Something to crow about…

At the time of writing the Puy du Fou historical theme park in France has got over 12,000 TripAdvisor reviews and a 5 star rating. It’s clearly a very successful theme park and it’s the second most visited theme park in France behind Disneyland Paris.

The staff at the theme park no doubt work very hard to keep it running smoothly but they are about to be joined by 6 new colleagues who are very different.

The new colleagues will be working hard as well but they are different in that they won’t receive a salary and they won’t have fixed working hours.

Oh, and they are different in that they are crows.

Yes, the 6 “new joiners” are birds.

These aren’t just any birds though. They are birds who have been trained to pick up cigarette ends and other small pieces of rubbish. In exchange for dropping this rubbish in a specially designed rubbish box they will receive a small bit of bird food as a reward.

Nicolas de Villiers of the Puy du Fou park was quoted in the Guardian newspaper as saying “The goal is not just to clear up, because the visitors are generally careful to keep things clean” but also to show that “nature itself can teach us to take care of the environment”.

A very nice initiative by the park and certainly something to crow about…

PwC, a Bishop and a thief…

What do you do if you work for PwC and you’re due to be promoted to a partner in October?

Well, if you’re Max Livingstone-Learmonth the answer is to catch a suspected handbag thief.

Now, this in itself is admirable but Mr Livingstone-Learmonth did it in style as he was actually dressed as a bishop.

“A future partner of PwC dressed as a bishop?” I hear you ask.

Although it may sound strange that he was dressed as a bishop, he was in fact in fancy dress as he was part of a charity world record attempt for the longest non-stop relay.

He was running as part of the I Move London Relay. This involved 2,500 runners taking it in turns to carry a relay baton over a combined distance of 4,000 miles by running 10km and 5km loops continuously over 30 days and nights in central London.

Mr Livingstone-Learmonth was part of the team of runners and according to London’s Evening Standard newspaper, he saw a woman chasing a man who had reportedly taken her bag. He then sprinted 100 metres to her rescue and caught up with the thief keeping him pinned to the wall until the police arrived.

He told the newspaper that “I’m not religious but it does feel a bit like divine intervention that I was there”.

He went on to explain that “A guy shouted, ‘stop that man’, and it was just pure instinct to run after him. I caught up to him and pinned him to a wall with my crosier.”

“I said, ‘It’s not your day if you’ve been run down by a bishop’,” he added.

So, well done to the future partner but one thing is even more impressive – during the struggle he kept hold of the relay baton. If he had dropped it the Guinness World Record attempt would have been jeopardised as it would not have been a complete relay.

Nice work Mr Livingstone-Learmonth.

Apple is bigger than these countries…

The latest quarterly results of Apple have just been released and they are pretty impressive.

The tech giant’s revenue increased by 17% when compared to the corresponding quarter last year. It was a new record of $53.3bn.

Profit was also up by nearly a third to $11.5bn.

Interestingly, the number of units they sold was below expectations but they sold more of their higher value phones (i.e. the iPhone X) than anticipated so their profits beat analysts’ expectations (an interesting example of a sales mix variance for those of you who like your variances).

These are pretty big figures and even more impressive when you think that they are only the quarterly results.

The stock market reacted favourably and their share price has risen. This has resulted in a significant market capitalisation for the company.

At the time of writing this, their market capitalisation (or in simple terms, their valuation) is above $1 trillion and they are the first company to reach such an impressive valuation.

$1 trillion is a big figure and writing it out in full makes it seem even bigger – $1,000,000,000,000 – but it got me thinking about how the valuation of Apple compares to the GDP of individual countries.

In simple terms, the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is the value of all goods and services a country makes in a time period.

The World Bank have released the 2017 annual rankings of over 200 economies and the 30 largest countries on the list are shown below.

As you can see, Apple’s valuation is only beaten by the GDP of 16 countries. All the other countries have a smaller GDP than the value of Apple.

1 United States – $19,390bn
2 China – $12,237bn
3 Japan – $4,872bn
4 Germany – $3,677bn
5 United Kingdom – $2,622bn
6 India – $2,597bn
7 France – $2,582bn
8 Brazil – $2,055bn
9 Italy – $1,934bn
10 Canada – $1,653bn
11 Russian – $1,577bn
12 Korea, Rep. – $1,530bn
13 Australia – $1,323bn
14 Spain – $1,311bn
15 Mexico – $1,149bn
16 Indonesia – $1,015bn

APPLE – $1,000bn

17 Turkey – $851bn
18 Netherlands – $826bn
19 Saudi Arabia – $683bn
20 Switzerland – $678bn
21 Argentina – $637bn
22 Sweden – $538bn
23 Poland – $524bn
24 Belgium – $492bn
25 Thailand – $455bn
26 Iran – $439bn
27 Austria – $416bn
28 Norway – $398bn
29 UAE – $382bn
30 Nigeria – $375bn

In case other companies are looking on jealously that Apple have a valuation higher than most countries, they could always set their sights on beating the GDP of number 200 on the World Bank rankings – Tuvalu in the South Pacific has a GDP of $40 million.