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.

How Dundee became a computer games centre

10 September 2014
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?

History tells us lots about this. Often it starts with people, or raw materials.

The world's largest textiles industry began in Lancashire in the late 18th Century, when new raw cotton imported from the US into Liverpool could be processed and manufactured into cloth using water power from the Pennines, and then steam power generated from local coal.

It was a combination of events which clever inventors of looms and spinning machines then turned into an industrial revolution, employing thousands of people in the dense Lancashire mill towns which sprang up in the 19th Century.

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Celebrating the joy of craftsmanship

27 August 2014
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.

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The 30-year-old health sector billionaire

14 August 2014
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.

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How mobile phones became fashion items

6 August 2014
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.

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The importance of being a 'normal'

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.

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Should we fear the robots of the future?

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.

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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.

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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.

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How Poundland's founder got his inspiration

Steve Smith at Bilston Market
Steve Smith returns to his retail roots in Bilston, West Midlands

The other day I found myself amidst the stalls of Bilston Market, not far from Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

I am attracted to markets all over the world.

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How GDP became the figure everyone wanted to watch

16 April 2014
Diane Coyle
The economist, author and BBC Trust deputy chairman, Diane Coyle

In my confused head I always get the celebrated economist Diane Coyle muddled up with the celebrated domestic economist Nigella Lawson.

There's a good reason for my muddle. Years ago, I appeared alongside Ms Coyle on a late-night BBC Radio 2 programme hosted by Nigella Lawson's first husband, the late John Diamond.

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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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