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The Hustle

Twitter’s auction of 600+ corporate assets has ended, with one buyer paying $100k for a nearly four-foot-tall bird statue.

In today’s email:

  • More like frown: Amazon shutters AmazonSmile.
  • Chart: China’s population decline.
  • Weekend reads: Our best stuff from the week.
  • Around the web: A free game, printable day planners, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about why AmazonSmile is turning into a frown, Netflix’s Q4 news, some important typeface news, and more.

The big idea
Amazon frown logo

RIP, AmazonSmile

Amazon is sunsetting its AmazonSmile program, which allows shoppers to donate a percentage of purchases to their charity of choice, by Feb. 20.

The news comes as the company tightens spending and lays off 18k+ employees — some of whom received notification by email this week, per Business Insider.

Why?

Amazon says it’s donated $449m+ to 1m+ charities since AmazonSmile launched in 2013, but says the program was “spread too thin” and failed to have the desired impact.

In 2022, charities received an average of less than $230, per NPR.

Yet small organizations say it helped:

  • The SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary tweeted that the $9.3k+ it’d received made a “huge difference.”
  • The Cat’s Meow tweeted that the ~$4k it’d received covered expenses when donations fell short.

Meanwhile…

… others argue Amazon could have done more.

In 2017, journalist Marc Gunther pointed out AmazonSmile only gave 0.5% — so a dime for a $20 purchase — and only when shoppers remembered to use the right URL.

  • Case in point: In 2015, the AmazonSmile Foundation donated ~$12.8m — 0.00012% of Amazon’s ~$99.1B in retail sales that year.

What now?

Customers can still donate to their favorite charities until the program ends, buy items from their wish lists, or, obviously, donate without Amazon.

Meanwhile, Amazon says it will continue to invest in areas “where it can make meaningful change,” including local nonprofits and — perhaps conveniently for Amazon — its own charitable efforts, like Amazon Future Engineer, which funds computer science education.

BTW: We know you’re dying to see the farm animals at SquirrelWood Equine Sanctuary, so here ya go.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Debate: Scientific editors and authors are debating the use and citation of AI tools like ChatGPT for published research papers.

SNIPPETS

Netflix added 7.66m subscribers in Q4, far more than the 4.57m expected. Founder Reed Hastings is also relinquishing his role as co-CEO to become executive chairman.

Globally, fintech venture funding dropped 46% YoY in 2022 to $75.2B, though deal volume fell just 8%. Positively, Africa saw deal volume climb 25%.

Instagram’s new quiet mode allows users to disable notifications and send automatic away messages to DMers.

Campbell Soup is consolidating its snack biz, shuttering operations at its North Carolina and Connecticut plants, and adding 330 jobs and $50m in investments to its New Jersey HQ.

The US Department of State is changing its official typeface from Times New Roman to the more accessible sans-serif Calibri.

Kim Kardashian paid $197.4k at auction for The Attallah Cross, an amethyst and diamond pendant worn by Princess Diana.

New look, who dis: Wikipedia debuted its first design update in 10+ years. The site contains 58m+ articles, viewed ~16B times/mo.

Classic: While you might have to wait a little longer for Apple’s classical music app, there are signs the company is continuing to work on it.

Uber is working with automakers to develop low-cost EVs for its fleet, optimized for urban ride-sharing and deliveries.

Housing prices are bonkers right now, rivaling the 2000s housing bubble. This short video explains how we got here.

CHART
China's population over time
Olivia Heller

China’s economy slowed down in 2022

Last year, the Chinese economy expanded at its slowest annual rate of growth since 1976.

The country’s National Bureau of Statistics reported a drop from 8.1% in 2021 to 3% in 2022 — a number Wall Street says may even be overstated, per Axios.

What’s happening?

  • The country faces a sagging housing market after years of speculative building and buying.
  • Foreign investors have also been diversifying capital and their supply chains away from the country.

On top of all this, China’s recent covid wave and lockdown policies left many businesses inoperable for an extended timeframe.

This week, China announced its population shrank for the first time since 1961, declining by 850k people. As the country’s supply of young workers shrinks, it will need to find other ways to drive productivity to continue growing its economy.

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Free Resource

101 professional networking tips

If this banger of a list isn’t enough, maybe try a pregame ritual. Or meditation.

But here it is –- 101 tips and templates for getting in your zone and crushing every function. For smoother maneuvers at the job fair, shindig, or symposium.

Networking pointers for:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Salespeople
  • Marketers
  • Students
  • Event attendees

Be yourself. Schmooze responsibly.

101 networking tips →
RECS
Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads

In case you missed ‘em, here’s this week’s best…

  • Tweet: When your manager tries to convince you that the new project will be an amazing growth opportunity.
  • Blog: If you have a killer product, you should be centering your business around it. That’s the model for product-led growth.
  • Chart: Google search interest in “canned fish.” The category has seen a lucrative resurgence, partly attributed to TikTok.
  • Story: Check out Mark’s deep dive into the economics of snow.
  • Video: Watch our quick “Hustlenomics” original on the business of unused gift cards.
AROUND THE WEB

🗓 On this day: In 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed nationally for the first time, though 17 states already had their own holidays in place.

🕹 Cure boredom: Play Ubisoft’s 1989 game “Prince of Persia” in your browser.

📖 Useful: Customize and print a day planner.

✏️ From our blog: Ever heard of a startup ecosystem? It’s what it sounds like: a digital or physical space where startups thrive. Here’s more info.

👅 Aww: And now, an extended blep.

Shower Thoughts
  1. We’re all dressed like old people from the future.  SOURCE

  2. Beatboxing is one of the few cases of a machine’s job being taken by humans.  SOURCE

  3. The real gauge of friendship is how clean your house needs to be before they can come over.  SOURCE

  4. Pirates with eye patches likely sucked at sword fighting.  SOURCE

  5. It’s a good thing that your finger doesn’t fit any further into your ear canal.  SOURCE

 
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Editing by: Mark “Calibri 14 pt” Dent.

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