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🐈‍⬛ Dabloons, explained

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A public toilet in San Francisco, touted for its high-tech, self-cleaning, durable design, broke after three days of use.

In today’s email:

  • Soccer: New balls are changing the game.
  • Chart: Twitter’s war on Apple.
  • Dabloons: TikTok’s cat-based economy.
  • Around the web: Librarians on horses, Steve Jobs’ garage, a baking hotline, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Rob and Jacob break down why Elon Musk declared war on Apple through a meme, soccer going high-tech, BlockFi’s bankruptcy, and more.

The big idea

A new ball is changing the game of soccer

Referees have a thankless job. If they do it well, they get heckled, and if they do it poorly — they may have to go into hiding.

But soccer balls equipped with new technology are making the gig a little easier at this year’s World Cup, and changing the game in the process, per FiveThirtyEight.

What kinda tech?

Every ball is fitted with a device made by Kinexon, an IoT company for sports. The device sits in the center of the ball, held in place by a suspension system built by Adidas, and includes two sensors:

  • Ultra-wideband sensor: tracks location data better than GPS or Bluetooth, and relays data in real-time to accurately track a ball’s position
  • Inertial measurement unit sensor: tracks how an object moves in space

These sensors work with a dozen cameras positioned around the stadium that track the ball and players, leading to faster and more accurate offside calls.

But it’s not just refs who are celebrating

After the last World Cup in 2018, FIFA officials found the speed of offside decisions to be the biggest area for improvement.

  • Before gaining full FIFA certification, the new balls underwent six years of lab and player testing to ensure they wouldn’t move or feel different from a regular one.

And this is only the beginning. In the future, the combination of sensors and cameras could provide deeper analysis for teams and players, power new visualizations for broadcasters, and even create new statistics…

… All of which could help grow the game in the US, which is kinda already happening. Last Friday’s USA-England match pulled in 15.3m+ viewers, ~3m more than Game 6 of last year’s NBA finals.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Yikes: Kim Kardashian is “re-evaluating” her Balenciaga ties after the brand’s ads featured kids holding teddy bears in bondage gear.


Cry…pto: Digital asset lender BlockFi, which had significant exposure to FTX, is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Maximus Rex, a 150-pound, 76m-year-old T. rex skull from South Dakota, is expected to sell for $15m-$20m when it goes up for auction on Dec. 9.

Ireland’s data watchdog hit Meta with a ~$276m fine for an April 2021 leak that jeopardized the personal data of 530m+ users.

Eggcellent news: The price of chicken breasts in the US has dropped ~70% since June. At Wingstop, Q3 costs decreased 42.7% compared to last year.

Bob Iger told Disney employees he’s focused on streaming profitability, has no imminent acquisition plans, and said his wife had him return as CEO so that he wouldn’t run for US president.

Life insurance payouts in the US hit a record $100B+ in 2021, rising ~11% YoY, following a 15% jump in 2020, with covid being the primary culprit.

Nintendo is debuting the second trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie today at 5pm ET. You can watch it here.

We spoke to the founder of a running app who took some wrong turns in the race toward profit. Luckily, he offered some valuable lessons to help others avoid making the same mistakes.

Singdhi Sokpo Tweet this Image

Musk says he’s going ‘to war’ with Apple

Yesterday, Elon Musk claimed that Apple recently “threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store.”

About ten minutes later, Musk declared, through a meme, that he’s going “to war” with the company.

This is a big deal

Apple’s alleged threat likely has to do with concerns over Musk’s new approach to content moderation on Twitter, as well as the company’s ability to moderate with a skeleton workforce ~25% the size it was a month ago.

  • On Sunday, what remains of Twitter’s anti-propaganda team faced a flood of Chinese spam accounts posting adult content to drive attention away from posts about anti-government protests.
  • Musk has deep business ties in China with Tesla. His handling of conflicts of interest and their effect on his commitment to free speech has been a concern throughout his Twitter takeover.

Musk also said Apple “has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter.” According to The Washington Post, Apple’s ads accounted for 4%+ of Twitter’s first quarter revenue.

The other thing Musk is taking issue with: Apple’s up to 30% commission fee on the App Store. He will likely see support on this front, since basically everyone from Epic Games to Spotify also despises it.

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Free Resource

Instagram quickly canceled full-screen feeds

They tried to channel TikTok… and it flopped.

Over 300k people signing a petition with the tagline “MAKE INSTAGRAM INSTAGRAM AGAIN” suggests it was too rough of a flip for a place that’s scrolled the same since 2010.

Here’s what went wrong, and what brands should learn from it.

Why full-screen videos failed on Instagram:

  • The dilemma that led to a walk-back
  • Four takeaways for small-business brands
  • Insights into Instagram’s next phase

We’re hoping the picture platform keeps its classic charm… Whatever’s left.

Instagram shenanigans →

Let’s talk about dabloons

Doubloons were Spanish gold coins coveted by pirates. Dabloons are something else — an elaborate, entirely user-generated TikTok game surrounding a fake currency.

It started with a cat

In 2021, an image of a kitten’s paw with the caption “4 dabloons” went viral on Instagram, followed by one of a black cat and its toes.

The meme spread to Tumblr, Reddit, and, eventually, TikTok, where users decided they “earned” dabloons whenever the cat appeared.

A sprawling game ensued

Though dabloons have no real-world value, some players started keeping track of their earnings.

The “dabloon cat” itself evolved into a fantasy RPG merchant, selling weary travelers “stew” in exchange for dabloons, while others began roleplaying characters:

Even brands were getting involved, including Ikea, the Sacramento History Museum, and Toys R Us.

Unfortunately, the pretend economy also cratered, as some accounts gave away large amounts of dabloons, causing dabloon inflation.

What’s the point?

One could argue that Gen Z and millennials, who use TikTok the most, enjoy role-playing in an economy where skyrocketing home values, student loans, inflation, and a looming recession don’t affect them.

At the very least, it’s a social game where all that’s required is imagination and a willingness to be silly with others.

Compared to the bickering that takes place across social media, it’s kinda heartwarming.

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🕹️ On this day: In 1972, Atari introduced its first video game, “Pong,” after testing a prototype version of the arcade machine in a bar in Sunnyvale, California.

📚 That’s interesting:Book women,” AKA librarians on horseback.

🖥️ Cure boredom: Explore Steve Jobs’ garage.

🍞 Useful: King Arthur Flour has a hotline you can call if your baking goes awry.

🐶 Aww: And now, time to play!


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Editing by: Mark “Yellow card? That’s my favorite band” Dent.

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