The blog’s 6th birthday

Blog Jun13

This week is the blog’s 6th birthday.  Remarkably, its audience remains extremely loyal, with around half reading it weekly and a quarter on a daily basis.  It is also global, now being read in 150 countries.  The top 10 countries come from all major regions - the USA, UK, Germany, India, China, Netherlands, Belgium, Singapore, Japan and France.

Anniversaries are a time to look back.  It is astonishing to remember the range of events since June 2007.  The first post marked the 10th anniversary of the Asian crisis.  Since then, there have been over 1600 posts – covering major developments such as the global financial crisis, as well as those in key consumer and product markets.

The blog’s aim is to try and provide a consistent narrative of events.  It has set out what might be called its world view in ‘Boom, Gloom and the New Normal’ with John Richardson.  This suggests that the global economy is about people, not computer models.  It therefore rejects the conventional economic view that says demand is always constant, and instead argues:

  • When there are many young people, demand booms as they need to buy many new things
  • When there are more older people, demand slows as they already own most of what they need

Importantly, this analysis is becoming more widely accepted.

Companies are increasingly realising that it is essential to include a demographic element in their strategies.  Success today, and in the future, is no longer just about achieving a low-cost position.  Robust and sustainable sources of demand are now becoming equally critical.

This change in the tectonic plates of the economy is creating today’s VUCA world, where Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity start to dominate.  In turn, this means companies have to develop their own Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility in order to survive and prosper.

The blog has used a lot of Agility itself over the past week, in response to the problems with the transfer to the new website.  It would like to apologise to readers for these.  Hopefully, ‘normal service will now be resumed’.

Thank you for your continuing support.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.