Posts Tagged ‘the money spy’


In their new book entitled iDisrupted by John Straw and Michael Baxter, the two co-authors claim that only 19 of the world’s 100 largest companies in 2012 will still be in that list in 2042. However, it says that even this bold claim may be understating how things will pan out.

Throughout history, new technologies have had a disruptive effect on businesses and the economy, proving fatal to some well-known companies. In the new book, iDisrupted, the authors claim that the rate of fatality is set to increase.

Of the top 100 global companies identified in 1912, 29 companies had experienced bankruptcy or similar; and 48 had disappeared by 1995. Eastman Kodak was one of just 19 companies that stayed in the list during these years, yet at the start of the 21st century, with the onset of digital cameras, home printing and photo sharing websites, it too fell victim to the rise of new technologies.

In iDisrupted, co-authors John Straw and Michael Baxter claim that many of the industries we currently see as strong, such as oil, car manufacturers, banks and energy companies, could also be heading for the corporate graveyard within the next few decades.  They say that only 19 of the world’s 100 largest companies in 2012 will be in that list in 2042. However, even this may be an understatement.

Straw states: “The big corporate success story of the 20 century related to oil companies, but  just because they flourished in the 20th century, this does not necessarily mean they will flourish in the 21st century.” The rise in electric cars, self-driving cars and advances in solar power and energy storage, will all play a part in the energy industry as we currently understand it

Baxter, aka The Money Spy adds: “In our book, we try to explain why it is that technology is set to change the world like it has never been changed before. This is exciting, but it is also scary. There will be winners and losers, and some of the world’s largest companies will be amongst the losers.”

iDisrupted is a book about disruptive technology, how it will affect business, jobs, the economy and even what it is to be human.

iDisrupted –  Disruptive technology: changing the human race forever – will be available in all good bookshops and online from November 2014 or visit for more details.


A new book entitled iDisrupted: Disruptive technology, changing the human race forever looks at how technology will change the economy, business and even the human race. One of the technologies it cites that will have a huge impact on the world is Virtual Reality. Despite it first appearing in the 1980s, we are now on the cusp of seeing Virtual Reality’s existence and use in our daily lives in a way that will change us forever.

Hype has been building about Virtual Reality since its conception, but with high prices, small screens, cumbersome technology, and initial disappointment in the technology, many individuals have had their doubts about its impact. However, a new book written by John Straw and Michael Baxter, iDisrupted claims that, thanks to recent evolution in this technology, we will soon be holding face-to-face meetings in Virtual Reality as well as viewing holiday destinations, carrying out online shopping, and watching movies, and of course playing video games.

Combine the improvements in video, sound and computer graphics  with other advances, such as Leap Motion, which enables users to control their computers by the wave of their hand, with technologies that can fool our brains into perceiving smell, touch and taste, and the original dream of Virtual Reality is set to become reality.

Co-author Baxter, aka The Money Spy, says: “In our view, there are three stages in the story of new technology and how it is received by the market. There is the hype phase, the sceptical phase (as we react to what appear to have been unrealistic promises of the previous phase), and then the transformational phase, as previous innovations converge, create wealth, and – in the case of the period we are set to enter – lead to an acceleration in innovation. We are poised to enter the greatest transformational phase ever.”

John Straw added: “With the massive changes in technology that are about to occur, iDisrupted is a book that seeks to open a debate on what is surely the most important topic of the age, but which is barely discussed. Technology threatens society, but could be hugely beneficial. It is time we laid down plans to ensure it affects us in a positive way.”

Now available to purchase via Amazon, iDisrupted is a book about disruptive technology, how it will affect business, jobs, the economy, and even what it is to be human.

For more information about iDisrupted visit

The world had de-coupled, we were told. Time was, that when the US consumer sneezed, the rest of the world got a cold.

Then in 2008, the US consumer was sent to bed, with a thermometer in his/her mouth, and the rest of the world was in agony.

Then something odd happened. After a few months, in which everyone suffered, the emerging world did okay. China did more than okay, it boomed.  The BRICs, or if you want to include South Africa in that illustrious group, the BRICS, took the baton of growth from the US.

Sure there was talk of currency wars, sure the UK limped along like a cripple on broken crutches, but the global economy did well. It had de-coupled we were told.

Or did it? There are time lags in these things.

Now things seem to have gone into reverse. Sure China is still growing, but it is struggling to change from export to consumer led growth. India is picking up, Brazil looks dire, Russia looks worse, and if you want to make the small ‘s’ at the end of BRICS into a big “S” South Africa  is struggling.

There are signs Japan may be recovering, more of that in another article, the Eurozone is well and truly stuck in a very low gear, or even reverse, but the UK and US are the new stars.

The UK economy slowed a bit in Q3, with quarterly growth down to 0.7 per cent, from 0.9 per cent the quarter before. But then the UK’s main trading partner is the Eurozone. At least investment is rising at a very brisk pace, and that gives good reason for cheer.

But there is even more reason to cheer the US.

The year got off to an awful start, with a cold winter and unfortunate timing of the inventory cycle hitting  the economy hard. Was the Q1 contraction a one-off?   Or was it a sign of something more serious?

Well the data on the US economy has been unremittingly good, ever since.  Take for example the latest US consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board. It hit a new seven year high in October. If you like your numbers, then you may be interested to know the index hit 94.5. The last time it was so high was in October 2007.


Yet, the global economy still struggles. If it has de-coupled, then right now this is negative thing.

But there is one other issue here.

As the US recovers, the Fed makes noises about upping rates. This is spooking markets, and hitting emerging economies hard.

It is not that the US economy is no longer the lynchpin of the global economy. It still is. It is just that the actions of the Fed seem to count for more than the well-being of the US consumer.

But can the US consumer yet save the day? Only time will tell, but it is surely the case that if US Consumer Confidence continues to grow, then the rest of the world will grow with it – eventually.

p.s. I have been away for a while to complete my new book, called ‘iDisrupted‘ which is available to purchase via Amazon. If you are interested in my thoughts about how the incredible changes in technology are likely to change our world forever then you are invited to buy the book and let me know whether you agree or disagree with my predictions. Further details about the book can be found on

Michael Baxter, The Money Spy

In California, Steve Jobs is worshiped. At least in the region surrounding the Apple headquarters he is. It’s not like those Egyptian Pharaohs, who became gods after they died, but it is not that much different. And so it was that court based no more than half an hour’s drive from Apple’s main offices decided Samsung was in breach of some of the US companies patents. The fine of $1.05 billion seemed pretty big, but Samsung can afford that.

But in Japan, courts ruled broadly in favour of Samsung. In South Korea, Samsung had part of the ruling go its way, another part went Apple’s way. In the UK a judge said that Samsung was not cool enough to be said to be copying Apple.

Meanwhile, in Holland, Samsung has to employ an odd line of reasoning to try and sway the judge. It’s case rested on the argument that the Samsung product was not as good as Apple’s. See Cult of Mac, Samsung Had To Claim Their MultiTouch Software Is Terrible Compared To Apple’s

But how can the final decisions be objective when they differ so wildly across the globe?

Meanwhile, in the FT James Dyson pleaded the case for tighter patents. “As patents become harder to define, afford and defend, many manufacturers think it is fair game to copy intellectual property“ said Dyson the man who invented the…err, Dyson. He added “Samsung defended its smartphone by saying it was ‘following the technology’. This is like telling the police that you were speeding to ‘follow the flow of traffic’. You are still breaking the law.”

Mr Dyson said “We cannot afford to devalue patents and technological innovation in such an offhand way. When it is easier to profit from copying than from investing in research and development, you curb invention.“

Sorry James, you are wrong. You may be good at making vacuum cleaners, but that does not make you an expert on what is in our collective interests.

Innovation occurs as ideas build on other ideas. That’s the story of innovation, from making fire to designing the latest operating software. Patents stand in the way of this progress. There is superb talk here from Ted. See Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump crises He likened an idea to a candle. When it is lit, we can all make use of the light if emits. But when we then innovate ourselves, we produce another candle and the light becomes even brighter.

If it could be shown that without patents people will stop trying to invent things, then that would support Dyson’s case, but there is no evidence to support this argument.

But in a world of complexity, and today’s world is pretty complex, to compete in any kind of technological industry, you need to be both smart and knowledgeable. And you can gain that knowledge by sharing ideas with other like minded people. Such people will only give you the time of day if they respect you. The more you innovate, the more they respect you.

That’s why IBM has got behind Linux, the free operating software. It sells its expertise to corporate clients, but this is expertise it is only able to gain by sharing openly in the innovation process.

First mover advantage is incentive alone for innovation.

Some say instead of patents we have prizes for innovators. But as this article suggests, see Prizes as mechanism to fund innovation: We all lose, that just encourages secrecy and works against cooperation.

Innovation comes via cooperation. For it to occur we need effective communication between innovators. The greatest medium ever invented for facilitating this, in the internet. Current patent law is the biggest threat.

And here is a shameless plug. The Blindfolded Masochist, by yours truly makes that argument. Crowds can be barking – barking mad that is. But they provide the secret to progress, to all the great innovations. For more, and to buy the book, go to this page.

©2012 Investment and Business News.

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