🥊 Microsoft vs. Meta

The Hustle

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Today’s rundown:

  • Metaversus: Microsoft’s plans to poach Meta’s turf.
  • Bonkers chart: The CEO-average Joe pay gap.
  • Restaurant hacks: Expert tips to get diners back indoors.
  • Around the web: Dogs understanding humans, comedians explain how to craft a funny TikTok, and more.

Let’s do it.

The Big Idea
VR headsets

Microsoft wants to beat Meta at its own game

On the surface, Microsoft and Meta (AKA Facebook) couldn’t be more different.

Microsoft’s Office suite is where you go to get work done, Facebook’s social products are where you go to waste time.

But both companies agree on one thing…

… the metaverse is coming

Last week, Facebook rebranded to Meta, and outlined its vision for the budding metaverse.

This week, Microsoft announced its own entry into the metaverse — and its early vision sounds a lot like Meta’s.

Per Casey Newton at Platformer, both companies are all-in on:

  • VR headsets: Meta has Oculus Quest, and Microsoft has HoloLens
  • Digital avatars: Microsoft Teams is adding 3D avatars and using AI to listen to a user’s voice and animate their avatar, while Zuck revealed Meta’s Codec Avatars that closely mimic users’ appearance (oddly, as Newton pointed out, both companies avatars are legless)
  • Virtual workspaces: Both companies revealed virtual whiteboards and other collaborative settings that position the metaverse as a place to get work done

Each company has distinct advantages to fulfilling its metaverse dreams

Meta has 3 “virtual worlds” with 1B+ users (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp), and has proven demand for its hardware — having sold ~4m Oculus Quest 2 headsets in the US alone.

Microsoft has 1B+ Office users worldwide, and years of experience in virtual world-building through its Xbox business unit.

But both companies face unique challenges as well

Meta is trying to distance itself from its social platforms, which have put the company under intense scrutiny in light of The Facebook Papers.

Microsoft’s headset isn’t exactly positioned for mainstream adoption yet, given its steep price point (the HoloLens 2 starts at $3.5k).

Of course, the metaverse is not supposed to be “owned” by anyone, so Microsoft and Meta will likely be 2 players in a much bigger game — that we hope will eventually include legs.

Source: Microsoft

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SNIPPETS

Ikea is adding its “Buy Back & Resell” program to 33 US stores through Dec. 5, allowing Ikea members to return gently used furniture for store credit. The furniture is later resold in an “As-Is” section. #ecommerce-retail

To show off its EV motor kit, Ford turned a 1978 F-100 pickup truck electric. You can’t buy one yourself, but it does show it could someday be possible to retrofit classic cars. #clean-energy

Would you trust AI to decide your moral dilemmas? The Guardian tested out Delphi, a bot that does just that, to see how it felt about “Bad Art Friend” and Great Expectations. #emerging-tech

Face off: Australia has ordered facial recognition company Clearview AI to stop collecting images of Australians and delete the photos it has within 90 days. Clearview plans to appeal. #privacy

Bitcoin schools? El Salvador says it will build 20 schools using surplus money from its Bitcoin trust account, currently holding 1,120 BTC. #fintech-crypto

Netflix & Game: Netflix subscribers can now access 5 new mobile games, but only on Android phones. They include 2 “Stranger Things” adventure games. #big-tech

Payday
CEO compensation

America’s top CEOs make… a lot

America’s top CEOs have done well creating extraordinary outcomes for their companies and bank accounts.

Between 1978 and 2020, CEO compensation grew 1,322%. Typical worker pay grew just 18%.

In 2020, the CEOs at the top 350 US companies by revenue made $24.2m on average (including salaries and realized stock compensation).

That’s compared to the ~$68.9k median worker salary at these companies. Put another way, CEOs made 351x more than the average Joes. The reason being: 80%+ of CEO compensation at these companies is stock-related.

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State of Dining
dining room

How scents, lighting, and music can ease diners back into restaurants

Can the soothing smell of eucalyptus help reluctant diners feel at ease when they return to restaurants? Some experts think so!

Data intelligence company Morning Consult has been tracking how US consumers feel about resuming various activities, including going out to eat.

As of October:

  • 65% of adults felt comfortable eating at a restaurant
  • Of those, 72% felt comfortable eating outdoors, while 64% felt comfortable eating indoors

Meanwhile, CPG sales and marketing firm Acosta found that 92% of American families want to eat at home as much (72%) or more often (20%) than they do now, even after the pandemic.

So, what can restaurants do to get butts back in seats?

The Wall Street Journal asked experts how to boost diner turnout and spending. Here are 2 of the most interesting takeaways.

Dipayan Biswas, professor of marketing at the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business, suggests splitting dining rooms to offer 2 experiences:

  • A quiet, brightly lit dining room with spread-out tables for people who want to feel safe
  • For those who miss socializing, a room with dim lights and louder music (both of which increase diner spending)

Biswas also suggested using scents like peppermint or eucalyptus to enhance the feeling of cleanliness. Plus, those cooling scents encourage people to eat more, while warm scents — such as cinnamon — encourage people to eat less.

Fun fact: Disney parks have long used a patented device called the Smellitzer. They emit the fragrances at just the right times to enhance attractions. If you’re curious about what they look like, here’s a video!

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TRENDS

How Rob Dyrdek quietly built a $400m empire

You know Rob Dyrdek the skateboarder, maybe Rob Dyrdek the host of “Ridiculousness”…

… but, odds are, you haven’t met Rob Dyrdek the entrepreneur.

In 2016, investors were still calling the ex-pro skateboarder “uninvestable” — as if that would hold down a guy with 20+ world records.

Since then, Rob has restructured a mess of ambitious ventures into a tight 2-pronged approach that’s designed to accumulate wealth.

Dyrdek Machine is now a 9-figure powerhouse.

His massive success started (in his 40s) with:

  • A focus shift to real estate investments and content production
  • Co-founding and claiming meaningful stakes in each venture
  • Making the most of every minute (literally, he keeps meticulous track of his time)

We break down all of Rob’s strategies, tactics, and advice for newcomers in our latest Trends deep dive.

To get access to the full report, try one week of Trends for just $1.

Get Access →
AROUND THE WEB

😮 On this day: In 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter and his team found King Tut’s tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.

🐶 That’s interesting: Dogs are actually better at understanding human language than we thought. They have the same capabilities as human infants.

Huh: Before alarm clocks, British workers relied on “knocker uppers.” They’d walk around with long sticks and tap on windows in the early mornings.

🔖 Useful: Do you have dozens of tabs open like we do? OneTab takes your tabs and turns them into a list of clickable links, saving your computer’s memory.

😂 How to: Comedians explain how to put together the perfect funny TikTok video.

🦩 Aww: And now, please enjoy these fuzzy baby flamingos hopping around.

Meme of the day
Bill Gates meme

The official word processor of the metaverse (Source: Zipmeme / TechRepublic)

The Hustle Recommends

Read: Japanese philosophies on money

Chisoku, Wabi Sabi, Mitate — these are Japanese philosophies that can help you be more mindful about spending money on stuff. This article explains them quickly and clearly.

– Jacob

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Data shows where markets are headed.

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