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💰 Wage growth vs. inflation

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The Hustle

A Seattle software engineer at is accused of diverting $260k in customer fees to his own account. He allegedly told investigators he was inspired by 1999’s Office Space.

In today’s email:

  • Fat cats: Dogs and cats worth millions.
  • Chart: Does it pay to stay at a job?
  • Digits: TikTok ban-ter, virtual people, and other news numbers.
  • Around the web: A see-through frog, a website connecting startups and investors, a mysterious owl, and more.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear an eyebrow-raising rapid news rundown about TikTok ban-ter heating up, inflationary psychology, livestreamed casserole, and more.

The big idea
cat gif

How some pets earn more than most people

My cat screams for food every morning at 6:30am despite knowing full well that breakfast is at 8am, and generates absolutely no income. Taylor Swift’s cat is apparently worth $97m.

Oliva Benson, Swift’s white Scottish Fold, is the second-richest cat behind Nala Cat ($100m), per All About CatsPet Rich List. Gunther VI, a German Shepard, is the top dog at $500m… maybe.

How does a pet get rich?

Like any of us, through hard work — or wealthy parents:

Brand endorsements: Olivia has appeared in commercials for Diet Coke, as well as Swift’s music videos, per Yahoo News.

Appearances: Humans and pets alike appear at fan conventions. This year’s CatCon featured meet-and-greets with “Adventure Cat Leo,” among others.

Merchandise: The late Grumpy Cat’s worth is unknown, but it’s estimated she brought in up to $100m through appearances and merch.

Sponsored social posts: Loni Edwards, founder of The Dog Agency, told Vox that pets with 100k+ followers can net a few hundred bucks per post, but those with millions can score $15k per post.

Inheritance: Gunther VI’s wealth is supposedly via a trust left to his ancestor, Gunther III. However, when Gunther VI sold a mansion, it was but a “brilliant stunt” by Italy’s Gunther Corporation, per Forbes. In fact, the entire thing may be a hoax

… but some celebs, including Oprah Winfrey and late designer Karl Lagerfeld, have placed hefty sums in trusts to ensure their pets will be cared for after their deaths.

BTW: You can read all about how pet trusts work in our previous Sunday story here.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Sherlock Holmes, the world’s most famous fictional detective, has entered the public domain, as well as the phrase, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”


Stall of Duty: Today’s pre-trial hearing between the FTC and Microsoft kicks off a potentially long legal battle over the company’s $68.7B Activision Blizzard takeover.

Livestream that casserole: Samsung’s new oven can automatically detect 80 dishes and has a camera that can livestream to social media.

Whoopsie? Twitter was sued for not paying $136k in rent for its San Fran office. In December it was reported the company hadn’t paid office rents in weeks.

Wow: More than $128B in investments toward EV and battery plants and battery recycling were announced in the US in 2022.

Nice shades: Meta acquired Luxexcel, a Dutch smart eyewear company that uses 3D printing to make prescription lenses.

Elon Musk is the first person to lose $200B in net worth thanks to sagging Tesla shares, though he’s still worth ~$137B.

We’ll take two: Check out this video review of Shift Robotics’ Moonwalkers — basically motorized Heelys which let you walk 250% faster.

Taking time: More isn’t always better when it comes to work. Here’s how to craft an effective PTO policy for your business.

wage growth
Singdhi Sokpo

What’s happening with wage growth?

Back in April, Mark and Zack wrote about how “the perceived need for a higher salary and for higher prices to withstand future inflation leads to higher prices and higher salaries.”

With hourly wages growing at some of the fastest rates on record, partly to keep up with 40-year-high inflation, that story is relevant as ever.

In addition to inflation, a competitive labor market that saw 10.3m openings in October compared to 6.1m unemployed Americans is driving wage growth.

  • Four in 10 workers would consider getting a job elsewhere if it meant a 10% raise, according to a recent survey from employment agency Robert Half.
  • Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta shows job switchers have seen significantly higher wage gains in the past year than those who have stayed at their current jobs.

To account for wage increases, companies tend to pass costs to consumers through higher prices. Those prices impact consumers’ cost of living, and pressure them to seek higher wages.

Even through this wage growth cycle, with inflation at 7.1% in the 12 months ending in November, private-sector wages actually declined by 1.9%.

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Free Resource

Swipe this marketing plan template

The blueprint can’t be busted. That would be unwise.

Make your marketing plan a staple worth revisiting — something that sets the tone and aligns your team for success. This tight template will help you outline strategy and logistic essentials.

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  • Business mission
  • Key initiatives
  • Target market
  • Marketing strategy
  • Marketing tech stack
  • Advertising channels
  • Budgeting

Find this and loads of foundational docs inside the HubSpot library.

Marketing plan template →

Digits: TikTok ban-ter, virtual people businesses, and more news numbers

1) FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr told the Indian daily Economic Times that a TikTok ban is a “natural next step in our efforts to secure communication networks.” The app had 200m+ users in India before it was banned in 2020.

2) Beijing has plans to build a local “virtual people” industry worth $7B+ by 2025. Virtual influencers have gained traction recently, and 45% of advertisers have considered sponsoring a virtual influencer’s performance.

3) Since early 2020, 35+ companies have committed ~$200B toward American chip manufacturing projects across 16 states, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. That’s a lot of Pringles.

4) Hannah Williams, the 26-year-old who quit her $115k day job in May to launch a now-viral TikTok street interview series about salary transparency — appropriately named Salary Transparent Street — has made almost $600k since the switch.

5) Tesla delivered 405.3k vehicles in Q4, shy of analyst estimates of 420.8k. Tesla reported 40% growth in auto deliveries in 2022, delivering 1.3m vehicles in total, which, while strong, was short of its 50% goal.

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💫 On this day: In 2004, “Spirit,” the Mars Exploration Rover, reached its destination. It would survey the planet for the following seven years.

🐸 That’s interesting: The transparent glass frog can hide most of its blood, turning it nearly invisible while it naps hidden from predators.

🏠 How to: Calculate your debt-to-income ratio.

💰 That’s cool: This website lists startups looking for investors.

🦉 Aww: And now, who is she?

safe from visiting family meme

That childhood bedroom, though. (Link)

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

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