Here’s the tea


May 29, 2019

Today, companies are starting to offer cash for data, while the WHO officially recognizes that burnout is not so great-a, but first…
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As Darjeeling’s tea trade grows bitter, Nepal tries to brew up something better

Darjeeling — a region famous for producing “the champagne of teas” — is struggling to keep its business brewing after 150 years of aggressive colonial and post-colonial cultivation. 

But on the flipside of the leaf, The New York Times reports that the tea business in neighboring Nepal is finally beginning to boil

The bitter business behind Darjeeling’s dynasty 

Darjeeling’s tea trade was, quite literally, uprooted from Chinese soil: In 1848, the British East India Company hired a Scottish botanist to smuggle live tea bushes from China into India. 

British colonists then built 87 tea gardens and recruited cheap local labor to run them, transforming remote Darjeeling into an economic powerhouse that now produces 10m kg of top-shelf tea annually — a crop worth $503m.

Britain’s big brewing business came at a steep cost

A century and a half of exploitative business is finally pushing Darjeeling’s land and laborers to their boiling points. 

In recent years, labor strikes protesting low wages have caused supply shortages, and soil erosion has also led to crop losses. On top of it all, counterfeiting is out of control — there’s 3x as much counterfeit Darjeeling tea on the global market as real Darjeeling tea.

Now, as Darjeeling’s tea gardens struggle with supply shortages, a new tea trade is blossoming nearby.

Nepal turns over a new leaf

Just 150 miles away from Darjeeling, Nepali teas that were once seen as mere substitutes for the Big D are becoming popular on their own.

Unlike Darjeeling’s tea gardens (which have privately controlled the production and processing of tea since the British monarchy ran the show), Nepali tea is often grown at small, independent farms and then sold — enabling more local farmers to profit.

In the US, specialty tea-mongers — including Nepal Tea in New Jersey and Nepali Tea Traders in Massachusetts — have begun importing Nepali teas in a further effort to build out the Nepali brand.

Just Brew It
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Amazon denies Bloomberg report about the mom-and-pop supplier purge

Amazon’s 3rd-party marketplace has definitely earned its keep. Last year, vendors generated more than half of its e-commerce sales and grew 2x the revenue from the online store. But, to Amazon, it still may not be worth it.

Yesterday, citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reported that Amazon is about to stop taking wholesale orders from small vendors in an effort to focus more heavily on major brands like Procter & Gamble and Walmart.

But the horse’s mouth says… ‘WRONG’

According to an Amazon spokesperson, the company told Bloomberg that their story and sources were wrong before the article’s publication. 

“We review selling partner relationships on an individual basis, and any speculation of a large-scale reduction of vendors is incorrect.”

Though it would save Amazon money

Eliminating 3rd-party suppliers would allow Amazon to cut back on paying managers to oversee supplier negotiations, as well as reduce the amount of unsold merchandise it gets stuck with.

Merchants have long expected to sell much of their stock in bulk to Amazon. If Bloomberg’s report is true, they will have to win sales one shopper at a time.

» Survival of the biggest

The World Health Organization officially recognizes ‘burnout’

For years, the term “burnout” has been chalked up to whiny millennials showcasing yet again how lazy and entitled they are. But now, as millennials start to come of age, the stigma is changing.

For the first time, the World Health Organization is giving burnout victims their validation by including what it calls “burn-out” in a new volume of its International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, a handbook for recognized medical conditions.

Burnout is money

According to business leaders at Harvard, it’s important to recognize the physiological health implications — costing companies an estimated $125B to $190B in health-care spending each year as of 2015.

In 2018, a Gallup study found that about two-thirds of full-time workers experienced burnout on the job, with nearly 23% of the 7.5k full-time employees surveyed reporting they felt burnt out very often or always.

Here are the 3 components that the WHO believes characterize the official new workplace outbreak:

  • Lack of energy or exhaustion
  • Autopilot and cynicism related to the job
  • Poor performance
» Churnin’ and burnin’

Is selling-your-data-for-cash the new selling-your-plasma-for-cash?

Startups are now offering people “passive income” for their personal data. These companies claim to empower consumers to profit from personal data. 

But actually, they entrench an attention economy where cash-strapped consumers trade personal privacy for quick cash — much like the plasma-for-cash biz.

Data exchanges claim to give consumers control… 

Data exchanges broker the sale of personal data between the people who generate it and the large companies hungry for it.

One, Streamr, connects real-time personal data with companies via subscription. Another, UBDI (Universal Basic Data Income), buys personal data and sells “insights” to companies.

At first glance, it’s tempting… If my toaster and my watch are already collecting data, I might as well get paid for it, right?

But data exchanges really raise the price of privacy

Most of us trade data for free services (Facebook, Google), and data exchanges aim to give people a way to sell that data instead. 

But since large companies have more data about us than we have about ourselves, it’s not really ours to sell — it’s Amazon’s.

Until consumers actually control their data, data exchanges will give companies a new way to buy data but raise privacy’s cost for consumers.

» Devil’s in the data-deals
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TODAY’S SHOWER THOUGHT

There’s people out there who’s job is to stab trees and boil their blood into breakfast gravy.

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