July 27, 2022

Today's Topics

Hi! The Mega Millions jackpot just broke the $1bn threshold for only the third time in history; please wait until after you've read this newsletter to go get your tickets... today we're exploring:

  • Still searching. The economics of Google.
  • Space station split. Russia is withdrawing from the International Space Station.
  • Stay or go. Moving jobs has been a prudent strategy — now more than ever.
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Alphabet is A-OK

It's still all about Search. That was the five-word soundbite that you might have come away with had you combed through Alphabet's latest quarterly update yesterday.

Although the company reported a slowdown, Alphabet still managed to grow its second quarter revenue some 13% in the last year. Whilst not a home-run performance, it was something of a relief following the recent reports of digital ad rivals Snapchat and Twitter, both of which disappointed investors. At the time of writing it's been good enough for Alphabet shares to climb 4% this morning.

Still searching

Google Search, which still represents more than half of Alphabet's total business, saw ad sales grow 14% in the most recent quarter — significantly outperforming YouTube which only grew 5%. That confirms a long-held theory that the search ad market might be less fickle than the social media ad market.

In a recession people might not click that flashy e-commerce ad on Instagram or Snapchat quite as much as they used to, but they seem to still be searching Google for "cheapest car insurance", "restaurants near me" or "best value vacations" — all of which Google can monetize.

Switching stations

Russia has said that it will be withdrawing from the International Space Station (ISS) after 2024, effectively ending over two decades of space-based cooperation with the West.

Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov assured Putin that they would be putting together their own orbiting outpost alternative by then, though NASA officials responded saying that they hadn’t ‘received any official word’ on the Russian departure plans.

Needing some space

The first segments of the ISS — the joint project of 5 major agencies — were launched in late 1998 with the US and Russia working particularly closely to establish the formative foundations of the station.

Since then, the space station has been a very public show of collaboration, playing host to international astronauts, millionaire space tourists, and even an ambitious two-person film crew. All told, more than 80% of all visitors to the ISS have been American or Russian.

More recently, however, US-Russian relations have soured. The Russian invasion of Ukraine — and the sanctions imposed by the US and its allies as a result — have left relations between the nations arguably at their worst since the end of the Cold War.

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Stay or go?

If you're one of the 40% of Americans that are considering quitting their jobs at the moment, the data suggests it might be worth taking the plunge — analysis from the Atlanta Fed shows a widening pay-gap between the have-quits and the have-nots.

As of June '22, recent job switchers have seen their wages rise 6.4% on average in the last year compared to a rise of just 4.7% for stayers. That's one of the widest gaps between those two groups in over 20 years.

Fortune favors the bold

As well as the more recent divergence, this data reveals an interesting longer term trend too. Financially speaking, with the exception of a brief period in 2009, switchers have been faring better than stayers for more than two decades. That's likely down to a myriad of factors, but the simplest explanation may just be that moving jobs offers a greater chance to re-negotiate pay for employees that are willing to settle into an unfamiliar workplace or take on new challenges.

The possibility of higher pay is an even stronger incentive when combined with the current cost of living crisis and inflation rates that show little sign of slowing down. It's unsurprising then that so far this year more than 25 million Americans have already said "I quit", with record resignation rates across multiple industries.

More Data

• Walmart's share price slid 8% yesterday after a particularly gloomy update in which the company warned it would need to continue cutting prices to clear old inventory.

Hackers are working to undo BMW’s newly-proposed, widely-panned $18-a-month heated seats subscription service.

Perhaps inspired by last week’s supertalls chart, Saudi Arabia revealed a plan for a 75-mile wide skyscraper.

Flatfile have spent the last 5 years building every feature imaginable for data onboarding. Embedded straight into your product, or in a prebuilt no-code page, the Flatfile importer means customer data can be imported and validated in minutes rather than hours (or days).**

How Florence Nightingale was a data-viz visionary.

Just friends you haven’t met yet — this study reveals that Americans have become more likely to cooperate with strangers since the 1950s.

There's a reason over 4 million people start their day with our friends at Morning Brew — a daily newsletter that delivers the latest in business, tech, and finance. Subscribe for free.

Britain had a big energy bill last week, forking out $11,700 per megawatt hour for its electricity — 5000% over the usual rate — in order to ensure London didn’t suffer a post-heatwave blackout.

How big is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? This reddit post puts it into perspective.

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