Read to the end for an internet meme and to learn why we love blankets.
If you’re struggling with writer’s block, you may want to book a one-way ticket to Tokyo. There, at the Manuscript Writing Cafe, customers pay a $22 fine if they fail to hit their deadline before they leave.
In today’s email:
Cars: Why Big Tech wants in.
RIP: Farewell, Internet Explorer.
Morgan’s Musings: Why recessions are inevitable.
Around the web: Why we love blankets, timely tips for entrepreneurs, and more cool internet finds.
🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about why Big Tech is gushing over the automotive space — and what a world with autonomous cars may look like. Plus: A weird Gen Z study.
The big idea
Why Big Tech wants to be in your car so badly
Last week, Apple unveiled updates to its CarPlay software — available on 98% of new cars — that expand its reach to the furthest ends of a car’s instrument panel.
Amazon and Buick are streaming commercials showing a dad confusing his family’s car for an Alexa (which is built in). The YouTube comments are… harsh.
Google, too, is working on software — the Android Automotive operating system (AAOS) — which research firm Gartner predicts will power 70% of cars by 2028.
What’s the deal with these tech companies jumping in?
Consider this: The first time you’re driven by an autonomous car — something that could become normal in 20-30 years — you’re bewildered. The 10th time? Old news.
And, after the novelty wears off, you’ll check your phone and, who knows, eat a sandwich? Have sex in your automated car? Studies seem to think you will.
Mostly, of course, we’ll likely engage in the dynamic duo of human activity: work and TV! Unlocking this time will lead to enormous economic potential for tech companies and will most directly impact:
Productivity: Remote work is saving people nearly six hours per week in time spent not commuting. Thing is, people spend ~½ of that saved time doing more work.
Entertainment: People spend 24.5 hours a month on TikTok. Disney is spending $32B making content in 2022. Is there a better opportunity for watching even more content than in the car?
Are cars the next battleground for data?
Where Big Tech sees huge potential in being deeply embedded in the automotive experience, others see alarms going off.
In January, activists sent a letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Rep. David Cicilline, the FTC, and the DOJ highlighting concerns regarding Google monetizing “our behavior behind-the-wheel.”
In April, Rep. Jamie Raskin spearheaded a letter to the FTC and DOJ regarding antitrust concerns in this space.
Big Tech’s already conquered the home and office. It’s clear the car is likely next.
Rate hike: The Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points, the largest increase since 1994. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell hinted that a similar hike could be coming in July.
Work games: Microsoft is testing in-app games in Microsoft Teams, allowing workers to play Solitaire, Connect 4, and Wordament with each other during meetings.
Just for kicks: Apple signed a 10-year deal with MLS to stream all of the league’s games on Apple TV+. The deal is worth a reported $250m per season, and Apple plans to offer select games for free on the Apple TV app.
Free access: Adobe started testing a freemium Photoshop plan in Canada that lets users access the software for free online in an effort to gain exposure.
Housing halt: Redfin and Compass, two of the biggest players in property technology (AKA proptech), announced a combined ~920 layoffs amid dropping demand in the housing market due to increased mortgage rates.
Demand for carbon accounting and offset services is seeing record-high demand — especially since pending US legislation may require companies to report greenhouse gas emissions. Access our carbon research report.
Happy Nation, a Victoria’s Secret sub-brand, has a hub in Roblox where players can check out merch, visit a photo booth, and complete obstacle courses to receive a virtual tote bag. #ecommerce-retail
Game developer Krafton is making “virtual humans” — CGI actors that the company hopes will be almost indistinguishable from real people. It’s not clear where Krafton will use them, but possibly in its upcoming horror game, “The Callisto Protocol.” #emerging-tech
Not a fan: Bill Gates says crypto and NFTs are based on “greater fool theory” — the idea that you can make money buying an overvalued asset because someone will pay more for it later. #fintech-crypto
A new reportfound Tesla had the most driver-assist crashes — 273 between July 2021 and May 2022 — most likely because it sells more cars with that option. Meanwhile, Waymo had the most autonomous crashes within that period at 62. #big-tech
Internet Explorer is done exploring
Another staple of early-2000s tech has moved on to the great desktop in the sky.
Yesterday, Microsoft officially retired Internet Explorer after ~27 years.
… reached a peak of ~95% market share in 2003, and was once at the center of a federal antitrust case against Microsoft, but usage has plummeted since. A recent report shows Internet Explorer’s market share had fallen to 0.64% in May, compared to ~65% for Google Chrome.
It joins two other discontinued tech products that have made the news this year:
The iPod, which was officially discontinued on May 10
AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), which sunset in 2017, but enjoyed a retrospective in May on what would have been its 25th birthday
Combined, Internet Explorer, the iPod, and AIM made up the holy trinity of tech products for those of a certain age in the early 2000s…
… and their influence lives on
While tech’s evolution made each product obsolete on its own, each has influenced products we use on a daily basis.
Internet Explorer’s flaws led to better browsers, the iPod was integrated into the iPhone, and AIM clearly influenced social messaging.
The three also represent simpler times — an era before tech was ever-present and mobile notifications flooded our consciousness.
8 elevator pitch ideas that crush
Be honest. Is your elevator pitch corny?
Do you have an elevator pitch? Oh, Lord.
You never think you’ll need a tight script detailing your business and product offerings until you end up behind Justin Bieber at the airport. (Steph missed out on that one.)
As markets continue to wobble and more people discuss the possibility of heading into a recession, let me share a fundamental truth about money:
If markets never crashed, they wouldn’t be risky.
If they weren’t risky, they would get expensive.
When they’re expensive, they crash.
So markets will always crash, because if they didn’t, they would become more susceptible to crashing.
The same is true for recessions
When the economy is stable, people become optimistic.
When they get optimistic, they go into debt.
When they go into debt, the economy becomes unstable.
When it’s unstable, you eventually get a recession.
A lack of recessions plants the seeds of the next recession, which is why we can never get rid of them. In other words, stability is destabilizing — something economist Hyman Minsky figured out half a century ago.
It’s one of the most useful observations in investing because it explains why volatility is both inevitable and caused by people acting reasonably.
Here’s why this is important
If you view every debt-fueled recession, market crash, and asset bubble as an example of your fellow people acting crazy, you might become cynical, which makes it hard to be a long-term optimist, even when you should be.
If you view them as inevitable, you realize they’re just part of the ride and an occasional reminder that the fasten-your-seat belt sign should never be turned off.
None of this is fun, but virtually all of it is inevitable.
Try to enjoy the ride.
AROUND THE WEB
🎢 On this day: In 1884, the first roller coaster in the US opened at Coney Island in Brooklyn. It traveled at 6 mph and cost a nickel to ride.
🎧 Podcast: In a society where success is intertwined with individualism, Yvorn “Doc” Aswad provides an alternative perspective. Listen to “Success is Communal” on No Straight Path now.
🤓 Useful: VC firm Sequoia hosted a series of sessions to help its founders navigate current market conditions, then published them online for anyone to enjoy here.
🛌 That’s interesting: An investigation into why we love sleeping with a blanket, even when it’s hot.
🦊 Aww: And now, a Channel Island fox just chilling. These cuties live on six of the Channel Islands, located off the coast of California.