Peter Day

Peter Day Global business correspondent

Welcome to the space where I gaze just over the horizon and pick up significant things affecting business, work and life as a whole just before they become common knowledge and jump into the daily headlines.

Heating buildings using computers

  • 8 October 2014
  • From the section Business
The Chinese character for "house"
The Chinese character for "house"

Look closely at the Chinese character for "house".

Yes, it's obviously got a roof, but what's that under the roof? Rather stylised these days, it is, of course, a pig.

Some 3,000 years ago - when the character "jia" originated - every comfortable village house in China had a pig inside, eventually for food.

But during its life, the pig would provide at least part of the domestic heating.

European farmhouses put people and cattle together in the same way for the same reason until the end of the 19th Century. Cows warded off the chill of winter.

Read full article Heating buildings using computers

Why Vanity Fair covers business stories

  • 24 September 2014
  • From the section Business
Vanity Fair magazine

The glossy pages of the relentlessly celebrity-driven magazine Vanity Fair are a strange place to find really excellent reporting about business, but that is how it is.

In the October edition the editor Graydon Carter discloses at least one reason for this odd phenomenon.

Read full article Why Vanity Fair covers business stories

How Dundee became a computer games centre

  • 10 September 2014
  • From the section Business
The city of Dundee has been home to a number of economic clusters

How do you create a cluster: a town, city, or region where businesses of a particular kind root, grow and may - eventually - become globally significant?

Many countries would love to know. Does this Silicon Valley kind of process happen by accident or design?

Read full article How Dundee became a computer games centre

Celebrating the joy of craftsmanship

  • 27 August 2014
  • From the section Business
Mathijs Heyligers, master violin maker, Cremona
Mathijs Heyligers is one of Cremona's numerous violin makers

In a world of robotics, where machines control machines, and people wait for the attention of an automated response system, it is wonderful to re-encounter a craftsman or woman.

With huge respect to the materials they use, they labour - their hands determining the utility, beauty or eatability of the things that slowly emerge from their work.

Read full article Celebrating the joy of craftsmanship

The 30-year-old health sector billionaire

  • 14 August 2014
  • From the section Business
Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes is worth $4.5bn (£2.7bn)

Monitoring what's going on in your body has gripped California's Silicon Valley like a mania.

Enthusiasts wear two or three wrist bands to keep an eye on their blood pressure 24 hours a day.

Read full article The 30-year-old health sector billionaire

How mobile phones became fashion items

  • 6 August 2014
  • From the section Business
The late Steve Jobs
The late Steve Jobs led Apple's very successful move into mobile phones

I'm a bit slow-minded sometimes, but I'm beginning to wake up to what's happening to technology, right in front of our eyes.

It used to be something driven by engineers in laboratories, working on innovations that might take years to be turned into practical applications - the way that Teflon was a household by-product of the race to the moon.

Read full article How mobile phones became fashion items

The importance of being a 'normal'

  • 16 July 2014
  • From the section Business
A woman wearing a Google Glass computer
The Google Glass wearable computer is currently of little use to "normals"

A useful new word jumped into my inbox the other week and it deserves a wider airing.

The word in question is "normals" and it describes the bulk of technology users - those of us who definitely don't queue up outside gadget shops for the midnight launch of the next new thing.

Read full article The importance of being a 'normal'

Should we fear the robots of the future?

  • 25 June 2014
  • From the section Business
A scene from the film 2001 A Space Odyssey
Does science fiction correctly predict the future?

The world's oldest technology magazine is the MIT Technology Review.

Published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 2011 it produced a special supplement of original science fiction stories written by top writers from the genre.

Read full article Should we fear the robots of the future?

How to conduct your staff

Mariss Jansons
Mariss Jansons is widely considered to be one of the world's best conductors

Quite often management books look to the symphony orchestra for examples of leadership in action: the conductor on the podium, conjuring wonderful music from a group of performers who would be rudderless without the man or woman with the stick.

I've always been suspicious of this sort of metaphor, which is compelling mainly because it is so grandiose... it makes bosses feel good about themselves, and puffs them up with the idea that leadership is an art you can master with the right input.

Read full article How to conduct your staff

Carphone Warehouse and the art of innovation

Sir Charles Dunstone
Charles Dunstone was early to spot the full commercial potential of mobile phones

Innovation is an exhilarating thing to do, and to report on.

And it is rewarding to bear in mind that even technological innovation is not just about inventing things.

Read full article Carphone Warehouse and the art of innovation

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About Peter

Peter Day started broadcasting about business for BBC News in 1975, and has been doing it ever since. In 1987 he took over as presenter of In Business, running for half the year on BBC Radio 4, and in 2000 he added the weekly BBC World Service programme Global Business.

Both programmes are pitched at listeners who did not realise they were interested in business... until they listened in. Both have a relentless common theme: change.

Peter grew up in rural Lincolnshire, went to Lincoln School, and then read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He never expected to have anything whatsoever to do with finance, economics or business life. He still tries to stand at a slight tangent to the world of commerce.

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