Colin Charles Agenda

On numbers and getting out there for business

Sidney Toledano (a student of math & engineering, now boss of Dior Couture), via Lunch with the FT:

‘If business is not good, don’t stay in the office’. Some people try to find out what’s wrong through the numbers. But if you stay in the office, nothing will change.”

For a mathematician, Toledano is casually dismissive of too much financial analysis. “My father taught me it’s better to have no explanation for success than a lot of explanations for a failure. Success is intuition, action, decision and take some risks. Frankly, numbers; I see them every day when I get the worldwide update. I can see every single figure for every single piece. But I don’t spend more than 10 to 15 minutes on it because I follow them every day.

“It’s like a good doctor. They see the numbers very quickly — temperature, whatever — but they talk to the patient. I’ve never seen a doctor fixing a problem with a thermometer. And you never fix a problem with the numbers. Don’t look and you miss everything.”