10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Danerys Targaryen Game of Thrones Khaleesi season fiveHBOHere be spoilers. Picture: HBO

Good morning.

1. First the big news. It’s been revealed Tony Abbott sent his resignation letter to Yarralumla, governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove’s residence, to inform him personally. By fax.

2. To the markets, and December SPI 200 futures rallied 58 points to 5,051 after overnight trade releases in the US failed to point strongly to a US Fed “hike” call on Friday morning. That points to around a 1% gain in physical trade on the ASX today after stocks in the 200 index fell 1.5% yesterday amid Asia stock market weakness. On the data front today, we get the release of the Westpac leading indicator of Australian growth and Kiwi trade data this morning.

3. In China, stocks were under the pump once again with losses greater than 3%, despite news yesterday that China’s government is taking action to address flagging economic growth. Linette Lopez says it’s also trying to assure the world it’s worth investing in, but it probably won’t work.

4. A very bad first day. Or at least, first major appearance by a CEO, courtesy of new BMW boss Harald Krüger. Five minutes into the company’s news conference in Frankfurt, this happened:

Fortunately, he’s “stable and recovering well”, BMW says. Perhaps it was due to all of the insanely hot cars on show – here’s 14 of them.

5. Your startups suck. So says legendary VC Bill Gurley, a partner at venture firm Benchmark Capital. With more than 80 startups now valued above $1 billion, Gurley’s been very vocal in warning them that they’re burning up way too much cash. It’s like 1999 all over again, he says, and now he’s starting to name the ones he thinks will go under first.

6. More reality. As the “disruptors” grow up and realise cash is king, they slowly but surely ditch their hoodies for a sensible shirt and tie in bids to become all things to everyone. Facebook is now, finally, adding a “Dislike” button. Snapchat is allowing users to replay their snaps – for a price. And it’s a safe bet Twitter will soon dump its 140-character limit on updates. So, nothing new there, but interesting to watch. If a little tragic.

7. And you can add bitcoin to that list. The digital currency that had everyone freaking out at the end of 2013 when it soared from $30 to around $1200 in a matter of weeks. Now even the Commonwealth Bank is getting behind it. It’s joined eight other major world banks to draw up industry standards and protocols for using the blockchain – the technology which records ownership of bitcoin and its transactions – in banking.

8. Back to tech, and Mark Zuckerberg has just posted this great virtual tour of the social network giant’s new Frank Gehry-designed digs, including his own, very ordinary, desk:

9. Productivity is always a popular topic. Especially when someone finds out that maximising it could also involve a bit more slacking off. The idea behind “modern work” is about managing energy, not time, so here’s three ways in the future your eight-hour, five-day schedule could change in the future – for the better.

10. Spoilers, maybe. The final release of any production these days really is just a footnote. The new season of “Game of Thrones” is a good six months away, but fans and cast leaks – plus the fact it’s based on books already written – give us a pretty good indication of what to expect. So here’s the 16 most realistic outcomes for your favourite characters. And there’s absolutely no hiding the fact that Jon Snow still has a part to play in all this.

BONUS ITEM: Awesome table tennis rallies never get old. But this, a 42-shot rally recently in the Chinese Super League, is just ridiculous:

Have a great day.

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