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🌎 Russia vs. globalization

The Hustle

The verdict is in: 60.5% of you think there are more wheels than doors in the world. Perhaps the most profound note came from Jed out in Sydney, who said, “I believe there are an equal number of doors and wheels and challenge anyone to prove otherwise.” Touché, Jed.

In today’s email:

  • Global impact: Russia’s war and the world economy.
  • EV mail trucks: Why aren’t there more on the road?
  • Morgan’s Musings: The mystery of the disappearing recession.
  • Around the web: Air steaks, free business resources, doppelgänger art, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear us dissect the Great Resignation and share stories of 4 people who changed jobs.

The big idea
Russia map gif

Will the Russia conflict reshape the world economy as we know it?

If Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on or leads to conflict elsewhere, this week’s withdrawal of McDonald’s, Boeing, and other companies from Russia may look like a small ripple in a massive economic sea change.

As CNBC reports, international tensions are pushing companies to rethink the concept of globalization altogether.

For the past few decades…

… the world order has been one of interdependence and (mostly) free trade. Experts believed economic interests would keep powerful nations out of war.

Although globalization has declined slightly since the 2008 financial crisis, big companies still sell goods in far-flung, autocratic nations and move production into these markets, where they can pay far lower wages.

But these moves have destroyed America’s manufacturing sector and made supply chains more vulnerable to crises (e.g., pandemics and wars).

Russia’s war has been especially hard on the auto industry:

Car companies are feeling the squeeze and contemplating where they can maintain safe facilities.

What will happen next?

Russia has threatened to seize shuttered foreign manufacturing plants and place them under state control — leaving multinational companies with a difficult choice:

  • Wait for Russia to stabilize and hop back in, or
  • Manufacture, market, and sell goods closer to home

The latter would increase the deglobalization trend and reduce supply chain risks.

“In 48 hours companies were pulling out and rethinking the post-war world,” Wharton School professor Witold Henisz told CNBC. “This is a fundamental break.”

The elephant in the room?

China. The rest of the world is far more connected with China than Russia (the US received ~$435B in Chinese imports in 2020, compared to $22B+ in Russian imports).

If relations between China and the West decline substantially, then we’ll really see a reshaping of global economics.

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Pizza party: Uber Eats will now let customers split the bill. Each person selects want they want and pays on their own. #ecommerce-retail

The Net Zero Technology Centre’s 2022 Open Innovation Program will split ~$9.2m among companies developing or using clean energy tech. A 2nd round will give away $4m. #clean-energy

Round 2: The Verge tried Magic Leap’s 2nd AR headset, finding it comfier with a better field of vision. It’s still $2.2k+, though. #emerging-tech

Ukraine-Russia conflict: Facial recognition is being used to identify Russian soldiers. #privacy

Dive: Bitcoin dipped 5%+ following President Biden’s executive order surrounding the regulation of cryptocurrency. #fintech-crypto

PlayStation’s State of Play event showed off games including “Ghostwire: Tokyo,” “Gundam Evolution,” “Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin,” and a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” collection. #big-tech

Electric Slide
USPS EVs chart

Selina Lee

Where are the electric mail trucks?

Mail trucks are a perfect fit for EVs. They have short, slow, predictable routes, and park in the same spot every night.

So, of the 165k mail trucks the USPS plans to procure, why will just 10% be electric?

  • The USPS has 2 budgets: an operating budget, and a capital budget.
  • The $80B operating budget keeps things running (e.g., salaries, repairs, etc.). For instance, each of its 142k mail trucks requires $5k in maintenance per year.
  • The ~$2B capital budget is where the agency draws from to buy new trucks. For better upgrades, the agency would need to borrow money, which is challenging given its borrowing limit.

While investing in EVs has a higher upfront cost, experts say it could save the agency $4.3B over time — though given the constraints, it’s not that easy.

Still, it may be worth biting the bullet when you see this.

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Morgan's Musings header image

Recessions are rare. We still need to be ready for them

A century ago we lived in a world where a recession was a normal thing that occurred every 2 or 3 years, like clockwork.

But despite all kinds of chaos over the last quarter century, we’ve had 3 recessions, one of which (Covid, in 2020) was the shortest on record.

What happened?

Every smart person I know has a theory.

  • One is that policymakers are better at managing the economy than before.
  • Another is that manufacturing industries that dominated the old economy are more prone to boom-and-bust overproduction than the service industries that prevailed in the last 50 years.

Whatever the cause, here’s what we know: When recessions are rare, people aren’t good at handling them.

If Lake Tahoe gets 6 feet of snow…

… the plows clear it out in a few hours and everyone goes about their day because they’re used to it. If Seattle gets 6 inches of snow, the city is paralyzed for a week.

Same thing with recessions.

So, maybe we’re lucky to have fewer recessions than our ancestors.

But I think we’re actually at a higher risk, because the idea of a long recession or stock market slump is like a mystical theory to so many people. So if one happens, they’d be unprepared and bewildered.

“The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know,” Harry Truman said. Make yourself familiar with the history of how fragile things can be.

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$720k/month selling… home theater seating?

Trends here, with the scoop on home theater fixings and manga trading.

  • Tricked-out home theaters: “Home theater system” garners over 40k monthly Amazon searches, the r/HomeTheater subreddit has ballooned to 600k, and a seller is raking in $650k/month for an ambient skylight projector.
  • Manga trading madness: It’s not just Netflix animes getting the love. The manga market is a ~$1B industry in the US, so r/MangaSwap is thriving. You could offer solutions for pricing, packing, QA, and more. Read our analysis.

Trends is The Hustle’s premium research division and a community of 17k+ pros.

We drop niche market signals and industry deep dives weekly, among other A 1 content. Check us out for $1.


🎸 On this day: In 1997, Beatle Paul McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to music. He dedicated the honor to the 3 other Beatles: John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.

🎧 Podcast: The Wall Street Journal’s new podcast As We Work explores shifts in the workplace over the last 2 years and how to navigate them.

🥩 That’s cool: Can you make steaks out of carbon dioxide? One California startup is willing to try.

📄 Useful: Here’s a free collection of resources, including a bidding template, creative brief questionnaire, and personal branding worksheet.

📷 Art: Canadian photographer François Brunelle shoots portraits of complete strangers who look a lot alike.


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

🏰 Meet the woman who builds the world’s most unique Airbnbs  LINK

⛽ Why are gas prices skyrocketing?  LINK

👤 The IRS and facial recognition, explained  LINK

🎧 Google’s doubling down on headphones. Why?  LINK

🎮 We tried Amazon Luna, and it’s not bad  LINK

Shower Thoughts
  1. “All humans are vampires to a snowman.”  SOURCE
  2. “NASA just takes the smartest people on the planet and kicks them out.”  SOURCE
  3. “If you own a nuclear bunker, you’d need to stay within a 10-mile radius at all times for it to be worth it.”  SOURCE
  4. “The idea that a business won’t survive without good marketing was probably good marketing by marketing businesses marketing the need for marketing.”  SOURCE
  5. “Hash browns are nothing more than socially acceptable breakfast French fries.”  SOURCE
via Reddit

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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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