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In today’s email:

  • ONDC: The future of ecommerce?
  • Chart: Oat milk stagnation.
  • Digits: Space chorizo, app use, and cats.
  • Around the web: A flying oven, tips for resilience, photo tools, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear our thoughts on oat milk (and why Oatly’s stock is down 80%), Amazon’s strategic army of vacuums, and a funny joke about cured meat.

The big idea
online goods on a shelf

India’s new ecommerce system, explained

It’s $8 from Target, but $6 shipping. Amazon’s $12 with free shipping, but only with Prime. Wait, does the corner store have this?

India’s Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is a government-backed initiative rolling out from five to 100 cities this month — proponents say it could revolutionize ecommerce.

India has an ecommerce duopoly…

… in which Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart control 60%+ of the market, per Reuters, and can squeeze out little guys by limiting search results and favoring certain sellers.

ONDC isn’t a competing platform, but a network that platforms and sellers can join, with the goal of leveling the playing field for small businesses across retail, travel, food delivery, and other sectors.

  • Customers get a one-stop shop. Searching for a shirt returns results and prices from all participating sellers, including local merchants. Unbundled services mean shoppers choose delivery providers.
  • Businesses manage one online inventory but appear in searches across platforms. Commissions are capped at 3% — a tenth of what sellers often lose on large platforms, per Fortune.

Amazon and Flipkart are reportedly in talks to join, as is Google; Ekart, Flipkart’s logistics arm, already has.

Could this work elsewhere?

Billionaire and Infosys founder Nandan Nilekani told Fortune he hopes ONDC will “provide a glimpse for the whole world of how open commerce can drive positive non-zero-sum outcomes for business and society.”

2pm posits that, in the US, D2C retailers would benefit from increased visibility and spending less on Google and Meta ads, but wonders if the US could generate support — from the government and figures like Nilekani  — to make it happen.

More: Nilekani discussed ONDC at Startup India Innovation Week 2022.

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Alexa’s new pal: Amazon announced it will acquire iRobot, maker of the Roomba vacuum, for $1.7B. Amazon acquired Kiva Systems, which makes robots for fulfillment centers, in 2012.

Infowars’ Alex Jones was ordered to pay $4.1m to the parents of a child killed at Sandy Hook — the mass shooting Jones once called a “hoax” — plus a staggering $45.2m in punitive damages. This is only the first of three such trials.

California’s DMV filed two complaints with the state, alleging Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) descriptions are misleading, as neither feature makes the car 100% autonomous.

Job news: July saw 528k new US jobs, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, indicating a strong labor market against inflation.

AI training: Meta released a chatbot called BlenderBot 3 in an effort to advance its research on AI. As part of its research, Meta is asking adults to help train the bot on its public website.

Beauty buyout: Estee Lauder, the beauty behemoth, is in talks to acquire luxury fashion house Tom Ford for $3B.

Money matters: A good profit and loss statement will help with your startup’s accounting and attract investors. Learn how to create one on the Hustle blog.

Oatly growth

Selina Lee

Oatly’s great stagnation

Last year, it appeared Oatly held the keys to alt milk’s future.

The oat milk pioneer went public in May 2021, valued at $10B. Since then, its stock has tumbled ~80%.

What’s happened?

Simply put, Oatly started a craze, then things got out of hand. Some challenges include:

  • Competition, like Planet Oat, which passed Oatly as the highest-selling oat milk brand in the US.
  • Supply shortages, leading Starbucks to enlist SunOpta to supplement its oat milk needs.
  • Scrutiny surrounding the purported health and environmental benefits of oat milk.

A recent product recall isn’t helping either.

What’s next?

The company recently cut its sales outlook for the year by $90m, listing supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, and inflationary pressures.

But there’s good news: at least the oats don’t have it as bad as the almonds.

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Free Resource

The ‘leave your job’ starter pack

Yeah, we said it, since ~30% of y’all were already thinkin’ it.

If you, too, would like to GTFO with grace — consider us facilitators.

These 22 templates are cut for quitting gigs and getting interviews (of course). You’ll have to handle it from there.

Inside HubSpot’s job-seeking kit:

  • 5 resignation letter templates
  • 5 cover letter templates
  • 12 resume templates

Just some frameworks to get the ball rolling. If you want.

22 job-hunting templates →
By the numbers

Digits: Space chorizo, app use, and cats

1) A French scientist tweeted an image of “Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years away from us”… or so people thought. Turns out it was a piece of chorizo.

2) People spend a lot of time on their phones, especially in Indonesia and Singapore, where the average Joe spends 5.7 hours a day using mobile apps. That equates to ~87 entire days in apps each year.

3) In celebrity news, Bitcoin is down 60% since Matt Damon’s Crypto.com ad; Reese Witherspoon’s NFTs are down ~75%; and EthereumMax is down 98% since Paul Pierce said it made him more money in weeks than in a year at ESPN.

4) Apparently, the dev team for “Stray” — a popular new game about a cat who “must untangle an ancient mystery to escape a long-forgotten cybercity” — is made up of ~80% “cat owners and cat lovers.

5) We recently surveyed 2.3k renters and 740 landlords about a delightful and uplifting topic: rent increases. Among many things, we found 71% of renters saw rent hikes in 2021-22 at an average increase of 14.6%.

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🎵 On this day: In 1988, N.W.A. released “Straight Outta Compton,” an album that would become triple Platinum despite attempts at censorship.

🧠 How to: Fast Company has 15 tips for building resilience so you can bounce back from anything life throws at you.

🎈 That’s interesting: A Dutch chef runs a restaurant aboard a hot air balloon, which she notes is “actually a huge hot oven.”

🖼️ Useful: Photopea is a free online photo editor.

🐶 Aww: And now, a swarm of puppies.

Oat Milk meme

We’d be confused, too. (Source: imgflip.com)

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Jennifer “Oat milk frappuccino” Wang.

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