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Happy Halloween from the Hustle crew. We wish you more treats than tricks, and absolutely no candy corn in your haul.

In today’s email:

  • Storms ahead: Cloud spend is slowing.
  • Chart: Restaurants are closing earlier.
  • Digits: Leaves, lipstick, and Temu.
  • Around the Web: A ghostly game, a Lovecraftian home, why we like being scared, and more spooky internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast for a news rundown to start your week — plus, for Halloween, a deep dive into the strange business history of the Ouija board.

The big idea

Slowing cloud spend has investors spooked

It’s been a big decade for cloud adoption.

  • In 2021, a survey found that 90% of businesses use cloud computing.
  • This year, the total percentage of corporate data living in the cloud jumped to 60%, up from 30% in 2015.

Three of tech’s biggest players — Amazon, Microsoft, and Google — have been beneficiaries of this trend, riding the cloud wave to record valuations last year.

What a difference a year makes

Last week, all three companies reported slowing growth in their cloud business units, leading to a swift decline in their stock prices.

But slowing cloud spend has even bigger implications:

  • Since cloud computing is charged based on usage, it’s been viewed as a broad marker of tech adoption across the economy.
  • Slowed spending signals that businesses are pulling out all the stops to cut back amid high inflation and fears of a recession.

With another aggressive rate hike expected this week, more cutbacks could be coming.

But there is a silver lining

WSJ’s Christopher Mims says companies are now switching from asking “what can we do?” to “what do we need to do?”

  • That shift should lead to more investments in products that actually provide value for customers and fewer investments into speculative ones.

Unfortunately, that means saying goodbye to weirdly fun products that nobody really needs, like flying selfie drones.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Genius: This guy’s wife may have “casually fixed the game industry” with an idea for a controller design with buttons labeled based on their cardinal directions.


Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition closed Friday. He followed it with swift action, firing four top executives and bringing in Tesla engineers to review the site’s code.

NASA’s internal impact review found that the agency’s economic output in 2021 was $71B+, supporting nearly 340k jobs nationwide.

Lego is discontinuing its Mindstorms code-enabled product line, first launched in 1998. The company recently acquired BrainPop for $875m in an edtech expansion bid.

Mattel has already sold out of one of its three new Dia de los Muertos Barbie dolls, a collab with Mexican fashion designer Benito Santos.

But our bladders though? James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water reportedly has a three-hour-ten-minute runtime.

We did not expect to be seeing this today. By “this,” we mean an iPhone with a Rolex watch built into the back, costing $134k.

Spirit Halloween is a seasonal juggernaut. Check out our one-minute clip about how the pop-up pulls in ~$450m in just three months.

Read about how money is pouring into metaverse fashion brands creating cosmic designs in a limitless new industry.

Early Supper
restaurants open late
Olivia Heller

Sorry, night owls — restaurants are closing early

Late-night bites are out. Dinner at 6pm is in.

A new report from restaurant data platform Datassential found that US restaurants’ weekly operating hours are down by 7.5% on average, or 6.4 hours per week, compared to 2019.

Overall, 58.6% of US restaurants have cut hours since 2019, compared to just 19.8% that increased them.

What’s the deal?

Staffing shortages and a shift in consumer behavior (re: the pandemic) have heavily impacted restaurants.

  • Fewer people are working in-office, decreasing lunch and after-work traffic.
  • People are eating at home more often.

Where are the cuts?

Largely at night, with more restaurants closing ~8pm-9pm as opposed to staying open until 10pm or later.

In 2019, 56.6% of restaurants were still open at 9:45pm on an average Wednesday. Today, it’s down to 41.5%.

Even never-sleeps New York City has been affected, with The New York Times reporting that “6pm is the new 8pm” as customers adapt to earlier schedules.

Benjamin Franklin did say that “early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”

But if you’re hankering for a late-night meal that doesn’t involve cooking, Wendy’s increased its hours by 21.2 hours per week.

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Free Resource

New stories, new format, same bangers

We’re back on YouTube.

Perhaps our foray into podcasting actually foreshadowed a shit ton.

It goes like this: If you like the facts, stats, and face-slappin’ insights in our daily newsletter, you should subscribe for exciting stories via video.

We’re dropping new episodes each week: some will break down game-changing companies, and others will make sense of market and tech news.

More original reports with dazzling graphics:

  • The economics of pumpkin patches
  • Billionaire Ray Dalio on what NOT to do in a recession
  • How Spirit Halloween became a $500m pop-up business
  • Why introverts make great leaders

Plenty more, coming soon. Hit this big red balloon.

The Hustle on YouTube →

Digits: Leaves, lipstick, T-Swift, and more

1) Every year, ~8m tons of leaves are raked up and brought to landfills in the US. Experts say we should let them be, as they provide resources for critters and return nutrients to the soil.

2) The “lipstick effect” describes how consumers tend to splurge on beauty products in an economic downturn. In the last year, though, amid slowing growth and rising inflation, there was a 2.1% drop in sales of face care products.

3) As of last week, Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” album has seen 486m+ streams, the third-most on record for a single week. “Midnights” also saw the highest-selling single-week sales for a vinyl album since 1991, with some 515k+ records sold.

4) In China, ecommerce company Pinduoduo has 730m+ customers. In the US, its sibling Temu has rapidly climbed to a top spot on the app charts, offering dirt-cheap prices on Chinese products.

5) Amazon reportedly reduced the headcount of its team working on the new live-radio app, Amp, by 50%, or ~150 people. Amp lets creators host live-radio talk shows with licensed music.

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🪄 On this day: In 1926, magician Harry Houdini died after being punched in the stomach by a student who wanted to test his supposedly strong abs.

😱 That’s interesting: Denmark’s Recreational Fear Lab explores why we like getting scared for fun.

🐙 That’s cool: New Orleans’ “Kraken House” goes all out for Halloween.

👻 How to: Play Google’s free Halloween game, “The Great Ghoul Duel 2.”

🎃 Aww: Chomp.

CVS escape room tweet

Follow Sara on Twitter

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Dinner at 5pm” Dent.

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