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🥘 Is fine dining over?

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Oscar Mayer is accepting applications from recent college grads to be “Hot Doggers.” That means spending a year driving a Wienermobile across the US while posting to social media.

In today’s email:

  • Lit: The US may ban gas stoves.
  • Chart: The patent leaderboard.
  • Fine dining: A top chef says it’s unsustainable.
  • Around the web: A remote for remote meetings, artificial islands, the LA Zoo’s cute rainy day, and more.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Mark break down a US gas stove ban, Rolls-Royce’s big year, Disney’s return to office, Rob Gronkowski’s foot, and more.

The big idea
gas stove

Will the US ban gas stoves?

Cooking with gas may soon sound as unimaginable as painting with lead or building with asbestos.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering a ban on natural gas stoves, which, though used in ~40% of US kitchens, emit a cocktail of air pollutants, per Bloomberg.

Studies illustrating the hazards of gas stoves…

… have proliferated for 50 years. Based on EPA and World Health Organization standards, gas stoves produce unsafe levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide that can lead to:

  • Respiratory illness
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease

One of the biggest concerns is asthma. A study released last month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed that gas stoves contribute to 12%+ of US childhood asthma cases.

But many types of indoor cooking can emit dangerous particles. A rep for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers told Bloomberg that the country should focus on ventilation.

And don’t expect the gas industry to be silent

According to Mother Jones, Big Flame has tried to convince Americans of the superiority of gas stoves for decades and has turned up the heat in recent years.

  • Industry-sponsored Instagram influencers have shared posts of themselves cooking on gas stoves with extremely unsubtle captions like, “Did you know natural gas provides better cooking results? Pretty nifty, huh?!”
  • One pro-gas group spent $300k on a millennial-geared campaign in 2020.

In fact, the reason why you’ve ever heard someone say “cooking with gas” is likely because of the industry’s lobbying. Gas executives pushed the phrase into Daffy Duck cartoons and into Bob Hope’s comedy act as far back as the 1930s to combat the rise of electric stoves.

Paying for the switch: Thanks to last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, Americans can get rebates of up to $840 to replace their gas stove with an electric one.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

“The Foot of Destiny”: FanDuel’s Super Bowl LVII commercial will feature Rob Gronkowski attempting to kick a field goal live. If he makes it, betters will split a $10m pot to use for more bets. He will also auction off a signed replica of his foot.

SNIPPETS

Black founders raised $2.3B, ~1% of the $215.9B in US VC funding distributed in 2022, representing a slight drop from 1.3% in 2021.

Rolls-Royce had a record 2022, selling 6,021 cars last year at an average price of $534k. Sales were up 8% annually, despite broader auto industry sales down 8%.

PepsiCo is hoping Starry, a new lemon-lime soda, will lure Gen Z consumers. Similar offerings, like Sierra Mist, have failed to topple Coca-Cola’s Sprite.

Gaming platform Steam hit a record this weekend with 10m+ concurrent players. Popular titles included “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” “DOTA 2,” and the free-to-play “Goose Goose Duck.”

Over 7k NYC nurses across two hospitals went on strike yesterday, citing staffing shortages, low pay, and unsafe conditions.

The SEC fined ex-McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook $400k for misleading investors about his 2019 firing over a relationship with an employee.

Disney employees must work in-office four days a week because, per CEO Bob Iger, nothing replaces “the ability to connect, observe, and create with peers that comes from being physically together.”

Kohler’s new $8.6k toilet brings you “the finest in personal comfort and cleansing,” AKA self-cleaning, hands-free opening, heating, and, of course, Alexa-enabled speakers.

Sad: Much to customers’ chagrin, Ronzoni is discontinuing its tiny star-shaped pasta due to difficulties with a long-term supplier.

Ask The Hustle: Did you lose your job out of the blue? We’ve got you. Here’s all the advice you need to make an epic comeback after an unexpected layoff.

CHART
utility patent counts and their change from 2021
Singdhi Sokpo

Why IBM gave up its patent crown on purpose

For 29 years, IBM had filed more utility patents annually than any other company.

That is, until Samsung took the crown in 2022 with 8,513 patents, compared to IBM’s 4,743 — a 44% annual decline for the company, and one made on purpose.

On purpose?

Yes, on purpose. Why? “One word,” writes director of IBM research Dario Gil, in a Fortune piece. “Focus.”

The areas of focus, he says, are hybrid cloud, data and AI, automation, security, semiconductors, and quantum computing.

  • Gil told Bloomberg the change will “free engineers from the time-consuming patent process.”
  • He also explained that IBM increasingly sees collaboration as a means toward innovation, which should be measured not just by patent count or R&D dollars, but by the life-changing applications that this strategy will help IBM pursue.

BTW: TikTok owner ByteDance — though filing far fewer patents, with 160 in 2020 — saw its patent output increase 84% YoY.

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Free Resource

Why product launches fail (and how to fix them)

If you’ve ever launched a digital product, only to land an absolutely humbling number of sales — it hurts…

… which helps, if you keep going. Imperfect Action host Steph Taylor has won in many buckets: the $20 template, $200 guide, and $2k course.

Five tips for launching products are on the HubSpot blog.

Reasons your launch was a dud:

  • The value wasn’t clear enough
  • The offer missed the mark
  • You didn’t garner trust
  • The right folks were clueless
  • There wasn’t any urgency

Read the cold truths and clear solutions.

Launch planning →
Nomore
Noma restaurant

The world’s best restaurant is unsustainable

Copenhagen’s Noma is closing, despite drawing customers willing to fork over $500+ to eat reindeer penis and duck brains.

Noma’s cooking style, using foraged local ingredients, is known as “New Nordic,” and it’s won the establishment three Michelin stars and numerous awards since opening in 2003.

But Chef René Redzepi is calling it quits, per The New York Times.

Why?

Restaurant work is notoriously hard, especially fine dining.

  • A 2022 Financial Times article detailed myriad grueling, sometimes abusive, experiences in Copenhagen’s culinary scene.
  • Noma was criticized for its unpaid internships where aspiring chefs hoped to gain experience (though one said she did nothing but craft beetles out of fruit leather). Paying them added $50k+ to monthly expenses.

Redzepi, who committed to making Noma “the best in terms of workplace” in a 2021 awards acceptance speech, now says paying Noma’s ~100 employees fairly while maintaining acceptable standards and pricing is “unsustainable”  — as is the entire fine-dining model Noma pioneered.

What’s next?

Noma will transform into a test kitchen for Noma Projects — an ecommerce site where you can currently buy smoked mushroom garum — at the end of 2024.

The dining room will only host the occasional pop-up. But whether that model is sustainable remains to be seen.

Meanwhile: Many are drawing comparisons to The Menu, which dropped on HBO Max the day before Noma’s announcement. The thriller features Ralph Fiennes as a famed chef, hosting an, uh, unforgettable tasting menu on a private island.

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AROUND THE WEB

🌍 On this day: In 1946, the United Nations met for the first time in London.

🧑‍💻 That’s cool: Boop is a forthcoming remote for virtual meetings that plugs into your computer. It lets you control your mic, video, and screen-share.

🐦 That’s interesting: Photographer Piotr Chara builds artificial islands on a Polish river to keep birds safe from predators.

🎧 Podcast: Inclusive marketing requires being intentional about who you serve, and how you show up. Join Sonia Thompson to discover: “What Inclusive Brand Type Are You?

🌧️ Aww: Los Angeles doesn’t get much rain, but when it does, the zoo animals love to play in it.

TWEET
meeting agenda tweet

No agenda, no attenda. Got it. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Cooking with electricity” Dent.

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