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Business Unusual
When business, technology and politics collide

When business, technology and politics collide

8 July 2020 7:28 PM

A business and its staff might have an ambition to take over the world and most would think that it was a fair ambition. For a country or political party to adopt a similar ambition, it is a very different story.

What should companies and the people that work in them do when faced with political changes that don’t align with their values?

The short answer for most of history has probably been - too little too late.

Image credit: Hong Kong

More episodes from Business Unusual

How social media became a dumpster fire and what to do about it

29 July 2020 7:26 PM

The internet was funded by the US military and developed by the academic community to provide a place to openly and easily share information. It was supposed to be a place to test ideas, to contest theories and to challenge views.

Now that you can, it does not work quite as intended.

Image credit: Bill Ward - Flickr


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What the Twitter hack says about us

22 July 2020 7:24 PM

For what much have seemed like forever on Wednesday 15 July neither Twitter nor 130 verified accounts were being controlled by their owners.

The accounts had been taken over by hackers that posted a slightly tweaked crypto scam and after about four hours once the accounts had been secured, millions had seen the hacked tweets, with hundreds having sent bitcoin resulting in over R1,5 million paid to the scammers. 

Worse than the loss of money was the loss of control but rather than it being a failure of technology it was a failure of understanding how we work.

Guest: Colin Cullis/ Business Unusual correspondent on The Money Show 

Image credit: Twitter

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Drug profits - a neccessary evil or something that needs to change

1 July 2020 7:25 PM

Using profit to solve health issues does not work in a pandemic, perhaps at all.

This is a really complex issue. How should we fund the research for more effective drugs to treat conditions that may affect millions, knowing that many will not work and then determine how to price those that do work to cover the costs not just of the drug that did work, but the research for those that did not.

The cost to produce the drug has components that include the search for the potential candidates, the development of the tests on animals and then humans and the ongoing monitoring to determine its effect.

The mechanism to do this has been to have for profit companies get patents for their discoveries and then get a period between 5, 12 and sometimes over 20 years to be able to exclusively supply the drug and set its price.

There is no question that the system can be better. The question is how and despite many attempts by those that have practical alternatives, it does not appear enough has changed to make medicine more accessible.

Could the Covid-19 pandemic provide the public support to overcome the financial resistance that those that benefit from the status quo?

Image credit - Pexels

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Social Media - mass mobilisation and the modern mob

24 June 2020 7:25 PM

A powerful tool that everyone can access that has the ability to change the world or make it worse. Business Unusual looks at how social media has created significant movements but also spread conspiracies.

Image credit: Pexels

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How the dead can solve South Africa's inequality

17 June 2020 7:25 PM

To quote one of the richest men in the world about inheritance, Warren Buffet thinks passing on a fortune is not the right way to go. 

His advice is “You should leave your children enough so they can do anything, but not enough so they can do nothing.”

In South Africa the challenge to addressing inequality is not a lack of willingness to address the issue, but rather an inability to overcome the gap if the status quo is not challenged.

Image credit:

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Something found in a dump may save the oceans

10 June 2020 7:26 PM

By 2050 there might be more plastic than fish in the sea

Humanity’s progress is marked by chance findings and lucky discoveries and this one might be one of the best.

In the 1950s the discovery of plastics seemed to be the solution to all our packaging and storage needs. Glass was great but heavy, expensive and fragile. Plastic was a wonder product that helped make a certain soft drink one of the most recognised brands on the planet and ensure that almost every human hand has held that plastic bottle at some point in their lives. That one brand alone revealed that they produce three million tonnes of plastic packaging a year in 2017. That would be equivalent to 200 000 bottles produced per minute or over 100 billion per year.

Some bottles do get recycled, some is reused for clothing but a big proportion is simply thrown away with a portion of that ending up in the sea.


Image credit: Wikipedia

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Banking the unbanked

3 June 2020 7:26 PM

In 2004, 54% of South Africans had no bank account, that thankfully changed significantly with the introduction of the national payment system which used a bank card which was loaded with the grant and could be used to make payments or used to withdraw cash when needed at pay points like supermarkets.

That saw the percentage unbanked fall to 33% in 2012 and could be used by 75% of the recipients.


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The Artemis program to put a woman on the Moon

27 May 2020 7:25 PM

One of six women chosen earlier this year may be the first to walk on the moon.

America is planning to return to the Moon, it did not intend to stop after the original seven but global conditions made it hard for the US to continue to pay for the missions that in one respect were meant to beat the Russians to the Moon because they beat the Americans into space.

It has been over 50 years since anyone was willing to commit their Presidency and party to funding another attempt even as private companies began looking to do so themselves.

Image credit: NASA

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