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Artist collective MSCHF is back with… a half-pound, 930-calorie “Fruit Loop” that retails for $19.99.

Also: We’re taking some time off to spend with family and friends. Happy holidays to you and yours, and we’ll see ya back here on Dec. 27.

In today’s email:

  • Get out: The face ID tech debate intensifies.
  • Chart: The shifting digital ad-scape.
  • Weekend reads to pair with some Jack Frost-tails.
  • Around the web: Best board games, GIF baskets, a festive possum, and more.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Mark and Zack discuss the $2B Christmas tree market and why Christmas trees can be a financial black hole for farmers.

The big idea
face ID

Draconian face ID tech is intensifying

When Kelly Conlon took her daughter to see the Rockettes at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall, guards wouldn’t let her in, per NBC.

Why? Facial recognition software had ID’d her as a lawyer whose firm is involved in a lawsuit against the venue’s parent company, MSG Entertainment.

Facial recognition tech…

… has been used in a variety of ways, including:

  • By conservations to track seals
  • By police in India to enforce covid mask mandates
  • By schools to track students and visitors for security and attendance purposes

Sixteen major US airports are currently testing the tech for passenger screening.

It’s a controversial technology.

There are concerns over privacy, government overreach, and inaccuracy. The tech is worse at ID-ing women and people of color than white men, and its use in the US has led to wrongful arrests.

But this case

… is interesting because a business is using the tech to ban specific people who’ve done nothing wrong.

In June, MSG banned all lawyers from firms suing it from its venues — even if, like Conlon, they aren’t involved with that particular case.

Conlon’s firm — Davis, Saperstein and Salomon — has complained to the state liquor authority, which requires all licensees allow the “general public,” and an investigation is pending.

Other firms have sued over the ban

In November, one judge decided that, under state law, MSG could ban lawyers from sporting events, but not concerts or shows. Another called MSG’s policy the “stupidest thing” she’d ever read, per Reuters.

Still, MSG maintains that litigation “creates an inherently adversarial environment,” and that private businesses have the right to limit entry.

We’ll have to see how things shake out, but hopefully it’s not a precedent for AI-driven dystopian pettiness.

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eyeball wearing a hat

The Montecito, California, home where Netflix filmed its Harry & Meghan documentary recently listed for $33.5m. It has six beds, seven baths, a giant pool, and hidden gardens.


NASA’s InSight lander, on Mars since 2018, is running out of power. “Don’t worry about me though: my time here has been both productive and serene,” it tweeted.

YouTube secured the NFL Sunday Ticket package in a seven-year deal valued at ~$2B annually.

Turkey announced a 55% increase to its minimum wage, which could exacerbate the country’s already whopping 84.4% inflation rate.

A driver claims that his Tesla in full-self-driving mode braked suddenly, causing an eight-car pileup in the Bay Area last month.

Surprise: An independent review of the University of California Santa Barbara’s proposed “Dormzilla” found it “unwise” to proceed with a design that would cram students into windowless, 70-square-foot rooms.

Caroline Ellison, ex-CEO of Sam Bankman-Fried’s trading firm Alameda Research, faces up to 110 years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud. Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried was released on $250m bail while he awaits trial.

Egg prices rose 30%+ in 2022 — the greatest increase of any grocery item — as bird flu has reduced America’s egg-laying chicken population by 5%+.

Another one for AI: 73% of developers surveyed by GitHub said using the AI coding assistant Copilot helped them “stay in the flow.” We brainstormed adjacent AI opps inside Trends.

Ad spend by category
Olivia Heller

Has the Meta-Google ad ‘duopoly’ been disrupted?

For the first time since 2014, Meta and Google are on track to represent less than half of US digital advertising spend, grabbing 48.4% of the market this year, per Axios.

The space has grown especially crowded, partly out of necessity, as Apple’s privacy changes have made it harder for companies to track activity across apps and target ads.

  • Though billed as a push for privacy, Apple has seemingly used the move as an opportunity to build out its own ad network across its apps.

Other platforms and retailers with reliable first-party data have also launched their own ad services, including Uber, 7-11, Walmart, CVS, Chewy, Home Depot, Dollar Tree, Marriott, and more, further crowding the market.

There’s also TikTok, expected to earn $8.6B in ad revenue in 2024 — and Amazon, which has done what Amazon does best, building a $30B+ advertising business on top of its retail and media offerings.

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Free Resource

How to host exceptional events

Not everyone who hosts bangers is a certified social butterfly.

To make new friends, Nick Gray started small parties in Williamsburg. He ended up hosting hundreds — he even wrote a DIY book — which helped him start and sell Museum Hack, a multimillion-dollar tour guide company.

Hear how Nick keeps events classy on this episode of Creative Elements with Jay Clouse.

Tips for event planners:

  • The secrets to great events (in-person and online)
  • Why small parties build lasting relationships
  • How to exit awkward conversations

Tune in on your favorite streaming service.

Event-planning prep →
Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads

Now would be a good time to whip up one of these creatively named Christmas cocktails. In case you missed ’em, here’s our week’s best…

  • Tweet: Definitely this dad joke about inflation.
  • Story: Zack’s profile of David Glasheen, the millionaire who lost it all and became a castaway.
  • Chart: This look at maple syrup’s record year in Canada.
  • Video: Our Hustle original about the wild ~$160m poinsettia industry, just in time for the holidays.
  • Blog: An HR guide for startup leaders with best practices, strategies, software, and more.
From our blog
from the blog

Hey! Stop right there. Did you know we have a blog? Well, we do, and you should check it out. Our latest piece takes a deep dive into the lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Estonia, one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world.


🎈 On this day: In 2009, Richard and Mayumi Heene were sentenced to 90 and 20 days, respectively, for the “Balloon Boy” hoax, in which they falsely claimed their young son had flown off in a large helium balloon.

🧺 Haha: Why send a gift basket when you could send a GIF basket?

🤝 How to: Ask for help at work, even if you feel weird about it.

🎲 That’s cool: For your next game night, here are Smithsonian magazine’s picks for best board games of 2022.

🎅 Aww: And now, ho ho ho!

Shower Thoughts
  1. Your brain is able to know you forgot something, but rarely recalls what it is you actually forgot.  SOURCE

  2. You’re only late if you… show up.  SOURCE

  3. The more you learn about something man-made, the simpler it gets. But the more you learn about something naturally occurring, the more complicated it gets.  SOURCE

  4. Every meal a cat eats is a breakfast because they sleep so often.  SOURCE

  5. Cooking show competitions need a cleaning-the-dishes round to make them way more realistic.  SOURCE

via Reddit
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