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🏢 Is WeWork back?

The Hustle

There’s a TikTok hashtag for everything, but the best one yet might be #nuntok, which features nuns sharing experiences from convent life. According to one, “We’re not all grim old ladies reading the bible.”

In today’s email:

  • Coworking: It’s back, and so is WeWork.

  • UFOs: Sometimes a cigar is just a… UFO?

  • Morgan’s Musings: Five investing rules to remember.

  • Around the web: Computers making art, a note-taking tool for podcasts, some big tortoises, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast to hear Zack, Juliet, and Rob talk about WeWork’s resurgence, the Oscars’ new rules, a 2-year-old’s $90 McDonald’s order, and more.

The big idea
Coworking

Coworking is back

For better or worse, coworking is somewhat synonymous with WeWork and Adam Neumann’s ability to use tech-speak to reap billions from investors.

Between its failed IPO in 2019, the onset of the pandemic in 2020, and the release of “WeCrashed,” the AppleTV+ miniseries chronicling the company’s downfall, it’s been a rough couple years for WeWork. More broadly, it’s been rough for coworking as a whole.

But recent trends suggest coworking is back, and WeWork is at the center once again, per The New York Times.

Coworking…

… has become increasingly favorable thanks to several macro factors:

  • The proliferation of covid vaccines has made the return to office feel safer
  • Many workers want to get back to the office, and their companies are looking to fulfill hybrid work environments while still offering flexibility
  • Startups facing an uncertain funding environment — the new normal these days — favor short-term leases

As a result…

… occupancy at WeWork jumped to 67% in Q1 2022, up from 47% a year earlier, and not far from its 72% pre-pandemic level.

The company reported ~500k physical memberships last quarter, up ~25% YoY, and has seen increased demand for its All Access plan, a monthly membership that allows entry at hundreds of WeWork locations.

But it’s not just WeWork: niche coworking providers are on the rise as well. One reason is that landlords are becoming more open to profit-sharing agreements rather than traditional leases, which allow coworking companies to reduce their monthly payments.

But coworking still has its challenges

A recent Pew Research study found that 59% of workers who can work remotely want to stay remote, meaning coworking spaces won’t be much of an attraction for them.

Coworking spaces are also at risk for security issues. In 2019, WeWork was found to have weak WiFi security, which exposed sensitive data on its network.

Even so, some analysts predict there will be ~42k coworking spaces globally in 2024, up 116% from 2020. If that’s the case, “WeCrashed” won’t be the end of WeWork’s story.

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SNIPPETS

Apple’s new device: Apple executives showed board members its AR/VR headset, suggesting the device could be at an advanced stage of the development process.

Musk’s rage: Tesla was removed from the S&P 500’s ESG Index for reasons including allegations of discrimination and failure to provide details on its carbon removal strategy. Elon Musk responded by tweeting, “ESG is a scam.”

A win for theaters: The Motion Picture Academy updated rules for the 2023 Oscars, and only movies that play in theaters are eligible to win an award. Although this could affect Netflix, Amazon, and Apple, most of the streamers’ awards bait, including Best Picture winner CODA, has run in theaters as well as on streaming platforms.

Cloud combo: Fastly, a cloud infrastructure provider, acquired Glitch, the web coding platform helmed by CEO Anil Dash. Dash will join as VP of developer experience.

No free returns: Zara announced it will start charging for returns for online orders. Shoppers will pay a fee of £1.95, which will be taken out of their refund. Uniqlo, another fast fashion player, already charges for returns, and analysts believe more retailers will follow suit.

Breaking the glass ceiling: Only 2.3% of VC money in 2020 went to women-led startups. One solution: business grants for women. Read The Hustle blog to learn how to find and apply to grants for women business owners.

Oops: A new “Stranger Things”-themed Monopoly game apparently spoils the upcoming fourth season. A source says Netflix is upset, but show creators the Duffer Brothers had a “total meltdown.” #ecommerce-retail

Berlin-based solar company Zolar has raised $105m in Series C to expand its supplier network. The startup works to offer simple, customized solutions for homeowners. #clean-energy

Fish bot: Researchers took inspiration from the remora fish to build a drone that can hitchhike on surfaces in air and water. #emerging-tech

Oof: Things were already bad for Terra, but now, South Korea’s tax agency has slapped Terraform Labs co-founder Do Kwon with a $78m penalty for tax evasion. #fintech-crypto

Chart
UFO sightings by shape

Selina Lee

Was that flash of light a UFO?

On Tuesday, the House Intelligence, Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and Counterproliferation Subcommittee held a congressional hearing on UFOs — which, BTW, are now known as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs).

It was the first public hearing on the subject in 50+ years, per NPR, but cool your jets, Mulder. No evidence of aliens has been found (yet), according to Scott W. Bray, deputy director of Naval intelligence — though some incidents do remain unexplained.

Officials promised to declassify more information moving forward — like this video captured by a US Navy pilot — and revealed that the government’s UAP database contains ~400 reports dating back to 2004. Most of those are from military personnel.

But let’s say…

… you want as many reports as you can fit in your basement full of filing cabinets. That, my friends, is a job for the National UFO Reporting Center.

Its database contains over 138k+ reports and counting, most from the US and Canada during the 21st and 20th centuries (though there are a few outliers, like this clipping from an 18th-century London newspaper.)

Accounts are organized by date, state, and, oddly, shape. It turns out a majority of people saw a mysterious light in the sky, far more so than people who spotted a disc.

“Cigar” is a more popular shape than you’d think and includes things like Oumuamua, a mysterious object spotted in 2017. Scientists still don’t know what it was, but did conclude it was not aliens. Sounds like the truth is still out there.

BTW: Thanks to the Northern Ontario UFO Research and Study organization, you can listen to reports made by phone from 1974 to 1977 online.

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Opinion
Morgan's Musing

Five rules to remember when investing

This is, by some measures, the worst start of a year in the stock market since the Great Depression.

A big index like the S&P 500 is down ~20%, which is bad but not unprecedented. Plenty of tech stocks are down 50%-80%, which is calamitous.

A few things stick out in my mind to keep it in perspective:

  • About once a decade, people forget that bubbles form and burst about once a decade. It’s always been like this and always will be. Optimism overshoots, bubbles burst, memories fade, and the process repeats.
  • There are three legal investment strategies: You can be smarter than others. You can be luckier than others. Or you can be more patient than others. Know your edge and how hard it is to maintain.
  • Few things are as valuable in investing as room for error. People who don’t have room for error in their investments may earn higher returns than you this year or next year. But they are more likely to be wiped out, or give up, when they come across an inevitable surprise.
  • Your lifetime results as an investor will be mostly determined by what you do during wild times. Building wealth doesn’t require a lifetime of superior skill. It requires pretty mediocre skills — basic arithmetic and a grasp of investing fundamentals — practiced consistently throughout your entire lifetime, especially during times of mania and panic.

Easier said than done, but then again — so is everything in investing.

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AROUND THE WEB

👖 On this day: In 1873, entrepreneur Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis received a patent for blue jeans.

🎵 Cure boredom: Find new music with this site. Just enter bands you love and bands you hate.

🐑 That’s cool: Electric Sheep is a collaborative artwork in which participants’ computers, when “asleep,” communicate and create abstract art.

🎧 Useful: Snipd is a note-taking and highlighting tool for podcasts. It’ll also recommend highlights from new-to-you podcasts based on your interests.

🐢 Aww: And now, some huge tortoises.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

🍫 Candy: Warren Buffett’s ‘dream’ investment

🥒 RIP to a pickle giant

📈 How TikTok used science to grow fast

📺 Disney will beat Netflix, but it has a problem

🍼 The baby formula shortage, explained

Shower Thoughts
  1. “We are walking at the bottom of the atmosphere, like crabs walking at the bottom of the ocean.”  SOURCE

  2. “If you remove all the water from a dam, and fill it with people instead, it will only have 30% less water.”  SOURCE

  3. “Based on how much you can bond with someone by hating the same thing, a dating app based on dislikes would probably be fairly successful.”  SOURCE

  4. “It’s easier to charge $100 a night to sleep on a used mattress than it is to give a used mattress away for free.”  SOURCE

  5. “Chances are you’ve seen a stranger the day they died.”  SOURCE

via Reddit
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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Is that a stogie in the sky?” Dent.

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