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The Hustle

If you run into any dinosaurs today, things may feel a bit awkward. A fossil found in China may confirm the theory that mammals ate dinosaur meat way back when. The fossil — which catches a badger ancestor straight-up munching on some beaked dino’s ribs — suggests mammals may have even hunted live dinosaurs. We mammals are pretty rude, it turns out.

In today’s email:

  • Rent sucks: Added fees like parking and pet deposits aren’t helping.
  • Ahoy, revenue: A video about the economics of cruise ships.
  • Party of one: Divorce celebration businesses boom.
  • Around the Web: Backward “Tetris,” the real Oppenheimer, a free Excel class, and more.

👇 Listen: More on the growth of divorce businesses (which we hope don’t grow too much).

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The big idea
apartment building

Does your apartment come with junk fees?

We’ve talked about the extra fees associated with short-term vacation rentals — hello, Airbnb cleaning fees — but what about your actual apartment?

We’re talking security deposits, application fees, trash collection, online payment processing, parking, and that $500 pet deposit for Pumpkin, your sweet angel baby Pomeranian who never does anything wrong.

They’re all annoying, but three rental sites are going to start listing upfront and recurring fees as part of the total cost:

  • Zillow’s Cost of Renting Summary tool launched yesterday
  •’s cost calculator will roll out later this year
  • will require property owners to disclose all fees; those who follow best practices will get a “Trusted Owner” badge


Yesterday, the White House announced efforts to crack down on junk fees in rental housing; it also took aim at ticket and travel junk fees earlier this year.

But unlike travel and tickets, rent is where many Americans spend the bulk of their income:

  • Roughly 35% of Americans live in rental housing
  • In 2019, almost one quarter of those households spent at least half of their paychecks on rent
  • During the pandemic, rent prices increased ~26% nationwide

Junk fees can make it hard for renters to know what they can actually afford. Those who do get roped into leases with hidden charges may be unable to pay them on time — and there’s probably a late fee.

What else?

The White House also announced new research from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and outlined recent state-level actions, such as:

  • A new Colorado bill that allows renters to reuse one application across multiple properties for up to 30 days
  • Rhode Island limited application fees to no more than the actual cost of background and credit checks
  • Minnesota now requires landlords to display the total monthly payment on the first page of the lease and in advertisements

BTW: Just how silly are some of these fees? One Seattle renter said he received a $75 notice fee after his landlord “notified” him he couldn’t have potted plants on his balcony (which the lease allowed).

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eyeball wearing a hat

Attention, nostalgia lovers: With $4m in new investments, Neopets returned with a new website where players — and the virtual pets they adopt — can explore the world of Neotopia. Launched in 1999, Neopets’ website was heavily disrupted when Adobe shuttered Flash in 2020.


TodAI in AI: Apple is developing its own ChatGPT rival using Ajax, its internal AI framework. But don’t hold your breath on getting access to a slick, Apple-ified chatbot anytime soon — Apple has no plans to release it to the general public, per Bloomberg.

Shaping up nicely: Kim Kardashian’s four-year-old apparel brand, Skims, raised $270m at a $4B valuation, up from $3.2B last year. The company expects $750m in sales this year, up from $500m in 2022.

Reel struggle: Cameo, which offers personalized video shoutouts from celebrities, has fallen on hard times, despite heroically offering up the voice of Pumbaa from The Lion King for less than $30. The company employed 400 in mid-2022; now it has less than 50 staffers.

Netflix ditched its ~$10 ad-free basic plan in the US and UK for new subscribers, leaving three tiers: ~$7 with ads, $15.49 for standard, ~$20 for premium. Also, the streamer’s password-sharing crackdown is working — subscriptions (and revenue) rose last quarter.

Carvana’s deal to reduce its debt by $1.2B led to a 30%+ jump in shares Wednesday morning. The company, known for its bizarre car vending machines, will sell up to $1B in shares to raise capital.

No-shade shade? LA officials are investigating whether NBCUniversal trimmed trees to eliminate shade for SAG-AFTRA and WGA picketers or if it was just routine maintenance. Local temps have been 90+ degrees Fahrenheit this week.

Speaking of the heat: Sales of air conditioners jumped 248% on Amazon during the 30 days ending July 14 due to heat waves across the US. Fans popped 60%.

Game engine Unity opened its visionOS platform in beta for developers who want to create content for Apple’s forthcoming Vision Pro headset. Don’t all rush at once.

TikTok rolled out its music-streaming app, TikTok Music, to beta testers in Australia, Mexico, and Singapore. Though not available in the US yet, the company did file for a US trademark in 2022.


Looking for a passive income opportunity that doesn’t require steep upfront costs? Who isn’t? Your next side hustle might be sitting right in front of you… filled with snacks. Here’s everything you need to know about starting a vending machine biz.

Boatloads of money
cruise ship

Watch: The economics of cruise ships

There are two types of cruises making headlines this summer: the kind that sail the seven seas, and the movie star who drives motorcycles off cliffs.

Today, we’re talkin’ about the former.

Major cruise lines rake in more booty than Blackbeard himself — in 2020, we estimated the average cruise ship made $291 in profit per passenger, per cruise.

They also have nifty tricks (see: tax exemptions) to pocket a substantial sum of their revenue. By registering ships elsewhere and flying foreign flags, the cruise industry’s major players avoid millions in corporate taxes.

Want to learn more about cruise lines’ favorite loopholes? We’ll show you landlubbers their map to buried treasure.

Watch the quick clip →
Free Resource

The LinkedIn profile playbook

LinkedIn as a social platform? A for effort, yet often despicable.

But LinkedIn as a job-hunting joint? Makes a lotta sense.

Considering that’s where career hustlers hang, we baked you this gleaming guide on how to spruce up your LinkedIn profile — and take your personal page from good to great.

Steps to spiffing up:

  • Write snappy headlines and summaries
  • Choose the perfect picture
  • Develop your content strategy (25 post ideas)
  • Grow a neighborly network
  • Harness LinkedIn messaging

Find gigs that fit. Articulate your worth.

Elevate your LinkedIn →
Split ends
divorce party invitation

You’re cordially invited to… get a divorce?

Yes, you flew all the way to Nashville to celebrate a bachelorette dubbed Lindsay’s Last Rodeo a mere five years ago.

But a new invite just dropped for a Single and Ready To Flamingle party because, well… she’s getting a divorce.

Divorce parties are all the rage right now, per The Wall Street Journal. More American adults than ever consider divorce to be morally acceptable, and they’re ready to pop bottles in support:

  • Etsy, Walmart, and Amazon are slinging divorce-themed decorations and party favors
  • Pinterest searches for “divorce-party games” rose 80% in June 2022 compared to the year prior, and searches for “divorce cakes” jumped 50%
  • The hashtag #divorceparty currently has 93.6m views on TikTok

A divorce party is the evil twin of the bachelorette, with hosts gathering their friends together for trips complete with hotel stays, dinner and dancing, and themed outfits.

Untying the knot

As more look to say “I don’t” in style, businesses are emerging to offer services well beyond parties.

Stripe Street Studio specializes in interior design for divorced men, Fresh Starts offers gift registries to help divorcees restock their homes, and Onward is an app for managing money with a co-parent after divorce.

There are even startups disrupting divorce itself, like Hello Divorce, a platform aiming to make the splitting-up process more accessible and affordable.

As for the breakup bashes, think long and hard before donning your “end of an error” sash: Research suggests divorce could be contagious.

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🚀 On this day: In 1976, Viking 1 became the first spacecraft to land on Mars, seven years after Apollo 11 landed foot on the moon.

🎥 That’s interesting: The real story behind Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film, Oppenheimer.

🧠 Learn: 200k+ people have attended Miss Excel’s free one-hour Microsoft Excel classes. Master lookup functions and get started with VBA Macros to automate your spreadsheets by signing up here.

🧩 Cure boredom: It’s “Tetris,” but you remove pieces from the bottom.

🦉Aww: And now, owl chauffeur.

office lunch meme

Sushi or GTFO. (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett RylahSara Friedman, .
Editing by: Ben “Rent-controlled yet still out of control” Berkley.

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