Opportunity Overdrive - Issue 3 - November 2023

The 5-minute personal opportunity and career development newsletter.

Because TL;DR is Life

OpenAI remains an $86 Billion Nonprofit

In some rare instances, a group of employees can call the shots, even in multibillion-dollar operations. Take heed. 95 percent of OpenAI’s employees signed a letter threatening to quit if Sam Altman was not reinstated and the current board removed. It took 3 days before that happened. So, now the former board (a nonprofit with no fiduciary responsibility overseeing a for-profit entity) has been replaced by a board absent of any diversity whatsoever, no women, no people of color, and maybe a change in the altruistic vision that was originally the lifeblood of Open AI. Following are a couple of takes on where this heads, going forward.

“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”

Bill Gates

Mood Swings & Unicorn Dreams

Harvard University is offering a free online class in happiness. What is happiness? What makes you happy?’ Can you get happier through study and effort? Will this class make you happy? The price will, that’s for sure, that is, if you don’t want a certificate proving you took the class.

Led by Harvard professor, author, social scientist, and former classical musician Arthur Brooks, this course will introduce cutting-edge survey tools, the best research, and trends in social science, positive psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy to help learners unlock the strategies to create a more purposeful life, full of long-lasting enjoyment and satisfaction.

Maybe you have pondered these questions throughout your life, but haven’t been able to come up with any definitive answers. Still, you’d like to think that happiness is something you can understand and manage, right?

You can sign up for this class starting on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 by jumping on EdX site today.

Go for it

Fresh Out of Silicon Valley (or Someone’s Garage)

Harmonic Team

This is the team at Harmonic. Hard to argue with their modus operandi. Harmonic is all about early-stage companies, work ethics, and getting shit done.

As an example, their most recent report on cybersecurity companies might lead you to check in with one of the top-tier growth companies in the field if you’re looking to sell them your talents. Overall, Harmonic is scoping out deals for VCs while helping founders.

Ramen to Riches

OtterBox exemplifies how a small bootstrapped side hobby making custom cases grew into a hugely successful global company through consistent ingenuity. Billions by making phone cases. Gotta love it.

So, let’s dig into some simple facts. The trick is creating a product with massive market potential. How about smartphones? It doesn’t matter what kind. As of January 2023, it's estimated there are over 6.64 billion smartphone users worldwide. This represents over 85% of the world's population above the age of 6 owning a smartphone. You sell to a small chunk of that, and you are on the Forbes list.

Samsung, Apple, LG , Google, to name a few have some damn good phones that’ll set you back a mortgage payment or two. So it makes some sense to protect your little investment. Step in the phone case, and in this case - Otter.

Founded in 1998 by Curt Richardson in his garage workshop in Fort Collins, Colorado

Early Growth:

  • Big break came in 2001 when OtterBox secured a distribution deal with wireless carrier AT&T

  • Revenue grew from $350K in 2001 to over $30M by 2004

Business Expansion:

  • Expanded operations from garage origins to over 1 million sq. ft of office, warehouse, and retail space

  • As of 2020, company revenue over $1 billion

Acquisition

Majority share was acquired by private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC in 2018. Industry analysts estimated the transaction value to be between $2.5 billion and $3 billion when Hellman & Friedman acquired the majority stake

So, while the exact sale price wasn’t revealed, reports indicate it was likely for a multi-billion dollar deal reflective of OtterBox's market-leading brand in protective cases and accessories, as well as its tremendous growth over the past decade from side business origins into a globally dominant player.

Because Lost Luggage is a Mood

What is it about Bansko, Bulgaria that draws in nomads by the hundreds? The answer is in the absence of crowds and, most importantly, high affordability. Pretty is an understatement. It has unobstructed views of spectacular peaks and ski stations can be found and the permanent population totals only 9,000 inhabitants.

Ctrl+Alt+LOL

It’s Not a Trap, Just a Poll

Which of the following activities do you enjoy doing in your free time?

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“The problem with kleptomaniacs is that they always take things, literally.

Unknown

Pretend to Listen (But Do)

Green Intelligence: Why Data And AI Must Become More Sustainable

Green Intelligence: Why Data And AI Must Become More Sustainable

MIT reported that the cloud now has a larger carbon footprint than the entire airline industry, and a single data center might consume an amount of electricity equivalent to 50,000 homes.

What can we do about this collectively? Great question. Another example as alluded to in this Forbes article - training just one AI model can emit more than 626,00 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent – which is nearly five times the lifetime emissions of an average American car.

Energy Intelligence has a vast amount of data which is current and really a go to source for climate change. Key take away from the current state of affairs - Renewables Growth Crushing Records – Despite High Hurdles

VIP (Very Impulsive Purchases)

I’ll have a double. Trade in your tool belt and check out this Black and Decker cordless cocktail maker. Amazon has an 82% five star rating on this thing which means 832+ people think this is the gas station to nirvana. Secondarily, the Bev offers diversity, meaning you can dial up over 40 kinds of drinks while selecting the drink strength, with the turn of a dial. If you’re using this is a starter before heading out - Uber it for sure.

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