Jonathan Langton


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Tricky Business Decisions for Folding UK Plug

The standard UK electrical plug and socket is considered the safest in the world, however size and configuration of the plug itself make it the target of much criticism.  Min-Kyu Choi and his company, Made in Mind, might have found the solution to that problem.  It is great to see this product finally make it to the market, however it is not necessarily the product that one might have expected, nor the product it should be, nor even the product we really want.  It can be reasoned as to why that might be by considering the nature of the product, however some of the company’s decisions, both technical and commercial, seem not to be in their own best interests. Continue reading


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New Business Models Required

The digital revolution has impacted heavily on the consumption, availability and distribution of music, film, television, news and literature.  These have all been the preserve of what may now be known as “old media”.  Technological advances, particularly the shrinking (physical) size and cost of digital storage, the increased connectivity afforded by the internet and the proliferation of portable personal devices mean that that “old media” content need no longer be bound to the infrastructure that served to produce it and deliver it to the public.  Naturally, the public’s attitude towards that content is being recalibrated.  New business models for creative content are essential, if the stakeholders in its creation are going to play a role in reforming of the consumer’s consciousness. Continue reading


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“Islamic Economics and Finance: A European Perspective” – a new title from IE Business Publishing

As it has not been thought to invite me to speak at the presentation of the book that I wrote recently, here is the presentation I would have made.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to be here before you today, to present this book, which I believe is a poignant reflection on Islamic economics and finance in Western markets, particularly in Europe.  The relevance of this book comes from the fact that it is predominantly the result of a candid and open discussion, among esteemed experts and interested professionals, held right here in this very business school.

In recent years, financiers, economists, politicians, and even the public at large, have been deliberating the subject of reinventing capitalism and reforming financial markets.  The revolutionary steps that were at-first called for have been slow to materialise, but the situation has thrown much light on alternative models and approaches.  One such alternative that has received renewed interest is Islamic finance and so this joint venture between King Abdulziz University and IE Business School is well timed, as was the inaugural symposium on which the book is based.

Islamic Economics and Finance Cover

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Team Langton Conquer London-to-Brighton

In late 19th century Britain, the few very earliest automobiles that existed were required to be preceded by a man on foot carrying a red flag.  The flag was eliminated in 1878, but the man remained, as did a speed limit of just 4 mph (6.4 km/h).  However the “Locomotives on Highways Act” of 1896 allowed automobiles to travel unaccompanied and raised the speed limit to 14 mph (22.5 km/h)!  On November 14 of that year a group of early motorists drove from London to Brighton, on England’s south coast, in what is known as the Emancipation Run.  That event was commemorated for the first time in 1927 and is re-enacted every year for cars built before 1905.  This year three generations of the Langton family contributed to a successful entry in what has become known as one of the greatest tests of man and machine, the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (LBVCR)

Team Langton and the Rambler

Simon and Jonathan in the Rambler in Regent's Street. Eric the speedway rider.

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Taking the Issue of Money off the Table

There is a reasonable probability that the reader has seen this video (6.7 million views on YouTube at the time of writing).  It hints at the widely accepted theory that job satisfaction, and hence performance and motivation presumably, is not simply a continuum.  While it is good to know something of how to motivate employees, that good work may be undone by failing to do what is necessary to avoid employee disenchantment.  The presentation only touches on the role that pay has to play in that equilibrium, but more could be said.

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My Book, Now Available for Pre-order

The book I have been working on is now available for pre-order!  Published by Palgrave Macmillan, under their agreement with IE Business School, “Islamic Economics and Finance:  A European Perspective” can be ordered from the following online retailers.

Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Waterstones
WH Smith
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository
Palgrave Macmillan

The manuscript has been with the publishers a month or so now and we are awaiting receive their corrections for approval before printing goes ahead.  The plan is that the book will be launched at the inauguration of the re-named Center of Islamic Economics and Finance at IE Business School in November 2011.


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Conferences, Congresses and Projects Winding Down

For the first time in quite a long while not every spare moment is being over-shadowed by the knowledge that I really ought to be working on some side project or other.

One such project has been the book on Islamic finance that I have been working on following my brief time working at the Center of Islamic Economics and Finance at IE Business School.  The manuscript for that book was submitted to the publishers some time ago and I am now waiting to receive their proofs and corrections before printing goes ahead.  The book, now available for pr-order, should be available in December.

The other side project which has occupied a lot of time has been the teaching case that we have been developing with GE.  Based on their landmark sukuk issuance of 2009, it was originally intended to be part of the Islamic finance book, however it is still being developed as case study for IE courses that teach Islamic finance.  At the end of May we travelled to New York and then up to GE Capital headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, to interview some of the main people involved in the deal, including Kathryn Cassidy, Corporate Treasury Senior Vice President, and Christopher Coffey, Managing Director of Long-Term Funding.  The final draft of the case was submitted to GE for their approval this week and we hope that this will be a useful and interesting teaching case.  In September it will also be developed as a multimedia case study.

I was recently fortunate enough to go to Lisbon to represent IE Business School’s E-learning Department at the AACE, Ed-Media 2011, World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications.  There I made a presentation about the results of some analysis we have performed on IE’s database on the use of multimedia documentation in courses over the last ten years.

Finally, I recently had the opportunity to attend a congress for salsa in Bilbao this month, at which I was invited, with my partner, to teach a workshop on bachatango.  The workshop had at least forty participants and was given in Spanish.  It was very well received and at the end of the class several participants came forward to ask if we knew of any professors of bachatango in the area; a good sign indeed.