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The Hustle

A California entrepreneur created Jolly Roger, an AI-powered service that wastes telemarketers’ time via fake personalities — including a rambling old man and a distracted mother — for $25/year. A steal!

In today’s email:

  • Star-spangled buzzer: More drones swoop into July Fourth skies.
  • Reprogramming: Tech workers’ pursuit of app-iness.
  • Eating insect protein: Your dog is ready — and so is the planet.
  • Around the Web: Arts and crafts, an autocomplete game, a monkey with a sweet tooth, and more.

👇 Listen: How private equity came to dominate American business.

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The Big Idea
drone show

Catch a fireworks show last night? Cherish it before the drones take over

July 4, 1776, understandably gets a lot of love in American history. Independence being declared is a pretty big deal, after all.

But let’s not forget July 4, 1777, which set the tone for every Independence Day since — everything decked out in red, white, and blue, with feasts aplenty, and fireworks in Philadelphia and Boston.

Bombs bursting in air are baked into American culture, like Sousa marches and food abominations (cold hot dog pie, anyone?).

Yet fireworks’ days may be numbered

Another year down, another collection of cities opting for drone light shows over pyrotechnics:

It’s hard to disagree with the reasoning: fireworks lead to injuries (10.2k were reported in the US last year), generate noise that torments dogs and individuals with PTSD, and produce surprising environmental damage.

Drone shows avoid all of the above — and are also notably less likely to start wildfires, a particularly big selling point across fire-ravaged Western states.

The biggest argument for fireworks…

… aside from sentimentality (and enrichment opportunities for the nation’s ER doctors) is cost.

  • One major drone show provider, Sky Elements, says its smaller shows start at ~$20k, though bigger shows can really dent a civic budget — Vail, Colorado, spent ~$100k on its 2022 drone show, per NPR.
  • Compare that to the average small-town fireworks show, which Reuters reports costs $15k-$20k.

Coming from the top rope: Per Reuters, the fireworks industry — worth $375m pre-pandemic — still isn’t sweating. American Pyrotechnics Association executive director Julie Heckman came at drones last year like they’re a bad Tinder date: “Drones are pretty, but they’re kind of boring.”

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eyeball wearing a hat

A French firefighter set a world record by running 893 feet after being set ablaze. More importantly, his run perfectly captured the vibes of trying to complete a full workday after a four-day weekend.


Ba-ba-ba-baaa, ba-ba-baaaaaa: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny unearthed many a wallet opening weekend, generating $130m globally — but not enough to make up for a $295m budget.

Three’s company: Apple entered the holiday weekend in style as the first company to close with a $3T+ valuation. Will it stay the course, or blow it all by giving out 857m+ free Vision Pro headsets? We know this answer, but it’s fun to imagine.

Speaking of… Even if it wanted to, it couldn’t: Apple’s manufacturer may make less than 400k units of Vision Pro in 2024. In the meantime we recommend Apple release a simpler, one-eyed iPatch.

Threading the needle: Meta is expected to launch its Twitter competitor Threads tomorrow, days after Bluesky temporarily paused sign-ups due to a deluge of new users shifting from Twitter, which imposed limits on the number of tweets users can see per day.

Plugging away: Tesla and Rivian saw their stocks surge on strong Q2 production reports that beat analyst expectations, with Tesla delivering 466.1k+ cars and Rivian 12.6k+.

Crackdown: The FTC proposed new rules that would ban companies from writing, buying, or selling fake reviews, and suppressing real negative ones. No mention of banning really funny reviews, which is what’s most important.

A bargain: Sheetz, an East Coast convenience store chain with 675+ locations, sold gas for $1.776/gallon yesterday in honor of Independence Day. The national average was ~$3.53/gallon.

Help yourself: Self-help books are a great way for entrepreneurs to optimize all aspects of their lives. Here are 25 recommendations.

tech workers Canada
Olivia Heller

Some tech workers are embracing pay cuts — and Canada

In case you haven’t noticed, the “cutting-edge” tech market has really been living up to its name lately.

The tech sector saw ~165k layoffs in 2022; this year, it’s already seen 212k+, according to tracking site

Understandably, the market is depressing tech workers’ historically high salary expectations. It’s also pushing many to consider other forms of professional worth, beyond the “net” variety.

The pursuit of app-iness

A recent survey of the Blind community — that is, the anonymous tech career forum Blind — found “56% of tech workers are open to accepting the same or lower pay in a new role” so long as it fulfills another unmet need.

  • Other findings: 45% said weathering market conditions were their primary reason; 19% mentioned company culture and work-life balance; 14% cited remote/hybrid workplace preferences; and 13% said career growth opportunities were the real MVP.

Eh? Meanwhile, Canada’s trying to make some sweet maple syrup out of Silicon Valley’s sour situation: The country recently announced plans to attract more digital nomads, as well as 10k American H-1B visa holders and their families, into the country.

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Free Resource

Start A/B testing your content

Sometimes… we secretly split-test the copy in this right here section.

We’ve also done it for subject lines, section placement, and other key features worth a switch-flip. If you consider yourself a scaling content operation, it’s smart to do the same.

Experiment with this Introduction to A/B testing, which has a step-by-step ebook, statistical significance calculator, and very clean content-tracking template.

The other iteration of this pitch would’ve made you chuckle. (But it lost. Robustly.)

A/B testing kit →
The Earthly Dog Gets the Worm

Your dog eats bugs for free, but now you can spend money on it

The movement to feed pets insect protein is gaining ground — then farming that ground for bugs and feeding them to our pets again.

You know, circle of life and all that.

Insect protein for our pets?

It’s already happening, and this party’s only getting started — the global insect protein market is projected to reach $3.3B by 2027.

  • Jiminy’s is working on its Series A, on the strength of a Petco distribution deal for its powdered cricket protein dog food and treats.
  • Hope Pet Food recently expanded its “Berry Buglicious” treat line, made from black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) protein.

Why is this happening?

It starts with sustainability — harvesting insect protein requires less land and water than raising traditional animal protein. Insect consumption has long been discussed as a way to combat hunger and food insecurity.

This push to protect global resources has started with US pet food manufacturers, which churn through 8.65m tons of plant- and animal-based ingredients annually.

Cue your “yuck” face…

… but do you think the average dog minds? Most would gladly reserve a table at a sewage facility if they could.

Owners’ minds are shifting. Per Petfood Industry, a study found 55% of pet owners would add insect protein to their pets’ diets after learning more, versus 42% pre-education. That’s up from 36% and 23%, respectively, in 2020.

Price check: Sounding unappetizing and being significantly more expensive will be a challenge for creepy-crawly chefs — Jiminy’s Cravin’ Cricket dry dog food ($5.90/lb) doesn’t compare favorably to Purina Dog Chow ($1.37/lb).

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🐑 On this day: In 1996, Dolly the sheep became the first successfully cloned mammal. She lived for six years, giving birth to four sheep.

👀 Useful: A template generator for foldable paper packages.

🎧 Podcast: On this episode of Created with Jon Youshaei, YouTube sensation Danny Duncan shares untold stories, successful businesses, and surprising depths.

🧠 Cure boredom: Google Feud” is like “Family Feud,” but with autocomplete.

🐒 Aww: TFW you just want a little whipped cream.

phone charger tweet

Relatable. (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett Rylah.
Editing by: Ben “Buglicious” Berkley.

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