📱 TikTok’s blessing and curse - The Hustle
The Hustle

📱 TikTok’s blessing and curse

Plus: The cities paying you to move there, making your own Discord avatar, a baby hippo, and more.

A man who accidentally threw away a hard-drive containing 8k bitcoins has a plan to get them back. The $11m scheme includes purchasing two $75k robotic dogs to help excavate his local landfill.

In today’s email:

  • Depop: Why budding designers are leaving.
  • Chart: TikTok’s million-follower machine.
  • Tulsa: One city paying you to move there.
  • Around the web: Customized Discord avatars, every Super Nintendo manual, “persuasive dissent,” and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Rob discuss TikTok’s million-follower machine, Gen Z’s digital fashion trends, NFL+ launching, Lowe’s four-day workweek, and more.

The big idea

Gen Z designers are popping off on Depop, then leaving

Interest on Google for “thrift store near me” is higher than ever.

So it’s no surprise that Depop, which is basically the internet’s thrift store and Gen Z’s go-to fashion marketplace, flourished during the pandemic.

Last year, Etsy bought the company for $1.6B. But despite Depop’s rise, some of its most successful sellers are leaving the platform, per The New York Times.

First, some background

Depop offers users an Instagram-like experience:

  • Sellers can easily upload and caption photos of items for sale.
  • Shoppers can scroll through designers’ collections and purchase items within the app.

While the app is free for shoppers, sellers pay Depop 10% of their total transactions plus transaction fees. Those fees are one reason sellers are moving elsewhere.

Another reason is that while Depop may look like Instagram, it ain’t. Sellers say it’s difficult to move beyond a transactional relationship with customers on the app.

So, where are sellers going?

A variety of places, including:

  • Physical stores: Emma Rogue, who sold secondhand items on the app, opened her own brick-and-mortar store for vintage clothes.
  • Online shops: Shirley Tang, who launched her brand ORIENS on Depop, now sells exclusively through her website.
  • Instagram: Desireé Zavala, who found it difficult to engage with customers on Depop, joined Instagram, where she uses Reels to get feedback and preview items.

While it may seem concerning that sellers are moving off the platform…

… there is a silver lining

Peter Semple, Depop’s chief brand officer, says that successful sellers have always used Depop as a launching pad, and that when they leave, it attracts new designers to the app.

Some established sellers continue using Depop to get in front of new customers but diversify their efforts with other platforms.

Plus, there are perks to staying on the app. Five lucky sellers got to put their designs on display for a massive digital audience thanks to Depop’s recent collab with “The Sims 4.”


Writedown: Tesla recorded a $170m impairment loss related to its bitcoin holdings in the first half of the year. The company also logged $64m in gains from bitcoin sales.

Rate reversal: Wall Street investors are reportedly betting that the Federal Reserve will continue raising rates through 2022, but will start lowering them in 2023. The Fed has lowered rates shortly after raising them before, including in 2019.

It’s live: The NFL launched its own mobile streaming service, NFL+. The app costs $4.99/mo. and offers live games, NFL Network shows, and films from the NFL archives.

New sched: Lowe’s offered full-time associates the option of a four-day workweek in an effort to address ongoing complaints about the company’s chaotic scheduling policy.

$$$: Meta’s new “Music Revenue Sharing” service allows creators to earn ad revenue from Facebook videos with licensed music, which was not allowed previously.

Oof: T-Mobile agreed to pay $350m to settle several lawsuits related to a 2021 data breach that affected 76m+ US residents.


Singdhi Sokpo

TikTokers can get huge overnight. Is that good?

On TikTok, it’s just another day when someone gets millions of followers for posting slices of bread falling over in perfect alignment with a song’s beat drop.

Today, 39k+ TikTok accounts have 1m+ followers, according to Social Blade. That’s more than YouTube and Instagram, despite TikTok being far younger.

This makes sense. TikTok is an entertainment platform, with DNA closer to Netflix than, say, Facebook. And if you’re not actively trying to make a living off of the app, this is great.

Where things get nuanced…

… is for those trying to make an income as a creator. That’s because the likely downside is worse payouts.

  • A 2021 survey found TikTok creators earned ~$1.7k/mo. on average, compared to $4.1k for YouTube and $3.9k on Instagram.

For TikTok, turning “15 minutes of fame” into an app has diluted the million-follower accomplishment. More internet-famous people are cropping up, but TikTok, brands, and creators will need to figure out how to calculate the value of their followings case by case.

For now, more followers are generally great. “The bread guy” from earlier — yeah, he capitalized with a “slice of life” merch line.

Tulsa Two-Step

Some cities will pay you to move there

Often, it can feel like your city wants all your money. Luckily, some cities are actually paying people to move there.

A recent report from The Wall Street Journal revealed 71 US cities and towns that are luring remote workers with cash and other perks, like free child care and coworking spaces.

  • Michigan offers up to $15k in forgivable grant funds toward a home purchase in several southwest cities, plus perks.
  • Topeka, Kansas, pays up to $15k toward rent or a home purchase. (At one point, Jimmy John’s even threw in $1k in sandwiches.)

Of these incentive programs…

… Tulsa Remote, which works in tandem with inTulsa, has attracted the most workers, with ~1.4k people relocating between 2018 and 2021.

  • Tulsa Remote attracts higher-earning workers with $10k, office space, and community events in exchange for a one-year commitment.
  • InTulsa keeps local talent from moving away by connecting them to local job opportunities, which it hopes will attract new startups and tech jobs.

And it seems to be working. Since the pandemic, college grads have moved in faster than they’ve left, per Tulsa World, reversing the so-called “brain drain.”

More to come?

Given the rise of remote work, soaring home prices, and inflation, more Americans may continue heading toward greener pastures.

Case in point: The median price of a Tulsa home is $187k, way less than in Austin ($677k+) and San Francisco ($1.63m).


📮 On this day: In 1775, the US postal system was established with Benjamin Franklin as the first postmaster general. Today, it has a podcast.

🕹️ That’s interesting: Twitch streamer Kerry Hays collected every English-language Super Nintendo manual — 850+ of them — and put them online for free.

🤔 How to: Groups tend to gravitate toward their existing views. Here are seven tips to successfully perform “persuasive dissent” and get your point across.

🎮 Useful: Make your own Discord avatar here.

🦛 Aww: And now, a baby hippo and a rubber ducky.


Unfortunately, the deal ended. (Source: imgflip.com)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst, Mia Sullivan.
Editing by: Jennifer “Off to Tulsa” Wang.

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