No better time to go electric


April 29, 2019

Today, poachers gonna poach, and Amazon continues to encroach, but first…
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US gas prices are set to go up this summer. Here’s why…

Global oil prices are close to 6-month highs after the Trump administration said last week it wouldn’t allow further exemptions to Iran’s oil sanctions.

Now, AAA forecasts nationwide gas prices to climb past $3 a gallon this summer road-trip season (15 cents a gallon more than the current prices).

Saudi Arabia’s got the keys

US independence from Middle East oil has been a national priority since the 1970s, when oil prices skyrocketed and the economy took the long way getting back from its downturn.

Since then, cars have become more energy-efficient, the renewable-energy sector has grown significantly, and the US pumps more oil and natural gas than ever before. 

But, with Trump’s Iran sanctions, and other key oil exporters dealing with hardships of their own, the Kingdom is the only oil powerhouse left calling the shots.

It’s my oil, I can do what I want to

“We are really at the mercy of Saudi Arabia like never before, even going back to the 1970s,” said John Kilduff of Again Capital investment firm.

In 2018, Saudi Aramco — AKA the world’s most profitable company (that’s also rumored to be state-run) — produced nearly 1 in 8 barrels of the world’s crude oil supply.

If Saudis stopped their taps tomorrow (something they can do at any time), it would slow the flow of oil and jack prices high enough to send the global economy into a downturn.

And Trump knows it

With global supply and demand pumping at about 100m barrels a day, a disruption in the world oil market could send gas prices across the US skyrocketing.

According to The Washington Post, the real hope is to replace the Iranian and Venezuelan oil — but there’s a catch-22.

With a whopping 201B barrels of oil under its desert, the only country that can expand its production on short notice and stop a rise in global oil prices is…. Saudi Arabia.

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To avoid drowning in big-city rental payments, people are living on boats

In many of the largest cities in the US, apartment rental prices are enough to leave even high earners underwater.

So, to save money on rent without living too far outside of the city, a growing number of people are choosing to live on houseboats, The New York Times reports.

High rent is forcing people onto the water

Although rental prices hit a record high last year, increasing in 88% of the 250 biggest US cities, people still love cities — and will find creative ways to live in them.

In marinas outside San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City, living on boats can cut costs while keeping people close to the urban action.

One urban mariner in the Bronx paid $10k for the sailboat he lives on, paying an average of $233 per month to keep his boat at a local marina. The average rent for a NYC apartment, in contrast, is more than $3k.

The highs and lows of the life aquatic

In addition to the benefit of saving money on rent, many urban boat buyers enjoy increased access to nature and a surprisingly strong community: Many marinas feature amenities like fire pits and movie screenings.

But urban boating comes with drawbacks, too. Living on a boat can get rocky in inclement weather, and in cities like Chicago and New York, winter can be a big bummer because the pipes that bring water to houseboats are sometimes shut off.

Plus, even though boats might make for sweet house parties in the short term, they don’t make great long-term investments. While houses and apartments often appreciate in value over time, boats depreciate.

» Whatever floats your boat

Amazon wants to be the official platform of the government’s online shopping addiction

Axios reports that a new program could allow federal government workers to make cheap purchases via online shopping, tapping a potential $6-8B market.

Naturally, Amazon is pitching governments to adopt its Amazon Business product — a marketplace built for corporations who often buy products in bulk or for specific workplace needs. 

Problem is…

In the same way the consumer-focused platform gives Amazon a cut of 3rd-party sales, its business product does too. And the money government officials spend usually comes from taxpayer dollars.

Critics are sounding the alarms

Federal and local officials collectively spend billions of dollars a year on goods and services, ranging from copy paper to musical instruments for schools.

Critics argue that Amazon’s attempt to take those dollars gives taxpayers the short end of the stick, and we bet you can guess who gets the long end… 

» A: Amazon.

The lethal luxury of the $20k scarf 

The shahtoosh — a luxury scarf woven from the fine fur of illegally poached Tibetan antelopes — sells for as much as $20k, National Geographic reports.

While the sale of Tibetan antelope fur is prohibited as strictly as the sale of rhino, elephant, or tiger products, shahtooshes continue to cosset the cold, cold necks of the flush and fashionable: Between 2015 and 2018, Swiss customs officials confiscated enough shahtooshes to account for 800 Tibetan antelope.

The world’s finest fleece is pretty f*cked up

Shahtooshes come at a high price for customers, but their production comes at a far higher cost to the Tibetan antelope population.

Since Tibetan antelope cannot be domesticated or shorn, killing them is the only way to harvest their fine fur — and weavers need 4 antelope to produce just a single shahtoosh.

Deadly demand for the fine fabric wiped out 90% of Tibetan antelope, which live exclusively on the remote Tibetan Plateau. The herd, which was shaved from a high of 1m antelope to a low of just 75k in the ’90s, is rebounding slowly despite the continued popularity of shahtooshes.

The unofficial global capital of shahtoosh smuggling

In Switzerland, officials seized 41 shahtooshes last year alone. Thanks to cold-necked, deep-pocketed fur-fiends who frequent ritzy Swiss ski resorts, Switzerland is a global shahtoosh smuggling hot spot.

Rich people have a long history with the scandalous scarves: Shahtooshes originated as a status symbol under the Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th century and have remained popular with global fashionistas through the centuries.

In 2017, Martha Stewart told The New York Times that she “always” travels with a shahtoosh, saying: “They weigh almost nothing, and they’re as warm as a down comforter.”

» Suuuure, Martha
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The (marketing) term of Summer 2019 is… 

“Engagement.” 

Sing it from the rooftops, people — marketers are falling in love with this buzzword faster than a Tinder date you took to sushi. 

Now, there’s a lot to unpack when talking engagement, but to summarize: It’s all about making customers, leads, and the general public want to talk to you. 

Like laying a trail of breadcrumbs, you want your marketing to be so enticing that they follow the path straight into an annual contract. 

And these days, the top dog in the engagement game is Marketo

Customer engagement at the scale of you

Think of Marketo as one of the most complete engagement platforms available today. 

With Marketo, you’re free to deliver more campaigns, streamline tedious processes with powerful automation, manage leads at any scale, and even connect revenue to your marketing efforts — because after engagement, it’s all about those three little letters: R-O-I. 

Over 500 enterprises trust Marketo to turn, “huh, never heard of that company,” into “here’s my money, take it.” 

Watch a quick demo below (just don’t let your jaw hit the floor). 

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