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🏠 Smart-home tech, explained

The Hustle

Last week, we asked Disney super fans to complete a short survey. We got 359 responses (and counting), including the following totals:

  • 52 readers have been to Disney theme parks 100+ times
  • 26 readers have a Disney tattoo
  • 151 readers would live in Disney’s master-planned community

The bottom line? Disney might be onto something with its real estate play.

In today’s email:

  • Smart homes: Why Big Tech players are working together in the home.
  • Uber visual: Which cities have the best — and worst — riders, according to drivers.
  • Metaverse damages: When immersive VR goes wrong.
  • Around the web: Discord tips, what the heck are wine bricks, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about VR injuries, Trump’s new app, and the DAO trying to buy the Broncos.

The big idea
big tech gif

Why Big Tech is cooperating on smart homes

In the 1970s, there was a famous battle between competing technology standards for video cassette tapes: Betamax vs. Video Home System (VHS).

By the end of the decade, VHS won out as the industry standard for Hollywood. A similar standard is taking hold for smart-home technology, and it’s called Matter.

Here are notable details, per The Wall Street Journal:

How smart-home tech works

If you own an Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker, these devices communicate via the cloud to activate things around the home (blinds, lights) or answer questions (“OK Google, what’s the best daily business and tech newsletter?”)

Conversely, Apple’s HomeKit is a more self-contained system that just operates within your home. The Matter standard will create a similar self-contained system but for all smart-home devices.

Why is Big Tech cooperating?

Amazon, Apple, Google, and 220 more companies will support Matter moving forward. WSJ notes that “more than 5.5B Matter-compliant smart-home devices” will ship by 2030. Why cooperate?

  • It makes the market bigger: Consumers don’t have to worry if one device works with another.
  • It’s developer-friendly: Creators can send product updates just once instead of making changes specific to Apple, Amazon, and Google.
  • It’s consumer-friendly: A consistent standard means better security and longer shelf life.

How will it work?

When Matter officially launches midyear, supported smart-home products will include door locks, motion sensors, thermostats, lights, and smart TVs (not yet supported: security cameras, robot vacuums, and appliances).

And adding a new product is as simple as scanning a QR code.

Alexa, Siri, and the Google lady won’t be completely separated from the cloud. Each company has premium features for their own products. But for now, you can rest easy knowing generic smart lightbulbs will work with all of them.

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Bonobos will launch a Gen Z men’s line online and at 250 Walmart locations. It’s the 1st integration of Bonobos products into Walmart stores since the retailer purchased it in 2017 for $310m. #ecommerce-retail

You’d assume solar power only works with direct sunlight. But one researcher says indirect UV could work on cloudy days. #clean-energy

Star robots: Robots are being used as actors in theater, including the one-bot play “Uncanny Valley.” #emerging-tech

Germany’s Edgeless Systems uses “confidential computing” to make cloud storage more secure. Here’s how it works. #privacy

El Salvador has been big on crypto. And now, President Nayib Bukele has suggested offering citizenship to foreign investors. #fintech-crypto

Capcom has announced a 6th installment in the Street Fighter franchise, which turns 35 this year. Street Fighter V came out in 2016 and sold 6m copies. #big-tech

Cities with highest Uber ratings

Uber’s latest feature: Your rating

Today in unsurprising news, NYC Uber riders have the worst average rating in America.

Uber recently published the city-by-city data after releasing an app update that allows you to check how many 5, 4, 3, 2, and yes 1-star ratings you’ve received from Uber drivers. You can access your rating data in the app’s privacy settings.

(Side note: Like funny TV? Watch comedian Nathan Fielder create a sleeper cell of “disgruntled taxi drivers for a plot to sabotage Uber’s business from the inside.” It’s the craziest and funniest thing you’ll see this month.)

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Virtual Games, Real-Life Pain

It turns out VR can get a little too immersive

The sad truth of virtual reality games is that regardless of how immersive the experience, players are still firmly planted in the physical world.

When gamers forget that, bad things happen (in other words, they break stuff).

Case in point, insurance claims that mention VR headsets jumped 31% in 2021, per Sky News.

The rise of VR insurance claims…

… tracks closely with the popularity of VR headsets. Since 2016, claims are up 68%, with the average claim coming in at ~$880.

Aviva, an insurance company, shared examples of the claims they’ve received, which include:

  • A broken TV, from a gamer throwing a remote after being frightened by a zombie
  • Broken designer figurines, from a gamer swiping them off a mantlepiece

As they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt — but it turns out that’s happening too. VRtoER is a subreddit that collects injuries from VR games, counting 83k members and a long list of injuries.

So why does this matter?

With ~8m VR headsets sold since 2020, VR claims won’t be going away any time soon.

Brad Slingerlend from NZS Capital argues augmented reality is the better option for almost every type of app, and that big tech companies are moving in the wrong direction by focusing efforts on immersive VR.

One reason? Being tethered to the real world prevents accidents. If immersive VR is your thing, just make sure to give yourself some space.

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NFTs for sweepstakes and 25+ business ideas

In his recent comedy special, Aziz Ansari joked about the fortress-level lockdown security of the timeless McDonald’s Monopoly sweepstakes.

Ronald still got conned for millions in the ’90s.

Trends analyst Julia shares how blockchain can block fraud in the sweepstakes industry, plus 25 NFT applications for crowdfunding, music, gaming, publishing, event tickets, and more. Community-sourced.

Included Trends Blockchain group threads:

  • 24 ways to make it in the metaverse
  • How to grow an NFT project on Twitter and Discord
  • No- or low-code NFT-related creator apps
  • 10 reasons why marketers should take NFT clients
  • Where to go for the latest NFT news

Get access to the full article. Join 17k+ Trendsters for market moves, industry insights, and dynamic community advice.

Try Trends for a McChicken →

🏇 On this day: In 1969, Barbara Jo Rubin became the 1st female jockey to win a race on a US thoroughbred track. Her horse’s name was Cohesion.

🌍 Cure boredom: Globle is a game where you attempt to guess the mystery country in the fewest number of guesses.

🎧 How to: Here are 7 tips for mastering Discord.

🍷 That’s interesting: Ingenious vineyard owners made bricks of concentrated grape juice during Prohibition — and made bank doing it.

🐿️ Aww: And now, a squirrel that likes to hold hands.

Meme of the day
smart devices meme

When it comes to the smart house game, Pat is the 🐐 (Source: Reddit)

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Hustle Hoodie

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Hey, we see you. You’re out there spreading the gospel of The Hustle like it’s nobody’s business. Seems like you might be ready for a little more…

Get {75 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll slide you a free subscription to Trends.

And no, this ain’t an ad. We just think you’re the kinda person who would thrive in our top-tier community (it’s usually $299) full of founders, investors, and builders (AKA ambitious, no B.S. business folks like you — and enjoy our premium research and content.

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dinner with Sam Parr

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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