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🌅 The economics of daylight saving time

The Hustle

Considering surgeons and astronauts need ~9 and ~6 years of schooling, respectively, a new fellowship for aerospace surgery at the University of Arizona could ring up one hefty tuition bill. But then again, doing surgery in outer space sounds pretty priceless.

In today’s email:

  • Daylight saving time: Do we need it?
  • Chart: Russia’s App Store takes a hit.
  • Going off-grid: Californians are bailing on utility companies.
  • Around the web: The largest art heist, an illustrated crypto guide, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about daylight saving shenanigans, the benefits of remote work for people of color, Kim K’s very bad advice, and more.

The big idea
clock gif

Is daylight saving time over? Should it be?

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which, if cleared by the House and signed by President Biden, would make daylight saving time (DST) permanent by November 2023.

Why the heck do we have DST anyhow?

DST is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who joked that waking up with the sun could conserve candles and lamp oil.

But it was actually New Zealand-based astronomer and entomologist George Hudson who, in 1895, proposed changing the clocks for more daylight to study insects.

The US adopted DST in 1918 to conserve energy in WWI, then again in WWII, per Smithsonian magazine. Some states kept it, some didn’t, and in 1966, the Uniform Time Act established DST and standard time (ST) for the nation.

There are several negatives to time flip-flopping

  • Research shows fatal accidents increase, as do heart attacks and strokes.
  • Sleepy workers who’ve lost an hour are more prone to cyberloafing and injuries.
  • “Falling back” has been associated with spikes in depression.
  • It’s trickier to sync up globally, as only some nations observe DST.

It ain’t cheap, either. One study estimated the economic cost of DST in the US at ~$433.9m.

In 2005, the Airport Transport Association argued that a 2-month extension of DST would cost the US airline industry $147m thanks to international confusion. (The US extended it anyhow.)

Is DST the best time?

Seventy percent of Americans want the clock to stay put, per a 2019 poll. But 40% want permanent ST, while 31% are forever DST.

Permanent DST means more sun in the evening, which some say would be good for the economy (and barbecues).

But a PNC analyst believes only outdoor businesses would benefit — in the 1980s, golf businesses claimed DST resulted in an extra $200m in profit per month, or ~$647m in today’s money.

We tried year-round DST in 1974…

… amid a national gas crisis, and found Americans hate dark winter mornings. (Studies also found we don’t actually use less energy.)

It’s ST that sleep experts say best matches our circadian rhythms, so it’s a possibility some may lobby for permanent ST instead.

Whatever the outcome, history shows we can always monkey with time again — for better or worse.

Fun fact: You know who loved the extension of DST? The candy industry, who lobbied to get that extra hour of daylight for trick-or-treating.

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SNIPPETS

Gas trick: Americans are turning to Costco for more than samples and bulk deals. Apparently, members also enjoy gas that’s ~30 cents cheaper per gallon. #ecommerce-retail

Solar store: A California Target is using solar panels on its roof and carports to power the store, making it the retailer’s most sustainable location. #clean-energy

Adobe’s new AR shopping tool allows customers to use their phones to see 3D renderings of objects from retail websites in their homes. #emerging-tech

Careful: The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is warning that Russian hackers have been able to hack dormant accounts and enable 2FA. They advise closing old accounts and using secure passwords. #privacy

Ukraine has officially legalized cryptocurrency as millions in donations pour in from around the world. #fintech-crypto

Netflix and oops: 2 potential jurors were dismissed from Sunny Balwani’s trial because they’d watched “The Dropout,” which follows the rise and fall of Balwani’s ex, Elizabeth Holmes, and her company, Theranos. #big-tech

App Gaps
Russia app removals over time

Selina Lee

Russia and Belarus are losing their apps

Since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, numerous companies have shut down business in Russia, including McDonald’s, Netflix, and Upwork.

Some of these moves are now apparent on Apple’s App Store.

Apple regularly removes old and outdated apps. In the 1st 2 weeks of February, ~3.4k apps disappeared from both the US and Russian App Stores, per TechCrunch.

But between Feb. 24 and March 14…

  • ~7k apps vanished from Russia’s App Store, a 105% increase.
  • Russian ally Belarus also saw a 73% increase in App Store removals.

Gone are several gaming, health, music, and productivity apps — plus, loyalty apps for brands no longer doing business in Russia.

Yet, there is one type of app that’s super hot right now: VPNs, which Russians are likely using to get around Putin’s ban on social media.

The top 10 VPN apps saw 4.2m installs in those same 2 weeks, a 2.2k%+ increase.

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Grid Games
solar panels

Why are Californians going off the grid?

Going off the grid used to be reserved for that outdoorsy high school friend who read Into the Wild a few too many times.

But in California, going off the grid is having a bit of a moment.

According to The New York Times, residents building new homes are increasingly choosing to build their own systems rather than connect to the grid.

Why?

Some reasons include more frequent power outages, soaring electricity costs, and wildfires caused by utility companies.

Naturally, costs play a prominent role:

  • Prices for solar panels have dropped below $4/watt, from ~$11.40/watt in 2000
  • Lithium-ion batteries are cheaper and lower maintenance than traditional lead acid batteries

There’s also a mounting fear that energy costs will keep rising due to Russia’s war against Ukraine, and extreme weather events that damage aging electricity infrastructure.

But going off-grid…

… isn’t always the cheaper option upfront. Installing new power lines to connect to the grid can cost $20k-$78k, while building an off-grid system can cost $35k-$100k.

It’s also not for the faint of heart. If something goes wrong — especially out in the California wilderness — you could be very much on your own.

If that, or the movie version of Into the Wild doesn’t scare you away, check out Primal Survivor. It shares resources on how to go off-grid, including The “Oh Crap!” guide to off-grid sewage and septic systems.

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TRENDS

A trained eye can spot business opportunities anywhere

For example, around when HubSpot rolled out its revamped Service Hub support CRM, it also dropped the 2022 State of Customer Service report.

Our Trends analysts got an early look at the data (obvs) and found a fascinating stat:

Around 50% of companies experiencing exponential growth are exposing support agents to training several times per month.

Companies everywhere are hungry for more.

Our report breaks down 3 types of training that service teams are craving, along with the business models to help you capitalize.

For 300+ more ideas (plus the connections and know-how to put them to use), check out Trends.

AROUND THE WEB

🖼️ On this day: In 1990, 2 men disguised as cops stole $500m worth of art from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, including 2 Rembrandts. The culprits were never caught and the art has never been found.

🤓 That’s interesting: An illustrated guide on how cryptocurrency works.

😊 Useful: Minimal Avatars lets you create still or animated avatars for free.

🚇 That’s cool: MetroDreamin’ lets you design the public transit system you wish your city had and explore other people’s maps.

🐇 Aww: And now, a happy little bunny eating a carrot.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

👔 Why people are really leaving their jobs right now  LINK

👺 What the heck is “goblin mode”?  LINK

🏠 The US just hit a record number of $1m+ homes  LINK

🛒 How Ikea tricks you into buying more stuff  LINK

🥡 Restaurants vs. Google, explained  LINK

Shower Thoughts
  1. “When a centaur wishes to go faster, he can slap his own ass.”  SOURCE
  2. “Nearly everyone values a human life over the life of a fish, but few people value a single human life over the life of every fish. Meaning everyone has a certain number of fish that they would prefer to be alive over Steve from work.”  SOURCE
  3. “A fat pet is a sign of neglect. A fat animal in the wild is a sign of success.”  SOURCE
  4. “Cats can probably smell and detect cancer, just like dogs. They just don’t care.”  SOURCE
  5. “When you wait in the self-checkout line vs. the cashier’s line, you are waging a competition between one professional and several amateurs.”  SOURCE
via Reddit

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Psst

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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