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'From the FA Cup final to funk music, it's been busy'

Every week The Belfast Telegraph asks a businessperson how their week has been both in business and leisure. This week, it's the turn of economist Andrew Webb.

Published 09/06/2015

Andrew has been reading Flashboys, a book about the financial
Andrew has been reading Flashboys, a book about the financial markets

This week business has been... New/exciting/scary, take your pick. After years of building my networks and credentials, I have just started my own economic research company - Webb Advisory. I have spent close to 20 years working in both the public and private sectors on economic development research. In the last few years I have been lucky enough to travel a lot and work on jobs in the US, Latin America, India, Indonesia, The Gambia, the EU, central and eastern Europe. I want to bring that experience back to the UK and Ireland and work on high quality economic research, advice and strategy work that ultimately delivers better economic outcomes closer to home.

Webb Advisory has been up and running for a month now and I have been really fortunate to secure several pieces of new work. So this week, in between delivering for my new clients I have been frantically trying to take care of the practicalities like admin, accounting systems, getting business cards and a website set up. Luckily I have been supported brilliantly by two local firms - Ross Boyd Accountants and digital design agency Big Motive. I think everything is settling into place now, so all I have to worry about is winning and delivering work.

This week I've been eating...

Sightly more healthily than I used to. I'm dividing my time between the home office and my office in the Ulster University, where I am an associate of the Economic Policy Centre. Now that I'm no longer city centre based, gone are the temptations of all the great Belfast city centre eateries. Home-made lunches are the order of the day.

This week I was socialising...

For the first time in ages. Months ago I arranged a day out to watch the FA Cup final full of hope that Liverpool would follow the script that had Steven Gerrard celebrating his last game for the club with an FA Cup winner's medal. Liverpool never follow the script and so I didn't get to the final but I couldn't let the chance for a day out pass me by. I watched the match in Lavery's with friends before going for a meal and then onto the Cathedral Quarter for the rest of the night. A great day out but recovery is taking longer these days.

This week I was reading...

I have several books on the go at any moment, from 'heavy' economic texts to lighter fiction. I am particularly enjoying Flashboys by Michael Lewis. It provides a real insight into the way our financial markets operate, and the way faster and faster internet is driving so much of our lives. On the lighter side, I have just picked up the Harry Potter books again. My son has been working his way through them and his enthusiasm for them has made me dip back in. That's my summer reading taken care of.

This week I was watching...

I haven't seen a lot of television lately but I'm mourning the end of Mad Men which I just completed in the past week. For me, it is up there as one of the best series ever made. I also watched the film '71' this week. Set in Belfast, it tells the story of a soldier separated from his unit during a riot in 1971. It really is a stunning film.

This week I was listening to...

I love the Craig Charles Funk and Soul show on 6 Music so I listen to that without fail. I've also started using Spotify a lot and the suggestions it makes have introduced me to First Aid Kit so they have been on fairly constantly. Also, I would be surprised if there is a week that goes by that doesn't feature some Prince music, but only his earlier stuff.

My guilty pleasure of the week was...

Finishing work at 3pm on Friday. Starting my own business has been full on from the word go, but I want it to be enjoyable too. So on Friday afternoon, I closed my laptop and turned off my phone. It felt like bunking off school (I imagine) and could become a regular guilty pleasure, especially if we get a decent summer.

Belfast Telegraph

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