Skill testing question: how many humans currently living on Earth remember Broadcast.com? Answer: approximately nine. The company was purchased by Yahoo during the First Great Dot Com Boom for the not inconsiderable amount of $5.7 billion in stock and turned Mark Cuban into Dallas Mavericks' owner and also an insufferable rich brat. Man, wasn’t 1999 a gas? But Yahoo’s new president and CEO, the highly respected ex-Google-ite Marissa Mayer, is still buying companies 14 years later. What’s changed, if anything? By RICHARD POPLAK.
In recent days, NGO activists and their supporters have begun to be on the receiving end of an email from none other than George Soros about his latest project – Solidarity Now – urging them to come to the aid of, well, European civilisation. Not that he is talking about anything big or overwhelming there, but, then again, Soros is nothing usual himself either. J BROOKS SPECTOR took a closer look.
In South Africa, we make it really easy for pharmaceutical giants to endlessly extend their medical patents – and, consequently, their lucrative monopoly on certain life-saving drugs which could be hundreds of times cheaper. India’s landmark judgment against Novartis shows that there is another way. By SIMON ALLISON.
Fourteen years after launching the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, Rashid Lombard and his team have developed the event into one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world, but it has not been easy. In a wide-ranging interview, the CEO of espAfrika, organiser of the jazz festival, spoke about his frustration at not getting proper support from the authorities in the Western Cape and his inability to garner enough corporate support for the event voted the fourth largest jazz festival in the world. By RYLAND FISHER.
Although most of the focus at the Brics summit naturally fell on whatever the leaders of China, Russia, Brazil, India and South Africa had been saying about that Brics bank of the future, there were other opportunities to learn interesting things that were not part of those group photo opps and the leaders’ anodyne joint statements. One of South Africa’s key new-generation business leaders, Sim Tshabalala (recently appointed co-CEO of Standard Bank Group), spoke with the Daily Maverick’s J BROOKS SPECTOR on the fringes of the summit.
Velvet Sky was a flop. 1time crashed out of the industry. Domestic airfare ticket prices have soared. Still, the founders of 1time are back and planning to launch Skywise, their new domestic carrier, later this year. GREG NICOLSON talks to three of the team about their new airline and their plan to cut air-ticket prices by 25%.
In an utterly farcical day’s proceedings, the board of the SABC was dissolved and the process to appoint an interim board begun. The individuals who will sit on this temporary body cannot be envied: what Tuesday’s events made clear was just how chaotic dynamics have become among the state broadcaster’s top leadership, and in particular their relationship with Communications Minister Dina Pule. By REBECCA DAVIS.
At the present moment, the greatest opponents to the Keystone XL pipeline –basically a tube of money that will ferry environment slaughtering tar sands oil from Canada to America – are tree huggers and folks who wear sandals and socks. In reality, it’s Africans who should be lobbying against Keystone. Because when the United States becomes a net energy exporter, the resources “boom” in Africa is over. By RICHARD POPLAK.
In Zambia, unemployment hovers at about 80%, and 60% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day. Seven thousand kilometres north, you’ll find a wealthy Swiss hamlet called Rüschlikon, where a powerful South African-born commodity trader lives, close to the mega-multinational he runs. This is the story of Ivan Glasenberg, whose time of relative obscurity may have just ended. By MANDY DE WAAL.
Wednesday was the day. Few iconic companies in recent memory have pegged their fortunes to a single event – even if that event signals a massive shake-up of their product line. But Research in Motion played Wednesday’s release of its long awaited, much delayed BlackBerry 10 OS as a day of universal reckoning. Consumers, however, will have the last say. By RICHARD POPLAK.
And before you even try to suggest that his soul deserves a perhaps eternal tour of duty in the nether regions of hell’s kitchen, just remember that millions and millions and millions of people find great comfort in the knowledge that the Golden Arches will always deliver precisely the same, err, gastronomic result, time after time, after time. J BROOKS SPECTOR tries to get ahead of the herd in his stampede for a degree honoris causa in Hamburgerology.
With Eskom in the process of getting its third multi-year price determination passed by the energy regulator, there is widespread concern about the energy supplier's proposed yearly increases of 16% till 2018. Enter the Free Market Foundation, who will itself make a submission to the regulator, arguing that the price plan is too steep, too damaging to the economy and above all unnecessary. Their recipe? Privatisation. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
Stuck between worker demands for a decent living wage and insistence for broader ownership rights (or even nationalisation) and the market’s implacable demands for profits, Anglo American may have to give up its place as an iconic South African institution and be content as one more middling mining company among many. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
Thursday was day two of the Sustain our Africa summit, Africa’s first big pow-wow about sustainability. The programme saw speakers and delegates grapple with important issues ranging from food sources to investment in sustainable business. From a man farming maggots to another trying to reform advertising, there were some invigorating ideas on the menu. By REBECCA DAVIS
The protest on the weekend at one of its factories in northern China is leading some commentators to observe that Foxconn Technology may not be able to make good on the massive global demand for the iPhone 5. It’s a story that not only highlights social change in China, but the emptiness of America’s moral indignation. By KEVIN BLOOM.
A new book about Sam “The Banana man” Zemurray reminds us of the meaning of untrammelled capitalism. Zemurray began life in Bessarabia and ended it as the de facto regent of South America. South Africans, embroiled in a burgeoning social crisis related to an important commodity, should take note. By RICHARD POPLAK.
While the Association for Communication and Advertising is doing its best to convince government and South Africa that the local advertising landscape is transformed, the Association of Black Communications Practitioners claims there’s a whole lot that’s rotten in the state of adland. MANDY DE WAAL investigates.
The revolving door in the corner office of the web giant Yahoo has stopped for a moment, and 37-year-old chic geek Marissa Mayer is in the hot seat. She is the third CEO in a year for the troubled online pioneer. Newly arrived from Google, will she save Yahoo, and is she worth the almost $100-million she stands to make in the next five years? By RICHARD POPLAK.
A new start-up aims to offer a solution to the problem of foreign tech entrepreneurs wanting to work in Silicon Valley but being ineligible for US visas. Blueseed hopes to build an island-ship, to be docked 12 miles from the Californian coast, with the geeks onboard regularly being ferried to the mainland. It’s not the first time a project of this kind has been attempted, but this one might actually become a reality. By REBECCA DAVIS.
South African tech entrepreneur Vinny Lingham is about to launch his new venture, Gyft, from his base in Palo Alto, California. REBECCA DAVIS talked to him about life as a start-up guru, how SA government policies are harming investment, and why he’s putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to turning Cape Town into a technology hub.