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The Hustle

Someone stole ~$200k from a trailer parked in a Walmart lot in Philadelphia. The weirdest part? It was all in dimes, weighing ~10k pounds.

In today’s email:

  • House swap: There’s yet another app for that.
  • Worth one’s salt: Hershey’s makes fat stacks from salty snacks.
  • Weekend Reads: Links for a lazy — but educational — Sunday.
  • Around the Web: A bunch of “rooms,” quirky cookie jars, innovative climate tech, and more internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Mark, Zack, and Juliet discuss a home-swapping platform, disappointing BuzzFeed News news, RIP blue check marks, and more.

The big idea
house swap

Wanna travel cheap? Borrow someone’s house

Instead of scouring travel sites for the best hotel deals, what if you just switched houses for a few days?

That’s the idea behind Kindred, a members-only home-swapping platform co-founded by Justine Palefsky and Tasneem Amina in 2021.

It’s currently available in North America with 2k+ homes in 50+ cities, but just raised $15m to expand, per TechCrunch.

How it works

Members — who may be homeowners or renters — are both hosts and guests in a “give and get” model. For every night they host, they earn a night in another member’s home.

They just pay a service fee (up to $30/night) and a cleaning fee per stay, saving potentially hundreds in hotel costs; frequent users can pay a $600 annual fee for unlimited stays and no service fees.

In addition to vetting members, Kindred adds a lot of personal touches, including complimentary hosting kits, professional photography, and cleaning.

It’s not a brand new model

HomeExchange, which charges a $175 annual fee, has been around since the ‘90s and boasts a massive network of 450k+ homes worldwide.

Others have a niche.

  • Thirdhome is for luxury stays; it claims the average home value is $2.4m.
  • TrustedHousesitters matches animal lovers who care for each other’s pets in exchange for a free stay.

They all differ greatly from Airbnb and Vrbo because those really aren’t home-sharing platforms — they’re for making money, which could be why they’re now saturated with property management companies.

Fun fact: One Kindred member once composed a song using sounds of the house — cupboard doors, microwave buttons — for their host. It’s called “Chilling on Goss Lake.”

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eyeball wearing a hat

Made any thrift store purchases recently? They may be worth a closer look: A Texas woman bought a $35 sculpture at Goodwill only to find it was a priceless ancient Roman bust. The marble bust, stolen from a Bavarian royal villa long ago, will be repatriated to Germany this summer.


No Lack of confidence: Ikea will invest $2.2B over the next three years to expand its US operations, including at least 17 new locations. Gonna assume at least half of that budget will go into building an Allen wrench big enough to assemble those stores.

Not great: A report found several current and former Google employees were against its Bard chatbot’s rushed launch, calling it “worse than useless” and a “pathological liar.” Meanwhile, Google is merging its AI units, DeepMind and Google Research.

Check, please? Elon Musk delivered on his promise to remove Twitter’s verified checks on 4/20, except for users paying for his Twitter Blue service. Now even Beyonce and Lady Gaga are just regular internet peasants like us.

Whoops: SpaceX’s Starship rocket exploded four minutes after Friday’s liftoff due to engine malfunction. Positive thinking ruled the day as employees celebrated lifting off — no easy task considering Starship is the most powerful rocket ever built.

BuzzFeed will close BuzzFeed News and lay off 180 people, (~15% of its staff) because, per CEO Jonah Peretti, it wasn’t profitable. Meanwhile, Insider will reportedly cut ~10% of its staff.

Cleanup: Imgur will ban images containing nudity or sexually explicit content, plus purge any “old, unused, and inactive content” not tied to user accounts.

Not so fast: Warner Bros. Discovery sued Paramount over “South Park” streaming rights. Now, Paramount is countersuing for $52m. Both services host some, but not all, of the 300+ episodes and numerous specials made since the series’ 1997 debut.

Bursting bubbles: Oakland, California, added a one-cent tax on sweetened beverages in July 2017. Those hoping sugary drink consumption would drop got their wish: Soda, fruit and sports drinks, and sweetened tea sales have since sharply declined (~27% overall).

What in the AI? YouTuber Jensen Tung broke down how he built a YouTube channel using only AI and ChatGPT.

Hershey's salty snack segment
Olivia Heller

Hershey bets on salty snacks to shake things up

We’re gonna go ahead and take a wild guess that salt is not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “The Hershey Company.”

And yet, the brand sprinkled more than a little into its latest annual report, with the word “salty” appearing 51 times compared to chocolate’s 52.

All these mentions, in reference to Hershey’s Salty Snacks segment, underline how seriously the company is taking its stated vision of being “a leading snacking powerhouse” and growing its share of the $36B market.

Salting away cash

Its Confectionery segment — including top-selling Reese’s — is still the company’s bread and (peanut) butter, but Hershey’s snacks division Salty Snacks now represents a $1B+ business line of its own.

The division — which includes treats like Pirate’s Booty and SkinnyPop — accounts for ~10% of the company’s sales, up from 5.4% in 2020. Leadership is hoping to take it to ~20% this decade, per Food Dive.

Much of this growth has come through snackquisitons — first of Amplify, SkinnyPop’s parent company, for $1.6B back in 2017, and second, of Dot’s Pretzels, for $1.2B in 2021.

These investments appear to be twisting into big profits, with Hershey stock up 13%+ in the past year, compared to the S&P 500’s -6%.

What’s next?

SkinnyPop has been a standout for Hershey — now nearing $550m in annual sales, up from $200m pre-acquisition.

To support this growth, earlier this week Hershey addressed the ever-relatable struggle of not having one’s own popcorn manufacturing facilities… by purchasing two of them.

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Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads

In case you missed ‘em, here’s this week’s best…

  • Story: Love may be priceless, but dating during high inflation sure feels like a premium membership. We surveyed ~700 of you to find out about inflation’s impact on dating.
  • Video: Our look inside one of America’s last piano factories, Mason & Hamlin in Haverhill, Massachusetts, will strike a chord with anyone looking for a grand old time.
  • Blog: Procrastinated a little too hard this week? Not to worry, procrastinate further by learning about 19 of the best time management apps.
  • Tweet: That feeling when your co-worker’s skill set includes just repeating what you said earlier.
  • Chart: Millennials may be more afraid of credit card debt than death, but Gen Z appears to be more afraid of… not traveling.

📸 On this day: In 1934, the Daily Mail published the “Surgeon’s Photograph,” the most famous picture of Scotland’s Loch Ness monster. Unfortunately for all you Mulders out there, the image was debunked in 1994.🍪 That’s interesting: Quirky cookie jars and why we love them.

🌧 Blog: Read about five innovative climate tech startups tackling the carbon crisis.

🕵️‍♀️ Cure boredom: is a new site that lets users create tiny online rooms, like this mini escape room. Please note, this is a brand new site and the game may take a while to load.

🐾 Aww: And now, let’s retrace our steps.

  1. There are more Panda Expresses than pandas. SOURCE

  2. Baking in space/low-gravity must produce the fluffiest baked goods possible. SOURCE

  3. Octopus drummers are overrepresented in the animal music scene. SOURCE

  4. Each night, there are animals sleeping in the wild who really want the noisy nocturnal ones to STFU. SOURCE

  5. Some dinosaurs might have crowed like roosters in the morning. SOURCE

via Reddit

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