[Issue 071] Cleaning up the ocean's plastic 🌊


This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with family and a small but growing community of friends in Raleigh. I was still riding on my high from having such a great time as I wrapped up the Patreon promotion.

Over the past two weeks 36 of you became patrons, a few of you reactivated your pledges and several of you even upgraded your pledges!


I cannot thank you enough! I will start, however, by celebrating you all today on Twitter!

Why does this matter? Support From the Patreon community enables me to continue creating content for Above the Bottom Line, pay my badass intern, and freely explore ideas for what's next (!!!). In exchange patrons can expect to get "behind the scenes" looks into what I'm up to with ABL, provide input on future content, hop on Google Hangouts to nerd out with me and more.

I'm always open to feedback on additional perks, so just let me know what you'd like to see! And if you were on the fence about becoming a Patron, let me know why. I'd like to understand.

On to this week's topic: Meet the company on a mission to clean up the ocean's plastic...


Set to arrive at the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California, in mid-October, this technology is the brainchild of a 23-year-old entrepreneur who has received $30 million in funding to bring his idea to life.

Boylan Slat is his name. His company is aptly called The Ocean Cleanup.

The idea itself is simple: the 2,000 foot system will catch debris floating near the top using the natural forces of the wind and current while ensuring that marine life is not harmed.

But I had to watch this video to fully understand technology. Here's a snapshot:


The idea, of course, has many critics. I was reading the most recent article about it in Bloomberg's Businessweek, Is this Startup a Load of Garbage? (clever headline), and it's clear that many academics and environmental experts are not convinced this will work. In fact, a handful of them surveyed described it as "a very bad idea with little or no redeeming value."

The only thing folks can seem to agree on is that his intentions are pure. After all, he's been working on this since high school.

The first of the systems to be deployed is now en route to its destination. He officially has the world watching him as we wait to see if he'll deliver on his promise.

Until next week,

On November 8th I'll be speaking at BSR 2018! If you'll be there too, I'd love to connect. [Session Info]


Marriott Workers Struggle To Pay Bills, and Credit Union Fees. This article shares the story of Amos Troyah, who works as a dishwasher for the philadelphia Marriott Downtown. He makes about $30,000 a year, however, $2,000 of that income went to paying fees on his checking and savings account with the Marriott employees Federal Credit Union. The Marriott Employees Credit Union charges hefty and frequent fees on automatic money transfer fees, excess transaction fees, overdraft fees, and others, and now thousands of Marriott workers are on strike, saying that the slow wage increase, unsteady hours, and credit union fees are making it hard to stay afloat. // NYTIMES

Which Types of Companies Are Adding Women To Their Boards, and Which Aren’t. In response to California passing a bill requiring at least one woman to be on the board of publicly held companies, Harvard Business Review studied data on every board appointment and resignation for all public companies since April 1, 2018 to see which companies appointed more or less women to their board. Between April 1 and September 24, 2018, 228 women have been appointed to boards relative to 433 men, however, companies with a market capitalization of $5 billion or more tilt towards having more men than women. More data in the article. // HBR

Why Leaning In Has Not Worked For Women of Color. Sheryl Sandberg’s New York Times bestseller book, Lean In, which discussed women in the workplace and directed them to take ownership of their career, opened an important dialogue about how women navigate the workplace. However, the book left out the unique challenges and obstacles that women of color face, and since it’s release, Sandberg has acknowledged that her book doesn’t consider how women of color may experience the workplace differently. This article discusses those unique challenges and how many women of color feel about the idea of “Leaning In”. // FAST COMPANY
The 10 Highest-Paid CEOs at US Public Companies. This article shows the 10 highest paid CEOs as well as what they make, and compares it to what average American worker makes. The list contains no women in the top ten. // QUARTZ


Airbnb Wants To Give Its Hosts Equity In Its Business. Airbnb wants to allow its hosts to own part of the business. They have written to the SEC asking them to change the SEC 701 Rule which governs ownership of equity in companies so that it allows a new class of workers who participate in the gig economy to become shareholders. // TECHCRUNCH

Amazon Reportedly Killed an AI Recruitment System Because It Couldn’t Stop the Tool from Discriminating Against Women. A Reuters report recently disclosed that Amazon spent years working on an AI system that could automate their recruitment process. However, since most of the resumes were from men, since the industry is male-dominated, the system learned to favor men over women by discriminating against resumes with the word “women’s” in them, or from women only colleges, as well as giving better scores to resumes with words usually used by men, like executed or captured. // FORTUNE

Angela and I are exhausted by anyone who still thinks technology is unbiased.

Angela and I are exhausted by anyone who still thinks technology is unbiased.

Will We Soon Be Renting Rather Than Buying Our Clothes. This article discusses the trend of renting clothes. It is better for the environment and the care and longevity of wear for clothes, while also helping ‘slow’ fast fashion. It talks about how renting high-end clothes—like tuxedos, ball-gowns, or dresses—has been around for a while, however, adapting it to ready-to-wear clothing and everyday fashion is the next step. // BBC
The Kavanaugh Effect: Political Debates Shake Up the Workplace. This article discusses how workplaces across America have changed from typical office political debates to unhealthy, heated political discussions. The CEO of WeBuyHouses.com, Jeremy Brandt, shares his and his workers’ experience, as well as Wendy Patrick, a criminal lawyer, who talks about how the legal world is dealing with discussing the Kavanaugh case. Other companies have opened Slack channels for discussion or offered counseling sessions. // WSJ
Every Employee At This Grilled Cheese Restaurant Has A Criminal Record. All Square is a grilled cheese restaurant started by Emily Turner, who quit her job as a U.S. Housing and Urban Development attorney to open it. Working in the industry, she wanted to find a way to help prisoners reenter the workforce. All Square, which is a nonprofit, requires that you have a criminal record to work there. The workers are paid $14 an hour to start and workers average $22 an hour with tips. // FAST COMPANY


"If you don't have any critics, it means what you're doing is easy and obvious." 

- Boyan Slat

Nikita T. Mitchell