Squiz Today / 16 September 2021

Squiz Today – Thursday, 16 September

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Squiz Today Podcast

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Today’s listen time: 9 minutes

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Squiz Sayings

“IJE is a motor yacht with a length of 108.0m.”

Says the ad for the sale of James Packer’s megayacht, which is named for his 3 children, Indigo, Jackson and Emmanuelle. With 4 decks, 11 cabins, a cinema, pool and disco, it could be all yours for $282 million. Why not take 2?

Canva designs a big future

If a startup business achieves ‘unicorn’ status when it reaches a valuation of $1 billion, the folks at digital design disruptors Canva need to build a stable… The rising Aussie tech company’s valuation has reached $54.6 billion (US$40 billion) – up from $20 billion in April. If it was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, it would be a top 10 company ahead of long time corporate giants like Woolworths and Rio Tinto. And it makes the 8yo business with founders aged in their 30s the most valuable private consumer software company ever.

Let’s start with the who. Melanie Perkins and her then-boyfriend/now-husband Cliff Obrecht started ​​Fusion Books in 2006 as a textbook design business from her mum’s living room. And after a lot of hustle, Canva was launched in 2012 with Google employee Cameron Adams bringing the technical expertise to deliver on their “massive vision”. Based in Sydney, Canva now employs more than 2,000 people – most of whom came onboard last year. As for the what: it’s “an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.” And it’s working… The company has more than 60 million monthly active users, and it’s on track to exceed $1.3 billion in annual revenue by the end of the year. A rarity in the tech startup world – Canva has been cash-flow positive since 2017.

Lots of head down, bum up. Perkins yesterday told reporters that they are “only 1% of the way there.” To fund that sort of growth, it’s long been speculated that Canva will go public, probably on the New York Stock Exchange. However, the business has built up a significant war chest thanks to recent capital raising rounds, so the team says listing not a priority. The soaring value has made the trio billionaires, but it’s unlikely a fancy yacht is in their futures… Perkins and Obrecht have made the commitment to give their $16.5 billion fortune away. “The opportunity that we have is only superseded by the responsibility we feel. We hope we can live up to it over the years to come,” Perkins tweeted yesterday.

Business & Finance

Squiz the Rest

The new kid on the multilateral block

Set your alarm for 7am eastern time for a big announcement about a new security pact called AUKUS. No prizes for guessing those initials; reports say it’s an agreement between Oz, the UK, and the US to share information on advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, cyber and underwater systems, and long-range strike capabilities. We’ll know more this morning, but 2 things have already come up. The first is hello China… Early briefings from officials say the alliance will be seen as “​​another move by Western allies to push back on China’s rise in the military and technology arenas.” And the second is what it might mean for Australia’s $90 billion submarine deal with France. The faltering project could be dumped in favour of a nuclear-powered fleet using American and British technology. That will give PM Scott Morrison and President Joe Biden plenty to talk about when they meet in Washington DC next week.

AusPol World News

PM probes Porter’s mystery donor

Quick recap: the ABC published an article detailing rape allegations against an unnamed federal cabinet minister in late February. Then Attorney-General Christian Porter identified himself as the man in question, legal wrangling ensued, and by the end of May, a settlement was reached with the ABC paying some of Porter’s legal fees. Fast forward to this week, and Porter updated the MPs register of interests to say that the remaining $1 million bill was covered by a blind trust. He has “no access to information about the conduct and funding of the trust.” That’s like saying “my legal fees were paid by a guy in a mask who dropped off a chaff bag full of cash,” said former PM Malcolm Turnbull aka no fan of his former colleague… Late yesterday, the building pressure led PM Morrison to launch an investigation into Porter’s adherence to the ministerial standards. Labor leader Anthony Albanese says it may fall within the rules, but it “does not pass the pub test.” 


International flights on sale but in short supply

Aussies yesterday snapped up plane tickets to London, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Singapore after Qantas opened up bookings for its first commercial international flights in forever. The first flights are scheduled to take off from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on 18 December. Flights to Tokyo, Fiji and Hawaii are set to resume in the days following. Of course, it’s all dependent on the Federal Government lifting the international travel ban once an 80% vaccination target has been reached. At a time when a trip further than 5km from their home seems exotic for many Aussies, it’s little wonder that foreign airlines warn they might not be able to meet demand. That’s mainly driven by a lack of certainty over plans to raise incoming passenger caps, which means there will likely be a delay in scheduling flights.

Australian News Health

Haiti’s PM faces questions over assassination

In a stunning plot twist, Haiti’s PM Ariel Henry has been banned from leaving the country while an investigation into his alleged involvement in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July is underway. Henry – who was selected to be Haiti’s next PM by Moïse 2 days before his murder – is facing questions over his alleged connection to a key suspect in the killing, Joseph Felix Badio. Phone records reveal the pair spoke several times in the hours after the assassination, prosecutors say. Also raising eyebrows was Henry’s sacking of Chief Prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude on Monday over a “serious administrative offence”. Claude then asked the judge on Tuesday morning to press charges against Henry before he was replaced. Earlier in the week, Henry denounced what he called “diversionary tactics” intended to “sow confusion”, but he hasn’t publicly responded to the accusations.

World News

A spaceship without astronauts

For the first time ever, an all-civilian crew is set to blast off at 10.02am (AEST) this morning aboard the fully automated SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. In what’s been dubbed the Inspiration4 mission, 4 non-astronauts, including the guy who bought the flight, billionaire entrepreneur Jared Isaacman, will embark on a 3-day orbit of Earth. Joining him will be 29yo childhood cancer survivor Hayley Arceneaux and 2 competition winners: geoscience professor/pilot Sian Proctor and data engineer Chris Sembroski. “This is the first step toward a world where everyday people can go and venture among the stars,” Isaacman said. You can follow their journey here.


Apropos of Nothing

CSIRO researchers have named a new species of soldier fly found in Queensland the ‘Opaluma RuPaul’. Inspired by the American drag queen, they say the “glamazon” bug has “legs for days”.

With thousands of feral buffalo and cattle thought to be roaming around the Top End, a new program called SpaceCows is helping Indigenous land management groups to protect sacred sites. It uses satellite data to predict where the animals are going so the groups can get ahead of the herd.

We know dinosaurs famously died out 66 million years ago when an asteroid hit the Earth. But a new study reckons snakes owe their success to that very same asteroid, which they say saw the resilient creatures spread across the Earth. Talk about a lose/lose situation…

Quirky News

Squiz the Day

7.00am (AEST) – US President Joe Biden to deliver “brief remarks” about a new security agreement with Australia and the UK – Washington DC

10.02am (AEST) – SpaceX’s first all-civilian crew sent into Earth’s orbit for 3 days

Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin for annual Ausmin talks – Washington

Independence Days for Mexico and Papua New Guinea

ABS Data Release – Labour Force, August

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

Birthdays for comedian Amy Poehler (1971) and singer Nick Jonas (1992)

Anniversary of the birthdays of actress Lauren Bacall (1924) and musician BB King (1925)

Squiz the Day

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