November 20, 2023

Today's Topics

Hello! Moviegoers seem to have lost their appetite for the Hunger Games franchise, with the latest installment taking just $44m at the domestic box office over the weekend, way down on the originals. Today we're exploring:

  • Control Alt delete: Exploring OpenAI's corporate structure, after Sam Altman’s shock dismissal.
  • Currency crises: Argentina’s president-elect has a long list of economic issues to tackle.
  • Green goes red: Sustainable investing is losing momentum.
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Control Alt delete

It’s been a chaotic few days for OpenAI, the artificial intelligence giant behind ChatGPT.

In the ~72 hours since our Friday send, co-founder and CEO Sam Altman was shock-fired by the board; a host of high-profile resignations were tendered; chief technology officer Mira Murati was appointed as interim CEO; momentum to reinstate Altman gathered steam; the board reportedly agreed to reverse the decision in principle; negotiations faltered, however, and Emmett Shear — a cofounder of video streaming platform Twitch — is the new interim CEO, with Altman taking a role at Microsoft.

And, in the latest twist, 505 out of ~700 OpenAI employees have signed a letter threatening to quit unless the board resigns and Altman is reinstated.

How a generationally-important company like OpenAI could be plunged into such chaos is partly down to its unique corporate model. Following the company's structure from top to bottom — even with a few subsidiaries thrown in — reveals that the board of directors had ultimate control to make decisions over both the nonprofit and for-profit OpenAI entities... leaving anchor investor Microsoft blindsided by Altman’s exit just moments before the public announcement.

The company that launched ChatGPT less than a year ago claims that its structure is designed to develop artificial general intelligence that’s “safe and benefits all of humanity”, with the capped profit arm of OpenAI, first introduced in 2019, able to issue equity and raise capital to further the work of the original nonprofit that was established in 2015.

Move slow and make things

New CEO Emmett Shear has made a name for himself in the AI world by advocating for industry slowdowns in the name of safeguarding, making him an appealing Altman alternative for the board at OpenAI — even as dozens of OpenAI employees and key board members take to X (formerly Twitter) to show their support for Altman.

Related reading: See all of our charts on ChatGPT.

¡Che Milei!

Yesterday, the winner of Argentina’s presidential elections was provisionally announced as Javier Milei, after accruing ~55% of votes against rival Sergio Massa — an unprecedented victory for the controversial right-wing libertarian.

Milei’s campaign rode a wave of national anger at the political mainstream, positioning the former TV and TikTok pundit as an outsider. But, even with an eyebrow-raising style — including wielding a chainsaw; temporarily supporting the creation of an organ transplant market; and calling Pope Francisan envoy of Satan” — Milei faces serious economic challenges. Inflation in the South American nation has been out of control, hovering above 140% as of the latest estimate, along with a crippling national debt.

Dollarization nation

One of Milei’s objectives is to abolish Argentina’s central bank and dollarize its economy to overcome the current crisis, which has left ~40% of its 45 million citizens in poverty. With the country heading towards its 6th recession in a decade, the Peso (ARS) has crumbled, with 100 Pesos now buying just 28 cents.

Changing the national currency to USD would send Argentina into uncharted territory. By giving up control of its monetary policy, it would be following the much smaller countries of Ecuador and El Salvador in switching to the more-stable dollar. However, despite Argentinian bonds rising following his victory, the new president has a long way to go: analysts estimate that foreign reserves still stand ~$50 billion short of a credible cushion to make Argentine dollarization a reality.

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A record number of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) funds have shut in 2023 so far — with JP Morgan becoming the latest money manager to announce the closure of 2 such funds — as investors continue to turn away from sustainable investments.

Compared to the heady days of 2021, when investors were pouring tens of billions every quarter into funds that fronted issues like clean energy and emissions, interest in sustainable investing has dropped off. Indeed, according to data from Morningstar Direct via the WSJ, investors have pulled more than $14 billion from sustainable funds since the end of 2022.


It’s easy to understand why sustainable investing built up such momentum in recent years, playing on the fundamental premise that investors could make a buck while doing some good in the world.

Criticisms of sustainable investing, which have ranged from calling it everything from “greenwashing” to “woke capitalism”, aren’t new. But, increased scrutiny on vague environmental measures, coupled with interest rate rises hitting clean energy and other sustainable sectors hard, has diminished demand, as mentions of ESG on earnings calls reached a 3-year low.

More Data

• Today is President Biden's 81st birthday. He's planning on celebrating with the tradition of pardoning 2 Thanksgiving turkeys, Liberty and Bell.

• A hat belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte, one of only 20 that are thought to remain from his some-120-strong collection, just sold for $2.1 million at a Paris auction.

The Smart Home suite is about to get coolerRYSE’s Smart Shades are rolling out in 100+ Best Buy stores nationwide, following in the footsteps of billion-dollar smart tech players like Ring and Nest. 2 weeks remain to invest at $1.25/share, before RYSE’s big-box retail launch.**

• Fun police: Canadian capital Ottawa — sometimes dubbed 'the city that fun forgot' — is hiring a "night mayor" to energize the city between 6pm and 6am with a $160k budget.


• Minimum effort, maximum reward: charting the jobs with higher income and fewer hours.

Off the charts: Which company is this? Hint: Regulators have designs to stop its $20bn acquisition of a rival. [Answer below].

Answer here.

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