Throughout 2019 The Bug brought its reader all the big news stories from the world of business both in Australia and around the world. Why we’d do that for an audience that clearly has too much time on its hands and no money to spare is beyond us. But hey, what do we know about business? Right? I mean look at this zero-revenue site for starters.
Colourful US billionaire Elon Musk featured regularly in The Bug’s business coverage in 2019.
He began the year by announcing 3,000 job cuts at his Tesla electric vehicle company but soon revised his plans saying he would sack its entire workforce of 45,000 and shut the company.
Musk explained that he was “at home just having a smoke” when he realised Tesla was redundant because one of his other ventures, the Boring Company, specialised in tunnelling under the clogged roads of big cities to make travel faster and easier.
“It’s obviously good business sense to use your strengths so now instead of having people buy a Tesla to get from A to B, they can just use one of my tunnels.”
Under Musk’s plans his Boring Company’s hyperloop magnetic levitation system — usually used to propel a vehicle through a tunnel — would instead propel people wearing special mag-lev suits at 400 kph.
“But we are developing technology that can double or triple that speed and we are very confident of doing just that very soon,” Musk said.
“The only thing we need to work out now is how to stop them at the other end.”
Musk also announced that he could guarantee his planned SpaceX rocket flights to and from Mars and around the globe would become shorter and cheaper as the technology improved.
But his explanation of SpaceX’s business model based on its reuseable Starship rocket worried investors and caused the company’s share price to plummet.
“Man, I’m tellin’ ya, with this first generation of our SpaceX Starship rocket we can get people to Mars in around nine months,” Mr Musk told an investor briefing at its California headquarters.
“We’re working on making that a much shorter journey and, man, we reckon we can get it down to perhaps six months. After that we’ll be working on how to get people back to Earth.”
The Bug reported a change of name for the multi-national Indian company Adani behind the controversial Carmichael coal mining project in central Queensland.
The change was part of a renewed push by the mine’s proponents seeking wider community support.
An Adani company spokesperson said the move was backed by research showing Australians preferred “more friendly” and “inoffensive” names when it came to organisations and individuals such as the nickname “ScoMo” applied to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Our research shows that a lot of Mr Morrison’s appeal and a major positive for him in the recent election campaign was based on the fact that he comes across as someone who isn’t ‘stuck up’, as you Australians like to say.
“Our research shows it’s the same with the new Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese who also projects the image of an average sort of ‘bloke’ that’s strengthened by his nickname ‘Albo’.
“We examined all of these issues in our research and decided we would change our Australian company’s name from Adani to Adano.”
The spokesperson said a change of name would also apply to the Adano mine’s would-be product.
“So as soon as we get the go-ahead Adano will be mining and exporting coalo,” he said.
In 2019 supermarket giant Woolworths announced its entry into the funeral market with rival Coles expected to follow suit.
The new offering will be marketed under the slogan “Check out at Woolies” and is expected to undercut existing operators in the lucrative funeral industry.
Both national grocery retailers have been planning their new offering for several months, according to a senior retail sector source who asked not to be named.
“As both chains have been revamping their stores across the nation Woollies and Coles have been centralising many of their operations that previously occurred in-store,” the source said.
“They have now found they have surplus butchery and bakery facilities in stores that they can repurpose for body storage and cremation. So it makes sense not to waste those facilities but to put them to good use and make some money off them by offering funeral services.”
During the year The Bug broke the story of a Sydney mechanic who has capitalised on the growth in apps for home delivery of take-away food by expanding his engine reconditioning business and cornering a previously untapped new market.
Llew Brication said the upsurge in meal delivery apps had created a demand for the grossly underpowered motorised scooters and lightweight motorbikes preferred by home delivery services which had a top speed of around about 22kph or even lower if they were carrying food.
“I realised that there was a whole new market in making annoyingly slow and almost powerless vehicles specifically for that market.”
Mr Brication devised what was previously thought impossible — a way to convert any bike or scooter engine to a half-cylinder, one-stroke, 15cc engine.
“I can confidently say that every driver on just about every road in the nation will soon be stuck behind a scooter powered by my engine, or underpowered more correctly.
“And meals delivered to homes by the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo will arrive even colder than they are now, as hard as that might be to believe,” he said.