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Sony’s upcoming thriller, 65, stars Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt as two humans from the future who are forced to fight dinos after being sent 65m years into the past.

In today’s email:

  • Apple: Sideloading in the EU.
  • Chart: An esports slowdown.
  • Lensa needs a cold shower.
  • Around the web: Funny animal photos, collaborative drawing, Christmas tree wars, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss changes coming to Apple’s App Store, the Google Killer, app consolidation, and more.

The big idea
Apple logo

Apple’s big changes, courtesy of the EU

Some significant changes are coming for Apple devices in the European Union, and not just USB-C chargers.

We’re talking about “sideloading” — downloading software through third-party sources.

It’s something Apple has long resisted, forcing both iOS users and app devs to deal with its App Store:

  • Apple says it ensures safety and privacy, claiming third-party stores could result in users downloading malicious or spam apps.
  • It also nabs 30% of App Store sales, something companies including Epic Games, Meta, and Spotify have decried.

Why change now?

The EU’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) is designed to regulate its digital economy and prevent tech “gatekeepers” from using unfair practices.

  • Gatekeepers are defined as companies with a market cap of ~$80B+ (Apple’s  is $2T+) and 45m monthly EU users.

Among other rules, gatekeepers must allow sideloading, or else face fines.


… will lose money from its EU commissions, and potentially ad revenue due to fewer eyes on App Store ads, per Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley.

But the App Store only accounts for 6% of Apple’s total revenue, per Bloomberg, of which the EU — Apple’s second-largest market behind the Americas — likely makes up less than a third.

Apple hasn’t made a decision on other DMA rules, including whether devs can use third-party, in-app payment systems.

What about outside the EU?

It’s not clear whether Apple will make sweeping changes or only where it must, or if other nations’ lawmakers will follow in the EU’s footsteps. In the US, a DOJ antitrust suit against Apple may arise.

In the short term, some companies’ shares did get a bump on Apple’s news, including Match (10%) and Spotify (9.7%).

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eyeball wearing a hat

Twitter suspended — then reinstated — the popular account that tracks Elon Musk’s private jet, which Musk previously said he wouldn’t do as a commitment to free speech. Twitter announced a new policy that bans accounts from sharing live locations in most cases.


The Federal Reserve announced an interest rate hike of 0.5%, a lighter increase than in past months that puts its benchmark interest rate at 4.25%-4.5%.

The SEC charged eight influencers with leveraging their social media followings to commit securities fraud to the tune of $100m.

Sears Hometown Stores, a Sears spinoff, has filed for bankruptcy. The chain currently has ~121 stores, and $50m-$100m in liabilities, but less than $50m in assets.

AMC Theatres will release a Visa credit card next year for AMC Stubs members that will allow them to earn rewards points.

Pfizer plans to up the price of its covid vaccine by 400% when it enters the commercial market next year — a 10k% markup from the estimated manufacturing cost.

Redwood Materials is planning a second $3.5B factory in South Carolina to recycle lithium-ion batteries and make EV battery components.

Google has not publicly released its ChatGPT-like products because of the “reputational risk” of something going wrong.

Oof: A Connecticut legal clerk who sank $30k into FTX wants to sue Tom Brady and other celebs who endorsed the failed platform.

Produce woes: As farmers pay more for water due to drought, vegetable prices are up 80%+ YoY.

SmartHelio, a company that uses AI to measure live data and suggest fixes for solar panels, raised $5m.

Mastering product: The Hustle blog created a deep dive on the world of product management, including tips and tricks to create products that sell.

investments in esports
Olivia Heller

Esports aren’t immune from a downturn

Long reliant on a booming ad market, free-flowing venture capital, and a crypto bull run — esports are experiencing a slowdown, per Bloomberg.

  • In recent months, the two most valuable esports groups, Team SoloMid and 100 Thieves, have reduced headcount.
  • Major game publishers, best positioned to tolerate losses in the space, are also narrowing their esports operations.
  • FaZe Clan — essentially a publicly traded brand of gaming pros — has seen its stock plummet ~80% since going public.

Monetization is proving to be the biggest problem. Esports’ 216m viewers each generate only $5.30 in revenue per year. Sponsorships help, but crypto firms reportedly made up 15% of that revenue in 2022 — the value of which is likely to shrink.

Still, esports may have a bright future. The industry draws in 261m viewers every month, and Saudi Arabia has invested ~$1.5B into esports as part of a $38B gaming bet this year alone.

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Free Resource

Trends flare: sober bars and water sommeliers

Sober Bars

We covered them back in 2019 when “sober curious” was gaining traction.

With health-conscious living on the rise, the movement is heating up again. We re-interviewed Trendster Chris Marshall, who owns Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, and plans to launch another location in 2023.

Water Sommeliers

Skip this if “Professional Water Taster” is on your resume. These rare experts know which type of water pairs best with a coffee, cocktail, or dinner.

“Fine water” from glaciers and icebergs can cost $3.85-100+ for 25 ounces. Candice Jansen keeps hosting sold-out, private tastings. Here are our bougie water startup ideas.

Access Trends for niche market research and the bright community of 15k+ digital pros.

Try Trends for $1 →
phone app

Why is this AI app undressing female users without their consent?

If your social feed is currently inundated with stylized portraits, blame Lensa.

The four-year-old AI app turns selfies into illustrations, starting at $3.99 for 50 images. Since introducing the “magic avatars” feature in November, the app has seen 17m+ downloads.

Does everyone like their portraits?

Def not. Women have noticed a disturbing trend: Even when they upload above-the-shoulder headshots, or ask the app to depict them as men, they get hypersexualized — or straight-up pornographic — images in return.

People of color have also reported that the app altered their features, lightening skin tones and eye colors.

Like most problems, humans are ultimately to blame:

  • The app uses Stable Diffusion, an AI model that generates images from text.
  • Stable Diffusion is built using LAION-5B, an open-source data set that scrapes images from across the internet.

And what does the internet have a lot of? Degrading photos of women.

If AI really is the future…

… we gotta fix this. Lensa isn’t alone in pulling from the dark corners of the web: Google’s Imagen and OpenAI’s DALL-E use similar training.

That means AI could come preloaded with all the human biases we hoped it would eliminate.

Plus, this isn’t the first time we’ve had to reckon with sexism in AI. Right, Siri and Alexa?

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🖥️ On this day: In 1995, web browser AltaVista launched. Once a popular browser, Yahoo acquired it in 2003, and shut it down in 2013.

🎄 That’s interesting: Several cities claim to be the Christmas tree capital of the world, each with its own argument as to why.

✏️ Cure boredom: If you’re a fan of Reddit’s r/place, this site lets you draw to your heart’s content.

🤣 Haha: The winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are here, including a duck traipsing across a line of turtles.

🏃 Aww: And now, group fitness.

burnout tweet

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

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