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🌞 Florida’s retirement pickle

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A digital artist known as Supercomposite claims AI image generators keep producing a disturbing woman named “Loab.” Google her, if you dare.

In today’s email:

  • Railroad strike: It’d be a big deal.
  • Chart: Florida’s gettin’ pricey.
  • Trove: How brands sell stuff twice.
  • Around the Web: Data visualizations as art, mental health tips, an unusual deer, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about what happens if America’s railroad workers were to just stop… working. Plus: Meta news, Starbucks NFTs, and more.

The big idea

What a railroad strike would mean

About 40% of long-distance shipping in the US is by train. Which is why a railroad strike that could begin as soon as Friday could have serious consequences across the country.

As of Monday, neither the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) nor the SMART Transportation Division (SMART TD), had reached an agreement with carriers, per CNBC.

They represent about half of railroad union workers.

What do they want?

What everyone wants: time off.

  • Some railroads use a points-based attendance system that labor reps say puts workers on call for 12 hours a day and penalizes them for sick or vacation days.

Railroad reps argue the system is necessary to combat staffing shortages, but labor reps counter that carriers have laid off workers to cut costs.

The US Surface Transportation Board notes that the largest carriers by revenue have reduced staff by 29% over the last six years.

What would happen?

A strike would:

  • Shut down ~7k daily trains
  • Cause shortages, shutdowns, and price hikes across sectors. That includes food: railroads transport 20% of all grain and half of fertilizer.
  • Cost the economy ~$2B per day

Trucks can’t help. It’d take an extra 460k+ of them a day, which the American Trucking Associations says is “not possible” — that industry is short ~80k drivers.

Federal officials…

… are holding emergency meetings to prepare, per The Washington Post, and there is precedence for government intervention.

Back in 1992, Congress passed a bill to end a railroad strike after just two days.

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Thank god: Apple’s iOS 16 update was released Monday. With it, you have two minutes to unsend an iMessage and 15 minutes to edit an iMessage.

Google is reportedly done with Pixelbook, canceling its next laptop model and dissolving the team working on it.

Goldman Sachs is planning on trimming its headcount, targeting 1%-5% of lower performers, in a bid to cut costs as deal volume slows.

Starbucks Odyssey is the name of Starbucks’ new customer loyalty blockchain project. Members will be able to earn, buy, and sell NFTs known as “journey stamps.”

Internal research at Meta found Instagram users spend 17.6m cumulative hours a day watching Reels, while TikTok users spend 197.8m hours watching TikToks.

An analysis from Bloomberg found Amazon is spending $15B on Prime Video content this year, while Netflix is spending $13.6B.

The price for a Disneyland-esque Massachusetts mansion belonging to the late Yankee Candle founder is $23m. His daughter posted a now-viral TikTok about growing up there.

Oops: Images of a Meta Quest Pro VR headset circulated after someone left a premarket sample in a hotel room.

Kourtney Kardashian is launching wellness gummy brand Lemme this month. Unlike Kim, Kourtney says she would not eat poop to look younger.

Nintendo’s showcase at 10am ET this morning will focus on Switch games launching this winter.

Starting small: Good things often come in small packages. See how you can achieve your entrepreneurial dreams by launching a microbusiness on The Hustle blog.

Florida home values vs U.S.

Singdhi Sokpo

Once a retiree’s paradise, Florida’s getting pricey

Ah, Florida, where average temps and ages are both in the 80s.

For decades, the state’s been American retirees’ destination of choice. Between 1945 and 2000, a quarter of older Americans who moved between states went to Florida.

  • From April 2020 to April 2021, 300k+ people moved to Florida, more than any other state.
  • Today, roughly one-fifth of the state is 65 and older. In the US, 16% of people fall into that bracket.

There are even entire cities in Florida built for retirees. One, The Villages, had ~80k residents in 2020, a 57% increase from 2010.

But prices are rising — a ton

In 2020, the median price for a house in The Villages was $283k. Today, you’re looking at $402k.

  • Eight of the US’s 10 most overvalued housing markets are in the Sunshine State, and there are now 17 other states where it’s more affordable to retire.

But hey, where else can you find prehistoric lizards taking a stroll on the front lawn?

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Free Resource

How to make bank by selling phone calls

We all know some good, gum-flapping contractors.

Across the estimated $657B home services industry, tons of them are willing to pay for clients, or even prospects. And phone calls are still one of the market’s most valuable leads.

Our recent Trends report explains the mechanics of selling phone calls to contractors, with three ways to narrow down your niche:

  • Fields with the highest demand
  • Saturated industries to avoid
  • Areas with the most spending

It also highlights an adjacent opportunity — creating online directories where contractors pay for listings.

We deliver fresh signals and insights for business builders. Test-drive the content and community boosting 15k+ members.

Inside Trends →

Kinga Krzeminska / Getty Images

Trove helps brands profit from ‘recommerce’

Thrifting mom jeans and grandpa sweaters has been cool for a while, and the market for pre-worn garb is projected to grow from $96B in 2021 to $218B in 2026.

Young shoppers — often frugal and environmentally conscious — are driving the trend. Per a report from ThredUp, 62% of Gen Z and millennial shoppers look for used pieces before buying new.

And brands want in

Platforms like Poshmark and Depop make reselling easy, but brands don’t get a piece of that pie.

So Trove, a “recommerce” company, partners with brands to manage and sell their used inventory.

How it works

Trove’s platform integrates with brands’ websites, and uses AI to identify, accept, route, and issue credit for items.

Over 700 US stores use Trove, and its tech has been adopted by brands including Patagonia, REI, and Lululemon. Trove told Retail Dive orders have increased almost 60% YoY.

BTW: Reselling is touted as a sustainability solution, but critics say it doesn’t necessarily reduce a brand’s footprint, especially if overproduction means clothes still wind up in landfills.

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💄 On this day: In 1963, Mary Kay Ash launched her eponymous cosmetics line with $5k. Today, the beauty brand is worth $3B+. Ash died in 2001 at age 83.

🌏 Cure boredom: Use this site to learn about a random country.

🖼️ Haha: Wharton professor Ethan Mollick’s thread of data visualizations in various styles — from Picasso to “tiny fuzzy monsters” — courtesy of DALL-E.

🧠 How to: Self’s top 50 mental health tips, including activities for when you’re feeling blue and self-care habits to pick up.

🦌 Aww: And now, a deer that looks like a cow.

iMessage meme

Best feature ever? (Source: imgflip.com)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst, Mia Sullivan.
Editing by: Jennifer “Headed to Florida” Wang.

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