👭 Remote workers are “body doubling” - The Hustle
The Hustle

👭 Remote workers are “body doubling”

Plus: E-bike fires, AI and beer, a cool game, Twitter’s big oops, and more.

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Snack giant Mondelez is moving some Toblerone chocolate production to Slovakia. Swiss law states that only 100% Swiss-made milk-based products can use Swiss symbols, so the packaging’s Matterhorn peak will be replaced with… a generic mountain.

In today’s email:

  • Premiumization: Will it disrupt the economy?
  • Chart: E-bikes are hot… No, literally.
  • Body doubling: A trend in remote work.
  • Around the Web: AI and beer, a fun game, a curious greeting, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about the economy going premium, Google’s office drama, TikTok’s “Project Clover,” and more.

The big idea

Will ‘premiumization’ disrupt the economy?

Companies want to sell higher-priced goods to fewer customers.
Mark Dent

Ever notice that when a neighborhood gets trendier and more expensive, the family-owned dessert shop gets replaced by a gourmet popsicle store that sells fancy Dilly Bars for $5 each?

The same thing is happening to America’s economy, according to The New York Times. Prepare for the gentrification of everything — or, in corporate speak: premiumization.

What is premiumization?

It’s when companies emphasize luxury versions of their products and sell them at elevated prices. By attracting higher-income clientele, companies believe they’ll be able to maintain or improve profits while selling fewer goods.

The trend is well under way:

  • The NYT counted ~60 mentions of premiumization in recent earnings calls and investor meetings.
  • Krispy Kreme plans to sell fancier donuts around holidays and other occasions.
  • WD-40 rolled out a pricier version of its lubricant with a “smart straw.”

There’s an obvious downside

When brands prioritize selling premium goods to higher-income consumers, they may provide fewer products and experiences for the middle class.

  • Across the US auto industry in 2017, 36 car models were available for less than $25k, comprising ~13% of new car sales.
  • Last year, the number of models under $25k fell to 10, taking up 4% of new car sales.

By reducing the number of goods produced, premiumization could also keep inflation high.

Is premiumization sustainable?

In this early stage of the trend, it’s difficult to gauge the long-term effects, or even a brand’s likelihood of success.

Last year, for instance, Six Flags offered fewer discounts while jacking up prices. Despite a 22% increase in per-guest spending, its profits fell ~10%.

Then again, have you ever heard of Popbar?


Think you’re having a bad day at work? At least you’re not the sole engineer at Twitter whose “bad configuration change” nearly brought down the site yesterday. Musk, who has laid off ~5.7k workers, called the platform “brittle” — and he wasn’t talking about the snack.


SiriusXM will cut 475 jobs, ~8% of its workforce, a move CEO Jennifer Witz said was necessary to maintain “a sustainably profitable company.”

Fly together: The DOT’s new dashboard will let travelers see which airlines seat families with young children together for free. Read our previous coverage here.

A BET bet: Paramount is weighing a sale of BET Media Group, which Viacom originally bought for ~$3B in stock and debt. Paramount also owns CBS, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures.

Holy smoke! Marlboro parent Altria announced plans to buy e-cig startup NJOY for $2.75B, just days after exiting its $12.8B stake in Juul, which was worth just $250m last year.

Good luck: TikTok execs are trying to convince UK government officials of the platform’s data safety plan. Called “Project Clover,” it references data centers TikTok plans to build in Ireland.

Chipmaker TSMC, which makes ~90% of the world’s super-advanced chips, plans to add 6k+ jobs in Taiwan in 2023.

Make beautiful PowerPoints: Time to ride the slides. Use these 10 templates to posterize your speeches, pitch decks, and presentations.


Feeling stretched thin at work? Being asked to do more with less? The latest installment of Ask The Hustle advises a reader who needs more resources from her boss.

Singdhi Sokpo

The e-bike industry is hot… No, literally

And it’s getting hotter — OK, enough with the puns.
Jacob Cohen

Many electric bikes are blazing fast, but some… well, they’re just blazing.

Last year, there were 216 e-bike battery fires in New York City, according to The Wall Street Journal, where micromobility-related fires have injured 40 people and killed two this year.

  • A 2022 poll of the 300-member National Bicycle Dealers Association found 10% of stores have faced overheating battery or fire incidents.
  • In 2021, London’s transportation network banned e-scooters because of battery fire risks.

The thing is… The battery-powered transit industry is booming. In 2020, the US imported 450k e-bikes. Last year, that number was 1.1m. Also last year, electric cars represented 5.8% of new auto sales, up 65% YoY.

  • In February, Ford paused F-150 Lightning manufacturing after a battery caught fire.

Last week, the New York City Council voted on laws to further regulate the safety of electric micromobility devices.

Cool stuff: Fire-resistant batteries are in development, though ones large enough to power cars aren’t here just yet.

Free Resource

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These tools are in the beta/alpha testing phases. Put ‘em to work.

AI for your business →
Work Together Apart

Body doubles are getting stuff done

Body doubling, or parallel work, has grown popular online among people with ADHD and those who desire community.
Juliet Bennett Ryla

If you feel like you get more work done in an office, parallel working or body doubling — working with another person in the room — might be for you.

For many, another person’s presence can hold them accountable and improve focus.

Experts say it’s particularly useful for people with ADHD: J. Russell Ramsay, professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, told CNN that they’re often more likely to do something if another person is relying on them.

Of course, many of us have already done this in libraries, offices, and coworking spaces.

But now it’s taking off online

In a WFH world, remote workers are logging into virtual coworking sessions to feel less lonely and boost productivity.

Nicole Onyia, a 24-year-old data analyst, holds daily “work alone together” streams for her 100k+ TikTok followers, per Fortune, occasionally pausing work to answer questions from her comment section.

StudyMD, a YouTube channel featuring “study with me” videos — replete with lofi beats, rain noises, and Pomodoro timers — has 462k+ subscribers. (Bonus: Workers can watch whenever they want, camera off.)

For the on-camera types, several startups offer virtual coworking sessions:

  • Flown features deep-work blocks, morning productivity rituals, guided breathwork, and more.
  • Focusmate matches members for video sessions not limited to work. They can do chores, exercise, make art, or anything that can be done on camera.
  • Flow Club members log in to timed work sessions with optional music, then debrief on their goals with session hosts.
  • Caveday offers one- and three-hour guided focus sessions for groups.

🎥 On this day: In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win a best director Oscar for The Hurt Locker. Two women have won the award since: Chloé Zhao for Nomadland (2020), and Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog (2021).

🍺 That’s interesting: AI is truly everywhere these days — even in beer.

📩 Must Read: The Daily Upside is a gold mine of business insights with unbiased reporting. Join 900k subscribers who trust TDU’s daily dispatch.

🐍 Cure Boredom: The Descent of the Serpent is a free browser game set in ancient Mesoamerica that’s both cute and educational.

🐈 Aww: And now, what kind of greeting is this?


When inflation performs better than you. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Luxury WD-40” Dent.

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