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👕 The rise of new collar workers

The Hustle

MIT researchers have determined it’s impossible — even in a lab using their custom-built “Oreometer” — to split an Oreo cookie with the creme evenly distributed on both wafers. “That’s just not how the physics works,” Ph.D. candidate and lead author Crystal Owens said.

In today’s email:

  • New collars: Blue-collar workers are switching to white-collar jobs.
  • Feature story: The 1st “Easter eggs” were a rebellion.
  • German grocers: Americans love them.
  • Around the web: The 1st detective story, an interactive tale, a bot search engine, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Mark and Zack discuss how the workweek is being reinvented, differentiating time vs. task, the impact of moving off the 40-hour workweek, and more.

The big idea

What’s a ‘new collar’ worker?

For decades, the workforce has been divided by the colors of its collars.

You’ve got “white-collar” jobs (AKA desk jobs), and you’ve got “blue-collar” jobs, which usually entail manual labor — think construction, landscaping, and food services.

But according to The Wall Street Journal, a combination of macro factors have led to a new trend — workers switching collars.

“New collar” workers…

… are workers who previously held low-paying hourly roles or blue-collar jobs, and transitioned to jobs in tech.

The trend was sparked by a simple equation:

  1. More tech jobs are available as technology injects itself into every industry.
  2. Fewer workers: The pandemic kicked off the Great Resignation, leading many people to quit or switch jobs, and leaving tech companies desperate for hires.

This gap created an opportunity for front-line workers to make a career change and benefit from the flexibility, upward mobility, and higher pay the tech sector offers.

What does this mean for higher ed?

The trend is rewriting conventional wisdom around the qualifications necessary to get a tech job — many “new collar” workers aren’t college grads.

Instead, they’re using a combination of cheaper online alternatives to level up, including:

  • Skill platforms, like Pluralsight and LinkedIn Learning
  • Coding bootcamps, like the Flatiron School
  • YouTube tutorials, which are totally free

Tech companies are adapting accordingly. Okta, which makes identity security software, removed degree requirements for many sales roles, and IBM and CVS are helping inexperienced applicants hone tech skills on the job.

And this is just the beginning

A recent study by [email protected], a nonprofit, found there are 32m Americans who lack college degrees but have the skills to transition to higher income jobs.

Pair that with rising interest in coding — the relative Google search interest for “learn coding” was 292% higher in January 2022 than 10 years prior — and it’s easy to see how “new collar” could become the new normal.

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Meow: The makers of card game “Exploding Kittens” — the result of an $8.7m+ Kickstarter campaign — are partnering with Netflix on a new mobile game and animated series. #ecommerce-retail

Fish-friendly: A study determined that the 1st offshore wind farm in the US doesn’t hurt fish. But fish do seem to enjoy hanging out by the turbines’ foundations. #clean-energy

Paging Moxi: Robots are helping stressed hospital workers. The Moxi makes deliveries that, while simple, can save nurses time. #emerging-tech

Much meme: Memestonk AMC announced it will accept meme crypto, including Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, as popcorn and ticket payment via its app. #fintech-crypto

Uber is no longer requiring riders or drivers to wear face masks, following a federal judge’s decision to dismiss a mandate for masks on public transit. #big-tech

Feature Story
Easter Egg

Zachary Crockett

The first ‘Easter eggs’ were an act of corporate rebellion

In August 1980, Atari’s consumer relations division received a handwritten letter from a 15-year-old boy.

“I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR COMPUTER,” he wrote, using all-caps.

The boy, Adam Clayton, had been playing “Adventure” — a 1980 game in which the player journeys through various rooms in search of a golden chalice — when he discovered something strange.

Clayton accessed a secret room that was mostly bare aside from a message that read, “Created by Warren Robinett.”

Clayton was confused. “COULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS,” he wrote in his letter.

But Atari’s employees were just as mystified. They had no idea what the kid was talking about.

And unbeknownst to them, hidden behind the message was a story of corporate subversion.

Read the full story →
Free Resource

25 smooth sales email templates

If you still craft every email with love (from scratch), we appreciate you.

For those of y’all who ain’t got time for that, you can appreciate us instead.

Here are 25 hot-and-ready templates to save your salespeople time, while maintaining that endearing touch. Created by experts at Sandler Training, Breakthrough Email, and HubSpot.

Send these to your beloved salespeople ASAP:

  • Fill-in-the-blank email templates (first-touch, follow up, break up)
  • Clear examples and objectives outlined for each message
  • Strong insights to help you respond with confidence

Just trying to help you raise sails. I mean sales. Use these to cruise with new prospects and re-hook the heartbreakers.

(Bait: the last email sequence closed $100k in 30 days).

Smooth sale-ing →
Grocery Growth

Americans love these 2 cheap German grocery chains

Some stores draw us in with their bougie amenities, like Whole Foods’ bars or Wegmans’ cheese caves.

But 2 minimalist German grocers have been growing in the US thanks to their no-frills approach.

  • Aldi has 2k+ stores in the US across 36 states.
  • Lidl has 11.5k+ stores worldwide. It expanded to the US in 2017, where it now operates 150+ locations.

In March, Aldi enjoyed an 8% YoY increase in foot traffic, and a 6.1% increase compared to March 2019, per location analytics company

During that same period, Lidl saw an 11.9% YoY increase — and a 78.1% increase compared to March 2019.

Why do people love these stores?

They’re cheap! Dunnhumby’s annual US Grocery Retailer Preference Index (RPI) survey found Aldi to be the cheapest store (Lidl placed 6th). Its tactics include:

  • Few brand names — 90% of its products are private label.
  • A smaller selection of products, which equals smaller stores.
  • No fancy displays, just products, thus fewer workers and less time spent making LaCroix art.
  • Shopping cart rentals. Customers pay a 25-cent deposit to unlock a cart, incentivizing them to return it themselves.

Lidl has larger stores, more products, and bakeries. But it still cuts costs via similar thrifty strategies, like selling products straight out of the boxes they came in.

And with inflation at a 40-year high, it’s no surprise these stores are attracting fans.

No, but for real: Aldi actually has its own fan club called the Aisle of Shame.

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🕵️‍♂️ On this day: In 1841, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” appeared in Graham’s Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine. The tale is said to be the 1st detective story.

🔍 Useful: This search engine is just for finding helpful bots.

✍️ That’s interesting: The Manuscript Writing Cafe in Tokyo only admits writers with a deadline and won’t let them leave until they meet it. It also charges by the hour.

Art: Matt Huynh’s The Boat is an interactive graphic novel you experience in your browser. It’s based on a short story by Nam Le about a teenage girl who travels by boat after the fall of Saigon.

🐈 Aww: And now, a mom and her many kittens.

Meme of the day
collars meme

Blue collar, white collar, why not 10 collars? (Source:

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Jennifer “New collar? How about no collar?” Wang.

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