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The game went viral. By February, it was topping the charts in more than 100 countries and had been downloaded more than 50 million times. Nguyen was earning an estimated $50,000 a day. Not even Mark Zuckerberg became rich so fast.

Less than a year into his return as C.E.O., one thing is clear: the company’s fortunes are indelibly tied to those of its controversial co-founder. I'm leaving the company in two weeks,” Dick Costolo said abruptly, his face stricken, his fingers banging the wood-slab table before him. Costolo, the bald and lithe chief executive of Twitter, was sitting in the Waterthrush conference room on the 11th floor of his company’s headquarters, in the old Western Furniture Exchange and Merchandise Mart, in downtown San Francisco.

Think of Yahoo as a traditional enterprise (with all the assets just mentioned) stuck on top of a small safe deposit box. Inside that box: a huge pile of cash, plus stock certificates of two Asian tech companies. Yahoo owns about 15 percent of Internet giant Alibaba, a stake that would trade on the open market for roughly $29 billion. It also has a 36 percent holding (worth about $9 billion) in Yahoo! Japan, a publicly traded company based in Tokyo that long ago abandoned Yahoo’s search technology for Google’s. If you add up the cash and the stocks, you’ll notice that the value of the contents of the box totals $43 billion.

Uggs are certainly ugly, or at least inelegant. They look like something Frankenstein’s monster would wear if he were an elf. The shapeless, unstructured boots, pulled on in a hurry, can make anyone look like a slob, which has made them the target of special scorn. For as long as Uggs have been popular, it hasn’t been hard to find someone furiously denouncing them. “Ugg boots are not sexy,” the Independent declared in 2003, “unless you’re Mrs Bigfoot on a lone mission across Antarctica to find Mr Bigfoot.”

McClendon was smart, shrewd, visionary, and dogged—and he had trouble following rules. On occasion, when a gamble on a new gas field worked out, that helped him. But just as often, it hurt. His contrarian push into shale drilling revolutionized the global energy business and made him a billionaire. His disdain for convention attracted regulatory scrutiny, angered shareholders, and cost him his job running the company he built.

David Milch, the storied mind also behind 'Deadwood,' changed television. Now, according to a lawsuit, the racetrack regular has lost his homes, owes the IRS $17 million and is on a $40-a-week allowance. Still, his supporters stay close: "He's brilliant.”

The grand opening of Target Canada was set to begin in one month, and Tony Fisher needed to know whether the company was actually ready. In February 2013, about a dozen senior-level employees gathered at the company’s Mississauga, Ont., headquarters to offer updates on the state of their departments. Fisher, Target Canada’s president, was holding these meetings every day as the launch date crept closer. The news was rarely good.

Thousands of boats are stolen each year, and some are recovered using alcohol, prostitutes, witch doctors and other forms of guile. In Greece, Max Hardberger posed as an interested buyer, in Haiti as a port official, in Trinidad, a shipper. He has plied guards with booze and distracted them with prostitutes; spooked port police officers with witch doctors and duped night watchmen into leaving their posts. His goal: to get on board a vessel he is trying to retrieve and race toward the 12-mile line where the high seas begin and local jurisdiction ends.

Terrence Taylor suffered severe burns as a child and reached a settlement with a space-heater manufacturer that had a lifetime expected payout of $31.5 million, but after numerous sales from his structured settlement at a fraction of the value, he is broke.

Will the home-cleaning revolution be Uberfied? How one company tried, and spectacularly failed. The online home-cleaning startup was in the midst of an explosive expansion and only shut its doors two days each year: Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

But on this particular holiday, a booking had slipped through unnoticed, due to a website malfunction, according to a former employee. Rather than cancel an appointment at the last minute, Homejoy’s cofounder and CEO Adora Cheung grabbed a toilet brush and a vacuum cleaner. Then she headed to San Francisco’s Mission Dolores neighborhood and scrubbed.

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