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The Hustle

An Australian woman survived two bites from a blue-ringed octopus — one of Earth’s most venomous creatures, with toxins 1k+ times more powerful than cyanide. So at least your morning didn’t have that going on?

In today’s email:

  • Baseball’s back in business: It’s a real full count for MLB owners.
  • Ahoy, revenue: A video about the economics of cruise ships.
  • Walmart: The chain’s push for any commute but single-car driving.
  • Around the Web: A cool newsletter, “scary” productivity, name that thing, and more.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss baseball’s mounds of cash, Walmart’s new commute, the metaverse’s “meh” phase, WiFi on the moon, and more.

The big idea
MLB jerseys

Baseball looks a little uglier but business is booming

“This is our year” will be uttered by fans of all 30 Major League Baseball teams today as a new season starts — by fall, 29 of those fan bases will discover they were terribly, terribly wrong.

But those fans will have forked over a lot of money along the way.

MLB set a $10.8B+ revenue record last season and franchise values are soaring (the average team is worth $2.31B, per Sportico).

Putting up big stats

Since Houston hoisted the trophy last November, teams have signed players to a combined $3.79B in contracts, per Spotrac. Why the confident spending?

  • Streaming pays off: Early streaming tech developed by MLB sold to Disney for $3.48B, per Forbes. The deal’s final $900m came through this offseason.
  • Seats at a premium: A night at the ballpark — tickets, parking, souvenirs, drinks, and hot dogs for four — now costs an average of $256/game, per Axios. Plus, MLB will make $400m+ through a newly inked ticketing partnership with SeatGeek.
  • More money up their sleeves: … Well, on their sleeves. Teams can now sell (grotesque) ad space on their uniforms. Deals for the (atrocious) sponsored patches range from $5m to $17m per year.

Not all fun and ballgames

America’s pastime remains a lucrative business, but MLB has lost its throne to the NFL (and its ~$19B in revenue). And there are plenty of other threats to baseball’s finances:

  • Attendance has dropped for nine straight seasons (excluding 2020). To bring live audiences back, MLB is debuting three new rules this season to make games faster and more action-packed — and they hired Nike’s famed ad firm Wieden+Kennedy to tell the story.
  • Diamond Sports Group, broadcasting partner for 14 MLB teams, filed for bankruptcy this month. Diamond’s uncertainty looms large — regional TV deals comprise ~20% of teams’ revenue, per ESPN.

Oh, and have we mentioned yet how ugly those jersey patches are?

View on site
eyeball wearing a hat

Mathematicians cracked a previously theoretical 13-sided configuration known as “the hat.” The shape is an aperiodic monotile, meaning it can tile a surface without the pattern ever repeating… which is as far as we got before our minds turned solely to the infinite funky kitchen backsplashes it could create.


Gen Z’s printing press? Goldman Sachs estimates generative AI systems could eventually raise global GDP by 7%… and put 300m full-time jobs on a — *gulp* — crash course with automation.

Meanwhile… Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and other tech leaders and AI researchers signed an open letter calling for a momentary pause in the development of increasingly powerful AI models.

Americano mano a mano: Sen. Bernie Sanders faced off with Starbucks exec Howard Schultz over the chain’s anti-unionization efforts, which Sanders called “the most aggressive and illegal union-busting campaign in the modern history of our country.” Schultz repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

A cry for help: Little Caesars must be going through something, because it relaunched its Pretzel Crust Pizza in the US this week. Originally a limited promo in 2014, it can be ordered with a cheese-stuffed crust — and OK, now we feel it, too. Everything inside feels… empty.

Crater economy: Nokia intends to install 4G internet on the moon later this year. The lunar network would support future exploration, aiding astronaut comms and offering faster data transmissions. Also, not “it” for resetting the router.

Listen up: No, literally, listen to this. Wikipedia parent Wikimedia has a new sonic logo representing “the sound of all human knowledge.”

Don’t taste the rainbow? A California bill could ban foods containing red dye No. 3 over potential health concerns. It’s used in ~3k products, including cake mixes, protein shakes, and Skittles.

More lawsuits: The state of Arkansas joined the school boards and counties suing social media companies, alleging they pose a mental health risk to younger users. (Previous coverage here.)

Drug deal: Amazon Pharmacy will automatically apply manufacturer discounts to eligible patients’ orders. A recent study found people use available coupons just 15% of the time.

Plane awful: Flyer complaints soared last year — up ~4x compared to pre-pandemic levels. The US Department of Transportation received 60k+ complaints (which couldn’t all have been hacky standup comedians talking about airline food).

Cool. Thanks, friends. The egg shortage that’s had consumers paying 70% more YoY wasn’t bad for everyone — last quarter’s profits were up 718% YoY for Cal-Maine Foods, America’s largest egg producer.


Need more help at work? You have two options: hire or outsource. Hiring is a huge commitment that requires lots of capital — and that’s where outsourcing comes in. Here’s how it works.

economics of cruise ships

Watch: The economics of cruise ships

Ahoy there, matey! Did ye know that major cruise lines be rakin’ in more booty than Blackbeard himself?

Alright, enough of that.

In 2020, we estimated the average cruise ship made $291 in profit per passenger, per cruise.

Major cruise lines pocket a substantial sum of their revenue thanks to tax exemptions outlined in the US tax code. By registering ships elsewhere and flying foreign flags, industry critics argue that cruise lines are able to avoid paying millions in US corporate taxes.

But how is this loophole possible? It’s like they’re sailin’ the seven seas with a secret map to buried treasure, all while the rest of us landlubbers are left high and dry. Arrr!

Ok, seriously, we’re done.

Watch the video breakdown →
Free Resource

The future of AI in video marketing

It’s getting smarter. It’s getting spooky.

But there’s always a sunny side. Though AI tech threatens tons of industries, that’s exactly why people should learn how to use it.

Case in point: Wistia’s head of production Chris Lavigne already employs AI daily to write scripts, edit videos, and even star in them (peep his apple pie baking video).

If you’re online, it’s high time to get acquainted. Neat ways to streamline business ops are emerging from the woodwork, and we covered a handful on the HubSpot blog.

Work faster with AI →
Car-Free Commute

Walmart is rolling out a new commute

Remember learning to ride your bike in the school parking lot, or the humbling agony of a Razor scooter obliterating your ankle?

Same. But dust off your helmet and hike up your tube socks, because it might be time for a new set of wheels. Walmart Inc. created a position in 2022 called the “director of workplace mobility,” per Bloomberg, and it could hint at a broader corporate trend.

Kourtney Barrett, who was hired for the role, is charged with:

  • Getting 10% of employees at the company’s Arkansas headquarters to commute to work by any means other than single-passenger driving by 2025.
  • Encouraging options like walking, biking, riding a scooter, carpooling, or taking public transportation.

To hit the 10% goal, employees must use alternative modes of transportation 2x-3x per week for a year. Currently, less than 1% of the Arkansas workforce meets that standard, so Barrett has her work cut out for her.

Riding into the future

Walmart introduced the 10% goal not only to cut carbon emissions, but also to help employees lead healthier lives and decrease local traffic congestion.

And it’s blazing a trail that other corporations will likely follow. Per a report from the IBM Institute of Business Value:

  • Seven in 10 workers say they’re more likely to stay with an employer that has a good reputation for sustainability.
  • Three in 4 say they expect their employer to take action on social responsibility issues.

Could handlebar tassels be the next big office merch category? Here’s hopin’.

View on site

💰 On this day: In 1984, a police officer offered his server at a pizzeria half the earnings from a lottery ticket as a tip. It was a winner, worth $6m.

📩 That’s cool: Want to stay sharp on trends that drive the future? Here’s how.

😱 How to: Use “scary hour” as a productivity hack.

🧐 Cure boredom: Can you “Name That Thing”?

🦦 Aww: And now, hand-to-hand cuddles.

retirement meme

[Opens retirement calculator, closes computer, stares at blank wall for hours.] (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett RylahSara Friedman, .
Editing by: Ben “This is (probably not) the Diamondbacks’ year” Berkley.

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