🖥️​​ Big Tech’s slowdown

The Hustle

What was the scariest Halloween costume this year? Jason? Freddy? Or maybe the 600+ cancelled American Airlines flights on Sunday, equal to 12% of total operations?

Today’s rundown:

  • Skimpflation: To deal with rising costs, companies are “skimping” on services.
  • Big Tech blues: Supply chain and ad issues are slowing down Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, and — get used to this — Meta.
  • Digits: Font-opolies, windowless dorms, and more.
  • Around the web: 14 appliances play the Ghostbusters theme, how to recover lost files, and more.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
stacking coins

Inflation just reached a 30-year high, and might be even higher thanks to ‘skimpflation’

There are a few ways to spot inflation, including:

  • Classic inflation: when the price of stuff goes up (e.g., when your favorite item moves off the dollar menu)
  • Shrinkflation: when the price of stuff stays the same, but the amount you get goes down (e.g., the ever-growing amount of air in a bag of potato chips)

It’s time to add another to the list. Coined by NPR’s Greg Rosalsky, “skimpflation” is when, “instead of simply raising prices, companies skimp on the goods and services they provide.”

Skimpflation is everywhere

If you’ve noticed the drive-thru taking longer than usual lately, you aren’t alone. Other examples include:

  • Disney disabling its tram at Disneyland
  • Domino’s taking longer to deliver pizzas
  • Airlines leaving customers on hold for longer than usual

In many cases, the skimping isn’t deliberate — some businesses are facing a perfect storm of challenges right now, including:

  • Complications stemming from COVID-19
  • Supply chain issues increasing the costs of goods
  • Labor shortages leaving businesses short-staffed

Shifting services from human to digital can lead to skimping as well

In his newsletter, Kneeling Bus, Drew Austin described a recent trip to CVS, where he noticed the following cycle:

  1. Most items are locked in cases to avoid theft
  2. The rise of self-checkout means fewer employees work at a time
  3. Finding someone to unlock the case can make the trip take 3x as long

Austin sees one road that this all leads to: Amazon Prime.

Have you noticed skimping lately? Tell us about it here.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website

Going digital: A Coresight Research study reported ~20% of shoppers expect to shift some or all of their holiday shopping from stores to online. #ecommerce-retail

Green ads: Publishers like Bloomberg, The Economist, and Financial Times are seeing spikes in advertiser interest in sustainability coverage. #clean-energy

TipTok: TikTok introduced a tipping feature for creators with 100k+ followers. TikTok will not be taking a cut, with all money going to creators. #emerging-tech

DeFi dangers: Hackers stole $130m from Cream Finance, a DeFi platform that enables crypto loans and price speculation. #privacy

Blockchain billions: Alchemy, a firm that wants to be the AWS of crypto, raised $250m at a $3.5B valuation. #fintech-crypto

Moderation play: Microsoft acquired Two Hat, a content moderation platform, to help clean up Xbox communities. #big-tech

Big Tech Blues
Mark Zuckerberg

That moment you realize you re-named your company “Meta” (Source: Bloomberg / David Paul Morris / Getty Images)

Here’s why Big Tech is slowing down

“Big Tech” is most commonly understood to include Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Microsoft, and Meta (or the artist formerly known as Facebook).

Before the pandemic, these firms accounted for 17.5% of the S&P 500 stock index. Per The Economist, these companies have since grown their share…

… to ~22% of the S&P 500

Regulators across the world are trying to rein in Big Tech’s power. But in the near term, supply chain crunches have stopped them in their tracks:

  • Apple saw sales growth in its latest quarter but CEO Tim Cook said semiconductor chip shortages cost $6B in lost iPhone, iPad, and Mac sales
  • Amazon missed sales estimates and reported that in Q4 (the holiday season) it will spend billions of dollars to address labor, shipping, and logistics challenges

For what it’s worth, Apple’s services business and Amazon’s cloud operation are both exhibiting strong growth, and supply chain issues should resolve next year.

What about the rest of Big Tech?

  • Facebook Meta notes that Apple’s new privacy policy will hurt its ad business in Q4
  • Alphabet mostly weathered the Apple privacy changes but said that revenue growth is expected to slow in 2022

The only clear winner among the Big Tech bunch is Microsoft, which is largely unaffected by supply chain and advertising issues.

In a series of recent milestones, Microsoft posted its first $20B+ quarterly profit and passed Apple to become the world’s most valuable firm Friday, worth $2.49T.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
Free Resource

‘What’s the last ad you remember?’

Putting money on it was funny.

The HubSpot Blog conducted a survey of nearly 300 US consumers, asking them to recall a recent ad and what made it so memorable.

The last ad people got stuck on:

  • 35% remembered a funny ad
  • 18% recalled one for helpful information
  • 9% said the ad sparked happiness
  • 7% said the product or service seemed valuable

Also — celebrity promotions are wildly overrated. So spend that elsewhere.

Extensive research suggests humor (done well) often works best. This blog post shares new data on what makes ads stick.

Read about what helps people feel… more.

Craft catchier ads →

Source: MSCHF

By the numbers: Phony Warhol drawings, font-opolies, windowless dorms, and more

1) Call it a font-opoly. The world’s largest font seller, Monotype, recently bought Hoefler&Co, makers of Gotham (the font). Monotype now owns 30k+ fonts, including heavy-hitters Helvetica, Times New Roman, and Arial.

2) Viral art collective MSCHF’s latest project involved buying a 1954 Andy Warhol drawing for $20k, making 999 copies, then selling them all — including the original — for $250 a piece. By that math, they made ~$230k in profit.

3) Battle of the bots: holiday edition. Akamai, a software firm that helps online retailers fight off buying-bots, found bot use in India is up 55% in the weeks before Diwali. (Cue American retailers gulping as Black Friday and Christmas close in.)

4) At the time of writing this, Roblox, used by 40m+ people daily, has been down for 2+ days (hopefully it’s back up by now). Some thought the massive glitch had to do with Chipotle giving away $1m worth of burritos on the platform. Turns out this wasn’t the case.

5) An architect working on a massive 1.68m-square-foot dorm for 4.5k students at UC Santa Barbara resigned after the sponsor of the $200m project — billionaire Charles Munger — insisted on a design that would mean 94% of the occupants would have no windows.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website

🎨 On this day: In 1512, Rome’s breathtaking Sistine Chapel opened to the public, its ceiling painted by Michelangelo. The frescoes took the artist years to complete.

👻 Wow: We hope you had a happy Halloween — at least as happy as these 14 devices, including an iron and a toothbrush, playing the Ghostbusters theme.

That’s interesting: Over the summer, a robot found 3 19th-century shipwrecks in Lake Superior. Researchers say the underwater vessels appear frozen in time.

🍏 Wait, what: A company is raising funds on Kickstarter for its 2nd line of pillows shaped like Apple products. Yes, it’s the 2nd line.

📄 How to: Who hasn’t accidentally deleted a file or paragraph? Here’s how to get it back.

🌬️ That’s cool: We’ve seen stand-alone wind turbines, but check out this Wind Turbine Wall. Its spinning blades are kind of relaxing to look at.

Pic of the day
Toblerone bar

(Source: Reddit)

Chocolate brand Toblerone had a shocking case of shrinkflation back in 2019. The packaging for its triangle-shaped treat stayed the same but the gap between each piece was noticeably larger (AKA much less chocolate) due to rising input costs (AKA chocolate).

The Hustle Recommends


I normally don’t dig sci-fi, but give me a killer cast, a Hanz Zimmer score, and one of the best-looking films of all time, and I’ll be happy. Every frame is an epic work of art and scale. See it on the big screen if you can.

— Jacob

How did you like today’s email?

Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox​

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less​


How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

[email-submission-form button-text="Join Free" include-trends-opt-in="true" success-url="https://thehustle.co/signup" default-source="thehustleco" default-medium="home-exit-popup" default-campaign="home-page"]
<script type="text/javascript"> var onloadCallback = function() { grecaptcha.render('verify-your-humanity', { 'sitekey' : '6LdddrcZAAAAALyttpvOqiwQGwq5BNhgDz4tMQGE' }); }; function getCookieValue(a) { var b = document.cookie.match('(^|[^;]+)\\s*' + a + '\\s*=\\s*([^;]+)'); return b ? atob(decodeURIComponent(b.pop())) : ''; } function getCookie(name) { var cookieArr = document.cookie.split(";"); for(var i = 0; i < cookieArr.length; i++) { var cookiePair = cookieArr[i].split("="); if(name == cookiePair[0].trim()) { return decodeURIComponent(cookiePair[1]); } } return null; } function setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, cookieName, defaultValue) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; var existingVal = el.getAttribute('value'); if (utmName == 'ref') { var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName) || getCookie(cookieName); } else { var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName) || getCookieValue(cookieName); } if ((existingVal == null || existingVal == '' || existingVal == defaultValue) && (newVal != null && newVal != '')) { el.setAttribute('value', newVal); } } function setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm( wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, defaultValue ) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; if (el != null) { var existingVal = el.getAttribute("value"); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName); if (newVal != null && newVal != "") { el.setAttribute("value", newVal); } } } function initForm() { var wrappingDivs = document.getElementsByClassName('email-submission'); wrappingDivs.forEach(wrappingDiv => { var sp = new URLSearchParams(window.location.search); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-source', 'utm_source', 'funnel_source', 'thehustleco'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-campaign', 'utm_campaign', 'funnel_campaign', 'home-page'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-medium', 'utm_medium', 'funnel_medium', 'home-exit-popup'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-referral', 'ref', 'funnel_referral', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-a', 'a', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-c', 'c', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-o', 'o', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-oc', 'oc', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-e', 'e', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-f', 'f', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-r', 'r', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-t', 't', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s1', 's1', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s2', 's2', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s3', 's3', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s4', 's4', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s5', 's5', ''); var error_message = getCookieValue('funnel_error_message'); if (error_message && error_message.trim() != '') { var error = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('funnel-error')[0]; var prev_email = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); error_message = prev_email + " is not valid. Please try again"; error.innerHTML = error_message; error.style = ''; } }); if (false) { initCaptchaFormV2(); } } function initCaptchaFormV2() { var v3RecaptchaResponseEl = document.getElementById('recaptcha-response-v3'); v3RecaptchaResponseEl.parentNode.removeChild(v3RecaptchaResponseEl); var wrappingDiv = document.getElementById('email-submission'); var subForm = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('email-submission')[0]; var captchaVersion = document.createElement('input'); captchaVersion.class = 'g-recaptcha hidden-input'; captchaVersion.type = 'hidden'; captchaVersion.name = 'g-recaptcha-response-v2'; captchaVersion.value = 'true'; subForm.appendChild(captchaVersion); var captchaEl = document.createElement('div'); captchaEl.id = 'verify-your-humanity'; subForm.appendChild(captchaEl); var captchaApiScriptEl = document.createElement('script'); captchaApiScriptEl.src = 'https://www.recaptcha.net/recaptcha/api.js?onload=onloadCallback&render=explicit'; captchaApiScriptEl.async = true; captchaApiScriptEl.defer = true; document.head.appendChild(captchaApiScriptEl); } function appendCheckboxes() { var optInDivs = document.querySelectorAll('.trends-opt-in'); optInDivs.forEach(el => { if (el.getElementsByClassName('trends-opt-in-checkbox').length < 1) { var checkbox = document.createElement('input'); checkbox.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('type', 'checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('name', 'trends_opt_in'); var label = document.createElement('label'); label.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-text'); label.textContent = "Yes, I'd like to receive updates on market opportunities before they explode from Trends by The Hustle"; el.appendChild(checkbox); el.appendChild(label); checkbox.click(); } }) } window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', (event) => { var funnel_email_cookie = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); if ( (false) && (funnel_email_cookie != null && funnel_email_cookie != '') ) { window.location.replace('/home'); } initForm(); if (true) { appendCheckboxes(); } }); </script> <div class="email-signup" id=email-submission> <div class="funnel-error" style="display:none;"></div> <form class="email-submission" action="https://cms.thehustle.co/api/v1/contacts/wordpress_create" method="post" autocomplete="email"> <div class="email-form-wrap"> <input class="funnel-source hidden-input" type="hidden" name="source" value="thehustleco"> <input class="funnel-campaign hidden-input" type="hidden" name="campaign" value="home-page"> <input class="funnel-medium hidden-input" type="hidden" name="medium" value="home-exit-popup"> <input class="funnel-referral hidden-input" type="hidden" name="referral_code"> <input class="funnel-fail-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="fail_url" value=""> <input class="funnel-a hidden-input" type="hidden" name="a" value=""> <input class="funnel-c hidden-input" type="hidden" name="c" value=""> <input class="funnel-o hidden-input" type="hidden" name="o" value=""> <input class="funnel-oc hidden-input" type="hidden" name="oc" value=""> <input class="funnel-e hidden-input" type="hidden" name="e" value=""> <input class="funnel-f hidden-input" type="hidden" name="f" value=""> <input class="funnel-r hidden-input" type="hidden" name="r" value=""> <input class="funnel-t hidden-input" type="hidden" name="t" value=""> <input class="funnel-s1 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s1" value=""> <input class="funnel-s2 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s2" value=""> <input class="funnel-s3 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s3" value=""> <input class="funnel-s4 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s4" value=""> <input class="funnel-s5 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s5" value=""> <input class="funnel-success-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="success_url" value="https://thehustle.co/signup"> <input id="recaptcha-response-v3" class="g-recaptcha hidden-input" type="hidden" name="g-recaptcha-response" value=""> <input class="signup-email" type="email" name="email" placeholder="Your email address" required autocomplete="email"> <input class="email-submit" type="submit" value="Join Free"> </div> <div class="trends-opt-in"></div> <div submit-success> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--success">Thank you for subscribing.</p> </template> </div> <div submit-error> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--failed">Your submission failed. Please try again!</p> </template> </div> </form> </div>