— Aaron Rogan
As trademarks go, Paddy Power is surely one of Ireland’s more prominent commercial icons.
Flutter Entertainment, the well named parent company, has successfully taken this original union of three mid-size bookmakers founded in 1988 to a billion-dollar business that continues to grow.
With advertising campaigns as colourful as the most vibrant jockey attire, Paddy Power has become a byword for gambling entertainment visible everywhere, from shop fronts and bus shelters to sporting arenas and smartphone screens.
Having achieved rapid growth, the company has etched its own edge in the crowded gaming marketplace, dedicated to staying one step ahead of the competition, whatever the cost.
Humour and slick promotion have consistently played a key role in the company’s punter pleasing attitude.
In advance of Ireland’s 2019 Six Nations rugby match with England, for instance, the company launched a billboard campaign poking fun at Brexit and the two nations’ differing political stances.
It even created a city centre pop-up passport office — a direct reference to the surge of UK citizens applying for its EU-accessible document.
In a similar light-hearted vein, Paddy Power also created a pop-up confessional adjacent to the Phoenix Park in advance of Pope Francis’ 2018 visit, offering punters the chance to “clear their conscience on the go”.
Operating an aggressive expansion, the company went for a maximum profile strategy, rather than the half-hidden side street locations favoured by previous generations.
With many interviews charting its fledgling beginning to its current colossal reach, the Paddy Power story is as colourful as any of its attention-grabbing campaigns.
— Nicole Perlroth
Cybercrime and cyber attack are words all too familiar in Ireland 2021 — particularly when our entire national health system was brought to its knees by dark forces whose identities have yet to be revealed. Could it happen again? Definitely. Might the next attack be even more crippling? No question.
Get ready for another definition destined to achieve common parlance very soon — “zero day”. A software bug that allows hackers break into the world’s most secure computer networks, zero day is a well named addition to the cyber crime arsenal.
A tool seemingly impervious to any high-tech defence, it has the power to tap into any smartphone, infect any IT system, dismantle industrial safety controls and shut down the power grid of an entire nation.
Zero day has been labelled “the blood diamond of the security trade” — a tool so dangerous governments are ransomed for huge sums to loosen its mortal cyber coils from around our throats.
Winner of the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2021, it has been described as “spellbinding” and “part le Carré”.
Packed with spies, hackers and arms dealers, the intrepidsecurity reporter Pelroth lifts the curtain on a shadowy world whose tentacles are everywhere — a zero day nightmare from which nobody is safe.
— Sarah Jaffe
Never before in he modern age have so many people re-evaluated their lives, and especially the work they do.
While the pandemic has severely altered the social patterns of our lives, its effect on how we view the office and our occupations has been nothing short of seismic.
Ms Jaffe, who writes for, , and , asks just how much we love our jobs.
Some workers move to different regions, clock up enormous commutes and often change everything else for the benefit of the job.
But is it really worth it? Work is no longer 9 to 5, she argues, but a commitment to the office as family, our homes as an extension of the company, and the urge to switch off the phone on weekends a retrograde career move.
Such an all-consuming devotion to work is taking its toll, with recent research from the World Health Organization finding that overwork — defined as working more than 54 hours a week — can be a deadly virus in itself, causing the deaths of three quarters of a million people a year.
Ms Jaffe believes that such dedication to “doing what you love” is another form of exploitation, manipulating us into a never-ending hamster wheel.
Examining the experiences of individuals in a variety of occupations — the unpaid intern, the overworked teacher and the non-profit — she unravels the trickery we have willingly bought into.
Realising our true worth, our essential value, will empower us to negotiate fair pay for the precious time we expend for the benefit of the company.
— Patrick Radden Keefe
‘How the mighty have fallen’ is a timeless epilogue in business, as once great institutions crumble under the weight of their own impunity, nepotism and greed.
However, never has the phrase been so appropriate as in relation to the Sackler family — a name carved with proud association upon many esteemed international institutions.
A dynasty whose wealth and philanthropy was built upon pharmaceuticals, specifically Valium, it ultimately crashed spectacularly by Oxycontin — a drug that went on to become the catalyst for the ovoid crisis.
Like any great dynasty, the Sacklers had their share of di Medici style drama, ranging from outrageous personal lifestyles, bitter boardroom battles, Machiavellian legal disputes and immense political influence.
Benefactors to institutions such as Harvard University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford University, and the Louvre, it wasn’t that far removed from the TV series,.
Tracing the family’s rise through the Great Depression of the 1930s onward to the construction of a pharma empire built on innovation and canny self promotion, Oxycontin went on to generate $35bn (€31bn) in revenue — but also prompting a massive public health crisis in which hundreds of thousands would die.
Mr Keefe is an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker magazine and the author of “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland”.
He is also the writer and host of “Wind of Change”, a series which investigates the convergence of espionage and pop music during the Cold War and was named the No 1 podcast of 2020.
— Mo Gawdat
Like it or not, artificial intelligence is frequently smarter and more efficient than us humans.
Undistracted by the myriad trivialities of life we daily succumb to, AI can process information at lightning speed and remain focused on specific tasks for endless periods.
Sounds perfect, especially for hose repetitive and monotonous tasks of everyday life. However, robotic systems are never quite as good as they should be, a failure mainly down to how poorly we humans design the algorithms that define the way AI works.
Mr Gawdat, as the former chief business officer of Google, suggests more useful ways in which us humans and our machines should better co-exist.
“Technology is putting our humanity at risk to an unprecedented degree,” he says.
By 2049 — less than three decades away — AI will be a billion times more intelligent than humans.
“Scary Smart” explains how we can to fix the current trajectory, and ensure that the future AI can preserve our species.