Amazon healthcare, EasyJet equality and military fitness ‘heat map’

Planet Business: Open a can of iced tea and check out the Virtual Currency Girls

GPS company Strava maps fitness routes with, er, military precision. Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty

GPS company Strava maps fitness routes with, er, military precision. Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty

 

In numbers: Easy equality

£34,000

Amount by which new EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren is volunteering to reduce his pay to show his “personal commitment” to gender pay equality. Lundgren’s starting salary was £740,000 (€845,000), while former boss Carolyn McCall was paid £706,000 when she left in November.

20

Percentage of newly-hired EasyJet pilots who will be women by 2020, Lundgren said. At present, only 5 per cent of its pilots are women (in line with the aviation industry average) and only 6 per cent of its 2015 intake were female.

52

Percentage gender pay gap at EasyJet as a result of the low number of female pilots, under figures that companies in Britain are now obliged by law to publish.

Image of the week: Military fitness

The good news for Americans keen on the whole idea of maintaining a strong military to defend their interests is that US troops appear to be very fit indeed. The bad news is that their use of a fitness app called Strava has revealed potentially sensitive information about US military activity in places such as the Middle East. The app, dubbed a “social network for athletes”, lets users connect a GPS device so they can upload their workout logs online. It then published a runners’ “heat map”, inadvertently exposing the locations of military bases and patrol routes. Strava has since said it is “reviewing its features” to improve its privacy options and will work with military and government officials to “address potentially sensitive data”. Maybe it’s time to turn it off and not turn it on again?

Photograph: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty

The lexicon: Fuzetea

Fuzetea, or Fuze Tea, is a fusion of tea with fruit flavours and other ingredients that “deliver a fresh, contemporary expression of tea”. And it’s coming to a highly visible convenience-store fridge near you. That’s because the people behind this fresh, contemporary expression of tea – or iced tea, to be pedantic – are best known for making a cent or two out of the black magic that is Coca-Cola, and so they can more than afford to put some €500,000 behind the launch of Fuzetea in the Irish market. Fuzetea has already acquired billion-dollar status for Coca-Cola in the six years since it launched in 14 international markets. Now the soft-drinks giant is pushing the iced-tea brand in Ireland and the UK, where that pesky sugar tax has the potential to make sales of its flagship “fat Coke” brand go a little flat.

The Virtual Currency Girls’ debut single, ‘The Moon, Cryptocurrencies and Me’, warns against fraudsters and urges people to ensure they are secure online. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
The Virtual Currency Girls’ debut single, ‘The Moon, Cryptocurrencies and Me’, warns against fraudsters and urges people to ensure they are secure online. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Getting to know: Virtual Currency Girls

The Virtual Currency Girls are a Japanese pop group featuring eight young girls who wear masks adorned with pom-poms and cryptocurrency symbols, in a bid to educate people about the market in the time-honoured fashion of jumping about with microphones. Their debut single, The Moon, Cryptocurrencies and Me, warns against fraudsters and urges people to ensure they are secure online, with catchy lines such as “don’t underestimate the market”. Alas, the band’s bitcoin-only remuneration – it is legal tender in Japan – was stalled after an account that pays part of their salary was among those frozen following the suspension of trading at Tokyo’s Coincheck exchange. Hinano Shirahama, aka the band’s “Bitcoin”, said the band had declined an offer from their manager to be paid in non-virtual yen.

The list: Amazon healthcare

Amazon has teamed up with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and the investment bank JP Morgan to enter the US healthcare “market”, which in any other country in the world would probably be a bad thing. However, the state of US healthcare is so shocking, their promise of lower costs mean things can only get better. Here are five things to know about the move:

1: Pre-existing profiteers. The announcement wiped some $30 billion off the share price of the biggest US healthcare companies, as investors reckoned they will be undercut by the new venture.

2: Escape from Cuba. Other companies may join the Amazon collective to avoid the large insurers Cigna, UnitedHealth, Blue Cross and Anthem/Aetna, collectively known as “Cuba” – the joke being that they have vested interests on par with a dictatorship.

3: Complications expected. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos says the three companies – the largest private employers in the US – are entering healthcare “open-eyed about the degree of difficulty”.

4: No defeatism. The ballooning costs of “Trumpcare” are acting as “a hungry tapeworm” on the US economy, Buffett said, but he added that his group did not accept this problem as “inevitable”.

5: Room for improved outcomes. Life expectancy in the US, which has been in decline for the past two years, is ranked 12th out of the 12 wealthiest countries, and that’s despite the fact the US spends more on healthcare per capita than any developed country. Well done, everybody. Don’t get sick.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.