is what I had always assumed, based on my own experience of having interv(...)

Warren Buffett has done 50 years at Berkshire Hathaway, proving it is possible to be with the same outfit forever without becoming a gormless, unimaginative loser.  Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Last week I celebrated my pearl anniversary at the Financial Times. For the past 30 years I have been pitching up to work at the same place, week in, (...)

Graduate recruitment  now  often involves team exercises, “panel interviews, ordeals and other assorted pranks”. Photograph: Getty Images

On the same day last month my daughter and I got up, put on our best clothes and went off to be interviewed for different jobs.She, a recent graduate,(...)

Reality bites: the Apple logo may be one of the most recognised in the world but most people are unable to sketch it accurately. Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Here is a test. Find a pencil and a scrap of paper and draw the Apple logo. Easy, no? Now compare your sketch to the real thing. If you are like me, o(...)

The super-anxious cannot wait more than two minutes without retuning to the desk to ask if the receptionist has forgotten to announce their presence. Photograph: Getty Images

It is mid-morning on a Thursday and I am sitting hunched in the reception area of my office building. I am trying not to attract attention as I am en(...)