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😱 The Doomsday Clock’s meaning

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Rolex is demanding that Oyster & Pop rebrand, arguing people will confuse the company’s colorful, educational wall clocks for children (~$25) with its Oyster Perpetual watches for adults, which retail for thousands.

In today’s email:

  • ChatGPT: Could it earn an MBA?
  • Chart: What are stock buybacks?
  • The Doomsday Clock: What exactly does it mean?
  • Around the web: A sausage scandal, a rare comet, the wonders of Street View, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Zack and Rob discuss ChatGPT acing an MBA exam, Pokemon Go for the NBA, ESPN’s pickleball play, and more.

The big idea
MBA Exam

Would ChatGPT get a Wharton MBA?

That’s the question posed by professor Christian Terwiesch from the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School of Business.

Terwiesch’s recent curiosity led him to test the technology’s performance on one of his final exams for an operations management course.

How’d it go?

While ChatGPT struggled with some advanced prompts and made mistakes on sixth-grade math problems, it did remarkably well at answering basic operations management and process analysis questions.

For these kinds of questions, Terwiesch wrote, “Not only are the answers correct, but the explanations are excellent.”

Read through ChatGPT’s answers and you’ll see why, in Terwiesch’s 25 years of teaching, he recognizes that it’s arguably “the closest that technology has come” to automating the skills of managers and consultants.

What are the implications?

Regarding ChatGPT’s impact on business school faculty, Terwiesch sees:

  • The need to raise the bar for assignments, while also letting students engage with ChatGPT through a critical lens.
  • The potential to leverage ChatGPT to make the teaching process — including exam writing and grading — more efficient.

Terwiesch plans to ban ChatGPT’s use on assignments that assess students’ foundational knowledge, which he says is needed to make complex decisions even when leveraging AI.

“An elementary school student still needs to learn that 7 x 7 = 49 and that the capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg, even though calculators have been widely used for over 50 years and students can use Google or Wikipedia to find answers,” he explained.

For now, it’s clear ChatGPT is capable of passing assessments like these. Terwiesch gave it a B on his exam. And as the saying goes, Cs get degrees.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

M.M. Keeravani’s “Naatu Naatu” is the first song from an Indian movie to nab a best original song Oscar nom. Hear it in RRR, a Telugu-language action film that, with a $72m budget, is India’s most expensive film. It’s also absolutely, utterly, truly bonkers.

SNIPPETS

America vs. Google: The Department of Justice and eight states filed a lawsuit against Google for monopolizing digital ad technology. Google responded with a blog post of its own.

Pokemon Go, but make it basketball. Niantic partnered with the NBA to launch NBA All-World, a geolocation-based AR basketball game.

We see you, Strava. The fitness-tracking social app acquired Fatmap, which offers high-res 3D maps for outdoor sports and activities.

Amazon launched RxPass, a $5/mo. Prime add-on service offering generic versions of drugs used to treat 80+ common conditions.

Pickleboom: ESPN inked a deal with the Association of Pickleball Professionals to broadcast 200+ hours of live pickleball coverage.

Microsoft just barely missed analyst expectations for the quarter, pulling in $52.7B. While its Azure cloud business grew 31% YoY, its growth has slowed.

Eardrums rejoice: New York City’s new sound-measuring traffic cameras are identifying ridiculously loud vehicles — and fining them $800 for a first-time offense.

Job data: In December, remote jobs accounted for 13.2% of all advertised listings on LinkedIn, down ~7% since March. Meanwhile, 52.8% of all applications were for remote jobs.

A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once scored 11 nominations for the 95th Academy Awards, followed by All Quiet on the Western Front and The Banshees of Inisherin, both with nine.

Walmart is raising starting wages for warehouse and store workers from $12/hr. to $14/hr. to better compete with retail rivals.

Land the gig, close the sale, make a friend — here are 101 tips for networking with professionals and crushing every function.

FROM THE BLOG
laptop

You asked, we answered. Our latest edition of Ask The Hustle offers advice to a reader who’s wondering if taking the jump into full-time entrepreneurship is the right move.

CHART
buybacks
Zachary Crockett

What the hell are stock buybacks?

Over the past decade, American corporations have raked in record-setting profits. Last year alone, they collectively made $12T+.

A growing portion of that money has gone toward one thing: buying back their own stock.

For most of the 20th century, stock buybacks were largely illegal and viewed as market manipulation. But in 1982, the Reagan administration instituted a “safe harbor” rule that gave corporate executives broader permissions to use them.

Since then, annual spending on stock buybacks has ballooned to $900B+ per year.

Wall Street says these buybacks help shareholders — but critics say they have a negative impact on R&D, hiring, and the economy at large.

Why are these companies doing this? And who is it really benefiting?

Check out the full visual explainer. →
Free Resource

Let’s talk about driving revenue in 2023

Before you dump more cash into the same marketing and sales strategies, it’s wise to take an unabashed look at your business.

If you want more bang for the buck, this coaching conversation with Donald Miller can help you grip your product and gauge your priorities.

On episode No. 103 of the Business Made Simple podcast:

  • Optimizing your existing product
  • Tapping into new revenue streams
  • Doubling down on your “why”
  • Touch points for growth marketers
  • Resources for small businesses

Consume this episode on your favorite streaming service.

The proof is in the profits →
Apocalypse Soon?
Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock, explained

The Doomsday Clock was set to 90 seconds to midnight on Tuesday. That sounds pretty dire, but what does it mean?

It goes back to the Atomic Age.

Manhattan Project scientist Eugene Rabinowitch…

… was the primary author of 1945’s Franck Report, which advocated against using atomic weapons during WWII.

He co-founded the nonprofit Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists shortly after the US, failing to listen, bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

The Bulletin draws attention to human-made threats — including nuclear and technology risks and climate change — via a website, magazine, and…

… the Doomsday Clock

The clock serves as a metaphor for how close humanity is to destroying itself, with midnight being an apocalyptic event.

It was set at seven minutes to midnight when it debuted in 1947, and has since changed 25 times.

  • First in 1949, to three minutes, following the Soviet Union’s first successful atomic bomb test.
  • The “safest” we’ve ever been was 17 minutes in 1991 after the Cold War ended.

Who changes it?

Rabinowitch, until his death in 1973. Now, the Bulletin’s Science and Security Board meets twice annually to decide.

  • The clock is never altered in real-time. During the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which lasted 13 days, the hands didn’t budge.

What about now?

The current time reflects the war in Ukraine, per the Bulletin, including:

  • Its effects on climate change
  • Russian threats of nuclear warfare
  • Activity in the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor sites

You can see the clock’s complete timeline here.

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AROUND THE WEB

⛷️ On this day: In 1924, the first Winter Olympics were held at Chamonix in the French Alps, though it was called “International Winter Sports Week” at the time.

🌭 That’s interesting: The Surfdale Sausager is scandalizing New Zealand’s Waiheke Island, leaving sausages in residents’ mailboxes without explanation.

☄️ How to: Spot a rare green comet as it approaches Earth.

🗺️ Cure boredom: Surf Wonders of Street View, which takes you to a random scene caught via Google’s cameras.

😍 Aww: And now, a squeaky baby pika.

TWEET
Fridays tweet

Because there aren’t. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Not the Surfdale Sausager” Dent.

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