🧃It’s Prime’s time - The Hustle
The Hustle

🧃It’s Prime’s time

Plus: A good tweet, a useful tool, a Tok block, an apology, and more.

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Yesterday we incorrectly wrote that Dude Perfect made ~$25B in 2022 when we meant to write ~$25m. Apologies for the error, though we do hope we live to see the day Dude Perfect makes $25B.

In today’s email:

  • Economy: The supply chain is fine. Inflation’s not.
  • Chart: Snapchat gets the AI treatment.
  • Prime time: Why a sports drink is selling like hotcakes.
  • Around the Web: Old expedition photos, a useful tool, a chill illustration, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Rob and Jacob break down Snapchat’s move into AI, Prime’s big numbers, another Tok block, and more.

The big idea

The supply chain is fine, but inflation is not

It’s still expensive to ship from Europe and store in the United States.
2023-02-28T00:00:00Z
Mark Dent

The supply chain, a major headache during the pandemic economy, is in much better shape.

Containers that took up to ~120 days to ship between  warehouses in China and the US during the pandemic now take ~14 days, and the spot price for shipping a container from China to the US has declined from a peak of ~$20k to ~$1.2k, roughly equivalent to pre-pandemic prices.

Yet many shipping prices remain high, according to Bloomberg, contributing to inflation.

Why?

For one, China to the West Coast isn’t the only prominent shipping route. Many American goods come from Europe, where prices for shipping a container are ~3x 2019 prices.

There’s also timing:

  • Per Bloomberg, 70% of freight on a given ship has been negotiated under long-term contracts, so many importers are locked into rates set in 2021 and 2022.
  • Big companies are reluctant to change their prices, often adjusting them a couple times per year.

Plus, it still costs a lot…

… to store freight and to ship it by rail or truck in the US.

  • Warehouse vacancy rates are low, pushing up rents.
  • The logistics sector has struggled to hire and retain employees, which has led to higher salaries and costs.
  • The price of diesel is ~2x its summer 2020 price.

It’s even gotten more expensive to build new truck trailers.

Retailers and industry leaders don’t see the prices of goods falling much until at least later this year, per Bloomberg. But logistics industry leaders are meeting in Los Angeles this week to discuss the need to restore trust in the supply chain.

The convention, as Bloomberg’s Laura Curtis described, will be a regular “Davos on the Docks.”

TRENDING

Huh? Check out this unassuming Lenovo laptop which has a screen that grows vertically with the flick of a switch. It’s pretty trippy.

SNIPPETS

The sky’s the limit: Autonomous drone maker Skydio raised $230m at a $2.2B+ valuation. Skydio’s customers include content creators, utility companies, and the US Department of Defense.

TodAI in AI: Mark Zuckerberg said Meta is rolling out a new product team responsible for integrating generative AI tech into its social platforms.

Tok block: The Canadian government is banning TikTok from government-owned devices citing an “unacceptable level of risk to privacy and security.”

Zoom zooms: Shares popped 8% after the company reported earnings that beat expectations, with revenue rising 4% YoY in Q4.

Dent in the rent: Estimates from Apartment List found the median US rent for new leases in January was down 3.5% from August.

Netflix and The Pokémon Company are teaming up on what appears to be a stop-motion animation about the concierge at a resort for Pokémon. There’s also now a Pokémon app that you play by… sleeping.

Uh-oh: A Massachusetts teacher is accused of using taxpayer-funded electricity to operate an illegal crypto-mining operation in a school crawl space.

Twitter laid off another ~200 employees, including project managers, data scientists, and engineers. Twitter had ~7.5k when acquired by Elon Musk; fewer than 2k remain.

Follow-up emails shouldn’t take so long. Use this pack of 30 templates to circle back after interviews, networking events, sales meetings, and more.

FROM THE BLOG

Want to optimize your project management process? You should use the Critical Path Method (CPM) — a technique that helps you prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and manage time more effectively.

CHART
Singdhi Sokpo

Snapchat gets the AI treatment

My AI will “write a haiku about cheese” for your friend.
2023-02-28T00:00:00Z
Jacob Cohen

Today in missed opportunities, Snapchat announced a GPT-powered personalized avatar named “My AI” (and not “SnapChatGPT”).

To be fair, the name appears especially intentional: With a customizable name and avatar, My AI is designed to feel more like a friend than a search engine or productivity tool, which helps differentiate its use case from those of Bing and Google.

  • Snapchat says My AI is great for recommending birthday gift ideas or writing “a haiku about cheese for your cheddar-obsessed pal.”

Snapchat reaches 750m monthly active users, including 75% of 13- to 34-year-olds in 20+ countries.

Despite these impressive numbers, the company has posted disappointing earnings, shed staff, and shelved projects, and its stock is down ~75% YoY.

My AI will initially only be available through Snapchat’s $3.99/mo. premium offering, which could help grow its subscription business, though the plan is for all users to eventually have access, per The Verge.

What about AI safety? “As with all AI-powered chatbots,” Snapchat says, “My AI is prone to hallucination and can be tricked into saying just about anything… Sorry in advance!”

Free Resource

How Crazy Eddie scammed America

In 1980s America, Northeasterners couldn’t escape Crazy Eddie. Those commercials would disrupt your daytime soap, and make you hate your radio. One even spooked the mermaid in Splash.

The brand was a household name, bigger than Best Buy. But behind the scenes, a schemin’ CEO was running a dozen-too-many.

Here’s the story of how Eddie Antar rose to fame, and fell for fraud.

The shady side of Crazy Eddie:

  • The man with a plan
  • The growth of Crazy Eddie
  • How the prices were so… “IN-SANE!”

Watch the new “Hustlenomics” episode below.

Crazy Eddie antics →
Prime Time

Kids can’t get enough of this influencer sports drink

Boxers Logan Paul and KSI teamed up on a sports drink so in demand that resellers are hawking it at a high market.
2023-02-28T00:00:00Z
Juliet Bennett Ryla

One sports drink is so in demand that teens are charging each other to pose with empty bottles.

Why? The power of influencers. In this case, former boxing rivals Logan Paul and KSI who, combined, have 40m+ YouTube subscribers.

It’s called Prime

It contains 10% coconut water, appeared in a Super Bowl ad, and is the UFC’s official sports drink. It typically retails for ~$2.40 per bottle and, in 2022, generated $250m in retail sales, per The Washington Post.

But Prime has also become a hard-to-get status symbol that resellers are hawking at high markups. Plus:

  • Rowdy shoppers led grocery chain Aldi to limit sales to one of each flavor.
  • UK schools have banned Prime to curb children-run black markets.

Interestingly, at press time, it was available on Amazon at… a very regular price.

This all sounds silly…

… but it ain’t new.

Shoes, toys, and other products can become hot commodities — including soft drinks. We previously covered Exotic Pop, a Houston-based soda company that got its start reselling brands touted by hip-hop acts.

Mae Karwowski, CEO and founder of influencer marketing firm Obviously, told WaPo that, in the next decade, she expects “all the biggest brands will be made by creators” because they get what their customers want.

Emma Chamberlain has a growing coffee/tea brand. MrBeast started a burger chain. For Paul and KSI, it’s a beverage Gordon Ramsay compared to “swallowing perfume.”

AROUND THE WEB

🖼️ On this day: In 1982, the J. Paul Getty Museum in California became the most richly endowed museum at $1.2B (~$3.7B today), donated by its namesake oil baron.

🥶 That’s cool: The National Archives of Australia released hundreds of photos of early 20th-century expeditions to Antarctica. (Spoiler alert: There are penguins.)

📸 Useful: A tool to improve the quality of old photos.

🚋 Art: Enjoy an interactive hand-drawn illustration of a relaxing tram ride.

🐱 Aww: And now, a snuggly cat.

TWEET

Take my money! (Link.)

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: Mark “Sorry in advance” Dent.

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