#WheresZuck, Weinstein debts and the city with best quality of life
Planet Business: Busy week at the offices of Cambridge Analytica
The poster-adorned offices of Cambridge Analytica. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty
In numbers: Bad debt hunting
The Weinstein Company has this amount of unsecured obligations, plus another $345 million in secured debt, according to bankruptcy filings, as the end credits rolled for the film studio this week.
Sum in unsecured debt owed by the Weinstein Company to the production firms belonging to actor Bradley Cooper and director David O Russell.
Offer for bankrupt company made by Lantern Capital, including $310,000 in cash and certain production liabilities. In 2016, Harvey Weinstein said the television division alone could be worth as much as $900,000.
Image of the week: Nixed
The offices of Cambridge “data-driven behaviour change” Analytica in central London received some fresh decorations this week, which was only fitting given the number of television cameras parked outside for live reports. Depicting “suspended” chief executive Alexander Nix behind bars with the line “our data not his, go straight to jail”, you don’t need to go to the trouble of developing a personality quiz app to work out that these posters were not written by a fan of either Cambridge Analytica or its Etonian boss. Extraordinarily, a “forensics team” hired by Facebook made it into the analytics company’s offices on Monday night ahead of the UK’s Information Commissioner Office, which was left scrambling about for a warrant and unable to rule out the loss of important evidence in the meantime.
The lexicon: #WheresZuck
Amid the shady data-harvesting scandal, user distrust gone viral and a plunging share price, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, alongside his un-shy chief operations officer Sheryl Sandberg, were keeping themselves to themselves for much of the week, unleashing a rash of #WheresZuck tagged tweets. Where were they? Not giving interviews. Not attending Tuesday’s open meeting of staff at Menlo Park. Eventually, a spokesman revealed that “Mark, Sheryl and their teams” were “working around the clock to get all the facts and take the appropriate action moving forward, because they understand the seriousness of this issue”. Well, if they didn’t, there was always that downwards-sinking stock ticker to remind them. There were two contenders for hashtag of the week. Unfortunately for Zuckerberg the other one was #DeleteFacebook.
Getting to know: Brian Acton
In 2009, Brian Acton applied for a job in Facebook. He didn’t get it. This week, Acton (46) tweeted: “It is time. #deleteFacebook”. Oh, and in between then and now he co-founded a messaging company called WhatsApp that was sold to Facebook for $19 billion. “Delete and forget. It’s time to care about privacy,” suggested Acton, who left Facebook/WhatsApp last year. He went on to promote an “awareness-rising” (sic) event at Signal Foundation, a non-profit allegedly exploring how to build technology that can be used for “public good”, which he backs to the tune of $50 million, and which is affiliated to an encrypted messaging app called Signal favoured by the likes of Edward Snowden. It feels safe to say Acton won’t be applying for another job in Facebook any time soon.
The list: Quality cities
Housing crisis? What housing crisis? According to human-resources firm Mercer, Dublin is the city that offers the 34th best quality of living in the world. That sounds about right, until you see that it was the highest-placed city in the UK and Ireland. Here are Mercer’s five highest-ranked cities.
5: Vancouver. It’s just very pretty up there in Canada with the mountains and the sea and the forest as well.
=3: Munich. It’s not just about the beer gardens, right? The German city has made “a concerted effort to attract talent and businesses by continuously investing in high-tech infrastructure and promoting its cultural facilities”.
=3: Auckland. The “City of Sails” in New Zealand has a nice climate and scored strongly on sanitation, which is always good.
2: Zurich. The financial capital of Switzerland is a bit of a usual suspect in these sorts of lists.
1: Vienna. It probably means nothing to the Austrian capital that it has topped the Mercer ranking, having done so for the past nine years. Vienna has that thing that it seems to elude some cities closer to home: “Well-structured public transportation.”