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The Hustle

Scientists studying time dilation found that time flowed ~5x slower during the early days of our universe. So next time you’re beating yourself up that someone was able to create light and life in, like, six days and you couldn’t so much as rinse your dirty dishes in one… Well, remember it isn’t a fair comparison — each second was passing in slow motion back then.

In today’s email:

  • Enshittification continues: Why everything keeps sucking.
  • Bot or not: Can you build a successful newsletter with ChatGPT?
  • Skin in the game: AI startups target the tattoo market.
  • Around the Web: A stinky flower, Molecule of the Month, a goth dog, and more.

👇 Listen: The $40m bet that made South Korea a food and cultural power.

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The big idea
poo emoji and big tech logos

Enshittification just keeps happening

If one of the major dictionaries doesn’t choose “enshittification” as its word of the year, we’ll be surprised, because this concept is everywhere.

Masterfully coined by author Cory Doctorow, it’s exactly what it sounds like: when a digital platform slowly turns to shit.

How it works

Doctorow writes, “First, [platforms] are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.”

It’s not hard to see how enshittification has manifested:

  • Ads clogging up search results, media outlets, and social feeds
  • Algorithms swapping your friends and interests for content intended to boost engagement
  • Content creators who can’t reach their audiences anymore
  • Sudden commission hikes for businesses
  • New fees (e.g., Amazon Prime now charges members for grocery delivery)

So, everything sucks…

… but you’re stuck. Your grandma’s on Facebook. Netflix kicked your long-distance partner off your account, but you love “Squid Game.” Amazon’s digital media rights mean ebooks you paid for are Kindle-exclusive.

Some linger. Some churn. Investors get scared. Layoffs happen. A new thing comes along. It’ll probably also enshittify.

People have been using “enshittification” a lot…

… since Doctorow coined it in January because it remains so relevant: Reddit’s API fiasco, whatever Twitter’s doing — all examples in real time.

Meanwhile, Meta has signed up millions to its Twitter alternative, Threads, admitting it’ll only be ad-free until it lures 1B users — the beginning of Doctorow’s cycle.

How to fix it

Both Doctorow and Techdirt’s Mike Masnick talk about interoperability — allowing users to change platforms without losing communities (or ebooks) if enshittification occurs — motivating companies to, you know, not ruin their own platforms.

Masnick also offers seven rules for CEOs on prioritizing the communities that platforms build, over quick shifts to capture profits and please short-sighted investors.

Oh, and to never charge for what used to be free.

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eyeball wearing a hat

But why? Burger King Thailand’s latest offering, the “Real Cheeseburger,” contains nothing between the sesame seed buns but 20 slices of what appears to be unmelted American cheese for $3.13.


The good news: US inflation has cooled down considerably from last summer’s peak — the consumer price index rose 3% YoY through June, down from 9% around this time in 2022.

The less good news: Life is still wildly expensive. Key indicators are moving in the right direction — food prices are flat and housing costs are decreasing — but core inflation still remains above the Fed’s 2% target.

Oof: Bank of America will pay $250m for double-charging customers for insufficient fund fees, withholding rewards, and opening accounts without consent.

TikTok has partnered with advertising platform Crackle Connex and DVD rental company Redbox to offer its content on 3k+ kiosk screens in the US.

Pizza party: Domino’s is partnering with Uber Eats and Postmates, which the company’s CEO said could add $1B in new sales.

Shopify put a calculator in employees’ calendar app to discourage unnecessary meetings. Just 30 minutes with three people can cost the company ~$700-$1.6k, depending on attendees’ compensation.

Huh: A San Francisco group protesting self-driving cars is putting cones on the hoods of GM’s Cruise and Google’s Waymo vehicles, which disables them. State regulators are expected to decide if the companies can expand paid service in the city next month.

The Woman in Me, Britney Spears’ memoir coming in October, is so hotly anticipated, it topped Amazon’s bestseller list shortly after the title was announced. The princess of pop’s book deal is reportedly worth ~$15m.

A winning company culture isn’t dark magic at work; it’s just intentionality. HubSpot’s Dharmesh Shah shows LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman the way on the latest Masters of Scale podcast episode.


Employees can make or break a company, but hiring new talent isn’t always the answer. Investing in employee development can help your team level up their skills and excel in their roles.


Can you build a successful newsletter with ChatGPT?

People online keep claiming they’re making money by launching products with a little guidance and a lot of ChatGPT. But are they actually pulling it off?

There’s only one way to find out: debunking these GPT hustles together.

Real? Nonsense? A bit of both?

Experiment No. 1 with a GPT hustle was the most Hustle one of all — trying to build a coherent and worthwhile daily newsletter with ChatGPT’s help.

Caya, CEO of cloud-based presentation software startup Slidebean, led the way.

  • He kicked off a chatbot-written email about nostalgia with us.
  • He gave it one month to make money.
  • He documented everything along the way — what worked, what didn’t, no fake numbers, no influencer mind tricks.

Now, Caya is sharing first impressions: Can GPT hustles actually work?

Watch his full video →
Free Resource

How AI is helping marketers save time

Our recent research found that marketers who were spending five hours daily on manual, administrative tasks are already cutting that time in half. Huh?

This is an automation nation now. But at least you could take back almost four more weeks per year to be anywhere but straining your neck at your desk.

How AI is impacting marketers in 2023:

  • Notes on the boom of AI
  • Use cases for business ideation and operation
  • Tips on adding AI to your tech stack by 10Web
  • Future of marketing predictions by our CMO

AI isn’t gonna make you useless — you’re gonna make it useful.

2023 AI Trends Report →
Parlor Games
AI tattoo

Would you get inked by AI?

Yes, we talk about artificial intelligence a lot, but AI becoming a tattoo artist wasn’t on our 2023 bingo card.

Before we conjure up nightmarish images of needle-wielding robots, fret not — AI is just handling the designs (for now).

Per The Information, new generative AI startups are helping people imagine the ink of their dreams:

  • TattoosAI lets you describe your tattoo idea and pick a style and color to generate design options.
  • Tattoo Jenny has users input one or two keywords and choose from 12 styles.
  • Users have generated 1m+ designs on BlackInk.AI since November 2022 through pre-made prompts and styles.

Generative AI has the advantage of speed when it comes to tattoos: Where an artist might spend hours reworking a design for a client, an AI app can spit out hundreds of iterations in mere seconds.

Much tattoo about nothing

As with any new tech, not everyone is thrilled. But “flash tattoos” — pre-made designs that live in books or on walls at tattoo shops — have long existed, and AI generation might just be the modern-day version.

BlackInk.AI is even planning a visualization tool for those with tat regrets that could take an uploaded image of your existing tattoo and generate a new design to cover it up seamlessly.

Added perk: Artificial intelligence won’t judge you for reworking that tattoo of your ex’s name.

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On this day: In 1930, the first World Cup games were held in Uruguay. France bested Mexico 4-1, while the US beat Belgium 3-0.

🌷 That’s interesting: Not one, but two corpse flowers bloomed in California this summer. So named for its foul odor, the extremely large, rare plant smells like garbage, which attracts pollinators.

👀 Watch: My First Million’s Shaan Puri and Sam Parr discuss Twitter competitor Threads and interview entrepreneur Sam Ovens about his latest project and why he’s not into AI.

🔍 That’s cool: Since 1996, Molecule of the Month has added a new molecule — and everything you’d ever want to know about it — each month. July’s is white phosphorus.

🐶 Aww: And now, the most goth dog.

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How many down-pointing red triangles can a person take in one day? (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett RylahSara Friedman, .
Editing by: Ben “Enshittification for brains” Berkley.

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