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🍃 GE’s future is wind power

GE created the world’s most powerful wind turbine, beating us to the punch by, oh, a decade or so.Here’s the thing: Ours was going to be powered by the most endless energy source of all… the hot air coming out of Trevor Milton’s mouth. Zing.


January 6, 2021

PLUS: FAA’s new drone regulations, explained.
January 6, 2021
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GE created the world’s most powerful wind turbine, beating us to the punch by, oh, a decade or so.

Here’s the thing: Ours was going to be powered by the most endless energy source of all… the hot air coming out of Trevor Milton’s mouth. Zing.

The Big Idea

GE created the world’s most powerful wind turbine. What’s next?

Back in 2000, General Electric (GE) had a massive market cap of $600B+ and was the most valuable firm in the world.

Today, after years of corporate misadventures and a slowing of innovation, the industrial conglomerate’s market cap has winnowed to $94B.

To reach its old heights, GE is betting big on offshore wind power with the creation of Haliade-X, the world’s most powerful turbine.

Capital investment in offshore wind is worth $26B…

… more than triple what it was 10 years ago, according to the New York Times.

In recent times, energy giants like BP and Shell have made huge investments to hedge against the decline of oil.

GE made its first foray into the industry in 2002 when it bought the land-based wind business from everyone’s favorite corporate punching bag, Enron.

In 2015, it made a huge splash into offshore wind by acquiring the power business of French conglomerate Alstom for $17B.

The Haliade-X project is comically big

According to the NYT, GE’s wind turbine:

  • is ~80% the height of the Empire State Building
  • has a turning diameter of 2+ football fields
  • can power a home for 2 days with one rotation

It’s ⅓ more powerful than the current offshore wind turbine and can generate ~30x more energy than the first offshore wind project installed in Denmark in 1991.

How Haliade-X stacks up in size (Source: General Electric)

Size matters in wind turbines

Large machines can better combat harsh marine weather environments. They also create more electricity, which means:

  • More revenue
  • Fewer turbines needed to be installed and maintained

With Haliade-X, GE has won an estimated $13B in contracts from Denmark to Massachusetts.

At present, offshore only accounts for ~5% of wind power output. But GE’s bet has room for growth and could one day help it party like it’s 2000.

Snippets
  • Jack Ma Watch: The mind behind Alibaba is said to be “laying low” amid regulatory blowback. Elsewhere, China sentenced the former head of a large asset manager to death for taking $277m in bribes.
  • Auto sales ran out of gas in 2020. Analysts expect a 15% dip following a record-breaking 5-year stretch of 17m vehicles sold annually.
  • But electric vehicles hit a high in Norway. Massive tax incentives propelled electric vehicle sales to >50% of the car market, making Norway the first country to cross that threshold.
  • Counting beans: Divvy — the corporate spend management software — just raised a monster $165m at a $1.6B valuation. This is probably what Jim from accounting uses when he bugs you about your DoorDash expenses.
  • Qualcomm’s Steve Mollenkopf will be stepping down as CEO and making way for Cristiano Amon, the mobile tech firm’s 5G strategist. (Read more of our 5G coverage here.)
  • AMP Robotics — which we previously covered — just raised $55m for its AI tech that sorts recycling.
  • Back track: The NYSE will not delist 3 Chinese telecom companies. One reason: to not further flame the trade war.
 
‘What’s your social?’

Scammers have ripped off as much as $36B in unemployment benefits this year

It sounds like something from a James Bond movie: A shadowy Nigerian crime ring called “Scattered Canary” has used the pandemic to steal millions from the government.

Washington state was hit first. Unemployment requests flew to 10x the expected rate, as Scattered Canary and others used false claims to leach $600m in just 2 weeks.

Since then, scammers have targeted all 50 states, stealing thousands of identities and siphoning billions from the unemployed.

Scattered Canary only needs your name

Once they have that, “It’s over. It’s easy money,” one insider said. The process looks like this:

  • They pay $2 in crypto to get your Social Security number.
  • Search FamilyTreeNow or TruthFinder for more (i.e., mother’s maiden name)
  • File hundreds of unemployment requests in your name using variations on a single Gmail address.

About 1 in 6 attempts works. Once the money is released, they launder it through a mule network using Venmo, PayPal, Green Dot, and even gift cards.

Not all mules are foreign (or even aware of what they’re doing); last month a 70-year-old Mississippi woman was arraigned after allegedly moving $79k+ in fraudulent money.

10% of unemployment claims could be fraud

According to USA Today, that would equal ~$36B this year.

States are fighting back. Illinois has stopped 341k+ fraudulent claims since March, and Washington has recouped $357m.

We need 007 on this ASAP.

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Ready for takeoff

Amazon’s 2013 drone video (speed may vary)

The FAA just moved drone deliveries one step closer to your front door

Remember that 2013 video of a Prime Air drone casually delivering something from a fulfillment center to a home? Well, we’re now much closer to that reality.

For years, the FAA has been (kind of reasonably) concerned about an unhinged swarm of 1.7m+ drones crowding the skies.

To deal with it, the federal agency is embracing an upward trend in commercial drone registrations and issuing new regulations.

The rules require drones to publicly broadcast their location…

… with a digital license plate.

At present, only 3 companies — UPS, Amazon, and Wing — have regulatory approval to operate nationwide drone fleets and do business in the sky.

The FAA’s new rules will allow devices — classified into 4 tiers (from lightweight devices with no exposed propellers to advanced craft that would go through the same vetting as traditional aircraft) — to fly over populated areas.

Alphabet’s drone subsidiary Wing released a legal diss track

In a classic case of “a kettle calling a pot black,” Wing argues the new FAA rules invade user privacy (by allowing geo-tracking) and — instead — proposes:

  • An automated transit network much like its own OpenSky product
  • A “license plate” solution that identifies drones as they fly over spaces but protects information like flight paths

The FAA could change its mind in Wing’s favor, but the rules will take a couple years to go into effect either way.

So we’re telling you now: The buzzing you’ll hear outside in 2023 is drones. You are not going crazy.

The Internet is Undefeated

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is getting roasted online for the new rebrand of its website, which Ad Age says has been described as a “millenial pop-up shop.”

We kind of like the aesthetic but think there is a huge missed opportunity here. The CIA has the perfect letters to ape the famous 1981 “Eye-Bee-M” ad that was created by designer Paul Rand for… IBM (who just hired former Goldman COO and Trump cabinet official Gary Cohn as vice chairman).

Here is us rectifying a missed opportunity: 

The Hustle Says

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The CIA just announced their official redesign. Ad Age’s take? “It looks like a millennial pop-up shop.”

…and here’s how it would’ve looked if they were a DTC company. Cia, pronounced “see-ya.”

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GE fact of the day

Thomas Edison (L) and John Pierpont Morgan (R), who looks like someone who would be called “John Pierpont Morgan.”

The story behind General Electric (GE) begins in the late 1880s and involves 2 of America’s most famous business personalities: inventor Thomas Edison and banker John Pierpont (JP) Morgan.

In 1889, Edison had his hands in all things electricity and — in an obnoxious move to remind everyone of it — had stamped his name on various ventures:

  • Edison Lamp Company: A lamp manufacturer.
  • Edison Machine Works: A manufacturer of dynamos and electric motors.
  • Bergmann & Company: A manufacturer of lighting fixtures and sockets.
  • Edison Electric Light Company: A patent holding company for Edison’s light experiments.

Edison Electric was actually backed by the Vanderbilt family and Drexel, Morgan & Co., a bank co-founded by JP Morgan (which today exists as… drumroll… JPMorgan Chase).

Morgan helped Edison merge all these companies into one corporate entity — “Edison General Electric Company” — in April 1889.

The rest is history.

TRENDS

Often, it’s the niches you least expect that are the real moneymakers.

Our team of analysts did some research into P&G’s revenue streams.

A whopping 22% of revenue comes from “fabric care” (aka laundry detergent).

We did some more digging, and found that fabric care is an incredibly profitable business to get into.

(A bestselling bleach alternative has a single ingredient and a 97% profit margin)

Here’s the best part –

Entrepreneurs can participate in this space with relatively little expertise.

Our team put together a full report for you to read through, so that you can get some ideas and get started immediately.

When you read through, you’ll learn:

  • Tactics that led a “laundry-strip” startup to $30M/year
  • How one company sold a product with a single ingredient to Unilever for $100M
  • Strategies worth copying, and opportunities you can get started on today.
  • And much more.

If you’re not already a member of Trends, sign up today for a $1 trial to get access to the full report.

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