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We’re off tomorrow for Veterans Day and will catch you back here Monday. To our readers who’ve served — thank you for your service.

In today’s email:

  • Mastodon: Twitter’s decentralized rival.
  • Chart: Meta’s headcount.
  • Booze-free beer: It’s taking off.
  • Around the web: A wordplay generator, how to manage rock stars, the truth about the smiling sun, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Juliet and Jacob discuss Meta’s mistake, chip (not the snack) factories, IPAs without the hangover, and more.

The big idea

Twitter users are flocking to Mastodon… but WTF is it?

Unless you’ve been living under a Tesla-sized rock, you know that things on Twitter lately have been… tumultuous.

Since Elon Musk’s takeover, nearly 1m users — many of them protesting the new leadership — have deactivated their accounts, and ~500k accounts have been suspended because of new moderation policies.

But, the show content must go on, and defectors have identified a new platform to unleash their hot takes: Mastodon.

  • Taking the name of an extinct mammal (and heavy metal band), the decentralized platform was founded in 2016 by German software developer Eugen Rochko.
  • Rochko reported that Mastodon surpassed 1m users this month, with 489k joining since Musk’s Twitter takeover.

“Decentralized” is Web3’s biggest buzzword…

… and means that Mastodon lets users create their own versions of its server, rather than being bound to a central one.

  • Servers are hosted by individuals or organizations who can set their own content moderation rules.
  • The platform’s source code is public, so users can contribute, fix bugs, and add new features.

Some analysts believe Twitter should pursue a similar strategy.

Mastodon shares some similarities with Twitter

The app uses hashtags, replies, and “boosting” (like retweeting), and can be accessed via phone app or web browser. Unlike Twitter, Mastodon is a nonprofit and has no ads (#omg).

Despite its benefits, decentralization has challenges of its own:

  • Mastodon has no control over its users and can’t moderate content like traditional social media platforms.

So, is the little blue bird the next animal to go extinct? Only time will tell.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Sheesh: On a 2.5-hour YouTube stream, “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli told disgraced Terra CEO (and alleged fugitive) Do Kwon that “jail’s not that bad.”


Cry…pto: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s net worth dropped 94% in a day after Binance walked away from a deal to buy the rival exchange. Meanwhile, crypto prices continue to fall.

TSMC may build another ~$12B advanced chip factory in Arizona. Read our previous coverage on why that would be such a big deal.

Bikes, now rugs? Peloton founder and former CEO John Foley is launching Ernesta, a D2C rug brand named after Ernest Hemingway and Bob Nesta Marley.

Redfin is laying off 862 people as it shutters its home-flipping business, citing a lack of sales.

YouTube Music and Premium added 30m subscribers in one year, bringing the total to 80m across both platforms.

Boo: Gmail has decided you’re stuck with its new design and can’t go back to the OG interface.

Amazon Clinic? The company published — then quickly removed — a YouTube video about “Amazon Clinic,” a telehealth offering.

WFH hacks: We all know that working from home has big perks (lookin’ at you, pajama pants), but it can also bring its own unique challenges. Fear not: The Hustle has the solutions.

Meta's headcount over time
Singdhi Sokpo
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The big bet Big Tech got wrong

Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced the largest layoffs in Meta’s history.

In a letter to employees, he mentioned a now familiar admission of guilt among tech CEOs — incorrectly predicting that a pandemic surge in ecommerce would be a permanent trend, and investing heavily in headcount to meet that growth.

“I got this wrong,” he wrote.

He’s not the first to admit that error.

  • In a July letter about Shopify layoffs, CEO Tobi Lutke said he’d mistakenly bet on the permanence of ecommerce demand. “I got this wrong,” he said.
  • Last week, in a letter regarding Stripe layoffs, CEO Patrick Collison explained how, in early 2020, “the world rotated overnight towards e-commerce… The world is now shifting again.”

As for Meta, investors consider the layoffs a major step toward better cost management, though their concerns about competition with TikTok and Apple remain.

That, and concerns about whether placing the company’s fate on the success of the metaverse was a good idea. That, too.

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No More Hangovers
Athletic Brewing beer

Hangover-free beer is in

Nonalcoholic alternatives were often shunned because, well, they didn’t taste great.

That’s what inspired Athletic Brewing co-founders John Walker and Bill Shufelt to brew 100+ test beers to find a process that yielded a tasty booze-free beer.

Today, the company has breweries in San Diego and Milford, Connecticut, and holds 55% market share among craft NA beers.

This week, Keurig Dr Pepper, which acquired NA canned cocktail brand Atypique in June, invested $50m for a minority stake.

People are indulging less…

… boosting NA beer, wine, and spirit sales.

  • In October 2021, NielsenIQ reported a 315% YoY rise in online NA beverage sales, compared to 26% for alcohol.
  • New Zealand NA winery Giesen reported 454% growth in US shipments in 2022, per Forbes.
  • DC is getting an NA bar this year, while LA got its first NA bottle shop in 2021.

NPR attributes the shift to social media trends and an increasing interest in health and wellness.

NA drinks obviously don’t cause hangovers, plus they usually have fewer calories. For instance, the average IPA has 180-200 calories; Athletic’s Run Wild IPA has 65.

Athletic CEO Bill Shufelt thinks customers are also “embracing moderation.”

“Even though 80% of our consumers still drink alcohol, many… have realized that alcohol no longer fits in their lives beyond one or two nights per week,” he told The Hustle. “Our nonalcoholic beers expand drinking occasions to seven nights per week.”

BTW: NA beers aren’t always completely alcohol-free, but they must have 0.5% ABV or less to be labeled as such.

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🚢 On this day: In 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior. The following year, Gordon Lightfoot penned a hit song about the tragedy.

🧠 That’s cool: A portmanteau generator for your wordplay needs.

How to: Tips for managing a top performer and those who work around them.

🌞 That’s interesting: What’s behind NASA’s smiling sun image.

😍 Aww: And now, a baby springhare.

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Follow Sara on Twitter.

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst, Sara Cravatts.
Editing by: Mark “Feel the bass” Dent.

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