⚡ The nuclear fusion moment

The Hustle

A 250-square-foot home in Newton, Massachusetts, sold for $315k last week, well below its $450k asking price. The price makes sense given it has an “adorable” new bathroom.

Today’s rundown:

  • Nuclear fusion: Is it finally here?
  • Crypto unicorns: How long it took top coins to hit $1B market caps.
  • Retailer battle: The holiday hiring spree is upon us.
  • Around the web: Ranking expensive bejeweled eggs, shoes that grow into trees, and more.

Let’s do it.

The Big Idea
nuclear fusion

Is nuclear fusion (finally) here?

When it comes to clean and abundant energy, nuclear fusion tops many people’s wish list.

The science hasn’t been cracked yet, though, and the running joke is that nuclear fusion has been 30 years away for 50 years.

Things may soon change: Helion Energy just raised $500m to bring the fusion technology to market, per CNBC.

How does nuclear fusion work?

The existing nuclear industry is built on fission, where an atom is split into 2 smaller atoms and energy is released.

Conversely, fusion creates energy by smashing 2 smaller atoms into a larger one. (There’s one salient example of this type of energy creation: It’s called the sun.)

According to CNBC, Helion will use the funding to build a nuclear facility in Washington state that can “demonstrate net electricity production by 2024.”

Nuclear fusion has a number of advantages…

… according to ITER, an international nuclear fusion research:

  • Abundant: Fusion can produce 4x as much energy as nuclear fission
  • Sustainable: Fusion fuels are available and renewable (e.g., deuterium can be distilled from water)
  • No CO2: Fusion doesn’t emit carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases
  • Limited risk of proliferation: Fusion doesn’t require uranium or plutonium, which are needed for fission reactors (and have the dual-use case of nuclear weapons)
  • No meltdown risk: The fuel used at any time to operate a fusion reactor isn’t enough for a runaway chain reaction

How is Helion different from previous fusion efforts?

The startup’s CEO David Kirtley says its approach applies advances in electronics, fiber optics, and computers not used in older reactors. The result: smaller systems that are easier to iterate on.

One big believer: Sam Altman — the former president of startup incubator YC and co-founder of OpenAI — personally put $350m into the funding round.

If it works, we can finally put the “30 years away for 50 years” joke to rest.

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Lil surfers: Pacsun opened its 1st Pacsun Kids store, offering genderless clothes for kids aged 4 through 14. #ecommerce-retail

E-bikes everywhere: In the 1st 6 months of 2021, US retailers sold $400m worth of e-bikes — far exceeding the previous record for full year sales of $237m, set in 2019. #clean-energy

More metaverses: Gather, a startup building an open, decentralized metaverse, raised $50m in Series B funding, led by Sequoia Capital. #emerging-tech

Big catch: Europol arrested 7 hackers suspected of coordinating 7k+ ransomware attacks since 2019. #privacy

Crypto-con: NFT.NYC, a conference for NFT enthusiasts, drew a record 5k crowd last week, with a waitlist of 3k people. #fintech-crypto

Netflix and sue: Reports revealed Netflix faces more libel suits than any big news organization, largely as a result of its documentaries. #big-tech

Race to $1B
Crypto's Fastest Unicorns chart

Visual: Singdhi Sokpo

Which cryptocurrencies reached a $1B market cap the fastest?

Bitcoin may be crypto’s top dog, but a white-hot market has supercharged the values of new crypto coins faster than ever.

Over 100 cryptocurrencies are now worth more than $1B in market cap, and many of them have outpaced Bitcoin’s initial rise. Among the top 10 most valuable cryptos, 8 reached unicorn valuations quicker than the reigning crypto king, which took 4+ years to cross the 10-figure mark.

Its canine rival, Dogecoin, beat its time by 2 months — and Doge’s meme coin brethren, Shiba Inu, became an unicorn before its 1st birthday.

Even that’s not enough to claim the fastest in the land: Cardano, launched by an Ethereum co-founder in 2017, crossed the $1B mark in just under 4 fortnights.

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Holiday Hiring Spree
cashier scanning

The brewing battle for front-line holiday workers

Scan the world of retail and you’ll find some aggressive hiring goals this holiday season:

  • Walmart is looking to hire 150k additional workers
  • Macy’s plans to hire 76k full- and part-time employees
  • Nordstrom hopes to hire 28.6k regular and seasonal workers

Given the tight job market, in many cases retailers will be competing for the same workers.

To differentiate, retailers are offering some pretty sweet perks

Beyond raising hourly wages, other benefits include:

  • Tuition reimbursement: Walmart is offering some workers free college tuition
  • Signing bonuses: Amazon is offering a $3k bonus for some warehouse jobs
  • Flexible shifts: L.L. Bean is offering 2- and 4-hour shifts for hourly employees

In some cases, holiday hiring perks are cutting into shopping hours — Saks Off 5th is getting rid of extended holiday shopping to offer workers more flexibility.

These perks still may not be enough

Despite the American economy adding 531k jobs in October, the percentage of working-age people looking for a job remained flat — indicating the tight job market could continue.

Front-line retail jobs also expose workers to COVID risks, which could stifle hiring as long as the Delta variant is circulating.

Bottom line: Between low inventory from supply chain issues, and short-staffed stores, it may make sense to get your shopping done sooner than later.

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3 simple, profitable business ideas…

Every week, Trends members receive a report packed with dozens of detailed ideas for simple, profitable businesses that they can build in a weekend.

Just last week, we explored:

  • How to claim a small piece of the $16B/year market for fishing equipment 🎣
  • How a simple plush toy of a pug can bring in $180k/month in Amazon sales 🐶
  • How 3 apps within 1 niche have raised a combined ~$120m this year 💸
  • And much more

To read the full reports on all of these ideas, try 1 week of Trends for just $1.

Get Access →

🦊 On this day: In 2004, Mozilla’s Firefox web browser debuted, luring users away from Microsoft Internet Explorer. Today, Firefox has ~3.6% of the market share compared with Google Chrome’s ~65%.

🔭 Wow: Check out this collection of 50 stunning photos from the Hubble Space Telescope.

🤔 That’s interesting: Many workplaces define themselves as a “family,” but leadership development trainer Joshua A. Luna warns that it could create a toxic, harmful environment for employees.

🌳 That’s cool: Shoe brand Johnny claims to be the 1st biodegradable shoe. Instead of throwing old pairs away, customers can plant them in the ground where they’ll grow into trees.

🖊️ Useful: Use Citation Generator to quickly get APA, MLA, Chicago, and other citation formats.

🥚 Haha: This Twitter thread meticulously ranks the 43 remaining imperial eggs made by the House of Fabergé at the behest of Russian czars.

Pic of the day
Simpsons meme

Probably the most famous nuclear reactor employee ever (Source: The Simpsons)

The Hustle Recommends

Explore: The Cognitive Bias Codex

The more you know about cognitive biases, the more you realize how biased you can be — which itself is probably some kind of bias. Here’s a cool visual diagram on 188 biases linked to their Wikipedia pages.

– Jacob

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