Why Cab Drivers of London UK Have Different Brains

Source: Bloomberg

‘Wayfinding’ systems are the smart design tools that help people navigate from place to place. It’s a universal language that exists everywhere – from the roads we drive, the paths we walk and the airports and malls we traverse. There's also a natural version in our brains. Without it, we’d be getting lost a whole lot more.

 

TfL receives £1.2 billion funding, but mayor Sadiq Khan cautions price rises and bus service reductions are still possible

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 31st Aug 2022) London, Uk – –

London's mayor says the government made some key concessions in the deal but TfL would still be left with a £740m funding gap over the next 20 months.

Transport for London has secured around £1.2bn in funding from the government, but the city's mayor has warned the agreement is “far from ideal”.

The funding package replaces TfL's last bailout, which was the fourth since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Andy Byford, Transport for London commissioner, said the agreement, which lasts until the end of March 2024, would bring benefits for the whole country.

“There is no UK recovery without a London recovery, and no London recovery without a properly funded transport network,” he said.

Mr Byford added that the funding would help avoid large-scale cuts to services and would mean the company would commit £3.6bn to capital investment over the period.

Among the projects to benefit will be new Piccadilly line trains, the repair of Hammersmith Bridge and the extension of the Northern line.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said that the agreement brought “a number of key concessions from the government”, though he warned that it was “far from ideal”.

He said there would still be a £740m funding gap in TfL's budget over the next 20 months, adding: “We will likely have to increase fares in the future and still proceed with some cuts to bus services.”

‘Onerous strings attached'

Mr Khan said: “There are also onerous strings attached, such as the government's condition requiring TfL to come up with options for reform of TfL's pension scheme at pace, which could well lead to more industrial action and more disruption for commuters.

“These are things we have had no choice but to accept in order to get the deal over the line to avoid TfL becoming bankrupt, to save the jobs of thousands of transport workers and to keep trains, tubes and buses running across our city.”

He added: “The sole cause of TfL's financial crisis was the impact of the pandemic so it's simply wrong to punish Londoners and transport workers in this way.

“Levelling up the country should not be about levelling down London.”

‘Put politics to one side and get on with the job'

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said: “For over two years now we've time and again shown our unwavering commitment to London and the transport network it depends on, but we have to be fair to taxpayers across the entire country.


——————–Advertisement————————


“This deal more than delivers for Londoners and even matches the mayor's own pre-pandemic spending plans, but for this to work the mayor must follow through on his promises to get TfL back on a steady financial footing, stop relying on government bailouts and take responsibility for his actions.

“Now is the time to put politics to one side and get on with the job – Londoners depend on it.”

 

Former chancellor warns energy bills could break firms

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 29th Aug 2022) London, Uk – –

Soaring energy bills could be the “straw that finally breaks the camel's back” for small businesses, former chancellor Alistair Darling has warned.

Mr Darling, who was Labour chancellor during the financial crisis, said “bold action” was needed to help the economy.

The energy price cap for households will soar by 80% from October.

But firms are not covered by the cap and Mr Darling said that after surviving Covid, energy costs risked finishing them off.

Mr Darling described the current situation as a “lethal cocktail” and said it required “bold action” to be taken by the government.

Both candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, have come under pressure to outline further support for households and firms following the announcement that energy bills would rise again this Autumn. A new leader – and prime minster to succeed Boris Johnson – will be announced next Monday.


——————–Advertisement————————


Ms Truss has so far confirmed she will cut National Insurance and green levies on bills. Mr Sunak has proposed tax cuts on energy bills as part of a £10bn package.

It emerged at the weekend that Ms Truss is considering a “nuclear” option of cutting VAT by 5% as well as raising the threshold at which people start paying tax.

In May, the government announced £37bn worth of help for households with the rising cost of living.

But Mr Darling told the BBC's Today programme the government needed to announce more support.

“You've got to announce it now,” he said. “Frankly the stuff that's been announced so far might have passed muster earlier this year, it simply won't do now, you need something far more substantial.”

Mr Darling said many firms, “especially the smaller ones who have been struggling through the whole Covid problems over the last couple of years may find that [the cost of energy] is the straw that finally breaks the camel's back”.

He said: “My fear is if the government doesn't do something, you will not just have hardship for individuals and businesses, but you will find that people's spending goes down.

“And the risk is, at the moment people are saying the chances of us going into recession are 50-50. It could just tip us into recession, which of course would be disastrous for us.”

He added: “One lesson I drew from what happened in 2008 is you've got to do more than people expect and you've got to it more quickly than people expect if it's going to work.”

A spokesperson for the Treasury said it is “making the necessary preparations to ensure a new government has options to deliver additional support as quickly as possible, as the chancellor has made clear”.

“And as the prime minister has made clear, no major fiscal decisions will be taken until the new prime minister is in post,” they added.

On Friday, energy regulator Ofgem announced a rise in the energy price cap. It means a typical household will pay £3,549 a year for gas and electricity staring in October up from £1,971 currently. And some economists have warned that could rise even further.

Wholesale gas prices have been rising since last year but have worsened recently because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Kremlin's decision to squeeze energy supplies to Europe.

Small businesses across a number of industries have voiced their concerns over rising energy bills.

More than 750 restaurant and café owners called on the government and Conservative leadership candidates for support through VAT cuts, grants and business rate rebates.

In an open letter, the signatories said takeaways were being quoted “eyewatering bills” that were “simply impossible to pay”.

“The government has waited until the last moment to act before, but now cannot be one of those times. It must work with the Conservative leadership candidates on a plan to support Britain's smallest restaurants before it's too late,” said Ibrahim Dogus, chair of the British Takeaway Campaign.

Jon Long, who runs five fish and chips shops in Dorset, told the BBC if he had to pay the current market rate for gas and electricity, it would mean the end his business after four generations in his family.

He managed to fix his gas and electric rates with his energy provider in 2021 and secured a two-year contract, but many businesses aren't in his position.

“What seemed to be extortionate then now seems like an absolute steal,” he said.

The 59-year-old said currently his average bill per shop is about £15,000 per year, but based on current wholesale prices, it would cost him up to £80,000.

“We are on a war-footing here. There has been a lot of talk, a lot of sympathy, they (the government) have been listening but no action,” he said.

“Businesses coming out of contracts need drastic help, and they need it now or we face losing 1000s of previously viable businesses.”


——————–Advertisement————————


The Bank of England recently warned that the UK economy will fall into recession later this year as rising energy costs push up the rate of inflation. It recently raised interest rates by 0.5% – the biggest increase in 27 years – in an attempt to cool rising consumer prices which hit 10.1% in July.

Mr Darling said the financial crisis more than a decade ago was different to today's economic climate but warned the current situation was “just as threatening to people, [and] to the economy as the financial crisis was back in 2008”.

“It's not just people on low incomes who are going to be affected by this, it's going to be people right up the income chain,” he said.

By Michael Race

Start-up denies using technology to make contact centre accents sound “white.”

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 26th Aug 2022) London, Uk – –

A Silicon Valley start-up has developed technology that can change the accents of call centre workers in real time.

The company, Sanas, has told the BBC that its technology could overcome accent-based prejudice and reduce racist abuse faced by staff.

But some critics have called it a move in the wrong direction and say language diversity should be celebrated.

News site SFGATE accused Sanas of making the agents, many of whom are from the global south, “sound white”.

Sanas, which has reportedly received $32m in funding since June 2022, describes its technology as an accent translation tool.


——————–Advertisement————————


A section on its website called “Demo” invites visitors to “hear the magic” by playing a recording of someone with an apparently South Asian accent reading a call centre script and then clicking a slider button which turns the speech into a slightly robotic sounding American accent.

SFGATE accused the start-up of attempting to make “call centre workers sound white and American, no matter the country they're from”.

But Sharath Keshava Narayana, a co-founder of Sanas rejected the claim, telling the BBC's Tech Tent programme that all four of the founders were immigrants and so were 90% of the company's employees.

He said the tool had been inspired in part by the experience of a close friend of one of the other founders.

That friend, a third-year graduate student studying computer systems engineering at Stanford University in the US, had to return home to Nicaragua to support his parents.

The student found a technical support role in a call centre, but was fired after three months because, Mr Narayana said, of the discrimination he faced because of his accent.

A former call centre agent himself, Mr Narayana said in his experience agents would be abused or discriminated against because of how they sound – abuse the company believes its technology can prevent.

But Ashleigh Ainsley, co-founder of the organisation Color in Tech, argued: “Should we just alter people's skin colours because some people might not like that because they're racist?

“We cannot move in this direction. We need to build tolerance.”

Mr Ainsley said he felt Sanas' efforts were misdirected, explaining: “The problem is with people who feel it's acceptable to abuse [call centre staff], not with the people who have the accent.”

He said instead more effort should be made to ensure that diversity in language was celebrated and that racism should not be tolerated.

Accent discrimination
Asked if the technology pandered to racism Mr Narayana said: “Should the world be a better place? Absolutely yes. Should the world be more accepting of diversity and accent? Absolutely yes.

“But call centres have been around for 45 years and every day an agent goes through this discrimination on every single call.”

The company said currently around 1,000 people use the technology, mostly in the Philippines and in India, and said it had been well-received, increasing employee retention.

Call centre staff report being stalked and abused
Many call centre staff have reported being expected to speak with an American accent. Shalu Yadav, a BBC journalist based in Delhi who worked at three call centres to earn extra money as a student, said employers expected her to learn about American culture and use an American accent.

Ms Yadav also spoke to two people with more recent experience of call centres about Sanas' technology.

Both said they felt the technology was a good idea. One spoke of “abuse” they received from some Americans they called who could not understand their accent.


——————–Advertisement————————


Another said: “It was always difficult to get the grammar right, the pronunciation right, the lingo right, the slang right. So it used to be an added pressure to get the accent as well.”

However, that individual felt the industry had moved on from preferring American accents and that many companies now expected something more “neutral”.

Sanas said its purpose was to improve communication wherever accent might present a barrier.

It said firms were testing the technology for internal use, to ease communication between teams in Korea and the US or between teams in North and South India.

By Shiona McCallum & Chris Vallance

 

TUC demands an increase in the minimum wage to £15 per hour in order to “end low pay Britain.”

 

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 24th Aug 2022) London, Uk – –

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, says that every worker should be able to afford a “decent standard of living”.

The minimum wage should be raised to £15 an hour, the Trades Union Congress says, as it declares it is “time to put an end to low-pay Britain”.

Currently, workers aged 23 and over are entitled to a minimum wage of £9.50 with lower rates for younger employees, but the TUC says all workers should have the same entitlement, regardless of age.


——————–Advertisement————————


Since the minimum wage was introduced, its level as a proportion of the median wage has increased – starting at 47% in 1999 and expected to reach 66% by 2024, although the TUC said that a more ambitious target of 75% is the “logical next step”.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Every worker should be able to afford a decent standard of living.

“But millions of low-paid workers live wage packet to wage packet, struggling to get by – and they are now being pushed to the brink by eye-watering bills and soaring prices.

“For too long workers have been told that businesses can't afford to pay them more. But again and again the evidence has shown that firms are still making profits and increasing jobs – we can afford higher wages.

“And higher wages are good for the economy – more money in the pockets of working people means more spend on our high streets.

“It's time to put an end to low-pay Britain. Let's get wages rising in every corner of the country and get on the pathway to a £15 per hour minimum wage.”

She said ministers should introduce fair pay agreements to increase pay and productivity in low-paid sectors; promote decent work above shareholder interests; and invest in good jobs in every part of the country.

“That's how you boost pay packets and put Britain on a direct path to a £15 minimum wage.”

Proposals also include corporate governance reforms and a “life-long learning and skills strategy” designed to address labour shortages.

The call comes after inflation reached 10.1% in July and as the energy price cap is forecast to surge past £5,300 a year in April.


——————–Advertisement————————


Those two issues are the main drivers of a cost of living crisis that has prompted workers in some sectors to resort to industrial action as their wages fail to keep up.

The TUC said that the UK has experienced a “pay loss of historic proportions” due to an “abject failure” by successive Conservative governments to encourage pay rises.

Last week, the Office for National Statistics said workers suffered a record real-term pay slump of 4.1% after inflation in the three months to June.

When inflation was not factored in, regular pay, excluding bonuses, rose by 4.7% in the three months to June.

 

The 10 Industries Minting The Most Billionaires in 2022


Source: Forbes

The 2,668 billionaires on Forbes’ 2022 World’s Billionaires list have established their fortunes in all sorts of ways: building pet food and soy sauce brands, mining copper and zinc, making eyeglasses, developing real estate empires. Some created new riches, some inherited old ones. But many on the list have something in common: They made their fortunes in the world of finance–or inherited such wealth. These are the industries that mint the most billionaires in 2022 as well as the richest person in each sector.

15 Ways to Create Generational Wealth

Source: Alux

This Alux video we will be answering the following questions:

How to build generational wealth? What is generational wealth? How to become generationally wealthy? How to build multi-generational wealth? How to create wealth that lasts multiple generations? How does one create multiple-generation wealth? How to make sure your kids are rich? How to create wealth for your grandkids? What is the best generational wealth documentary? What is the best generational wealth motivational video?

The Abandoned Cargo Boat Turned Into a Modern Gem

Source: Kirsten Dirksen

Jérémie Malvy bought an old cargo riverboat for 11,000 euros and then spent two years remaking it into a light and plant-filled modern home. For Malvy, the home – now docked on the Seine on the outskirts of Paris – is another step on his journey from his home in Pakistan to France. It began a couple decades ago when Malvy arrived in Paris with no resources and no words of French, so he lived on the street – often under bridges of the Seine – and spoke to the river


——————–Advertisement————————


Why Californians Are Fleeing To Mexico

Source: CNBC

In 2021, over 360,000 people left California in what many are calling The California Exodus. But a rising number of them are migrating out of the country all together and instead, heading south to Mexico to escape rising housing prices, traffic and expensive healthcare.


——————–Advertisement————————


 

Jetson ONE – Flying Through The Forest

Source: Jetson

The feeling you experience when flying the Jetson ONE through the forest is unreal. The excitement and thrills are phenomenal, far more incredible than what you have seen in sci-fi Hollywood blockbusters.


——————–Advertisement————————


Can you think of any manned aircraft capable of speeding through the forest like this? Our mission is to make the skies available for everyone with our safe personal electric aerial vehicle. Are you ready to experience a completely new and exciting way of travel?

Tesco trials renting out office space to workers

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 13th May 2022) London, Uk – –

Remote working and your weekly shop in one? Both could be possible after Tesco announced a flexible working trial with office service provider IWG.


——————–Advertisement————————

From mid-May, people will be able to use office space created in the chain's New Malden store in London.

A flexible office area will use space in-store, with desks, co-working areas and a meeting room provided.

The move highlights the continued move away from traditional office set-ups since the pandemic.

IWG said that the trial with Tesco was reflective of “really strong demand” from office workers to have suburban alternatives close to home, as opposed to commuting into city centres.

“People don't want to spend hours commuting every day and instead want to live and work in their local communities,” said Mark Dixon, founder and chief executive of IWG.

Research from the company suggests that 72% of workers would prefer to work flexibly.

Zooms from the milk aisle?

The partnership comes as supermarkets are increasingly looking for new ways to make money from their physical stores, with many shoppers having switched to online deliveries during the Covid pandemic.

The pandemic and lockdowns also caused a huge shift in people's working patterns and while restrictions have eased, the latest figures suggest that the shift to flexible working is here to stay.

A survey from the Chartered Institute of Management found more than 80% of firms had now adopted hybrid-working since the end of the pandemic.


——————–Advertisement————————

Louise Goodland, head of strategic partnerships for Tesco, said the supermarket was always looking to “serve customers and communities better” and it would be interested to see the response to the trial.

By Star McFarlane

How Apeel Sciences Founder Raised $650 Million For Their Food-Saving Start-Up


Source: CNBC

James Rogers, founder of Apeel Sciences, learned that one of the main causes of global hunger isn’t that we as a species aren’t capable of growing enough food, it’s that so much of it goes bad before it can be consumed.


——————–Advertisement————————


The reason food goes bad is fairly simple: Oxygen comes in, water goes out. If he could find a way to stretch that out, he might be able to make a dent in global hunger.

James thought, if we could slow the process of steel from oxidizing, why couldn’t we do the same for a ripe avocado?

Here’s how Apeel became a $2 billion start-up looking to end world hunger.

The rise (and fall?) of the Covid testing industry

Source: CNBC

The multi-billion dollar Covid-19 testing industry emerged practically overnight to meet sudden demand for coronavirus tests. But with Covid-19 testing requirements now easing, what does its future look like?

The Covid-19 testing industry sprung up almost overnight. There was an overwhelming demand for tests around the world, and entrepreneurs reacted quickly – pouring money into hiring staff, securing supplies and building laboratories.

——————–Advertisement————————

Together with more established players, testing capacity ballooned and a brand-new industry was born. Qured is one of those newcomers. It was launched in 2017 as a doctor-on-demand service, but in 2020, the company spotted an opportunity it couldn't ignore. “It was really demand from our patients, which drove our pivot towards Covid testing,” said Alex Templeton, CEO and co-founder of Qured.

Initially, Qured focused on helping businesses bring their staff back to work safely, but it was an innovation in rapid self-testing for travel that put Qured on the map. “We just started thinking about how to validate that it's you who's done it, that you've swabbed correctly. We figured out that a video call was the way to really solve this,” Templeton said.

This innovation resonated with British Airways, and in February 2021 the carrier launched a partnership with Qured. From there, growth exploded, with the company striking deals with American Airlines and Heathrow Airport, as well.

——————–Advertisement————————

Jessica Alba On Building Her Billion-Dollar Business

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PzMuAtTdf5U

Source: Forbes

The actress and founder of The Honest Company speaks with Moira Forbes to discuss what motivated her to launch her business, how she learned to silence the critics and her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

——————–Advertisement————————

How Misfits Market Built A $1 Billion Start-Up Selling “Ugly” Organic Produce

Source: CNBC

Misfits Market is an online grocery delivery service that sells “ugly” organic produce for cheap. In the first four months of 2021 alone, Misfits Market rescued the same amount of food it saved in 2020 as a whole.

In 2020, Misfits Market shipped 77 million pounds of food to more than 400,000 households across the U.S. Since launching in 2018, Misfits Market has expanded to both coasts, has over 1,000 employees and has received over $300 million in funding.

Bloomberg reports its valuation tops $1 billion, putting it into unicorn territory. But Misfits Market wasn’t an obvious success. In fact, it was just one of many businesses started by its 29-year-old founder Abhi Ramesh.

Mike Lynch UK entrepreneur loses $5bn fraud case over sale of Autonomy to HP in 2011

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 28th Jan 2022) London, Uk – –

UK entrepreneur Mike Lynch has lost a multi-billion pound fraud action brought over the sale of software company Autonomy to Hewlett Packard (HP) in 2011.

The High Court judge found that HP had “substantially” succeeded in its bitter civil case but indicated that the US firm would get considerably less than the $5bn it had sought in damages.

The ruling follows years of bitter wrangling over Autonomy's value, which HP cut by almost $9bn after buying the firm for $11bn.

Mr Lynch has always denied any wrongdoing and said the failure of the acquisition was due to HP's mismanagement.

He is also due to learn later on Friday whether Home Secretary Priti Patel has approved an extradition request to the US where he faces criminal charges, including wire fraud and securities fraud, relating to the deal.

His Autonomy colleague, former chief financial officer Sushovan Hussain, was convicted in the US in 2019 and jailed for five years. He has subsequently lost an appeal against that conviction.

How This CEO Earned Over $725,000 Designing Luxury Bags While Studying For Her MBA

Source: CNBC

Wilglory Tanjong, 25, is a full-time MBA student at The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. She is also the founder and CEO of Anima Iris, a luxury purse brand with pieces handcrafted by artisans in Dakar, Senegal.

After living on food stamps as a teen and later coping with the loss of her mother, Wilglory promised herself she would become financially independent and live life to the fullest. Not only has her company brought in over $725,000 in sales in less than two years, but her bags have been worn by Beyoncé and spotted on Issa Rae’s show, “Insecure.” Here’s how Wilglory is turning her passion project into a million-dollar business.

The Barbershop booking software App Worth $750 Million

Source: Forbes

Songe LaRon and Dave Salvant left their desks behind to create booking software for the nation’s 109,000 barbershops. Today, their fast-growing startup, Squire Technologies, is valued at some 60 times this year’s estimated sales and is featured on this year’s Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups.

Neither LaRon, a 37-year-old corporate lawyer, nor Salvant, who is 36 and worked in finance, had worked in a barbershop before — or run a small business of any sort. So, in 2016, they made a gutsy move: They spent $20,000 of the $60,000 of cash they had on hand to buy out the lease on an ailing barbershop in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market. “That gave us a test kitchen to develop the software,” recalls Salvant, the company’s president. “This was a huge gamble.”

They didn’t cut hair (which requires a license in New York State), but they did pretty much everything else: Ran the front desk, swept hair off the floor, ordered supplies, talked to customers. It was a crash course in how barbershops really operate. From the outside, a barbershop looks simple: Book an appointment, get a cut, pay with cash or a credit card. But behind the scenes are the complexities of a business in which barbers may rent chairs from the shop or receive different cuts of revenue, tips may be in cash or credit, and each barber may set their own schedule and their own prices.

LaRon and Salvant realized they had to rework Squire from a glorified appointment app to something that could handle all the nitty-gritty headaches of running a very particular type of small business.