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Google executives see cracks in their company’s success

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Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is valued at $1.6 trillion, and its sales and profits are increasing every three months. Google has become increasingly ingrained in the lives of ordinary Americans.

Noam Bardin is a former Google employee, and ponders a question often asked of him. “I’m asked all the time why I left now. I’m not sure why I stayed so long.” When Google acquired the mapping service Waze in 2013, he departed the company. According to Bardin, some executives are departing and letting everyone know why. They claim that Google’s employees are becoming more outspoken and that the company’s troubles are pouring into the open. 

As Google’s innovation challenges worsen, Sundar Pichai warns the company’s “risk tolerance will go down.” Many of Google’s difficulties, according to executives, arise from its CEO’s leadership style. According to them, the corporation is hampered by a paralyzing bureaucracy, a proclivity towards passivity, and a concentration on public opinion.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, has been chastised by nine current and former Google executives. He allegedly mulled over issues and put off important business and personnel decisions. According to the executives, Google’s workplace culture continues to be roiled, and his attempts to cool things down have resulted in problems festering. Internal Google surveys on Pichai’s leadership were positive, according to a Google representative. 

As CEO, Pichai is confronting a difficult situation. The firm is dealing with regulatory issues both at home and abroad. Politicians on both the left and right share a common distrust of the corporation. Even his detractors acknowledge he has so far avoided ruffling lawmakers’ feathers or giving his opponents more ammunition by navigating those hearings.

Pichai has been with the firm for a long time. When Google was acquired by its parent company, Alphabet, in 2015, he was named the firm’s new CEO. In 2004, the former McKinsey consultant joined Google and rapidly displayed his ability to deftly navigate a workplace filled with strong egos and sharp elbows. But as cracks appear in Google’s carefully cultivated facade, papering over troubles might be harder to do than one imagines. 

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Squid Game, Netflix’s runaway hit that almost never got made

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Squid Game has wrapped its tentacles around a global audience in less than three weeks.

Since its premiere on September 17, the #1 Netflix Korean drama about financially desperate people fighting in a high-stakes tournament has only grown in popularity.

That’s why it came as a shock to find that Squid Game author and director Hwang Dong-hyuk was rejected by a slew of studios when he first proposed the idea more than a decade ago.

The notion was previously deemed “too ugly and impractical” by studios, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While living with his mother and grandmother, Hwang Dong-hyuk came up with the idea for Squid Game, but he had to put the script on hold and sell his laptop to make ends meet.

Hwang believes that the classist concerns that were brought to the forefront during the pandemic’s peak were a factor in Netflix’s decision to buy the show two years ago.

Squid Game has now been subtitled and dubbed in 31 languages. It’s also at the top of the charts in over NINETY COUNTRIES.

With over 17 million views, the trailer for Squid Game has now exceeded those of Bridgerton and Lupin.

Netflix’s VP of content for Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, Minyoung Kim, claims that “nothing has ever grown as swiftly and aggressively as Squid Game.”

Those studios that first turned down Hwang’s concept appear to have made a huge mistake.

With the show growing from strength to strength, and audiences riveted and waiting for more, studios will surely be ruing the decision not to pick up the show earlier.

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Decoding Air India’s sale to the Tata’s

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Indian conglomerate Tata Sons have won a bid to acquire Air India for ₹18000 crore. Tata beat out competition from Spice Jet to bag the airline that was once known as the crown jewel of JRD Tata’s sprawling empire. 

The debt-laden national carrier has for long been a subject of divestment, an objective that has now come to fruition. 

Embed Ratan Tata tweet

The prodigal son returns 

For the Tata’s, who were the original owners of Air India, bringing the airline back to the group has been a long awaited dream. Much has changed since Air India left the fold, but the Tata’s never let their love for the open skies fade away, and the national carrier was often referred to as JRD’s true labour of love. While there are emotional undertones, the fact means that this is a deal that has for long been on the radar. 

Why was the government keen to divest?

It is a sign of how poorly run Air India was that it has never posted a profit since 2007. If one were to look at the documents even more closely, the government exchequer has spent over ₹ 1.1 lakh crore since 2009 to cover for the loss making entity. 

The piper always has to be paid though, and as debts mounted as high as ₹61,562 crore by August 2021, something had to give. The fact that each additional day of operation cost the government ₹20 crore – which would have totted up to an annual loss of ₹7300 crore – meant that the powers that be were keen to cut their white elephant loose. 

What did the sale entail?

Besides the sale in Air India, the government also announced the sale of two other businesses — Air India Express Ltd (AIXL) and Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Ltd (AISATS) in a 100% deal, as opposed to previous attempts that saw the government try to hold a stake in the beleaguered airline. These attempts, until 2020’s most recent attempt, failed to gather much interest since private players wanted to control all the chips at the table and not a piecemeal solution. 

The fact that the government would not even be a minority stakeholder proved to be a catalyst. That, coupled with the fact that potential buyers were allowed to decide how much of the mountain of Air India’s debt they’d take on, proved to be critical to the sale going through. 

What does this sale signify?

This sale can be seen as an extension of the Modi government’s commitment to reducing the role of the government in major economic sectors, as it attempts to rationalise its holdings. Without a doubt, this will prove to be of some relief to the national exchequer, and the tax paying public. 

However, if one were to step back and look at it in cold, analytical terms, there are still some concerns flying under the radar. As mentioned earlier, Air India had a total debt of ₹61,562 crore, of which the Tatas agreed to take on ₹15,300 crore, with a further ₹2,700 crore being paid to the government to sweeten the deal. 

A simple back of the napkin calculation means that this leaves ₹43,563 crore of debt still dangling over the government. With asset sales likely to generate in the region of ₹14,718 crore, this leaves the government holding a bag worth approx. ₹28,844 crore to be handled. 

The final word

All said, this is a win-win situation for all parties. The Government gets to write down a mountain of debt that was staring them in the face. The Tatas get an emotional reunion with their long lost pride and joy, and you can be sure that they will go above and beyond to restore the national carrier back to its halcyon days, in a move that can only bode well for the common man. Blue skies are in the offing, and we are clear for takeoff. 

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Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way: Amateur cyclist covers 8,000 kilometres across India

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Dagara Ranjith was on the verge of starvation only a few months ago, when his employer at an agriculture corporation stopped paying due to the pandemic. The 30-year-old has subsequently discovered a passion for travel and has cycled over 8,000 kilometres around the country in just over six months. He returned to Hyderabad on September 10 following a scarcely believable cycle ride to Leh, Ladakh.

Ranjith is a pharmacist by training and an organic farming expert by trade. He expressed his intention to pedal his way to numerous destinations in an Instagram story. He returned 38 days later, having travelled roughly 3,000 kilometres. Ranjith acquired a bike with the support of a few friends, despite having no experience touring or riding professionally.

The ‘Ranjith on Wheels’ YouTube channel now has 69,200 subscribers and 110 videos. He has 82,300 Instagram followers under the same identity. Ranjith describes his trip to Kanyakumari as “inspiring,” notwithstanding an incident at the Goa-Karnataka border when three youths stole his bike and possessions. “That night was notable because the cops at the police station refused to accept that I was travelling on a bicycle in May 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.”

In Himachal Pradesh’s Baralacha Pass, Ranjith was caught in a landslide. The entire day had been spent riding a 13-kg bicycle up a steep incline with over 40 kg of luggage. Ranjith remembers the bikers who came to his aid when his hands and face became numb from the winter cold, and who provided him with food and water at various locations.

Ranjith has returned to Hyderabad after 53 days and has already planned a bike trip to Nepal. He spent just over Rs 60,000 on food, lodging, and other miscellaneous expenses on his journey from Manali to Hyderabad, which took him through Ladakh and western Indian states. Perhaps his most unforgettable encounter was when he was treated like a son by a family in Ladakh’s Nimmu hamlet.

He has taken out a loan to purchase touring equipment, but he is unconcerned because he already possesses the necessary equipment. He says, “I just want to live in the moment and not worry about tomorrow.”

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