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.

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.

Instead, we normals wait and see; we don't need to buy a new device just for the sake of it; we need to be just a little bit convinced.

The word was recently used by US tech industry commentator Shelly Palmer in explaining how the Google Glass wearable computer was still a highly specialist piece of equipment.

She said this was due to both the high price tag of $1,500 (£878), and because of the natural reserve of normals confronted by a consumer device rather outside our comfort zone.

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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

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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South Yorkshire's cutting edge technology

The AMRC site at Orgreave, near Rotherham
The AMRC facility is very much a collaborative space

The Battle of Orgreave was one of the defining events of the bitter and divisive UK miners' strike of 30 years ago.

In June 1984 there were violent clashes between police and pickets at the Orgreave coking plant, near Rotherham in South Yorkshire.

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Let's think about ideas

A lightbulb
Does coming up with a good idea with others require some healthy disagreement along the way?

For a few years I used to open my monthly copy of the metrosexual (well-groomed and fashion-conscious heterosexual man) magazine Monocle with a mixture of quiet expectation and distinct embarrassment.

There on a big black page would usually be a big white quote from me praising somebody else's magazine.

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Are most new technology products just fashion items?

Man wearing a Google glass headset
Will products like Google Glass be the the future of personal computing?

A recent encounter I had with Google Glass was not, I must say, very convincing.

You will no doubt have heard about Glass, the computer in a pair of spectacles. It's an attempt to focus on the next wave of computing: the wearable, immersive stuff they were getting all excited about at the vast Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the start of the year.

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The difficult art of a good brainstorm

The bosses of Jansen and Tilanus

Three men in stiff collars are at work in an office in the Netherlands in the early 20th Century, when they pause for the above picture.

One of them, on the left, is my grandfather-in-law. His father (on the right) is in charge of the business, a successful textile company employing something like 1,000 people.

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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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