Aston Martin Rapide tackles Stelvio Pass

Aston has released this beautifully edited promotional video, showing the Rapide in high-speed testing on some of the continent's most challenging roads including the Nurburgring and the Stelvio Pass - which featured in my favourite TopGear episode.

I have to admit - I'm starting to thaw on the idea of a big four-seater luxury cruise missile. Whilst I am adamant that if you are in the back seat, you won't enjoy these, but if you are in the drivers seat, it certainly looks more exciting. From the outside, there is no question the Rapide is dead sexy!


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:20 AM, ,

The Lost Symbol & Spartan Gold

Two lighter and entertaining books definitely worth reading:
The Lost Symbol is the latest involving the character of Harvard University symbologist Robert Langdon, following Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code. Having beat up the Catholic church in his previous two books, Brown takes a slightly new focus on Freemasonry in this novel.

In typical Brown style, the story takes place over a period of 12 hours with Langdon unraveling a series of codes on a treasure-hunt of sorts to save people lives yet again. Following the formula, this time set in Washington D.C., we are treated to local sites that have far deeper histories and meanings that commonly known.

Spartan Gold is the first in the new "Fargo Adventures" series, co-authored with Grant Blackwood, revolving around Sam and Remi Fargo, a couple who are professional treasure hunters.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:08 AM, ,

Rolls Royce Ghost

Checkout Auto Express' pictures of the Rolls Royce's scaled-down Phantom, known as the Ghost.

As I stated in my blogs about the Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera, I think this formula is the right combo of luxury and style for those traveling in the back seat.

It's definitely up a notch from either the Aston, the Porsche or Jaguar XJ.

Powered by a 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 giving 570hp and 780Nm of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox the 'baby' Rolls-Royce will have plenty of get-up-and-go!

To get an idea of how insane this car is likely to be, checkout this Top Gear video of the Phantom:


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:57 AM, ,

I think the R8 Spyder is a dud

Sadly, the Audi R8 Spyder has moved from concept to barely disguised prototypes and into production.

I say sadly because as I pondered in July, I don't like the look of it that much and I definitely know why: the sideblades are missing and the the "twin vented flying buttresses" don't make up for it.

It's probably smart for Audi only to have this available in the V10 version - initially. I'd suggest the revenue opportunity in 1-2 years time to drop the V8 in and sell more cars will be overwhelming.

Checkout the AutoExpress photos and make up your own mind. I'm pretty certain it isn't just the hideous colour shown as the Frankfurt Motorshow pics by CAR of it in red are better, but it doesn't make it look special.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:28 AM, ,

Illawarra Highway

Pickup up where we left off at Fitroy Falls, duck over to Robertson and head down the Illawarra Highway - National Route 48.

Of particular note is the spectacular Macquarie Pass, with many hairpin bends and many steep gradients. I've never driven up the road, only down it, which makes it a good 20mins on the brakes, but it's fun none-the-less.

On weekends and public holidays, this stretch of road is very popular with motorcyclists, but during the week it seems full of utes and 4-wheel drives so I don't have much advice for you on the best time to visit in order to avoid traffic.

View Larger Map

Last time I did this trip and headed back North, the weather took a very sudden turn for the worst with a thunderstorm and the corresponding down pour. Not the sort of surprise you want driving a convertible. At least I had good company: a herd of Prancing Horses were also caught in the weather and distracted other motorists from my plight.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:10 AM, ,

Understanding business development

As usual, Seth Godin makes some good points in his blog Understanding business development.

Definitely worth reading if your are in a business development role (and we're all in business development these days) or alliance role.

I think Seth's points echo and expand on the comments I made in Making business alliances work - I particularly like point #3:

Courtship, negotiation and marriage. Every deal has three parts, and keeping them straight is essential. During the courtship phase, you win when you are respectful, diligent, enthusiastic, engaging, outgoing, and relentless in your search to make a connection. Do your homework, research people's backgrounds, learn about their kids, visit them--don't make them visit you. Look people in the eye, ask hard but engaging questions, you know the drill. Basically, treat people as you'd like to be treated, because the people you most want to work with have a choice, and they may just not pick you. Hint: if you skip the courtship part, the other two stages probably won't come up.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:11 AM, ,

Kangaroo Valley

Building on my blog Driving South out of Sydney & Sea Cliff Bridge, I recommend heading further south down to Berry and then across to Kangaroo Valley and Fitzroy Falls.

View Larger Map

This is a great stretch of road to drive as it is twisty and therefore doesn't require you to be breaking the speed limit in order to enjoy it. The road is in dire need of repairs in many parts, but is gradually being resurfaced and is usually quiet. One word of warning: try not to enjoy the view AND the drive at the same time. :-)

There is a good YouTube video online showing the drive:


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:00 AM, ,

Platforms vs Eyeballs aka Assets vs Expenses

I was reading closely related blogs of Seth Godin the other day.

The first was The platform vs. the eyeballs where he looks at the shift in marketing to building a platform which which to collaboration & communicate with your community vs targeting eyeballs with your message.

As usual, Seth has some great points there everyone in sales & marketing should think about.

The second was Do marketers have assets? which when read after the blog above, really should jolt you into thinking about where you are investing in your business to build assets, vs just building expenses.

Image by Sanja Gjenero


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:14 AM, ,

Driving South out of Sydney & Sea Cliff Bridge

I've blogged quite a bit about driving north out of Sydney, so thought I'd share some great drives south out of Sydney.

Getting out of Sydney is the boring bit - especially in traffic. I recommend the faster route possible by taking the M5 then Heathcote Rd then the Princes Hwy to get down to Stanwell Tops.

View Larger Map

Once down at Stanwell Tops, Lawrence Hargrave Drive down to Clifton is a fun stretch of road if you don't have Sunday drivers in front of you. It's definitely a better drive north (uphill and the accelerator) than south (downhill on the brakes).

The Sea Cliff Bridge near Clifton is pretty impressive, in fact it has been featured in a joint 2007 Ferrari/Shell Fuel television advert that was shown in many countries around the world including Australia. The television advert featured a Ferrari Formula 1 car being driven along the bridge at high speed. This was one of many times the bridge has been used in a television advert.


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:46 AM, ,

The Myth of Entrepreneur as Risk-Taker

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell highlights how Bill Gate's success is a combination of hard work combined with the 'perfect storm' of things like location, timing, etc

Tim Ferris takes a slightly different look at this story in his blog Do You Really Know Bill Gates? The Myth of Entrepreneur as Risk-Taker which in turn came from his book review of a new book Leap.

Might be worth a read...

Image by ivan petrov


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:37 AM, ,