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Mark Pownall

Mark Pownall has around three decades of media experience. Prior to becoming CEO of Business News he ran the content operations of the business and was integral to the implementation of all the company’s digital products –twice daily email newsletters, weekly podcasts, deals database and BNiQ search engine. Mark has a Commerce degree from UWA and a post-graduate qualification in English from Curtin University. 

Steeling for business as Asia grows

The current slowdown is just a breather from longer-term Asian economic expansion.

Sign of the times? Where’s the Hawks banner?

Subiaco-based iiNet is a major sponsor of the Hawthorn Football Club with its HQ almost next door to where the Hawks meet West Coast Eagles tonight, yet we haven’t seen the same kind of enthusiasm for

Labor shows anti-business bias

Elections do at least allow the people to choose the kind of economy they want to live in.

Smaller globe puts world in reach

We are at the right place at the right time, we just haven’t noticed.

What about port plans?

In my previous column here I examined the history behind the fiasco around the Perth Freight Link, with nearly 20 years of poor policy decisions restricting Fremantle’s freedom as a port because of below-standard transport connections.

Industry peril in ignoring the plan

All growth comes with pain, but it’s especially acute when anticipated development is unnecessarily restricted.

Reviews offer efficiency dividend

When they are not a box-ticking exercise, performance reviews can deliver real benefit.

ResApp to speed up tests

Digital medicine developer ResApp Health has announced its second clinical trial program in Perth as it seeks to accelerate the testing of its smartphone-based diagnosis of respiratory disease.

Low profile suits Normandie style

It may be a recognisable national brand, but Normandie Foods is not particularly prominent as a business.

Look north for the land of opportunity

It might be time for business to revisit the prospect of Indonesia as an investment destination.

Natural order as iiNet logs out

As companies seek growth outside of WA, the reasons to remain domiciled here diminish.

Aim low on price for long-term

Now the boom is over, keeping costs low and margins tight is necessary for survival.

A solution is needed, not quick fixes

Recent confusion at the political level and a philosophical discussion with some friends has prompted a revisit to the taxi debate.

Euroz partners with Flinders

Euroz has announced its second expansion move in the funds management sector in the space of a week, with the launch of a partnership with Melbourne-based Flinders Investment Partners.

Time shows shift in business growth

High-growth companies highlight the change in WA’s economy.

Receivers appointed to FairStar assets

Troubled mining group FairStar Resources has been put in the hands of receivers and managers with the appointment of PPB Advisory’s Simon Theobald and Melissa Humann.

Can Flanagan do heavy lifting at Atlas?

The iron ore miner’s size and local status have led to an unusual testing of the market’s appetite for risk.

Business News scores with daily email

Business News has been recognised for its daily news email at the Alliance of Area Business Publishers annual awards ceremony in the US city of Charlotte in North Carolina.

Dinner Twist menu right for startups

Despite its Scandinavian inspiration, there’s no Swedish chef behind the Rising Stars startup category winner, Dinner Twist.

Buffett’s local fare has Asian fusion flavour

The Oracle of Omaha may not be a new investor in Australia, but it is a good sign.

Swan Taxis needs to turn a corner

New leadership at the helm of Swan Taxis offers a chance to turn away from past mistakes.

New chief at Celebrate WA

Just two weeks after its big annual event, Celebrate WA is ushering in a new CEO in a change that reflects a strategic reset at two important culture-focused Perth organisations.

Money can complicate growing up

Entrepreneur became a dirty word in WA. Thankfully that was just a phase.

Voices for change aren’t deep enough

Perth has evolved, but the gender diversity of its CEOs hasn’t.

Tough times challenge generosity

Charities may find 2015 is the big test for their fundraising abilities.

Ardrey jailed for fraud

A businessman who defrauded a bio-pharmaceutical company of $394,000 has today been handed an immediate jail term of four years.

Education and child care a costly mix

Pre-school education is powerful, but child care has a different purpose.

Lomborg case poorly managed

Politics and academia are a volatile mix, as the handling of the Bjorn Lomborg initiative at UWA has shown.

Commentary hardball played online

Polite disagreement is hard to find in the digital space.

Fit for purpose, Running Unlimited takes next step

PERTH-LINKED fitness products group Running Unlimited has gone to the public for the first time to fund the next phase of its development, using the UK crowdfunding service Seedrs to raise at least £2

Income envy misses the taxing question

Those who earn more also pay proportionally more tax.

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Mark Pownall's Picks

Recent reading

For the Aussie history buffs. Like a lot of things if you think polarised society, royals behaving badly or domestic terrorism are new things ... think again. Steve Harris is an accomplished journalist and media entrepreneur, so this a little different although his home town of Melbourne features prominently.

The Contiki story. It is a racy read with plenty of business tips from a backpacker who took his business global ... and pretty much lost the lot. The business journey is outlined in extraordinary detail. A must read for anyone who has travelled on the cheap to Europe.

Great management text if you are looking for someone to make sense of all the models and theories that sometimes attain cult status. Co-author is Perth-based Paul Culmsee.

Simon Sebag Montefiore's Jerusalem, a great historic introduction to many of the Middle East's current issues. In fact, when you see what goes on there today, a lot of it is explained by this book

Another fascinating read was Peter Rees' book Bearing Witness about Australia's great WW1 war correspondent Charles Bean. I note there's a competing biography by Ross Coulthart which I haven't read yet.

Also worth reading was one I dragged out of my father's library. William L Shirer was a foreign correspondent based in Berlin in 1930s and, due to America's late entry into WW2, was there during the early part of that conflict. His book The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is half way between and academic work and the modern histories we are used to which are more entertaining. His book is awesome in its documentation and given a human element by the number of eye witness accounts he provides.

I really enjoyed The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin which was not only about the US presidency at the start of the 20th century, but the unique role investigative journalism played in reform. It reviews the incredible reporting backed by gutsy publishers who serialised stories on concerning issues with both economic and social implications. These journalists also had unprecedented access to the presidency, especially the progressive Franklin Roosevelt. As the circulation-boosting power of this style of journalism rose, however, some went too far, making up stories and spitefully attacking political leaders - leading to the expression muckrakers. The tabloids of today have historical precedent!

Sir Bob's visit

Some of the VIPs who really did have lunch with Sir Bob.

Recent reading

Just got through this great book by Bob de la Motte, well known in Perth finance circles. Its about his life, growing up in South Africa and competing in the 90km Comrades Marathon.

Another book worth mentioning is Njinga by a good friend of mine Kate Leeming - she's also just released a film on her trans-African cycling trip and is preparing to turn it into a TV documenary series. Her next project is Antarctica.

Find it here: www.kateleeming.com

Executive remuneration

Worth checking out our CEO/executive/director remuneration list here. There are thousands of WA names on it ... 59 pages of salaries if you are up for it.

Bitcoin

Meanwhile, I am awaiting a copy of this (not a Christmas hint - review copy coming I am told) which I expect will help decipher much about the mysterious world of bitcoin. This has been co-authored by a friend of mine and former colleague Michael Casey who has been writing regular columns on bitcoin for the past year or more. I have passed on a few tidbits to him about activity in Australia, but I have no idea if that was useful.

My all-time favourite business and political books are here on my Facebook page.

Most-read

Visionary medico wins 40under40

This year’s First Amongst Equals winner is a passionate medical specialist but he’s also a visionary entrepreneur who has a lot in common with successful business leaders.

Vale Geoff Rasmussen

Western Australian corporate leader Geoff Rasmussen passed away on Friday night after a long battle with cancer.

Builton fails, administrator appointed

One of state’s biggest residential construction firms, Builton Group, has succumbed to the financial stresses engulfing the sector, appointing an external administrator earlier today after reports of the company’s financial troubles emerged last week.

Builton failure a costly housing hit

The collapse of yet another Western Australian residential builder appears set to further upset the delicate state of the sector, with financiers, insurers, 350 trade creditors and as many as 130 home owners facing losses.

most commented

Shark cull outcry overreaction

The current shark cull is a politically challenging issue, but one where Colin Barnett is right to dig in because he has time and momentum on his side.

Daylight savers may have to wait awhile

Daylight saving may be the victim of Western Australia's election - further bemusing those who watch us from a distance.

Time to stop slaughter in our backyard

While the public spotlight on the offshore ill treatment of animals bred for slaughter is commendable, why does the RSPCA shirk such action when it comes to our own backyards, literally?

Fitness freaks need more Jacob’s ladders

I note the fuss made around the recent closure of Jacob’s Ladder, a stairway to Kings Park which, due to its popularity as an exercise venue, has earned the ire of local residents.