This episode's vocabulary
- Employer (noun) - a person or organization that employs people.
- Publishing house (noun) - a company that publishes books.
- To have fingers in many pies (idiom) - to be involved in and have influence over many different activities, often in a way that people do not approve of.
- To produce (verb) - to make something or bring something into existence.
- Figurine (noun) - a small model of a human, usually made of clay or porcelain.
- Employee (noun) - someone who is paid to work for someone else.
- Former (adj.) - of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past.
- Subsidiary (noun) - a company that is owned by a larger company.
- Branch off (phrasal verb) - if a road or path branches off, it goes in another direction.
- Parent company (noun) - a company that controls other smaller companies.
- Refined (adj.) - improved because of many small changes that have been made.
- Board of directors (noun) - the group of people who shareholders choose to manage a company or organization.
- Mishmash (noun) - a confused mixture.
- Bound up (adj.) - closely connected or involved.
- To wane (verb) - to become weaker in strength or influence.
- Disposal (noun) - the act of getting rid of something, especially by throwing it away.
Questions and Answers
M: Rory is going to describe a company where he lives that employs out of people. Yes, it's a bit strange. Describe a company where you live, that employs a lot of people. Rory is going to say, what the company does, how many people it employs, what kind of people work there, and how he feels about it. Roro, are you all ready to go?
R: I'm ready to rock and roll.
M: Yes, please rock and roll. Off you go. You have two minutes to talk about this.
R: Well, in some ways, this is quite a difficult subject because there aren't many large employers where I live. But the one that comes to mind most easily, I suppose is. It's a company called DC Thomson & Co. Ltd. And it's a publishing house, it's got its fingers in many pies, actually. Despite the fact that it's a publishing house on the face of it. They produce a wide variety of publications and products across many genres and markets. It's not just magazines and books, for example, it's products and figurines that go with the characters in these things, for example. I'm not sure about the exact figure in terms of employees, but it seems almost everyone in my hometown and a few people outside of it have some personal connection to it, whether it's being a former employee, or a current one, indeed, or the relative of an employee, that kind of thing. Right now there are at least 2000 people I would say, and possibly a lot more if we take into account all the subsidiaries and the other companies that branch off from the main one that the parent company. Like I said, the product portfolio is quite diverse, and so are the employees. You look at them and you... Everyone from sort of growth mechanic types to more refined members on the board of directors. So it's quite a mishmash in that sense. Well, I haven't worked very near so I can see why people consider it a key part of our community. It's sort of bound up in the classic idea of Dundee for those of you who don't know or for people that don't know that's jute, jam, and journalism. DC Thompson contributes to the journalism part of that. And it'll be interesting to see how it carries this into the future, to be honest, because of course, print media isn't, it's considered to be a dying or a waning industry. So if they can take that online with the technology they have at their disposal, then that would be great.
M: And what about your friends? Do they like this company?
R: Um, the ones that have worked for it did, um, but of course, the ones that haven't don't know much about it.
M: Thank you very much, Rory.
M: So, this is a tricky topic, Rory. Describe a company. I have no idea what I can talk about, to be honest with you. In Moscow? Well, a company? Yandex, perhaps? Yeah.
R: Oh, come on. There's lot's of big companies in Moscow. Yandex, Gazprom.
R: Oh, McDonald's.
M: Or Gazprom, yeah. McDonald's. Please contact us, McDonald's people, if you're listening. We need to be sponsored by you. Send us free stuff. Fuel. We need McDonald's fuel. Right. We're going off on a tangent. So, a company. Yeah, so people in Moscow, you can talk about Gazprom, Sberbank, Yandex, right?
R: How do you not know big companies? Burger King?
M: Yeah, Burger King. Yeah. Okay. You can talk about McDonald's. Seriously, why not?
M: Right. Because McDonald's is where you live. Everybody has McDonald's.
M: Dear listener, do you have McDonald's where you live? Yes, you do. Right. So, problem solved.
R: A fast-food chain.
M: Yes, a fast-food chain. And you can say I'm gonna talk about a company called McDonald's, which is a fast-food chain.
R: I didn't talk about that though.
M: Yeah, but you said like a company called DC Thompson & Co. Right?
R: Yes. Although we said the word company quite a lot. We could say like firm, corporation.
M: Corporation, organization.
M: Oh, I like that. Institution.
R: Yes. Although you can also describe it in terms of what it does. It employs people, it's an employer.
M: Right. Careful. The company is an employer and people who work there are employees or workers.
R: And you can have different kinds of employees. Former employees for people that used to work there, current employees for people that work there now, or you can be relative of an employee.
M: Yeah, you can say that this company employs loads of people. Or like, there are at least like 2000 people there, for example. Rory, you talked about the Board of directors, right?
R: Yes. So the Board of directors is a group of people at the top of the company. They're in the senior management and they make the strategic decisions.
M: Yeah. You can also mention CEO (Chief Executive Officer), or CFO (Chief Financial Officer), right?
R: Yeah, there's lots of different ones. But those are the main ones.
M: Yeah, the Board of directors. Then you said, it has its fingers in many pies.
R: Yes, that's just a phrase, that means it does lots of different things, or it's involved in different things.
M: Yes, so if you live in a small town, and you have this large company, who has its fingers in many pies, who is involved in different activities, so you can use this expression. Can I say that McDonald's has its fingers in many pies?
R: Well, not really, because McDonald's only does one thing. It's just responsible for fast food as far as I'm aware. So no, you can't say it about McDonald's. Maybe, even though it just creates software also designs machines. So Microsoft is like this. It's got its fingers in many pies. I think Google.
M: Sberbank has fingers... Yeah, yeah. So Sberbank has its fingers in many pies. Sberbank is this bank in Russia, which is now everything. Like, they deal with food, with housing now, with technology. Everything is Sberbank. Yeah. So what else can you say about a company?
R: So we can also talk about what they do. They have their fingers in many pies and then talk about that in more detail. They produce a wide variety of things. I said publications and products. But you could also just say they produce a wide variety of products. And then I talked about genre for the writing and reading side of things. And markets for the different groups of people that could buy things.
M: Yeah, you can use other words like different branches, the company has different branches, or it's a parent company.
R: Exactly. And I did. So DC Thomson's is the parent company, but there are, what's the word, subsidiaries. That's the word. And they're just like more companies that are tied to the main one, the parent company.
M: Subsidiaries or branches. So we have like the main company, and then there are little offices, which are connected to this main building. So subsidiaries. The main building of the company is called headquarters. So you can say, oh, like the headquarters of McDonald's is where? In the States, I think.
R: It's in the United States. Yeah. McDonald's headquarters. You don't need to know this for your exam. But like, it's interesting to know. McDonald's headquarters is in Chicago.
M: Oh, in Chicago. Okay. Interesting. Now, we know. You can also say that this company is a key part of our community. Again, if it is, right?
R: Well, if it employs lots of people, then theoretically, at least it should be a big part of your community. Key meaning important.
M: Yep. Yeah, a key part of our community. Again, you guys, if you're from a city, I think it's going to be really easy for you to talk about McDonald's. Even if you don't like McDonald's, I think it could be quite easy to talk about it, right? Because you can use some words that you know, possibly. Or just be ready with the company, then you can say that I'm not sure about the exact number of employees. I'm not sure what kind of people work there. And then the last one is how you feel about it? Well, how can you feel about a company? Rory, if you haven't worked there? Like, it's a strange question.
M: I feel that this company is doing a lot of things for our community. I feel that many people enjoy it. I don't know, find it useful.
R: Well, you can... You can see it from other people's perspectives as well. Like I said, I haven't worked there, but I can see why people consider it this way.
M: Yep. Yep. Or kind of I I'm disappointed if the company's not really good, right. I'm excited. I'm hopeful. So some feelings that we can feel about a company.
R: There are many feelings.
M: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Also, you can talk about Uber. If you have this Uber. Uber taxi? Yeah, you pronounce it Uber.
R: How do you feel about Uber?
M: Yeah, well, I have mixed feelings about Uber.
R: Oh my God. This is a true story. I was getting out of a taxi this morning and I just walked away from the taxi without paying because of course like in Moscow, if you get an Uber it just, everything pays for itself but in Dundee, you have to actually hand over the money. So I walked out of the taxi and walked towards my house and this guy was like "Excuse me, where's my money?". And I was like, oh, yeah, I need to pay.
M: Oh, it's hilarious. Okay. First question. Do you have taxis in Scotland? Really?
M: And do you have cash?
R: They are not very reliable, but you have to pay them and you can pay them with the card I think. Most of them have card readers. But I of course just didn't think because I'm just so used to just flagging down a taxi. Well, don't even flag down a taxi. You have to, like, you have to, you can phone them, but you can't really get Uber in Scotland. It's so weird.
M: Wow, Rory. Oh, yes, that's right. I have to pay you, don't I?
R: Yeah, I even said like, I'm sorry. I'm not used to paying taxi drivers. And the guy sort of looked at me and I was like, no, I mean, I mean with money. With like cash.
M: I am not used to paying the taxi drivers. So Roro is a criminal now, he's a Scottish criminal.
R: No, I'm just really lazy. That's all.
M: Oh, this is hilarious. A good story. Good one.
R: On that note, thank you for listening! Join us again for part three, we're gonna talk about big companies.
M: Yeah. See you there.
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