In the loop: Amazon becomes world’s most valuable company, HSBC ruffles Brexiteer feathers and Hyundai makes a car walk like an alligator

2019’s truly started with a bang. Read about HSBC’s “ideologically aggressive advert”, how Amazon dethroned Microsoft and why working weekends is a bad idea

In the loop: Amazon becomes world’s most valuable company
Photo credit: Hyundai

HSBC’s ad campaign states “Britain’s not an island”, sparking Brexit backlash

Brexit stirs up a lot of conflict over Britain’s place in the world with companies like Wetherspoons, the pub chain, stirring up angry emotions in the past. And this week, HSBC joined the debate, albeit allegedly involuntarily.

Its latest ad campaign boldly – albeit not geographically correctly – states the UK’s “not an island” but “part of something far, far bigger”, championing Britain’s multicultural influences as a “Colombian coffee-drinking” and “American movie-watching” “wonderful little lump of land in the middle of the sea.”

A Twitter ensued with pro-Brexit MEP Patrick O’Flynn calling it a “Really odd and ideologically aggressive advert” and Tory MP Bob Seely writing “@HSBC, perhaps #Brexit could mean higher standards in banking?”

However, HSBC claims that the advert wasn’t intended as a comment on Britain ditching the EU at all and it actually mentions non-European influences too. 

70% of SME bosses face disturbed sleep after working weekends

SME owners often play everything from the janitor to the head honcho, so it’s no wonder the word freetime doesn’t frequent their vocabulary. But sacrificing weekends can cause them serious problems.

Sampling 1,002 SME senior decision makers, Zurich UK, the insurance provider, found 33% work all weekends while 16% did so every fortnight. Morover, 70% said they suffer from sleep interruptions.

It doesn’t help that business owners don’t take it easy in the week either, with 61% clocking into work before 8:30am and 24% turning up at 7:30am. In the North East some give themselves an even harder time, where 20% start work at 7:00am sharp.

Although it’s tempting to ignore the clock in today’s always-on culture, sleep deprivation can result in diminished productivity and, worse, health issues.

Amazon topples Microsoft as globe’s most valuable company for the first time

Despite desktops gradually falling out of favour to smartphones, Microsoft impressed by replacing Apple as the most valuable publicly traded company last November. But Amazon just made that a short-lived reign.

Marking its first time atop the stock market leaderboard, Amazon’s shares grew 3% on Monday to a worth of $1,629. Overall, this realised a $797bn market value for the e-commerce colossus, beating Microsoft’s $784bn and 1% share increment.

But it’s not a blazing victory, considering Amazon’s value has ultimately slumped 21% since last September where it joined Apple as the second US-based business worth over $1tn. In fact, US tech firms have sunk in value across the board recently, likely due to the looming US-China trade war.

In such an uncertain landscape, Amazon’s longevity as number one isn’t guaranteed.

Hyundai sticks robot legs to cars

From self-driving AI to electric motors breaking speed records, the car is seemingly destined for an upgrade. For instance, why not add legs to it?

That’s exactly what Hyundai has done. After three years in the making, Hyundai revealed a model of Elevate, an AI-powered car that whips out robot legs to traverse heights up to five feet and leap over gaps of the same distance. It also gaits in a variety of styles like mammalian or reptilian, the latter of which eerily appears like it’s stalking prey.

While general consumers won’t get much more than a kick from mimicking crocodiles, Elevate may prove invaluable for emergency services traversing tricky terrain such as during tsunamis or earthquakes.

Perhaps militaries could also make use of Hyundai’s technology. After all, it already looks like a mini AT-AT walker prototype from Star Wars. Pew, pew, rebel scum. 

easy does it

While eager to impress his father, Stelios Haji-Ioannou is far from a daddy’s boy. And with easyJet just being the tip of his entrepreneurial iceberg, it’s safe to say he’s proven his business flair time and time again. Check out our cover interview this month to find out more.

AI replacing human workers is far from a doomsday scenario

Many fear far more efficient robots will quickly replace humans in the workplace. But is that really a bad thing? Not according to John Hackston

2019’s ups and downs have already been figured out

While just about everyone vows to take on the world in a new year, 2019’s upcoming hurdles are currently unknown. But fortunately, Ella Davidson has a crystal ball to see the opportunities and misfortunes this year has in store for businesses

Convince contacts you’re worth keeping around

Founders like Warren Cass understand you are who you know in business. So whether part of a new year’s resolution or not, it’s always a good time to beef up your contact book – and it’s easier to do than you think

Let robots judge who’s good enough for your company

With employment levels seeing all-time highs there’s no doubt an incalculable amount of CVs whizzing past desks. So could AI take the burden off us meat bags? Arran Stewart provides answers

There’s so much for large companies to learn from startups

Although startups often aspire to make it big there’s a great deal large businesses can take from their innovative spirit, as Tendayi Viki explains

Keeping your staff’s spirits high after the holidays

While employees can relax over the Christmas break it makes going back to work seem like Day of the Dead in contrast. But following Julie Provino’s steps can get them back in the swing of it in no time

Angus Shaw
Angus Shaw

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