The elite should beware – a white van and laptop rebellion is underway

A version of this article recently appeared on the International Business Times website. Those running small businesses usually side with the elite. Increasingly, they’re doing the opposite By Robert Kelsey As a co-founder of the Centre of Entrepreneurs think-tank I’ve become a missionary for UK entrepreneurship. We believe the surge in small-business creation and self-employment since 2008 saved Britain from a …

Is Isis the ICF of Islam?

Why do I disagree with right-of-centre commentators on social issues when I tend to agree with them on economics? Perhaps it’s to do with applying our experiences to any given view, which is certainly the case when it comes to the rise of Islamically-inspired terrorism and, critically, its attraction for adolescent Muslim males brought-up in Europe’s inner cities. Not that I have any experience of …

Why outsiders make the best entrepreneurs

This article first appeared on the entrepreneurs’ news-source website minutehack. Outsiders and misfits have the wrong traits for the formal economy, but can make excellent entrepreneurs. Yet there are dangers to avoid. By Robert Kelsey First let’s nail the outsider. We’re those within a tribe but not of it. Uncomfortable in our own skin, we’re socially awkward – loners in the …

From Brick Lane to Mayfair via Uber: a typical week in outsider town

I love my city, not least because I consider London the world capital of outsiders. That said, a run of news this week reminds me that – even in London – being an outsider can be a challenge, not least because it’s not always obvious who’s the outsider, and what constitutes being on the inside. First up, the attack by …

As an insider, outsider Corbyn won’t cut it

Is there anything to add on Jeremy Corbyn’s expected but still shocking victory to become Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition? Well, there is Corbyn the outsider. This thin-skinned college dropout, this contrarian younger brother, this rebellious three-times married romantic, this prep-school boy with distorted empathy (in this case for terrorists): he’s a classic of the species (at least by …

Can outsiders make good leaders?

A version of this article appeared in The Director. Robert Kelsey, author of The Outside Edge, says their failings can be turned into strengths with a few simple steps There’s no use denying it – outsiders make awful leaders. Our individuality and selfishness, along with our sensitivity and defensiveness, are an explosive mix, making us ignorant of the needs of any …

Employing outsiders: a survival guide

A version of this article recently appeared in Management Issues magazine Outsiders are usually the disruptive workplace mavericks that employers cannot wait to see the back of. So how can managers turn them into positive employees? Robert Kelsey – author of The Outside Edge: How Outsiders can Succeed in a World Made by Insiders – explores the challenges and opportunities …

Rachel Dolezal’s identity issues are America’s problem, not hers

As a teenager, my father gave me a serious lecture about the fluidity of tribal identity. “You can change your name,” he stated. “You can also change your job, your religion, your mates, your nationality and even – these days – your sex. But you can never – ever – change your football team.” Yes, another relegation-threatened season was challenging …

Is this the best time and place to be an outsider?

  Is now the best time to be an outsider? Since the launch of the book, I’ve been asked this several times in interviews, and it’s got me wondering. Certainly, as a society we seem to be producing more and more people that feel like they don’t belong – but this doesn’t necessarily equate to an advantage for the estranged. …

Outsider artists and the caricaturing of Essex

  Two Essex artists have grabbed my attention this week. Centuries apart, they reveal not only the changing culture and demography of my home county but also the changing nature of outsidership. We’ll start with John Constable (1776-1837) – a candidate to dignify the new £20 note (you can vote for him here). Born and raised on the Essex-Suffolk border, Constable …