In the loop: Facebook’s first president’s worries and the growing number of UK SMEs

This week has seen Sean Parker being concerned about how social media affects society, research revealing which sectors have seen the launch of the most SMEs and Hostmaker raising a $15m round

In the loop: Facebook’s first president’s worries and the growing number of UK SMEs

Sean Parker is worried about how Facebook will change the world. Photo credit: Kathy Hutchins/

Ex-Facebook president is afraid of what social media is “doing to our children’s brains”

Having co-founded the music-sharing platform Napster and been portrayed by Justin Timberlake in the 2010 movie The Social Network, Sean Parker certainly has a solid claim to fame. However, it seems as if Facebook’s first president is worried about how his legacy is changing society.

Speaking with Axios, the news site, the entrepreneur acknowledged he had felt some trepidation while observing the growth of Facebook. Because, while likes and comments may poke people into spending more time on the platform, Parker worries about how this will affect people’s relationship with the rest of society. He explained that these sites are designed to be as addictive as possible, that every like and comment is designed to trigger users’ brains’ reward system, Facebook have consciously exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology”. Parker added: “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

This news comes as Facebook is under pressure to deal with the problem of fake news and Russian attempts to meddle in democratic elections, something the American congress has recently questioned the tech giant, Twitter and Google about. Evidently, Parker isn’t the only one troubled about the social network’s power.

The number of UK SMEs has grown over the past five years

It’s easy to see the allure of becoming an entrepreneur; the chance to set your own hours and work for yourself could persuade anyone to ditch the nine-to-five. And it seems that more people are jumping on the opportunity to become their own boss: the number of UK SMEs grew by 23% between 2011 and 2016, according to new research from Hampshire Trust Bank.

Conducted in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the study found that the sector experiencing the biggest growth was the office-administration and business-services industry, having seen a 76% jump over the past five years. Companies working in health services and media businesses sectors saw the second and third biggest expansion respectively.

In these times of market uncertainty, it’s certainly encouraging to see more people having the courage to go it alone.

Hostmaker raises $15m in series B

No matter how you look at it, Airbnb’s success is nothing short of extraordinary. Fortunately, the unicorn’s triumphant growth has paved the way for other startups. One of them is Hostmaker, the Airbnb-management company, which just completed an impressive $15m series B round.

Launched in 2014, the company assists homeowners renting out their cribs with everything from professional photography, interior design and housekeeping to daily pricing reviews, guest relations and vetting. This new round of investment will be used to keep developing Hostmaker’s technology and to expand into Asia. Given these aspirations, it’s hardly surprising that the round is backed by Asian investors like Sansiri, a Thai real-estate developer, and Gaw Capital, a Hong Kong-based hospitality-real-estate investor.

And with Hostmaker having raised a total of $25m to date, this just proves the worth of allowing yourself to be inspired by other’s success.

Revealing the most common causes of office disputes

Given that running a startup means constantly working against the clock, entrepreneurs can’t afford to waste time on workplace infighting. That’s why it’s important that business leaders look out for the telltale signs that a conflict might be brewing. Fortunately, new research from Brother UK, the business-technology supplier, has revealed what the most common causes behind office disputes are.

Having surveyed 1,595 office workers, the researchers found gossiping was the most common reason behind workplace disputes, with over a third citing it as reason. Other common causes were being too loud, messy or late.

While there is no way to totally protect you from office conflicts, keeping an eye out for any of these signs can certainly save entrepreneurs a lot of headaches.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson

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