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The Hustle

Jimi Biotech, the Chinese cultivated meat startup behind the nation’s first lab-grown beef and chicken, is on track for another first: cultivated deer antlers. The antlers, used in China for dietary and medicinal purposes, may be available next year.

In today’s email:

  • In-person shopping: When did it stop being fun?
  • Press send: How to build a daily newsletter with ChatGPT.
  • For rage: Learn how AI may kill someone via mushrooms.
  • Around the Web: Garlic tips, missing muscles, a small polar bear, and more.

👇 Listen: What’s Amazon to do about AI-generated books from AI-generated authors?

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The big idea
A shopping cart filled with colorful bags and a red “Going out of business” sign.

Why isn’t shopping fun anymore?

Remember the good ol’ days of meeting your friends at the mall to grab a smoothie and get asphyxiated by cologne at Hollister?

We sure do — it was a pivotal coming-of-age experience.

Sadly, today’s teens won’t undergo their formative life moments among Lush bath bombs, because “going shopping” is no more.

Per Vox, the nostalgic pastime has been damaged by a slew of factors:

  • Extreme theft-prevention measures in stores mean many items are locked up, leaving customers waiting for assistance.
  • Inventory issues, supply chain woes, and reduced foot traffic have led to sparser shelves.
  • The retail industry, which can be physically and mentally taxing, is facing a labor shortage.
  • Understaffing can lead to long lines and strained customer service.

All of these changes have left us with a shopping experience that’s downright subpar.

And now, the outlook for your favorite strip mall is grim: UBS estimates 40k-50k retail stores will close in the next five years.

Even before the pandemic…

… brick-and-mortar stores were closing. And covid only made consumers more reliant on online shopping.

In 2021, Amazon unseated Walmart as the No. 1 apparel retailer in the US and ecommerce boomed.

The shift means less foot traffic in stores, but also decreased dwell time, a KPI that measures how long shoppers stay in a store; the longer they’re inside, the more they spend.

Shopping isn’t entirely extinct…

… It’s just different. Many consumers still prefer to shop in person (particularly for things like groceries).

But, when they do travel to a store, people want it to feel more like an outing and less like an errand.

In turn, more brands are adopting experiential retail practices — from upgraded store designs to traveling exhibits and pop-ups — to lure shoppers inside.

So hold out hope for shopping, and hold on tightly to those Auntie Anne’s pretzel bites, lest they ever try to take them away.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Hmm: Right-to-repair advocates iFixit got a McDonald’s McFlurry machine to find out why they’re always busted. Apparently, they’d be easy to fix if not for complicated error codes that only techs from the machine’s maker, Taylor Co., can clear. Taylor’s service calls run $315 per 15 minutes; it’s also suing a company that made a device that helps interpret the codes.


Narcan, the first opioid overdose reversal drug to be approved for over-the-counter purchase, will be available in retailers like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart next week.

CNN has a new CEO: Mark Thompson, who previously led The New York Times and the BBC. He inherits a third-place cable network, 4k+ employees, and a reimagined streaming strategy.

Legs for days: Meta is rolling out legs for its Quest Home avatars (which previously only had torsos). The feature is available for beta users, who can only see their legs by looking in a mirror.

And Legos for days: The global toy market has declined by 7% this year, but Lego has been a bright spot — the Danish toymaker’s sales grew 3% through June.

On strike, on air: As staff writers continue their strike, Spotify is producing the Strike Force Five podcast featuring late-night hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Seth Meyers.

Apple will announce its new iPhone 15 on Sept. 12 during an event mysteriously titled “Wonderlust.

Grounded: The US Department of Transportation fined American Airlines $4.1m over the many times passengers were kept on delayed planes on the tarmac.

Burger King must defend its Whopper in court after a US judge rejected the fast-food chain’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the burgers are 35% smaller than portrayed.

More of this, please: Get a lot of spam texts from email addresses? Verizon customers can block them by sending “Off” to 4040. Miss the barrage of scammy links? You can always text “On” to 4040.


You believe in your business more than anyone, but what’s it actually worth? That comes down to a small-business valuation, an important part of the startup journey.

newsletter using ChatGPT

Want to build a newsletter using ChatGPT? Here’s how

Using ChatGPT to launch a lucrative side hustle sure sounds like a nice way to coast to an early retirement. In reality? It’s not quite so easy.

We teamed up with Caya, CEO of cloud-based presentation software startup Slidebean, to actually give it a go with a GPT hustle — in this case, creating a daily chatbot-penned newsletter.

How did the build go? Caya had to sidestep a few big challenges:

  • ChatGPT isn’t great at design, so how do you make a newsletter look sharp?
  • ChatGPT ain’t an editor either, so how do you prompt it to select relevant stories and produce effective content?
  • ChatGPT’s also no graphic artist, so how does an automated email get illustrated?

Come under the hood to find out how this AI-fueled test product was built — soon after, you, too, may be on your way toward that early retirement (we hope).

Watch full episode →
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When it’s all hands on deck, a single campaign can mean dozens of touchpoints — and mad room for miscommunication.

Increase clarity across the board with this all-in-one marketing brief template that sectionizes strategy, messaging, timeline, metrics, and more.

The “Campaign Overview” section provides a great way to contextualize tasks for clients, creatives, and anybody curious.

Download for free →
A cluster of orange mushrooms growing on a patch of grass and dirt on a blue background.

AI-generated foraging books seem dangerous, right?

We here at The Hustle love Alexis Nikole Nelson’s TikTok account about safely foraging for edible flowers, herbs, and more.

But recently, Nelson posted about a book, Edible Wild Plants of the Midwest by Chris M. Wilson, on sale via Amazon. The problem? Wilson doesn’t appear to exist, with zero internet presence despite supposedly writing a foraging blog.

So, what’s going on here?

The prevailing theory is that AI-generated books with AI-generated author bios and images are trying to cash in on modern trends.

One Redditor dug deeper, finding several books on wild mushrooms that contained similar passages and formatting, and that were riddled with grammatical and factual errors.

That’s especially perilous when you consider that eating the wrong plant can sicken or even kill you. Death cap mushrooms, found in Australia, account for 90% of mushroom poisoning deaths in the world.

What can Amazon do?

We reached out to Amazon with three examples of foraging books thought to be AI-generated. Two, including the aforementioned, have since been removed.

Amazon spokesperson Ashley Vanicek told The Hustle that “all publishers… must adhere to our content guidelines, regardless of how content was created,” and that the company removes books in violation.

Guidelines do include not misleading customers, but it’s unclear how Amazon will stay on top of the glut.

People have admitted…

… to hawking AI-generated content on Amazon, including children’s books and poetry collections, but it’s also unclear how many “authors” fail to disclose their reliance on the tech.

Elsewhere on Amazon, author Jane Friedman found five works of “really low quality material” that claim she wrote them; she suspects someone trained AI using her publicly available blog.

This is one problem we don’t envy Amazon for having. And when it comes to foraging, we’d suggest sticking to known experts and, as Nelson frequently says, “Happy snacking, don’t die.”

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☀️ On this day: In 1955, GM employee William G. Cobb demoed the “Sunmobile,” the first solar-powered car, at an auto show in Chicago.

🗨️ Useful: A website that redubs your audio into different languages.

🧄 How to: Prep garlic to get the most flavor.

🤯 That’s interesting: Some people have this muscle in one or both arms while others don’t. You don’t need it; it’s a quirk of evolution.

🐻‍❄️ Aww: And now, a tiny polar bear.

Zillow house meme

… They paid HOW MUCH?! (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Juliet Bennett Rylah and Sara Friedman.
Editing by: Ben “AI lost the morel high ground” Berkley.

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