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💌 Is cupid a robot?

The Hustle

We know we’re supposed to be celebrating love today, but here at The Hustle we’re fascinated by the economics of breakups.

Young people in the UK spend ~$1.5k after a breakup, and we want to know how you compare: Tell us about your craziest post-breakup purchases in this short survey.

In today’s email:

  • Robot cupid: How AI can help us find love.
  • Smoking stocks: Why are tobacco stocks surging?
  • Digits: Super Bowl bonuses, wasabi, and used cars.
  • Around the web: A history of Valentine’s Day, how to salt your food, and more wild internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s Daily podcast to hear about Super Bowl bonuses, AI & love, and Jacob getting rejected by Siri.

The big idea
heart gif

Looking for love? AI might be able to help

In the movie Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays a heartbroken writer who falls for his virtual assistant.

While an AI-powered partner may feel a tad futuristic, the technology may play a critical role in the future of love very soon.

Tidio, a customer service platform, surveyed ~1.2k people and uncovered a treasure-trove of data about how they see AI fitting into their love lives.

The verdict?

People want AI’s help. Around 63% of single respondents said they would use an AI-powered dating app to find a partner.

Some of the most popular use cases for the technology include:

  • In-app chat: 56% would like AI to offer recommendations for in-app messaging (e.g., replies, new topics, general direction of conversation)
  • Profile improvement: 69% would let AI analyze their profile and offer recommendations to make it more attractive

But people don’t trust AI with everything

Some of the areas where most people draw the line include:

  • DNA sharing: Only 13% would share their DNA to help find the perfect partner
  • Breakups: Only 7% would end a relationship if AI recommended it

But the promise of a perfect partner carries serious weight.

While most respondents originally said they wouldn’t share personal information, 70% said they would change their mind if it meant finding the perfect match.

And virtual partners…

… may not be as far off as they seem. Though 52% of respondents would prefer a real-life partner, interest in the virtual variety are gaining steam:

  • 31% believe a perfect virtual partner sounds great
  • 16% want both a virtual and real-life partner

The takeaway? Soon enough, watching Her might not feel so futuristic.

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Wait, don’t go: A new report indicates Apple is bumping pay 2%-10% for some retail workers in an effort to maintain staff. #ecommerce-retail

Check this out: These bridges were built with recycled wind turbine blades. #clean-energy

Careful: Insurance company Aviva says there was a 31% increase in VR-related home contents claims last year because players keep crashing into their furniture. #emerging-tech

“Razzlekhan”: On the pod last week, we pondered a Netflix doc about a YouTube rapper and her husband accused of laundering crypto. Ask and ye shall receive. #fintech-crypto

Amazon’s new video game, MMO “Lost Ark,” racked up 1.3m+ players within 48 hours of launching. It now has the 3rd-highest number of active players in Steam history. #big-tech

Smoking Stocks
smoking americana

Tobacco’s pivot to vaping has yet to work

Why are tobacco stocks performing so well?

Tech stocks have taken a beating in 2022, driven in part by fears of rising interest rates.

Where have investors gone for refuge? Some have piled funds into very non-tech assets:

Tobacco stocks

While the tech-heavy Nasdaq index is down 13% this year, some smoky names are doing well, per The Wall Street Journal:

  • Philip Morris International (which sells Marlboro cigarettes outside the US) is up 14%
  • Altria (which sells Marlboros in the US) is up 6%
  • British American Tobacco is up 20%

These assets have lagged in recent years. Why? Asset managers that control $12T+ have pledged, on ethical grounds, to not invest in tobacco firms.

Why the turnaround?

Tobacco firms, peddling addictive wares, generate predictable cash flows. This lights up investor interest because it means juicy dividends that hedge against higher inflation.

Per WSJ, Philip Morris and Altria will need to make progress in “less-risky” products (AKA e-cigarettes, vaping) to drive real gains.

It’s much easier said than done: Altria backed one-time e-cigarette darling Juul, only to see the startup mired in lawsuits for marketing to minors.

Longer term, regulators will decide the fate of the tobacco industry. The current uptick may very well burn out.

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Free Resource

The 2022 Facebook marketing course

Meta has had a lot of bad press recently. But no matter how you feel or what you call it, its old social network is still a deep well for marketers.

Paid and organic Facebook advertising efforts remain classic options for substantial growth. Here’s a conducive Facebook marketing blueprint for small to mid-sized businesses, courtesy of your faves.

Free Facebook marketing academy course:

  • 4 multi-video lessons for social marketers and managers
  • Develop your holistic Facebook outreach strategy
  • Create attractive organic and paid ad campaigns
  • Optimize content for Pages, Groups, Video, and more

Quality 101 courses tend to have price tags. HubSpot’s been changing that.

Facebook mastery factory →
By the numbers

(Source: Getty Images / Kevin C. Cox)

Digits: Super Bowl bonuses, wasabi, and used cars

1) This year, players on the winning Super Bowl team will each get $150k bonuses, while players on the losing team will get $75k bonuses. That’s on top of $150k in playoff bonuses earned by both teams.

2) Speaking of the Super Bowl, furniture mogul “Mattress Mack” placed the single largest (legal) sports bet ever: $5m on the Bengals winning. This was written before the Super Bowl ended, but if Cincinnati won, he’ll get $16.2m.

3) A study of US street names found that homes on streets named after Confederate leaders sell for 3% less on average than homes nearby. The study focused on ~6k sales across 1.4k+ streets from 2001 to 2020.

4) Wasabi production is down 55% in the last decade — a result of climate and demographic change in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture. For those unaware, much of the “wasabi” Americans eat at sushi restaurants is just green-dyed horseradish.

5) The average price of a used car hit $28.5k in January, up 31% YoY. As a result, the number of 16- to 25-year-olds purchasing used cars sank 35% between 2019 and 2021.

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🌎 On this day: In 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft took a photo of Earth 3.7B miles from the sun. The photo became known as “Pale Blue Dot,” also the title of astronomer Carl Sagan’s 1994 book.

🍫 That’s interesting: How Valentine’s Day evolved from blood sacrifices and beheadings to the candy-coated romance fest we know today.

💋 That’s cool: Check out the Smithsonian’s digital Valentine’s Day collection, including vintage cards, songs, stamps, and more.

🧂 How to: Are you salting your food correctly? Because it turns out when you salt your food can make a big difference.

🐈 Aww: And now, a big cat helps a little cat.

Meme of the day
Netflix meme

Yes. Yes it is. (Source: Reader’s Digest)

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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