🎃 Pumpkinomics - The Hustle
The Hustle

🎃 Pumpkinomics

Plus: Some personal news, a cassette comeback, new T-Swift records, and more.

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In today’s email:

  • Lex: Google Docs, but with AI.
  • Video: The economics of pumpkins.
  • Digits: A crazy heist, Instacart’s growth, and more.
  • Around the Web: Dongle history, how palm reading works, Walter White meets Mario, and more cool internet finds.
  • Plus: Some personal news, a cassette comeback, new T-Swift records, and more.
The big idea

Can AI cure writer’s block?

In 2020, OpenAI launched GPT-3, a language model that uses machine learning to ingest and produce human-like text.

Panic ensued as writers worried they’d be replaced by AI. But two years later, the impact of GPT-3 has felt underwhelming.

Last week, Lex, an AI-enabled word processor, took Twitter by storm, garnering rave reviews from users and 25k sign-ups within 24 hours of launching.

Lex was created…

… by Nathan Baschez, writer and co-founder of Every, a collection of business-focused newsletters.

It looks and feels like a minimalistic version of Google Docs, but with a key difference — a native integration with GPT-3.

  • After writing a few lines, users can type ‘+++’, and GPT-3 will suggest what to write next.
  • Lex can also help writers brainstorm things like title ideas.

While much of the talk around GPT-3 has focused on AI writing entire pieces, Baschez is positioning Lex as a tool to help writers get unstuck so they can produce their best work.

Of course, there are some caveats

First, Lex only works in English for now, though Baschez says he’s working on adding more languages.

Second, GPT-3 isn’t perfect, so sometimes the suggestions aren’t quite on target.

But overall, the app seems like a major step forward in using AI to assist with writing.

If you want to judge that for yourself, everything after “Of course” above was written by an AI using Lex.

To learn more, check out this three-minute demo, and join the waitlist here.


Wow: Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” broke Spotify’s record for most-streamed album in a single day. Swift also broke her own record for swear words in an album.


Twitter turmoil: Internal documents revealed Elon Musk plans to cut Twitter’s workforce by 75% as bankers and lawyers work to close the deal by month’s end.

Meta’s cost-saving strategies and WHF policies are impacting the bus drivers who ferry its Bay Area employees. Union members intend to protest.

Amazon has discontinued Glow, its $300 touch-screen projector gadget for kids, and will shut down support on Dec. 31, 2022. Owners will get a refund and are encouraged to recycle it.

Dwayne Johnson’s new superhero film, Black Adam, raked in $67m in the US and $140m globally through Saturday. Despite a strong debut, reviews were not so kind.

Interpol launched the world’s first metaverse for law enforcement, which lets users tour a virtual replica of Interpol headquarters.

Researchers submitted 20 ads with election misinformation to social media platforms. YouTube blocked them all, but Facebook and TikTok let many slip by.

Future of travel? Read about a home-swapping app that lets users travel more affordably by leveraging their homes.


Video: The economics of a pumpkin patch

Pumpkin season is upon us, and while pumpkin patches may be the ultimate seasonal business — they can do serious numbers.

Some facts:

  • In 2020, the US produced 1.5B+ pounds of pumpkins.
  • Seeds from giant pumpkins can fetch $3-$5 each.
  • With 2k-5k seeds inside, giant pumpkins can yield $6k-$26k in profit.

So, what are the economics of these orange orbs? How much is a pumpkin really worth? And how do pumpkin patches make money year-round?

To find out, we talked to pumpkin farmers, experts, and patch owners around the country.

Read the full story →
Free Resource

The Business of Creators report

You’re probably acquainted with dozens, if not hundreds, of creator economy contributors.

From major-league mouthpieces to the most micro of influencers, they’re busy engaging every niche in sight. So more and more brands keep tapping into their potential, and swearing by the results.

For the brand new creator economy report, HubSpot worked with The Tilt to survey 300+ business and marketing content creators. It’s a very in-depth lay of the land.

Navigating today’s creator economy:

  • How business content creators are earning profits
  • The dos and don’ts of forming partnerships
  • Data and deliberations for knockout campaigns
  • The top 11 creator outreach channels ranked by usage

Learn all about crafting and collaborating in digital spaces.

On content creators →

Digits: A crazy heist, Instacart’s growth, and more wild numbers

1) An inmate inside a maximum security prison in Georgia reportedly stole $11m by convincing Charles Schwab customer service reps that he was California billionaire Sidney Kimmel.

2) Instacart is reportedly shelving plans for an IPO this year amid turbulent market conditions. The company slashed its internal valuation from $40B in March to $13B, though it also saw Q3 revenue grow 40%+ this year.

3) Vinyl had a comeback. Are cassette tapes next? The audio format may be ripe for a nostalgia-driven boom, and Missouri-based National Audio Company supposedly still produces ~30m cassettes annually.

4) This year, ~1.8k US companies are hoping to bring some or all of their operations back stateside and, through August, 106 earnings calls mentioned reshoring, up from six in 2019.

5) Once led by hundreds of communities of US nuns, the communion wafer business is now commanded by a for-profit firm. The company produced ~50m wafers per year in the 1950s and eventually grew production to ~1B wafers in the 1990s.


🛢️ On this day: In 1901, schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to drop over Niagara Falls in a barrel, inspiring a host of copycats, despite the fact that it’s both deadly and illegal.

🏎️ Haha: “Breaking Bad” meets “Mario Kart.”

🖥️ That’s interesting: The past, present, and future of the dongle.

🎧 Podcast: Listen to this episode of Nudge to learn how palm reading works, the power of asking questions, and how to get anyone to answer a survey.

👶 Aww: This cat is baby.


*Laughs in fear.* (Source: imgflip.com)

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Editing by: Mark “I prefer T-Swift’s earlier work” Dent.

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