Tag: FT

Europe sans platforms

Wednesday, 15 November, 2017 0 Comments

Internet platforms are eating the world and the value of the top US platforms now exceeds $1.8 trillion. Europe, meanwhile, has no internet platform and neither does it have a single tech company in the list of the global top 50 firms. Martin Wolf of the FT examines this sad and humiliating state of affairs.

The platforms


The tough choices facing killer Fords

Wednesday, 17 May, 2017 0 Comments

“Lunch with the FT” is a weekend pleasure and last Saturday it was the turn of carmaker Bill Ford, great-grandson of Henry, to dine with Patti Waldmeir. In the print edition the mealtime was titled “Reinventing the wheel”, while the online version is lengthier: “Motor chief Bill Ford on a Rust Belt reboot for the driverless age.” Morsel:

“The autonomous age will also raise new ethical questions, says Ford: what would a self-driving car do when faced with the choice of crashing into 10 pedestrians or killing its occupant? Human drivers react as best they can. But autonomous cars will need to be told what to do. Will autonomous Fords choose to kill the driver to save 10 bystanders? Will Fords kill the driver, and Toyotas kill the crowd? Will Fords in Detroit do one thing and Fords in Shanghai do another?”

Lunch with the FT is always informative and entertaining, and as the paper says: “High quality global journalism requires investment.”


Lucy Kellaway swaps keyboard for blackboard

Monday, 21 November, 2016 0 Comments

“We will live until we are 100, and will work into our 70s. If Leonard Cohen could do world tours until he was 80, I can surely find the energy needed to be in a classroom all day, teaching kids my favourite subject.” So says Lucy Kellaway, who surprised the world of business journalism yesterday by announcing that after 31 years at the Financial Times she’s changing careers. She’s training to be a teacher.

Kellaway is famous for her acerbic writing about the loathsome side of corporate life, but she’s trading in the cushy punditry for a future facing teenagers in an inner London school teaching the basics of trigonometry. And she’s got it all figured out.

She has set up Now Teach and one of its goals is to persuade experienced managers at outfits like McKinsey and Goldman that teaching “is a cool and noble thing to do”. But isn’t teaching, like, complicated? It certainly is. Kellaway, however, is partnering with Ark, an educational charity that specializes in training teachers, which means all those ex-executives will be well prepared for their lessons

Again, the announcement yesterday caught everyone by surprise, but it’s not as if there weren’t portents. In April last year, Lucy Kellaway had lunch with Australia’s Financial Review, and at one stage she said: “I’ve been at the FT for 30 years. 30 YEARS! With the same employer. That is kind of ironic given the whole thing I do is write about new ways of work and loyalty and all of that.”

That was then. Life begins at 58 they say now.

Lucy Kellaway


Who will buy the New York Times?

Friday, 6 May, 2016 0 Comments

“We have tried everything we could but sadly we just haven’t reached the sales figures we needed to make it work financially,” New Day editor, Alison Phillips, on Facebook yesterday. Birthed on 22 February, the newspaper was buried on 5 May.

How can the world’s remaining newspapers avoid the grim fate of New Day? Well, the New York Times is getting into the food delivery business, Bloomberg reports: “This summer, the New York Times will begin selling ingredients for recipes from its NYT Cooking website as the newspaper publisher seeks new revenue sources to offset declines in print. The Times is partnering with meal-delivery startup Chef’d, which will send the ingredients to readers within 48 hours.”

The NYT is also placing a bet on travel. “Times Journeys” charges readers thousands for tours of theocracies and autocracies like Iran and Cuba. “Chernobyl: Nuclear Tourism” is packaged as “A journey focused on science & nature,” while “An Exploration of Southeast Asia” is undertaken “Aboard the 264-passenger L’Austral, designed to serve both the chic and the casual.” The vessel is “sleek and intimate” and “you’ll feel as if you were on your own private yacht.” With the “Owner’s Suite” priced from $18,390, one would hope so.

Earlier this year, the Financial Times, in a “Big Read” piece by Henry Mance titled “UK newspapers: Rewriting the story,” pronounced the newspaper business dead on delivery. There is no viable economic model for a written news product, Mance concluded. There is, of course, the FT’s solution to the problem. It sold itself to Japan’s Nikkei last summer for $1.3 billion. So, who will buy the New York Times?


“The war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”

Friday, 14 August, 2015 0 Comments

Reporting from Tokyo for the Financial Times, Robin Harding writes: “On the night of August 14 1945, as Japan prepared to surrender to the Allies, a group of rebel officers launched a coup d’état and seized control of Tokyo’s Imperial Palace.” Seventy years on, Harding tells this dramatic story in “Japan’s longest day: plot that nearly prevented war from ending“. Here’s a thriller-like scene: “Determined to fight on, even if it meant the annihilation of their country, the plotters ransacked the palace looking for the prepared recording of Emperor Hirohito’s surrender message and very nearly prevented the end of the second world war.”

For all those who continue to peddle the notion that Japan would have somehow surrendered in a moment of rationality, Harding’s article should be recommended reading. With its fascist leadership and genocidal agenda, Japan was intent on turning Asia into a colony that would be ruled by the Shin guntō, barbarically. In the end, however, the plotters didn’t find the recording of Emperor Hirohito’s surrender message. It was successfully smuggled out of the palace in a laundry basket of women’s underwear and broadcast to a nation that had never heard their “God” speak.

In his speech, Hirohito noted, with historic understatement, that “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”. Finally, he said: “However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable.” No word of remorse, though, for the horrific crimes that were committed in his name and with his sanction.

From the FT comments on Robin Harding’s article:

Harold Godwinson: “Surely the message is that in fact the use of nuclear weapons saved many millions of lives. Japan then is comparable to Daesh now. Fanatics who believe their cause is beyond value in human life must always be opposed.”


The occasional poetry of financial journalism

Thursday, 23 January, 2014 0 Comments

Before becoming Latin American editor of the Financial Times, John Paul Rathbone worked as an economist and writer at the World Bank. He is also the author of The Sugar King of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba’s Last Tycoon and his latest FT column, “Cubans lose fear of criticism as reform fireflies start to flicker,” combines his passion for the island’s economy, politics and culture with lyricism. “Is Cuba really reforming?” That’s the question being posed by Habaneros today and here’s how John Paul Rathbone responds:

“There is no short answer, although a poetic one might compare the reforms to small and hesitant flickerings, akin to the fireflies that Cuban women of society sewed into their hair and silk gowns before grand balls in colonial times. The effect was reportedly bewitching: something beautiful that would briefly illuminate itself and then fade. The viewer might even be unsure that he had seen anything at all. Yet then the fireflies would sparkle again, much like Cuba’s reforms. The question for outsiders is now to encourage them.”

Cuba


Macmillan Dictionary: “exiting print is a moment of liberation”

Friday, 23 November, 2012 0 Comments

Back at the beginning of this month, the Macmillan publishing company announced that it would no longer make paper dictionaries. In a blog post titled Stop the presses — the end of the printed dictionary, Michael Rundell, the editor-in-chief of the famed Macmillan Dictionary, made the case thus: “Thirty years ago, the arrival of corpus […]

Continue Reading »