🛢️ Is Exxon going green?


June 1, 2021

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The Hustle

Honestly, how is it already June?

The big idea
Windmill

ExxonMobil is the largest direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil…and it is being forced to go green.

The huge shake-up at oil giant ExxonMobil

ExxonMobil just lost a huge boardroom battle.

At a shareholder meeting last week, 2 green-friendly directors — who will push for a lower carbon future — were voted onto the energy giant’s board of directors.

According to The Economist, it is “extremely rare” for a company of Exxon’s size to have even a single dissenting voice on the board (translation: things are going to change).

With climate change concerns…

… more pressing than ever, Big Oil is facing pressure from all angles (governments, consumers) to clean up their energy production.

The most aggressive moves have come from green-friendly Europe:

  • BP has plans to reduce the carbon intensity of its products by 50% in the next 3 decades
  • Shell will be carbon neutral by mid-century

While ExxonMobil has carbon-reduction plans in place, critics want more. To wit: The company’s current spending plan calls for $3B on green projects in the next 5 years (vs. ~$100B for its other projects).

A defeat has been years in the making

In 2013, ExxonMobil was the world’s largest company. Today, the company’s value has fallen ~40% from its peak and — last year — it recorded a $22B loss due to the pandemic.

A small activist hedge fund named Engine No. 1 started agitating for change in December.

It was backed by 2 massive California pension funds (CalPERS, CalSTRS). While they own <1% of ExxonMobil, the funds’ combined $700B of assets make them very influential, per The Economist.

To be carbon neutral by 2050…

… the world must stop all new oil and gas projects, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) released in mid-May.

While there is much work to do, ExxonMobil’s stunning board defeat is one step toward reaching that goal.

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SNIPPETS

Going nuclear: Finland breaks ground on its $3.4B nuclear waste repository. #clean-energy

Can Ethereum overtake Bitcoin? If it does, it will be because Ethereum has ”much higher utility.” #fintech-cryptocurrency

Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are complying with India’s new IT rules that require Big Tech names to appoint a representative that can address on-the-ground concerns. #big-tech

Maryland and Montana are the first US states to introduce a law that limits police use of “forensic genealogy,” which is the DNA search method used to identify the Golden State Killer. #privacy

Forbes breaks down current retail trends, including AI-powered personal shopping and the rise of smaller retail stores. #ecommerce-retail

Trung takes a look back at how Amazon Prime was launched. #hustle-picks

Chipper Cash, an African fintech firm, raises $100m and becomes the continent’s “most valuable startup.” #emerging-tech

Too much social
TikTok screenshots

Barista by day and TikTok influencer… also by day (Source: TikTok / BuzzFeed)

Starbucks baristas vs. TikTok

It wasn’t too long ago — circa fall 2020 — that TikTok was facing a permanent ban from the United States.

Having survived that corporate scare, the video-sharing platform is facing a new antagonist: Starbucks baristas say TikTok is driving them “insane.”

Why? The rise of the ‘Appuccino’

A TikTok trend is to share off-menu recipes — AKA “Appuccinos” — and how to order them. For example, get a strawberry frap with vanilla bean powder and white mocha and cinnamon dolce syrups for a “Strawberry Cheesecake Frappuccino.”

Recipes go viral, thanks to influencers and even experimental Starbucks employees with their own fan bases.

However, some of these drinks are pretty elaborate, take a long time to make, disrupt the shop’s usual rhythm, and use up ingredients.

But for all the baristas’ complaints…

… Starbucks’ business is increasingly going digital. According to BuzzFeed:

  • From January to March 2021, 26% of orders were mobile (up from 18% in the previous year)
  • The # of stores where mobile orders accounted for 20%+ of orders at the peak grew from 4.6k to 7.2k

It’s not just the volume of orders, either. The Starbucks app lets you add sauces, syrups, and toppings galore. The coffee chain has also added “secret menu” drinks before (e.g., Pink Drink, Medicine Ball).

Starbucks says it’s fine with these orders and — terrifyingly for baristas — estimates there are 170k+ ways to customize a drink.

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Free Resource

Go Mad Libs on these elevator pitch templates

Could you pitch your business in 1 minute?

If you don’t have a tightly spun rundown ready for that elusive moment with a prime executive or potential investor, someday it might slip by.

Thankfully, there are simple formulas for great fastball pitches. HubSpot covers all the bases in 8 crisp templates.

Fill these in real quick to stay sharp

Take a few minutes to complete these done-for-you templates. It’s a good look to revisit them every so often to keep the narratives fresh.

You never know when that chance encounter is coming…

And luck favors the brave.

8 elevator pitch sinkers →
By the numbers
Wayne Gretzky

Wayne ‘The Great One’ Gretzky (Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images)

Digits: Hockey inflation, a condom surge, and $11m wolves

  • Ice is on fire. A 1979 Wayne Gretzky rookie card sold for a record $3.75m, more than double the previous record of $1.29m for the same version of the card in a December auction. In 2011, the December auction card sold for $94k.
  • The band is getting back together. In April, Walmart luggage sales surged 400%, while partyware sales more than doubled and balloon sales jumped 50% versus a year ago at the retailer.
  • Wolves are keeping budgets in check. New research analyzing 22 years of data found that wolves in Wisconsin have reduced deer-vehicle collisions by 25% and saved Wisconsin $10.9m in losses each year.
  • Replace lawmakers with AI? A new study found 51% of Europeans surveyed are interested, along with 75% of Chinese. Less surprising: 60% of Americans are opposed to the idea.
  • Airbnb is getting a reno. The company announced 100+ upgrades to its service, including reducing the number of steps to become a host and flexible dates. Check ’em all out here.
  • On the road again. Americans were expected to spend ~$4.7B on gas over Memorial Day weekend, or ~$1.18B each day. The national average price was expected to be $2.98, the highest Memorial Day price since 2014’s $3.66 per gallon.
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Product Hunt

Product Hunt is hosting a hackathon… for the planet

Your Mother (Earth) wants to know what you’re doing next week. Product Hunt is hosting a hackathon geared around helping develop green tech and sustainable products.

Don’t be scared by the name hackathon — you don’t have to be a developer to enter. If you’ve ever opened a laptop and recycled something, you’re qualified.

Build something that helps the planet AND win some swag

Prizes include:

  • Tickets to TechCrunch Disrupt 2021
  • Access to $100k in savings
  • A Webflow CMS plan
  • Even a Silver Kitty trophy
  • Also… you will have helped the planet (the best prize of all)

You have until June 4 to sign up. Invite some friends to build with and BYOTM (bring your own trail mix).

Register for Free →
Sign of the Day
coffee menu sign

Source: Reddit

Some coffee shop somewhere was nice enough to make this product board that actually explains what the wacky coffee names mean.

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