Posts Tagged ‘business’

Share markets across Europe opened over 1% lower this morning as worries over Dubai’s debt problem hit investor confidence. With news from Dubai World that it will delay paying some of its debt, the Asian markets took a sharp dent too.

Not so long ago, Dubai was synonymous with success and prosperity. If there was an extravagant building going up, a bridge ridiculous in ambition falling into place or an absurdly luxurious hotel spring out of the sand, you could bet it was in Dubai. However, problems with Dubai World and Nakheel have thrown a dark cloud over the future of the emirate.

dubai

In fact, this image of a playground of the rich and haven of opportunity was behind hundreds of thousands of people moving to Dubai.  Only recently did figures indicate that 25,000 people a month moved to Dubai in a way not seen since the California gold rush.

However, Dubai World – the conglomerate which led the emirate’s giant expansion drive – had a total $59bn of liabilities. A majority, then, of the $80bn total of Dubai. The news has shocked markets and even – perhaps as a stroke of good news – the prices of oil have fallen 4.5%.

Of course, speculation being the wonderful thing it is, there’s a concern growing that Dubai World will prove unable to pay back its debtors and Nakheel will be unable to finish work on the Palm Jumeriah (that lovely palm-tree shaped development island) and prices and values have started that sharp journey to rock-bottom.

Now though the spiralling price of property and fears as the once staggering-future of Dubai becomes questionable, the biggest fear is that, with banks and builders set to take a big hit, the fall of Dubai’s fortunes could throw the global recession back into the downward swing.

It’s certainly strange to think of this happening in Dubai when it was so very recently seen as development-central, with such over-the-top buildings as the Burj Dubai, being seen as an example of how countries can move away from reliance on oil (albeit in a somewhat tasteless sense) and pulling in money from tourism and investment.

Such a shame.

Everyone is turning to the internet to make their money, give it a few years and there won’t be many high streets being populated.

For many years it has been coming, building and strengthening its numbers, whilst very few took notice, all it took was a simple glitch in the economy to tumble the first domino, beginning the cascade of large, established high street shops into an almost un-recoverable mess.

A high street commercial building costs perhaps £15,000 per annum for an average space and average town, in an average location, with commercial council tax and utilities of around an equal price, so that’s £30k in outlay you have to consider just to have a place on the high street for footfall of that town’s population (assuming they still bother to venture into town).

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OK, the explosion of social media is not something that can be ignored either by its users and, now (finally) by the media and (possibly unfortunately) businesses.

to post or not to post?

to post or not to post?

That businesses are making more and more use of the opportunities offered by social media optimisation is little surprise. That businesses, and therefore potential employers, are now getting up to speed on the once fun-only social sites and tools  is affecting the way they’re used on a personal level is now becoming increasingly evident.

I’ve now been in two companies where, during quieter moments, candidates have been looked up on facebook to see what “they’re really like.” A well documented practice that has led to people either blocking all but their friends from viewing and (I’ve known several people do this already) close their accounts entirely because they feel social sites (and their online lives) are up for interrogation from companies.

This morning I read an account of how a brief twitter exchange could cost you your job, I apologise for forgetting the source but I’m sure it can be easily found. It goes like this, someone got offered a job and posted up the following tweet:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Unfortunately, social-savvy Cisco were following the candidate and replied with a brisk: 

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Of course, this is only one example of what I’m sure are many “oops, I really shouldn’t have posted that there,” but the  presence of companies and their reps on twitter is only going to increase. Given that estimates now place some 6 million users (myself included) clocking up something like 55 million views a month, twitter has been propelled to the third biggest social media site and has forced the biggest (Facebook) to sit up and take notice – there’s surely been countless articles on the new app. 

But, as more companies join the tweet flow and social medial fun, is it now limiting the freedom with which users once operated and, accordingly, removing the original elements – and fun – that attracted so many users to them in the first place?