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⚠️ The social app for extreme authenticity

The Hustle

If you’re looking for spicy takes from the sharpest minds in growth & marketing, today we’re launching the newest HubSpot original podcast — Marketing Against the Grain.

We’re also running an insane giveaway to celebrate. Here’s the magic link to learn more.

In today’s email:

  • BeReal: Are boring posts the future of social media?
  • Chart: Elon Musk is Twitter’s largest shareholder.
  • Geofencing: How the tech could make roads safer.
  • Around the web: Spiderweb music, persuasion tactics, squirrel photography, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear why Elon Musk dropped $3B on Twitter, why not even Donald Trump is using his social media app, the future of social media is boring sh*t, and more.

The big idea
let's get real gif

The social media app that wants you to get off your phone

The future of social media starts with a notification:

Source: BeReal

A new social-media app called BeReal has caught fire on college campuses, per Protocol, where students find the authenticity of the photos and simplicity of the feed a refreshing change from the glamour of Instagram.

How does it work?

Instead of allowing users to curate their feeds with any pic they want whenever they want, BeReal only lets users post once a day.

  • Every day, at a random time, the app simultaneously sends every user a notification.
  • Users have 2 minutes to post a picture from their front and back camera (the app doesn’t have access to a user’s camera roll).
  • By time-stamping posts, the app inherently shames users who post after the 2-minute window.

In addition to limiting both when and how many photos a user can upload, BeReal doesn’t have likes or let users lurk on other photos until they share their own, and the pictures disappear after a day. In short, the app is meant for users to get in, get out, and get on with their day.

How did it start?

BeReal launched in France in 2020. The founder, Alexis Barreyat, was a former video producer at GoPro and grew disillusioned with social media after hanging out with influencers and realizing their real lives were far less glamorous than their Instagram feeds.

BeReal took off with French university students in spring 2021, and is quickly taking American college campuses by storm — much like Facebook did during its early days. Speaking of which…

… Big Social wants to be authentic, too

Instagram lets users share stories specifically with close friends, Twitter is developing a similar feature called Flock, and Snap has always prided itself on offering a more authentic experience than its competitors.

But BeReal’s secret weapon is its “once-per-day” design, which is so astronomically removed from the time-in-app success metrics of traditional social media apps that it’s hard to see any incumbents following suit.

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Holy moly: Chinese fast-fashion platform Shein is looking at a valuation of ~$100B with its latest funding round. The company’s revenues rose 57% last year. #ecommerce-retail

An offshore wind farm in New Jersey opening in 2024 is poised to bring $150B in private investment over 15 years, plus thousands of jobs. #clean-energy

Boost: The National Institutes of Health will conduct a clinical trial of 6 covid boosters to determine which will best fight future variants of the virus. #emerging-tech

Intel’s new Blockscale ASIC chip is specifically for mining bitcoin. Customers can get their hands on it in Q3 2022. #fintech-crypto

Emily Bear and Abigail Barlow’s “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical” took home a Grammy for best musical theater album. It’s the 1st win for a project that started on TikTok. #big-tech

Twitter's top shareholders

Singdhi Sokpo

What’s Elon Musk’s plan for Twitter?

Any hope for a relaxing start to the week on Twitter was quashed Monday morning when it was discovered Elon Musk acquired a 9.2% stake in the company for close to $3B.

The news came following weeks of Musk questioning Twitter’s integrity as a social platform, with the series of events as follows:

  • 3/14: Musk makes the stock purchase, according to filings.
  • 3/25: Musk polls the public on whether Twitter adheres to principles of free speech and says the poll results will be consequential.
  • 3/26: Musk asks, “Is a new platform needed?”
  • 4/2: Musk tweets a meme about ducks.
  • 4/4: Musk’s stock purchase disclosure is released.

Following the news, Twitter shares shot up like a Falcon 9 (up 27%+ as of market close Monday, its best day since its IPO). Unsurprisingly, reactions were entertaining.

But many questions remain: Will Musk join Twitter’s board? How will this impact Musk’s wonderful relationship with the SEC? Will Musk try to drive changes to Twitter’s policies or business strategy?

Only time will tell. Meanwhile, we look forward to more Musk memes.

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Geo- what now?
blue car

What the heck is auto geofencing?

Sweden has some of the safest streets in the world, and new tech might make them even safer.

Stockholm, Gothenburg, and other European cities are testing geofencing, a technology that experts say could reduce traffic fatalities and lower emissions, per The New York Times.


Yup. Geofencing uses GPS or radio frequencies to create a virtual perimeter, or “fence,” around a geographic area. It’s widely used with commercial drones today. In this case, the perimeter communicates with software that’s programmed to manage how cars can move within the fence.

Geofences can be programmed to:

  • Change the speed of cars driving within a zone (based on weather, traffic congestion, or pedestrian density).
  • Flip hybrid cars to electric mode to reduce noise and air pollution.

To follow basic geofencing rules, a driver just needs to download a map. But for more dynamic applications, vehicles need to be connected to some type of tech cloud.

Why it matters

Traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people globally — and numbers in the US are especially grim.

While geofencing can be used to some extent with today’s cars, the transition to autonomous vehicles could lead to far wider application of the tech.

To take advantage of its benefits, drivers must hand over some control to computers (and city officials). It’s unclear how that pitch would land for Americans, who aren’t always thrilled to give up personal freedoms.

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Opportunities in the $39B food waste industry

Seems like nobody wants to do the dirty work.

Research has suggested that 67% of Americans “would be willing to [compost] if it was easier.” Practical pandemic plant parents are nodding.

VCs, too — they siphoned $39.3B into food tech in 2021.

Insights from the Trends report:

For niche market research, a community of 17k builders, and a very valuable weekly newsletter, try Trends for $1.


🏀 On this day: In 1984, Los Angeles Lakers player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar broke Wilt Chamberlain’s points record with a basket that brought him to 31,421 career points.

🤓 How to: If you want to become more persuasive, you should sit quietly for at least 3 seconds during negotiation. Here’s why.

🏰 Art: Artist Zhihui’s miniature pop-up books are wild. On the outside, they look like tiny books, but inside are whole worlds.

🕸️ Wow: This is what a spiderweb sounds like when you turn it into music, which could potentially have applications in 3D printing.

🐿️ Aww: Niki Colemont has taken thousands of pictures of squirrels. See them (and a few other critters) here.

Chart of the day
foodtech VC

It’s official — boring is cool again. (Source: Apptopia)

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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