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Netflix: Shonda Rhimes: ‘I see myself not as one of TV’s most powerful women but as one of TV’s most powerful people’ | USA

In 2005, the world first fell in love with the television show Grey’s Anatomy. Seventeen years later, viewers are still closely following the private and professional lives of the staff at Seattle Grace Hospital. This was how Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the series, started her career in television. At one point, she was producing 70 episodes for free-to-air television a year, while her production company Shondaland has been responsible for hits such as Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. In 2017 she left ABC network, which is owned by Disney, to sign a five-year contract with the streaming platform Netflix. According to US media, the contract was worth more than $100 million (€87 million). In 2021, Netflix renewed the contract for another five years and gave her a juicy pay rise, with the current agreement estimated to be worth $150 million (€130 million).

Shondaland is the production company behind one of Netflix’s biggest successes, Bridgerton, whose second season comes out on March 25. On February 11, Shondaland’s new series Inventing Anna was also released. It is the first show Rhimes has created since Scandal in 2012. Inventing Anna follows the true story of Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin), who posed as a rich German heiress to win favor with New York’s elite and swindle businesses and individuals out of thousands of dollars. Delvey conned $275,000 out of luxury hotels, banks and multimillionaire friends – crimes that landed her in prison. She was released on bail in February 2021 and has had no involvement with the Netflix series. Rhimes talked to EL PAÍS about the new show and her work in television via a video call.

Question. Why did you choose Delvey’s story for your first series as a creator in a decade?

Answer. It came from such a compelling article written by Jessica Pressler [in New York Magazine in 2018] that I was just excited about it from the very moment I read it. You could feel the cinema within it, and the characters and the idea of these women was something I couldn’t get out of my mind.

Q. What was the most challenging part of telling the story of Inventing Anna?

A. It was a fascinating story because we were writing it as it was unfolding. Our writers’ room began while the trial was happening and then we had the pandemic to contend with. So a project that I think we started writing in 2018 didn’t complete filming until 2020 -2021. It took a long time to complete this project: to write something as it is unfolding and then to be stopped by a pandemic and then to have to pick it up again meant that we had a project that went for a long time. The meaning of where the world was changed while we were making it.

Trailer for ‘Inventing Anna’

Q. Ten years have passed since Scandal, the last series you created. Why so long?

A. It sounds like it’s been a lot of time, but you have to think about the fact that the TV shows I created go for a very long time. Scandal lasted for seven years. Grey’s Anatomy was still going. For me, it wasn’t about there being a long time between creating them, it was about having time to create more shows. And when we moved to Netflix, which was really an exciting move for us, the first thing that I did after putting Scandal to bed was focus on what I really knew I wanted to be our first project , which was Bridgerton.

Q. Now that you have developed two shows for Netflix, what do you see as the difference between producing a series for traditional network television and for a streaming platform?

A. I’m enjoying the collaboration that Netflix provides a lot. There was a certain kind of show that you could produce for network television that follows a certain kind of rule. With network television, you are working for a corporation. And with Netflix, you’re working with what almost feels like a start-up. And a start-up has a very ‘can-do’ mentality. There is a great sense of enthusiasm for telling stories and telling new kinds of stories and for being versatile, which I’ve really enjoyed.

Q. Your deal with Netflix was announced nearly five years ago. Bridgerton was released three years later and now your second production for the platform, Inventing Anna, has arrived. It appears you like to take your time to create and develop TV shows, at least in comparison to other producers and creators…

A. I did take my time. I like to do a good job. My goal wasn’t to rush and just throw things out there on the screen. We wanted to get it right and we wanted to make shows that we were really proud of. I’m not saying that other people aren’t doing the same thing at a faster pace, but we were doing it at our own pace.

A scene from the series 'Grey's Anatomy.'
A scene from the series ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’

Q. What do you look for in a story as a producer?

A. I always look for a story that I want to watch. That’s the best barometer I have for whether or not a show is going to be good. Do I want to watch it? Betsy Beers, my producing partner, and I, we’ve always worked from that theory that we make stories that we want to watch. Bridgerton was something we wanted to watch really badly. Inventing Anna is something I knew we wanted to watch.

Q. You are considered one of the most powerful women in television. Does this power weigh on you?

A. Well, I don’t consider myself one of the most powerful women in television, I consider myself one of the most powerful people in television. Because I don’t think there is a difference in how powerful women are and how powerful men are. And I don’t think it weighs on my life at all. It’s my job. I’m lucky that I have this as my job.

Q. I’m sorry for how I phrased my previous question, you’re right. You have been asked a lot about the experience of being a Black woman in the television industry, which is dominated by white men. Do you think you have paved a way for others?

A. I don’t know, I hope that the doors have opened and that there is plenty of room for everybody to be making stories and telling stories. I think it’s very clear that the more people telling stories and the more voices that are telling stories, the better television is doing and the more people are interested in watching those stories. Nobody wants to watch the same kinds of stories all the time.

Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in a scene from season two of 'Bridgerton'
Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in a scene from season two of ‘Bridgerton’LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

Q. What decisions are you most proud of in your career?

A. I think I am just most proud of being a writer. I think at heart that is what I am, a writer. I’m a producer, there are other jobs that I do, but in my heart, I am always just going to be a writer.

Q. What has Grey’s Anatomy meant for your career? And what lessons have you learned from the show that you have applied to your other creations?

A. I would say that I learned everything from Grey’s Anatomy. I had never worked in television before. Creating Grey’s Anatomy was my first job in television so I learned how to make television by making Grey’s Anatomy. I learned how to run a television show by working on Grey’s Anatomy. I learned everything that I know about TV from Grey’s Anatomy. It amazes me that it is still on the air and it’s still running and it’s still a top show for the network and that fans are still responding to it and that a new generation is still discovering it. Netflix makes it possible for new generations of fans to discover that show on a daily basis, which is so amazing to me. I think we’re on our second generation of fans. We have writers in our writers’ room in Grey’s Anatomy who grew up watching that show. That show will always be incredibly special to me, because it taught me how to do this job.

Q. What do you think is the key to the success of your shows?

A. I have no idea, I really don’t. I can’t begin to tell you why other people like the shows. I’m thrilled that they do. I hope it’s because we tell stories honestly and that we create characters that feel real and are living authentic lives in really complicated situations that make you feel compelled to watch. But I don’t spend my time thinking about why they watch because then I would get worried because I don’t know if there is a formula. I’m just really glad that they do watch.

Q. You are often asked about your success. But have you experienced failure? And if so, what did you learn from it?

A. What’s been really interesting for me is that I’ve been raised to not look at failure as failure. Or to look at it like it’s fine to fail. Failures are simply another way of learning something. I think our biggest problem is when we look at failures as some kind of devastation or some sort of horrible moment. I think you can succeed in some things and you can fail in others and that’s absolutely okay. Those failures are ways of teaching you things and giving you lessons for how to be better and to keep you humble. Nobody’s perfect. And to expect yourself to be is a dangerous road to go down.

Q. Your shows are sometimes referred to as a “guilty pleasure.” What do you think of this concept?

A. I think there is nothing guilty about pleasure. I always find that phrase slightly insulting because it suggests that you shouldn’t be watching them. Our shows are highly compelling, lots of people watch them. I don’t know why you should feel guilty for watching something and I don’t know why pleasure should make you feel guilty. It’s a phrase that people like to use, I haven’t figured it out yet.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

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