Planet Business

Ferrari toasters, drone fireworks, ‘background daters’ and a taxing Christmas

Image of the week: Ministerial car

So is this where the profits go? Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi (left) does a decent job of looking interested in the prop as he poses with Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne and a model Ferrari Formula One car at the Borsa Italiana, Italy's stock exchange, in Milan. Fiat has spun off profit engine Ferrari and the supercar made its Milan trading debut on Monday this week. The bad news for Fiat Chrysler is that it has since seen its own share price tumble like the froth from a champagne bottle on the winner's podium. Marchionne is also chairman of Ferrari, which is exploring how best to expand its brand to other products, though the prancing horse won't be adorning just any old gadget. "If you put a Ferrari sticker on a toaster, it doesn't go any faster," says Marchionne. Still, worth a try? Photograph: Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA VIA AP

In numbers: Taxing season

2,044 Number of people in the UK who found a quiet moment on Christmas Day to file their online tax returns. Well, there wasn't much on telly was there?

13% The increase in the numbers who did this on the December 25th just past, compared with Christmas 2014, according to UK tax authority HMRC.

24,546 People who submitted their tax returns online in the UK on New Year's Eve. This one is more understandable, although the actual deadline for filing is not for another month.

The lexicon: Background dater

The business of making television can be communicated almost entirely in jargon, but "background dater" is a sweet one. A "background dater" is someone who dates in the background, on the matchmaking series First Dates. Coco Television, which is in the process of remaking the Channel 4 show for an Irish audience, has put out a call for people who want to "join us in the First Dates restaurant as a background dater". In other words, the company is seeking anyone who wants a "genuine" blind date but doesn't want to be featured on RTÉ 2's First Dates Ireland in anything other than a blink-and-miss capacity. Coco's "background dater" application form is extensive, though most of the questions can be answered with the enigmatic "rather not say". The restaurant, however, won't be confirmed until closer to the time.

Getting to know: Brian Krzanich

The chief executive of Intel since 2013 gave one of the keynote addresses at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which he began by showing a video of a "fireworks" display made up of illuminated drones programmed to respond to the sound of a nearby orchestra. Krzanich (55), an Intel lifer from California, has never claimed to be the most glamorous or exciting of tech chief executives, but the session – dubbed "epic" by the tech media – involved jumping BMX bikers, 3D-printed shoes and a promotional video featuring Lady Gaga. Krzanich has big plans to revive Intel, which missed a few tricks during the smartphone revolution and needs to find new markets for its chips – and if that means killing off fireworks in favour of dancing drones, then so be it.

The list: Quotes of the day

Some media organisations are fond of serving their audiences an inspirational quote each day, so in honour of the first working week of the year – a time when we’ll take anything we can get to pull us through to the weekend – here’s a selection of their recent offerings.

Fifteen love "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can," advised tennis legend Arthur Ashe. (Bloomberg Terminal, Tuesday)

Man v insect "It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?" said Henry David Thoreau. (, Tuesday and Wednesday)

Starting over "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end," according to Roman Stoic philosopher and statesman Seneca. (The Times, Monday)

Nutritional advice "Expect problems and eat them for breakfast," recommended Alfred Montapert, author of The Supreme Philosophy of Man. (Bloomberg Terminal, Wednesday)

Spoonful of sugar "Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th," claimed Julie "Mary Poppins" Andrews. (, Monday)