Fed-up employees, NFT land grab, and Prince Harry’s unicorn

It’s Friday, and that means you have officially made it through another week of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’ve got a long weekend of scrolling through your phone planned, we’re here for you. But rather than just bookmarking vacation destinations you can’t go to yet or flipping through your college roommates’ baby photos, why not learn something new?

It seems like everyone is trying their hand at day trading, and Bitcoin has become the new group text buzzword. So why not try to impress yourself and your friends by dropping some seriously incredible business and economic news knowledge?

We’ve gathered up the numbers to know from this week’s headlines to help.

400 metres

The length of Ever Given, an enormous cargo ship that’s blocking the Suez Canal in Egypt and causing one of the worst traffic jams in years.

At 430 yards long, Ever Given is almost as big as New York City’s Empire State Building. And it’s jammed like a “beached whale” in one of the world’s busiest shipping channels that links Asia and Europe.

The Panama-flagged ship is currently holding up dozens of other large container ships, including tankers laden with oil and gas and vessels hauling grain on either end of the canal, according to tracking data.

“Each day people have made estimates that between $8-10bn of trade is going through the Suez Canal – absolutely fundamental for European supply chains,” former European Union ambassador to Egypt James Moran told Al Jazeera.

While some companies mull the option of rerouting ships around Africa, that isn’t cheap, either.

“If you end up having to revert to using the longer route, then you will get two to three weeks of disruption to world trade whilst it tries to sort itself out, plus the added expenses of the longer journey,” Gerry Northwood, chairman of the risk and security management company MAST, told Al Jazeera.

The global shipping saga has spurred some pretty fantastic memes, however.

One

The number of Bitcoins you’ll need to pull from your digital wallet to buy a Tesla Model Y SUV, which starts at $49,990 for the long-range model. With the world’s most popular cryptocurrency experiencing its worst selloff since December and hovering between $50,000 and $54,000 this week, you might even have a little to spare, too.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company has officially started accepting Bitcoin as payment in the United States, adding that it would not convert digital coin paid for its electric vehicles into fiat currency. Instead, it will add it to its already substantial crypto coffers: the company recently invested $1.5bn in Bitcoin.

 

Musk, who added the middle school playground-worthy title of “Technoking” to his resume, is a big fan of crypto, frequently tweeting about and even buying Dogecoin for his toddler son.

$1,653.64

The average price over the past week, according to NonFungile.com, of a parcel of land in Decentraland. And where in the world is that, you ask?

Decentraland lets people stake their claims on virtual parcels of land for fees paid in cryptocurrency [Courtesy: Decentraland/Al Jazeera]

“With a vibe that feels like a combination of Second Life and SimCity, and similar to games such as Fortnite and Minecraft,” Decentraland is “the most developed and fastest-growing virtual land investment,” writes Al Jazeera’s Ben Piven.

To make it even hipper, all of the parcels in Decentraland must be bought and sold using MANA, its own crypto token.

“The loneliness spawned by coronavirus pandemic restrictions has not just created the cultural space for meme-stock frenzies like GameStop – powered by retail investors,” Piven writes. “It is also inspiring gamers to spend more time and money playing in their favourite imagined realms.”

And just like a physical land rush, there are also speculators seeking to “capitalise on the expansion of blockchain technology into new terrain in the form of non-fungible tokens.”

That virtual land grab has a real price tag, too. The market capitalisation of MANA was roughly $1.36bn around 9:00am ET on Friday, according to CoinMarketCap. Once you’ve secured your plot, the question is how you buy an obnoxious amount of throw pillows for your virtual couch.

40 percent

The share of people in the global workforce who told Microsoft pollsters they are considering leaving their jobs this year because they feel so burned out.

Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index asked more than 30,000 people in 31 countries how they felt about work a year into the pandemic, and analysed trillions of labour signals across Microsoft 365 applications and career networking site LinkedIn. What they found was that while some 61 percent of business leaders say they are “thriving” right now, a large percentage of their employees want to get out of dodge.

“Now more than ever, people are expecting their employers and leaders to empathize with their unique challenges,” index authors wrote. “But business leaders may be out of touch with what their employees need.”

The survey found disparities between managers and employees, too. The business leaders surveyed – the majority of whom reported they are “thriving” – were more like to be millennial or Generation X men, information workers and people farther along in their careers.

Meanwhile, employees who said they are surviving or struggling included just about everyone else — including working mothers (56 percent), Generation Z members (60 percent), front-line workers (61 percent) and new employees on the job for less than a year (64 percent).

And it’s going to take more than a cursory pizza party, Zoom happy hour or free coffee mug to help the 54 percent of employees who said they feel “overworked” and 39 percent who feel “exhausted”. With flexible work arrangements here to stay, the index found, employees “want control of where, when, and how they work, and expect businesses to provide options.”

50

The value in British pounds of a new banknote featuring famed World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, who is considered the father of modern computing. During his lifetime, he was also persecuted for being gay.

The 50-pound note, worth about $70, will be released on June 23, what would have been Turing’s 109th birthday. Turing died at the age of 41 after being “treated appallingly” by British authorities, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey said in a statement.

“By placing him on our new polymer £50 banknote, we are celebrating his achievements, and the values he symbolises,” Bailey added.

$1.73bn

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, spoke about how the fame and scrutiny of royal life affected their mental health in a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey [File: Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Handout via Reuters]

The valuation of mental-health counselling and professional coaching startup BetterUp, which announced a royal addition to its C-suite this week. After raising $125m in series D funding, BetterUp said its valuation sailed to $1.73bn – putting it firmly in “unicorn” territory (a private startup valued over $1bn).

Britain’s Prince Harry will join the California-based firm as its first chief impact officer, continuing the mental health awareness work he has championed since opening up about how the death of his mother, Princess Diana, affected him.

Harry’s new job comes the prince and his wife, Meghan Markle, sat down for a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in which Markle told the television host she had experienced suicidal thoughts and sought help from the palace but received none.

“Self-optimisation is not about fixing something that’s broken,” Harry wrote in a BetterUp blog post announcing his role. “It’s about becoming the best version of ourselves, with whatever life throws at us — someone who is ready for the next challenge and can meet setbacks with courage, confidence, and self-awareness.”

With all that life has thrown at us over the past year, that sounds like a great idea.

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