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First-time homebuyers face a lose-lose scenario

By Matt Turner,Dave Smith,


Hi, I'm Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to Insider Weekly, a roundup of some of our top stories. S ign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each Sunday.

On the agenda today:

But first: Our LA bureau chief Alison Brower has been at the Sundance Film Festival this week. She shares a dispatch from her time in snowy Park City, Utah, among Hollywood's elite.

My week in the mountains with A-list stars
Brooke Shields attends the 2023 Sundance Film Festival "Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields" Premiere at Eccles Center Theatre on January 20, 2023 in Park City, Utah.

It was impossible not to feel optimistic about the state of independent film at the opening weekend of the 39th Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Insider's Alison Brower writes.

The fest, held in person for the first time since 2020, was brimming with hot titles and A-list stars. Raucous crowds jumped to their feet for standing ovations after seeing films like "Magazine Dreams," a brutal drama starring Jonathan Majors as a struggling bodybuilder, and "Theater Camp," a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary with all the glorious jazz-hand vibes you'd expect.

And then there were the docs. I caught two of the buzziest: "Stephen Curry: Underrated" and "Justice," by the "Bourne Identity" director Doug Liman, which explores the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Both stirred up powerful emotions among festivalgoers.

Rising production costs, declining theater attendance, studio consolidation — these are all pressing challenges for independent filmmakers . But so far, the Sundance dealmaking seems robust: The psychological thriller "Fair Play" was first out of the gate, selling to Netflix for $20 million.

The party scene was as lively as ever, anchored by HBO Documentary Films' annual shindig at Ruth's Chris Steak House. Did Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav sign off on that bottomless raw bar?

Get inside Sundance's films, parties, deals, and debates.

The most powerful man on Wall Street

Ken Griffin is on a roll. He's strung together three straight years of incredible returns that have become the envy of the industry. Last year alone , his hedge fund, Citadel, made $28 billion in revenue.

But anyone who knows Griffin knows this recent chain of successes was a long time coming . People in his orbit, including current and former employees, describe the 54-year-old executive as sharp, ambitious, and a pioneer in finance.

And he's in his element right now, having moved his business to his home state of Florida — where he's poised to offer his support to its governor and presumptive 2024 presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis. Next stop: Treasury secretary of the United States?

Inside Ken Griffin's world.

Read more:

Big Tech's wake-up call

Last week, tens of thousands of employees from Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies were suddenly laid off. Many of these tech workers are now sharing their feelings on LinkedIn and Twitter. They feel betrayed. Shocked. Hurt. Angry.

After years of being told employment was something more than transactional , these tech workers are coming to grips with a harsh truth : A workplace, even in the tech industry, is not a family. A former Googler summed it up well: "You can work for one of the most esteemed employers in the world and still be reduced to a dollar sign."

Why the workplace-as-family concept is so toxic.

Read more:

First-time homebuyers are screwed

Home prices are skyrocketing . Interest rates are surging . A decade's worth of underbuilding means fewer options and steep competition for listings. Put all these variables together, and you'll start to understand why buying a home for the first time has become an exercise in futility for so many Americans.

Many experts worry that without some type of major intervention, the obstacles facing first-time homebuyers will continue to get worse for years to come.

What this means for new homebuyers.

Read more:

The ketamine question

Ketamine has been popular on the party scene for decades, but more recent research has shown it to be an effective treatment for stubborn cases of depression. Now, a growing number of VC-backed therapy startups, in combination with looser pandemic-era restrictions, is making the drug more available than ever. Still, ketamine may not be the "wonder drug" that many believe it to be.

Insider's Anna Silman talked to people who believe in ketamine's potential, those who worry about its side effects, and those who became dependent on it. Her story illustrates a larger problem: Ketamine is increasingly accessible, but its long-term impact isn't widely understood.

Inside the rise of ketamine.

This week's quote:

"It's hard for me to believe that after 20 years at Google I unexpectedly find out about my last day via an email. What a slap in the face."

More of this week's top reads:

Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Dave Smith and Lisa Ryan. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.

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