Connect with us

Industry

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg can’t just jeopardise a billion dreams

Published

on

Elon Musk Mark Zuckerberg

The past few weeks have witnessed some bizarre and never-before-seen occurrences in the world of technology, and the credit, if you want to call it that, goes to Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Facebook Founder-CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Both are super-famous — and blue-eyed boys of Silicon Valley. Stubborn and arrogant to an extent, the duo has proved newer ideas can take shape despite challenges, and have created brands that touch humanity at its very deepest level.

That they seem to be somewhat losing it and behaving in a manner that has caused unease among their workforce, customers, users and fans, is worrisome.

Let’s first talk about Musk, the man behind several successful ventures — PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX and SolarCity, each of which has sent shock waves throughout businesses and industry. But tweeting irresponsibly almost every other day, smoking marijuana on a live show and abusing people (his “pedo” remark for a diver) has made not only a dent in his image but his brands too.

In the book “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future” by veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance, Musk says that he would “like to die thinking that humanity has a bright future”.

“Mass market electric cars have been my goal from the beginning of Tesla. I don’t want and I don’t think the vast majority of Tesla customers want us to do anything to jeopardise that objective,” the book says, quoting one of Musk’s emails.

Unfortunately, he has been doing things that do “jeopardise that objective”. The August 7 tweet about taking Tesla “private” that misled his investors, and then reversing gear after few days to stay public, did more harm than good.

Coming under pressure from his lawyers and investors of Tesla, the tech billionaire on September 29 agreed to step down as Tesla chairman for three years and paid a $20 million fine, in a deal with the US stock market regulatory authority, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to resolve securities fraud charges.

Tesla paid another $20 million to the SEC, despite not being charged with fraud. So a tweet worth $40 million!

Even after all this, Musk mocked the SEC within five days of the settlement, calling it the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission”.

A Twitter user who goes by the name Drew G. wrote to Musk on Saturday: “I don’t have much, but I believe in you and your vision. Unfortunately, I invest what little I have into @Tesla and I continuously lose months worth of savings due to your tweets. Please think of us small people.”

Amid his eccentric behaviour, the great Tesla cause — to provide people across the world a mass-level electric car that will help control pollution, save money and enrich the environment — has somewhat been lost.

Musk knows he can deliver on that. Despite a tumultuous career — saving his start-ups from the brink of bankruptcy several times — he is one of the most promising tech entrepreneurs today. The realisation has to come fast though.

On the other hand, Zuckerberg with his my-way-or-the-highway approach towards monetisation and making profit at any cost, has started hurting Facebook, both externally and internally.

The social media giant, that has become a medium for billions to connect, share and help one another via communities, is reeling under a plethora of data breaches (beginning with Cambridge Analytica) that has affected its user-growth, its reputation as well as revenue streams in the second quarter (April-June) this year.

According to online statistics portal Statista, Facebook added no daily active users in North America and Europe in the second quarter. It actually lost three million users in Europe.

Facebook also slipped to 9th spot in the world’s top 100 brands’ list by global brand consultancy Interbrand this week.

Internally, Zukerberg’s goal to monetise WhatsApp has forced the social media messaging service’s co-founders to leave the company.

One of them, Brian Acton, told Forbes that Zuckerberg was in a rush to make money from the messaging service and undermine elements of its encryption technology. “Targeted advertising is what makes me unhappy,” Acton said.

Four years after its acquisition by Facebook for $19 billion, WhatsApp, which now has over 1.5 billion users (against Facebook’s 2.3 billion), will reportedly carry targeted ads from 2019 — on a platform that has been ad-free till date.

Facebook got another jolt last month when Instagram founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom quit the company, also reportedly due to disagreements with Zuckerberg.

Both Musk and Zuckerberg are bright, young entrepreneurs. Their goal should be — and remain — to ensure their platforms enrich people’s lives, especially in developing and under-developed countries.
As their contemporaries — Apple’s Tim Cook, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — plan for a tech-driven future without tantrums, the duo must also listen to what their customers and users want: A safe and sound ride, be it electric car or personal data.

(Nishant Arora can be contacted at [email protected] )

Business

LinkedIn partners with Oracle to help HR teams attract right talent

Published

on

oracle LinkedIn

New Delhi, Oct 17: Cloud major Oracle on Wednesday said it entered into a partnership with professional networking platform LinkedIn to help HR teams attract, engage and retain employees.

A series of new integrations between Oracle’s Human Capital Management Cloud (Oracle HCM Cloud) and Taleo Enterprise Edition, and LinkedIn, will help HR teams to grow their talent pool and increase career development opportunities, Oracle said.

“The world of work is rapidly changing, and this is creating new opportunities and challenges for talent leaders,” Scott Roberts, Vice President of Business Development, LinkedIn, said in a statement.

“We are excited to be working with Oracle to create better solutions to make hiring and developing talent as seamless and effective as possible,” Roberts added.

The new integrations enable HR teams to take a holistic view of their talent’s experience, skills and career aspirations in order to achieve a meaningful alignment between each employee’s job responsibilities and an organisation’s overall business objectives.

They improve the candidate experience by enabling them to apply for a job via Oracle Recruiting Cloud or Taleo Enterprise Edition and identify and contact (via InMail) their LinkedIn connections who can best refer them for that job.

“The rapidly changing global talent market is forcing organisations across industries to rethink how they attract, engage and retain employees,” said Nagaraj Nadendla, Group Vice President, Product Development, Oracle.

IANS

Continue Reading

Auto

Hyundai’s Kona EV ready to hit the road

Published

on

hyundai Kona Electric Kona EV

Seoul, Oct 15: Carmaker Hyundai is developing a crossover sports utility vehicle (SUV) named Kona and the electric vehicle (EV) is reportedly ready to hit the road.

hyundai Kona Electric Kona EV

While industry stalwarts like Ford and startups like Tesla dominate the conversation around the future of the EV market, Hyundai is out here quietly developing the crossover SUV that can travel farther on a single charge — 258 miles, to be precise — than any other electric vehicle on the market, Engadget reported on Monday.

The Kona Electric has a 64KWH lithium-ion polymer battery pack delivering 258 miles per charge.

hyundai Kona Electric Kona EV

Notably, this make it the longest-range non-luxury EV, beating the likes of the Chevrolet Bolt EV (238 miles) and Nissan Leaf (151 miles) — and even Hyundai’s own Ioniq Electric (124 miles).

The Kona Electric or Kona EV is, unsurprisingly, based on the existing Hyundai Kona gas-powered platform.

“The exterior stylings are virtually identical, with the EV just 0.6-inches longer and 0.2 inches taller. The two models also share the same trio of trim packages. You’ve got the base SEL, then Limited and Ultimate,” the report added.

The SUV would be available in six colours, two of which are exclusive to the electric model.

IANS

Continue Reading

America

Sugar mills worry over surplus, talk of ‘industry collapse’

Published

on

sugarcane

New Delhi, Oct 14 : With the availability of sugar set to reach an unprecedented level of 44 million tonnes thanks to huge unconsumed stock from last year and expected higher production this year, an imminent threat of “industry collapse” is being talked about. This has pushed mills to consider producing globally-accepted high-quality refined sugar as the most promising way to dispose off the surplus.

The decision of Brazil, the world’s largest sugar producer, to lower production this year has given Indian industry an opportunity to fill the space. However, it will have to live up to global expectations, the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories (NFCSF) has said.

It said the mills are planning to boost their exports by improving quality of sugar to 45 ICUMSA grade, a high quality refined grade and considered one of the highest purity levels globally.

“Currently, we produce sugar whose grade is between 100-150 ICUMSA. Till now, the domestic consumption offset the domestic output. So Indian sugar mills never bothered about producing high refined quality sugar as per the global standards,” NFCSF Managing Director Prakash Naiknavare told IANS.

ICUMSA is a global body and its rating is an international unit for expressing the purity of the sugar, which is directly related to the colour of the sweetener.

Brazil has decided to cut down sugar production by earmarking more cane for manufacturing ethanol, so India finds a space where the domestic surplus can be accommodated.

“To achieve it, we will have to produce sugar of 45 ICUMSA grade. It will take minimal efforts and capital to upgrade the existing machinery,” Naiknavare said.

India has a surplus (opening stock) of 10.5 million tonnes from the last season and it is expected to produce around 33.5 million tonnes of the sweetener in 2018-19 starting October.

So the total availability of sugar this year will be around 44 million tonnes against the expected domestic consumption of 26 million tonnes, thus putting a “burden” on the mills to clear huge sugar stocks in the backdrop of depressed retail prices — around Rs 37 per kg in the national capital compared to around Rs 40-43 a year ago.

As the sugar output in Brazil is to go down by almost 10 million tonnes, India is set to become the largest sugar producer in the world this year.

Naiknavare said it was “a god-sent” gift, which had provided India “with an opportunity to make perception that India can be a great destination” for high-quality refined sugar.

As per the initial estimates of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), which represents private sugar mills in the country, India is set to produce around 35 million tonnes in the 2018-19 season starting October against 32.25 million tonnes in the previous year.

The NFCSF, however, said that the 2018-19 production figures would be around 33.5 million tonnes owing to the infection of white grub in Maharashtra and Karnataka, which damages roots leading to the death of cane.

The government can store three million tonnes. It will also help mills to export five million tonnes under the Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ) by compensating expenses towards internal transport, freight handling and other charges.

“The government’s assistance and incentives have been helpful to the industry. Even if we take all these into account, including 26 million tonnes of domestic consumption, there will be surplus of 10 million tonnes. If it is not disposed, the industry will collapse,” said Naiknavare, adding all stakeholders, including the ISMA, had started brainstorming on how to dispose the surplus.

The government, while announcing a bail-out package for the industry in June this year, had fixed minimum selling price (MSP) at the mill gate of Rs 2,900 per tonnes to ensure that retail prices do not fall further.

The average price sugar received at global market in last 15 days is roughly Rs 2,200- 2,400 per tonne.

However, the prices have been on the increase from last few days — 10.97 cents per pound on September 28 to 13.11 cents per pound on October 9 according to the International Sugar Organisation — a trend the Indian sugar industry finds positive.

Acting on the industry’s request, the central government had given a subsidy of Rs 55 per tonne of sugarcane to help mills to clear cane farmers’ arrears.

(Saurabh Katkurwar can be contacted at [email protected])

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular