On my Radar this Week, Black & Blum, Bumble and Overeating


I found myself listening to Steve Bartlett (again…sorry) interviewing the founder of Bumble (a Dating App), Whitney Wolfe Herd and I was really rather moved by her answer to his question, “What are you like as a leader?”. If you want to listen to it, this question is at about 1hr 19 minutes into the podcast / YouTube.

Her reply was, “I feel like I try, I try to be empathic, although I’m sure I could be told otherwise.  I aim to think about everyone around me, probably to my detriment, because I (sometimes) think it’s does more harm than good because I’m trying to solve (the problem) for every single person in the room, and maybe it doesn’t solve anything sometimes”.

She says it’s hard because there are so many conflicting needs, with teams who have different priorities. “You end up being the conductor of a very loud orchestra”, and she’s wants to keep harmony.  She continues, ”I just follow my gut; I try to do the right thing; I try to listen and hear what people are saying, and listen to other people too. So, if one person calls me and says XYZ then I try to call the other person, and say what’s your version, before I jump to a conclusion. I really try to have compassion for where everyone is coming from."  Whilst in the end saying “ok, but this is just how it’s going to go” because she feels she has a clearer overall view, as the conductor.

At 1hr 22 minutes in, asked how she keeps a balance in her life, she replies that she has a belief that there's something bigger than what we’re dealing with every day. “I try to zoom out into something that we can’t even see”. She continues “There's obviously Influences of the universe that none of us know about.  I can’t sit here and say that I know every corner of why we exist, and what’s going to happen tomorrow. So I just try to trust the process, I try to laugh. In stressful situations, have a laugh…. it’ll be ok". And then quite surprisingly adds, “It’s important to realise that we are just a blip on the radar”. And adds, “If we’re lucky, Bumble may be half a page in a book, hundreds of years from now. So, what is going wrong now, is just not that big of a deal. So, I try to just zoom out”.

“I try to just zoom out”. What a well-balanced individual!  This is a great lesson to learn I think. It was one that I started to learn only a few years ago, prompted by Babette who was very good at seeing big picture stuff.  I tended to get immersed in the moment and in the detail, getting impatient with people and things that weren’t going according to my plan! How dare they…!

I wonder how many CEO’s, when the shit hits the fan, would say, “we need to remember that we are just a blip on the radar”… in the overall scheme of things, will this matter in a few months’ time?
I wonder how many CEO’s have real compassion and empathy for their people, when things go awry.*
I wonder if these two factors are significant reasons for Bumble being the second most used dating app in the US?

What do you think? I’d like to know….

* The great ones take responsibility themselves when things go wrong, according to Jim Collins's study, in his book “Good to Great”.

Now to Business

Black and Blum
Now, Black and Blum is a design house of which I am particularly fond. Everything that Dan Black designs is very well thought through, beautifully made (no skimping on materials here), works really well and are very often, lovely to behold and unique.  There are two products in the range that I’m particularly fond of, and a third that Jeanne just loves.

NEW: Stainless Steel Food Boxes for the Microwave
The reason I chose to talk about Black and Blum this week was because they have just launched their new range of Microwave Safe Stainless Steel Food boxes….a sort of upmarket Lock & Lock if you like. Metal in the microwave isn’t new really, but so far as I know, stainless steel food boxes that safely go in a microwave are. I asked Nick Cornwell at B&B how it was done and he said “round corners”. And true enough, the rectangular boxes have very rounded corners (as you can see in the photos). What’s more, on putting one gingerly in our wonderful, but  expensive Sage Microwave a few weeks ago, I found my self ready to yank open the door quickly just in case…. I need not have worried!  And the lid can be left on as well, to stop spattering all over the microwave and helps retain heat.

So here are the salient points:

  • Microwave-safe steel Bowl + Lid
  • Easy storage: bowls and lids are stackable (as they are slightly conical)
  • Leak proof + airtight vacuum-sealed lid lock keeps food fresher for longer
  • Dishwasher/Oven safe(exc. Lid) and Freezer-safe
  • Semi-transparent lid to see your meals clearly
  • Multifunction: meal prep, food storage, on-the-go lunch box, oven container
  • High performance: lid lock vent means lid can stay on when microwaving which reduces heat time, and prevents splattering (no need for single-use cling film)
  • Easy-clean: fully removable seals
  • BPA-Free

Downsides? Only one that I can think of. The stainless steel does not let the microwaves through, so heating food takes a good 50% to 100% longer to heat. So for example, food that heats in a minute and a half in plastic or glass, may take between two and half and three minutes to heat through, in stainless steel.
So there you have it, an innovative beautifully designed product, beautifully executed, which is just that bit more flexible in use than the plastic versions and much longer lasting of course. Prices £14.95 to £19.95 (See offer below)

Lunch Box Original

What a bloody awful name. It used to be called Box Appetit, which sort of said it all, with it’s nod to France and therefore by implication, good food…it was a great name! Now its called Lunch Box Original…. However, despite the naff name, every time I pick up a “Lunch Box Original” it makes me regret that I go home for lunch every day. This is just the most understated, exquisitely designed lunch box that you will ever come across. Pick it up empty, and you know from the feel and weight that you have something special in your hand. Look through the clear Tritan lid and you will see two separate containers for things such as sauces or puds (in my case), more savoury in yours maybe? And then note that the top of both of these inner containers will hold a small quantity of something, that in turn are sealed against the underside of the lid your looking through. There’s even a small fork included that you may clip to the outside of the box. It’s just a brilliant, attractive, workmanlike, no unnecessary frills, leak proof design.

Insulated Travel Mug.
The Black and Blum Travel Mug is one of the neatest most compact travel mugs on the market and is a favourite of Jeanne’s.
Its easy to clean (most relevant to you if you have milk in your tea or coffee), has a satisfying click when opening it, is leak proof, shorter than most, is lockable (for when you put it in your bag), insulated, and is very solidly built. In short, a typically designed Black and Blum product.

Salient points are

  • 100% leak proof, happily put in your bag or back pack.
  • Up to 5 hours hot, 8 hours cold
  • Lockable
  • One handed opening and closing
  • High-quality 18/8 stainless steel. Solid piece of kit.
  • Fits in bike bottle cages and car cup holders.
  • Lid disassembles easily for thorough cleaning and is dishwasher safe.
  • 16.5cm high, makes it shorter than most on the market.
  • 340ml capacity
  • BPA, BPS & BPF-free

Available in 4 colours it will cost you £24.95

The offer
If you buy two or more pieces from the entire Black and Blum range this weekend you may take 20% off. Please use code B&B20 if shopping online or just tell us who you are if coming into the shops.


One last sobering thought
I was listening to Giles Yeo, a Cambridge University geneticist the other day. He said in the last 10 years we now have more people dying on this planet, from overeating, rather than starvation.
A salutary thought.

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.

Kind regards,




Andrew Bluett-Duncan


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