💸 Flying cars are coming


June 17, 2021

{date(‘MMMM dd, yyyy’,time(“now”))}
The Hustle

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella can now add “Chairman of the Board” to his Linkedin profile, replacing independent director (and tech veteran) John W. Thompson. Since Nadella became the company’s CEO in February 2014, Microsoft has added an astounding $1.6T+ to its market cap.

The big idea
flying car

So, are we getting flying cars or what?

“Blade Runner” led us to believe we’d have flying cars by 2019, so where TF are they?

Well, a few companies are working on what’s known as eVTOL (Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) tech, as recently explored by The New York Times.

Meet the contenders…

1) Joby, the metro air taxi

Joby Aviation is testing an electric air taxi that fits 1 pilot and 4 passengers. It plans to be airborne over major cities like Los Angeles (very “Blade Runner”) by 2024, and it has some big partners.

Toyota led a $620m Series C funding round in early 2020, per TechCrunch. In late 2020, Joby acquired Uber’s air taxi program Elevate in a deal that included a $75m investment from Uber.

2) BlackFly, the single passenger vehicle

Opener’s BlackFly is a 1-person pod that can go ~25 miles per charge. This one’s for rural use; customers can learn to fly via VR simulation.

Should BlackFly hit the market, it’ll likely cost $150k+.

3) The autonomous air taxi

Kitty Hawk was founded by Sebastian Thrun, formerly of Google’s self-driving car project. Its electric air taxi is called Heaviside.

Right now it only has 1 seat but will later have 2. Though it costs ~$300k to build a Heaviside, Thrun sees the cost offset by its use as a ridesharing vehicle.

Okay, but how feasible is any of this?

While the benefits might include less traffic, faster commutes, and more sustainable urban mobility, some experts don’t think a 2024 launch is realistic.

For one, the Federal Aviation Administration would have to sign off on it.

And as both the NYT and the more skeptical Jalopnik point out, customers would have to feel comfortable taking an air taxi — and that could take some time.

So, promising, but maybe hold your air-horses.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
SNIPPETS

Seed VC Mike Maples joins My First Million to talk 4 big trends, the companies he likes to invest in, and why a startup isn’t a company. #mfm

Google’s 1st retail store opens today in NYC, selling Fitbits, Pixels, Nests, Chromebooks, and other Google gadgets. #big-tech

Spotify takes on Clubhouse with Greenroom, its new audio app for iOS and — unlike Clubhouse’s initial launch — Android. #big-tech

Haute VR: Facebook wants luxury brands to use VR for fashion shows, auto test drives, travel, and immersive experiences. #emerging-tech

Booking site Travala.com already makes $1m+/week, 70%+ of it paid in crypto. Its new Dtravel is a crypto-backed, blockchain-based Airbnb competitor. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Adam Hayes breaks down the 4 companies Robert Downey Jr.’s rolling fund for sustainable tech invested in during Q1 2021. #hustle-picks

Facebook is collaborating with Michigan State University to reverse-engineer deepfakes and root out their sources. #privacy

Zillow is using AI to make its home value estimates more accurate. Good for when you’re browsing @zillowgonewild. #ecommerce-retail

General Motors announced it will spend $35B on electric and automated vehicles by 2025, as well as 2 new lithium battery plants. #clean-energy

Yoga Time
fitness

Lululemon’s tech ambitions, explained

Most of us know Lululemon for making yoga pants a thing.

Which is why the $45B athleisure brand turned some heads last June when it plunked $500m for Mirror, a fitness startup that sells a… large wall mirror that lets users do a variety of on-demand workouts.

The acquisition clearly capitalized on…

… the whole “people literally have nowhere else to work out but at home” movement. But Mirror may just be the tip of Lululemon’s tech ambitions, according to Retail Dive.

The company recently filed patents for a:

  • Wellness metric: A way to measure someone’s stress and mood levels using biosensors, and providing activity recommendations.
  • Sensor belt: A strap worn around the waist that measures heart rate and skin temperature.

All of this tech…

… will help Lululemon graduate from yoga to general health and wellness (a much bigger market).

Lululemon is trending up: its Q1 2021 sales hit $1.2B, +88% YoY from last year’s quarantine-affected business. Mirror itself is expected to bring in $250m+ by year-end.

And for all the yoga-heads out there, Lululemon hasn’t forgotten about you: One of its patents is for a 3D-textured yoga mat that provides better support, more grip, and easier folding.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
Free Resource

You aren’t a fan of Uber’s ‘surge prices’

But have you considered using it for your business?

Dynamic pricing (AKA demand pricing or time-based pricing) is used by companies in many industries like ridesharing, lodge-renting, event-ticketing, and retail, to name a few.

Because people are often willing to pay a bit more if it means wasting less than 17 hours a year looking for parking. 

If you can quickly and accurately gauge shifts in demand for your product or service, you may be able to use this system to turn a profit.

Watch this video on dynamic pricing and the Uber blueprint

You’ll learn if dynamic pricing is a good fit for your business, the 4 variables Uber uses in its algorithm, and the pros (like more $$) and cons (like customer trust) to consider.

Find out if it can work wonders for you.

If you want more business examples like this one, like and subscribe to HubSpot’s YouTube channel.

Dynamic done right →
Podcast news
podcasting microphone

2 ways to monetize a huge podcast audience

A knock against podcasts has long been their difficulty to monetize, even as the medium becomes more prominent.

Case in point: Ad spend for (stodgy old) radio is projected at $12B this year, while (supposedly hip) podcasts will bring in $1B.

Over the past 48 hours, though, 2 announcements show the power of building a big podcast audience:

  • Alex Cooper, 26: In 2018, Cooper launched “Call Her Daddy” — a sex-positive female-led show — on the Barstool Sports podcast network. Her starting salary was $70k (and a % of merchandise).Fast forward 3 years: The show has exploded in popularity and Cooper just secured a 3-year deal with Spotify worth $60m+.
  • Harry Stebbings, 24: In 2014, teenage Stebbings launched “The Twenty Minute VC,” a podcast that interviews VCs and entrepreneurs for… you guessed it… 20 minutes.Since then, the show has been downloaded 80m times. Stebbings has leveraged his audience size to break into venture capital and raised $140m for a fund called 20VC.

Take that, radio!

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
Shady Business
MoviePass ticket

Shocker: MoviePass was shady

Remember MoviePass?

It’s the now-defunct startup that offered unlimited theater movies for a cheap monthly subscription price of $9.95.

Many were skeptical of the business model, which seemed to go against the laws of… math. Well, as The New York Times reports, the startup used shady tactics to survive.

The business math was so bad…

… that MoviePass — which started its wild all-you-can-watch experiment in 2017 — turned into a slow-burning dumpster fire.

Turns out when your costs (full movie ticket price) are significantly higher than your revenue (cheap monthly subscription), business not good.

It culminated in MoviePass’ parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics shutting down the company in 2019 and declaring bankruptcy early last year.

How MoviePass screwed customers

Details of the company’s shady tactics come from a Federal Trade Commission investigation.

To stop people from watching (and slow its cash burn):

  • Account passwords were falsely invalidated for “suspicious activity or potential fraud”
  • A bogus ticket verification process was implemented to create friction

As if this wasn’t enough, MoviePass grossly mishandled customer data. An FTC settlement with the company’s execs is meant to prevent any future business tomfoolery.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
Long reads of the day
Future logo

Leading venture firm Andreessen Horowitz officially launched a new media platform on Tuesday. It’s called Future and will provide an “optimistic view” on technology.

In a podcast interview, Peter Kafka asked Andreessen partner Margit Wennmachers if Future is an end-around traditional journalism.

Wennmachers says the media project is meant as a platform for experts — both within and outside Andreessen — to give their perspective on tech.

Here are some of the launch articles (you decide):

  • “Technology Saves the World” (Marc Andreessen)
  • “Law As Code: A Legal System Shaped By Software” (Joshua Browder)
  • “Beyond the Meme: Ever Given, Supply Chains, and the Physical World” (Ryan Petersen)
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Hustle Cons Greatest Hits ebook

Over the years, we’ve learned… secrets.

The business secrets, tips, and tricks that have helped founders go from zero to millions — and even billions — of dollars.

Want to see ‘em? Just refer {3-referral_count} more friends to The Hustle and we’ll send you our curated set of interviews with founders from brands like Zola, AWAY, Vungle, Bonobos, and more.

Here’s a message you can use to share with your friends:

Hey! Do you read The Hustle? It’s the best daily business newsletter out there — only takes 5 minutes to read and you’ll sound like the smartest person in the room. Sign up here, it’s free: {referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Stickers

Laptop lookin’ sparse? Water bottle lookin’… clear?

You’re only {5-referral_count} referrals away from your first Hustle swag, Sam’s Stickers. Slap a few of these bad boys on the ol’ laptop and let everyone in the coffee shop know that you know. You know?

Here’s a message you can use to share with your friends:

Hey! Do you read The Hustle? It’s the best daily business newsletter out there — only takes 5 minutes to read and you’ll sound like the smartest person in the room. Sign up here, it’s free: {referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Pint Glass

Look at you, smarty pants. You’ve already shared The Hustle with {referral_count} friends and enemies.

But hey, just because you’re a business nerd doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cool bevvy. Get {10-referral_count} more referrals and we’ll send you a pint glass etched with The Hustle logo.

Anyway, here’s a message you can use to share with your friends:

Hey! Do you read The Hustle? It’s the best daily business newsletter out there — only takes 5 minutes to read and you’ll sound like the smartest person in the room. Sign up here, it’s free: {referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Ambassador Rewards

You’re only {15-referral_count} referrals away from earning our signature dad hat meant for ladies, gents, and dads alike to show folks they’re in the club.

Here’s a message you can use to share with your friends:

Hey! Do you read The Hustle? It’s the best daily business newsletter out there — only takes 5 minutes to read and you’ll sound like the smartest person in the room. Sign up here, it’s free: {referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Always be Hustlin' tee

You’re close to the most coveted item in Hustle-land: The Always Be Hustlin Tee.

The fabric? Luxurious. The cut? Relaxed, yet refined. The message? Indisputable.

Share this link with {25 – referral_count} more of your friends to get the goods:

{referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Hustle Hoodie

Damn, you’re on a roll. You’ve got the pint glass. You’ve got the hat. It’s time to complete your collection, don’t you think?

Get {50 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll send you our favorite piece of Hustle swag: The Startup Sweatshirt. Slipping into this piece of fleece might just transport you to Silicon Valley (or maybe somewhere better, your pick).

Share this link to get the goods:

{referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Trends Screenshot

Hey, we see you. You’re out there spreading the gospel of The Hustle like it’s nobody’s business. Seems like you might be ready for a little more…

Get {100 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll slide you a free subscription to Trends.

And no, this ain’t an ad. We just think you’re the kinda person who would thrive in our top-tier community (it’s usually $299) full of founders, investors, and builders (AKA ambitious, no B.S. business folks like you — and enjoy our premium research and content.

Share this link with {100 – referral_count} more of your friends to get the goods:

{referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →
SHARE THE HUSTLE
Plane

If you love us so much why don’t you just marry us?

Get {1000 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll fly you to The Hustle HQ in beautiful, downtown eastern Austin, Texas. Round-trip flight, 2 nights in a hotel downtown, and some wining and dining with The Hustle fam.

Heck, you practically work here anyway. Copy & paste this link to share:

{referral_url}

P.S. You can always check your referral count here.

Share The Hustle →

How did you like today’s email?

Join 1.5m+ professionals getting The Hustle daily news brief

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

100% free, no ads or spam, unsubscribe anytime

Psst

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?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.

If you don’t like it, unsubscribe any time. Privacy policy.