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🛻 Rivian’s IPO, explained

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YouTube said it’ll start hiding the number of dislikes on videos to help protect lesser-known creators from “dislike attacks.” We think it might also have to do with the fact that the most disliked video on YouTube — with 19m dislikes — happens to be a video made by YouTube.

Today’s rundown:

  • Rivian: How the EV-maker used its IPO to reward customers.
  • Take a break: Instagram’s (weak) attempt at curbing addiction.
  • Build-A-Bear: Can the workshop thrive online?
  • Around the web: AI-generated shoes, a video-tour of the international space station, and more internet things.

Let’s do it.

The Big Idea
Rivian car

How Rivian customers score on its IPO

Buying a new car used to come with awesome perks like the vehicle losing 20% of its value as soon as it left the lot.

Electric truck maker Rivian gave its customers a much cooler perk: shares for one of the hottest IPOs of the year.

Rivian went public on Wednesday…

…and the company reserved 7% of the IPO allocation for customers that put in preorders for its trucks and SUVs.

These individuals were allocated a max of 175 shares, which totaled $13,650 at the $78 IPO price, per CNBC.

Anyone that took the offer notched an easy 29% gain on its first trading day.

And another 20%+ on the 2nd day

Rivian — which many believe is the next Tesla — is now at $123 a share (and worth $120B), which is more than some no-name car manufacturers like Ford ($78B) and GM ($89B).

Don’t cry for Ford, though: It has a 12% stake in Rivian worth ~$14B (second to Amazon, with a 20% stake worth ~$24B).

Rivian isn’t the only startup to reward its stakeholders at IPO:

  • Airbnb offered 7% of its IPO to hosts
  • Lyft and Uber set aside IPO allocations and bonuses for eligible drivers
  • Doximity — a Linkedin for physicians — set aside 15% of its IPO for doctors on the platform

There is one big difference

Unlike these other examples, Rivian doesn’t have actual customers.

It does have a 55k+ vehicle order backlog and projects Q3 revenue between $0 (yes, zero) and $1m. The biggest upside for Rivian is Amazon’s commitment to buy 100k of its vans by 2030.

In the near term, customers who bought Rivian’s pre-IPO shares probably aren’t complaining. Also, you can’t “lose 20% driving off the lot” if there’s no car!

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The New York Times examines why the internet is turning into a modern-day QVC. And it has a lot to do with how people already shop online in China. #ecommerce-retail

The biggest US solar farm will be the 13k-acre Mammoth Solar project in Indiana. If all goes as planned, it’ll be operational by 2024. #clean-energy

Incoming: Drone startup Zipline wants to deliver prescription meds to patients in Salt Lake City. If the FAA approves, drones will drop the goods in yards and driveways. #emerging-tech

Nope: Researchers say 1k+ Android phones in South Korea were infected with PhoneSpy, a new spyware that secretly records video and audio while stealing files. #privacy

Whoa: Indian artist Amrit Pal Singh has made $1m+ on 57 NFTs since he minted his 1st artwork in February. #fintech-crypto

The federal government is suing Uber, saying its wait time fees discriminate against people with disabilities who need more time to get in a car. #big-tech

Now on MFM: Why everyone is wrong about the metaverse, companies that don’t advertise, and more. #mfm

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Instagram app

Source: Getty Images/NurPhoto

Instagram wants you to take a break, kinda

It was only a few years ago that Instagram was bragging about how much time users spend on the app. Now, it’s launching a feature to help users step away.

“Take a Break” lets users schedule in-app reminders that encourage a timeout after 10, 20, and 30 minutes of continuous use, per TechCrunch.

The announcement follows some serious bad press

Last month, leaked documents revealed Facebook knew Instagram had toxic effects on teenage girls, but downplayed the issue. Shortly after, it paused development on Instagram Kids, a childcentric version of the app.

Instagram isn’t the first social media platform to add features to curb addictive usage for kids:

  • TikTok inserts videos into users’ feeds encouraging a break when they’ve been scrolling for too long
  • Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, recently launched mandatory 5-second pauses between videos to curb addictive usage
  • YouTube has an entire app called YouTube Kids, where parents can set controls around screen time

Critics are skeptical Instagram actually cares

“Take a Break” is an opt-in feature, which means users have to manually set it up. Critics argue making it a default setting would prove Instagram is serious about curbing addictive behavior.

While the feature may not be perfect, we’ll know it’s working when Instagram brass starts bragging about how many users aren’t using the platform.

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Digital Teddies

Source: Getty Images/SOPA Images

Can Build-A-Bear replicate the experience online?

Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. — the chain that lets you customize your own stuffed animal — was founded in 1997, making it 4 years older than the “Fast and Furious” franchise. Today, the St. Louis-based company has 400+ stores worldwide and, in 2019, saw $338.5m in revenue.

Bear Builder 3D Workshop is its latest iteration

The experience starts with choosing from the available bear — or dog or bunny — models.

Next, customers drag fluffy clouds to their new friend until it is “pawfectly stuffed,” then add clothes, accessories, and sound effects. Finally, they fill out a certificate and give the toy a name.

But isn’t the charm the physical building of the bear?

For some, sure. But Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John said via a release that the company’s goal is to meet consumers where they are, which is increasingly online.

The online toy biz is worth $20.5B overall. During the pandemic, Build-A-Bear saw 20%+ online market growth during the pandemic, per Retail Dive. And that might be a lasting trend.

A 2019, pre-pandemic CivicScience study found that only ~41% of holiday shoppers planned to buy toys in physical stores, while a 2020 survey by the National Retail Federation found that 49% of K-12 parents plan to do back-to-school shopping online even after the pandemic.

Fun fact: Build-A-Bear once made a toy monkey with a mechanical heartbeat to help rear a baby De Brazza’s monkey whose mother was unable to care for it.

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😳 On this day: In 1970, officials in Florence, Oregon, decided to dispose of a beached whale carcass by blowing it up with dynamite. The ill-advised endeavor — and the accompanying KATU News broadcast — live on in infamy to this day.

That’s interesting: The Potentially Polluting Wrecks list contains 80+ shipwrecks that may be polluting nearby waters. It’s maintained by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

👨‍🚀 Wow: Go on a 4K video tour of the International Space Station with astronaut Thomas Pesquet. It’s in French, but you can turn on subtitles.

🤔 How to: If you find yourself overthinking a lot, the rule of reversible thinking could help.

🖨 Useful: Did you lose the manual to your printer or your blender? This site contains digital versions of 5m+ manuals.

👟 Haha: None of these shoes exist. Each one is generated by AI.


(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

🕗 To reinvent work, we have to destroy the clock

🧀 How delivery saved The Cheesecake Factory

🎃 The economics of pumpkin patches

🤑 How much money Apple makes every second, minute, hour, and day

Which cryptocurrencies reached a $1B market cap the fastest?

Shower Thoughts
  1. “There is a chance that someone you know will use your death as an excuse to get out of a social obligation they don’t want to go to.”
  2. “The trees cut down to make Jenga blocks are repeatedly forced to relive their own downfalls.”
  3. “We don’t know what time period ‘The Lion King’ is set in.”
  4. “As data showing the effects of sugar on the human body becomes more well known, future generations will look back with horror on our practice of sending children out to trick-or-treat.”
  5. “Stories usually put horns on evil or scary creatures, but in nature only herbivores have horns.”
via Reddit

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