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🎮 Meta’s metaverse problem, explained

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In today’s email:

  • Meta: The good and bad of Zuck’s metaverse.
  • Chart: The economics of Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chickens.
  • Labor: Companies are hiring people with criminal records.
  • Around the Web: The most expensive pigment, a chill music player, a “Sesame Street” first, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Zack and Rob break down the good, the bad, and the ugly from Meta’s Connect event.

The big idea

Zachary Crockett / The Hustle

Is Zuck too early to the metaverse?

Yesterday, Meta held Meta Connect, an annual event dedicated to the company’s latest releases in AR and VR.

The event summarized the company’s progress over the last year and gave a sneak peek at where its platforms are heading.

First, Meta’s good news

Meta made promising announcements across its most important VR use cases, including:

  • Social experiences: A partnership with NBCUniversal that will let users interact in a VR world modeled after “The Office”
  • Gaming: A previously announced Iron Man VR game will be released on Nov. 3
  • Fitness: An “active pack” for Meta’s Quest 2 headset that can better handle sweat
  • Work: An integration with Microsoft that will make its apps available in VR

Meta also announced the Meta Quest Pro, a mixed reality headset that retails at $1,499 (compared to $399 for the Meta Quest 2).

But it’s not all good news

On Monday, Platformer’s Casey Newton detailed Zuck’s struggles to get employee buy-in on the metaverse:

  • In one survey, only 58% of Meta employees said they understood the company’s metaverse strategy.
  • Meta leadership recently complained to managers that employees aren’t using the company’s Horizon VR platform enough.

One issue, Newton poses, is that the company’s metaverse efforts are too early, and that employees are more interested in working on projects where they can have an immediate impact.

For what it’s worth, Zuck didn’t exactly refute that — in his opening keynote, he dedicated the event to “the people who would rather be early than fashionably late.”

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eyeball wearing a hat

Free: Prosecutors dropped all charges against Adnan Syed, subject of the hit podcast “Serial,” who served 22 years in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.


Snapchat partnered with Disguise Costumes on an AR feature that lets users virtually try on and buy Halloween costumes.

TikTok’s eyeing fulfillment centers in LA and Seattle to “ensure fast and sustainable growth of TikTok Shop,” per new job postings.

The US Labor Department’s new proposal could reclassify gig workers as employees. Upon the news, shares dropped for Lyft (12%), Uber (~10%), and DoorDash (6%).

Honda and LG are partnering on a $3.5B battery factory in Ohio that’s expected to create 2.2k jobs.

Crypto exchange Bittrex was fined $24m for breaking US sanctions in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, and the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Google introduced three new Chromebooks designed for cloud gaming. Google is sunsetting its gaming platform, Stadia, in 2023.

FT 1000 insights: Our Trends team reported on The Financial TImes’ list of Europe’s fastest-growing private companies. Read about sludgemucking, biohacking, and members-only marketplaces inside Trends.


Zachary Crockett

The economics of Costco rotisserie chicken

Chicken holds a special place in the carnivore’s heart.

This year, the average American will scarf down 99 lbs. of chicken, handily outranking our consumption of beef (56 lbs.), pork (52 lbs.), and fish (19 lbs.).

  • That’s ~20 whole chickens per person, per year.

About 900m of the 9.2B chickens we consume on an annual basis are rotisserie chickens — precooked, seasoned, ready-to-eat birds.

Of those 900m chickens…

… 106m are sold by one retailer: Costco.

The chain debuted its chickens around 2000, pricing them at $4.99. More than two decades later — despite record-high inflation and rising production costs — they’re still $4.99.

Many Costco chicken loyalists have been blissfully perplexed by this pricing strategy.

Zack’s visual story explores the question: How the cluck are these chickens profitable?

Read the full story →
Free Resource

The five steps to a hardy marketing plan

The blueprint can’t be busted. That would be unwise.

Make your marketing plan a staple worth revisiting — something that sets the tone and aligns your team for success. It should be a pretty complete rundown of strategy and logistic essentials…

… which we’ve compiled for your convenience. Watch the five-minute video.

The five-step method:

  • State the mission
  • Outline buyer personas
  • Define the content strategy
  • Break down the budget
  • Identify team responsibilities

See how Rimi from HubSpot ideates for an imaginary travel agency.

Make your roadmap →
Second Chances

Second-chance hiring, explained

Second-chance hiring is when companies hire people who were formerly incarcerated.

It’s picking up across several industries, per The Wall Street Journal, due in part to:

  • A national labor shortage
  • Groups like the Second Chance Business Coalition, which consists of 40+ companies committed to the practice, including American Airlines, Target, and Microsoft.

Why it matters

There are 70m+ Americans with arrest or conviction records, and ~600k people are released from prison each year.

Finding a stable job can reduce recidivism, but there are often significant barriers.

  • More than 90% of employers conduct background checks. A criminal record can reduce chances of a second interview by 50%.
  • A 2018 analysis found that the unemployment rate among formerly incarcerated people was over 27%.

A 2014 report estimated 1.7m-1.9m people were excluded from the workforce due to these barriers, costing the US $78B-$87B in annual GDP.

Second-chance hiring results are positive

A 2021 Society for Human Resource Management report found that 85% of HR pros felt that employees with criminal records performed the same or better than those without.

They also have lower turnover rates, which in turn saves companies money.

BTW: Last week, we wrote about remote work increasing opportunities for people with disabilities.

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🖥️ On this day: In 1988, NeXT Inc.’s NeXT computer debuted, earning high praise from Steve Jobs. Apple purchased the company in 1997, and used its operating system as the basis for Mac OS X.

🖌️ Art: Watch the Getty Conservation Institute attempt to create ultramarine blue, the most expensive pigment ever made.

🤗 That’s cool: A profile of Megan Piphus Peace, the first Black woman puppeteer to work full-time on “Sesame Street.” She plays a 6-year-old girl named Gabrielle.

🌧️ Chill out: This site simulates looking out a window. Seasons pass, rain falls, chill music plays, and you can draw the aurora borealis.

🐍 Aww: And now, a very small snake.


Some things will never be better in VR. (Source: Imgflip)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Would rather be fashionably late” Dent.

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