California's war on gas
Photo: Jeffrey Clayton/Unsplash

California's war on gas

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Good morning! Regulators in California have approved banning the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035. And if history repeats, other states — and even countries — will follow suit.

California’s climate mandate

California will ban all gas-powered cars from being sold in the state by 2035. And while questions still remain on exactly how manufacturers — and their suppliers — can make this work, the mandate could still help change the future of clean transportation.

The big question: Can automakers deliver? A growing number of automakers already have plans to electrify much, if not all, of their offerings, including GM, which plans to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. Other automakers aren’t far behind.

  • The incentives for automakers to go electric, including provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, could help make California’s plan a reality.
  • But the supply chain could be a problem, Protocol Climate editor Brian Kahn told me. To make enough EVs and make them affordable, the battery supply chain needs to tackle the backlogs.
  • The IRA’s incentives for critical mineral mining could provide some relief. Diversifying the supply chain by partnering with countries that aren’t “tapping their critical minerals as much as they could be” might also be a solution, Brian said. Still, doing this responsibly and ethically presents a challenge.

The mandate is good news for EV-only companies like Tesla and Rivian. Traditional automakers have the cash and manufacturing capabilities to make EVs, and could feasibly catch up — and surpass — industry leader Tesla. But they have a balancing act to perform as they continue selling gas-powered vehicles.

California’s mandate could be historic, and not just because it’s the largest auto market in the country. It’s also a trendsetter when it comes to clean transportation, which might make this a “world-changing approach to how we think about transportation,” Brian said. In fact, that’s already started happening.

— Nat Rubio-Licht

The clown car and the gold mine

Did you hear that Twitter might turn itself into a podcast app? Which, I mean, sure, who doesn’t want to be a podcast app? The irony for those of us cursed with long memories is that Twitter was spun out of a podcasting app almost 16 years ago.

Twitter has never been able to say what it is. Evan Williams, who originally funded Twitter, and Jack Dorsey, who helped create it, disagreed fundamentally about what they’d unleashed on the world.

  • Microblogging? A text-based social network? The ultimate news feed? The public town square? Sure and sure and sure and sure.
  • There’s a famous quote attributed to Mark Zuckerberg: “Twitter is a clown car that fell into a gold mine.” The gold mine is the potential to capture the real-time pulse of the planet. The clown car is its management or lack thereof: Dorsey, before he left, was a part-timer for most of Twitter’s history, when he wasn’t in exile.
  • “[M]y biggest regret is that it became a company,” Dorsey tweeted yesterday.

Now, Dorsey’s successor has narrative issues. Parag Agrawal doesn’t like the stories being told about Twitter: He told employees that whistleblower Peiter “Mudge” Zatko was creating a “false narrative” about the company.

  • It’s easy to feel some sympathy for Agrawal. As Mike Masnick points out on Techdirt, Zatko’s complaint actually supports Twitter’s arguments against Elon Musk as it tries to force him to stick to his deal to buy it.
  • But Musk is winning in the court of public opinion. The reason why Mudge, Musk and just about anyone with a keyboard are able to float false narratives about Twitter is because Twitter hasn't told its own story well.

Zuckerberg’s Twitter narrative is the only one that’s really stuck. Now we have a clown car guarding the gold mine. Twitter, because it is poorly run, has a mountain of technical debt, including its security. Yet there is still gold there for foreign spies, crypto scammers and others to exploit. Which is how we arrive at this juncture with Musk trying to grab the wheel. And presumably make the clown car self-driving or send it to Mars. Anything seems better than this.

— Owen Thomas

Accessibility is a never-ending task

For Slack’s Sommer Panage, accessibility work is never finished. “A common challenge for companies is to say, ‘Oh, we made our product accessible. And now it's done,’” Panage told me. “But it's not the case.”

Panage joined Slack four months ago from Apple, where she worked on iOS accessibility, and has since helped focus Slack’s accessibility efforts. Here are a few takeaways from our conversation for anyone thinking about accessibility:

  • Consider building an accessibility team before scaling: “I think it’s much less common in the small companies, [but] often there will be people who care deeply about it … It's not super common [to have a dedicated team], but it is super beneficial.”
  • Put standards in place sooner than later: “As a company grows, one thing that is important to establish pretty early on is what the accessibility process looks like … so as a new team spins up, that process is already there for them.”
  • Users often know best: “Listening to our users is vital to making good decisions about the product, and certainly that's something that Slack was already doing before I arrived.”

Read the full interview here.

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People are talking

Sen. Ed Markey is not excited about Amazon’s plans to turn Ring doorbell videos into a TV show:

  • “Amazon appears to be producing an outright advertisement for its own products and masking it as entertainment.”

After announcing the launch of a voter registration portal, Coinbase's Faryar Shirzad said crypto and Web3 are big topics of public interest:

  • "Political candidates are talking about them, the public is interested in them, and the crypto community wants to help shape them."

Making moves

Sandeep Pandey is leaving Twitter for Meta, where he'll reportedly work on AI and machine learning. Pandey has been with Twitter for about a decade and worked his way up to VP of engineering.

Tesa Aragones is now on the board of Dave, the fintech company. She previously served as chief marketing officer of Discord and VSCO.

Alan Black and Bob Beauchamp joined Nextiva’s board. Black is a former Zendesk CFO, and Beauchamp was the CEO of BMC Software.

Stacy Minero joined Epic Games Store to lead marketing strategy for creator marketplaces. Minero previously led Twitter ArtHouse.

In other news

T-Mobile and SpaceX are working together to "end mobile dead zones," allowing T-Mobile users to be able to use messaging from the more remote parts of the U.S.

Twitter still has to hand Elon Musk data on bots and spam accounts, but not as much as Musk originally asked for. A Delaware judge called Musk's original request to produce years of data "absurdly broad."

The U.S. and China are working on a deal to prevent Chinese companies from being pushed out of U.S. stock exchanges. An agreement could be reached as early as next month.

Meta’s adding a customer service team that’ll take complaints on accounts or posts being removed unexpectedly, following pressure from the Oversight Board.

Wondering where to operate your company’s data center? Centers in the Midwest tend to be the most carbon-intensive, whereas those in Europe are the least.

Heroku is getting rid of free plans in late November because of “fraud and abuse.” It'll also delete inactive accounts in October.

Affirm’s shares took a 13% fall yesterday after it reported a weaker-than-expected financial outlook.

Tesla wants an advocacy group to remove videos of its cars running over child-sized mannequins, calling them “defamatory” of its driver-assist tech.

Amazon signed a deal with Plug Power to supply it with hydrogen fuel, annually powering 30,000 forklifts and 800 heavy-duty trucks for the company.

Joe Rogan had Mark Zuckerberg on his show this week. Zuck talked about struggling to spend time on Twitter, Hunter Biden’s laptop and Meta’s VR headset, among other things.

DoorDash said some customer details were accessed by an “unauthorized party." Payment card information, emails and delivery addresses were among the data that was stolen.

What it takes to land humans on the moon (again)

NASA’s Artemis mission will take astronauts back to the moon for the first time in decades, opening the door for the first woman and the first person of color to step on the moon — maybe as soon as 2025. After a year of delays, the first uncrewed launch is finally scheduled for next week. Don’t miss The Wall Street Journal’s explainer on the mission and what it means for the future of space travel.

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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to sourcecode@protocol.com, or our tips line, tips@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you Sunday.

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