“Just as punching the gas pedal to climb a steep hill is tough on a car, dramatic shifts in energy supply or demand are challenging for the grid.”
That’s Jessica Wells of Duke Energy, explaining why the solar eclipse is going to cause headaches for grid operators. No shining sun means no solar power.
- U.S indexes finished lower with Nike ending down 4.37%.
- Gold momentarily topped $1,300 for the first time in 2017.
- Oil got a boost from a weaker dollar and a decreasing number of U.S. rigs.
- Bitcoin cash climbed above $700. It’s the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency by network value.
If you’re reading this in the U.S. then in just a few hours you probably have plans to skip work and check out the country’s first total solar eclipse since 1979. But besides the crazy view, when the moon passes in front of the sun it’ll also be blocking an important source of energy for millions of Americans.
We’re talking solar
Solar is still a minor player in the energy industry, accounting for 0.9% of total U.S. electric generation at the utility-scale, compared with coal and natural gas, which contribute 30.4% and 33.8%, respectively.
But that could change. Renewable energy research agencies estimate that the solar industry could triple in size by 2022. And in certain states like California, solar energy is already a pretty big deal—like 10% of total generated energy. So it’ll be quite the shock when the moon wipes out 29% of California’s solar panel capacity by obstructing portions of the sun from about 9:00 am to 11:45 am PDT.
But don’t worry
After the eclipse, the lights will still be on when you blindly stumble back into your office. Because grid operators have been preparing for this for months, they’ll be ready to offset the loss in solar generation by ramping up production from other energy sources like natural gas and hydropower. It’s like when you realize you’re out of toothpaste, you switch to mouthwash.
And for the solar industry to grow like its advocates hope, passing the eclipse test will be crucial. Renewable energy is criticized for being unreliable due to weather fluctuations, so a seamless operation today will calm fears about the ability of solar to scale and integrate with other sources of electric generation effectively.
Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for a postmortem. The next total eclipse isn’t due until 2024.
The Nikes on My Feet
On Friday, Foot Locker stock fell 25%, posting its worst decline since the recession as CEO Dick Johnson aired out the dirty, smelly truth to all of Wall Street.
Same-store sales fell 6%, while margins and earnings missed the mark by a longshot. But that’s not the whole story. With 68% of the company’s sourced products coming from Nike—a brand focused on lines of performance footwear—Foot Locker is being pummeled by consumer tastes shifting towards the retro/casual shoes lines offered by Adidas.
In fact, times have gotten so tough for the traditional retail shoe seller, it lowered sales expectations for the rest of the year and is bracing for “several years of pain.”
It’s times like these when Dick must ask himself the question on every big shoe CEO’s mind: WWLBD—what would Lavar Ball do?
Something’s in the Water
Eleven consumers filed a lawsuit against Nestle, alleging that its Poland Spring bottled water brand does not, in fact, come from 100% natural spring water as its packaging claims.
So, uh, what have we been drinking the whole time?
Well, the lawsuit argues that of the eight springs in Maine that Poland Spring uses, none are actually verified as natural springs by the FDA. Instead, it’s pumping up basic groundwater with 100% unnatural machines.
Nestle has faced questions about its bottled water branding before. Poland Spring was taken to court in 2003, when it settled a class action for $12 million. But times have changed, and Nestle’s bottled water business, which also includes Perrier and San Pellegrino, has grown into a $8.2 billion behemoth.
So as Nestle’s lawyers get to the paperwork, they’ll need to stay hydrated with some 100% Maybe Spring Water.
The Wal-Mart-Amazon arms race—for god knows what at this point—officially knows no bounds.
Wal-Mart applied for a patent on a blimp-shaped airborne warehouse to act as a hub for drone delivery—a little over year after Amazon was granted one of its own. The world’s biggest Pez dispenser, which hovers 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground, has the potential to eliminate the logistical nightmares of “last mile delivery” and the congestion of urban traffic.
Taken one step further, it would allow Wal-Mart to fulfill orders beyond a specific delivery radius—a serious limitation within the logistics/delivery business.
With the skies conquered, what’s next? Outer space? We could get on board with the idea of a Blue Origin satellite sending next week’s supply of paper towels hurtling through the atmosphere.
What Else Is Happening…
- Infosys, India’s second-largest IT company, announced that it will repurchase $2 billion of shares.
- The former CEO of GE, Jeff Immelt, is rumored to be the front-runner for Travis Kalanick’s old post.
- Investor Carl Icahn is stepping down from his role as special advisor to President Trump.
- Ticket demand for next Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing match is lower than expected.
- Friday (August 18th):
- Earnings: Deere & Co (+), Estee Lauder (+), Foot Locker (-)
- Economic Calendar: Consumer Sentiment (+), Baker-Hughes Rig Count (-)
- Earnings: No Events Today
- Economic Events: No Events Today
- Earnings: DSW, Intuit, Salesforce
- Economic Events: Redbook, House Price Index
- Earnings: Express, HP, Lowe’s, Williams-Sonoma
- Economic Events: MBA Mortgage Applications, New Home Sales
- Earnings: Burlington, Dollar Tree, GameStop, Perry Ellis, Staples, Michaels
- Economic Calendar: Jobless Claims, PMI, Consumer Comfort Index, Fed Balance Sheet, Existing Home Sales
- Earnings: No Events Today
- Economic Calendar: Durable Goods Orders, Baker-Hughes Rig Count
From the Crew
ALEX: The Golden Circle
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” provides a simple yet profound framework to reveal why some businesses succeed, while others fail. And while there is value in understanding the success of everything from Apple to the Wright Brothers, the Golden Circle can be a powerful tool to evaluate the “why” of your life.
MICHAEL: Answering the Big Questions
The book was published in English back in 2014, but it seems like I can’t have a single conversation these days without someone mentioning it: Sapiens by Professor Yuval Noah Harari. With the subtitle, “A Brief History of Humankind,” it’s probably not the best beach read, but I’m excited to gain more insight into evolutionary biology. The other day a friend texted me, “I’ve never learned so much from a single book in my life.” I’m not sure how Sapiens could ever meet those expectations, but I’m a few pages in…and hooked.
NEAL: Explainer Videos Without the Condescension
The graphics aren’t great. The narrator is somewhat monotone. The videos can be too long. But it doesn’t matter. Wendover Productions is by far my favorite YouTube channel. With videos like “Why Trains Suck in America” and “Why Chicken Sandwiches Don’t Cost $1500,” Wendover offers simple and engaging lessons into major topics like transportation and geopolitics. And it doesn’t feel like you’re being lectured to, which can be the case in other “explainer” videos.
*[Find out why trains suck in America](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbEfzuCLoAQ).*
AUSTIN: Top 2017 Growth Hacks
Josh Fechter just released pure gold on Product Hunt with the release of “The BAMF Bible”. This 327-page guide, written by Josh and some of the best minds in growth marketing, is a must read for anyone looking to grow a company or community.
Question of the Day
By selling an article at 80% of its marked price, a merchant makes a loss of 12%. What % profit will the merchant make if the article is sold at 95% of its marked price?
- 5% profit
- 1% loss
- 10% profit
- 5.5% profit
- 4.5% profit
Who Am I?
- When I was CEO of HP from 1999-2005, I oversaw the acquisition of Compaq.
- Along with my husband, I have a net worth of $59 million.
- I ran for president as a Republican in the 2016 election.
- In 2009, I battled stage II breast cancer.
Stat of the Day
The percentage of American workers that will be affected by self-driving vehicles, according to an analysis by the Commerce Department. 3.8 million drive automobiles for a living, and another 11.7 million drive cars in some form for work.