I'm David Lenigas.

I build successful businesses, create proper jobs for lots of people and open up opportunities for whole communities. I try to make a lasting difference to the world.

That’s what I do. And I’m good at it. Hard work is my hobby - and what a great hobby to have!

I grew up all over Australia starting my life as a ‘bush boy’ in a tiny town of less than 10 people on the edge of the desert and in the middle of nowhere. Life was not easy as a kid, and my parents struggled at times. My Dad worked three jobs to educate six kids through school. But I learned then that your life is what you make it. I left home as soon as I was able at 18 and went into mining......Read More

larry-hagman 1180

Is the “Gatwick Gusher” real – hell, yes!

Today’s news of the oil flow test results from Horse Hill, 1.2 miles from London’s second airport, Gatwick, is truly astonishing.

They show beyond doubt that what lies beneath the south-east of England is a strategic oil play of huge potential and of national importance for the UK.

The first of three zones to be tested gushed to the surface yesterday at a sustainable flow rate of 460 barrels of English’s finest 40 API oil through a tiny half inch hole.  For the layman – that’s fast flowing, consistent, high quality oil.

So many doubters with their poisoned pens thought the Gatwick Gusher was simply hype.  Many even penned that there would not be a chance in hell that this well would even flow.  They’re going to have to eat their hats.

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The Germans are coming and I predict they will win the electric vehicle war.

Our Teutonic friends are famous for their precision engineering and brilliant technology teams, and they are now on target to dominate the EV market with cars we will all want to buy.

Remember that iconic VW TV advert with the Princess Diana lookalike from 1987?

Directed by David Bailey, it shows Diana, aka the leggy model Paula Hamilton, storming out of a mews house, relationship over, petulantly chucking away her wedding ring, pearl necklace, and mink coat.  She hesitates, and instead of throwing her VW keys down the drain keeps hold of them, before driving off in her trusty, reliable Mark II Golf.

“If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen.”

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Why am I so good looking?

Come on folks, we’ve all been wondering. But don’t think I’m challenging Kylie for the title of fairest Aussie export of them all. I’m talking about rare metals.

Because without them the picture gracing the home page of this blog – which a lot of you are reading on your iPhones – wouldn’t look half so good.

Europium and terbium help make the brilliant colours on your phones stand out and cerium buffs the glass so I don’t look any more craggy than usual. The fact you can see me at all so long after your last charge is thanks to lithium, without which the battery would be so heavy it would make your suit sag like one of Les Patterson’s cast-offs.

New York Times Square

Ah Cuba.  Land of sunshine, old cars, real rum, grand old buildings, azure seas, Partagas cigars, and fishing.

I was strolling through Havana on a warm but rainy January evening, sun struggling to set over the Plaza de Armas and something struck me.  No advertising!

How refreshing.

Look at all the photos you see of Cuba.  Or just type ‘Cuba’ into Google images.  Where are all the ads?  Where are the posters for McDonald’s, AT&T, Verizon, Unilever?  Sky, Talk Talk, KFC?  Where are the ads for Pepsi, Coca Cola, Citi, Chase?  O2, Heineken, Vodafone, Asda, Unilever?  For HBO, Comcast, Apple, Samsung, Universal, and Cracker Barrel Old Country Restaurant?

At the moment commercial advertising is illegal in Cuba.  As is public relations.

As you’d expect, the vultures are circling.  The prize, as they sadly see it, is a healthy slug of revenues selling the eyeballs of the 12 Million Cubans to the likes of McDonalds, AT&T and the rest of the gang.

Mushroom 1180

It’s just been reported that a US maintenance crew made a hash of repairing a nuke.

It’s been a tough week for our chums across the pond. As well as bodging the nuke job, they also lost one of their top of the range, laser-guided anti-tank missiles. They sent it back from Spain on an Air France jet, but instead of Florida, it ended up in Cuba. Serves them right for trying to save on the postage.

You wouldn’t want to be sat near that fella in first class.

Mind you, it would be more interesting than some of the people I’ve met. Take James, our friend trying to bring the e-cigar industry to Cuba. As much business vision as a packet of pretzels and the personality to match.

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Like many of you I kept a close eye on the Paris Climate Summit in December.

The implications of decisions made today are going to reverberate across the global economy, and down the generations.  Our kids (and their kids) are going to reap the benefits.  Or have to deal with the consequences.

Startling new data out this week from Standard and Poor’s suggest investment in clean tech will top $16 trillion over the next 15 years.

Goodenough-Pic_Re-sized

Have you ever tried to count how many battery-powered devices or machines you own?

Have a guess.  10?  20?  50?

Believe me it’s more than you’d think.

The humble battery makes the world go round, and yet we take it for granted.  Without ‘portable power’ we’d have no wireless internet, no mobiles, no cars, no electric torches, no hearing aids, pacemakers, digital watches, or drones.  No Apple, no Sony, no Tesla.

And stand by because the number of devices using batteries is going to skyrocket as the technology improves. Batteries are everywhere.  Can you think of a culture, a country, a religion, a race of people that doesn’t use batteries in some way or another?

But frustratingly there are some annoying flaws with the batteries of yesterday.  Toxic materials, poor charge retention, the dreaded ‘memory effect’, weight, and cost.

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Dave’s Tip No1: Understand the local flow and do business with people who ‘get it.’

Graham Greene’s ‘Our Man in Havanais brilliantly funny.  Written in 1958, he takes the mickey out of the British secret service’s MI6.  They were shown up to be gullible and inept, falling for a Pommy bullshit artist, Jim Wormold, who fooled them into thinking sketches of vacuum cleaner parts were plans for a ‘supergun’.  The secret service lads were given the run around over a supposed Missile Crisis, four years before one actually happened for real.

I think I met the real Wormold on my trip to Cuba last week.  James (for that was his name), a Scotsman, sat next to me on the short flight from Cancun to Havana.  From his bag he proudly produced a stash of ‘Cohiba’ branded e-cigars. You couldn’t make it up.

E-CIGARS!!!!  Now call me an old traditionalist, I just about get the whole e-cigarette thing – helps you give up, only problem is you look like a dick sucking on a fairy-lit Christmas tree.

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Good to see The Economist and the FT writing about lithium and energy innovation in the past couple of days.

The Economist says that demand for lithium and high-density energy storage is set to soar amidst a global scramble to secure supplies.   The world’s largest battery producers Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, and ATL are hoovering up supplies, as are carmakers such as Toyota and Tesla, and other end users.

Gloomy news if you rely on lithium for your anti-depressant drugs.

In fact, The Economist calls lithium “the world’s hottest commodity”, explaining that the price of 99.5%-pure lithium carbonate imported to China more than doubled in the two months to the end of December, to $13,000 a tonne.  Some even suggest the Chinese spot market may even hit $20,000 in the next few months.

honnold 1180

As an entrepreneur, I’m no stranger to risk. In fact, I love it. I actively go looking for it. Because where there’s risk there’s reward. Sometimes massively so. My philosophy has always been to understand the context, mitigate the risk and believe in what you’re doing.

Like 30-year old Alex Honnold. This kid is currently taking the climbing world by storm with his free soloing exploits. No rope, no safety gear. Just a bag of chalk and balls the size of Nebraska.

I was thinking about him whilst watching Forecasting the Future of Entrepreneurship, one of the panel discussions from the Consumer Electronics Show that has just ended in Vegas.

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