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The Hustle

Good morning! What’s that smell? Is that… maple-flavored Spam? Unfortunately, yes. Hormel Foods added maple to the tinned meat’s flavor lineup, now up to 11 varieties to which we’re gonna say “no, thanks” — but hey, if that’s your thing, good for you.

In today’s email:

  • Flee market: When will the M&A and IPO cooldown end?
  • The internet’s weird: But these toilet-heads take it to a new level.
  • X’s not-so-bright idea: Light pollution is a real problem.
  • Around the Web: Silent props, a relaxing game, a wild copywriting scam, and more.

👇 Listen: Why M&A has gone MIA, and how it can get back on track.

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The Big Idea

Brrring back the deals: Will the IPO and M&A markets warm up again?

Remember the good old days, when you’d race to invest in a hot startup that just went public at an enormous valuation, then watch your money vanish within months?

OK, so that was two years ago and it was not particularly good.

Well, times have changed — as have interest rates — and US companies raised only $9.1B through IPOs this year compared to the usual ~$27B, as investors scrutinize profitability.

M&A? More like MIA

It’s not just IPOs. Globally, between higher rates, geopolitical issues, and recessionary concerns, deal volume for mergers and acquisitions dropped 40% YoY to $1.03T so far, down from 2021’s $3.83T record, according to Bloomberg.

What’s more? M&A volume in unicornland is on track for its slowest year since 2013, per Crunchbase, with just 429 venture-backed US startups making M&A exits in the first half of the year, down from 1.7k in 2021 and 1.1k last year.

There are bright spots

For instance, Savvy Gaming Group is acquiring gaming company Scopely for $4.9B, T-Mobile is buying Mint Mobile for $1.4B, and Databricks bagged MosaicML for $1.3B, to name a few.

The stock market, spurred by easing inflation, is also on a hot streak, warming up the bread maker for expected IPOs from companies like Arm, Klaviyo, Turo, Birkenstock, and Instacart.

But let’s not get greedy, people

What we don’t want to see is another meme-stock situation the second the gates open up.

Perhaps we have not yet learned our lessons there: The Solactive Roundhill Meme Stock Index is up 67% this year. and retail traders’ bullish sentiment is its highest since 2021.

So whaddya say we keep up the good work on bringing IPOs and M&As back to life, but not mess things up again in the process?

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eyeball wearing a hat

Another week, another $1B+ lottery drawing. Just one week after someone nabbed a $1.08B Powerball win, tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot sits at $1.05B. If you don’t hear from us tomorrow, please know we elected for the lump sum of $527.9m.


TodAI in AI: Even “Dungeons & Dragons” isn’t immune to the AI revolution, as the game’s publisher, Hasbro, inked a partnership that could add “powerful AI-driven game mechanics” to future D&D sessions — if you so choose.

Jeepers: A scary slide for Jeep just isn’t stopping — the car brand has now seen eight straight quarters of falling sales. Five years ago, Jeep was sixth among US auto sales; now it’s in ninth place.

Trucking company Yellow Corp. shut down after 99 years, affecting 30k workers. It received a $700m loan from the federal government in 2020, but owed $700m+ in its last quarterly report.

“Crypto rapper” Heather Morgan and husband Ilya Lichtenstein are expected to plead guilty to laundering stolen bitcoin on Aug. 3. They each face 25 years in prison.

Finally: Apple’s iPhone 15 will reportedly feature USB-C charging. The EU forced Apple’s hand, ruling all tablets and phones must be USB-C compatible by 2024 to reduce e-waste.

Bummer: A new LendingClub report found ~61% of Americans say they’re living paycheck to paycheck. That’s the same number as last year, despite cooling inflation.

Nestle will invest ~$3.5B over the next three years to expand its pet nutrition operation, and you really can’t fault their logic — led by the Purina and Friskies brands, it’s the company’s fastest-growing segment.

Get shit done: Take this three-part project management template to target, tackle, and critique every action item on your list.


Some investors like to keep their money where they can see it: in the wine cellar. One firm is trying to make alternative investing easier — and tipsier — through wine and whiskey bottles.

Flush with money
head in a toilet

The internet, capital of nonsense, is somehow getting weirder

Fifteen years ago, I remember watching the uber-viral Charlie the Unicorn. Another thing I remember: my friends’ common response to Charlie’s nightmarish trip to Candy Mountain — “LOL so random.”

The internet’s collective sense of humor has long followed that “LOL so random” vibe.

  • It kinda had to; how else can you make something memorable when TikTok adds ~34m videos, YouTube adds 700k+ hours of video, and Instagram adds 1.3B images every day?

“WTF?” moments have been central to online life for decades now — yet we’ve never seen anything like today’s creators.

Weird is the new mainstream…

… and it’s being taken to new, lucrative extremes.

Skibidi Toilet, an animated series launched on YouTube earlier this year by user DaFuq!?Boom!, started with an 11-second video of a head popping out of a toilet and singing.

More head-scratching videos followed, in which toilets with heads protruding from their bowls seek world domination.

  • How big is this thing? Hold on to your toilets, people — DaFuq!?Boom! videos have racked up 8.7B+ views on YouTube alone. Its subscriber count? 22m+. (For context, that outduels the NBA, Harry Styles, and every single traditional media outlet.)
  • Where does this go? The cash-in extensions have already started — a “Toilets Attack” mobile game reached 1m+ downloads on Google Play in its first month, and a PC game releases soon.

The oddball channel isn’t some one-off thing…

… we warned you: It’s an all-new era of internet weirdness.

Look at NPC streaming, another viral trend with livestreamers speaking in non-sequiturs, discomfitingly staring and thrashing about, and doing things like popping individual popcorn kernels with a straightening iron.

Oh, and making $7k+ per day doing it.

“LOL so random” indeed.

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Watch Now

Inside Tabitha Brown’s lifestyle empire

She’s a mega-celebrity. And an Emmy-nominated actress. Who fans fondly call Mom (or “Vegan Mom,” if it fits).

Fashionista, food influencer, film star, Target partner… Tabitha Brown’s done it all, and often in front of 9m+ TikTok and Instagram followers.

But you, our budding young star, can get the inside track on those millions of followers and plug into her growth-driven mindset simply by watching this video.

YouTube teacher Tory tells Tabitha Brown’s story and what you can learn from it.

Tabitha Brown branding breakdown →
Twinkle Twinkle Giant X
satellite map of light pollution

Even without that giant ‘X’, there’s still a lot of light pollution

Imagine you’re chilling in your apartment at night, trying to watch a movie, when the fire of a thousand suns comes streaming through your window.

That’s apparently what happened to one San Francisco man when X — formerly Twitter — put a strobing “X” sign on its HQ last week. (TBF, the man said he didn’t know how to describe the brightness, so we went with the sun thing on his behalf.)

A city inspector — who was denied access to the building — was told it was a temporary sign “for an event,” per NPR. Still, you do need a permit for that sorta thing. Not to mention…

Light pollution

… is defined as the the excessive or inappropriate brightening of the night sky and includes:

  • Glare (brightness that causes discomfort)
  • Skyglow (brightening over uninhabited areas)
  • Light trespass (light where it isn’t needed)
  • Clutter (confusing groupings of light)

It disrupts human sleep patterns and confuses animals, causing sea turtle hatchlings to wander into cities instead of the sea or birds to migrate at the wrong time.

It’s also gotten worse over the years…

…  thanks to controversial digital billboards and other modern tech.

Astronomers — who hate light pollution because it makes seeing constellations difficult — voiced concerns (and doubted the necessity) of a 500-drone light show in NYC celebrating “Candy Crush.”

BTW: Space billboards are apparently a potential thing. They’d appear as pixelated images in the sky, potentially earning companies up to ~$5m annually per billboard, per Insider. And guess who wants to launch space ad satellites? The same dude who put that “X” up in San Francisco.

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🕯️ On this day: In 1774, scientist Joseph Priestly discovered oxygen after heating red mercuric oxide, which produced a colorless gas in which a candle could burn.

🔮 That’s interesting: How Montreal copywriter Patrice Runner — currently in prison awaiting trial — scammed $200m by writing letters as psychic Maria Duval.

🧠 Cure boredom: Blocks is a relaxing puzzle game with chill music.

🤫 That’s cool: How silent props are made for use in movies and TV shows.

🐍 Aww: The tiniest snake.

late to a meeting tweet

Why do you look so annoyed? You should be impressed. (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett Rylah.
Editing by: Ben “Let there be less light” Berkley.

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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?