🕸️ Apple’s “Find My” network, explained


May 13, 2021

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The Hustle

This week, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued utility patent No. 11m. We’re not quite sure what it is, but it sure sounds important: “Repositioning wires and methods for repositioning prosthetic heart valve devices within a heart chamber and related systems, devices and methods.”

The big idea
Amazon and Apple logo

Amazon and Apple’s meshy plan to connect every device

Here’s a shocker: Amazon and Apple are plotting

The Washington Post recently showcased Apple and Amazon’s quiet construction of 2 large-scale wireless networks. The kicker? These networks work independent of WiFi and cell towers. Instead, they use consumer products like Echo speakers and iPhones.

The 2 networks, Apple’s Find My and Amazon Sidewalk, create a “mesh network” where nodes (devices) send small bits of information to each other.

Start with Apple’s Find My network…

Here’s how it works:

  1. Opted-in Apple devices pulse encrypted, low energy Bluetooth signals.
  2. Nearby devices pick up those signals and pass them down the line to a networked device.

The signals only go one-way and use 1/100th of the energy of a cell transmission. It’s the network AirTags rely on to locate lost tags (with disturbing accuracy).

Amazon Sidewalk > Find My

Sidewalk uses the same Bluetooth magic as Find My, but the devices aren’t iPhones in pockets; they’re stationary Ring cameras, lights, and Echo speakers.

A key difference between Sidewalk and Find My is that Sidewalk can handle two-way communication. But it’s not much — Amazon caps the amount of data it will send via Sidewalk at 500MBs per month.

Why do it?

The 2 networks do not communicate with one another, but both are moves by 2 (mostly) popular companies to use their appeal to build massive mesh networks.

The value of massive mesh networks is up for debate, but it lays the foundation for capable internet-connected ecosystems — think Amazon package trackers that talk to Ring cameras on their way to your doorstep.

Both Big Tech frenemies have been building these networks for some time. Apple’s Find My network was first released in 2011; Amazon says the Sidewalk network is compatible with Echo devices dating back to 2018…

… which gets you wondering, what are they packing into products today  that we’ve yet to find out about?

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Health tech
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Do you still gain weight if you don’t look? (Source: BSIP / Getty Images)

The diet industry is seeing big gains during COVID

Feel like WFH is making you pack on the pounds? You’re not alone.

A recent study found that people under quarantine gained over ½ a pound every 10 days, per The New York Times.

The extra weight is a major boon for the $61B diet industry

And the evidence is in the numbers:

  • Noom, a startup that offers customized health plans, was downloaded ~4m times in the past year and ranked at the top of the health and fitness category.
  • WW International (AKA Weight Watchers), the well-known dieting brand, now has 4.2m digital subs (+16% YoY).
  • Medifast, a company that sells coaching and meal replacement services, says sales will top $1.4B this year (+2x from 2019).

The high demand for Medifast food items (like the Optavia Sweet Blueberry Biscuits) has caused an eruption of bidding wars on eBay.

The word ‘diet’ is on its way out

Many brands are pivoting from “diet” to “health” and “wellness” — words that appeal to a broader market.

The big elephant in the room, though, is whether these diet health and wellness programs are effective in the long term, or just temporary solutions.

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Podcast

Only 2 out of 5 startups are profitable. Here’s how to be one of ‘em.

You read that correctly, Susan. Three out of 5 new businesses don’t make a dime. What’s more, only ~80% make it to their 2nd year (per Small Business Trends).

So how do you navigate the perilous waters of marketing your brand, hiring the right team, financing your growth, reacting to the market… Need I go on?

The HubSpot Podcast Network is a brand-new audio destination that brings together best-in-class business shows to educate and inspire — all in one place.

No matter your role or goal, there’s something for you in these pods:

  • Being Boss: A founder of 15 years spittin’ growth with other founders
  • Business Infrastructure: Structure and scale sustainably
  • Entrepreneurs on Fire: Inspiration and strategies for your entrepreneurial journey
  • MarTech Podcast: Using tech to achieve marketing success
  • My First Million: For the rise-and-grinders out there
  • The Salesman Podcast: The world’s most downloaded B2B sales podcast

Inject some rocket fuel into your business. Give the HubSpot Podcast Network a go.

Listen. Learn. Grow. →
Creator Economy
throwing money

Figuratively Literally throwing money at the problem (Source: Scott Barbour / Getty Images)

The billion-dollar ‘creator fund’ wars, explained

More than ever, it feels like everyone will soon get paid to post on social media. (Some consider this “Heaven on Earth”; others, “Hell”.)

In the past year, social giants like Snap Inc. and TikTok have launched massive creator funds, aimed at incentivizing big-name social stars to stay on the platforms.

Now, YouTube is saying, “Hold my beer.”

This week, the company announced its YouTube Shorts Fund

That may sound like a nonprofit for khakis, but it’s actually a $100m incentive for creators to spend less time on TikTok and more time on YouTube’s TikTok clone.

YouTube is no rookie when it comes to building out creative platforms. In 2019, its creative ecosystem contributed:

  • ~$16B to the US GDP (equivalent of 345k full-time jobs)
  • ~$2B to the British GDP (30k jobs)
  • ~$622m to the French GDP (15k jobs)

Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok are also on the fund train

  • Snap divvies up a daily $1m pot to top creators and has minted multiple millionaires in the process
  • Instagram offered top TikTokers the big bucks to switch to its TikTok clone Reels
  • TikTok currently has a $200m Creator Fund for popular users

TikTok also plans to boost its fund to $1B+ in the US over the next 3 years and more than double that globally.

While everyone’s busy copying TikTok, the company is building a ‘LinkedIn for Gen Z’ video job platform and Instagram-like ecommerce features.

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Chart of the day
gas station gross margins

Gas station chips hit different (Source: WSJ)

US gas prices crept above $3 a gallon for the 1st time since 2014, largely thanks to the closure of the 5.5k-mile Colonial Pipeline.

Now, you may be thinking, ‘Arrrgh! Gas station owners are making a killing off of these price hikes!’

Here’s a fun fact: gas is actually the lowest grossing product stations sell. The real fat profit margins (50%+) come from the stuff inside the stores: hot drinks, prepared foods, candy, and groceries.

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