Beyond Big Oil


This Shell LNG plant is the size of 600 football fields.

Beyond Big Oil. Even if you don’t believe in Peak Oil (that’s an argument for another day), Big Oil is in for big changes (Bloomberg). “We’re more a gas company than an oil company,” says Shell’s CEO, and that’s an extraordinary statement. The company’s recent $54 billion takeover of BG Group solidified Shell’s standing as a leading player in gas as well as oil, and many are considering gas the key transitional fuel as the world shifts from oil to renewables. That transition may happen very quickly and in an ugly way for incumbents–investment in renewables is growing rapidly and there’s already a glut in the global LNG market–but Shell seems to be diversifying as quickly as it can.

A Deficit of Idealism: Tim O’Reilly on the Next Economy. In the latest entry of our NewCo Shift Dialogs series, our CEO and editor in chief John Battelle talks to O’Reilly Media founder Tim O’Reilly about a broad range of topics, from the responsibility of corporations to why universal basic income, while tempting, might not be the right solution for our current needs.

What’s Next for Tesla? Ten years ago, Elon Musk wrote a master plan. He’s decided that he’s achieved everything on it, so he’s published another one. Some of his new goals are natural continuances of what Tesla has been doing all along, but the one that will be the talk of the Net today is “Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it.” And the battle for domination in the next generation of autonomous vehicles begins …

We’re Happier at Work … For Now. Are you happy at work? The Conference Board says almost half of you are (Fortune). Its most recent research says that nearly 50 percent of Americans report being satisfied at work, which is an 11-year high. The Conference Board pegs the increase in job satisfaction to improvements in the labor market. But that doesn’t yet translate into optimism about the future: “About half of working Americans are satisfied in their current jobs, though they are dissatisfied with future pay and job prospects.”

Thiel’s Speech Divides Valley Republicans. Tonight technology investor Peter Thiel will speak at the Republican National Convention, shortly before Trump accepts the party’s nomination. There’s plenty of opposition to Trump among tech execs (we’ve published some of it here and here) but what has Silicon Valley squirming is how Thiel’s speech may impact Silicon Valley’s connections with the Republican party in general (New York Times). “The speech could spoil what had been growing areas of overlap between the Republicans and the tech industry,” writes The Times’ Farhad Manjoo. For many executives in the Valley, the overlap between traditional Republicanism and Trumpism is minimal at best, and Thiel’s appearance tonight will emphasize that distance.

Twitter’s Opportunity. It’s easy to be of two minds regarding Twitter banning troll Milo Yiannopoulos. His nasty tweets undoubtedly diminished the service and no one is sorry to see him go, but the way Twitter handled it raises questions (Verge). Apparently it’s only when a celebrity (in this case, actress Leslie Jones) was the victim of Yiannopoulos’s insanity that the company decided to step in. The company is boasting that CEO Jack Dorsey intervened personally, but that’s not a scalable solution. This is an opportunity for Twitter to be clear and transparent about what it’s doing to protect its members. It shouldn’t miss it.

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