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In today’s email:

  • Energized: Oil-and-gas’s record 2022.
  • Video: The insane resurgence of vinyl records.
  • Exhibit A: Emoji are popping up in court cases.
  • Around the web: The oldest billboard, a movie game, cheap flights, and more.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about oil-and-gas’s record year, innovation in the cereal industry, an AI news roundup, Meta’s earnings, and more.

The big idea
gas pump

Oil-and-gas saw record profits in 2022

Last year, President Biden slammed Exxon Mobil for making “more money than God.”

That moment underlined a sharp turnaround from 2020, when the pandemic slashed oil prices and ground energy companies to a near-halt. That year, Exxon posted a $22B loss — its first in decades.

Last year, though — as global demand skyrocketed while supply remained tight, especially amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — the industry boomed.

Exxon Mobil generated $56B in profit, a record that equates to ~$6.3m every hour.

Here comes the scrutiny

The record profits have sparked renewed pressure on the industry, which has plowed ahead with tens of billions of dollars in dividends and stock buybacks, per NPR.

On Tuesday, the White House called out oil companies for this, and President Biden has previously threatened higher taxes on energy companies that don’t reinvest money into increasing supply.

Interestingly, Europe has imposed a 33% tax on “surplus profits” from energy firms to redistribute to consumers. Exxon sued to block that tax, which it estimates would cost ~$1.8B for 2022.

What about renewables?

Some oil giants are reportedly scaling back renewable energy plans as they look to maintain high-performing legacy oil-and-gas businesses, per The Wall Street Journal.

But that doesn’t mean companies aren’t transitioning away from gas in the long term. BP has said it plans to reduce fossil-fuel production by 40% from 2019 levels by 2030, though it’s also considering dialing back investments in solar and wind.

Along those lines, this week, Cathie Wood’s asset management firm Ark Invest released its popular “Big Ideas” report for 2023. The group forecasts that by 2030, with the rise of EVs, oil demand for cars could dip 30%.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Beyonce will tour for the first time since 2016. Due to the T-Swift debacle, ticket releases will be staggered. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady swears he’s retiring for real this time.


Meta shares got a whole lotta likes after the company reported Q4 revenue that beat expectations. The company’s family of apps now boasts 3.74B monthly users.

D2C cereal brand Magic Spoon is expanding to 6.8k+ stores across the US, including Target, Walmart, Kroger, and Albertsons.

TodAI in AI: Microsoft could soon integrate GPT-4 into its Bing search engine, OpenAI launched the $20/mo. ChatGPT Plus, and Google is testing its own ChatGPT competitor. More importantly, there’s now a CatGPT.

A KFC in Bakersfield, California, installed solar panels on its drive-thru canopy, which is expected to reduce energy costs by $11k in its first year.

NBCUniversal has axed Peacock’s free-with-ads membership tier, requiring new customers to subscribe for $4.99/mo. with ads, or $9.99/mo. without. Elsewhere in streaming, we now have more details on Netflix’s password-sharing restrictions.

Good news: Australian officials found the dangerous radioactive capsule that fell off a truck last month. It was located ~6.5 feet from the road.

JP Morgan bought a forest. The bank’s asset management arm bought 250k acres of Pine Belt woodlands for $500m+, which it’ll manage for wood and carbon capture.

Beefing: Walmart tweeted that Amazon Fresh delivery — which now only offers free delivery for orders of $150+ — is “looking pretty stale.” Walmart’s free delivery starts at $35.

Pedal to the metal: Peloton stock jumped 20%+ on a Q4 revenue beat, growth in its subscription business, and a net loss that narrowed YoY, despite eight straight unprofitable quarters.

ADHD at work: ADHD can be a superpower at work and in entrepreneurship if individuals are given the right resources. We’ve put together some tips to help.

vinyl records sales

Video: The insane resurgence of vinyl records

Long before the days of Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, vinyl records were all the rage.

In the 1970s, vinyl sales peaked at 530m units/yr. and accounted for 66% of all music format revenues.

Every kid worth his or her weight had bulky copies of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Rumours,” and “The Dark Side of the Moon.”

But as new formats emerged, the vinyl market virtually evaporated. Revenue fell from $2.5B to just $10m/yr.

And by the ‘90s, vinyl sales dipped to <10m units — a mere 0.1% of market share.

In recent years, though, something odd has happened: Vinyl has made a small but mighty comeback. Fueled largely by under-35 millennial hipsters, the old, outdated format has risen from the dead.

But how exactly did vinyls get their groove back, and are they here for a long time — or just for a good time?

Watch the quick video. →
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Winky Face

All rise: Emoji have entered the court

If we wrote, “👁️❤️🍔,” would you know what it meant?

According to the US court system — maybe. Emoji are showing up as evidence in court cases more frequently than ever before, per The Verge.

Law professor Eric Goldman, who’s been tracking references to “emoji” and “emoticon” in US court opinions since 2004, says mentions skyrocketed in 2018.

Where things get complicated:

  • Emoji are subjective and leave space for multiple interpretations.
  • Depending on what device or platform you’re using, they can look very different.

That makes it harder for emoji to serve as indisputable evidence, the way written communication might, but they can still provide helpful context in court cases.

For example:

In a Bay Area case that followed a prostitution sting, prosecutors argued that a man was guilty of pimping charges. Among the evidence: Instagram DMs to a woman reading, “Teamwork make the dream work” alongside high heels and money bag emoji.

The prosecutors said the message proved a working relationship between the two individuals. Defendants said it could simply be flirtatious.

Since emoji specialists don’t exist (*adds to list of dream jobs*), an expert in sex trafficking was called to testify in the case. His take: The high heels and money bags supported the charges.

All we know is that, after looking through those court records, the winky face better lawyer up.

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🏝️ On this day: In 1709, sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued after spending four years shipwrecked on a South Pacific island. His ordeal likely inspired Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

That’s interesting: The Dholavira signboard may be the world’s oldest billboard, but it’s unclear what it says.

🎥 Cure boredom: This game challenges players to find the shortest path between two movies.

✈️ No brainer: Going scours the web for the best rates on airfare. Sign up for free to receive ridiculous deals today.

🐶 Haha: And now, a funny voicemail from doggy daycare.

dating app tweet

Groceries and chill. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Sara Friedman, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Shrug Emoji Lawyer” Dent.

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