Year: 2022

"That’s not the way any of this works…"



[Meant to post something about this a month ago but things have been hectic]

 

Ryssdal was referring to the supremely misguided idea of addressing inflation with stimulus checks.



 From the SF Chronicle. [Emphasis added]

It’s official: Most Californians who filed their taxes in 2020 will get one-time payments totaling about $9.5 billion from the state starting in October to help offset rising inflation.

The Franchise Tax Board has set up a web page with some of the details and a calculator where people can estimate their payment.

The Legislature passed an election-year bill, AB192, authorizing the payments with zero votes against it, and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it Thursday as part of his budget package.

The bill called these payments Better for Families Refunds, but the tax board is calling them Middle Class Tax Refunds, even though couples making up to $500,000 in 2020 adjusted gross income and individuals making up to $250,000 are eligible.

  

We shouldn't have to say this but handing out stimulus checks is the worst thing you can do in a period of high inflation. It did, however, make for a nice photo-op.

“When do we get to the marketing part?”


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog


It was early in the development of a new product, and someone asked this question.

I’m not sure the word “marketing” means what you think it means.

Later, we will get to the promotion and advertising part.

But right now, this is marketing. All of it.

The product. The warranty. The team. The color choices. The pricing. The way it feels in your hand. The urgency we have to tell our friends…

If you wait until you’re done before you do the marketing, you’ve waited far too long.

Midjourney, DALL-E and the #AIart Wave



DALL·E 2022-08-09 23.09.57

I have seen the future, and it's AI Art.

The above image was generated by typing nothing more than the words "a dachshund doberman mix with black fur and light brown and medium brown coloring riding a skateboard" on AI art service, DALL-E.

Four different variations were rendered in under one minute, I picked one version where I chose for more variations, and then clicked upscale, and this is the output.

Start to finish, under two minutes.

Here is a sample gallery I created another AI Art service called Midjourney just using the phrases you see on the respective screens, creating variations, and iterating until I got the looks that I wanted.

Then, I upscaled the final candidates to the max. Think of the word strings on each page as akin to how we all got good-ish at fine tuning google queries to get the pinpoint return we were looking for.

It demonstrates AI Art's potential as:

  • A new "compose-able" medium
  • An artistic medium inviting creative dabbling for its own sake
  • A tool for product design and extrapolated design patterns.

I have two thoughts here.

Hypermark_photo_of_a_downtown_city_by_the_beach_with_a_futurist_b24bebef-5c6b-4970-96b1-2819a99a9b92 (1)

One, most disruptive innovations start as "toys" and then as they ramp up the power and utility scale, find their niche and grow to dominate.

Two, by reducing the ideation and complication to shift from a scarce, complex activity to a simple and unlimited one, AI Art creates the environment variables for a wave of meta artists in the way that twitter turned blogging (Read more...)

Visualizing Major Layoffs At U.S. Corporations


This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist


Corporate layoffs 2022

Visualizing Major Layoffs at U.S. Corporations

Hiring freezes and layoffs are becoming more common in 2022, as U.S. businesses look to slash costs ahead of a possible recession.

Understandably, this has a lot of people worried. In June 2022, Insight Global found that 78% of American workers fear they will lose their job in the next recession. Additionally, 56% said they aren’t financially prepared, and 54% said they would take a pay cut to avoid being laid off.

In this infographic, we’ve visualized major layoffs announced in 2022 by publicly-traded U.S. corporations.

Note: Due to gaps in reporting, as well as the very large number of U.S. corporations, this list may not be comprehensive.

An Emerging Trend

Layoffs have surged considerably since April of this year. See the table below for high-profile instances of mass layoffs.

CompanyIndustryLayoffs (#)Month
PelotonConsumer Discretionary2,800February
FunkoConsumer Discretionary258April
RobinhoodFinancial Services~400April
Nektar TherapeuticsBiotechnology500April
CarvanaAutomotive2,500May
DomaFinancial Services310May
JP Morgan Chase & Co.Financial Services~500June
TeslaAutomotive200June
CoinbaseFinancial Services1,100June
NetflixTechnology300June
CVS HealthPharmaceutical208June
StartTekTechnology472June
FordAutomotive8,000July
RivianAutomotive840July
PelotonConsumer Discretionary2,000July
LoanDepotFinancial Services2,000July
InvitaeBiotechnology1,000July
LyftTechnology60July
MetaTechnology350July
TwitterTechnology<30July
VimeoTechnology72July
RobinhoodFinancial Services~795August

Here’s a brief rundown of these layoffs, sorted by industry.

Automotive

Ford has announced the biggest round of layoffs this year, totalling roughly 8,000 salaried employees. Many of these jobs are in Ford’s legacy combustion engine business. According to CEO Jim Farley, these cuts are necessary to fund the company’s transition to EVs.

We absolutely have too many people in some places, no doubt about it.
– Jim Farley, CEO, Ford

Speaking of EVs, Rivian laid off 840 employees in July, amounting to 6% of its total workforce. The EV startup pointed to inflation, rising interest rates, and increasing commodity prices as factors. The firm’s more established competitor, Tesla, cut 200 jobs from its autopilot division in the month prior.

Last but not least is online used car retailer, Carvana, which cut 2,500 jobs in May. The company experienced rapid growth during the pandemic, but has since fallen out of grace. Year-to-date, the company’s shares are down more than 80%.

Financial Services

Fearing an impending recession, Coinbase has shed 1,100 employees, or 18% of its total workforce. Interestingly, Coinbase does not have a physical headquarters, meaning the entire company operates remotely.

A recession could lead to another crypto winter, and could last for an extended period. In past crypto winters, trading revenue declined significantly.
Brian Armstrong, CEO, Coinbase

Around the same time, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced it would fire hundreds of home-lending employees. While an exact number isn’t available, we’ve estimated this to be around 500 jobs, based on the original Bloomberg article. Wells Fargo, another major U.S. bank, has also cut 197 jobs from its home mortgage division.

The primary reason for these cuts is rising mortgage rates, which are negatively impacting the demand for homes.

Technology

Within tech, Meta and Twitter are two of the most high profile companies to begin making layoffs. In Meta’s case, 350 custodial staff have been let go due to reduced usage of the company’s offices.

Many more cuts are expected, however, as Facebook recently reported its first revenue decline in 10 years. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear he expects the company to do more with fewer resources, and managers have been encouraged to report “low performers” for “failing the company”.

Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.
– Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Meta

Also in July, Twitter laid off 30% of its talent acquisition team. An exact number was not available, but the team was estimated to have less than 100 employees. The company has also enacted a hiring freeze as it stumbles through a botched acquisition by Elon Musk.

More Layoffs to Come…

Layoffs are expected to continue throughout the rest of this year, as metrics like consumer sentiment enter a decline. Rising interest rates, which make it more expensive for businesses to borrow money, are also having a negative impact on growth.

In fact just a few days ago, trading platform Robinhood announced it was letting go 23% of its staff. After accounting for its previous layoffs in April (9% of the workforce), it’s fair to estimate that this latest round will impact nearly 800 people.

The post Visualizing Major Layoffs At U.S. Corporations appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

Thomvest Invests in Evidence Partners, the Leader in Literature Review Software



Thomvest is excited to announce that we led a $20 million investment in Evidence Partners, the market leader in AI-enabled literature review software. Evidence Partners’ primary product, DistillerSR, automates systemic literature reviews for more than 300 of the world’s leading research organizations, including more than 60 percent of the largest pharmaceutical and medical device companies. This financing will allow Evidence Partners to invest across the organization and accelerate its lead in this growing market.

Whether an organization produces pharmaceuticals, develops medical devices, or it is an academic institution or scientific regulatory body, systemic literature reviews are a critical part of their work. Expert researchers at these organizations study scientific literature to answer questions like, “is our medical device safe?” or, “is there any evidence that the economic benefit of our product has changed?” or, “what is the safe level of a chemical in the environment?”

The work of these research teams is becoming difficult for two key reasons. First, new scientific research is being published daily, which could change the understanding of the use, efficacy, or economic impact of a drug or device. Second, the regulatory demands on these organizations are always increasing. For example, the European Union’s Medical Device Regulation introduced in 2017 has significantly increased the regulatory oversight of medical devices there. Not only is there more research to review, the regulators are insisting that submissions be auditable and reproduceable. These dual pressures mean that research organizations need to automate how they operate in order to keep up (Read more...)

Visualizing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by National Public Utilities Council.


Visualizing U.S. Emissions by Sector

Decarbonization efforts in the U.S. are ramping up, and in 2020, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were lower than at any point during the previous 30 years.

However there’s still work to be done before various organizations, states, and nationwide targets are met. And when looking at GHG emissions by sector, the data suggests that some groups have more work cut out for them than others.

This graphic from the National Public Utilities Council provides the key data and trends on the total emissions by U.S. sector since 1990 .

The Highest Emitting Sectors

Collectively, the U.S. emitted 5,981 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions in 2020, which rose 6.1% in 2021.

Here’s how the various sectors in the U.S. compare.

Sector2020 GHG emissions, MMT CO2ePercentage of Total
Transportation1,627.627%
Electricity generation1,482.625%
Industry1,426.224%
Agriculture635.111%
Commercial425.37%
Residential362.06%
U.S. territories23.0<1%

The transportation sector ranks highest by emissions and has been notably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still affecting travel and supply chains. This has led to whipsawing figures during the last two years.

For instance, in 2020, the transportation sector’s emissions fell 15%, the steepest fall of any sector. But the largest increase in emissions in 2021 also came from transportation, which is largely credited to the economic and tourism recovery last year.

Following transportation, electricity generation accounted for a quarter of U.S. GHG emissions in 2020, with fossil fuel combustion making up nearly 99% of the sector’s emissions. The other 1% includes waste incineration and other power generation technologies like renewables and nuclear power, which produce emissions during the initial stages of raw material extraction and construction.

Decarbonizing the Power Sector

The Biden Administration has set a goal to make the U.S. power grid run on 100% clean energy by 2035—a key factor in achieving the country’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Industrial factories, commercial buildings, and homes all consume electricity to power their machinery and appliances. Therefore, the power sector can help reduce their carbon footprint by supplying more clean electricity, although this largely depends on the availability of infrastructure for transmission.

Here’s how sectors would look if their respective electricity end-use is taken into account

SectorEmissions by Sector % of Total
Agriculture11%
Transportation27%
Industry30%
Residential & Commercial30%

Percentages may not add up to 100% due to independent rounding

With these adjustments, the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors experience a notable jump, and lead ahead of other categories

Today, the bulk of electricity generation, 60%, comes from natural gas and coal-fired power plants, with nuclear, renewables, and other sources making up 40% of the total.

Energy Source2020 Electric generation, billion kWhShare of total
Natural Gas1,57538.3%
Coal89921.8%
Nuclear77818.9%
Wind3809.2%
Hydropower2606.3%

However, progress and notable strides have been made towards sustainable energy. In 2021, renewables accounted for one-fifth of U.S. electricity generation, roughly doubling their share since 2010.

Coal’s share as a source of electric power has dropped dramatically in recent years. And partially as a result, electricity generation has seen its portion of emissions successfully decrease by 21% , with overall emissions falling from 1,880 million metric tons of CO2 to 1,482 million metric tons.

How Utilities Can Lead the Way

Should these trends persist, the electricity generation sector has a chance to play a pivotal role in the broader decarbonization initiative. And with the bulk of electricity generation in the U.S. coming from investor-owned utilities (IOUs), this is a unique opportunity for IOUs to lead the transition toward cleaner energy.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.

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Visualizing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector


This post is by Aran Ali from Visual Capitalist


The following content is sponsored by National Public Utilities Council.


Visualizing U.S. Emissions by Sector

Decarbonization efforts in the U.S. are ramping up, and in 2020, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were lower than at any point during the previous 30 years.

However there’s still work to be done before various organizations, states, and nationwide targets are met. And when looking at GHG emissions by sector, the data suggests that some groups have more work cut out for them than others.

This graphic from the National Public Utilities Council provides the key data and trends on the total emissions by U.S. sector since 1990 .

The Highest Emitting Sectors

Collectively, the U.S. emitted 5,981 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions in 2020, which rose 6.1% in 2021.

Here’s how the various sectors in the U.S. compare.

Sector2020 GHG emissions, MMT CO2ePercentage of Total
Transportation1,627.627%
Electricity generation1,482.625%
Industry1,426.224%
Agriculture635.111%
Commercial425.37%
Residential362.06%
U.S. territories23.0<1%

The transportation sector ranks highest by emissions and has been notably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still affecting travel and supply chains. This has led to whipsawing figures during the last two years.

For instance, in 2020, the transportation sector’s emissions fell 15%, the steepest fall of any sector. But the largest increase in emissions in 2021 also came from transportation, which is largely credited to the economic and tourism recovery last year.

Following transportation, electricity generation accounted for a quarter of U.S. GHG emissions in 2020, with fossil fuel combustion making up nearly 99% of the sector’s emissions. The other 1% includes waste incineration and other power generation technologies like renewables and nuclear power, which produce emissions during the initial stages of raw material extraction and construction.

Decarbonizing the Power Sector

The Biden Administration has set a goal to make the U.S. power grid run on 100% clean energy by 2035—a key factor in achieving the country’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Industrial factories, commercial buildings, and homes all consume electricity to power their machinery and appliances. Therefore, the power sector can help reduce their carbon footprint by supplying more clean electricity, although this largely depends on the availability of infrastructure for transmission.

Here’s how sectors would look if their respective electricity end-use is taken into account

SectorEmissions by Sector % of Total
Agriculture11%
Transportation27%
Industry30%
Residential & Commercial30%

Percentages may not add up to 100% due to independent rounding

With these adjustments, the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors experience a notable jump, and lead ahead of other categories

Today, the bulk of electricity generation, 60%, comes from natural gas and coal-fired power plants, with nuclear, renewables, and other sources making up 40% of the total.

Energy Source2020 Electric generation, billion kWhShare of total
Natural Gas1,57538.3%
Coal89921.8%
Nuclear77818.9%
Wind3809.2%
Hydropower2606.3%

However, progress and notable strides have been made towards sustainable energy. In 2021, renewables accounted for one-fifth of U.S. electricity generation, roughly doubling their share since 2010.

Coal’s share as a source of electric power has dropped dramatically in recent years. And partially as a result, electricity generation has seen its portion of emissions successfully decrease by 21% , with overall emissions falling from 1,880 million metric tons of CO2 to 1,482 million metric tons.

How Utilities Can Lead the Way

Should these trends persist, the electricity generation sector has a chance to play a pivotal role in the broader decarbonization initiative. And with the bulk of electricity generation in the U.S. coming from investor-owned utilities (IOUs), this is a unique opportunity for IOUs to lead the transition toward cleaner energy.

The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.

Subscribe to Visual Capitalist
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The post Visualizing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

Alchemy | Bringing Web3 to the World


This post is by Greylock Partners from Greymatter


Known as the "AWS of Web3", Alchemy's platform powers most of the top web3 applications around the world. The idea came to founders Nikil Viswanathan and Joe Lau following their own frustration when building a crypto analytics tool. Seeing that developers around the world needed a toolkit to enable the next wave of innovation, they set out to build Alchemy. Launched in 2020, the company's platform quickly became an indispensable tool for developers creating projects with blockchain technology, including the top NFT platforms such as Open Sea and Makerspace. Greylock investor Christine Kim spoke with Viswanathan for Greymatter's new crypto-focused series Mint Condition. You can read a transcript of the conversation here: https://greylock.com/greymatter/bringing-web3-to-the-world/