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After a 24-year hiatus, Pizza Hut is temporarily bringing back its 16-inch “Big New Yorker” pizza in time for Super Bowl LVII. A 2017 Change.org petition for its return has amassed ~3.5k signatures.

In today’s email:

  • Virgin Orbit: Close but no cigar.
  • Sister act: How two twins monopolized the twin business.
  • Strike: Bowling pin drama.
  • Around the web: Learning Morse code, making pop kid-friendly, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Zack and Rob break down a controversial bowling innovation, Microsoft’s big bet on ChatGPT, the skyrocketing price of onions, and more.

The big idea
Virgin Orbit rocket

Virgin Orbit’s rocket to nowhere

There are thousands of satellites orbiting above Earth. But it’s not always easy getting them up there.

During a Monday night mission in Great Britain, a Virgin Orbit rocket experienced an anomaly while traveling 11k+ mph, and never reached its final orbit. The satellites it carried burned up on reentry, according to The New York Times.

The failure spoiled the United Kingdom’s first attempted satellite launch and led to Virgin Orbit’s stock dropping 14% yesterday.

What was lost?

Nine satellites, whose owners paid $10m-$12m each for a spot — and are reportedly insured. Among them:

  • Belgian company RHEA Group, which lost a satellite meant to be tested as a backup for GPS navigation systems.
  • AAC Clyde Space, a Scottish company, which lost a cubesat made to track illegal maritime activities.

Founded by Richard Branson, Virgin Orbit has previously completed four successful satellite launches out of the Mojave Desert in California, which is a helluva lot less damp and windy than Britain.

Branson’s mission success rate with Virgin Orbit and space tourism company Virgin Galactic has been above 90%, per the Daily Mail, but it lags fellow space-obsessed billionaires Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, as well as NASA.

But not all was lost

The mission helped lay the groundwork for technical and regulatory advancements in Britain’s space industry. Britain has now spent $24m equipping an airport in Cornwall, England, for satellite launches and plans to launch in Scotland.

“We have shown the UK is capable of launching into orbit,” Matt Archer, the UK Space Agency’s director of commercial spaceflight, noted.

Big picture: Deutsche Bank valued the global launch market at ~$8B in 2022, and projects it will reach $35B by 2030.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

“Wordle,” but make it for realtors, and call it “Housle.” In this daily game, you have six tries to guess within 5% of a house’s list price. Each incorrect attempt prompts a new photo and clue (i.e., “1.5 baths”).

SNIPPETS

Coinbase is cutting 20% of its ~4.7k-person staff, following an 18% cut in June. Meanwhile, the number of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide is now ~38.6k, up from ~14k in early 2021 but stagnant since July 2022.

TikTok ban-dwagon: New Jersey and Ohio are the latest states to ban TikTok on government-managed devices.

England will ban single-use plastics, including cutlery and plates, to cut down on waste. It banned single-use plastic straws in 2020.

Microsoft is in talks to invest $10B into ChatGPT owner OpenAI in a deal that would see Microsoft get 75% of OpenAI’s profits until recouped, then a 49% stake in the company.

Onion prices have skyrocketed in the Philippines to ~3x the cost of chicken due to typhoons, leading to smuggling.

Meta will stop allowing advertisers to target teens by gender on its platforms, leaving only age and location options, in February.

US natural disasters caused $165B in damages in 2022, per an analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Developers have earned $320B+ through the App Store since its 2008 launch, up $60B since 2021. Paid subscriptions across Apple services now exceed 900m+.

Must read: BiggerPockets released its 2023 State of Real Estate Investing Report to help aspiring investors make 2023 a year of progress and profit — even during a market correction.

FROM THE BLOG
laptop

If the Sunday scaries seem to last all week, you might have work anxiety. But we’ve got you covered: We rounded up the signs, causes, and solutions so you can make anxiety at work a thing of the past.

Feature story
Ganz twins
Zachary Crockett

How two sisters monopolized the identical-twins business

The world had never seen anything like the Ganz sisters’ restaurant.

Identical twins Lisa and Debbie staffed their eatery, Twins Restaurant, with 30+ pairs of identical twins who wore matching outfits and sported name tags that read something like “I’m not Lisa” or “I’m not Debbie.” If one twin got sick, the other had to stay home, too.

Buoyed by the restaurant’s viral reception, Lisa and Debbie had planned to open locations across the country. But as they worked long restaurant hours, emptying grease traps at 2am, they discovered a more intriguing opportunity: twin expertise.

For any business project or media opportunity that involved twins, triplets, or “multiples,” the Ganz twins would be the consultants, the authors, or the ones to find them. They excelled at it. They monopolized it. And they’ve been doing it for decades now.

Lisa and Debbie Ganz have chased a world record by putting 150+ identical twins on tandem bikes. They have found twins to play roles in “Law & Order” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” They have published a twin-related book.

“We basically [turned] how we were born into our business model,” Lisa says.

Read the full story →
Free Resource

How businesses should use Instagram

If it’s your 12th year scrolling through Instagram, we can only commend you.

You might be the glitz/glam expert many companies crave. Maybe you should look into selling some of those splendiferous skills.

But for anyone who has better spent their 10.5k hours, take this free Instagram-for-business kit filled with brand-building insights instead.

Inside the Instagram marketing kit:

  • 22 templates for posts and Stories
  • Robust strategy guide for Reels
  • Hashtag glossary and best practices
  • Steps to grow your influence and following
  • Tips to take advantage of the algorithms

We worked with Agorapulse to update this resource. The “navigating algorithms” section features key tips from Instagram expert Jenn Herman.

For the ‘gram →
Spare Parts
bowling

Bowling’s new pinsetters are causing drama

Most of us probably don’t think too hard about bowling pins; we just try to knock ‘em down. But it turns out they don’t all fall quite the same.

Alleys have been switching to a new automated system using “string pins,” per The Wall Street Journal.

How it works

Nylon strings attached to the pins’ tops pull them up into a rack after a shot, then replace those the player missed. (You can see a video here.)

This system is simpler and less expensive than the free-fall machines alleys used to use, and repairs are cheaper and faster. It’s also cheaper than hiring human pinsetters, a nearly obsolete practice.

Owners say that due to pandemic setbacks, increased operating costs, and a dip in bowling’s popularity, cost-cutting has become necessary.

But there’s a catch

While the International Bowling Federation says string pins are fine in tournament play, the US Bowling Congress (USBC) claims a study of 86k+ shots found string pins result in ~7% fewer strikes and more frequent splits.

The USBC proposed some kind of standardization for pinsetters in its report, which may appeal to the pros and purists.

Most casual bowlers, however, won’t notice a huge difference in between slices of greasy pizza and pitchers of beer — though one player did tell the WSJ they don’t make the same sound.

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AROUND THE WEB

🚬 On this day: In 1964, US Surgeon General Luther Terry confirmed the link between cigarettes and cancer. Notably, he waited until a Saturday to avoid affecting the stock market.

✉️ Good read: Quartz Daily Brief is a daily newsletter breaking down the biggest news across the global economy.

🆘 Useful: A site for learning and decoding Morse code.

🎵 That’s interesting: How Kidz Bop censors its songs.

🐶 Aww: And now, a dog-stacle course.

TWEET
eggs Tweet

“Medium rare? Sir, I asked how you like your eggs.” (Link)

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

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