Space sharing for a new age of travel
The space-sharing disrupter Airbnb has ruffled as many feathers as it has inspired budget-conscious travellers the world over. By enabling homeowners to rent out living spaces – ranging from a single room to a whole house – the company has provided both a money-making opportunity for owners and a cost-effective accommodation model for cash-strapped tourists.
But the San Francisco-based company has plenty of detractors, with hoteliers complaining about the deleterious effect on their businesses, and city dwellers accusing Airbnb of contributing to the process of gentrification by reducing the availability of long-term rentals. The phenomenon has led to concerns about the adverse effect growing tourist numbers might have on historic cities, with a number of authorities cracking down on commercial activity by introducing new regulations.
Fun and games
In June this year, the British public voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. The fallout from what, for many, was a shock result, was nothing short of dramatic and the aftermath left a kingdom that seemed very far from united.
Fast forward to the end of August and while the world has been distracted by the games of the 31st Olympiad, heated discussions between Brexiteers and Remainers have subsided into barbed comments traded across social media and a kind of normality has been restored. Business as usual, then. Well, maybe. But while Usain Bolt is packing his running shoes away, it seems like Brexit hasn’t even left the starting blocks.
Room at the top?
Ever get the feeling that it’s about time you changed some of your fixtures and fittings? Well it’s a message that corporate governance advisor ISS is trying to get across to the shareholders of some of the United States’ top companies – including Alphabet and Berkshire Hathaway – as it begins to apply pressure for a little light boardroom ‘refreshment’.
As part of its latest annual survey, ISS is canvassing opinions on boards where long-serving directors hold sway or where new members are about as rare as hens’ teeth. The outcome could help to shape changes in its investor voting guidelines in the future.
Law enforcement versus individual privacy
The mood between tech companies and the US government has been less than cordial in recent months following a series of stand-offs over law enforcement and customer privacy issues.
In the most recent high-profile case, a US appeal court has ruled that the government cannot force Microsoft to turn over to them data stored overseas and has rejected an earlier ruling that found the tech giant in contempt for failing to aid a narcotics prosecution.
Credit tightening – a sign of the times?
For a society that runs largely on credit, when loans start drying up, the wheels of commerce grind to a shuddering halt.
In a survey recently conducted by the Federal Reserve, signs are emerging that lines of credit are being increasingly squeezed, with loans to businesses on commercial and industrial (C&I) and commercial real estate (CRE) being subject to tougher standards over the second quarter of 2016 than in the past three quarters.
Businesses looking for C&I loans to buy new equipment or relocate are finding it harder to access the credit they need as banks continue to tighten their criteria for lending, especially for medium- and large-sized companies.
The internet of things
Japanese telecoms business SoftBank has made a lightning-quick deal to buy British smartphone chip company ARM Holdings for $32 billion in a bid to become a major player in the ‘internet of things’ technology market.