Down to Business English

a Business English podcast with Skip Montreux and Dez Morgan
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A Passionate Scot

A Passionate Scot

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Dez gives his take on the upcoming Scottish referendum on independence from the U.K. He also has a big announcement to make.

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Dez:     Hello Skip. Good to hear your voice.

Skip:     Hi Dez. Good to hear yours too. Once again we must apologize to all our listeners for being off the air for so long as both Dez and I have been absolutely snowed under with work and other personal commitments.

Dez:     Yes, indeed. Humble apologies. So what have you been up to, to keep yourself so busy Skip?

Skip:     I have been working on a book, a series of books actually.

Dez:     Oh wow. Is it Skip’s guide on how to win at high stakes poker?

Skip:     You really think I would tell everyone my secrets?

Dez:     Skip, I’ve seen you at a poker table and your ‘secret’ looks more like blind luck to me. So what kind of books are they?

Skip:     As a matter of fact they are textbooks aimed at Japanese professionals on how to give an effective business presentation in English.

Dez:     Very cool.

Skip:     Thank you. But holy cow! This is the first time I have written a textbook and I am just amazed at how time consuming the whole process is.

Dez:     I know. I’ve written textbooks in the past and there just always seemed to be a deadline looming.

Skip:     You can say that again. But that is enough about me. You are the one with the big news. Are you going to fill everyone in?

Dez:     Well, Roxy, my wife, had a baby girl a few weeks ago so that has kept us pretty busy.

Skip:     Congratulations, from me and I am sure, all of our listeners.

Dez:     Thank you everyone.

Skip:     Fantastic. So, how are you coping with becoming a father for the first time?

Dez:     I’ll tell you that I am not getting much sleep and I miss the house being quiet when I get home from work, but apart from that things are going fine.

Skip:     So all of that must be keeping you really busy?

Dez:     That and all of the paperwork that we need to do to register our daughter and get her passport, her visa and her identity card, and so on.

Skip:     She has a passport already?

Dez:     She does and pretty soon she might have two passports?

Skip:     Really? How do you figure that out?

Dez:     Well Roxy was born in Scotland and Scotland might very soon be a separate country so hopefully we can get our daughter separate passports for both England and Scotland.

Skip:     That’s right, I have been reading about the referendum coming up later this year in September where the Scots will vote on whether they wish to remain in the union with England, Wales and Northern Island. And is that our story for today Dez?

Dez:     It sure is.

Skip:     Okay, let’s do it. Let’s get D2B… Down to Business with Scottish independence. Who wants it? Who doesn’t want it? And how likely is it to happen? continue reading…

Khalifa Port

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Khalifa Port

Khalifa Port UAE

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Dez fills in Skip on all the details about the recently opened Khalifa Port in the UAE and how it is impacting the regional economy. While doing so, he also reveals a bit of his ‘nerdy’ side.

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Dez:     Welcome back to another episode of Down to Business English.

Skip:     Yes, greetings to all our listeners out there. It is good to be back with you.

Dez:     How are you doing today Skip? The last time we spoke you were up to your eyeballs at work. Still busy?

Skip:     There are always things to do but recently I did manage to make a day trip down to the Yokohama area, and that was very pleasant.

Dez:     I lived there once many years ago. It’s a very nice area. So what did you do?

Skip:     Nothing too exciting. I went for a walk through Yamashita park by the sea, did some shopping in the Motomachi and then had dinner in Chinatown.

Dez:     You didn’t walk through the Industrial port, then?

Skip:     No. Why would I do that?

Dez:     Oh well, Yokohama is the 18th largest container port in the world.

Skip:     Oh, how fascinating.

Dez:     Do you really think so? Well a few months ago I went to look at the new container port that they’re building here in Abu Dhabi.

Skip:     You visited a container port?

Dez:     Yes, quite interesting.

Skip:     I am beginning to understand why you have so few friends Dez.

Dez:     Would you like me to tell you all about it and compare it to the other large ports in the world?

Skip:     Is that our story for today?

Dez:     It sure is.

Skip:     Okay, if you must. Let’s do it let’s get D2B…Down to Business with the world’s largest ports and the technology behind them.

continue reading…

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shutterstock_52784761_small

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Skip provides Dez with the business background on something he has been spending way too much time on recently–computer games.

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Recorded October 27, 2013

Dez:     Hello everyone. Dez Morgan here. Thank you for joining us today. Skip, how is my co-host doing?

Skip:     Hi Dez. I’m doing alright, thanks for asking, but you know me, always busy with work. This time of year, many companies are entering the second half of the fiscal year and along with that comes renewing language training courses. That and working on this podcast keeps me pretty busy.

Dez:     So you’ve just been working then Skip?

Skip:     Well…no. I have been driving around quite a bit, and then I had a Pisswasser beer the other day with a few of the boys. Oh and I did a bit of yoga with Fabien LaRouche my yoga teacher, well he mostly did yoga with the women in the class while I sort of watched.

Dez:     Hang on Skip, I didn’t think you had a car, and yoga…that doesn’t sound like you and what was that beer called?

Skip:     Pisswasser or Dusche Gold. That’s a pretty good beer too.

Dez:     I’ve never heard of them.

Skip:     They are not real of course, but they are in the new game that I have been playing.

Dez:     Skip, you are not staying up late at night again, obsessing how to get to the next level of a video game?

Skip:     No.

Dez:     I thought we agreed that you were going to give the Playstation away.

Skip:     Yes, yes that’s right. I did put it in a box and it was all ready to go out the door…but then GTA 5 came out and I was walking past Yodobashi in Shinjuku…

Dez:     The big electronics store in Tokyo for those of you who don’t know.

Skip:     Yes, my slice of heaven. Anyway, as I was walking by, there was a big commercial for GTA 5 in the window and so I walked in the door …

Dez:     GTA 5?

Skip:     Yes, Grand Theft Auto dude, get with program.

Dez:     Sorry, are you really telling me that we’re doing a story today on the computer gaming industry?

Skip:     I sure am.

Dez:     And is there a business angle to this?

Skip:     There most certainly is. Computer gaming is a huge industry.

Dez:     Okay, if you insist, let’s do it. Let’s get D2B…Down to Business with the Computer Gaming Industry. What is it? Who are the big players and why is it so significant?

continue reading…

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Nokia event in London
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Skip explains everything you need to know about the recent acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft. He even throws in his own little conspiracy theory…

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Skip:     Hello everyone I’m Skip Montreux. Welcome to an all new episode of Down to Business English.

Dez:     And this is Dez Morgan and yes, hello to all our regular and new listeners out there.

Skip:     We are very sorry to have been off the air for so long but Dez, very selfishly, took an extended time out, to go off and get married and then treat himself and his lovely bride to a long honeymoon.

Dez:     Yes, sorry everyone. It’s all my fault that we have been away for a few months. Honestly Skip, I was planning to take my computer and microphone along on the honeymoon but my new wife was not very happy about that idea.

Skip:     I really can’t think why.

Dez:     No, me neither.

Skip:     Anyway Dez, how was it? How was the honeymoon?

Dez:     Great! We got married in Kenya and then had the Honeymoon in Scotland.

Skip:     That’s interesting. I would have thought it would have been the other way around?

Dez:     Surprisingly, no. And to make things even more confusing, the weather was better in Scotland than it was in Kenya.

Skip:     Huh. A sure sign of climate change my friend. Anyway it is really good to have you back Dez. Congratulations to you and Roxy. We are all really, really happy for both of you.

Dez:     Thank you Skip. We appreciate that.

Skip:     Not to rain on your parade, but while we were off, there has been another marriage in the news.

Dez:     Prince William and Kate? But that was awhile ago now.

Skip:     Well yes, them too. But that wasn’t the marriage I was referring to.

Dez:     Hmm. Jennifer Aniston? But she’s not married yet.

Skip:     Nope.

Dez:     Okay, then I give up.

Skip:     Let me give you a hint. I’m referring to the corporate marriage of a software giant and one of the world’s largest handset makers.

Dez:     Oh yes. You’re talking about Microsoft buying Nokia’s mobile phone division.

Skip:     I am indeed, and that is the topic of our show today.

Dez:     Great!

Skip:     So let’s do it…let’s get D2B…Down to Business with Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Nokia Mobile phones for $7.2 billion.

continue reading…

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Iran Pakistan pipeline

 

 

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Skip Montreux  & Dez Morgan are back together again! Today they talk  you through everything you need to know about the history and geopolitical forces behind the Iran-Pakistan pipeline.

 

Skip:     Hello everyone. Skip Montreux here welcoming you to an all new episode of Down to Business English.

Dez:     And this is Dez Morgan. A big hello to all returning and new listeners.

Skip:     How are things with you Dez?

Dez:     Working really hard at the moment Skip.

Skip:     I certainly don’t see you online very much recently. What have you been up to?

Dez:     Mainly with IELTS testing, along with all my usual teaching work. How about you?

Skip:     I have been up to my eyeballs with work recently as well. April is the beginning of the fiscal year for most companies here in Japan, and that means many of my clients are renewing their language training programs.

Dez:     I don’t know about you but I don’t even get time to read through the business headlines in the morning at the moment.

Skip:     Well I don’t get as much time as I would like to either, but I was reading a very interesting business story from your neck of the woods the other day. Well it was Iran anyway, and that is near you, right?

Dez:     Sure, it’s just across the Gulf, no distance really. So what was this story then?

Skip:     It dealt with Iran and Pakistan planning to build a gas pipeline to connect the two countries.

Dez:     I bet that the US is not very happy about that!

Skip:     No, they are not very happy at all.

Dez:     Although I haven’t heard that story I do know some of the geopolitical background.

Skip:     Great! So lets do it, lets get D2B…Down to Business, with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. continue reading…

Play
Hugo Chavez

President Hugo Chavez 1954-2013

 

 

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Today on Down to Business English, Skip and Dez talk about the life and times of Hugo Chavez. How did he rise to power, what changes did he bring to his country, and what does the future hold for Venezuela now that he is gone?

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Dez: This is Dez Morgan here welcoming you all back to a new episode of Down to Business English.

Skip: And this is Skip Montreux. Thank you all for downloading us today.

Dez: How have you been Skip?

Skip: Hmmm. Good and bad I guess. I took a few days off from work last week.

Dez: That sounds good.

Skip: Yes it was really nice not to have to do anything, but at the same time I came down with a bit of a cold so it wasn’t the greatest holiday.

Dez: You have to take the rough with the smooth I suppose.

Skip: I guess that it is true. Speaking of taking the rough with the smooth, or as I would say, the good with the bad, one country that has been having to do that over the last few years is Venezuela.

Dez: That is certainly true. Some things have improved while others have gotten worse and things are really set to change now.

Skip: You mean now that President Hugo Chavez has recently passed away?

Dez: That is precisely what I’m referring to, and that’s our topic for today.

Skip: So lets do it. Let’s get D2B…Down to Business with Venezuela; where is it today, how did it get there, and what does the future hold in the post Chavez era?

continue reading…

Play
Woman working at home with laptop computer

Are employees more productive working at their desk or from the comfort of their own home?

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Does giving workers more freedom lead to a more successful company? Today on Down to Business English, Skip and Dez talk about Yahoo’s recent policy change regarding employees working from home.

 

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Skip: Hello everyone this is Skip Montreux and welcome back to a new episode of Down to Business English. Back on our regular schedule again.

Dez: And this is Dez Morgan. It’s certainly good to be back. If I don’t talk to you every few weeks, I miss you Skip.

Skip: Well thank you Dez, and of course I miss you too. How are things anyway?

Dez: Busy actually, I’ve been doing IELTS testing every weekend over the last few weekends, which means that I don’t really get a weekend to relax.

Skip: That sounds tough. I too have been really busy at work planning new classes and making materials and tests to use. In fact I have been taking a lot of work home every night as well.

Dez: Yeah, me too. I have been taking work home as well to try and catch up.

Skip: Well welcome to my world Dez, but at least we don’t work for Yahoo.

Dez: Really why do you say that?

Skip: Well. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s CEO has just banned working from home saying that the speed and quality of people’s work suffers when they work from home.

Dez: She was talking about people working from home during the working day I think.

Skip: She was, but her comments have opened a whole debate on whether it is better for people to work in an office, or at home at all times.

Dez: And I’m guessing that that’s our story for this week?

Skip: You would be guessing right then Dez.

Dez: So let’s do it. Let’s get D2B…Down to Business with Working from Home: Is it good for employers, good for employees, or perhaps good for both?

continue reading…

Argentinian Debt

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Unveiling the new Argentine Pesos

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez unveils the new 100 Argentine pesos

 

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Are austerity measures the only way for a country to reduce debt? Today on Down to Business English, Dez explains to Skip how Argentina is doing the opposite in an attempt to spend their way back from the brink of economic ruin.

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Dez: Hello everyone, this is Dez Morgan.

Skip: And I’m Skip Montreux. Welcome to an all new episode of Down to Business English.

Dez: Yes, a warm welcome to both new and regular listeners.

Skip: So it seems like it has been a million years since we have gotten together for a show.

Dez: It does seem like it has been an age.

Skip: How are things with you Dez?

Dez: You know, just working and enjoying the lovely weather at the moment.

Skip: Yes, I’m always a little jealous of you in this season, sunshine everyday when all of the rest of us are freezing.

Dez: Well all of you in the Northern Hemisphere anyway.

Skip: True enough.

Dez: Interestingly it’s from the Southern Hemisphere that our story comes from today.

Skip: Oh, Brazil maybe?

Dez: Nope.

Skip: Hmmm. The other soccer powerhouse then; Argentina?

Dez: That is correct. Our story today concerns Argentina, and its rejection of a US ruling that it should repay the debt that it defaulted on in 2001.

Skip: Great. So let’s do it. Let’s get D2B…Down to Business with the ongoing story of Argentina and its debt default. continue reading…

Taxing the Rich

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Today on Down to Business English, Skip Montreux and Dez Morgan discuss the trend of increasing taxes on the super wealthy. Is it the right thing to do?

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Dez:     Hello everyone this is Dez Morgan here reporting in, back in Abu Dhabi.

Skip:     And this is Skip Montreux coming to you from Tokyo, Japan.

Dez:     And you’re listening to an all new episode of Down to Business English.

Skip:     I have to begin by sending out a very big sorry to all of our loyal listeners who have been waiting for a new show. Both Dez and I have been really busy throughout the summer and have been unable to get together and record until now.

Dez:     You can say that again Skip.

Skip:     Both Dez and I have been really, really busy throughout the summer and have been unable …

Dez:     Very funny. As you and many of our listeners know, ‘You can say that again’ means that I agree with you.

Skip:     I know, just a little joke. Anyway Dez what have you been so busy doing over the last few months?

Dez:     Initially I was back in the UK without a stable internet connection for about 6 weeks. I returned here and moved into a new villa, without internet, so as you can see it has been difficult for me to get online and record.

Skip:     Oooh a villa, haven’t we gone up in the world.

Dez:     OK, a house really with a bit of sand outside that we call a garden. Is that better?

Skip:     Yes, much better. I really don’t like it when you start to become so full of yourself, Mr. Morgan.

Dez:     By full of myself, you mean when I start to think that I’m better than I am?

Skip:     Exactly.

Dez:     I could always blame the heat, say that it has gone to my head but the summer is almost over now.

Skip:     Anyway, now that the summer is pretty much over the main event on the horizon seems to be the US election and one of the key issues appears to be taxation.

Dez:     Taxation. You mean one candidate wants more and the other wants less?

Skip:     Yes President Obama wants to tax the rich more while the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney wants to pay less tax himself. Sorry, I meant wants to keep the tax on the rich at the same low rate that was favored by ex-President George Bush.

Dez:     Is the US the only country where the question of who should shoulder the burden of higher taxes an issue?

Skip:     The overwhelming answer to that question is no, it is happening in a lot of other countries as well. But the rates of tax that are being proposed are far, far greater than those in the US.

Dez:     Is that our story today?

Skip:     It certainly is. So, let’s do it, let’s get D2B…Down to Business with one country’s plans to increase taxation on the rich to nosebleed levels.

continue reading…

Play

 

 

Today on Down to Business English, Skip Montreux and Dez Morgan talk through the LIBOR Scandal.What is the LIBOR? How did this scandal work? What penalties will the banks involved in this receive?

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Skip: Hello everyone this is Skip Montreux signing in from Tokyo, Japan.

Dez: And this is Dez Morgan still in the sweltering city of Abu Dhabi, at least for a couple of days longer.

Skip: Welcome Dez and a great big warm welcome to all of our listeners to an all new episode of Down to Business English.

 

Skip:  So Dez, you say that you only have a couple of more days left in the heat of the UAE?

Dez: That’s right, I’m off to London in a few days.

Skip:  Oh great, will you be taking in some of the Olympics?

Dez:  I’m not planning on it as my main focus will be looking for a house.

Skip: Aren’t houses in London incredibly expensive, Dez?

Dez: They are, which is why I will be looking for something very small on the outskirts somewhere. I have the mortgage agreement in place although the interest rates that I’m being charged is a bit higher as I am an expat.

Skip: I guess you are more risky than someone living in their home country. Your mortgage isn’t with Barclays I hope, as they have been involved in quite the financial scandal recently.

Dez: No it’s with another bank so seems to be safe enough. I heard about that scandal too and thought that we must do a show on that as in parts it’s quite hard to understand.

Skip: Don’t worry Dez I am up on all of the details. So let’s do it let’s get D2B…Down to Business with the Libor rate manipulation scandal: What does LIBOR actually mean and how and why was it manipulated?

continue reading…