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The Hustle

You can follow cliche advice on how to get rich — invest young, live below your means, etc. — or you can follow ours: Go stroll through a cornfield. Someone in Kentucky did just that and found 700+ Civil War-era gold coins, a collection that may be worth $1m+ and that already has a nickname in the coin community: the Great Kentucky Hoard.

In today’s email:

  • WormGPT: Introducing the Wario to ChatGPT’s Mario.
  • Sound thinking: How a good sonic brand sticks in our minds.
  • Grimace Shake: What memes mean for brands like McDonald’s.
  • Around the Web: Measuring with corgis, AI ethics, a bunch of calculators, and more.

👇 Listen: When a chatbot has “no ethical boundaries or limitations.”

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The big idea
two robots

WormGPT is ChatGPT, but evil — how much should it worry you?

You know the trope: Something fishy’s going on with the protagonist, and here comes that tired twist — there’s an evil twin.

Gasp. So surprising.

This latest evil twin reveal will surprise nobody, but it’s pretty jarring all the same — ChatGPT has an evil twin that caters to cybercriminals.


… was created by an unknown hacker and launched last month, with its designer calling it ChatGPT’s “biggest enemy.”

OpenAI built ethical guardrails into ChatGPT to prevent malicious activities; WormGPT has none of that.

This huge jerk of a chatbot proudly “lets you do all sorts of illegal stuff,” per PCMag.

How does it work?

Cybersecurity firm SlashNext put WormGPT to use:

  • Its primary purpose: generating convincing business email compromise (BEC) attacks, which use fake, personalized messages to access sensitive accounts.
  • SlashNext found the tool produced “sophisticated” phishing emails that were “remarkably persuasive” and “strategically cunning” with commendable grammar.
  • It also confirmed WormGPT has “no ethical boundaries or limitations.”
  • Like ChatGPT, the tool is easy to use, meaning cybercriminals with limited experience could find success with it.

… so, that all sucks.

But let’s keep those worries in check?

Unlike its more responsible sibling, WormGPT isn’t free: Access costs ~$617/year, limiting adoption.

Also slowing its growth: bad word-of-mouth. One buyer on the hacker forum where WormGPT is sold said it’s “not worth any dime.”

And while smarter BEC attacks present a challenge, their threat is nothing new — a leading cybercrime that cost victims $2.4B worldwide in 2021, BEC attacks are already a focus for cybersecurity experts.

  • Want to prepare yourself? The FBI offers tips on safeguarding accounts.

For now, WormGPT is less an active concern and more a sign of the looming fights ahead as AI increasingly gets in the hands of bad actors.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Pinkydoll, the viral TikToker who acts like a video game NPC, told Motherboard she makes $7k+ per day. Considering she streams for six hours daily, that’s ~$1.1k+ per hour for saying things like “Mmm, ice cream so good” while popping single kernels of popcorn with a flat iron.


Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streamer, is upping prices on its 22m customers, the first increase since its 2020 launch. The hikes are only $1-$2 per month depending on the tier, but every dollar counts: The service is expected to lose $3B this year.

Oops: Tesla’s board of directors will return $735m to settle a 2020 lawsuit alleging they overpaid themselves.

Meanwhile: Nearly four years after its unveiling, Tesla completed its first Cybertruck, and the internet’s car geeks have a lot to say about the striking new stainless steel truck. One common refrain: The completed model appears to have a misaligned door.

i of the beholder: Someone paid $190k+ for a 4GB iPhone from 2007, still in the box, for some reason.

A fine line: Spain’s antitrust watchdog says Amazon and Apple colluded to restrict competition, fining them $56.7m and $161.4m, respectively. Both companies disagreed and will appeal, because of course.

Reddit is deleting all pre-2023 user chats and messages as it migrates data to new servers. If you want yours back, you can apparently request it and Reddit will send your messages over in Microsoft Word docs.

Mind your manor: Let’s say you just bought a 40k-square-foot mansion and need a staff of 20 to keep it up to snuff. Good for you. Less good for you? You’ll need to spend ~$1.8m/year these days to make that happen, per Insider.

Kraft Heinz is building a $400m distribution center in Illinois to move products faster and reduce its carbon footprint. It expects to add 150+ jobs.

Update: Taco John’s has relinquished its trademark on “Taco Tuesday.” It’s now fair game for any US restaurant — except in New Jersey, where Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar owns the trademark.

Team culture is made from more than pingpong tables and kegs. It’s about shared beliefs and common goals, and we broke down how to build it within your organization.


Watch, read, or listen: Why so many brands use sound to make you buy stuff

From Netflix’s “ta-dum” to McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan, brands have used sounds to stand out for decades.

This week, we made it our mission to find out how much a sonic logo really matters, and what goes into constructing an audio brand in the first place.

We’re offering this story up as a video, article, and podcast:

  • 🎥 Watch our on-location documentary about how sonic brands are made.
  • 📖 Read our feature story on why so many brands use sound.
  • 👂Listen to our recent podcast episode about whether sonic logos actually work.

In the meantime, we’re gonna try to convince the higher-ups to adopt “The Hustle” (song) as the official sonic brand of The Hustle (newsletter).

Unlikely to work out — but we’ll keep you posted if it does.

Free Resource

Use this template for salespeople payouts

Your hunter-gatherers deserve proper compensation. Here’s a DIY way to divvy out the funds.

This free compensation calculator helps you pick the payment structure that best suits your sales reps — whether that means set rate commission, tiered commission, or territory volume.

It also helps salesfolks crunch the numbers themselves.

It’s a seven-headed spreadsheet… with one specific purpose.

Pay your salespeople →
Happy payday, Grimace
Ronald McDonald

How Grimace horror became a McDonald’s win

What happens when TikTok turns your brand into a horror movie? Free advertising.

ICYMI: In June, McDonald’s launched a special meal with a purple milkshake to celebrate Grimace’s birthday — Grimace being its purple mascot that’s possibly a large anthropomorphic taste bud.

Shortly thereafter…

… TikTokers began posting lofi horror videos in which trying the Grimace Shake resulted in mayhem. Videos ranged from simple — taste testers gurgling purple goo — to more elaborate:

The hashtag #GrimaceShake currently has 2.7B views on TikTok, most of them from these videos.


… has achieved viral success with recent marketing gimmicks — its adult happy meals and Halloween Boo Buckets often sold out.

But this trend was started by a third party. TikToker Austin Frazier, inspired by a similar video of someone trying a Burger King Spider-Verse Whopper, posted the first video. Then, it took off organically.

McDonald’s ultimately responded by tweeting as Grimace, “meee pretending i don’t see the grimace shake trendd.”

How did this affect McDonald’s?

Jonah Berger, an associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told The New York Times, “It’s not only raising awareness of the brand, but it makes the brand cooler among a key demographic, which is young people.”

Teens bought multiple shakes to dump on themselves, and Truist credited Grimace with same-store sales growth in Q2.

Guillaume Huin, McDonald’s social media director for brand content and engagement, tweeted that McDonald’s achieved “billions in reach, millions in engagements, [and] millions of mentions,” while people genuinely had fun.

Meanwhile, the trend has since spread to Cold Stone Creamery’s Barbie Shake, “yassifying” those who try it.

Fun fact: Grimace used to be the four-armed “Evil Grimace,” who stole milkshakes and beverages. In this commercial, Ronald McDonald tricks Grimace into falling into a pool. Could it be that Grimace was simply back for… revenge?

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📅 On this day: In 1848, the Seneca Falls Convention kicked off in New York. Organized by abolitionists Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, it was the first women’s rights convention in the US.

🐶 Haha: if you’ve ever wanted to measure something in corgis or grains of sand, well, here you go.

👀 Video: How to ensure AI ethics are respected and used responsibly in marketing your business (plus, some examples of ethics concerns).

🧮 Useful: A list of various online calculators.

🦊 Aww: And now, five arctic fox kits, recently born in Scotland.

Zoom meme

It is said the true talents among us can internally scream with the cameras still on. (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett Rylah.
Editing by: Ben “Give Grimace a fair shake” Berkley.

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