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📆 Advent calendars are weird now

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The Hustle

Someone allegedly stole a ~1.7k-pound ball full of gin from the bottom of a lake. It belonged to Swiss company Ginial, which drops them there for 100 days to develop a unique aroma.

In today’s email:

  • Everyone’s sick: And it’s leading to medicine shortages.
  • The millionaire castaway: Why he marooned himself.
  • Advent calendars: They’re getting weird.
  • Around the web: The origin of the snow globe, AI-generated holiday tunes, petting lessons, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Zack and Juliet talk about the tripledemic and a medicine shortage, more Musk drama, a manipulative chatbot, and more.

The big idea
pill capsules

Why children’s meds are in short supply

First a formula shortage, and now a kids’ medicine shortage. Suffice to say, it’s a tough time to be a parent.

On Monday, Walgreens and CVS both announced purchase limits on children’s pain- and fever-reducers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, per NPR.

Why?

Unlike the formula shortage, which involved a plant shutdown, this one’s about increased demand.

The US is in a so-called “tripledemic,” which means the flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and covid are all circulating right now.

Experts say it’s worse than previous years because many people spent recent flu seasons masking and/or avoiding others, thus limiting their exposure to the usual viruses.

Plus, many children, who are usually exposed to RSV by age three, weren’t due to stay-at-home precautions.

Oh, and there’s an antibiotics shortage, too…

… which includes amoxicillin. While amoxicillin is used for bacterial — not viral — infections, secondary bacterial infections can occur after RSV.

Erin Fox, senior pharmacy director at the University of Utah, told WFYI Indianapolis that antibiotics have been among the top five US drug shortages since she began tracking them in 2001. As older, low-cost drugs, manufacturers aren’t incentivized to produce extra, per Fox.

In the EU, where there’s been a spike of Strep A infections, 25 of its 27 countries are also experiencing an antibiotics shortage, per Politico.

What’s the solution?

The FDA is working on increasing supply. In the meantime:

  • Experts recommend getting flu and covid vaccines to reduce illness.
  • Check with compounding pharmacies, which create medicines for individual patients’ needs.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist about alternatives.
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TRENDING
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It’s back: Taco Bell is piloting its Jalapeño and Triple Crunch Mexican Pizzas in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Omaha, Nebraska, respectively, starting Dec. 22.

SNIPPETS

Elon Musk is reportedly looking for a new Twitter CEO following a poll in which a 57.5% majority said he should step down. He also wants to change polls so only paying subscribers can vote.

DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder said ChatGPT can renegotiate bills. In a test, it lied to Comcast agents, but Browder thinks they’ve refined it to remain truthful, but “very aggressive and emotional.”

The Ordinary, an affordable skincare brand, will increase prices by an average of $1.12 on Jan. 1 to combat rising costs.

This year’s World Cup final was the most-watched for Fox, with 16.8m viewers, up 158% from 2018’s game.

Party pooper: Party City, uniquely dealing with a helium shortage, has six months to get its average closing share price to $1, else face NYSE delisting.

Wells Fargo will pay $3.7B to settle allegations that it caused people’s homes and cars to be wrongfully repossessed.

Porsche is now making synthetic “e-fuel” at a pilot plant in Chile. It kicked off production by fueling up a Porsche 911.

The booming business of Boomers: Millions of business owners are retiring in the coming years. This Trends research report highlights lucrative opportunities to serve them.

FROM THE BLOG
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AI for content (and flattering selfies) is everywhere right now, but did you know it could also save your life? We rounded up 11 AI health care companies that are revolutionizing the future of medicine.

Chart
David Glasheen
Zachary Crockett

The millionaire who lost it all and became a castaway

The first thing I learned about the ex-millionaire castaway is that he loves to talk politics.

For the first 30 minutes of our recent three-hour conversation — made possible by satellite phone — I was flooded with meandering ruminations on Ukraine, Elon Musk, and the global economy. I was speaking to a man who had many opinions, but nobody to share them with.

That’s because David Glasheen, 78, has, by his own choice, been marooned on a remote island in northern Australia for 25 years.

Before Glasheen moved to this island, he was a successful entrepreneur worth nearly $30m on paper. He says he had two yachts, owned multiple waterfront properties, and caroused with titans of Australian commerce.

Today, he lives alone for long stretches at a time, seldomly returning to the mainland. He sports a sea-swept white beard and forages for oysters barefoot and shirtless. His only permanent companions are two mannequins named Miranda and Phyllis.

What compelled a one-time multimillionaire to trade in luxury and comfort for a life of seclusion?

Read the full story →
Free Resource

Top goals of marketing leaders in 2023

Eyes on the prize, folks: Next year is basically here.

Though marketing language has largely stayed the same, the landscape is definitely changing. Roughly half of the leaders we surveyed said they will shift strategies in 2023.

We collected data on how Uber, Dropbox, and Microsoft plan to produce and pivot.

Focus points for marketing executives:

  • It’s all about sales revenue and brand loyalty
  • AKA boosting reach and building trust
  • Also — investing in community and UX

A must-peep for operators in the trenches.

High-level deliberations →
Spending season
advent calendars

Advent calendars get more unhinged each year

For many Americans, unveiling a new treat from their advent calendar each day until Christmas sparks joy. Traditionally, these treats have been straightforward — a piece of chocolate or a small toy.

But those were simpler times. In 2022, advent calendars have gotten quite the avant-garde makeover.

Just about anything can make its way into an advent calendar

Even the wackiest and most unexpected items:

  • Beef jerky
  • Crystals
  • Nail polish
  • Socks

People are drawn to advent calendars for the product samples, value for their dollar, and sheer fun. For businesses, ranging from Costco to yoga company Alo, advent calendars are advantageous because:

  • They allow companies to bundle products together and get them in front of consumers.
  • They are a clever marketing tool, drawing eyeballs when consumers unbox them on TikTok.

But businesses have still managed to botch their advent calendars

Chanel’s $825 advent calendar was lambasted last year for including cheap items like stickers and string bracelets. This year, Dior has been skewered for its $3.5k advent calendar filled with items like a candle lid.

It may be the Christmas season — but the calendars can either be a treat, or a trick.

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AROUND THE WEB

🧠 On this day: In 1913, the first crossword, invented by journalist Arthur Wynne, was published on the New York World’s “Fun” page.

❄️ That’s interesting: How Erwin Perzy, a surgical instrument maker, accidentally invented the snow globe.

🎄 That’s cool: Musician Evan Greer’s EP “Automated Christmas Joy” features holiday songs with lyrics written by ChatGPT. Proceeds benefit nonprofit Fight for the Future, which advocates for the regulation of harmful AI.

🥁 Cure boredom: Make a drum beat.

🐈 Aww: And now, how to pet.

TWEET
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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Olivia Deng, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Jerky calendar” Dent.

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