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Business Unusual

Business Unusual

The best disruptors are focused on customers, not products; they use technology rather than fear it; they create new opportunities often where regulations don't exist and they are backed by those with deep pockets and an appetite for risk.

Colin Cullis presents stories of Business Unusual - those people and companies driving the next industrial revolution.

Building better batteries with rocks

22 September 2021 7:44 PM

Air and rocks are everywhere, why not turn them into a battery?

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Apple is heading to space

15 September 2021 7:25 PM

As Apple moves away from its focus on hardware it is looking to improve the offerings it offers via software and services. Its pay services and ad network are two with Apple TV another big play. The other is the work to make their watch better as a health device. When SpaceX sends its first four private astronauts to space on 15 September for a three day mission in a low Earth orbit, it will be tracking how the astronauts are doing via Apple watches and surveys via iPads.

Photo by Trac Vu on Unsplash 

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Democracy is not easy, it can best be described as a narrow corridor

8 September 2021 7:25 PM

The documentary on the 9/11 attacks in the US for the 20th anniversary is a good reminder of how freedom is viewed in different societies.

It tracks the events that led to the attacks in response to US interventions in Afghanistan, the Middle East and other Islamic countries, the events on the day and then the long and lasting impact of the decisions to retaliate and invade and overthrow the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq.

With the US withdrawing before the 20th anniversary effectively on principle following their longest war, it was hoped Afghanistan would continue as a free and independent country. It was hoped that the trillions of dollars spent to train and supply the government and military would set the country on a path to democracy.

Before the US left, the Taliban had toppled the government and taken control of the country. They represent something very different to the US idea of Democracy, some wondered how did the US fail so completely, others might argue how did the US think it would ever be able to succeed. 

Both are justified because while democracy may be a simple concept, it is hard to implement.

Audio credit: Fox News: July 2010

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What Zoom did for office workers, OnlyFans did for sex workers

1 September 2021 7:26 PM

OnlyFans can be described as a relatively new service made up of existing older services to satisfy the oldest service.

It is a platform for content creators that has photos like Instagram, videos like YouTube, and posting and messaging like Facebook and Twitter. It charges a subscription like Patreon. Creators and fans can supply a wide variety of content across many subjects, but for the most part the content is adult related. Most of the creators are women, most of the fans are men and since the start of the pandemic it has allowed many adult industry workers to maintain or increase their income.

It had grown to two million creators, had 130 million users and revenues of over $5 billion. Not bad for a company that was only started in 2016 and effectively has just 4 shareholders. 

Fans are happy, creators are happy, owners are happy - what could go wrong?

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Toy fads are getting bigger but not lasting as long

25 August 2021 7:27 PM

The speed and reach of global media including social media and the impact of influencers can make a gadget global in a very short space of time. Add the power of Chinese manufacturing and ease and speed it can be shipped and some toy cycles can be created in just a few days. 

But too much exposure can make a must have toy, yesterday's news just as fast.

image credit: Unsplash

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Who gets to see what you have on your phone?

18 August 2021 7:32 PM

Apple will check your messages and photos, they say for good reason.

If you own an iPhone, the first question is what does owning it even mean. Apple will not allow you to load unapproved apps. Apple only allows you to have it worked on by Apple approved service agents and in the US when the next iOS update is released it will scan your phone messages and photos.

These might not sound like good reasons to want to buy one of the most expensive phones on the market, but the reasons for the update do make sense even if not everyone agrees.

Audio Credit: Apple

Image Credit: Marija Zaric Unsplash

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Making cars traffic cops

11 August 2021 7:34 PM

Could we solve the most common traffic violations by making our vehicles the law enforcer

A TV show from the 90s called Beyond 2000 featured an insert on car technology that as a teenager I thought was a great idea and expected to be seen as standard by the time I was able to drive. A breathalyser built into the car. 

To start the car you first needed to blow on the breathalyser. If you passed the car would start, if you failed it would not. 

What if you got a passenger to blow for you? What if it was your child? That might work, but why would someone who is not drinking allow you to drive the car when you were over the limit. If you were willing to compel a child to blow on your behalf and then make them travel with you, you had bigger problems than just drink driving. 

The makers, figuring that a willing plant at the departure point might blow for you, built in the need to blow again 5 mins into the trip. This also covered the bases for you having left thinking you were still okay only to get worse some time later. 

Having the car come to a stop could have been dangerous as this was before GPS was common, so instead it would simply flash the lights in a pattern that could only mean the driver was over the limit.

So what happened to the breathalysers in all the cars?

Audio credit: Beyond 2000

Image credit:

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Customer satisfaction - do more, ask less

4 August 2021 7:31 PM

Customer satisfaction is a relatively new concept, customer dissatisfaction is ancient. 

We can trace the history of poor service to a person called Nanni. The shipment of copper ore that was ordered did not arrive on time and was of poor quality. 

What makes this report remarkable is that it was sent by the unhappy merchant over 3500 years ago. 

The clay tablet is held by the British Museum and because we are living in the digital age you can see it for yourself by clicking the link.

Audio credit: TEDx Talks

Photo by chaitanya pillala on Unsplash 

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The future for mRNA vaccines

28 July 2021 7:42 PM

Let me tell you about the long and incredible series of developments that allowed a vaccine to be made available so quickly to deal with Covid-19.

DNA is a library of everything your body might need to reproduce, build and look after you. It is a recipe book of sorts. RNA is a copy of a piece of it, a single recipe to make very important substances - proteins.

For dealing with diabetes we need to add the protein insulin to allow us to function. If we could give you RNA we could create it for a short while, if we can fix the part of the DNA that no longer has the recipe we can fix the problem. 

Fixing DNA is gene therapy. Lots of diseases relate to issues with DNA. It is a very promising field but only a small group of approved therapies have been devised. 

For other uses, RNA can be used to produce antigens, proteins used by viruses that trigger the immune system. Once you know what the antigen protein is, you can look for the RNA code that creates it.

Audio credit: TEDxBeaconStreet 

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Private space - not the final frontier, just the next one

21 July 2021 7:42 PM

Star Trek made the line that space was the final frontier famous. It is true. Everything humanity has ever done is contained on a tiny speck floating in space.

Carl Sagan called it the pale blue dot based on the image from the Voyager 1 spacecraft that was taken in 1990 when the craft had traveled about 6 billion kilometers from Earth, the picture of the galaxy included Earth which was no more than a speck on the image. Less than an hour later Voyager would shut down its camera never to take another image. 

It took all of human history to get us to having the first person breach the bounds of gravity and orbit the Earth just once in 1961. Yuri Gagarin represented the first living thing that had taken billions of years of evolution to determine how to rise high enough above the Earth to remain there. 

Image & audio credit: NASA & Blue Origin

Colin Cullis presents a weekly insert on the Money Show with Bruce Whitfield about the innovations and disruptions that are impacting on business and you.

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