Bezos’s space jaunt, Kanye’s puffer and Boris Johnson’s ‘cruel and unusual punishment’

Planet Business: Office? What office?

 

Image of the week: Mount Trashmore

There is more than one landfill site in the US named Mount Trashmore but, in Cornwall, where the G7 summit is taking place this weekend, it’s the name bestowed upon an inspired artwork by Joe Rush and Alex Wreckage of the Mutoid Waste Company. Because what better use of battered old smartphone covers, electrical circuit boards and random pieces of plastic could there be than to construct the faces of world leaders? Installed on the beach near Gwithian, overlooking St Ives Bay, the artwork is understandably attracting the interest of both passers-by and news media. The summit’s choice of location has not been without controversy. Not only has Adam Raphael, editor of the Good Hotel Guide, described the Carbis Bay Hotel in St Ives as an “odd choice of venue”, citing reports from readers that “do not inspire confidence”, he suggested UK prime minister Boris Johnson had dished out “cruel and unusual punishment” to his peers.

In numbers: Puffer profit

$200

Price tag on a blue nylon puffer jacket (€164) that was briefly available for pre-order in the US this week from Gap, before selling out. The lagging jacket-inspired item is the first in the Yeezy Gap line, a partnership between the clothing retailer and Kanye West.

10

Years that the deal is set to run between the musician and Gap, which is on the cusp of closing some of its European stores. The bright blue unisex jacket was launched to coincide with West’s 44th birthday.

$3.2 billion

Yeezy, West’s trainer and clothing brand, has previously been estimated by analysts at UBS to have a value of between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion, suggesting some of us are in the wrong business.

Getting to know: New Shepard

New Shepard is the rocket ship made by Jeff Bezos’s company, Blue Origin, and the vehicle he will use to fly to space – not very far into space, but space nevertheless – alongside his younger brother Mark Bezos and a third, extremely rich passenger who must win an auction for the pleasure. Scheduled for July 20th, this will be the first flight with humans on board for New Shepard, which is named after Alan Shepard, the second man and the first American in space, and has taken 15 crew-less suborbital test flights in its six-year history. The most important thing about the Amazon founder’s trip, however it pans out, is that he will “beat” fellow would-be spacemen Elon Musk and Richard Branson to the punch, though Branson is rumoured to be packing his suitcase fast. “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of travelling to space,” Bezos wrote in an Instagram post. But is it always a good idea to live your dream? As Joan from Mad Men once wisely said, “sometimes when people get what they want, they realise how limited their goals were”.

The list: Office-bound organisations

With Covid-19 restrictions being lifted right, left and centre, bosses everywhere are hoovering the office carpets (not personally) and preparing the bunting in a bid to return to “normal”. Good luck with that.

1. The Irish civil service. The Government seems eager to bring people back to the office, with Tánaiste Leo Varadkar suggesting it could be phased in from August, not the previous mooted date of September.

2. Goldman Sachs. Goldman has called its bankers back to the office, its boss David Solomon having previously dubbed working-from-home (WFH) “an aberration”.

3. Netflix. It has signalled to US employees that they should plan to return after the early September Labor Day holiday, with chief executive Reed Hastings another one to speak out against WFH, labelling it a “pure negative”.

4. Google. It told its US staff that, if they want to continue remote-working after September 1st, they must apply for the privilege. The tech giant expects about 20 per cent of its employees to work from home permanently.

5. Apple. Tim Cook wants employees to return to the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from September. Employees are less keen. “Over the last year, we often felt not just unheard, but at times actively ignored,” they wrote. Sounds terrible.

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