Advanced

Entrepreneurship in Japan

The start-up scene in Japan has historically lagged behind the Silicon Valley and China, but several investors told CNBC that things are changing.

Workers have traditionally seen starting a company as "kind of a Plan B," according to James Riney, head of 500 Startups Japan. Finding entrepreneurial talent in the country used to be difficult because of an aversion to risk among Japanese workers. Many wanted the stability of corporate or public-sector jobs.

"If you didn't get into the major companies, the brand name companies, entrepreneurship was kind of like this second option that you could consider," Riney told CNBC.

Today, many young people are joining start-ups even as corporate Japan grapples with a labor shortage.

Rant: Marketing school is failing

A "rant" is passionate, typically angry, speech or writing about a particular topic.

The topic of this rant from 2013 is the failure of marketing schools to prepare students for the new internet-based marketing industry. 

Take a deep breath and try to read as emphatically as you can.

"Unfortunately, the curriculum taught in today’s universities does not reflect the social media reality. Not one résumé from a 2013 marketing graduate on my desk contains a single social media account, blog or website URL. These are bare-minimum requirements to work as a marketer today. When asked, every candidate has openly admitted that they don’t read any blogs.

"The interview process proved what the résumés hinted at—that today’s marketing graduates have virtually zero Internet marketing training or knowledge. 

World's richest man: Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, became the world's richest man, defeating Bill Gates, co-founder Microsoft.

The recent surge in Amazon stock has pushed Bezos' fortune to over $90 billion, vaulting him past Bill Gates. Bezos has been chasing Gates for the number one spot for a few years now and finally succeeded in superseding him. But this dream run was short-lived. On Thursday, Bill Gates was crowned again as the world's richest man as Amazon stocks went down by 1%. 

Because their wealth is largely a result of the shares they own of their company and its fluctuating price, it is possible that the wealthiest title may go back and forth between Gates and Bezos.

Boredom is actually good for you

Forbes Coaches Council contends that boredom at work, far from being a terrible thing, offers a chance “to reflect, strategize and create”.

Here are some of the more constructive aspects of boredom, in their opinion:

1. Boredom Inspires Us To Expand Horizons 
Boredom provides a great opportunity for us to examine ourselves and seek new ways to expand our world and thinking, so go and learn something new. Get out of the rut that is creating the boredom. Do more. Be more. Live more.

2. Creativity Stems From Boredom 
Boredom leads to awareness. It signals to the brain that it needs different ideas, thoughts or things to do. Humdrum activities like taking a shower or driving have been times when great ideas and thoughts have occurred in the history of mankind.

Carbon sucking tech

The world will need "carbon sucking" technology by 2030s, scientists warn.

As efforts to cut planet-warming emissions fall short, large-scale projects to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere will be needed by the 2030s to hold the line against climate change, scientists have said.

“If you’re really concerned about coral reefs, biodiversity [and] food production in very poor regions, we’re going to have to deploy negative emission technology at scale,” said Bill Hare of Climate Analytics, a science and policy institute.

World leaders agreed in 2015 an aim of holding global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial times in order to protect small island nations from sea level rises, shore up food production and prevent extreme weather.

American work culture for females

Once upon a time, the American dream was built on the ideal that hard work leads to success. But today, with the rise of technology, the message has become: work all the time or you will fail, Melinda Gates argued in her first column on LinkedIn. 

This workaholic culture is particularly harmful to women, Gates writes, because women are still being told by society that home care and child care is up to them as well. She explained:

"We’re sending our daughters into a workplace designed for our dads... The American workplace was set up based on the assumption that employees had partners who would stay home to do the unpaid work of caring for family and tending to the house. Of course, that wasn’t always true back then, and it definitely isn’t today."

The dying art of disagreement

To say the words, “I agree”—whether it’s agreeing to join an organization, or submit to a political authority, or subscribe to a religious faith—may be the basis of every community.

But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong—these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, seize our attention, energize our progress, and make our democracies real.

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind—this is what I was encouraged to do by my teachers at the University of Chicago.

Intelligent disagreement is the lifeblood of any thriving society. Yet in the United States we are raising a younger generation who have never been taught either the how or the why of disagreement. 

Can we do better?

Volvo's battery-infused car

In 2013, Volvo announced a potentially revolutionary approach to designing electric vehicles (EVs). It wanted to replace some of the steel body panels in its cars with carbon fiber composite materials that can store power like a battery.

The rechargeable panels would be composed of multiple layers of carbon fiber, which are insulated from each other by fiberglass inserts. The result is a structural component that can be charged like the battery.

Though this new design would reduce weight problems associated with rechargeable car batteries, it was not without its problems. In the event that the car crashes, emergency crews would essentially be trying to fish someone out of a giant damaged battery. The cost of carbon fiber was also quite high. Due to these issues, Volvo decided not to mass produce its new cars.

Toyota invests in an Asian Uber

Japanese automotive giant Toyota has made a strategic investment in South East Asia taxi-hailing service Grab.

Grab, which competes with Uber, announced on Wednesday that Toyota is investing in a $2 billion (£1.6 billion) plus funding round that was announced in July. Other investors in the round include Japanese tech firm SoftBank and its Chinese equivalent, Didi Chuxing.

Grab—which currently offers services in 87 cities across Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar—has raised around $3.5 billion (£2.7 billion), according to Crunchbase.