10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Picture: www.sharks.com.au

1. Storms are causing chaos in Sydney. After a relentless night of heavy rain and extreme winds, the severe storm which battered the east coast yesterday continues to cause havoc for residents and commuters in Sydney, the Central Coast, Illawarra and Hunter regions. People are missing, 100,000 residents are without power, flights are cancelled and the surf is up to 14 feet. Here’s all the latest updates.

2. What have Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter and Uber got in common? They wouldn’t have received government support in Australia if they had been started here. Australia’s peak startup advocacy body StartupAUS released its Crossroads report today and noted a bunch of internet-based business models don’t fall under the Government’s five priority sectors. Australia has one of the lowest rates of angel investment and venture capital investment in the developed world, so here are all the ways Crossroads thinks that could be fixed.

3. Big tech companies crush Australian mining on revenue per employee. In more news from the Crossroads report, tech jobs are showing a much higher labour productivity rate and each one on average creates five additional jobs in other sectors. That’s some huge untapped potential, but with software companies only making up 4% of the number of companies listed on the ASX and 1.4% by value, the growth needs to come fast if it’s to help the country transition away from the mining boom.

4. Elon Musk had an $US11 billion deal in place to sell Tesla to Google just two years ago. It fell over because Musk and Larry Page were negotiating over details. Today, Tesla’s worth $26 billion.

5. Investor activism is coming to Australia. In the US, when large pension funds partner with hedge funds, investor activism has increasingly kicked in to force change to some of the country’s biggest company boards. And Credit Suisse says it’s only a matter of time before it starts happening here. All the right corporate laws are in place and with returns like these…

… you can expect investor-led change coming soon to Aussie icons such as BHP Billiton and Woolworths.

6. Champagne from some of the world’s finest makers spent 170 years under the ocean before it was retrieved by divers five years ago. Remarkably, much of it was still drinkable, and science has just discovered why it was still worth paying up to $42,000 a bottle for. Read more about it here and find out which Australian restaurant can serve you something similar.

7. This woman has worn this same outfit to work every single day for the past three years:

Matilda kahl one outfit womanCourtesy of Matilda KahlMatilda Kahl wearing her standard work outfit she’s rocked the last three years.

Art director Matilda Kahl says not having to decide on what to wear saves her time and creative energy. And hey, it works for Mark Zuckerberg.

8. “The days of super-cheap prices look to have ended – at least for now, ” is the depressing news for motorists courtesy of Commsec chief economist Craig James, who believes a sharp rise in Singapore wholesale gasoline prices last week may result in a lift in Australian petrol prices in the weeks ahead. Fill ‘er up.

9. Here are five clever iPhone tricks only power users know about that will save you time. Or make you time to play the two Halo games that have finally made their way to iOS.

10. There’s a holiday for pot-smokers. It’s called 4/20 and yesterday, about 10,000 stoners gathered in London’s Hyde Park to celebrate getting wasted. Here’s 13 celebrities who were likely to have joined in and the list might surprise you. (Not Morgan Freeman, when you think about it.)

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