9 February 2017
Market corner

by Ghillie Little

Things are looking up
The Bank of England raised UK growth outlook by 2%. Although the numbers show that economic growth in the UK cooled ever so slightly this January, it is still growing at healthy clip thanks to business confidence in the future. Carney noted this confidence was due to "greater political stability and clarity around Brexit". While a large amount of uncertainty remains, if clarity over Brexit continues to increase, Britain's overall economy will benefit. As the longevity of the positive impact is unknown, it doesn't hurt to ride the wave while hedging your bets for an uncertain future.

World meet Dalio, Dalio meet world...
Bridgewater's Ray Dalio is coming to terms with the possibility that Trump may not be as great for the US economy as he previously thought. In a letter to investors, Dalio noted his concern that the damaging effects of Trump's populist policies, "reminiscent of the policies of populist governments in the 1930s', may outweigh the benefits of his pro-business agenda. Goldman Sachs is also joining the party, stating that the balance of risks is now "somewhat less than positive". Analysts are recommending investors to be cautiously optimistic and we would have to agree. 
Client-first requirement...more of a guideline. 
JP Morgan is again under fire for an alleged breach of fiduciary duty over cross-selling. In and of itself, not actually an illegal strategy, but definitely frowned upon when you put your companies bottom line above your clients best interests. And it definitely won't be the last alternative strategy to 'client-first' that we'll hear about. 

There's nothing like a full-page newspaper advert to say you're sorry...Deutsche Bank just can't catch a break and continues to make fumbling steps back into the good graces of clients and shareholders with trader layoffs and the announcement of the anticipated departure of DB's investment-banking chief, Jeffrey Urwin. Time will tell whether these moves will be as rejuvenating to the Deutsche Bank name as they hope.
Best headline
Best headline goes to the National Post - we'd suggest a bit of employee vetting next time. 

"How a former editor allegedly used Vice Canada to recruit drug mules for a global smuggling ring"

Well, that escalated quickly...
Last week Uber found out the hard way that it's a risky move to disregard the power of the masses. Whether an innocent oversight or not, a company must have an ear to the ground at all times. One hopes this was a mere miscalculation by Uber, not only did they not join the NY Taxi Alliance in solidarity, but the company then missed the opportunity to manage the narrative - leaving it to others to start the #deleteuber trend. 200,000 deleted Uber accounts later and a CEO retreating from Trump's advisory council, it's fair to say it's worth joining the fray or run the risk of being categorised by your customers as an opportunistic and exploitive business. Even if that is the case, that's not the image you want. Perhaps Under Armour will show us they are the exception to the rule...

I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse...
Navigating the ebbs and flows of the Trump administration might have us all questioning our sanity a bit. China has decided to take an 'outside the box' approach and focus directly on Trump's immediate, and seemingly tempered, side of the family. 
Forgivable f*ck up

Rule of thumb...steer clear of texting your boss while enjoying a night out.
Silicon passage

by Louis Rynsard

Uber is investing in our dreams
Mark Moore, a former NASA engineer with 30 years of experience under his belt, joins Uber Elevate division to help build the flying car of our dreams. The inevitable question stands - will Uber manage to turn this investment in on-demand aviation into a tangible reality? Ever since I was a little boy I've dreamt of a flying car but beyond making five year old me happy, it remains to be seen if this idea has a purpose. Good on Uber for finding out though.

Tesla's my name, don't wear it out... 
Last week, Tesla submitted a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, officially dropping "Motors" from the company name to become "Tesla, Inc.". The change of the company name itself will have no adverse effect on the company which has informally been referred to as Tesla for quite some time, but from a strategic standpoint this move is a very clear indication of greater ambition for the future of Tesla. The sky is no longer the limit for Tesla and maybe neither is space.

Anticipating greatness
Snap filed for a $3 billion IPO last week and is being considered a Facebook competitor, bet Zucks is really regretting not making a better offer now. Analysts and Snap enthusiasts poured over the public filing and were treated with surprising details that are giving some investors pause for thought. Snap has few users, no profits, high costs and a plan for growth that time will prove to be either ground-breakingly ingenious or dodgy at best. Which brings us to the thought - at what point does a sexy social media start-up turn into a profitable tech company? Facebook and Google have made it work, but profits remain elusive for Twitter and Snap - I use both and they are fun but whether anyone can make money out of them, has yet to be proven. 
Who's having a worse week than you?

Sean Spicer...again
The facts fairy strikes again and results in a litany of images of Trump in a bathrobe. Perhaps now is the time for Spicer to take a page out of the C.J. Cregg playbook?
of power

by Nicholas Brown

It's not personal, it's business
Some say a good speaker should never become the story. It appears Speaker John Bercow did not take heed of this advice. Whether or not the comments were made "honestly and honourably" are not in question, it comes down to the political impartiality required of the Speaker of the House and what is in the nations best interest. This could end badly for Bercow, as one senior Tory MP tells ITV, "manoeuvres are well advanced to get Bercow out"

Valentine's day comes early for Surrey council leaders
In PMQs on Wednesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn read out leaked messages that showed a potential "sweetheart deal".  In times gone by, Labour advisers would have scented blood and be working flat out to get a ministerial level resignation. Anything that smells of using government for political ends can be made into a resigning matter. It remains to be seen if new, improved and relaunched Corbyn can achieve such a result. 

"How to lose friends and alienate people"
For a pro-business guy, the travel ban appears to be a step in the opposite direction. Big business leaders across several industries in the US have come together in solidarity to oppose the ban that has brought into question the legality of the order. Whatever the courts decide, it will be an interesting indication of the future of US business, especially after last nights controversial confirmation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Throughout the confirmation hearing, Sessions came under fire for his views on race and civil rights, leading to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's formal silencing by the GOP-controlled Senate.
Heroes of the week

Louie Zakarian and Jodi Mancuso
Regardless of your opinion on NBC's Saturday Night Live comedy showcase, we can probably all agree the hair and makeup artists are the true MVPs of this weeks sketch.  Putting in over 50 hours, they spectacularly transformed Melissa McCarthy into press secretary Sean Spicer...pure gold. 

C-Suite steer

by Lief Anya Schneider

Honey, Nanny's a bit unstable
It all started with politicians being a bit self righteous and telling us to do stuff some of us were doing anyway, but not with such fancy names. Diversity, equality, compliance, KYC and so on. But, business complied with nice sensible Nanny. Because it was the law.
A few years ago, PR advisors like us were advising businesses that, post-Lehman and the crash, it was important that businesses not only had stability and values, but showed and explained them to their stakeholders.  Many businesses went through a soul-searching period. For example diversity - as a principle and action - was widely discussed. The concept was all very well and good, but what did it have to do with the down and dirty realities of business? McKinsey’s groundbreaking report Diversity Matters (November 2014) showed that diversity was not just a matter of “doing the right thing”, but of doing the right thing for business. Crudely put, diverse companies make more money.  
So now, here we are. Firms have worked hard to comply with a heap of principles that echoed our political leaders. We have entrenched in our constitutions principles of fairness. We had endless training courses, some of which we definitely did not need. We transformed ourselves into self-conscious bastions of honour.   
Things have shifted. Suddenly, some politicians appear not to give a f***. Those in power seem to have left the script we are used to entirely. Nanny has broken open the drinks cabinet and looks about to set fire to the play pen.
Now it is business that is the steady, reassuring voice of reason and continuity. 
Business must communicate with its stakeholders at times like this, because even if it is business as normal, people need to be told that it’s business as normal. 
This week, 100 leaders in the technology industry joined a friend of the court brief opposing that ban. The media instantly picked up on who didn’t sign. 
Not all businesses will want to make such an avert point.  Dear business leaders, it is the time to show your face, integrity, and power of example, to your stakeholders. It is time to show measured example. Have a strategy and do not forget that inaction is action. Mummy and Daddy have to step in.
Poem of the week

Picked by Lief Anya Schneider

An ode to what happens when you use "alternative facts".
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