🍏 Is an Apple VR headset coming?


January 27, 2021

PLUS: How does Taboola make money?

{date(‘MMMM dd, yyyy’,time(“now”))}
The Hustle
TOGETHER WITH
Paycom

Walgreens is tapping Starbucks COO Roz Brewer — a long-time executive with a perfect last name for the coffee biz — as its next CEO. Once appointed, she’ll be the only Black female at the helm of a Fortune 500 company.

The Big Idea
Apple VR headset

Is an Apple VR headset coming?

Since its founding in 1976, Apple has set out to make computing more personal. In recent years, the move from iPhone to Watch to AirPods has fulfilled this vision.

For many, the next logical step was augmented reality (AR) glasses… like the Google Glass but way less sucky.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Apple plans on releasing a virtual reality (VR) headset as a bridge to AR.

The product is not aimed at the mass market

Apple Insiders believe the product will cost much more than the $300-$900 price tag of commercial VR headsets (e.g., Facebook, Pico, Sony).

Meant to leverage the company’s most advanced chips and display tech, Apple’s VR headset could run as high as a ~$6k Mac Pro desktop.

Upon a projected 2023 launch, Bloomberg writes that Apple might only move ~180k units a year — a far cry from Apple’s typical product volumes that run in the tens of millions.

To reduce weight, Apple plans to use a fabric exterior…

… which is slightly different than the slick metal you’re probably holding in your hand while reading this.

With a VR headset on the market, the Cupertino spaceship can perfect the tech, bring developers on board, and create a content pipeline.

Apple’s acquisition of NextVR — a startup that records concerts and sporting events for VR — was one tangible breadcrumb…

… and another breadcrumb dropped on Monday

Apple announced that its hardware chief, Dan Riccio, will be transitioning roles and taking over an unspecified project.

Per MacRumors, there are at least 3 possibilities for this mysterious-sounding venture:

  • VR/AR: Obviously.
  • Car: Apple’s self-driving car project has been picking up steam, but it’s already under the leadership of the company’s AI chief, John Giannandrea.
  • Title downgrade: Riccio’s new title (VP of engineering) is a downgrade, so the 23-year vet may just be taking a “step back.”

Whatever Riccio ends up doing, we already know Apple’s AR/VR product will be huge and how the product cycle will play out:

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
Snippets
  • ‘Substack is Twitter’s paywall’ is a popular tech joke. Many writers do turn tweets into Substack subscriptions. Twitter clearly paid attention: It’s acquiring Dutch newsletter platform Revue (while, just last week, Forbes announced a mass rollout of paid newsletters).
  • Stripe invests $102m into Fast, the fintech company that lets users “log into websites and check out, without having to enter information more than once,” per CNBC.
  • GE saw cash flow jump at the end of 2020, boosted by its renewables and power unit. (We previously covered how GE is building the world’s biggest wind turbine.)
  • Amazon East: The ecommerce giants announced 3k new job opportunities in the Boston area. It’s the latest in what has been a torrid hiring run: Amazon added 400k+ employees in 2020, putting its global workforce # at 1.1m+.
  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company paid $30B+ to creators over the last 3 years, and the YouTube ecosystem contributed ~$16B to the US GDP in 2019.
  • Beyond Meat looks beyond meat: The company’s stock jumped as much as 31% Tuesday after announcing a joint venture with Pepsi to make plant-based drinks and snacks.
  • Microsoft set the tone for a busy earnings season by reporting faster-than-expected growth in LinkedIn’s recruiter spam ad business. Facebook and Google saw stocks rise after hours on the news.
Valuations
ByteDance logo

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is valued at $180B. It’s worth way more.

Most of us know ByteDance as the China-based parent company of video app TikTok, which was supposed to be banned in the United States.

It’s not year clear what’s going on with the ban, but ByteDance’s business didn’t skip a beat last year… in fact, the company’s revenue doubled to ~$37B in 2020, according to The Information.

In addition to TikTok, ByteDance owns 2 huge ad-based Chinese apps:

  • Douyin, which is basically China’s version of TikTok
  • Toutiao, a news aggregator powered by a recommendation engine

ByteDance is currently valued at $180B, but when it goes public — which it wants to do in 2021 — it will likely skyrocket based on 2 comparisons:

  • Facebook: Despite having ~½ of FB’s revenue ($37B vs. $79B), it’s valued at ~¼ of the American social network ($180B vs. $800B)
  • Kuaishou: A competing Chinese social app is aiming for a $60B IPO on ~$4B of revenue; at the same market value-to-sales ratio, ByteDance would be worth $500B+.

In sum: 👀 🚀

Check out our related coverage:

  • The Oracle/Walmart/TikTok “deal,” explained
  • Why the Chinese government is going after Jack Ma
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
SPONSORED
Read the blog here →
Business Model
Taboola ads

A grid of Taboola ads in the Daily Mail (Source: Daily Mail)

How does Taboola make money?

You’ve definitely seen it.

A grid of ads with can’t-miss headlines like, “You won’t believe what these celebrities looked like in high school” or “64% of seniors who try CBD gummies say it helped them.”

These ads (often called a “chumbox”) are primarily powered by 2 native advertising companies: Taboola and Outbrain, which almost merged last year before a deal fell apart.

On Monday, Taboola announced that it would go public via a SPAC, valuing it at $2.6B (with forecast 2020 revenue of $1.2B and payouts to publishers totalling $2B+ in the past 3 years).

The Hustle spoke with Taboola’s CEO Adam Singolda to find out about the business:

An alternative to the walled gardens of Big Tech

For publishers like ESPN or NBC, Taboola is a way to monetize web properties outside of the Facebook/Google ad duopoly. Singolda says Taboola is a “counterweight to the tech giants.”

Per an investor deck, its ads have a reach of 500m+ daily active users, and the open web opportunity is worth $64B.

A B2B company that helps publishers make money

The Taboola ad units are ways for publishers to monetize their digital real estate while providing readers with content and product recommendations.

“Facebook wants Facebook to succeed,” says Singolda. “Taboola wins when our publisher partners win.”

Providing ‘clickable’ (not ‘clickbait’) content

A common criticism of the chumbox format is that some content comes off as clickbait. Singolda disagrees with this characterization. He says that the content is “clickable,” which is particularly popular among the younger generation.

“We have clear content guidelines,” he told us, noting that Taboola has a 50-person content moderation team that will scale with revenue. “There’s nothing wrong with having a clickable thumbnail title or image. Some people want to read deep dives and others want to read about Kim Kardashian. Both are fine.”

When asked about a favorite case study…

… Singolda cites Flare Audio, which launched headphones in the UK by advertising across publications like the Daily Mail and The Independent.

“To break through on Google would have been very hard and expensive,” says Singolda. “But the headphones found the right audience with Taboola.”

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
Stonks
stonks meme

We used this image yesterday but its so good, we’re using it again

GameStop update because LOLZ

Yesterday, we talked about the GameStop ($GME), the video game store that has become a meme stock favorite on the subreddit r/WallStreetBets (WSB) and pitted retail investors vs. traditional hedge funds.

We (really) need to update you:

  1. One of the hedge funds (Melvin Capital) betting against $GME has lost so much money that 2 other hedge funds (Citadel, Point72) put up $2.8B to prop it up.
  2. Billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya (AKA the SPAC-man) got into the mix and backed $GME with a $100k options bet.
  3. On Tuesday, $GME skyrocketed, gaining +92%.
  4. For the WSB crowd, the cherry on top of the cake was a tweet from Elon Musk — noted hater of short sellers — in support of $GME and WSB: “Gamestonk!!
  5. $GME was up another +42% after hours following the tweet.
  6. In layman’s terms: $GME was trading under $4 in March 2020 and, as of 9pm EST on Tuesday, it was at $209.

Absolutely bonkers stonkers!

The Hustle Says

This free design platform helps you craft killer visuals for your company. Projector combines Adobe’s graphics and creative capabilities, Keynote’s approachability and simplicity, and Google Docs’ collaboration. Try it right here.*

We absolutely need this hamburger and hot dog vase set. Why? We’re not quite sure, but vintage is in and we love supporting local businesses.

Save up to $1,055 in 2021. How? By re-shopping your home and auto insurance with Policygenius. Just think of all the board games that money could buy…*

Having trouble sleeping? Time for a mattress upgrade. Check out Wirecutter’s guide to The Best Mattresses Under $400.

Want to invest in weed without actually touching the plant? Check out Good Earth Organics, the new company supplying the next generation of growers — you can invest in them right here.*

*This is a sponsored post.

TRENDS

In last week’s Trends newsletter, we dove deep into the unique set of strategies that built a 48 year old, $1B company:

Patagonia.

Our analysts broke down the tactics that separated Patagonia from their competition, and outlined how you can start to apply the same tactics to your own business immediately.

When you read through our analysis, you’ll learn:

  • How to align yourself with the 80% of consumers that believe in the importance of sustainability without “greenwashing”
  • How Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign increased sales by 30%
  • How to follow Patagonia’s process for building in public
  • And much more.

If you’re not already a member of Trends, sign up today for a $1 trial to get access to the full newsletter.

Get Access →

Corporate swag of the day
Enron swag

Wall Street Treasures is an online retailer that sells nostalgia-inducing Wall Street trinkets.

Some of the site’s official corporate swag is from defunct firms, with some absurd pieces from Enron (the energy trading giant that imploded in the early 2000s over an outrageous accounting scandal):

  • A business ethics handbook from 1998 ($395)
  • A paperweight cube that outlines the Enron’s vision including to “work with customers honestly” ($395)
  • A $50 Enron common stock certificate that actually isn’t worth $50 (but, ironically, costs $395)

Accountant Scott Davidson has been selling stuff on Wall Street Treasures for 9 years and tells the New York Times that “everyone loves a good scandal.”

He further explains Enron’s enduring appeal: “I think it partly has to do with collective identity. So many people owned a piece of Enron at one time, through their mutual funds. Everyone knew the story.”

SHARE THE HUSTLE
Hustle Cons Greatest Hits ebook

Over the years, we’ve learned… secrets.

The business secrets, tips, and tricks that have helped founders go from zero to millions — and even billions — of dollars.

Want to see ‘em? Just refer {3-referral_count} more friends to The Hustle and we’ll send you our curated set of interviews with founders from brands like Zola, AWAY, Vungle, Bonobos, and more.

Here’s a message you can use to share with your friends:

Hey! Do you read The Hustle? It’s the best daily business newsletter out there — only takes 5 minutes to read and you’ll sound like the smartest person in the room. Sign up here, it’s free: {referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Stickers

Laptop lookin’ sparse? Water bottle lookin’… clear?

You’re only {5-referral_count} referrals away from your first Hustle swag, Sam’s Stickers. Slap a few of these bad boys on the ol’ laptop and let everyone in the coffee shop know that you know. You know?

Here’s a message you can use to share with your friends:

Hey! Do you read The Hustle? It’s the best daily business newsletter out there — only takes 5 minutes to read and you’ll sound like the smartest person in the room. Sign up here, it’s free: {referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Pint Glass

Look at you, smarty pants. You’ve already shared The Hustle with {referral_count} friends and enemies.

But hey, just because you’re a business nerd doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cool bevvy. Get {10-referral_count} more referrals and we’ll send you a pint glass etched with The Hustle logo.

Anyway, here’s a message you can use to share with your friends:

Hey! Do you read The Hustle? It’s the best daily business newsletter out there — only takes 5 minutes to read and you’ll sound like the smartest person in the room. Sign up here, it’s free: {referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Ambassador Rewards

You’re only {15-referral_count} referrals away from earning our signature dad hat meant for ladies, gents, and dads alike to show folks they’re in the club.

Here’s a message you can use to share with your friends:

Hey! Do you read The Hustle? It’s the best daily business newsletter out there — only takes 5 minutes to read and you’ll sound like the smartest person in the room. Sign up here, it’s free: {referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Always be Hustlin' tee

You’re close to the most coveted item in Hustle-land: The Always Be Hustlin Tee.

The fabric? Luxurious. The cut? Relaxed, yet refined. The message? Indisputable.

Share this link with {25 – referral_count} more of your friends to get the goods:

{referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Hustle Hoodie

Damn, you’re on a roll. You’ve got the pint glass. You’ve got the hat. It’s time to complete your collection, don’t you think?

Get {50 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll send you our favorite piece of Hustle swag: The Startup Sweatshirt. Slipping into this piece of fleece might just transport you to Silicon Valley (or maybe somewhere better, your pick).

Share this link to get the goods:

{referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Trends Screenshot

Hey, we see you. You’re out there spreading the gospel of The Hustle like it’s nobody’s business. Seems like you might be ready for a little more…

Get {100 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll slide you a free subscription to Trends.

And no, this ain’t an ad. We just think you’re the kinda person who would thrive in our top-tier community (it’s usually $299) full of founders, investors, and builders (AKA ambitious, no B.S. business folks like you — and enjoy our premium research and content.

Share this link with {100 – referral_count} more of your friends to get the goods:

{referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Plane

If you love us so much why don’t you just marry us?

Get {1000 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll fly you to The Hustle HQ in beautiful, downtown eastern Austin, Texas. Round-trip flight, 2 nights in a hotel downtown, and some wining and dining with The Hustle fam.

Heck, you practically work here anyway. Copy & paste this link to share:

{referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
How did you like today’s email?

hate it

meh

love it

Join 1.5m+ professionals getting The Hustle daily news brief

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

100% free, no ads or spam, unsubscribe anytime

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?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.

If you don’t like it, unsubscribe any time. Privacy policy.

[email-submission-form redirect-to-home="true" button-text="Join Free" include-trends-opt-in="true" id="main-signup-form" fail-url="" success-url="https://thehustle.co/signup" default-source="thehustleco" default-campaign="home"]
<script type="text/javascript"> var onloadCallback = function() { grecaptcha.render('verify-your-humanity', { 'sitekey' : '6LdddrcZAAAAALyttpvOqiwQGwq5BNhgDz4tMQGE' }); }; function getCookieValue(a) { var b = document.cookie.match('(^|[^;]+)\\s*' + a + '\\s*=\\s*([^;]+)'); return b ? atob(decodeURIComponent(b.pop())) : ''; } function setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, cookieName, defaultValue) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; var existingVal = el.getAttribute('value'); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName) || getCookieValue(cookieName); if ((existingVal == null || existingVal == '' || existingVal == defaultValue) && (newVal != null && newVal != '')) { el.setAttribute('value', newVal); } } function setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm( wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, defaultValue ) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; if (el != null) { var existingVal = el.getAttribute("value"); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName); if (newVal != null && newVal != "") { el.setAttribute("value", newVal); } } } function initForm() { var wrappingDivs = document.getElementsByClassName('email-submission'); wrappingDivs.forEach(wrappingDiv => { var sp = new URLSearchParams(window.location.search); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-source', 'utm_source', 'funnel_source', 'thehustleco'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-campaign', 'utm_campaign', 'funnel_campaign', 'home'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-medium', 'utm_medium', 'funnel_medium', ''); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-referral', 'ref', 'funnel_referral', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-a', 'a', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-c', 'c', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-o', 'o', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-oc', 'oc', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-e', 'e', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-f', 'f', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-r', 'r', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-t', 't', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s1', 's1', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s2', 's2', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s3', 's3', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s4', 's4', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s5', 's5', ''); var error_message = getCookieValue('funnel_error_message'); if (error_message && error_message.trim() != '') { var error = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('funnel-error')[0]; var prev_email = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); error_message = prev_email + " is not valid. Please try again"; error.innerHTML = error_message; error.style = ''; } }); if (false) { initCaptchaFormV2(); } } function initCaptchaFormV2() { var v3RecaptchaResponseEl = document.getElementById('recaptcha-response-v3'); v3RecaptchaResponseEl.parentNode.removeChild(v3RecaptchaResponseEl); var wrappingDiv = document.getElementById('main-signup-form'); var subForm = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('email-submission')[0]; var captchaVersion = document.createElement('input'); captchaVersion.class = 'g-recaptcha hidden-input'; captchaVersion.type = 'hidden'; captchaVersion.name = 'g-recaptcha-response-v2'; captchaVersion.value = 'true'; subForm.appendChild(captchaVersion); var captchaEl = document.createElement('div'); captchaEl.id = 'verify-your-humanity'; subForm.appendChild(captchaEl); var captchaApiScriptEl = document.createElement('script'); captchaApiScriptEl.src = 'https://www.google.com/recaptcha/api.js?onload=onloadCallback&render=explicit'; captchaApiScriptEl.async = true; captchaApiScriptEl.defer = true; document.head.appendChild(captchaApiScriptEl); } function appendCheckboxes() { var optInDivs = document.querySelectorAll('.trends-opt-in'); optInDivs.forEach(el => { if (el.getElementsByClassName('trends-opt-in-checkbox').length < 1) { var checkbox = document.createElement('input'); checkbox.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('type', 'checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('name', 'trends_opt_in'); var label = document.createElement('label'); label.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-text'); label.textContent = "Yes, I'd like to receive updates on market opportunities before they explode from Trends by The Hustle"; el.appendChild(checkbox); el.appendChild(label); checkbox.click(); } }) } window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', (event) => { var funnel_email_cookie = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); if ( (true) && (funnel_email_cookie != null && funnel_email_cookie != '') ) { window.location.replace('/home'); } initForm(); if (true) { appendCheckboxes(); } }); </script> <div class="email-signup" id=main-signup-form> <div class="funnel-error" style="display:none;"></div> <form class="email-submission" action="https://cms.thehustle.co/api/v1/contacts/wordpress_create" method="post"> <input class="funnel-source hidden-input" type="hidden" name="source" value="thehustleco"> <input class="funnel-campaign hidden-input" type="hidden" name="campaign" value="home"> <input class="funnel-medium hidden-input" type="hidden" name="medium"> <input class="funnel-referral hidden-input" type="hidden" name="referral_code"> <input class="funnel-fail-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="fail_url" value=""> <input class="funnel-a hidden-input" type="hidden" name="a" value=""> <input class="funnel-c hidden-input" type="hidden" name="c" value=""> <input class="funnel-o hidden-input" type="hidden" name="o" value=""> <input class="funnel-oc hidden-input" type="hidden" name="oc" value=""> <input class="funnel-e hidden-input" type="hidden" name="e" value=""> <input class="funnel-f hidden-input" type="hidden" name="f" value=""> <input class="funnel-r hidden-input" type="hidden" name="r" value=""> <input class="funnel-t hidden-input" type="hidden" name="t" value=""> <input class="funnel-s1 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s1" value=""> <input class="funnel-s2 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s2" value=""> <input class="funnel-s3 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s3" value=""> <input class="funnel-s4 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s4" value=""> <input class="funnel-s5 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s5" value=""> <input class="funnel-success-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="success_url" value="https://thehustle.co/signup"> <input id="recaptcha-response-v3" class="g-recaptcha hidden-input" type="hidden" name="g-recaptcha-response" value=""> <input class="signup-email" type="email" name="email" placeholder="Your email address" required> <input class="email-submit" type="submit" value="Join Free"> <div class="trends-opt-in"></div> <div submit-success> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--success">Thank you for subscribing.</p> </template> </div> <div submit-error> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--failed">Your submission failed. Please try again!</p> </template> </div> </form> </div>