Trending in Business: The Top 3 Stories of 2018

By Grant T. Smith


Start of 2018I walked around the office this morning and asked several people, what is the business story of the year for the start of 2018? This is what I got:


  • Ontario raised the minimum wage to $14.00 and it will go to $15.00 next year.
  • Bitcoin is trading without any rational sense of value and the world is mad.
  • Spotify is being sued. Again. This time while they are going public.


So a comment from me on each and perhaps a prediction or two.



Minimum Wage

In B.C., the minimum went up on 15 September 2017 to $11.35 but our government acknowledges that it is targeting $15.00 over the passage of time, so our goal parallels the plan in Ontario. This can hardly be surprising from our new government. Many people around me are likely upset by these increases as they impact costs to business. Personally, I believe that people should be permitted to earn a living wage and that business expenses should be based on that assumption. I have never seen strong evidence of the benevolence of business, so while I would prefer not to regulate, it would seem to be a necessary evil.


I liked the comment from one colleague I spoke to, who is fine with an increase, but reserves to cry foul if people then start to complain if their burger gets more expensive. If wage costs are forced to go up, we have to expect product costs to follow.  



So here is my advice, do not speculate on Bitcoin. If you must, while I hope you get rich, you might want to be sure you can afford the potential downside.


A few months ago, I wrote a review on a book about cryptocurrency and I fully support the potential of block chain technology. This will change the way business operates. But I laugh at the idea that we are creating a paper based futures market to track the value of a currency based on block chain. Does anyone find this amusing?


If you missed the article on Blockchain Revolution, How the Technology Behind the Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World, by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott. Go take a peek, as it will give you a start on the journey to understanding this technology – only a start though.




Dave Block, in our office, is a devoted, are you ready for this, Spotifier and was fascinated by this story.  Although I note he was not so fascinated that he offered to write an article (note to Corinne: can we strike this out and then leave it in the article that way – and leave this too!)


When Dave mentioned this, I knew nothing about it (after all I am a loyal CBC music streamer – best thing ever) so I went and found out. It seems that Wixen Music Publishing Inc. has sued Spotify for $1.6 billion dollars for using music without a license. If that does not put the minimum wage discussion in perspective, I give up. This lawsuit comes at the same time the company has decided to go public, which might explain why they are trying for a direct listing instead of an Initial Public Offering. Surely such a lawsuit, if it has merit, would affect the price of the offering – so bypassing the offering and listing with a new issuance would offer protection, at least for a short time.


To wind-up this mismatched article of how 2018 will begin: in a world where minimum wages are paid to too many people it seems that problems for Bitcoin and Spotify are ridiculous while people around us struggle to make a living. For my part, I think I will go generate some jobs this year, good paying jobs. Now let me leave you with a song, that sadly is not coming from Spotify, but is a wonderful Youtube link. Brother can you Spare a Dime