10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Grace choi minkGrace ChoiGrace Choi, founder of MINK, who’ll never meet with a VC again.

Good morning! Let’s start Tuesday…

1. Alibaba, the giant Chinese online marketplace, is already making market waves. The company goes public on Friday and overnight it increased its pricing range for stock to $US66-68, which would raise around $21.4 billion and value the company at just over $165 billion. And get this: it may even be moving the market already. The Nasdaq shed more than 1% overnight while the other bourses were flat, and one of the theories is that brokers are selling out of competing stocks and clearing room in their portfolios for Alibaba.

2. Edward Snowden has waded into the New Zealand election. Days from the country going to the polls, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is fighting allegations he was planning to conduct mass domestic surveillance in league with the US last year. Snowden told US journalist Glenn Greenwald of a project dubbed “Speargun” which saw an undersea cable between the US and NZ tapped and an alleged planned move by Key’s center-right government to exploit amended spying laws to sharply widen domestic spying. Key has denied the claims.

3. To the markets and while the Nasdaq lost just over 1%, possibly from the Alibaba factor mentioned above, the other main US bourses were largely flat – the Dow closed up 0.2% and the S&P shed 0.1%. It’s a light data calendar in Asia today but the Federal Reserve’s FOMC starts its latest two-day meeting on Tuesday in the US, and the outcome of that – and any guidance on the taper or rates – will be the focus of global markets toward the back end of the week. We get ANZ consumer confidence in Australia at 9.30am AEST. ASX futures are up a tiny two points ahead of the start of trade in Australia.

4. The VC industry in Australia can struggle with its reputation among entrepreneurs, who feel like they’re small fish in a big pond and will be pressured into making a quick buck once money is thrown at a project. One US entrepreneur, Grace Choi – who has an exciting startup for 3D printing of makeup – has some views that would sound familiar to a lot of entrepreneurs and (dare you say it) investors in Australia. She won’t meet a VC again because, she says, she has ended up in shouting matches with some over the future direction of the company and finds they’re too rushed. Now yes it’s familiar, but VCs can make things happen and there are few solid people in the community in Australia too. Entrenched views aren’t going to help either side.

5. The count for the Scottish referendum will unfold during the Friday workday here in Australia. There’ll likely be some exit polls to wake up to in the Asian time zone. But Credit Suisse has also put together this handy schedule of when different districts will declare their results – and how significant each will be to the Yes movement. The first results are expected 2am local time, so 11am AEST.

6. The hated Employee Share Scheme is about to be dumped. It was flagged last monthbut the Abbott government is reportedly putting the finishing touches on the changes which will put an end to staff in startups having to pay up-front taxes on shares issued to them by management, something that has killed one of the key incentives for people to join new enterprises.

7. There’s lots of hate for the Apple Watch. A former Apple designer says it looks like it was “designed by committee”, one of the worst things you can say in the industry. And UBS thinks the Watch is bogged down with too many features – they say Apple should focus on a couple of key benefits.

8. The Chinese street for people using their mobile phones. This is Foreigner Street in Chongqing, China, which has been segregated off so that people can continue to amble along safely staring at their phones while other traffic zooms past.

There’s a good case for these on Bridge Street in Sydney…

9. What great leaders don’t say. From “Don’t bring me any bad news” to “Failure is not an option”, here are 10 phrases you’ll never hear from the most successful leaders.

10. Are we all aliens? On or about November 11, a space probe called Rosetta will complete a 10-year mission to land on a comet. When the comet – nicknamed “Pitbull” – gets close enough to the sun so Rosetta’s solar array can power up, a lander will detach, fire two harpoons into the surface and anchor itself. Then the drilling and photography begins, as scientists at the European Space Agency search for the elements which could validate a theory that life on Earth was seeded by a comet collision. And you thought your KPIs were tough…

Bonus item: This spoof from Ikea that takes off Apple’s advertising has been doing the rounds. It’s an hilarious take on the technical features of an old-fashioned book. Or, as they’ve re-branded it, the “bookbook”. Enjoy:

Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo

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