VAUGHN DAVIS: TLDL - Share trading for everyone and a look inside a Boeing factory



'Share trading for everyone, a look inside a Boeing factory and is this the end of the supermarket?'

I vividly remember an incident from a school trip in the 1980s, at the height of sharemarket madness. Our little group of fifth formers was traipsing through some office or other when a classmate spotted that morning’s newspaper in the bin and plucked it out – not to keep up with world affairs, but to check how his share portfolio was doing.

Fast forward a decade or three and one Kiwi startup is trying hard to make investing in the sharemarket cool again for young people. The company is called Sharesies, and its mission is to give someone with $50 the same investment choices as someone with $50,000. Check out my chat with ex-Kiwibank cofounder Brooke Anderson here.

Boeing website gives unique insight into megafactory

I’m an incurable aviation geek, so wandering around an aeroplane factory is my idea of a good day out. We have a couple in New Zealand, of course, but for real scale you can’t beat Boeing’s 737 plant in Seattle.

Short of boarding another Boeing or two to get there yourself, this new website is the best way I can imagine to visit. It combines virtual reality with audio commentary, so as you stand in the middle of the assembly line, a Boeing staffer tells you what’s going on around you. Totally recommended as a great way for aeroplane fans to spend a happy half hour or more.

Amazon buys Whole Foods… and why that matters

You’ve heard of Amazon, of course, but unless you’ve spent some time in the US you might not heard of supermarket chain Whole Foods. Founded in Austin, Texas, the chain now employs 91,000 people across the USA, Canada and now the UK. Apart from the usual aisles of (often organic) produce, the stores offer an impressive takeout buffet section, where shoppers can fill their recycled cardboard boxes with anything from roast beef to fruit salad, all for the same flat rate per pound.

And now, just like that, the chain is owned by Amazon in a cash-only deal announced over the weekend. So what does that mean to us?

·         New ways to shop in store. Amazon has been trialling frictionless shopping – a smart store that uses sensors and mobile phone data to let shoppers just grab what they want from the shelves then stroll out.

·         More to buy online. Add Whole Foods’ range to Amazon’s delivery engine and US shoppers could soon by buying even more stuff from the online retailer.

·         Uber eats gets eaten? That takeout food range is seriously good. Add a delivery service (maybe even the Amazon Prime drones the company has been trialling) and we might never go to the shops again.

And if this all feels a bit far away for us hear in New Zealand, think again. Amazon’s next major market play is in Australia, where retailer share prices plummeted on the news that the company is opening a distribution centre. Could supermarkets go the way of video rental stores? Maybe not right away, but you can be sure the way we buy food will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 50.