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Good job: Denmark, the world’s second-happiest nation, saw zero bank robberies in 2022 due to increased security and minimal cash use.

In today’s email:

  • No Canada: Why it’s preventing foreign homeownership.
  • Chart: The techies head to Las Vegas.
  • Lonely? There’s an app for that.
  • Around the web: An ocean of books, the LOL Verifier, how to become a morning person, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss Canada’s new housing law, what to expect at CES, Microsoft vs. Google, and more.

The big idea
house with Canadian flags

Why foreigners can’t buy Canadian homes

Canada has officially banned most foreigners from buying a home, and it all has to do with Canada’s wildly unaffordable housing market.

Housing prices were up 48% in 2022 compared to 2013, and now average ~$568k — over 11x the median household income after taxes, per the BBC.

The ban, aimed to prevent investors from snapping up properties and driving up prices, prohibits non-citizens and non-permanent residents from buying residential properties for two years. Violators face a $7.4k fine.

Exceptions include international students, refugees, and people buying vacation properties outside of urban areas.

Will that work?

Well, New Zealand enacted a similar ban in 2018, but inflation has led to a continued rise in prices.

In Canada, detractors argue that foreigners account for less than 5% of buyers, and the real issue is supply.

Parliament member Jenny Kwan told The New York Times that the government should target real estate investment trusts and for-profit real estate companies. And it has a bit, via anti-home-flipping and vacancy taxes.

Meanwhile, in the US…

… the fight rages against short-term rentals.

  • NYC’s new law, which requires hosts to prove they live at the property, could wipe ~25% of local Airbnb listings.
  • Philly hosts must now obtain a “limited lodging operator license,” which ensures units are up to code, and a hotel license if they don’t live on-site.

FWIW, research suggests short-term rentals do drive up housing costs, and experts have suggested these very methods as a possible solution, per MarketWatch.

For more: An interesting article about “supply skepticism,” the belief that we actually don’t need to build more homes.

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eyeball wearing a hat

At a press conference yesterday, Panasonic presented on everything from an EV battery factory it’s working on in Kansas to its modular nose hair trimmer that becomes a toothbrush.


Minimum wage got a bump in 23 states. Nebraska saw the largest hourly increase, from $9 to $10.50, while Washington, D.C. has the highest wage overall at $16.10.

Microsoft is reportedly integrating ChatGPT into its Bing search engine. It’s also getting its first US labor union, consisting of ~300 video game testers.

Broadway’s back: The Lion King grossed $4.3m across nine holiday performances at 99% capacity, its highest gross ever. (Check out our story on the economics of Broadway here.)

Vimeo is laying off 11% of its staff, just months after cutting 6% of its staff.

Coinbase will pay $50m to settle NY regulators’ claims that it allowed new accounts without appropriate background checks, and invest $50m to improve its compliance program.

General Motors reclaimed its throne from Toyota as the top US car seller in 2022, selling 2.27m vehicles, or 165.6k more than Toyota.

Rick Singer, the college admissions consultant who took $25m from clients and bribed coaches and administrators with $7m+, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Cool AF company: We all love food delivery, but the environment doesn’t. So German startup Vytal is reimagining takeout with custom reusable containers.

CES attendance over time
Olivia Heller

CES starts today. Here’s what to expect

It’s been a tough couple of years for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

After peaking at 180k+ attendees pre-pandemic, CES was forced online in 2021, and saw just a quarter of pre-pandemic attendance in 2022.

This year, the Las Vegas event hopes to attract 100k+ attendees, as well as 2.5k+ exhibitors from 166 countries, per Axios.

What should you expect?

Over the next few days, there’ll be literally thousands of announcements and product demos, including from automotive brands (which have 25% more floor space than last year), metaverse developers, robotics companies (throwback to Charmin’s Rollbot), smart home gadget makers, and more.

While the event officially starts today, we’ve already seen streaming platform Roku debut its own line of TVs, and learned of a $150m deal that will see Stellantis mass-produce Archer’s electric air taxis.

There’ll be a lot of meetings, too — on average, industry execs have 29 meetings while they’re at CES.

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Goodbye Loneliness
chairs arranged in a circle

Less cycle, more soul

SoulCycle — part-fitness class, part-cult — has long inspired spandex-clad attendees to chant affirmations over pumping music in a candlelit room.

Now, per Inc., founders Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler want to hone in on the high of that post-sweat camaraderie with their new venture, Peoplehood.

Centered around their newly coined concept of “relational fitness,” Peoplehood will:

  • Hold 60-minute sessions called “gathers,” led by instructors, AKA “guides.”
  • Offer a group conversation in which participants both speak and listen.

Attendees will learn to practice active listening: Verbal responses aren’t allowed in class, just physical gestures like a hand over the heart or finger snaps.

The business is currently in beta, opening online in January followed by in-person classes in New York City (and, if all goes well, countrywide).

What’s this all about?

We’re facing a loneliness epidemic exacerbated by covid and our digitized lifestyles. Plus, the decline of organized religion has left a void of communal gathering places.

Loneliness can have serious health implications, so startups are creating cures:

Once it heals you, Peoplehood is building products to fix your relationship (Couplehood) and your workplace (Peoplehood @Work) next. *Snaps.*

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📻 On this day: In 1980, the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” became the first hip-hop track to reach Billboard’s top 40.

🤣 That’s cool: Tech artist Brian Moore created the LOL Verifier, a small device that attaches to users’ computers and only lets them type “LOL” if they did, in fact, laugh out loud.

📚 Useful: The “Ocean of Books” helps you discover authors and news outlets similar to the ones you already enjoy.

☀️ How to: Become a morning person.

🦝 Aww: And now, raccoon snow day.

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The accuracy. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Sara Friedman, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Only the lonely” Dent.

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